To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        26 April 1789

    My dear—

    Yours of the 13th. & 15th. of this month I recieved by last night’s mail—Am sorry to hear our little Sally is unwell; but hope nothing more is the matter than what is usual to children when they are breeding their teeth—

    [. . . .]

    On thursday, George Washington, Esqr. President of the United States made his entry into this City—His Landing, & procession to the house of his residence was attended by every mark of joy & congratulation in people of all ranks & ages that were possible for them to manifest1—In the morning a Committee from the two houses of Congress with three officers of the State and city Corporation—met him at Elizabeth town in the Jerseys—with these he embarked in the Barge built for the sole purpose of wafting him across the bay—Thirteen pilots, dressed in white uniform, rowed the Barge—Thomas Randall acted as Cockswain2—The approach of the President to the City was a scene truly elegant and joyous—To do it justice is impossible for Language—it must be seen to be felt—no words can ever create the original sensations in the minds of those who were spectators—Multitudes crouded the shores, wharves and vessels, anxiously looking, and waiting his arrival—A ship from Spain and several other vessels lay off in the harbour—These were prepared to pay a proper tribute of praise to the merit of the President, & by the usual signes of Joy join the festivity of the occasion—When the Barge got abrest with the Spanish Ship she fired a solute of thirteen Guns—At the instant of the report of the first gun she was dressed with a full display of the various flags & colours of the several maritime powers—this exhibeted to the eye a scene surprisingly beautifull—As soon as she had finished her Salute; A twenty-four pounder was discharged from the Fort3—and was followed by a salute of thirteen Guns from the Battery—And then another from the Ship North Carolina—several other small barges, in which were the Officers of the United States, accompanied the President across the bay—with a large number of Shallops and sail Boats—which, as the wind was fresh were constantly sailing & sporting in various directions round the Presidents barge—When the Barge arrived within distinct sight from the shore she was rowed by minute strokes which added much to dignity of the moving scene—At the lower end of Wall-Street had been prepared convenient Stairs, carpeted and ornamented—here the President landed—On his Landing he was saluted by Coll. [Sebastian] Bauman’s Artilery; and recieved & congratulated by the Governour4 and the Officers of the State and Corporation—The streets, houses, doors, windows, stoups, and every eminence of sight was crouded with Spectators in one moving body—The procession moved in the following Order—

    [. . . .]5

    The procession moved slowly thro Queen Street to the house prepared for the reception of the President—The cavalcade was attended on both sides with crouded multitudes of spectators; while every avenue from the buildings exhibeted the fair faces and joious countenances of the daughters of america—which greatly heightened the delicacy of the Scene—

    The President from his house, was conducted soon after, without ceremony, to the Governour’s where he dined—

    In the evening, from seven oClock to nine the City was illuminated—which exhibeted a view as variegated & delightfull as it was new—having never before been in a City at its illumination—But all these things are vanity!!! but And yet they are pursued, talked about, and attended to as things that make a great part of the happiness of many people!

    One circumstance deserves notice—There lives in Queen Street one Thomas Pearsall an honest Quaker;6 just at the time the procession was passing his house, the family was seting down to dinner—he was told that the President was passing by with his retinue, and asked if he would not look at them—he replied—that it was no matter whether he saw the President then or no—He should have an opportunity, ’twas probable, to see him some time or other—and if he never saw him he did not know that it was any matter—he & his family with perfect indifference to the general commotion at the door, set down and in tranquility eat their dinner—How great is the force of education—at this time every mind was agitated with joy & ready to brake out in Halelujahs & Hosannas—Drums be[a]ting, fif[e]s playing, Bands of Music sounding—but all could not take hold of the mind of our Quaker!

    There is no character within the bounds of possibility but what may be attained under proper education—All the differences we daily see between one man & another—between one woman and another—between the Characters of men & women—are owing to different educations—This may seem strange to many—but it is a truth—an important truth—It tells every man and woman that they may be what they please to make themselves—If they are indolent, ignorant and poor it is their own fault—If they are well informed, rich, virtuous and agreeable—it is the effect of their own exertions—

    Kiss the Children, tell them their papa loves them, and will come and see them in three or four months—and make them good & amiable—

    from your dear & most affectionate husband

    * * *

    ALS, TFP. The omitted second paragraph of this letter conveys instructions for the hired help Robert’s care of the orchards; for the full text, see DHFFC 15:365.