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necessary to make us a great and happy people. Happily, the present posture of affairs, and the prevailing disposition of my countrymen, promise to co-operate in establishing those four great and essential pillars of public felicity."
Before the election of a president occurred, so universal was the expectation that Washington would be elected, that numerous applications were made to him, in anticipation, for offices in the government, which would be in his gift. To one of such applicants, he wrote as follows; “ Should it become absolutely necessary for me to occupy the station in which
presupposes me, I have determined to go into it perfectly free from all engagements of every nature whatsoever. A conduct in conformity to this resolution, would enable me, in balancing the various pretensions of different candidates for appointments, to act with a sole reference to justice, and the public good. This is, in substance, the answer that I have given to all applications, and they are not few, which have already been made.'
Washington elected president. On his way to the seat of
government, at New York, receives the most flattering marks of respect. Addresses Congress. The situation of the United States in their foreign and domestic relations, at the inauguration of Washington. Fills up pub- lic offices solely with a view to the public good. Proposes a treaty to the Creek Indians, which is at first rejected. Colonel Willett induces the heads of the nation to come to New York, to treat there. The North Western Indians refuse a treaty; but after defeating generals Harmar and St. Clair, they are defeated by general Wayne. They then submit and agree to treat. A new system is introduced for meliorating their condition.
It was intended that the new government should commence its operations on the 4th of March, 1789; but, from accidental causes, the election of General Washington to the
presidency was not officially announced to him at Mount Vernon, till the 14th of next April. This was done by Charles Thompson, secretary to the late congress, who presented to him the certificate signed by the president of the senate of the United States, stating that George Washington was unanimously elected president. This unexpected delay was regretted by the public, but not by the newly elected president.-In a letter to general Knox, he observed, “ As to myself, the delay may be compared to a reprieve; for, in confidence I tell you, what with the world would obtain little credit, that my movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution; so unwilling am I, in the evening of life, nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an ocean of difficulties, without that competency of political skill, abilities, and inclination, which are necessary to manage the helm.-I am sensible that I am embarking the voice of the people, and a good name of my own, on this voyage, but what returns will be made for them, Heaven alone can foretell. Integrity and firmness are all I can promise. These, be the voyage loriġ or short, shall never forsake me, although I may be deserted by all men; for, of the consolations which are to be derived from these, under any circumstances, the world cannot deprive me.
On the second day after receiving notice of his appointment, Washington set out for New York. On his way thither, the road was crowded with numbers, anxious to see the man of the people. Escorts of militia, and of gentlemen of the first character and station, attended him from state to state, and he was every where received with the highest honours that a grateful and admiring people could confer. Addresses of congratulation were presented to him by the inhabitants of almost every place of importance, through which he passed, to all of which he returned answers so modest and unassuming, as were in every respect suitable to his situation.--So great were the honours with which he was loaded, that they could scarcely have failed to produce haughti ness in the mind of any ordinary man ; but nothing of the kind was ever discovered in this extraordinary personage. On all occasions, he behaved to all men with the affability of one citizen to another. He was truly great in deserving the
plaudits of his country, but much greater in not being elated by them.
Of the numerous addresses which were presented on this occasion, one, subscribed by Dennis Ramsay, the mayor Alexandria, in the name of the people of that city, who were the neighbours of Mr. Washington, was particularly and universally admired. It was in the following words: “ To George Washington, Esq. President of the United
States, &.c. Again, your country commands your care. Obedient to its wishes, unmindful of your ease, we see you again relinquishing the bliss of retirement, and this too, at a period of life when nature itself seems to authorize a preference of repose. “ Not to extol your glory as a soldier; not to pour
forth our gratitude for past services ; not to acknowledge the justice of the unexampled honour which has been conferred upon you by the spontaneous and unanimous suffrage of three millions of freemen, in your election to the supreme magistracy, nor to admire the patriotism which directs your conduct, do your neighbours and friends now address you. Themes less splendid, but more endearing, impress our minds. The first and best of citizens must leave us; our aged must lose their ornaments ; our youth their model ; our agriculture its improver; our commerce its friend; our infant academy its protector; our poor their benefactor; and the interior navigation of the Potomac, an event replete with the most extensive utility, already by your unremitted exertions brought into partial use, its instítutor and promoter.
“Farewell. Go, and make a grateful people happy; a people who will be doubly grateful, when they contemplate this recent sacrifice for their interest.
"To that Being who maketh and unmaketh at his will, we commend you; and, after the accomplishment of the arduous business to which you are called, may he restore to us again the best of men, and the most beloved fellow-citizen.” To this, Mr. Washington returned the following answer:
“ GENTLEMEN,—Although I ought not to conceal, yet I cannot describe the painful emotions which I felt, in being called upon to determine whether I would accept or refuse
the presidency of the United States. The unanimity in the choice ; the opinion of my friends, communicated from different parts of Europe, as well as from America; the apparent wish of those who were not entirely satisfied with the constitution in its present form, and an ardent desire on my own part to be instrumental in connecting the good will of my countrymen towards each other, have induced an acceptance.-Those who know me best, and you, my fellow-citizens, are, from your situation, in that number, know better than any others, my love of retirement is so great, that no earthly consideration, short of a conviction of duty, could have prevailed upon me to depart from my resolution . never more to take any share in transactions of a public nature ;' for at my age, and in my circumstances, what prospects or advantages could I propose to myself from embarking again on the tempestuous and uncertain ocean of public life?
“I do not feel myself under the necessity of making public declarations, in order to convince you, gentlemen, of my attachment to yourselves, and regard for your interests. The whole tenor of my life has been open to your inspection ; and my past aotions, rather than my present declarations, must be the pledge of my future conduct.
“In the mean time, I thank you most sincerely for the expressions of kindness contained in your valedictory address. It is true, just after having bade adieu to my domestic connexions, this tender proof of your friendship is but too well calculated, still further to awaken my sensibility, and increase my regret at parting from the enjoyment of private life.
“ All that now remains for me, is to commit myself and you to the protection of that beneficent Being, who, on a former occasion, hath happily brought us together, after a long and distressing separation. Perhaps the same gracious Providence will again indulge me. Unutterable sensations must then be left to more expressive silence, while from an aching heart I bid all my affectionate friends and kind neigh. bours farewell."
Gray's bridge, over the Schuylkill, which Washington had to pass, was highly decorated with laurels and evergreens. At each end, were erected magnificent arches, com: posed of laurels, emblematical of the ancient Roman triumpha!
arches, and on each side of the bridge was a laurel shrubbery. As Washington passed the bridge, a youth, ornamented with sprigs of laurel, assisted by machinery, let drop above his head, though unperceived by him, a civic crown of laurel. Upwards of twenty thousand citizens lined the fences, fields, and avenues, between the Schuylkill and Philadelphia. Through these, he was conducted to the city by a numerous and respectable body of the citizens, where he partook of a sumptuous entertainnient provided for him. The pleasures of the day were succeeded by a handsome display of fire-works in the evening.
When Washington crossed the Delaware, and landed on the New Jersey shore, he was saluted with three cheers by the inhabitants of the vicinity. When he came to the brow of the hill on his way to Trenton, a triumphal arch appeared, erected on the bridge, by the direction of the ladies of the place. The crown of the arch was highly ornamented with laurels and flowers; and on it was displayed, in large charac: ters, “ December 26th, 1776.”' On the sweep of the arch beneath, was this inscription,
this inscription, " The Defender of the Mothers will also protect their Daughters.” On the north side, were ranged a number of female children, dressed in white, with garlands of flowers on their heads, and baskets of flow. ers on their arms. In the second row, stood the young wo men; and behind them, the married ladies of the vicinity.The instant when he passed the arch, the children began to sing the following ode:
“Welcome, mighty chief! once more
Strew your hero's way with flowers.” As they sung the last lines, they strewed their flowers on the road before their beloved deliverer. His situation on this occasion, contrasted with what he had in December, 1776, felt on the same spot, when the affairs of America were at the lowest ebb of depression, filled him with sensa.