Saturday, March 31, 2018

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) on Easter & England's Public Pleasure Gardens

Rotunda at Ranleigh by T Bowles 

Unconventional right from his odd-sounding first name—which was his mother’s maiden name—Gouverneur was never a governor, but he did serve in the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention and U.S. Senate.  Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) was born into a prominent New York family, he earned election to the state’s provincial congress, and signed the Articles of Confederation as a New York delegate to the Continental Congress.  Morris served as American minister to France from 1792-94, and as a New York senator from 1800-03.

On visiting London during Easter, he wrote “The Amusement here is to walk round till one is tired and then sit down to Tea and Rolls,” wrote Gouverneur Morris of a later visit to the Rotunda of Ranelagh, am elegant public pleasure garden for the decorous once located in the present grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Ranelagh opened for the season on this date, Easter Monday. A newspaper reported that the music “was extremely well performed” and, “considering that it is not the fashion to be there the first week, a very respectable company graced the room” (Morris, Diary, i, 525 description begins Gouverneur Morris, A Diary of the French Revolution, ed. Beatrix Cary Davenport, Boston, 1939, 2 vols.description ends; London Chronicle, 18 Apr. 1786).