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be construed into a vain glorious desire of pushing myself into notice as a candidate. Now, if I am not grossly deceived in myself, I should unfeignedly rejoice, in case the electors, by giving their votes in favour of some other person, would save me from the dreadful dilemma of being forced to accept or refuse. If that
If that may not be, I am in the next place, earnestly desirous of searching out the truth, and of knowing whether there does not exist a probability that the governinent would be just as happily and effectually carried into execution without my aid, as with it. I am truly solicitous to obtain all the previous information which the circumstances will afford, and to determine (when the determination can with propriety be no longer postponed) according to the principles of right reason, and the dictates of a clear conscience; without too great a reference to the unforeseen consequences which may affect my person or reputation. Until that period, I may fairly hold myself open to conviction, though I allow your sentiments to have weight in them; and I shall not pass by your arguments without giving them as dispassionate a consideration as I can possibly bestow upon them.
" In taking a survey of the subject, in whatever point of light I have been able to place it, I will not suppress the acknowledgment, my dear sir, that I have always felt a kind of gloom upon my mind, as often as I have been taught to expect I might, and perhaps must ere long be called to make a decision. You will, I am well assured, believe the assertion (though I have little expec
tation it would gain credit from those who are less acquainted with me) that if I should receive the appointment, and should be prevailed upon to accept it; the acceptance would be attended with more diffidence and reluctance, than ever I experienced before in my life. It would be, however, with a fixed and sole determination of lending whatever assistance might be in my power to promote the public weal, in hopes that at a convenient and early 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.”
We have already made copious extracts from the letters of the General on the subject of the Presidency; but as they clearly describe his feelings and views on the near prospect of being again summoned by his country into public life, they must be interesting to all. We will close them with the following communications made to General Lincoln, who had also communicated to him the expectation of his friends : “I would wilJingly pass over in silence that part of your letter, in which you mention the persons who are candidates for the two first offices in the executive, if I did not fear the omission might seem to betray a want of confidence. Motives of delicacy have prevented me hitherto from conversing or writing on this subject, whenever I could avoid it with decency. I may, however, with great sincerity, and I believe without offending against modesty or 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 inexpediency of 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 of 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
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, perhaps 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 afterwards
from being looked upon as a candiate for any office. This hope, as a last anchor of wordly happiness in old age, I had still carefully preserved; until the public papers and private letters fromí 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 event it appeared, that amidst the discord: ance of opinion, respecting the merits of the federal constitution, there was but one sentiment, through the United States, respecting the man who should administer the government. On counting the votes of the electors of President and Vice President, it was found that General George Washington had their unanimous suffrage, and was chosen President of the United States for four years from the 4th of March 1789.
On the 14th of April, official information reached him of his election. Having already made up his mind to obey the summons of a whole country, on the second day after this notification, he quitted the quiet walks of Mount Vernon for the arduous duties of the supreme magistracy of his nation. Although grateful for this renewed declaration of the favourable opinion of the community, yet his determination to accept the office was accompanied with diffidence and apprehension. " I wish,” he observed, “ that there may not be reasón for regretting the choice, for indeed all I can promise is, to accomplish that which can be done by an honest zeal.” The feelings, with which he
entered upon public life, he left upon
his private journal.
“ About ten o'clock, I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York, with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations.".
He was met on the road by the gentlemen of Alexandria, and conducted to a public dinner. From the numerous addresses presented to the General on this occasion, we select that of the citizens of Alexandria, because it is a testimonial of the affection and veneration in which his neighbours and friends held his private as well as public character, and because in itself it has peculiar interest. The following is the address :
Again your country commands your care. Obedient to its wishes, unmindful of your ease, we see you again relinquishing the bliss of retirement, and this too at a period of life, when nature itself seems to authorize a preference of repose !
“ Not to extol your glory as a soldier ; not to pour forth our gratitude for past services; not to acknowledge the justice of the unexampled honour which has been conferred upon you by the spontaneous and unanimous suffrages of three millions of free men, in your election to the suprerne magistracy; nor to admire the patriotism which directs your conduct, do your neighbours