« ZurückWeiter »
with flowers. On the front of each arch was the following inscription, in large gilt letters,
THE DEFENDER OF THE MOTHERS
THE PROTECTOR OF THE DAUGHTERS.
On the centre of the arch above the inscription was a dome of flowers and evergreens incircling the dates of two events particularly interesting to the inhabitants of New Jersey, viz. the successful assault on the Hessian post in Trenton, and the gallant stand made by General Washington at the same creek on the evening preceding the battle of Princeton. A numerous party of matrons, holding their daughters in their hands, who were dressed in white, and held on their arms baskets of flowers, assembled at this place, and on his ap
proach the young ladies inchantingly sang the following ode:
Welcome mighty Chief, once more
Virgins fair and matrons grave
- Those thy conquering arms did save,
At the last line the flowers were strewed before him.
On the eastern shore of New Jersey, he was met by a committee of Congress, and accompanied over the river in an elegant barge, of thirteen oars, and manned by thirteen branch pilots. “The display of boats,” observes the General in his diary, “which attended and joined on this occasion, some with vocal and others with instrumental music on board, the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the sky as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful (contemplating the reverse of this scene, which may be the case after all my endeavours to do good) as they were pleasing.” He landed on the 23d of April at the stairs on Murray's wharf, which were highly ornamented for the purpose. At this place the governor of New York received him, and with military honours, and amidst an immense concourse of people, conducted him to his apartments in the city. At the close of the day, foreign ministers and other characters of distinction, made him congratulatory visits, and the public exhibition was at night closed by a brilliant illumination,
1789.] IN adjusting the ceremonies of the inauguration of the President, Congress determined that the oath of office should be administered to him in an open gallery adjoining the hall of the Senate. Accordingly on the 30th of April, General Washington attended, and, in view of a vast assemblage of people, was constitutionally qualified for the administration of the government. On his being proclaimed President of the United States, reiterated acclamations testified the interest and the
pleasure, which the attending multitude felt in the transaction. The President immediately entered the Senate chamber and made the following speech to the two branches of the Legislature.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives.
“Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision as the asylum of my declining years: A retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her , citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature, and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is, that it has been my faithful study
to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is, that if in accepting this task I have been too much swaycd by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendant proof of the confidence of my fellow citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated. “Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men,