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George III and Samuel Shoemaker: a Pennsylvania Loyalist's interview with George III.

[Editor's Note: Our thanks to Adrian Willison who extracted this article from.Pennsylvania Magazine of History & Biography, Volume 2, 1878 pg. 35-39.]

[Samuel Shoemaker was a resident of Philadelphia, belonging to the well-known family of that name which emigrated from Cresheim in Germany in 1686, and settled at Germantown. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and prominent as a merchant in Philadelphia. From 1755 to 1766 he was a member of the Common Council, and in the latter year was elected a Member of the Board of Aldermen, which office he held until the fall of the Charter Government in 1776. In 1761, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and held the office for many years. He was one of the signers of the "Non-Importation Agreement" of 1765. In 1769, he was chosen Mayor of the City, and for two terms, in 1767 and 1774, was its Treasurer. He sat as a member from the City in the Provincial Assembly from 1771 to 1773.

Mr. Shoemaker remained in Philadelphia upon the entry of the British Army, in September, 1777. It is said that during its occupation he again fulfilled the duties of mayor, but this is not fully substantiated by the records. The Colonial Charter Government in the city came to an end in 1776, and it remained without one until 1789, during which period there was no such corporate office.

Upon the evacuation of the city, in June, 1778, Mr. Shoemaker accompanied the army, and went to New York, where he remained until November, 1783. A few days before the evacuation of that city, he sailed for England, accompanied by his son Edward.

Mr. Shoemaker was a pronounced Loyalist and was distinguished for his zeal on the side of the Crown, in consequence of which he was attainted of treason and his estate confiscated. While in New York he exerted himself for the relief of the Whig prisoners, and by his intercessions with the British authorities numbers of them were liberated and allowed to return to their homes. While in London he was, as his diary shows, frequently consulted by the Commissioners appointed by the English Government to pass upon the claims of the Loyalists for losses. He returned to Philadelphia in 1789, and died in 1800.

This diary was kept for the entertainment of Mrs. Shoemaker, (1) who did not accompany her husband abroad. At the time to which the following extract refers, he was spending a few days at Windsor with his friend Benjamin West, the artist. The interview here described is probably the one referred to by Mr. Sabine in his "Loyalists of the American Revolution."]

First Day, Octo'r 10, 1784

This morning at 8'Clock thy son accompanied B. West's wife to the King's Chappel where he had the opportunity of seeing the King and several of the Princesses. They returned before 9 when we were entertained with breakfast, at which we had the Company of Mr. Poggy the Italian Gent'n, Mr. Trumble, (2) Mr. Farrington, (3) and West's two sons. About 10 thy son accompanied Farrington, Trumble and West's eldest son in a Ride through Windsor Forrest, having first been with West and I to his Room in the Castle to see a picture of the Lord's Supper which he had just finish'd for the King's Chappel. After part of our Company were gone to take their Ride, West informed methat the King had order'd him to attend at his Painting Room in the Castle at one `Clock, when the King and Queen and some of the Princesses, on their return from Chappel, intended to call to see the Painting of the Lord's Supper which he had just finished, and West told me it would be a very proper time and Opportunity for me to see the King, Queen, and the rest of the family, as they came from the Chappel, and therefore requested me to accompany him and his Wife and the Italian Gent'n, and walk at the Castle near the Chappel, till service was over, when he must repair to his room to attend the King, and would leave me with his Wife in a proper Station to have a full view of the King and family.

Accordingly, a little before one O'Clock, West and his wife, the Italian Gent'n and I, walk'd up to the Castle and there contin'd walking about till the Clock struck One, when we observ'd one of the Pages coming from the Chappel. West then said he must leave us; presently after this two Coaches pass'd and went round towards the Door of the Castle leading to West's Room. In these two coaches were the Queen and Princesses; presently after the King appear'd, attended by his Equery only, and walk'd in great haste, almost ran to meet the Coaches at the door of the Castle above mentioned, which he reached just as the Coaches got there, as did West's Wife, the Italian Gent'n and I, when we saw the King go to the Door of the Coach in which the Queen was, and heard him say, Miss Goldsworthy, West and his Wife and I were all that were in the Room. The King condescended to ask me many questions, and repeated my answers to them to the Queen and to the Hanoverian Resident, and when to the latter, I observ'd he spoke it in German, which I understood. Among other Questions, the King was pleased to ask me the reason why the Province of Pennsylvania was so much further advanc'd in improvement than the neighbouring ones, some of which had been settled so many years earlier. I told his Majesty (thinking it w'd be a kind of Compliment to the Queen's Countrymen) that I thought it might be attributed to the Germans, great numbers of whom had gone over in the early part of the settlement of that Province, as well as since. The King smiled and said, "it may be so, Mr. S., it may in some measure be owing to that, but I will tell you the true cause, - the great improvement and flourishing State of Pennsylvania is principally owing to the Quakers" (this was a full return for my compliment to the Queen's Countrymen) for whom I observe the King has a great regard. Finding the King so repeatedly mention'd what I said to the Hanov'n Resident and to the Queen, in german, on the King's asking me a particular question, I took the liberty to answer in German, at which the King seemed pleased, and with a smile, turned to the Queen and said, "Mr. S. speaks German," and also mentioned it to the Hanoverian Resident, after which the King was pleased to speak to me several times in German. Then the Queen condescended to ask me several Questions, one of the last, whether I had a family. On my telling her that I was once bless'd with a numerous family, but that it had pleased Providence to remove them all from me, except a Wife and two Sons, this visibly touched the Queen's delicate feelings, so much that she shed some Tears, at which I was greatly affected. She is a charming woman, and if not a Beauty, her manners and disposition are so pleasing that no Person who has the Opportunity that I have had can avoid being charm'd with the sweetness of her disposition. The Princess Royal is pretty, has a charming Countenance indeed; the Princess Elizabeth very agreeable, but rather too fat or bulky for her height. Mary and Sophia are pretty, but being so young their looks will alter.

After being graciously indulged with the opportunity of conversing with the King and Queen, and being in the Room with them three-quarters of an hour, they all departed and went to the Queen's house.

I cannot say, but I wished some of my violent Countrymen could have such an opportunity as I have had. I think they would be convinced that George the third has not one grain of Tyrany in his Composition, and that he is not, he cannot be that bloody minded man they have so repeatedly and so illiberally called him. It is impossible; a man of his fine feelings, so good a husband, so kind a Father cannot be a Tyrant.

After the Royal family were gone, West and his wife and I return'd to West's house where we were soon join'd by the Italian Gent'n, and those who had been out Riding, and at three O'clock were entertain'd at a genteel Dinner and spent the afternoon and evening together very pleasantly till 11 'Clock when we retir'd to Bed. This happens to be B. West's birthday; he has now enter'd his forty-seventh year.


(1) .Samuel Shoemaker m. first, 8th 12 mo. 1746, Hannah, dau. of Samuel Carpenter, by his wife Hannah Preston, a granddaughter of Governor Thomas Lloyd, and secondly, 10th 11 mo. 1767, Rebecca, widow of Francis Rawle, and dau. of Edward Warner (see Penna. Mag., Vol. I. p. 459) by his wife, Anna, dau. of William Coleman.

(2) .Colonel John Trumbull, a well-known officer of the Revolutionary Army, son of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, of Connecticut. He was at this time studying painting under West, and afterwards became a distinguished artist.

(3) .George Farrington, a noted English landscape and historical painter. He studied under West, removed to India, and died there at the early ago of 34 years.
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Author:Shoemaker, Samuel
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Date:Sep 22, 1998
Previous Article:Addendum: Sarah Kast McGinness.
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