Monday, September 21, 2015

BIRTH | Sept. 21–H.G. Wells ("The Time Machine")

H. G. Wells 
This day was born in 1866, in Bromley, England, writer H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, father of Futurism and Sci Fi.

He was born to shopkeeper parents who were not successful and had to give up their store. Instead, his mother worked as a housekeeper on an estate with a large library, from which she brought books to young H.G. to read. He was sickly as a child and his older sister died in childhood.

He won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science and this set him up for a life writing on scientific themes, with a focus on predicting and envisioning the future.

Wells' first book in the Sci Fi genre was his classic The Time Machine (1895), which was an instant success. It is a look at the human race many millennia from now.  The narrator is called simply "the Time Traveller". The book has been described as a ghost story that takes Darwinian theories and spins them way out into the future.

The book and others make him one of the fathers of science fiction and time travel literature, although The Time Machine does not have any practical guide to time travel, or even a hint of how it might happen, unlike Willem van Stockum who at least had a theory of how closed time-like loops could enable time travel.

Much of what was just fancy when Wells first wrote about it happened soon enough, such as his predictions that:
  • Airplanes would be used to wage war. 
  • Advanced transportation would lead to an explosion of suburbs. 
  • An encyclopedia would emerge that was constantly reviewed and updated and would be accessible to all people.
  • Bombs would be developed that explode repeatedly based on their radioactivity (The World Set Free, 1914).
Wells wrote in The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) about an island where a scientist is engaged in what we might call genetic experimentation with animals. An excerpt from Hitchcock's 1938 movie based on The War of the Worlds (1898) was read out as a radio play by Orson Welles on Halloween two weeks after the movie came out. While it was famously so realistic that listeners who tuned in late were panicked about the purported invasion from outer space, it wasn't considered a success - which prompted Welles to say goodbye to radio and take up movies, starting with his masterpiece, Citizen Kane (1941).

Wells had a genuine interest in science, which was married to a socialist vision for the future. In The War in the Air (1908), he predicted World War I and use of airplanes to wage war, which came true.

In his nonfiction three-volume History of the World (1920) he predicted that innovations in horseless railway transportation would permit larger cities. Wells is even said to have anticipated the Internet, long before Al Gore or Oxonian Tim Berners-Lee (more formally, Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA, DFBCS), when in the 1930s he espoused an encyclopedia that anyone could read and at the same time edit.

The success of his predictions in both his nonfiction and fictional books is something he took great pride in pointing out. In the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, he said in the preface:
[M]y epitaph,... when the time comes, will manifestly have to be: "I told you so. You damned fools."
Wells died in London in 1946, less than one month before his 80th birthday.

BENEDICT ARNOLD | Sept. 21–How Treason Was Unmasked in New York

Benedict Arnold in Colonial
blue uniform, hero of Saratoga.
September 21–This day in 1780, George Washington's trusted General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John André to propose handing over West Point in return for cash and a high position in the British army.

The treasonous deal was uncovered by a Long Island-based group that became known as the Culper Spy Ring, part of Washington's secret service.

Arnold was born on January 14, 1741 to a respected family in Norwich, Connecticut Colony. He was a member of the British militia during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), when British troops defeated French and hostile Indian allies. It was during this war that then-Colonel George Washington made his name, serving under General Braddock.

Arnold after the French and Indian War became a successful trader. In 1775 he joined the Continental Army and distinguished himself during the next five years, helping Ethan Allen’s troops capture Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and then participating in the unsuccessful attack on British Quebec, rising to the rank of Brigadier General.
Arnold in British red, post 1780,

Arnold excelled in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga, and gained the support of George Washington. He was wounded in one leg.

However, Arnold was not happy with his treatment by the Army leadership. In 1777, five men of lower rank were promoted over him. He had been counting on the extra pay because his second wife was spending extravagantly in Philadelphia.

He was appointed commander of West Point, and saw an opportunity for a deal that would take care of both his debts and his envy.

His plan was to trade his command of West Point for money  and safe passage from the British to England.  Arnold met with British Major John André and made his treasonous deal. When he realized that the plan had been discovered, Arnold fled to the British and led redcoats against Washington's troops in Virginia and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, when the deal between Benedict Arnold and John André was relayed to George Washington, he ordered the capture of Major André, who was then hanged as a spy in October 1780.

Arnold moved with returning troops to England. However, he was not happy with the choice he had made to betray his country for money and a higher military grade:
  • He complained that he never received everything that he had been promised by the British.
  • He regretted that he could never return to the United States. Arnold asked a captured captain from the Colonial Army: "What do you think would be my fate if my misguided countrymen were to take me prisoner?" The captain replied: "They would cut off the leg that was wounded at Saratoga and bury it with the honors of war, and the rest of you they would hang on a gibbet."
  • On his deathbed in London in 1801, he asked to be dressed in the uniform of the Colonial Army from before his defection to the British, saying: "Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another." (Source: Clifton Johnson, The Picturesque Hudson, 1915.)
How Washington's Culper Spy Ring Exposed the Treason

Benedict Arnold's planned deal was reportedly uncovered by the first U.S. spy network, created by General Washington and led by Benjamin Tallmadge. The spy network operated in taverns frequented by sailors and others who traveled across Long Island Sound and were privy to activities on both sides of the Sound.

From the time that British forces occupied New York in August 1776, New York City and Long Island were key British strongholds and naval bases for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Getting information from New York on British troop movements and other plans was critical to General Washington, commander of the Continental Army, encamped west of New York City.

In 1778, Benjamin Tallmadge established a small ring of trustworthy men and women from his hometown of Setauket, Long Island. He was a young cavalry officer. Known as the Culper Spy Ring, Tallmadge’s network became the most effective of any intelligence-gathering operation on either side of the Revolutionary War, and Tallmadge can be considered the first head of what was a combination of today's FBI and CIA.

Tallmadge had enlisted in the Continental Army when the American Revolution began in 1775. He soon rose to the rank of major. In mid-1778, General Washington appointed Tallmadge head of the Continental Army’s spy network, to operate behind enemy lines on Long Island, the equivalent of Bill Donovan as head of the OSS in World War 2. In addition to serving as head of Washington's secret service, Major Tallmadge participated in many of the fiercest battles of the Continental Army in the northern states. Fellow spy Caleb Brewster served under Tallmadge in the capture of Fort St. George at Mastic, Long Island in November 1780.

Tallmadge, who went by the code name John Bolton, sought out only people he could absolutely trust, beginning with his childhood friends, the farmer Abraham Woodhull, and Caleb Brewster, whose main task during the Revolution was commanding a fleet of whaleboats against British (including American Tory) shipping on Long Island Sound. Brewster was the only member of the ring that the British had definitely identified as a spy.

Woodhull went by the name of Samuel Culper, and his code name became the name of the ring. He ran the group’s day-to-day operations on Long Island. He personally traveled back and forth to New York City collecting information and observing naval maneuvers there. He would evaluate reports and determine what information would be taken to General Washington. Dispatches would then be given to Brewster, who would carry them across the Sound to Fairfield, Connecticut; Tallmadge would then pass them on to Washington.

By summer 1779 the well-connected New York merchant Robert Townsend was serving as the ring’s primary source in New York City. Townsend wrote his reports as “Samuel Culper, Jr.” and Woodhull went by “Samuel Culper, Sr.” Austin Roe, a tavernkeeper in Setauket, acted as a courier for the Culper ring.

A local Setauket woman and Woodhull’s neighbor, Anna Smith Strong, aided in the spy ring’s activities. Her husband, the local Patriot judge Selah Strong, had been confined on the British prison ship HMS Jersey in 1778, and Anna Strong lived alone for much of the war. She used the laundry on her clothesline to leave signals regarding Brewster’s location for meetings with Woodhull.

Despite occasionally strained relations within the group and constant pressure from Washington to send more information, the Culper Spy Ring achieved more than any other American or British intelligence network during the war. They collected and passed on information in 1773-83  concerning key British troop movements, fortifications and plans in the New York area.

The group’s greatest achievement may have been in 1780, when it uncovered British plans to ambush the newly arrived French army in Rhode Island. Without the spy ring’s warnings to Washington, the Franco-American alliance may have been damaged or destroyed.

Related Posts: U.S. Naval Academy CreatedGen. Edgar Jadwin, #1 at West Point, Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1920s

Thursday, September 17, 2015

FRANCE | Milly-la-Forêt and Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau, artist, poet, screenwriter, director.
This is a photo of one on display at the house. The
others, of buildings and gardens, are by JT Marlin.
Alice and I went to the house of Jean Cocteau yesterday in Milly-la-Forêt, which is about five miles from where we are staying.

The driving itself was a pleasure, on less busy roads with greenery lush from the summer's growth and recent rains.

Jean Cocteau's Maison du Bailli was his "refuge" from 1947 until he died in 1963.

The huge Milly covered market marked
its 500th anniversary in 1979. 
It used to be part of the Château de la Bonde and now has the appearance of a gatekeeper's lodge.

Cocteau's house is on the edge of Milly, which is four times as large as Cély, where we are staying, or Barbizon, both of which have about 1,200 residents.

Cocteau's house from the garden, which he designed. The
orchard keeps the apple trees at bush level, pruning and
training them on wires like grape vines.

We came to Milly on Thursday, the day of the weekly market. It was a bigger affair than we have seen anywhere in the region during the past week. The covered market is is more than 500 years old.

What is the fascination of going to the homes of artists and writers? The president of the Maison Jean Cocteau says:
Opening to the public a house where an artist, poet and writer lived and worked is to allow the public to discover his secrets, to truly sense his creative realm, and share his intimate world.
The candles on pitchforks are for St. Blaise. The Christ in
thorns is truly evocative of the Passion.
Parts of the Château de la Bonde
date to the 12th century.
There is so much at the house of  Cocteau that I found the visit a big help in understanding who he was.

My French teacher at Portsmouth Priory (now Abbey) school was keen on Cocteau and we read some of his writing in the class.

Cocteau and his companion Jean Marais are often considered the first modern gay couple, but in the 1950s when I was at Portsmouth that topic was not openly discussed, at least not with me.

What could be discussed was Cocteau's creative genius, his art, his poetry, his films. It all makes sense at his house, where he fled to from the constant interruption he was subjected to in Paris.

Sphinx in garden today.
For example, in the Cocteau house garden there is a sculpture of a sphinx dressed as a French lady. There are two of them, one looking to the left and the other to the right.

Cocteau with sphinx.
On the wall was a photo of Jean Cocteau with one of the sphinx ladies. The connection one makes to the photo is stronger because the sculpture is in the garden.

The sphinx is surely in one of his films.

The Cocteau house, compared with the Millet house and museum in Barbizon, has an impressive collection of original art.
Several short film clips are shown - for example one in which a young Cocteau is encouraged by a talking statue to try to jump through a mirror - and he succeeds (the mirror morphs into a swimming pool).

The Roman soldiers are seen pretending not to see what is
happening - they are yawning, snoring or looking the other
The house exhibit has many photos of Cocteau during the World War I period. In World War II his activity in Paris was well monitored and contradictory. Sometimes he would write against the evils of anti-semitism and racism and at other times he would extravagantly praise Hitler's favorite sculptor. After the war he was cleared of charges of collaboration.

Cocteau signed his chapel mural with
a cat.
After visiting the house - about which I could say so much more - we went to see the Chapel of Saint Blaise, a XIIth century chapel for which Cocteau did a mural in 1959. Cocteau is buried there.

The chapel, where lepers and others came to pray to Saint Blaise, the healer,  is surrounded by a botanical garden. Cocteau has painted medicinal herbs around the two longer walls of the chapel. The chapel painting reminded me of some of the images in the Matisse Chapel, but Cocteau is much more evocative of the crucifixion.


Maison Jean Cocteau (Somogy Art Publishers).

FRANCE | Cély, Seine-et-Marne

Cély is above Fleury-en-Bière, west of Barbizon. Southeast is
Fontainebleau and Avon (Gare, INSEAD). Photos by JT Marlin.
Alice and I are staying for about a week at the home of friends in Cély, Seine-et-Marne. The village has 1,200 residents who live privately behind walls.

The main nonresidential village attraction is the Château de Cély, with its 18-hole golf course (rated "magnifique").

The village's full name is Cély-en-Bière. The Bière refers to an alleged river in the area, a river so small that it is on no map I have seen, nor have I spotted any signs of it on the ground.

The Department of Seine-et-Marne extends in a long oval east of Paris and south to Fontainebleau, where INSEAD is based, at the lower right of the map.

I thought this must be the Bière but no signs confirmed this.
The covered area was where people once washed clothing.
The capital of the department is Melun, to the north. We have driven there three times – on our way to Vaux-le-Vicomte, the home of Louis XIV's first Finance Minister, on our way back, and to drop someone off at the train station.

The Cély Mairie and memorial
to the dead from WW1, WW2. 
There is also a train station at Fontainebleau and I recommend using that one even if it is farther. The train station at Melun is designed to be commuter-friendly, whereas the Fontainebleau station in Avon is impressively visitor-friendly.

Cély is easy to get to nowadays, since it is just off the Autoroute du Soleil on the way to the Riviera. It was once a busier place. It still has signs for a Boulanger-Patissier and a Restaurant-Bar that must as recently as five years ago have been centers of life in the community.

Map of Cély in front of the Mairie.
The new roads make nearby villages accessible for shopping and village stores couldn't compete. Its residents are happy to be a non-commercial bedroom-and-family community.
Alice in front of the white pizza van, which
was parked in front of the Mairie. We had
better food waiting at home.

Those who live in the village seem prosperous. The area's main employers are educational and health-care institutions and the golf and country club at the Château. Most residents are retired or work in other busier villages or towns.

This is a very different place from next-door Barbizon, which is approximately the same size but where a relative frenzy of socialization is the village's raison d'être.

The Mairie (village hall) in Cély is remarkably imposing for such as small village.

The war memorial in front of the Mairie is a stark reminder of the deaths of so many "children of the village" in World War I – some 40 people (on all four sides of the obelisk). The much smaller number of World War II dead are listed around the base.

We have heard that some people live in Cély because of the excellent multi-lingual Lycée in Fontainebleau or work for  INSEAD.

Lunch with two friends served by Genia.

The map of Cély above shows the Château and golf course at the north end. The Château is a draw for retirees - during the week there seems to be ample capacity for more golfers.

The only food for sale in Cély seems to be lunch at the Château or a pop-by pizza store in a van parked in front of the Mairie. It seems to be a regular visitor to the town because it had an active clientèle. See photo of Alice with the white pizza truck in the background. It had a generator to run the oven.

We had fine food at home. See photo of us eating at home with two visitors from Paris. The cook, who lives in a separate house on the property, is standing with her tarte de poires.

At the top of the list of our favorites among her home-cooked offerings are her brie and camembert soufflés, quiche Lorrainecanard à l'orange, tarte de pommes, and tarte de poires, supplemented by home-made apricot and raspberry jam.

Tarte tatin with pears.
Ready to share in any leftovers was Sydney, the resident cat. Here is a photo of Sydney helping me write this post.

Profiteroles at the Château.
Sidney stays outdoors at night and goes out without a fuss. In the morning she comes in to eat and socialize.

We tried out the lunch food at the Château de Cély. There is a full menu with an emphasis on meat dishes.

The desserts were especially good. The profiteroles were made the French way, ice cream in warm pastry shells with ample whipped cream. In Paris we have had them swimming in chocolate. The tarte tatin was made with large pieces of caramelized pears. The crust was originally cooked on top and the tarte is then turned upside down to show the pears.
Alice at the Château de Cély.

We can't comment much on the golf course, except to say that it has 18 holes, par 72, a driving range, a spa and a club store. It gets four out of five stars on various golf-course rating systems.

The Château itself looks lovely, takes in residents and seems to be a prospering institution. One doesn't have to be a member to have lunch there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ART BIZ | Barbizon and Jean-François Millet

One of many eating places in Barbizon. Alice is holding up
 the front of the old building. All photos by JT Marlin
except the artwork by Millet.
Alice and I drove through Barbizon on Monday and were impressed at this small village of 1,300 residents that punches way above its weight.

We went back the next day to spend a few hours among the ateliers (studios) and other attractions. It's a true artist's colony, with a rue Grande that alternates places to eat or have coffee with ateliers, galleries and boutiques of all kinds.

But the Auberge Granne at 92 rue Grande (the main drag containing most of the ateliers), now a museum, is closed on Tuesdays. So we went back there a third time to see it on Wednesday with two friends visiting from Paris, Stuyvie and Mitten Wainwright.
Jean-François Millet, Self-Portrait
in the Louvre.

A resident of nearby Cély explained to me the appeal of Barbizon:
Beaucoup des gens viennent de Paris faire une excursion provinciale, voir les peintres et la musée en Barbizon, particulièrement pendant les weekends.
Barbizon is famed for its school of art, which flourished in 1830-1875 and included among its three main leaders Jean-François Millet, who died in the same Barbizon house he was born in.

Jean-François Millet, Les Glaneuses (The Gleaners) (1857) 
He is buried in the village next to Théodore Rousseau, another native of Barbizon and fellow leader of the school of art. Rousseau's house and atelier at rue Grande 55 was a second center of Barbizon, like Auberge Granne.

The Barbizon School was about bringing art down from the formal clichés of classical mythology or Biblical history, royal portraits, aristocratic picnics and battles.

The Barbizonais sought to observe the life of ordinary farmers and working people. It was influenced by John Constable, an English pastoral painter who exhibited some paintings in 1824 at the Salon de Paris.
Les Glaneuses copied in mosaic, a
tribute to Millet on a wall in Barbizon.

But the young French painters went beyond Constable. Yes, like him they abandoned formalistic portrayals of events that made nature merely a backdrop. Yes, they tried to draw inspiration directly from nature. But the Revolutions of 1848 added a new dimension to the Barbizon painters, attention to the farmers and shepherds and seamstresses and other craftspeople as workers. Artists gathered at Barbizon to go on forays into the Fontainebleau forest or to nearby farms and villages to make the realities of rural life - harsh or tender - the centerpiece of their paintings.

For example, Millet's famed painting The Gleaners (1857) realistically portrays the difficulty that gleaners have in finding enough left over in the fields to assemble enough food to eat.

Millet was a great influence on van Gogh, especially in his early years, and on Claude Monet.

Millet, whose parents were themselves from a peasant family in Normandy, depended for his livelihood on a few art collectors who provided him with income in return for a flow of paintings, much as Vincent van Gogh relied on his brother Theo.

During his lifetime, Millet's paintings achieved modest success and he was able to raise a family. But after his death the value of his art soared. The rapidity of the jump in values - in which Millet's heirs did not share - contributed to the establishment of the principle in France of droit de suite. This law requires that an artist or the artist's estate share in the rapid appreciation of the value of the artist's works after the initial sale.

This principle contrasts with U.S. law whereby each sale of art transfers all subsequent appreciation in value to the newest buyer.

Millet, Church at Chailly.
Mark Twain wrote a humorous play, Is He Dead?, about a painter named Millet who fakes his own death in order to try to capture the premium that accrues to art after an artist's death. The play is, of course, fictional.

The church at Chailly. L to R: Mitten, Stuyvie
and Alice.
Besides Millet and Rousseau, the other main leader of the Barbizon School was Charles-François Daubigny.

Millet, "The Angelus". In the
background, ringing the bells of the
Angelus, is the church in Chailly.
Other prominent members of the school included Jules Dupré, Constant Troyon, Charles Jacque, Narcisse Díaz de la Peña, Pierre Emmanuel Damoye, Charles Olivier de Penne, Henri Harpignies, Paul-Emmanuel Péraire, Gabriel-Hippolyte Lebas, Albert Charpin, Félix Ziem, François-Louis Français, Émile van Marcke, and Alexandre Defaux.

Evidence of their lives and legacies is preserved in the form of plaques and copies of their art.

After Barbizon we went to the church at nearby Chailly, which was the model for Millet's famed landscape of a church, and was in the background of the painting L'Angelus.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

DUBLIN | Our One-Time Home in Dalkey for Sale at $7.2 Million

The "Beulah" property now, smaller than in 1952-54. The house has been
modernized. The rocky coast was a hugely memorable feature. We had a
poorly maintained tennis court and a bathing and dock area at lower left.
I also remember well the church across the road.
My sister Sheila O'Neill forwarded to me a story from today's Irish Times by Madeleine Lyons.

It describes a house  that our family lived in for two years, 1952-1954. 

The first year that we lived in Ireland, we were on Springfield Avenue in Blackrock. We then moved to Beulah on Harbor Road in Dalkey.

Beulah goes up a hill by the coast toward Killiney. Many of the homes were built as Victorian holiday homes for Dublin’s elite. When we were there, the 5,000+ sq ft building was on a much larger property. Developments have eaten away at the property to 1.7 acres with a wall around it - still a large piece of land on the water so close to Dublin.

I remember looking out from my upstairs bedroom and seeing the Howth lighthouse. It would blink at me all night. I would use my flashlight to signal in Morse Code, but no one ever signaled back.
The front of the house hasn't changed much. Facing the front entrance was an
apple orchard and a vegetable garden.

Sherry FitzGerald is offering the house for $7.2 million. When we lived in the house, it had its own swimming area and small dock. Now it comes with the use of a nearby private harbor, Rocklands.

The home was built in 1844 by Capt William Hutchinson, and since then has been owned by a succession of prominent Dublin families.
Its history has been preserved by the family of Mark FitzGerald, chief executive of the offering real estate broker. From 1887, Beulah was the summer home of his great-grandparents on the side of his late mother Joan, wife of former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

The story continues:
Charles and Mary Brenan lived at Beulah for about 20 years until 1907. Charles owned the Phoenix Brewery, the second largest brewery in Ireland at the time, and the family would travel out to Beulah in the summer from their main residence at 67 Merrion Square.
FitzGerald recalls his grandmother Frances telling him how their mother, concerned about pasteurization, kept a cow in the stables on the square to supply safe milk to the family. During the summer months they would travel out to Beulah by horse and carriage with the cow in tow to ensure continuity of supply.
Later owners included the Dunlop family, who lived in the house around the 1940s and 1950s. They sold the house in 1979, standing on about 2.75 acres for £379,000. Lisney estate agent Tom Day recalled it as “unheard of money then” and suddenly south Dublin coastal properties could command a “premium”. 
I remember letters to the editor of the Irish Times back in 1954 noting that some of the buyers were German and speculating that they were buying waterfront property to facilitate an invasion of Ireland. Looking back on it, I think we would today explain the buying as one of simple economics - waterfront property is a scarce commodity and South Dublin coastal properties were a bargain compared with those in Europe.

A year later, Ted Rogers bought Beulah. He was the owner of Ireland’s original retail record chain Golden Discs. A decade later he sold the home for another “record sum” to the current owners, the O’Sullivan family. The late Finn O’Sullivan, founder of transport and logistics firm Irish Express Cargo, lived here with his wife Anne and family until his death in 2013. O’Sullivan pioneered the development of global logistics software for the freight industry and sold IEC to the U.S. firm Flextronics in 2000, for about $83 million.page1image25272 page1image25432
Beulah [is] an elegant and inviting family home. Wrought-iron gates lead along the graveled driveway to the cheerful pink property, flanked by planting and shrubbery in full bloom.
When we lived there, the house had a large orchard and vegetable gardener, with a wizened gardener who came with the rented house.

Coincidentally, my mother, Hilda van Stockum (Marlin), wrote three books about a fictional O'Sullivan family - The Cottage at Bantry Bay, Francie on the Run, and Pegeen. How life imitates art.

Son Simon O’Sullivan recalls Beulah as “very brown” when the family first arrived, but his mother set about introducing light everywhere, and carpets were lifted throughout to reveal the original floorboards. 

Upstairs are five double bedrooms, with one – at the bow end – in use as an office. The master has dual-aspect sea views and a sizeable en suite. 

Beulah has uninterrupted frontage to the sea and a dramatic rocky outcrop at the foreshore. To have retained such substantial grounds for so long (a small parcel was given over to an adjoining development by the previous owner) makes the site extremely special.

PEACE | Sept. 3–Treaty with Brits; GW Goes Home

George Washington thought he was done.
When Yorktown got the Brits on the run.
But wise folk flew out to his residence,
And begged him to be first of our Presidents.
(Clerihew by JT Marlin.)
This day in 1783 was signed the second Treaty of Paris, between Britain and the newly independent American colonies, supposedly ending the Revolutionary War. The text is here.

It was 20 years after the first Treaty of Paris, signed between the British and the French, which wound up the French and Indian Wars and made the independence of the colonies possible.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris by representatives of the American colonies, General Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army and like Cincinnati's, retired to his home–Mount Vernon, Va.

Washington's return to civilian life was significant. It said to history -- "This was not just a war, it was a revolution." 

The Continental Congress had given him dictatorial powers. Some wanted Washington to become king. 

But he did not want this. He wanted a Republic - and land in the western territories for his veteran officers (as well as honoring of existing titles of property-owners in the region). 

Washington's farewells to the nation and to his officers were short-lived. Five years later he was elected as the first President of the United States... and the Brits came back until they were expelled a second time.