John Adams was inaugurated as second president on March 4, 1797. Washington had preceded him to the hall and sat on the dais with Jefferson the Vice-President-elect, as Adams spoke. When the new President finished and left, Washington motioned to Jefferson to go next. The two Virginians had known each other since 1769, when Washington had been thirty-seven years old and Jefferson only twenty-six. From long habit and lingering respect, Jefferson now held back. But Washington gestured again, in a manner not to be ignored. The younger man was now Vice-President and must go first.
Charles Peale Polk (1767—1822)
Oil on canvas. Stratford Hall, Home of the Lees of Virginia, Stratford, VA.
Oil on canvas. Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA.
Charles Peale Polk was a nephew of Charles Willson Peale.
Oil on canvas; 59-13/16 x 40-11/16 in.
Oil on canvas; 69.22 cm (27.25 in) x 60.96 cm (24 in). Private collection.