Queen Emma in Washington D. C., 1866.


Movements of Queen Emma—Visit to the Tomb of Washington—No More Rations to be Issued to the People of the South.

Washington, August 16.—In consequence of the report of Messrs Steedman, and Fullerton, and other information from the South, obtained through reliable sources, General Howard will issue, in a day or two, an order cutting off all rations issued to the people of the South, both white and black, and throw the means of support of destitute people upon the local authorities. This order will apply to inmates of hospitals or insane asylums. It is said President Johnson is in favor of the above order.

Her Majesty Queen Emma has spent the whole of to-day in visiting the tomb of Washington at Mount Vernon. Secretary McCullouch placed at her disposal the light and elegant revenue cutter Northerner, which returned yesterday from a trip to Portland, where she had been to convey Secretary McCulloch and family. The party, consisting of the Queen Dowager, Miss Spurgeon, Mr. P. S. Chilton, of the State Department, Consul General Odell, and Mr. Hopkins, Chamberlain, left Willard’s Hotel at eleven o’clock, and drove direct to the Navy Yard, where the Northerner was stationed. Through some misunderstanding the order for the trip did not reach Captain McGowan until nearly ten o’clock this morning, and consequently when the party reached the Navy Yard the cutter had not sufficient steam to start at once. There was also a blunder in the time at which her Majesty was expected to arrive, so that the Admiral commanding was not on hand to welcome her; but this was fortunately remedied by the politeness of that old and tried sailor, who received her Majesty and suite, escorted them on board the cutter, and apologized for the temporary absence of the Rear Admiral.

The news of the arrival of the Queen soon spread, when Read Admiral Radford, together with Commodore Smith, Captain Brown, Captain Balch and other officers of the navy, arrived and were introduced to the Queen, simultaneously with which a salute of twenty-one guns was fired in honor of her arrival. A short time was spent in interchange of friendly sentiment, some of the officers present having visited the Sandwich Islands and met the Queen at her palace. When the Admiral invited her Majesty to inspect the Navy Yard she was first shown the large fifteen-inch guns and a number of pieces captured from the enemy at different times and places, many of them broken and shattered by shell and explosion, but all of historic interest, and was then conducted to the ordinance room, shrapnel room, laboratory, room for the manufacture of percussion caps, and, in fact, shown everything of interest connected with the Navy Yard, in every department of which she seemed to be much interested. The Queen seemed particularly interested in the process of making percussion caps. The machine was put in operation, and a rod of copper given her. After explaining the process of manufacture she went to work and made over a hundred caps, which she desired to take with her. Another room was subsequently visited, where the explosive substance of the caps was supplied, and the caps made ready for use. Shortly after twelve o’clock the Queen and party returned to the cutter, which was then in readiness to start, when the Hawaiian flag was hoisted in honor of her Majesty, and the vessel loosened from her moorings and headed for Mount Vernon. The party on board, besides her Majesty and suite and the officers of the cutter, consisted of Rear Admiral Radford and two daughters, Captain Balch, Captain Brown, and Commodore Smith. The Queen and suite occupied seats upon the upper deck, beneath the awning, where they had a fine view of either bank of the Potomac, and seemed greatly interested in all they saw. Queen Emma asked many questions as to the positions occupied by the contending parties in the late war, and showed and intimate knowledge of the history of the Rebellion. The low stage of water prevented the cutter landing at the wharf upon her arrival at Mount Vernon, and all hands were compelled to go on shore in small boats. Previous to landing, however, an elegant cold collation, consisting of roast chicken, game, fruit, wine, and other delicacies, were served in the cabin of the Northern Light, furnished by Messrs. Sykes & Chadwick, of Willard’s Hotel, and served under their superintendence. Upon landing the first place visited was the tomb of Washington, where due respect was paid to the memory of the Father of this country, after which they repaired to the mansion, where they were kindly welcomed by Mr. U. H. Herbert, who for several years has had charge of the grounds, and who took particular pains to show and explain everything of interest. Every room of the house was explored, all the relics of Washington examined, and everything connected with Mount Vernon fully explained to her Majesty during the two hours passed within and around its sacred precincts. Nothing connected with the visit of Queen Emma to Washington has seemed to afford her so much genuine pleasure as the trip to-day. The fine weather, cool breeze, and splendid view, together with the freedom from restraint seemed to make her feel more at home, and she entered fully into the spirit of the occasion. She expresses herself highly pleased with Washington, its public buildings, and the reception she has met with while here, but greatly disappointed in the city itself as falling far short in size, beauty of its private residences, and general appearance from what she supposed the capital of so great a nation would possess. She expected to find the same magnificent palaces which she saw in Fifth avenue, New York, but instead has seen only common two-story brick tenements. The party arrived at the Navy Yard at 6 o’clock this evening, when the Queen made a short call at the residence of Rear-Admiral Radford, with whose daughters she had become well acquainted, and then returned to Willard’s to dinner.

A number of the representatives of the several tribes of American Indians now in the city, having expressed a desire to call on the Queen, claiming her as of the Indian race, their request was laid before her Majesty by the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Mr. Charles E. Mix, when she expressed her delight at the opportunity of seeing these representatives of the aboriginal races of this continent. She had contemplated a journey across the plains, expressly to see the native Americans, but by this unexpected opportunity a long and fatiguing journey would be avoided, and her wish be gratified. It was arranged that the Indians should be presented to her this evening at half-past 8 o’clock. At the appointed hour, accompanied by Miss Spurgeon, Mr. Chilton, and Mr. Hopkins, the Queen appeared in one of the large parlors of Willard’s Hotel, when the Acting Commissioner was presented to her. The representatives of the various tribes were then ushered in and presented by the Acting Commissioner. Those presented consisted of five Choctaws, headed by Governor Peter P. Pitchiynn; five Chickasaws, under Governor Winchester Colbert; three Southern Cherokees and nine wild savage Pawnees, including two squaws and one pappoose. The Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees were fully civilized, many of them being gentlemen of wealth and standing, and all educated. One judge, a doctor, and a clergyman were of the number. The Pawnees were of the wild, savage claas, accidentally in the city, and appeared in all the grandeur of their native garb, with feathers, war paint, weapons, moccasins, etc. The Queen seemed to be more than usually interested in their interview. At first her attention was fastened upon the savage Pawnees. She examined their weapons, dress, and ornaments, questioned them as to their manners and habits, manifested a peculiar sympathy for the squaws, and repeatedly chucked the pappoose under the chin. Tiring of these they were dismissed, when she entered into a lively conversation with the educated representatives of the other tribes got some general ideas of their respective histories, present condition, etc., and finally drew out a speech in his native dialect from Governor Pitchlynn, which was translated by the Choctaw preacher who was with him, and which amused and pleased him greatly. Pitchlynn, Colbert, and others, had children with them, towards whom the affection of the Queen seemed to go forth in a remarkable degree.

She insisted on shaking them all by the hand, and kissing such of them as were not disposed to avoid the consideration. The interview lasted about an hour, and was one of the most interesting that has occurred during her Majesty’s stay here. No programme has yet been arranged for tomorrow. The Queen has accepted Secretary Seward’s invitation to become his guest, and will repair to his mansion to-morrow, where she will remain until Monday, when she leaves for Niagara Falls.

(Evening Telegraph, 8/17/1866, p. 1)


The Evening Telegraph, Volume VI, Number 40, Page 1. August 17, 1866.

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