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his civil, he declined receiving any compensation beyond his actual expenditures in his official character.
Soon after he entered upon the duties of the presidency, Washington resolved to make a tour to the eastern states. He set out in October, 1789, and proceeded in his own carriage, by way of New Haven, Hartford, Worcester and Boston, to Portsmouth in New Hampshire. Full of enthusiasm inspired by his virtues and his fame, the people flocked in thousands to greet him with acclamations of joy, and testify their respect and veneration. Persons of all ranks and conditions,-men, women and children—the tottering infant, the crutched soldier, the gray-haired patriarch, -assembled from far and near, at the crossings of the roads, and other public places,-happy to set their eyes upon the form of Washington.
The journey was in all respects satisfactory to the president. He was gratified with the evidences afforded of the strong attachment of the people to himself; of the reviving prosperity of the country, and that the government was gaining favor in the public mind. He was happy to see that the ghastly marks of war had almost disappeared-that ample harvests were springing up under the hand of cultivation; that manufactures were increasing, commerce becoming more extended, and society, in all its interests, acquiring an aspect of peace and prosperity. After an absence of two months, he returned to New York.
John Adams of Massachusetts, an ardent friend and eloquent champion of American liberty, and who
had been a distinguished member of the continental congress, had been chosen vice-president. izing his cabinet, Washington selected Alexander Hamilton, of New York, as secretary of the treasury, Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, secretary of state, Henry Knox, secretary of war, and Edmund Randolph, of Virginia, attorney general. John Jay, of New York, was appointed chief justice. Associated with these great men, he commenced his administration.
The duties of the new government were great indeed. The country was embarrassed with a debt of nearly a hundred millions. The nation had been impoverished and desolated by war. The morals of the people had been corrupted by the vices which are engendered in armies. The bands of society had been loosened or sundered; the conflicting jealousies of thirteen republics were agitating the whole mass of society.
To establish a new government under such circum stances, when the very foundations of society seemed to be yet rocking with the recent earthquake; to bring order out of confusion; to shape the intricate machinery of the new republic, and make all parts work harmoniously ;-this required not only the highest efforts of genius, but the utmost sagacity of wisdom; yet the result has proved that the men brought to the task were competent to the stupendous undertaking.
The new government went at once into full operation, and, doubtless, the reverence, the confidence, the affection for Washington, entertained by the entire
nation, contributed, more than any other circumstance, to this propitious course of events. Under the guidance of any other hand, it is probable that the great political engine, fabricated with so much care and skill, had rushed at once into anarchy and confusion. The great name, the fair fame of Washington were doubtless as important to the country in this time of peace, as had been his soldierly qualities in time of
He was called the father of his country. How potent the spell to subdue fretful and selfish passions, exerted by that magic title! How great, how beneficent the power that lies in a good name!
In discharging one of the most delicate duties of his position—that of appointment or nomination to office-Washington adopted the most wise and patriotic rules. He determined in no degree to give a preference on account of the ties of family relationship, and to have always in view three things—fitness for the proposed station; claims arising from former services; and local position, so as to distribute the offices equally over the country. In practice, he followed these principles, and here, as in everything else, set an example worthy of observance by his suc
In August, 1789, the mother of Washington died at the age of eighty-two. He had seen her a short time before he entered upon the duties of the presidency. She was sinking under disease, and he foresaw the issue. He took an affecting leave of her, and when he heard the news of her departure, he mourned, yet with gratitude that Providence had given him such a parent, and spared her so long. She was indeed a superior woman; and we and the world at large are doubtless greatly indebted to her good influences, in shaping the character of her son by favorable impressions in his youth—for such a boon as was bestowed in him. How great is the power of a mother for good or evil! If Washington was in some essential degree the result of a mother's training -was not, also, Aaron Burr, Robespierre, Benedict Arnold ? Ye mothers, think of that!
Washington's mother had been a widow forty-six years. She was remarkable, through life, for good sense, vigor of mind, uprightness of character and simplicity of manners. She lived to see the brilliant career of her son,-yet when he visited her in the height of his fame, he found his home unchanged. His renown caused no alteration in her style of living. Neither pride nor vanity mingled in the foelings excited by his success, or the attention paid her as the MOTHER OF WASHINGTON. When his praises were uttered before her, she was silent, or only added that he was a good son, and she believed he had done his duty as a man. Let no one despair of human nature, while it produces such models as this!
Soon after the government went into operation, it became apparent that two political parties were rising in the country, whose contests threatened to embarrass its progress, if not to subvert the structure itself. From the beginning, there were some persons unfriendly to the constitution, and Mr. Jefferson, the secretary of state, appears to have been among those who gave it a reluctant assent. In his office he discharged his duties with fidelity, but as the administration advanced, he was understood to disapprove its leading measures. He looked upon the general government as possessing a degree of power dangerous to the individual states, and likely to swallow up their independence, unless jealously watched and rigidly kept within the defined limits of its provisions.
Hamilton entertained different views. Contemplating the fretful elements at work in society, and looking to the experience of mankind, he believed that if there was any defect in the constitution, it was that of weakness; and that, instead of restricting its operations by a narrow construction of the powers it granted, the administration should rather seek to fortify itself by an opposite course. In
of these views, he had recommended the funding system, the assumption of state debts, the bank, and the tax on domestic spirits, which, being approved by Washington, were among the leading features of his administration. To all these Jefferson was opposed, and consequently a feeling of hostility grew up between him and the secretary of the treasury. This division in his cabinet gave the president great anxiety, and he endeavored, though in vain, to heal the breach.
As the term for which Washington was chosen president, drew near its close, a general wish was entertained that he should consent to a second election. To this, however, he had strong objections. He yearned for the peace and quiet of private life, and doubtless felt solicitous to set an example to his successors, of holding the presidential chair for but a single term. But the edifice of government had not yet acquired steadiness; the waves of party were