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little more than half-length, and in the costume of a colonel of the twenty-second regiment of the Virginia Militia. The coat is blue, with red facings, and bright metal buttons, having the
number of the regiment (“22") cast upon them. The waistcoat and breeches are also red, and the sash, a faded purple.
When, in 1797 or '98, Field, an English miniature painter and engraver of some eminence, visited Mount Vernon, he slept in a room in which hung Washington's old military coat. The painter cut off one of the buttons, and brought it away with him, regarding the transaction as a pious theft, no doubt, because prompted by veneration for the owner. MILITARY BUTTON. That button was in the possession of John F. Watson, Esq.,
the venerable annalist of Philadelphia and New York, and at his house in Germantown the annexed sketch of it was made.
Field had a pleasant countenance and fine portly figure. He was, on the whole, rather fat, and loved his ease. " When at Centreville, on the eastern shore of Maryland, in 1798,” says Rembrandt Peale, in a recent letter to a friend, "Field and I took a walk into the country, after a rain. A wide puddle of water covered the road beyond the fence on both sides. I climbed the fence and walked round, but Field, fat and lazy, in good humor paid an old negro to carry him on his shoulders over the water. In the middle of it, Field became so convulsed with laughter, that he nearly shook himself off the old man's back."
Field went to Canada, studied theology a little, was ordained a priest of the Established Church, and became a bishop
The portrait painted by young Peale, at that time, was the first that was ever made of Washington. From the study he then made, he painted the fine picture which hung at Mount Vernon until the owner's death, and since that time has graced the walls of Arlington House, the home of the late George Washington Parke Custis. The study —the really first portrait, was afterward dressed in the continental costume. This remained in possession of the artist and his family until the Peale gallery, in Philadelphia, was sold a few years ago, when it was purchased by Charles S. Ogden, Esq., in whose possession it now rests.
FAC-SIMILE OF PEALE'S RECEIPT.
May 30th 1972.
th 1972. Received Ten Grueneas
While at Mount Vernon at that time, Peale painted a miniature of Mrs. Washington, for her son, John Parke Custis, then a youth of eighteen, for which Washington, as his guardian, paid ten guineas, according to a receipt in the hand-writing of Washington, and signed by the artist, a fac-simile of which is on the preceding page.
Peale's miniatures were exquisitely painted, and very much sought after. A few years later he painted a portrait, in miniature, of young Custis, who was then General Washington's aide; also of his wife, the second daughter of Benedict Calvert, of Maryland, a descendant of Lord Baltimore. He also painted a portrait of that lady, life size, before her marriage, in which she is represented as a beautiful young girl in equestrian costume, the riding-jacket being open in front, and on her head a riding-hat with a feather. The miniature of John Parke Custis, from which our engraving was copied, was in the possession of Mrs. Washington until her death, and is now the property of his granddaughter, the wife of Colonel Robert E. Lee, of Arlington House, Virginia.*
A shadow fell upon Mount Vernon in the spring of 1773. No child had blessed the union of Washington and his wife, and her two children received the most tender parental care and solicitude from their step-father. He appeared to love them as his own.
his own. Martha was a sweet girl, of gentle temper, graceful form, winning ways, and so much a brunette, that she was called “the dark lady.” Just as she was blooming into womanhood, pulmonary consumption laid its withering hand upon her. For several months her strength had been failing, and letters filled with expressions of anxiety went frequently from her mother to Washington, who was engaged in his duties in the House of Burgesses at Williamsburg. At length a most alarming letter reached him. He had just made arrangements to accompany Lord Dunmore, the governor, on a long tour of observation west of the mountains, but he hastened to Mount Vernon. He found the dear child in the last moments of earthly life. His manly spirit was bowed with grief, and with deep feeling he knelt at the side of her bed and prayed most earnestly for her recovery. Upon the wings of that holy prayer her spirit ascended, and when he arose and looked upon her pale and placid face, Death had set its seal there. She expired on the nineteenth of June,
* Mr. Peale painted many other portraits of Washington, life size and in mmia. ture. For an account of these, see note to the chapter on Washington's Portraits, in Custis's Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington