Washington by James Thomas Flexner


Washington by James Thomas Flexner

Author:James Thomas Flexner
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Published: 2016-12-05T05:00:00+00:00


* The term cabinet, although too useful not to be used here, was not current during most of Washington’s Presidency.

TWENTY-NINE

The Social Man

(1789)

The aspect of the Presidency that Washington came most quickly to dislike was that it forced his natural conviviality into unnatural channels. He had hardly been inaugurated before he discovered that it was impossible for him relaxedly to keep open house as he had in Virginia. He could not get his work done because people called all day long to mouth rotund compliments and put forward their pretensions to be employed in the government or further entertained. Although conscious that he might be accused of snobbery and worried lest he separate himself from personal contacts that would keep him informed concerning public opinion, he felt it necessary to establish a rigid schedule of whom he would receive, and when, and what kind of invitations he would accept.

On her belated arrival from Virginia, Martha was outraged: “I live a very dull life here and know nothing of what passes in the town. I never go to any public place. Indeed, I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else. There is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from. And, as I cannot do what I like, I am obstinate and stay home a great deal.”

Washington’s official schedule of entertaining specified three kinds of affairs: his “levees” for men only, every Tuesday from three to four; Martha’s tea parties, for men and women, held on Friday evenings; and official dinners staged on Thursdays at four in the afternoon.



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