Original Document
Original Document
Captain James Parker's Account of the Philadelphia Mischianza, 1778.

[To Charles Steuart in London]

1778 May 6th

Great works are erecting at the large house of Mr. Wharton near the south end of the Town for a fete champetre. A Space 180 feet by 30 is building with an arched roof covered with canvas & floored with plank. A Reggatta and Tournament are also talk'd of as part of this great intertainment....

17 Sunday ... The preparations are going on briskly for compleating the four Capital branches of the Great intertainment, Viz. Reggatta, Fireworks, Tournament, and Champetre. The tournament carries us back to the pueril stories in the twopenny books of Argus & Parthenia, Parismus & Pariaminus, Valentine & Orson, & [illegible], Princess of Babylon. Here we have Knights of the blended rose, [knights] of the burning mountain with their Squires, heralds, armor bearers, who are to combat for peerless princesses attended by damsels. etc. On the front towards the Delaware the fireworks are erected and the lawn is smoothly laid off down to the river about a half mile. Sir Henry Clinton has been constantly employed since his arrival. I do not understand he has enjoyed yet any of the entertainments common in this City.

I8`h ... At four this day Lord & Gene Howe with the Officers concerned in the Machianza embarked at the upper part of the Town in Galleys, Barges, & flat boats, finely decorated. They row'd slowly down the River. The Vigilant, the highest Ship in the River, was dressed & man'd. The Fanny transport in the Middle opposite Market Street was dressed & the Roebuck below was man'd. The Ships at the wharfs, being very numerous along the whole bank of the River, with Colours, exhibited a very fine appearance, filled with people, as were also the tops of the houses. The Regimental bands played going down in the line; they Landed in front of Duke Wharton's house and were saluted by the Roebuck. Then moved up in front of the firework, an arch supported by pillars. On the front above was Neptune driving his Marine Chariot. On the top of the Angle a Triton mounted on a fish. Motto: Laus illi debetur et a me gratia Major. On each side in front were Thrones for the Peerless Princesses and the attendent damsels, they being Seated. The Herald for the Knights of the Blended rose, preceded by two trumpeters, proclaimed in three different parts of a very large Sqr formed by the people that the Ladies of the Order of the Blended Rose were superior in Wit and beauty to any Ladies in the World, immaculate and spotless, and that the Knights of that order, (if any could be found who did not consent to the truth of this declaration) [would] combat it with arms according to the ancient laws of Chivalry. This part of the ceremony being ended, the Herald, preceded by two Trumpeters, pranced [firm]ly on, followed by two pages, then a Squire bearing the Halmet of his particular Knight with a fine device. The Knight, mounted, followed him and so followed the Six Sq` & Knights of that order. After a short silence forth pranced a Herald & advanced near the Thrones and with an audible voice denyed that the Blended rose Ladies were near equal to those of the Burning Mountain. They all paraded round the Square, as the others had done, & both Partys met in the Center where the Glove was exchanged. The order of Combat settled, all retirnd to the outline of the Square. Each Knight [faced] his antagonist. After a short silence the trumpets sounded and all charged. The first Charge was with lances which were all shiver'd and thrown away; the second and third they discharged pistols, the fourth and fifth were with Swords. After this a Knight of each order was selected to determine the whole, [illegible] of the Blended Rose and Capt. Watson of the Guards, of the Burning Mountain, who engaged some little time, when the peerless princesses, by the Master of Ceremonies, Maj. Guyn of the Light dragoons, ordered that no more blood should be spilt. There that farce ended.

The Girles, with Turbans, in white silk fancy dresses rather loose, with blended Roses, and knots of black and yellow Ribbons looked very well. The Knights, Sqr,, heralds, Horses etc. were all in the same stile. The Regatta and Tournament being over, they all marched through the Arches up to the house, and additional appointments [were] provided, painted, and decorated for the purpose, and dined about Seven. The upper Arch had a frame on top, on the front a Group of Military implements-the Motto: I, bone, quo to tua Virtus tua to vocal; I pede fausto. The fireworks were played off at Ten, but indifferent. [The] head is too fat. The whole with eating, drinking, dancing, etc. was concluded about Seven the next morning. Had the Rebels got such a correction as they deserved, restored to their senses, and this been the feast of peace, it would have been very proper. But there are [those] who think it ill-timed, our Country by procrastination being involved in a french War. On the tickets of invitation to the Machianza a sun [was] setting behind a Mountain. The feathers of the 2nd. Reg'. or crest, Motto: Luces discedens aucto Splendore Resurgam.. . . It was altogether a Compliment of some officers to the General [and] his departure. And hereafter we go upon a new account.

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