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Mr. Jay's treaty.--Washington's Farewell Address. --Election of Mr. Adams.
he delivered to the president on the 1st of January following. On the reception of the colors, Washington uttered a sentiment which ought to be dearly cherished by every philanthropist and freeman: "Born, sir," said he, " in a land of liberty; having early learned its value; having engaged in a perilous conflict to defend it; having, in a word, devoted the best years. of my life to secure its permanent establishment in my country—my anxious recollections, my sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes, are irresistibly attracted wheresoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom."
Mr. Jay's treaty with Great Britain, which was ratified by Congress in the previous year," was returned in February, 1796, ratified by the king of Great Britain; and the president immediately issued a proclamation, enjoining all men to abide by its provisions. This proclamation, issued by the president before it was acted on by Congress, awakened the ire of the democratic opposition, and a strong debate ensued. The course of the president, however, was sustained.
The peculiar relations with France were a source of much anxiety to Washington. The remembrance of the old alliance, and the struggle for freedom in which the French people were involved, awakened his keenest sympathies; but his prudent wisdom saw clearly the necessity, if American liberty was to be preserved, of maintaining strict neutrality, and the soundness of his judgment was soon made manifest.*
After the adjournment of Congress in June,' the thoughts of the American people turned toward the third presidential election, and Washington was earnestly solicited to be a candidate.t He positively refused, and this intention was announced in his admirable "Farewell Address"—that noble political legacy which he left his countrymen. This address was received with the most profound respect throughout the country; and several of the state legislatures ordered it to be entered at length upon their journals, and all the others adopted resolutions expressive of their esteem and veneration for the person and character of the executive.
a June 24.
The contest for the presidency was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; and after a warm contest,‡ Mr. Adams was elected president, and Mr. Jefferson vice-president.
On the 7th of December, Washington met Congress for the last time;
Washington became dissatisfied with the course of Mr. Monroe in France. The French were indignant because America had formed a treaty with Great Britain, and many spolia. tions were made, and American property was confiscated. Mr. Monroe, it was thought, did not maintain the rights of his countrymen with sufficient vigor, and he was recalled.
† Unmistakeable indications that he would again receive the unanimous vote of the electoral college were manifest.
While the election was pending, the French minister attempted to influence the result by publishing an attack upon the federal administration, charging it with violating solemn treatics with France. But his address produced no appreciable effect upon the election.
Washington retires to private life.- Is appointed commander-in-chief of the army. His death.
and in his address he presented, in a clear and comprehensive manner, the position of the United States, actual and relative, and recommended several measures which he deemed important to the national welfare. On the 4th of March, 1797, his second administration closed; and after the inauguration of Mr. Adams, he proceeded to Mount Vernon, determined to pass the remainder of his days in retirement. He had taken the helm of government, when the vessel was amid the most dangerous rocks and shoals, and he resigned it to his successor upon a comparatively smooth sea and with fair winds. He went into the retirement of private life attended by the blessings of his countrymen, and the respect and veneration of mankind, wherever his deeds and virtues were known.
Crowds of friends and strangers flocked to Mount Vernon, and his coveted retirement was still remote. And he had hardly bid adieu to public life, ere the threatening belligerent attitude of France caused our government to bring its troops into the field for the defence of the country, and Washington was at once appointed commander-in-chief of all the forces, which he accepted, but with the expressed stipulation that he should not be called into active service, unless the most urgent necessity demanded it. Fortunately, that necessity never occurred.
Washington engaged again in agricultural pursuits with all the seeming vigor of his earlier years: and it was while riding about his estate, giving directions to his workmen, that he was exposed to a shower of rain that brought on his last illness. On the evening of the 13th of December, 1799, he was attacked with a severe inflammation of the throat, which terminated his life in less than thirty hours thereafter. He was sensible of his approaching dissolution, and spoke as freely of it as the nature of his disease would allow, expressing his perfect resignation to the will of his Maker. Between ten and eleven o'clock, on the evening of the 14th, he calmly expired, at the age of sixty-seven; and on Wednesday, the 18th, his body was deposited in the family tomb at Mount Vernon.
Grief pervaded the hearts of the people, and truly a nation mourned. Congress bestowed upon his memory all the honors it was capable of, and foreign governments testified their admiration of his character.* "Orators, divines, journalists, and writers of every class, responded to the general voice in all parts of the country, and employed their talents to solemnize the event, and to honor the memory of him who, more than any other man, of ancient or modern renown, may claim to be called THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY."
* Bonaparte, then first consul of France, issued the following order to his army on the 9th of February following: "WASHINGTON is dead! This great man fought against tyranny; he established the liberty of his country. His memory will always be dear to the French people, as it will be to all freemen of the two worlds; and especially to French soldiers, who, like him and the American soldiers, have combated for liberty and equality." He also ordered that for ten days, black crape should be suspended from all the standards throughout the republic.
THE SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
HE immediate successor of Washington in the presi dential chair was JOHN ADAMS, who was vice-president during the eight years' administration of the great chief. He was born on the 30th of October, 1735, in that portion of the town of Braintree, in Massachusetts, near Boston, afterward incorporated by the name of Quincy. He was the fourth in descent from Henry Adams, who, in 1630, fled from Devonshire, England, to escape the persecutions fostered by Archbishop Laud, the ecclesiastical adviser of Charles I. A maternal ancestor was one of the pilgrim fathers who came passenger in the May Flower.
Mr. Adams's primary education was received in his native town, and at the age of eighteen years" he was admitted into Harvard university, at Cambridge, where in 1755 he graduated with the usual honors, although his collegiate course was not marked by any remarkable trait of character.
Having chosen the law as a profession, he was placed under the tuition of James Putnam, an eminent barrister in Worcester,* through whom he became acquainted with Jeremy Gridley, attorney-general of the province, and was allowed free access to his library, a rare opportunity for a young student at that time. Through the influence of Mr. Gridley, he was admitted to practice in the courts of Suffolk county, and he soon became extensively and favorably known. He was admitted as a barrister in 1761, and as his acquaintance with public men increased, the early bias of his mind in contemplating political subjects developed itself in action. He began to pay much attention to the poli
*According to the usage of the times, young Adams supported himself during his studies, by teaching a grammar-school.
+ Mr. Gridley took him into his room, and, as if about to communicate some great secret to him, he pointed to the book-case and said, "There is the secret of my eminence, of which you may avail yourself, if you please."