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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 fromi 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 discordance 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 reason 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 supreme magistracy; nor to admire the patriotism which directs your conduct, do your neighbours and friends now address you. Themes less splendid, but more endearing, impress our minds. The first and best of citizens must leave us. Our aged must lose their ornament; our youth their model; our agriculture its improver; our commerce its friend; our infant academy its protector; our poor their benefactor, and the interior navigation of the Potomack (an event replete with the most extensive utility already, by your unremitted exertions, brought into partial use) its institutor and promoter. “Farewell—go ! and make a grateful people happy, a people, who will be doublygrateful when they contemplate this recent sacrifice for their interest. “To that Being who maketh and unmaketh at his will, we commend you; and after the accomplishment of the arduous business to which you are called, may he restore to us again, the best of men, and the most beloved fellow citizen l” To which General Washington replied as follows: “GENTLEMEN, - “Although I ought not to conceal, yet I cannot describe the painful emotions which I felt in being called upon to determine whether I would accept or refuse 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 jo 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 in-, - terests. The whole tenor of my life has been open to your inspection; and my past actions, 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 connections, 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 enjoyments 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 you all, my affectionate friends, and kind neighbours, farewel !” It was the wish of General Washington to avoid parade on his journey to the seat of government, but he found it impossible. Numerous bodies of respectable citizens, and detachments from the militia escorted him the whole distance, and at every place through which he passed, he received the most flattering evidence of the high estimation in which his countrymen held his talents and his virtues. - Gray's bridge over the Schuylkill was, with much taste and expression, embellished on the occasion. At each end arches were erected composed of laurel, in imitation of a Roman triumphal arch; and on each side was a laurel shrubbery. As the General passed, unperceived by him, a youth by the aid of machinery let down upon his head a civic crown. Through avenues and streets thronged with people, he passed from the Schuylkill into Philadelphia, and at night the city was illuminated. At Trenton, the ladies presented him with a tribute of gratitude for the protection which, twelve years before, he gave them, worthy of the taste and refinement of the sex. On the bridge over the creek which runs through this place, a triumphal arch was erected on thirteen pillars, these were entwined with laurel and decorated