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coming a happy and respectable nation ; and for you, we address to Him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved may be fostered with all his care: that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious, and that he will finally give you that reward which this world cannot give.”
[NEW-YORK, APRIL 30, 1789. This day the great and illustrious WASHINGTON, the favorite son of liberty, and deliverer of his country, entered upon the execution of the office of First Magistrate of the United States of America ; to which important station he had been unanimously. called by the united voice of the people. The ceremony which took place on this occasion was truly grand and pleasing, and eve ery heart seemed anxious to testify the joy it felt on so memorable an event. His Excellency was escorted from his house by a troop of light dragoons, and a legion under the command of col. Lewis, attended by a committee of the senate and house of representatives, to Federal Hall, where he was formally received by both houses of Congress, assembled in the Senate Chamber; after which he was conducted to the gallery in front of the hall, accompanied by all the members, when the oath, prescribed by the Constitution, was administered to him by the Chancellor of the State, who then said,
OF THE UNITED STATES, which was apswered by an immense concourse of citizens, assembled on the occasion, by the loudest plaudit and acclamation, that love and veneration ever inspired. He then made the foliowing Speech :)
THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH.
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE, AND
OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
AMONG the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my
declining years : a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time.
On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one, who, inheriting inferiour endowments from nature, and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is, that if in executing this task I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.
such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every
human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own ; nor those of my fellowcitizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States.
Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.