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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 tranquillity.”
Again, to general Lincolo, he observes, "I may, however, with great sincerity, and, I belierc, without offending against modesty and propriety, say to you, that I most heartily wish the choice to which you allude might not fall upon me, and that if it should, I must reserve to myself the right of making up my final decision at the last moment, when it can be brought into one view, and when the expediency or inexpe
a refusal can be more judiciously determined than at present. But be assured, my dear Sir, if from any inducement I shall be persuaded ultimately to accept, it will not be, so far as I know my own heart, from any
a private or personal nature. Every personal consideration conspires to rivet me (if I may use the expression) to retirement, At my time of life, and under my circumstances, nothing in this world can ever draw me from it, unless it be a conviction, that the partiality of my countrymen had made
my services absolutely necessary, joined to a fear that my refusal. might induce a belief, that I
preferred the conservation of my own reputation, and private ease, to the good of my country. After all, if I should conceive myself in a manner constrained to accept, I call heaven to witness, that this very act wonld be the greatest sacrifice of my personal feelings and wishes, that ever I have been called upon to make. It would be to forego repose and domestic enjoyment for trouble, perhaps for public obloquy; for I should consider myself as entering upon an unexplored field, enveloped on every side with clouds and darkness.
“ From this embarrassing situation I had naturally supposed that my declarations at the close of the war would have saved me, and that
sincere intentions, then publicly made known, would have effectually precluded me for ever afterwards from being looked
upon as a candidate for any office. 'l is hope, as a last anchor of worldly happiness in old
I had carefully preserved, until the public papers, and private letters from my correspondents in almost every quarter, taught me to apprehend that I might soon be obliged to answer the ques tion, whether I would go again into public life or not?”
And to the marquis de la Fayette he writes, “ Your sentiments, indeed, coincide much more nearly with those of
other friends, than with my own feelings.
In truth, my difficulties increase and magnify as I draw towards the period when, according to the common belief, it will be necessary for me to give a definitive answer in one way or other. Should circumstances render it in a manner inevitably necessary to be in the affirmative, be assured, my dear Sir, I shall assume the task with the most unfeigned reluctance, and with a real diffidence for which I shall probably receive no credit from the world. If I know
If I know my own heart, nothing short of a conviction of duty will induce me again to take an active part in public affairs. And in that case, if I can form a plan for my own conduct, my endeavours shall be unremittingly exerted, even at the hazard of former fame or present popularity, to extricate my country from the embarrassments in which it is entangled, through want of credit, and to establish a general system of policy, which, if pursued, will ensure permanent felicity to the commonwealth. I think I see a path as clear and as direct as a ray of light, which leads to the attainment of that object. Nothing but
harmony, harmony, honesty, industry, and frugality, are necessary to make us a great and a happy people. Happily, the present posture of affairs, and the prevailing disposition of my countrymen, promise to co-operate in establishing those four great and essential pillars of public felicity.”
Before the election of a president came on, so universal was the expectation that Washington would be elected, that numerous applications were made to him, in anticipation, for offices in the government, which would be in his gift. To one of such applicants he wrote as follows :-“ Should it become absolutely necessary for me to occupy the station in which your letter presupposes me, I have determined to go into it perfectly free from all engagements of every nature whatsoever. A conduct in conformity to this resolution would enable me, in balancing the various pretensions of different candidates for appointments, to act with a sole reference to justice and the public good. This is, in substance, the answer that I have given to all applications (and they are not few) which have already been made,"
C H A P. XI.
Washington elected president; on his way to the seat
of government, at New York, receives the most flattering marks of respect.-Addresses congress.--The siluation of the United States, in their foreign and domestic relations, at the inauguration of Washington.-Fills up public offices solely with a view to the public good.-Proposes a treaty to the Creek Indians, which is at first rejected.--Colonel Willet iuduces the heads of the nation to come to New York, to treat there.-The north-western Indians refuse a treaty; but, after defeating generals Harmar and Sinclair, they are defeated by general Wayne; they then submit, and agree to treat.--A new system is introduced for meliorating their condition,
It was intended that the new government should have commenced its operations on the 4th of March, 1789 ; but from accidental causes, the election of general Washington to the presidency was not officially announced
to him at Mount Vernon till the 14th of 1789. April following. This was done by Charles
Thomson, secretary of the late congress, who presented to him the certificate signed by the president of the senate of the United States, stating, that George Washington was unanimously elected president. This unexpected delay was regretted by the public, but