Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.
Farmer, businessman, patriot, politician, founder of the state of Vermont; seized Fort Ticonderoga in 1775; 1738—89.
Talented Continental Army general who defected to the British; 1741—1801.
Merchant, Continental congressman, diplomat to France; 1737—89.
American painter; 1751—1801.
Lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, CT governor; 1731—96.
Militia general, effectively fought the British at Bunker Hill; 1718—90.
Lawyer and politician from Connecticut; signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1721—93.
American artist, soldier at the Battle of Trenton; 1756—1843.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)