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ferred the conversation 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 would 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, per. haps 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 my sincere intentions, then publicly made known, would have effectually precluded me for ever afterward from being looked upon as a candidate for any office. This hope, as a last anchor of worldly happiness in old age, 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 question, whether I would go again into public life or not.”
In a letter to the Marquis de la Fayette, Washington observes, “ Your sentiments indeed coin. cide much more nearly with those of my other friends, than with my own feelings. In truth, my difficulties increase and magnify as I draw toward 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 renderit 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 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, hon. esty, 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 gist. 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 deterrained to go into it perfectly free from all engagements of every nature whatsoever. . A conduct in conformity to this resolution, would en
able 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."
Washington elected President.....On his way to the seat of government
at New York, receives the most flattering marks of respect. ....Ad. dresses Congress..... The situation 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....Col. Willet in. duces the heads of the nation to come to New York, to treat there. The North Westera Indians refuse a treaty, but after defeating Generals Harmar and Sinclair, they are defeated by Gen. 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 Gen. Washington to the Presidency was not officially announced to him at Mount Vernon, till the 14th. of next April. This was done by Charles Thomson, Secretary of the late Congress, who presented to him the certificate sigued 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 not by the newly elected president. In a letter to Gen. Kuox, he observed, “ As to niyself, the delay may be compared to a reprieve ; for in confidence I tell you, that with the world it would obtain little credit, my movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a cul. prit who is going to the place of his execution ; so unwilling am I in the evening of life, nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an ocean of difficulties, without that competen@y of political skill, abilities, and inclination, which are necessary to manage the helm. I am sensible that I am embarking the voice of the people, and a good name of my own, on this voyage, but what returns will be made for them, heaven alone can foretell. Integrity and firmness are all I can promise, These, be the voyage long or short, shall never forsake me, although I may be deserted by all men ; for of the consolations which are to be derived from these, under any circumstances, the world cannot deprive me.”
On the second day after receiving notice of his appointment, Washington set out for New York. On his way thither, the road was crowded with numbers anxious to see the man of the people. Escorts of militia, and of gentlemen of the first character and station, attended him from state to state, and he was every where received with the highest honours which a grateful and admiring people could conser. Addresses of congratulation were presented to him by the inhabitants of almost every place of consequence through which he pass- .