Excerpt from The First Forty Years of Washington Society
During the first forty years of its existence the city of Washington had a society, more definite and real than it has come to have in later days. The permanent residents, although appurtenant to the changing official element, nevertheless furnished the framework which the larger and more important social life used to build upon, and the result was a structure of society tolerably compact and pleasing and certainly interesting. It was emphatically official, but it did not include the lower class officials, who found their recreation for the most part at the street resorts, and its tone was dignified and wholesome. At any rate, it was genuine and national, even if it was crude, and the day of the all-powerful rich man and his dominance in social life had not yet arrived.
Samuel Harrison Smith, a writer and editor in Philadelphia, came to the city in the year 1800, soon after the government had moved there. He was the son of Jonathan Bayard Smith, a member of the Continental Congress, signer of the Articles of Confederation and Colonel of a Pennsylvania regiment during the Revolution; and although he was only 28 years old he established the first national newspaper printed in America, which he called The National Intelligencer.
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