1888 "First in Peace" after Henry Brueckner, Engraved by John C. McRae

Full Title: To the people of America, this engraving of "First in Peace," from the original painting, is respectfully dedicated, representing the arrival of General George Washington at the Battery, New York, April 23rd, 1789, previous to his inauguration as the first president of the United States of America, April 30, 1789.

This engraving depicts the celebratory and festively riotous scene that greeted General George Washington as he arrived in New York City for the first presidential inauguration. The mixed-media engraving, completed by John McRae in 1888, is based off an 1866 painting by American artist Henry Brueckner. The engraving was published by Joseph Laing, London, Edinburgh, and New York.

On April 16th, 1789 President-elect George Washington departed his home at Mount Vernon and started his weeklong journey to New York, the site of his inauguration and then-capitol of the United States. Stopping along the way for dinners, speeches, and parades in Alexandria, Georgetown, Baltimore, Havre de Grace, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton, Princeton, and Bridgetown, Washington finally arrived in Elizabeth Town Point on the 23rd, just before noon.

Washington stepped onto a 47 foot ceremonial barge, specially prepared and festooned with red curtains and awnings, and rowed by 13 Master of Vessels, dressed in white uniforms and black caps. The flotilla departed with an artillery salute, and moved across the Newark Bay, up the Mouth of the Kills and past Bedler’s Island. Upon passing the Battery in Staten Island, American ships, the Spanish sloop of war, the Galveston, and a British packet each fired 13-gun salutes and a round of 15 cannons, which inspired cheers and cries from the nearby awaiting crowd.

The ceremonial barge landed at Murray’s Wharf sometime after 2pm, and Washington was welcomed by thousands of cheering New Yorkers and Governor George Clinton. This print reimagines the outstanding and high-spirited spectacle that greeted Washington as he entered New York for his first inauguration. It also shows the enthusiasm for the Nation’s first Presidential inauguration, a populace excited for a new governmental system. Washington took his presidential oath at Federal Hall a week after his arrival in New York. 


Print is in very good condition. Later hand-coloring. Full title margin. Paper is healthy and stable. This print has been artfully framed in a custom-built gold frame with UV glass and linen top mat. Framed dimensions: 40 1/2" H x 52" W x 2" D.

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