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the presidency of the United States. The unanimity in the choice; the opinion of my friends, communicated from different parts of Europe, as well as from America; the apparent wish of those who were not entirely satisfied with the constitution in its present form, and an ardent desire on my own part to be instrumental in connecting the good will of my countrymen towards each other, have induced an acceptance. Those who know me best, and you, my fellow-citizens, are, from your situation, in that number, know better than any others, my love of retirement is so great, that no earthly consideration, short of a conviction of duty, could have prevailed upon me to depart from my resolution . never more to take any share in transactions of a public nature;' for at my age, and in my circumstances, what prospects or advantages could I propose to myself from embarking again on the tempestuous and uncertain ocean of public life?
"I do not feel myself under the necessity of making public declarations, in order to convince you, gentlemen, of my attachment to yourselves, and regard for your interests. The whole tenor of my life has been open to your inspection ; and my past aotions, rather than my present declarations, must be the pledge of my future conduct.
“In the mean time, I thank you most sincerely for the expressions of kindness contained in your valedictory address. It is true, just after having bade adieu to my domestic connexions, this tender proof of your friendship is but too well calculated, still further to awaken my sensibility, and increase my regret at parting from the enjoyment of private life.
“ All that now remains for me, is to commit myself and you to the protection of that beneficent Being, who, on a former occasion, hath happily brought us together, after a long and distressing separation. Perhaps the same gracious Providence will again indulge me. Unutterable sensations must then be left to more expressive silence, while from an aching heart I bid all my affectionate friends and kind neigh. bours farewell."
Gray's bridge, over the Schuylkill, which Washington had to pass, was highly decorated with laurels and ever greens.
At each end, were erected magnificent arches, com: posed of laurels, emblematical of the ancient Roman triumpha!
arches, and on each side of the bridge was a laurel shrubbery. As Washington passed the bridge, a youth, ornamented with sprigs of laurel, assisted by machinery, let drop above his head, though unperceived by him, a civic crown of laurel. Upwards of twenty thousand citizens lined the fences, fields, and avenues, between the Schuylkill and Philadelphia. Through these, he was conducted to the city by a numerous and respectable body of the citizens, where he partook of a sumptuous entertainnient provided for him.
The pleasures of the day were succeeded by a handsome display of fire-works in the evening.
When Washington crossed the Delaware, and landed on the New Jersey shore, he was saluted with three cheers by the inhabitants of the vicinity. When he came to the brow of the hill on his way to Trenton, a triumphal arch appeared, erected on the bridge, by the direction of the ladies of the place. The crown of the arch was highly ornamented with laurels and flowers; and on it was displayed, in large charac: ters, “ December 26th, 1776." On the sweep of the arch beneath, was this inscription, “ The Defender of the Mo. thers will also protect their Daughters.” On the north sidè, were ranged a number of female children, dressed in white, with garlands of flowers on their heads, and baskets of flow: ers on their arms. In the second row, stood the young wo men; and behind them, the married ladies of the vicinity.-The instant when he passed the arch, the children began to sing the following ode:
“Welcome, mighty chief! once more
Strew your hero's way with flowers.”' As they sung the last lines, they strewed their flowers on the road before their beloved deliverer. His situation on this occasion, contrasted with what he had in December, 1776, felt on the same spot, when the affairs of America were at the lowest ebb of depression, filled him with sensa
tions that cannot be described. He was rowed across the bay from Elizabethtown to New York, in a splendid barge, by thirteen pilots. All the vessels in the harbour hoisted their flags. Stairs were erected and decorated for his reception. On his landing, universal joy diffused itself through every order of the people; and he was received and congratulated by the governor of the state, and officers of the corporation. He was conducted from the landing-place to the house which had been fitted up for his reception, and was followed by a splendid procession of militia in their uniforms, and by a great number of citizens. , In the evening the houses of the inhabitants were brilliantly illuminated.
A day was fixed, soon after his arrival, for his taking the oath of office, which was in the following words. " I do solemnly swear, that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States; and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.” On this occasion, he was wholly clothed in American manufactures. In the morning of the day appointed for this purpose, the clergy of different denominations assembled their congregations in their respective places of worship, and offered up public prayers for the president and people of the United States.--About noon, a procession, followed by a multitude of citizens, moved from the president's house to Federal Hall. When they came within a short distance of the Hall, the troops formed a line on both sides of the way, through which Washington, accompanied by the vice-president, Mr. John Adams, passed into the senate-chamber. Immediately afterwards, accompanied by both houses, he went into the gallery opposite to Broadstreet, and before them and an immense concourse of citizens, took the oath prescribed by the constitution, which was administered by Mr. Robert R. Livingston, the chancellor of the state of New York.—An awful silence prevailed amongst the spectators, during this part of the ceremony. It was a minute of the most sublime political joy. The chancellor then proclaimed him president of the United States. This was answered by the discharge of thirteen guns; and by shouts from nearly ten thousand grateful and affectionate hearts. The president bowed most respectfully to the people, and the air again resounded with their acclamations.
He then retired to the senate-chamber, where he made the following speech to both houses :
6. Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,
" and of the 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 in 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 serutiny 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 effected.—All I dare hope is, that, if in accepting this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent 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 will be peculiarly improper to omit, in this 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 the 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 fellow-citizens 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 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 com.
“ 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