Dolley Madison’s Merry Party

Presidential History Blog

the-madisons James and Dolley Madison

The position of Secretary of State is the country’s premier diplomatic post.

James Madison and the Merrys

anthony-merry British Ambassador (modern term) Anthony Merry

Anthony Merry was the first British Minister Plenipotentiary (considered Ambassador) sent to the United States. He and his uber pretentious wife Elizabeth were pompous and snobbish, according to all who knew them, but in 1803, Great Britain was approaching the apogee of its Great Britain-ness, and the little backwater country across the pond was perceived as a punishment tour of duty.

thomas-jefferson President Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson was rather obvious about his disdain for all things British, and the Merrys were no exception. They in turn, were enraged by what they perceived as deliberate slights from the President, who had invited them to a pathetically democratic (small ‘d’) dinner party.  No seating plan, a suspiciously offensive invitation to the French Minister (with whom…

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