Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's: Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening That Changed America
Charles A. Cerami
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Only two guests were invited to what was arguably the most elegant, sumptuous, and important dinner party that Thomas Jefferson ever hosted. Each course was prepared and laid out in advance so that no servants would enter the dining room to disrupt conversation and overhear random remarks, which they might later repeat to others. Privacy was imperative. Jefferson believed that the very future of the United States of America depended on convincing Alexander Hamilton to agree to a compromise he and Madison were proposing on two issues that threatened to tear the young republic apart.
Plying his guests with the fine wine and exquisite cuisine only a former ambassador to France could provide, Jefferson set the stage for a compromise that enabled the federal government to pay its debts, both domestic and foreign, and make the American dollar ""as good as gold.""
In Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, you'll discover the little-known story behind this pivotal evening in American history, complete with wine lists, recipes, and wonderful illustrations of 1790s New York, then the nation's capital. It is a feast not to be missed for lovers of American history, fine dining, and a compelling true story well told.
solution. Jefferson’s experience abroad had made him feel that life without a really fine maître d’hôtel was almost insupportable. The ones he tried to recruit locally failed utterly, so he sent off an urgent message asking André Petit, who had served him in Paris, to come at once to America. These aftereffects of his Paris stay continued to resonate, and they had a day-to-day effect on his personal life and especially on his active entertaining on Maiden Lane. But it was not until the fall of
Rhode Island was simply unable to meet its inevitable financial obligations. Some newspapers routinely referred to the state as “Rogue Island.” And this miserable reputation would take years to repair. In the House chamber, the atmosphere was volatile, with states easily jumping to regard each other as real enemies, bringing on an eruption of vivid and often angry speeches. The House’s sergeant at arms was notably active in calling for order. Every state was deeply involved—some because they
of small independent farms as the basic structure of America was destined to lose. The move to Philadelphia had, of course, made no difference in the wide gap that separated these two men. That “the Secretary of the Treasury determines the movements of government” was becoming a common opinion among politicians. His various state papers were considered masterful. His work in setting up all the new governmental structures needed to run the nation smoothly was greatly admired. And he had
They insisted that they were being unfairly taxed in a way that hit them much harder than the large distilleries of the East. In the rebellion, there was an uprising in which several deaths occurred. George Washington wanted to be firm, but Hamilton tried to make it into a real war. He wanted to be ordered to attack. In the end, while the aging president came out of military retirement to head the armed force, he was not well enough for the physical part of the job. It was really the agile
credence to Hamilton’s theory about his tendency to take up a position against whoever was the incumbent president. Chapter 19 One Heart and One Mind IT HAD BEEN A DECADE SINCE the Dinner-Table Compromise had forced Jefferson to hand Alexander Hamilton the assumption victory that might have made him the most powerful man in America for a full lifetime. The theory we have heard that Jefferson spent the rest of his life trying to recover the ground he lost on that day is an exaggeration.