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The morning of this day was ushered in by a corps of hairdressers, occupying the place of the city watchmen. Many ladies were obliged to have their heads dressed between four and six o'clock in the morning, so great was the demand and so numerous were the engagements this day of the gentlemen of the comb. At half past seven o'clock was the time fixed in the tickets for the meeting of the company. The approach of the hour was proclaimed by the rattling of all the carriages in the city. The doors and windows of the streets which leads to the minister's were lined with people, and near the minister's house was a collection of all the curious and idle men, women and children in the city, who were not invited to the entertainment, amounting, probably, to ten thousand people. The minister was not unmindful of this crowd of spectators. He had previously pulled down a board fence and put up a neat pallisado fence before the dancing room and walks, on purpose to gratify them with a sight of the company and entertainment. He intended further to have distributed two pipes of Madeira wine and $600 in small change among them; but he was dissuaded from this act of generosity by some gentlemen of the city, who were afraid that it might prove the occasion of a riot or some troublesome proceedings. The money devoted to this purpose was charitably distributed among the prisoners in the jails, and patients in the hospital in the city. About 8 o'clock our family, consisting of Mrs. Rush, our cousin Susan Hall, our sister Sukey and myself, with ou good neiglıbours, (Mrs. and Mr. Henry, entered the apartment provided for this splendid entertainment. We were received through a wide gate by the minister and conducted by one of his family to the dancing room. The scene now almost exceeds description. The numerous lights distributed through the garden, the splendour of the room we were approaching, the size of the company which was now collected and which consisted of about 700 persons; the brilliancy and variety of their dresses, and the band of music which had just began to play, formed a scene which resembled enchantment. Sukey Stockton said “ her mind was carried beyond and out of itself.” We entered the room together, and here we saw the world in miniature. All the ranks, parties, and professions in the city, and all the officcrs
of government were fully represented in this assembly. Here were ladies and gentlemen of the most ancient as well as modern families. Here were lawyers, doctors, and ministers of the gospel. Here were the learned faculty of the college, and among them many who knew not whether Cicero plead in Latin or in Greek; or whether Horace was a Roman or a Scotchman. Here were painters and musicians, poets and philosophers, and men who were never moved by beauty or harmony, or by rhyme or reason. Here were merchants and gentlemen of independent fortunes, as well as many respectable and opulent tradesmen. Here were whigs and men who formerly bore the character of tories. Here were the president and members of congress, governors of states and generals of armies, ministers of finance and war and foreign affairs; judges of superior and inferior courts, with all their respective suites and assistants, secretaries and clerks. In a word, the assembly was truly republican. The company was mixed, it is true, but the mixture formed the harmony of the evening. Every body seemed pleased. Pride and ill-nature for a while forgot their pretensions and offices, and the whole assembly behaved to each other as if they had been members of the same family. It was impossible to partake of the joy of the evening without being struck with the occasion of it. It was to celebrate the birth of a Dauphin of France.
How great the revolution in the mind of an American! to rejoice in the birth of an heir to the crown of France, a country against which he had imbibed prejudices as ancient as the wars between France and England. How strange! for a protestant to rejoice in the birth of a prince, whose religion he has been always taught to consider as unfriendly to humanity. And above all how new the phenomenon for republicans to rejoice in the birth of a prince who must one day be the "support of inonarchy and slavery. Human nature in this instance seems to be turned inside outwards. The picture is still agreeable, inasmuch as it shows us in the clearest point of view, that there are no prejadices so strong, no opinions so sacred, and no contradictions so palpable, that will not yield to the love of liberty.
The appearance and characters, as well as the employment of the company, naturally suggested the idea of Elysium, given by
the ancient poets. Here were to be seen heroes and patriots, in close conversation with each other. Washington and Dickenson held several dialogues together. Here were to be seen men conversing with each other, who had appeared in all the different stages of the American war. Dickenson and Morris frequently reclined together against the same pillar. Here were to be seen states. men and warriors from the opposite ends of the continent, talking of the history of the war in their respective states. Rutledge and Walton from the south, here conversed with Lincoln and Duane, from the east and the north. Here and there too, appeared a solitary character walking among the artificial bowers in the garden. The celebrated author of “ Common Sense" retired frequently from the company to analize his thoughts, and to enjoy the repast of his own original ideas. Here were to be seen men who had opposed each other in the councils and parties of their country, forgetting all former resentments, and exchanging civilities with each other. Mifflin and Reed accosted each other with all the kindness of ancient friends. Here were to be seen men of various countries and languages, such as Americans and Frenchmen, Englishmen and Scotchmen, Germans and Irishmen, conyersing with each other like children of one father. And lastly, here were to be seen the extremes of the civilized and savage life. An Indian chief in his savage habits and the count Rochambeau in his splendid and expensive uniform, talked with each other as if they had been the subjects of the same government, generals in the same army, and partakers of the same blessings of civilized life.
About half an hour after eight o'clock the signal was given for the dance to begin. Each lady was provided with a partner before she came. The heat of the evening detered above one half of the company from dancing. Two sets, however, (appeared upon the floor during the remaining part of the evening.
On one side of the room were provided two private apartments where a numer of servants attended to help the company to all kinds of cool and agreeable drinks, with sweet cakes, fruits and the like.
Between these apartments, and under the orchestra, there was a private room where several quaker ladies, whose dress would
not permit them to join the assembly, were indulged with a sight of the company through a gause curtain.
This little attention to the curiosity of these ladies marks in the strongest manner, the minister's desire to oblige every body:
At 9 o'clock were exhibited a number of rockets from a stage erected in a large open lot before the minister's house. They were uncommonly beautiful, and gave universal satisfaction. At 12 o'clock the company was called to supper. It was laid behind the dancing room under three large tents, so connected together as to make one large canopy. Under this canopy was placed seven tables, each of which was large enough to accomodate fifty people.
The ladies, who composed near one half of the whole assembly, took their seats first, with a small number of gentlemen to assist in helping them. The supper was a cold collation; simple, frugal, and elegant; and handsomely set off with a desert, consisting of cakes, and all the fruits of the season. The Chevalier de la Lezerne now appeared with all the splendour of the minister, and all the politeness of a gentleman. He walked along the tables and a-ldressed himself in particular to every lady. A decent and respectful-sitence pervaded the whole company. Intemperance did not show its head; levity composed its countenance, and even humour itself forgot for a few moments, its usual haunts; and the simple jests no less than the loud laugh, were unheard at any of the tables. So great and universal was the decorum, and so totally suspended was every species of convivial noise, that several gentlemen remarked that the " company looked and behaved more as if they were worshiping than eating.” In a word, good breed ing was acknowledged, by universal consent, to be mistress of the evening, and the conduct of the votaries at supper formed the conclusion of her triumph. Notwithstanding all the agreeable circumstances that have been mentioned, many of the company complained of the want of something else to render the entertainment complete. Every body felt pleasure, but it was of too tranquil a nature. Many people felt sentiments, but they were produced by themselves, and did not arise from any of the amusements of the evening. The company expected to feel joy, and their feelings were in unison with nothing short of it. An ode on the birth of the Dauphin, sung or repeated, would have answered the expecta.
tions and corresponded with the feelings of every body. The un. derstanding and the taste of the company would have shared with the senses in the pleasures of the evening. The enclosed ode written by Mr. Wm. Smith, son of the Rev. Dr. Smith, was composed for the occasion, but from what cause I know not, it did not make its appearance. It has great merit, and could it have been set to music, or spoken publickly, must have formed a most delightful and rational part of the entertainment. About one o'clock the company began to disperse. Our family moved with the foremost of them. Before three o'clock the whole company parted, every candle was extinguished, and midnight enjoyed her dark and solitary reign in every part of the minister's house and garden. Thus have I given you a full account of the rejoicing on the birth of the Dauphin of France.
If it serves to divert your thoughts for an hour or two from the train of reflections to which the shades and walks of — at this season of the year too naturally dispose you, I shall be more than satisfied, and shall esteem the history which my attendance at the minister's house has enabled me to give you, as the most fortunate and agreeable event (as to myself) of the whole evening.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO. LETTER FROM ALEXANDER HAMILTON, ESQ. TO THE MARQUIS
DE LA FAYETTE.
New-York, 6th October, 1789. MY DEAR MARQUIS
I have seen with a mixture of pleasure and apprehension the progress of the events which have lately taken place in your country. As a friend to mankind and to liberty I rejoice in the efforts which you are making to establish it, wbile I fear much for the final success of the attempts, for the fate of those I esteem who are engaged in it, and for the danger, in case of success, of innovations greater than will consist with the real felicity of your nation. If your affairs still go well when this reaches you, you will ask why this foreboding of ill, when all the appearances have been so much in your favour-I will tell you; I dread disagreements among those who are now united (which will be likely to be im