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presidential oathJudge Cranch recording the fact in the following form
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
I, William Cranch, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, certify that the above-named John Tyler personally appeared before me this day, and although he deems himself qualified to perform the duties and exercise the powers and office of President, on the death of W. H. Harrison, late President of the United States, and without any other oath than that which he has taken as Vice-President, yet, as doubts may arise, and for greater caution, took and subscribed the foregoing before me. April 6, 1841.
President Tyler having served his term of office, was succeeded, in 1845, by James K. Polk, at whose inauguration the “Empire Club," at that time an imposing political organization in the city of New York, occupied a very conspicuous place in the procession. Mr. Dallas, the Vice-President, having taken his oath, assumed the presidential chair of the Senate and delivered a brief inaugural, after which, Mr. Tyler and Mr. Polk having been ushered into the Senate chamber, the President elect, accompanied by his escort, proceeded to the eastern portico, where, having read his address, Mr. Polk was sworn into office by the Chief Justice, after which the President held a levee at the Executive Mansion. In 1848 Zachary Taylor was elected President of the United States, and Millard Fillmore Vice-President. The 4th of March again falling upon a Sunday, the inauguration was postponed until Monday, --so that in the history of the United States there have been two days when we
have had no President, and yet the wheels of government have observed their appointed revolutions.
General Taylor, prior to his installation, had chosen Willards' hotel (since greatly enlarged) for his temporary residence, and, from his lodgings there, was conducted to the Senate, where the obligation of office had been previously administered to the Vice-President elect. In a few minutes the Senate chamber was vacated, and the assemblage proceeded to the eastern portico of the Capitol, from which, like most of his predecessors, General Taylor pronounced an address, after which the oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Taney.
President Taylor died July 9th, 1850, and, in accordance with the Constitution, Millard Fillmore became his suc
On Thursday, July 11th, 1850, Mr. Fillmore appeared before the House of Representatives, and having taken the presidential oath became the President of the United States, and filled that high position up to the 4th of March, 1853, when he was succeeded by Franklin Pierce, who, from Willards' hotel, was accompanied by Mr. Fillmore, Hon. Jesse D. Bright and Hon. Hannibal Hamlin as a committee of Congress, and escorted by a company of U. S. flying artillery, a company of U. S. marines, and seventeen volunteer military companies. Arriving at the Capitol, Mr. Pierce took his oath of office on the east portico, and having delivered an address, without using manuscript, he went to the Executive Mansion where he held a public levec. James Buchanan was installed into his office March 4th, 1857. He was the fifteenth President of the United States; and, like several of his predecessors, selected Willards' hotel for his temporary residence. From his lodgings he was escorted to the Senate chamber, in the Capitol, where the oath was administered to him by the Hon. James M. Mason, of Virginia, President pro tem., after which, Mr. Breckinridge having made a short address, the whole assemblage proceeded to the east portico, from the platform of which Mr. Buchanan delivered his inaugural to an enthusiastic auditory. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin were indicated, by the popular vote and the electoral college, as the proper persons for the respective offices of President and Vice-President during the succeeding term. The inauguration takes place March 4th, 1861.
To the student of American history there is no more interesting or encouraging field of research than is contained in the progressive development of the various executive departments of the government. At first the duties were fully discharged by one or two clerks, but in seventy years the same duties have so multiplied as to require a small army of officials to perform them, and immense palaces for their accommodation. The building devoted to the department now under consideration is situated on Fifteenth street; it will soon be replaced by the magnificent structure which is known as the “Treasury Extension.” The plans for this extension were designed by Mr. T. U. Walter, and were accepted by Congress. . It was thought best to depart from a strict architectural uniformity with the old portion, and by an ingenious device the new building was so far isolated from the old as to give an opportunity for a correction of the defective details of the former edifice. When completed, the building will be 465 feet long by 266 wide, with four fronts on as many streets; and the interior space will be subdivided, by a centre building, into two courts, each 130 feet square.
The history of the State Department of the United States commences in July, 1789, at which time the first Congress enacted a law entitled “ An act for establishing an executive department of the government, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs." By this law, an officer was to be appointed as Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, whose duties were to be performed conformably to the instructions of the President. Before this, while the republic was struggling for the recognition of the great nations, its foreign affairs were conducted through commissioners appointed by Congress. Shortly before the adoption of the Constitution, the necessity for some organization of our diplomatic correspondence led to the passage of a resolution of Congress authorizing the appointment of a Secretary of Foreign Affairs. His powers were derived from Congress, and he was required to hold himself amenable to that body, to attend its sessions, and to report and explain all matters pertaining to his province. In September, 1789, another act of Congress changed the designation of the department to that of “Department of State," and defined additional duties to be performed by the “ Secretary of State.” The rise and progress of American diplomacy, as exhibited in its organization, furnishes a theme from which we turn with reluctance. But the following episode in its history, preserved in the comprehensive pages of Ingersoll's “Historical Sketch of the Second War of the United States,” is
too creditable to the department and too honorable to its faithful servants to be omitted :
The day before the fall of Washington—a day of extreme alarm—on the 23d of August, 1814, the Secretary of State wrote to the President: “The enemy are advanced six miles on the road to the wood-yard, and our troops retreating; our troops on the march to meet them, but in too small a body to engage; General Winder
proposes to retire till he can collect them in a body. The enemy are in full march for Washington, and have the materials prepared to destroy the bridge.-Tuesday, nine o'clock. You had better remove the records.” Before that note was received, Mr. John Graham, chief clerk in the Department of State, and another clerk, Mr. Stephen Pleasanton, bestirred themselves to save the precious public records of that department. The clerk then in charge of most of those archives was Josiah King, who accompanied the government from Philadelphia to Washington. By the exertions of these clerks, principally Mr. Pleasanton, coarse linen bags were purchased, enough to contain the papers. The original Declaration of Independence, the articles of confederation, the federal Constitution, many treaties and laws as enrolled, General Washington's commission as commander-in-chief of the army of the Revolution, which he relinquished when he resigned it at Annapolis (found among the rubbish of a garret), together with many other papers, the loss of which would have deeply blackened our disgrace, and, deposited in the Tower at London, as much illustrated the British triumph-all were carefully secured in linen bags, hung round the room, ready, at a moment's warning, for removal to some place of safety. Wagons, carts, and vehicles of all sorts were in such demand for the army, whose officers took the right of seizing them, whenever necessary, to carry their baggage, provisions, and other conveniences, that it was difficult to procure one in which to load the documents. That done, however, Mr. Pleasanton took them to a mill,