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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Banquet in Honor of Rufus King

By Eliza Southgate Bowne (1783–1809)

[By permission of Mr. Walter Lawrence, from Letters copied from the originals by his mother, Mrs. Mary King Bowne Laurence.]

THE GREAT dinner, given in honor of Uncle Rufus, I have not yet mentioned. ’Twas very superb, and two hundred of the most respectable citizens of New York attended. Mr. Bowne says, though he has been at many entertainments given in honor of particular persons, yet he never saw one that was so complimentary and never a person conduct himself on such an occasion with such ease, elegance and dignity. He returned quite in raptures—such insinuating manners, such ease in receiving those presented and introduced. Uncle Rufus is a most amazing favorite here,—Democrats and Federalists and all parties attended. French consul on his right…. I went to see the tables. Very novel and elegant; there was one the whole length of the Hall and four branches from it. There was an enclosure about two feet wide, filled with earth and railed in with a little white fence; and little gates every yard or two ran through the centre of all the tables, and on each side were the plates and dishes. In this enclosure there were lakes and swans swimming, little mounts covered with goats among little trees, in some places flocks of sheep, and some cows lying down,—beautiful little arches and arbors covered with green—figures of Apollo, Ceres, Flora,—little white pyramids with earth and sprigs of myrtle, orange, lemon,—flowers in imitation of hot-house plants—nothing could have a more beautiful effect in the hot weather!
NEW YORK, 14 July, 1803.