The Cantankerous Mr. Maclay


An inhabitant of Harrisburg, a collegian home for summer vacation, remembered that he used to watch Mr. Maclay walking up and down the riverbank, dressed in a white flannel suit with lace ruffles. The young man thought he had never seen such a “dignified, majestic old gentleman. … I was always half afraid of him,” he said. “He seemed to awe me into insignificance.” One feels a sense of personal loss that the old gentleman had not continued to fill the pages of his “precious document” as a senator through the Whiskey Rebellion, the Jay Treaty with England, the administration of John Adams, the half-war with France, and the rise to power of the Jeffersonian Democrats, the party he anticipated.