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much more of answering it in the affirmative,-as a personal misfortune. His friends and the best friends of the country, anticipating his selection and objections, wrote him strong and urgent letters begging him to accept the honor, should it be offered. Some of his letters on the subject demand quotation. The following was written in answer to a letter received from Colonel Henry Lee:
“The event to which you allude, may never happen. This consideration, alone, would supersede the expediency of announcing any definitive and irrevocable resolution. You are among the small number of those who know my invincible attachment to domestic life, and that my sincerest wish is to continue in the enjoyment of it solely, until my final hour. But the world would be neither so well instructed, nor so candidly disposed as to believe me uninfluenced by sinister motives, in case any circumstance should render a deviation from the line of conduct I had prescribed to myself indispensable; should my unfeigned reluctance to accept the office, be overcome by a deference for the reasons and opinions of my friends, might I not, after the declarations I have made (and heaven knows they were made in the sincerity of my heart) in the judgment of the impartial world and oi posterity, be chargable with levity and inconsistency, if not with rashness and ambition. Nay, further, would there not be some apparent foundation for the two former charges? Now, justice to myself and tranquility of conscience require that I should act a part, if not above imputation, at least capable of vindication. Nor will you conceive me to be too solicitous for reputation. Though I prize, as I ought, the good opinion of my fellow. citizens, yet, if I know myself, I would not seek popularity at the expense of one social duty or moral virtue. While doing what my conscience informed me was right, as it respected my God, my country and myself, I should despise all the party clamor and unjust censure which must be expected from some whose personal enmity might be expected from their hostility to the government. I am conscious that I fear alone to give any real cause for obloquy, and that I do not dread to meet with unmerited reproach. And, certain I am, whensoever I shall be convinced the good of my courtry requires my reputation to be put in risk, regard for my own fame will not come in competition with an object of such magnitude. If I declined the task, it would lie upon quite another principle. Notwithstand. ing my advanced season of life, my increasing fondness for agricultural amusements, and my growing love of retirement augment and confirm my decided predilection for the character of a private citizen, yet it would be no one of these motives, nor the hazard to which my former reputation might be exposed, nor the terror of encountering new fatigues and troubles, that would deter me from an acceptance; but a belief that ome other person, who had less pretension and less inclination to be excused, could execute all the duties full as satisfactorily as myself."
In writing to Colonel Alexander Hamilton, on the same subject, he says:
“In making a survey of the subject, in whatever point of light I have been able to place it, I have always felt a kind of gloom upon my mind, as often as I have been taught to expect I might, and perhaps must, ere long, be called upon to make a decision. You will, I am sure, believe the assertion, though I have little expectation it would gain credit from those who are less acquainted with me, that, if I should receive the appointment, and if I should be prevailed upon to accept it, the acceptance would be attended with more diffidence and reluctance than I ever experienced before in my life. It would be, however, with a fixed and sole determination of lending whatever assistance might be in my power, to promote the public weal, in hopes that, at a convenient and early period, my services might be dispensed with, and that I might be permitted once more to retire, to pass an unclouded evening, after the stormy day of life, in the bosom of domestic tranquility.”
After the ratification of the constitution, Congress appointed the first Wednesday of January, 1789, as a day for holding an election, and the first Wednesday of February following, for the meeting of the electoral college.
On the latter day, Washington was duly elected President for the four years following March 4, 1789. This vote was, by reason of a delay in obtaining a quorum of Congress, uncounted until early in April, and, on the 14th of the same month, Washington received notice that he was unanimously chosen by the college. Ere this, the arguments of his friends, and his own careful consideration, had combined to convince him that it was his duty to accept the trust, and, on the 16th, he set out for New York to take the oath of office. His journey was a triumph; his reception at New York an ovation. As he crossed the bay from Elizabethtown point, every vessel in the harbor saluted him, and a gay procession of decked and garlanded barges followed. Arrived in the city, he expressed a wish to walk to his lodgings, and, on the way, was compelled again and again to pause and uncover before the enthusiastic people, bowing his acknowledgments to the ladies who showered flowers upon him from the upper windows. On the 30th day of April, at noon, the city soldiery formed before his house, and escorted him to the hall of Congress, where, upon the open bal. cony, before the Senate chamber, the oath of office was administered by the chancellor of the state of New York. Then cannon roared, flags waved, and the voices of thousands united in acclaims to the first President of the United States. Entering the Senate chamber, he delivered his inaugural address, and thence, on foot, proceeded, solemnly and reverently to St. Paul's church, where prayers were raised for blessings upon the work of the day.
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY.
ATURALLY, the first, while it was the least important, question,
which met Washington at the outset of his Presidential career, was that of the etiquette of his office. There were no social canons to be applied to the matter. The office was a new one, and without parallel in the history of nations, and he was menaced, on the one hand, by the danger of offending the people by too much pomp and display, and, on the other, of sacrificing its dignity by making too small account of the usages of the world. In this dilemma he appealed to those about him who, in his view, were best fitted to advise in so delicate a matter. The first of these was John Adams, who had been for several years the holder of various commissions to the politest court in Europe.” The second was Hamilton; the others, Jay and Madison. But two of the written reports, made in deference to this request, survive; the first is that of John Adams, the second that of Hamilton. These two do not agree in all points, nor do they, according to modern ideas, disagree in any essential particular. They simply vary as to the number of receptions to be given weekly, and the number of hours to be daily devoted by the President to miscellaneous business interviews. Washington finally determined for himself, that he would give one reception a week; two or four state dinners a year, and informal dinners upon each reception day. That he would go abroad among his personal friends, but never as President; that his hours for general business reception should be from 8 until 10 o'clock in the morning, and that he should only be constantly accessible to members of his cabinet and to foreign ministers. The more minute regulation of etiquette was committed to Colonel Humphrey, and was, in some respects, modified by the President, as he conceived that Humphrey's life at the court of France, where he had been secretary of Jefferson, had, in a measure, turned his head. Thus much is said to show how little Washington did, concerning this important matter, with