“A Memorable Celebration”
Carroll County Times article for 4 July 1999
By Jay A. Graybeal

The anniversary of our nation’s founding was the leading holiday in the early years of the republic. Businesses were closed and whole communities would turn out for a joyous and festive day-long celebration which often included a parade, band music, reading the Declaration of Independence and closed with a dinner. A special feature of the dinner was series of patriotic toasts to the heros of the Revolution, current leaders and patriotic ideas.

The celebratory dinner with multiple toasts was also used on other occasions. One such dinner took place in Taneytown when Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated. The event was described in the January 20, 1814 issue of the Uniontown Engine of Liberty and Uniontown Advertiser newspaper:

“Agreeable to public notice given for the Celebration of the late Victories of the Allied Armies over Bonaparte,  a large and respectable number of citizens of Frederick county and elsewhere, convened at Mr. Peter Cookerly’s Tavern in Taney-Town;  after enjoying an elegant Dinner, the company unanimously appointed Col. Joshua Gist as President, Major John M’Kaleb, vice-President, and Mr. Nicholas Snider, Secretary – and the following toasts were given.


1.          The memory of our illustrious Father Gen. George Washington – May his political principles soon take place in the U. States.

2.         The Heroes of ’76 – men who dared to be honest in the worst of times.

3.          The Presidential Chair – may we live to see it again adorned with virtue and truth.

4.          May Columbia’s natural sons be the favorites of her councils.

5.          The 18th day of Oct. 1813 – may the events of that glorious day be a prelude of a general and lasting peace.

6.          The Emperor Alexander – may he this day be fixing bounds to the tyrant of Europe! saying hitherto shalt thou come but no further.

7.          The concurrence of three great national events, viz. – The downfall of Bonapartes power – The wretched result of two campaigns in Canada, and the proffer of Peace by Great Britain to the U. States – may the consequent tears of our administration be soon dried up by the rising Sun of FEDERALISM.

8.          The minority in Congress – may they probe to the bottom the political ulcers of our administration;  not forgetting Turreau’s letter to the Secretary of State.

9.          May the councils of the U. States be released from the prostitution of French agency, and the people from the pestilence of Democratic war fare.

10.  Peace to the U.S. with Great Britain as soon as possible – may the present and all future generations, deprecate the war against Canada, as unwise, inhuman and corrupt, and may its authors feel in this world, the meritted punishment for the crime.

11.  A full developement in the present Congress of the causes producing the disgraceful defeats and dishonourable discomfiture and an almost annihilation of our troops in Canada and its neighbourhood – may the officers be acquitted if innocent?   If the President, from stupidity or design, is guilty -may he receive the vengeance of his country.

12.  The constitution of the U.S. – may the storms of party zeal never overleap its sacred limits.

13.  The Judiciary – the bulwark of American Rights – the Rock of our Salvation.

14.  A speedy Restoration, without the Retaliation of the American Captives.

15.          The Hon. John Marshall, Chief Justice – the compass of legal and political science – may he yet lead us out of the fogs of Democracy.

16.  The Hon. Timothy Pickering – the tried friend of his country – un-rivaled in virtue and political wisdom.

17.  James Madison, President – ’tis mortifying to think what he was – ’tis infamy in the extreme to see what he now is – the tool of a bloody tyrant – the author of a wicked and wasteful War, conducted with extreme folly, and ending in extreme disgrace.

18.          The American Fair – may they frown on French caresses, and extend their smiles on the friends of Peace.


Volunteer Toasts

By the President – May the day we commemorate, be a day of rejoicing throughout the State.

By the vice President – May the President of the U.S. be as desirous of Peace, as the present company.

By Jos. Taney, esq. – The memory of Gen. Lingan – may all true patriots mourn his loss.

By Dr. E. Hall. – The Emperor of Austria – Whilst the scales of national justice are in his hands – may he not admit in the sacred balance, an atom of parental love.

– By Mr. R. Brook. – Prosperity to the American Navy.

– By Mr. Kephart. – Alex. C. Hanson – our able Representative in Congress.

– By Mr. Shaw. – John H. Thomas not forgetting the rest of our Delegates in the General Assembly of Md.

– By Mr. Jos. Taney, Jr. – The memory of capt. James Lawrence – the political friend of our great Washington.

– By Mr. Jno. M’Kaleb. – The natives of Columbia – may they despise the title of foreign citizenship.

– By Mr. Wm. Knox. – Mr. Grosvenor – the intelligent patriot and friend to good government.

– By Saml. Thomson, esq. – The Tyrant of Europe – may his downfall be as quick as his flight before the Cossacks.

– By Dr. Jos. S. Smith. – The minority in Congress – truth their guide – our country’s good their aim.

– By Mr. Jno. Crabster -John H. Thomas – the supporter of Frederick county – who drove Pickney off the sod.

– By Wm. P. Farquhar, esq. – The Navy of the U. S. – may its late brilliant achievements be a convincing proof to the citizens of America, that is augmentation is the best security against foreign invasion.

– By Mr. N. Snider, – May the military ranks of Columbian Soldiers, never submit to foreign commanders.

– By J. Clabaugh, esq. – Commodore Perry – may his name be handed down to the latest posterity.

– By capt. Thos. Gist. – A. C. Hannson – the hero of Charles Street – the pride of Maryland, and the boast of America – may the strength of his body be equal to that of his mind.

– By Mr. Hunter. – May the Freedom of the Press ever prevail in defiance of any Mob.

– By Mr. Umstead. – The memory of Alex. Hamilton.

– By Mr. Horner. – The friends of the administration of Washington.

– By Mr. Hiner. – The president and Vice-President of the day.”


The toasts provide a clear pictue of the opinions held by Federalist Party members who sharply criticized President Madison’s conduct of the war with Great Brtain. Given the quantities of alcohol consumed, however, one wonders if the participants remembered much about the event. 
Photo caption: Col. Joshua Gist of Westminster served as president of a dinner in Taneytown celebrating the defeat of Napoleon in 1814. Historical Society of Carroll County collection, gift of Betty Smith Yingling, 1992.