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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, must decline, as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments which may indispensably be 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 with 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 consul



tations, and the wise measures on which the success of this government must depend.”

The president and congress then attended divine service.

In the evening a very ingenious and splendid show of fireworks was exhibited. Betwixt the fort and the bowling-green stood conspicuous, a superb and brilliant transparent painting, in the centre of which was the

portrait of the president, represented under the emblem of Fortitude; on his right hand was Justice, and on his left Wisdom; one significant of the senate of the United States, the other of the house of representatives.

When Washington commenced his administration, the condition of the United States was so embarrassed, as to excite mảny fears for the success of the new government. The treasury was empty. Large debts were due, both by the old congress and hy individuals, to foreigners, and also from the United States to its own citizens, and from citizens to citizens. Every effort made by the old congress to pay, or even to fund its debts, had failed, from the imbecility of the federal system. Great discontents prevailed in the United States; for the party opposed to the new constitution was strong and numerous. Several of these were -elected to seats in the new congress. Some


were clamorous for a new convention, and the most moderate for amendments of what had been ratified. Two states, North Carolina and Rhode Island, by refusing an acceptance of the constitution, were without the pale of its operations.

Animosities prevailed to a great degree between the United States and Great Britain. Each charged the other with a breach of their late treaty. In support of these charges one party urged the severities practised towards the loyalists, and that some of the states had interposed legal impediments to the recovery

of debts due to British subjects. The other party recriminated, by alleging that the British, on their departure from the United States, had carried off with them seteral thousands of negroes belonging to the Americans, and also that the British continued to possess sundry posts within the acknowledged limits of the United States, and that from these posts they encouraged and instigated the neighbouring Indians to make war on their north western frontier settlements.

Spain, from the crcumstance of their owning the land on each side of the mouth of the Mississippi, claimed the exclusive navigation of that river, while the western inhabitants of the United States looked to their country for a vindication of their common right to this highway of nature. The boundaries of the United States, towards the territories of Spain in the south, and towards those of Britain in the north east, were both unsettled and in dispute. The whole regular effective force of the United States was less than 600 men.


Their trade was restricted much more than when they formed a part of the British empire. They had neither money to purchase nor a naval force to compel the friendship of the Barbary powers, and were therefore exposed to capture whenever they ventured to trade in the Mediterranean, the coasts of which offered the best markets for some of their valuable commodities.

The military strength of the northern Indians, who inhabited the country between the lakes, the Mississippi, and the Ohio, was compated at 5,000, and of these 1,500 were at open war with the United States. The Creeks in the south west, who could bring 6,000 fighting men into the field, were at war with Georgia.

These were but a part of the embarrassments under which the United States labour


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ed when general Washington was called to the helm. The redress of most of them required legislative interference as well as executive aid.

To point out the particular agency of the president, in removing these embarrassments, and generally ameliorating the condition of the United States, is peculiarly the province of the biographer of Washington.

Congress having organised the great departments of government, it became the duty of the executive to designate proper persons to fill them. In discharging this delicate and difficult trust, Washington kept himself free from every engagement, and uniformly declined giving decisive answers to applicants, having previously resolved to nominate persons to offices with a sole view to the public good, and to bring forward those who, upon every consideration and from the best information he could obtain, were; in his judgment, most likely to answer the great end.

Under these impressions, he placed colonel Hamilton at the head of the treasury department.

At the head of the department of foreign affairs he placed Mr. Jefferson.


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