Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER XXXIX.

WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION.

The Reception and Inauguration of the President. —An Era in human pro

gress.—The Departments of State organized.-Hamilton's Financial Report.-Congress Assumes the Debts of the Nation.—The National Bank.-Commercial Enterprise.- Manufactures.—Indian War.-Harmer's Repulse.-St. Clair defeated.—Wayne defeats the Indians.-Political Parties.-Jefferson.--The French Revolution.--Genet arrives as French Minister.—War between France and England.-Neutrality proclaimed by the President.-Partisans of France.--Arrogant proceedings of Genet.—The Whiskey Insurrection.-Special Mission to Great Britain.-A Treaty concluded.—Its Ratification.—Other Treaties. — Washington's Farewell Address.—The Policy of the Government established.

XXXIX.

WHEN two-thirds of the States had adopted the Fed- CHAP: eral Constitution, it became the law of the land. The Continental Congress—that body so remarkable in its 1789. origin, in what it had accomplished, and now about to pass out of existence-ordained that the new government should go into operation on the 4th of March, and also designated the city of New York as the place where the National Congress should hold its sessions. The same authority also named the time for electing the President and Vice-President, according to the manner prescribed in the Constitution.

The hearts of the American people were turned to one man. George Washington was unanimously chosen the first President of the Republic. John Adams received the next highest number of votes, and was elected Vice

CHAP. President. Charles Thompson, the old Secretary of ConXXXLX.

gress, was sent to Mount Vernon to inform Washington 1789. of his election, and another messenger to Boston, to inform

Adams of his. The latter had just returned from a residence of nine years in Europe, where he had been engaged in public business ; he immediately set out to enter upon the duties of his office. As a mark of respect, he was escorted by a troop of horse through Massachusetts and Connecticut, and was met at the New York State line, and in a similar manner attended to the city.

Washington wished to travel to New York in as private a manner as possible. But enthusiasm and respect, drew the people in crowds to see and honor him. The authorities of the States through which he passed, vied with each other in testifying their regard. The most graceful reception, and no doubt to him the most grateful, was the one he received at Trenton. As he came to the bridge, over which, twelve years before, on the eve of the battle of Princeton, he retreated with his weary and disheartened soldiers, he found it spanned by a triumphal arch bearing the inscription : “ The Defender of the Mothers will be the Protector of the Daughters.” Here were assembled a company of matrons and young girls, dressed in white, with baskets of flowers in their hands. As he approached they began to sing an appropriate ode, written for the occasion. At the close of the line, “strew your hero's way with flowers,” they suited the action to the sentiment by strewing the flowers before him. At Elizabethport he was met by a committee of both Houses of Congress, and the heads of departments, and received on board a barge, magnificently decorated, and manned by thirteen pilots in appropriate uniforms. The barge was accompanied by a numerous cortege of boats filled with citizens. Welcomed to the city, amidst the salutes of artillery from the ships in the harbor, American as well as foreign, and from the battery, he was conducted to

INAUGURATION OF WASHINGTON.

529

the house prepared for his reception, by Governor George CHAP: Clinton, the State officers, and a numerous concourse of people.

1789. On the morning of the 30th of April, at 9 o'clock, the churches were opened for religious services and prayer. A little after the hour of noon, on the balcony of the Federal Hall, on the site of the present Custom House, in the presence of a vast concourse of people in the streets, the oath of office was administered to the President elect, by April Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of New York. At the close of the ceremony the Chancellor exclaimed : “Long live George Washington, President of the United States !” The assembled multitude responded to the sentiment.

The members of both Houses returned to the Senate chamber, where the President delivered an inaugural address, replete with wisdom and with sentiments designed to harmonize the discordant opinions which prevailed, and with renewed expressions of gratitude to Heaven for the favor granted the people of America, in all their struggles. Then he closed by announcing that he would receive no remuneration for his services, only asking that his expenses might be paid. The members of Congress, accompanied by the President, then went in procession to St. Paul's church, where, led by Bishop Provost, the Chaplain of the Senate, they implored the blessing of the King of nations upon the government just inaugurated.

The youthful nation was about to assume the powers of self-government, under circumstances never before witnessed in the history of man; to throw off the useless in forms and systems, retain what was valuable, and commence a new era in human progress. The people themselves established their own government ; its Constitution was framed to secure their own welfare, and not to make the State great at their expense. They had learned this of their fathers. In English history all the great advances in securing the enjoyment of human rights, from the day

CHAP: on which Magna Charta was given, to the Declaration of

Independence, had tended to protect the rights of the 1789. subject—the individual man—and now this principle, un

trammelled by clogging forms, was to be carried out. The individual man was to be pre-eminent; the State only his instrument, the mere machine of his own contriving, designed and moulded from time to time to protect his civil and religious privileges. In the great empires of the Old World, the empire was every thing; the people nothing. Now the people were to be every thing ; henceforth they were to be the fountain of power and influence. Ancient Greece and Rome had their civilization, their literature, their art, their liberty ; but they failed ; they had no elevating principle like Christianity to permeate and influence the people, penetrate their inmost life, and dignify the humblest by bringing into exercise the noblest attributes of their nature. A Christianized civilization ; the recog. nition of man's dearest rights; an open field for individual enterprise ; attachment to institutions under whose ample shield protection was secured to all, were so many pledges of the ultimate success of a people thus governed.

The new government had before it a difficult task to arrange the various departments of State ; to obtain revenue, and pay off the national debt. Three executire departments were created, the presiding officers of which were styled secretaries—the Treasury, War, including that of the Navy, and Foreign Affairs. These secretaries, the President, with the concurrence of the Senate, could appoint to office, or dismiss from the same. They were to constitute his cabinet or council ; and when requested by him, were bound to give in writing their opinions on the subject under discussion. A judiciary for the nation was established, under the title of the Supreme Court of the United States, having subordinate Circuit and District courts. Washington nominated Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury ; General Knox, Secretary of

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« PředchozíPokračovat »