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to his glory. This can only be effected by a discharge of the present exalted trust, on the same principles, with the same abilities and virtues which have uniformly appeared in all his former conduct, public or private. May I, nevertheless, be indulged to inquire, if we look over the catalogues of the first magistrates of nations, whether they have been denominated presidents or consuls, kings or princes, where shall we find one whose commanding talents and virtues, whose overruling good fortune have so completely united all ́hearts and voices in his favour? Who enjoyed the esteem and admiration of foreign nations and fellow-citizens with equal unanimity? Qualities so uncommon are no common blessings to the country that possess them. By these great qualities and their benign effects, has Providence marked out the head of this nation with a hand so distinctly visible, as to have been seen by all men, and mistaken by none.
On Thursday, April 30th, the preliminaries being adjusted, the two houses of Congress assembled in the Senate chamber, whither General Washington was conducted by the joint committee, and introduced to the chair. All then proceeded to the gallery in front of the Senate chamber, where the chancellor of the state of New York administered the oath in the presence of both houses, and in view of a great concourse of people, who greeted his entry upon the duties of office, with loud and long-repeated applause. Returning to the Senate chamber, he delivered the following address:—
"Fellow citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:— Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties, than that of which the notification was transmitted, by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear, but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen, with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years; a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary, as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions to my health, to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken, in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who,
inheriting inferior endowments from nature, and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is, that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or, by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendant proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity, as well as disinclination, for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.
"Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this, my first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe; who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellowcitizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and, in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past would seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none
under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.
"By the article establishing the executive department, it is made the duty of the president, to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.' The circumstances under which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject, farther than to refer to the great constitutional charter, under which you are assembled; and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism, which adorn the characters selected to revise and adopt them. In these honourable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges, that, as on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye, which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests; so, on another, that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect, with every satisfaction which an ardent love of my country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists, in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded, that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the creating of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps, as finally staked, on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people.
"Besides the ordinary objects committed to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide, how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the fifth article of the Constitution, is rendered expedient at the present juncture, by the nature of objections which have been urged against the system, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of
undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit for the public good; for, I assure myself, that, whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefit of a united and effective government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience; a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen, and a regard for the public harmony, will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question, how far the former can be more impregnably fortified, or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted.
"To the preceding observations, I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives. It concerns myself, and will, therefore, be as brief as possible. When I was first honoured with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution, I have in no instance departed: and being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline, as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department; and must, accordingly, pray, that the pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed, may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.
"Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the Benign Parent of the human race, in humble supplication, that, since he has been pleased to favour the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding, with unparalleled unanimity, on a form of government for the security of their union, and the advancement of their happiness; so, His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures, on which the success of this government must depend.
"GEORGE WASHINGTON.' ""
In answer to the speech of the president, the Senate prepared an address, which was presented to him on the 14th.
"SIR,-We, the Senate of the United States, return you our sin
cere thanks for your excellent speech delivered to both houses of Congress; congratulate you on the complete organization of the federal government, and felicitate ourselves, and our fellow-citizens on your elevation to the office of President: an office highly important, by the powers constitutionally annexed to it, and extremely honourable, from the manner in which the appointment is made. The unanimous suffrage of the elective body, in your favour, is peculiarly expressive of the gratitude, confidence, and affection, of the citizens of America; and is the highest testimonial at once of your merit and their esteem. We are sensible, sir, that nothing but the voice of your fellow citizens could have called you from a retreat, chosen with the fondest predilection, endeared by habit, and consecrated to the repose of declining years. We rejoice, and with us all America, that, in obedience to the call of our common country, you have returned once more to public life. In you, all parties confide: in you, all interests unite: and we have no doubt that your past services, great as they have been, will be equalled by your future exertions; and that your prudence and sagacity, as a statesman, will tend to avert the dangers to which we were exposed, to give stability to the present government, and dignity and splendour to that country, which your skill and valour as a soldier so eminently contributed to raise to independence and empire.
"When we contemplate the coincidence of circumstances, and the wonderful combination of causes, which gradually prepared the people of this country for independence; when we contemplate the rise, progress, and termination of the late war, which gave them a name among the nations of the earth, we are, with you, unavoidably led to acknowledge and adore the Great Arbiter of the universe, by whom empires rise and fall. A review of the many signal instances of Divine interposition, in favour of this country, claims our most pious gratitude: and permit us, sir, to observe, that, among the great events which have led to the formation and establishment of a federal government, we esteem your acceptance of the office of president as one of the most propitious and important.
"In the execution of the trust reposed in us, we shall endeavour to pursue that enlarged and liberal policy to which your speech so happily directs. We are conscious that the prosperity of each state is inseparably connected with the welfare of all, and that, in promoting the latter, we shall effectually advance the former. In full persuasion of this truth, it shall be our invariable aim to divest ourselves of local prejudices and attachments, and to view the