Celebrating James Madison’s Birthday
On Friday, March 14th, the Society of the Second War with Great Britain in the State of New York sponsored a dinner celebrating the birthday of James Madison, who served as President throughout the War of 1812. The dinner was co-sponsored by the New York City Chapter of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 and by the 1st New York Continental Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
A reception with wine was held in the Saybrook Room of the Yale Club in New York City, and dinner was served in the Club’s Trumbull Room. The first course was smoked salmon, which was followed by a grilled filet entrée. Both courses were accompanied by wine. For dessert, cookies and brownies were served, along with coffee.
After the welcoming remarks, an Invocation was given by Mary Lynne Bird. Then Anne Farley offered the first toast of the evening, to the U.S. Navy. In the course of the evening two other toasts were given: Walley Francis offered a toast to the Spirit of Fort McHenry, and Thomas Taylor offered a final toast to American Independence.
Decorations, which included pictures of both James and Dolly Madison and period flags, were arranged by Debbie Kopinski and other members of the U.S. Daughters of 1812. Period music – ranging from Handel to English country dances – was provided throughout the evening by Lisa Terry, Vice President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.
In addition to his service as President, James Madison is celebrated as “Father of the Constitution” and “Father of the Bill of Rights” because of his insights into the political mechanisms needed to preserve Liberty. Over the dessert course at the Madison Dinner, Michael Sivy read selections from Madison’s contributions to the Federalist Papers and from Madison’s other political writings.
At the end of the evening, Dr. Thomas Bird gave the Benediction. The celebration closed with the assembled company singing the second verse of the Anacreontic Song. That song, which provided the music that is used for the Star-Spangled Banner, was originally written for a London Club. The second verse expresses the hope that the Club would flourish “happy, united and free” – a wish that those attending the Madison Dinner endorsed most heartily for their own Societies before they adjourned for the evening.