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Washington prepares to leave Mount Vernon-He Visits Fredericksburg, to take
leave of his Mother-He Departs for New York-The Journey–Triumphal Arch at Trenton-Reception at Elizabethtown-Arrival and Welcome at New YorkInstallation of Washington as First President of the United States--He Declines Compensation for his Services-Illness, and Recovery-Debate on Titles-Death of the Mother of Washington--Organization of the Departments—Washington makes a Tour through the Eastern States-The Seat of Government is Removed from New York to Philadelphia-Establishment of a National Bank-Washing ton Visits the Southern States-Development of Factions—He Desires to Retire at the Close of his Term of Administration-Is Induced to Serve a Second Time -Re-inaugurated President of the United States—The French Revolution-England Declares War against France-Washington Issues a Proclamation of Strict Neutrality-Opposition and Enmity-M. Genet's Arrival, and AssumptionWashington Requests his Recall-Relations with England-Jay's Mission-Opposition to the Tax on Distilled Spirits-Proclamation to the Insurgents—Calling out of the Militia-Restoration of Peace-Jay's Treaty—Its Ratification-Resignation of Randolph, Secretary of State-Washington's Private Life-Description of his Appearar
rance on State Occasions-Imprisonment of Lafayette-Washington's Successful Intercession in his Behalf-Washington's Farewell Address--Election of John Adams-Washington Returns to Mount Vernon-His Life in Retirement-Difficulties with France-Washington appointed Commander-inChief-He Returns to Philadelphia to Organize the Army-Interview with Dr. Logan-Napoleon-Terms of Accommodation at Paris-Washington at Mount Vernon--His Last Illness-His Death--His Character.
The election of Washington being in effect unanimous, he was perfectly aware of the result, as soon as mere newspaper returns could be received from different parts of the country, and hence at once began to make preparations for leaving Mount Vernon. Speaking of the long interval before entering on his duties, he, in a letter to Knox, said, “ This delay may be compared to a reprieve, for in confidence I tell you, (with the world it would obtain little credence,) that my movements to the seat of government will be accompanied by feelings, not unlike those of a culprit who is going to a place of execution, so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to
quit a peaceful abode for an ocean of difficulties.' His last act before commencing his journey north, was one of filial devotion. His aged mother lived in Fredericksburg, and thither he directed his steps. After embracing her, he told her of his election to the office of President, and added that, before he entered upon his duties, he had come to bid her "an affectionate farewell." “ So soon,” said he was the public business which must necessarily be encountered in forming a new government, can be dispensed with, I shall hasten back.' 6. You will see me no more,” she mournfully replied. “My great age and the disease which is rapidly approaching my vitals, warn me that I shall not be long in this world. But you, George, fulfill the high destinies which Heaven has assigned you. Go, my son, and may Heaven and your mother's blessing be with you, always." Overcome by the solemnity of her manner and the declaration, which he knew to be true, he leaned his head on her aged shoulder and wept. That great grand heart, which made him so terrible on the battle-field, was yet full of the tenderest affections, and clinging still to that dear parent, whose love for him was deep and unfailing as the oceantide, he wept like a child when told he should see her no more. Not when on the disastrous field he. stops and gathers around him, by his majestic bearing, the broken fragments of his army, nor when he stands at the head of the republic which he has saved, does he appear so great, so worthy of the adoration of men, as here when he leans and weeps on the neck of his mother.
The scene and the characters furnish one of the noblest subjects for an artist found in American history.
From the time that the result of Washington's election was known, till his departure for New York, congratulations and warm expressions of delight poured in upon him in such a constant flow, that if anything could have reconciled him to the abandonment of private life, the pleasure he was evidently giving to others would have effected it. Still it required a great effort to surrender the quiet of his home, and the pursuits so congenial to his tastes, for the turmoil of public life. In a letter to Edward Rutledge, he says: "You know, my dear sir, I had concentrated all my schemes, all my views, all my wishes within the narrow circle of domestic enjoyment. Though I flatter myself the world will do me the justice to believe, that, at my time of life and in my circumstances, nothing but a conviction of duty could have induced me to depart from my resolution of remaining in retirement, yet I greatly apprehend that my countrymen will expect too much of me."
At length, on the 16th of April, he bade a reluctant adieu to his farm and rural occupations, and commenced, what was at that time the long, tedious journey to New York. Instead of being elated with the proud position he was to occupy, or of feeling his pulses quicken at the whisper of ambition, a touching sadness pervades his whole conduct, and he inserts in his diary: “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 in company with Mr. Thompson and Colonel Humphreys, with the best disposition to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations."
His journey was more like the triumphal march of a Roman conqueror, than the quiet progress of an American citizen. The news of his approach preceded him, and from every farm-house and shop and hamlet—from every valley and green mountain slope, the grateful delighted people came swarming in crowds along the highway to greet him --and shouts, and blessings, and delirious welcome marked every step of his passage. At Trenton, the inhabitants wreathed with garlands the bridge of Assanpink, where he lay encamped the night before he marched on Princeton, and over it bent an arch on which was inscribed :
THE HERO WHO DEFENDED THE MOTHERS,
At the farther extremity a crowd of little girls, robed in white, with garlands around their temples, and baskets filled with flowers in their hands, stood ready to receive him as he passed beneath the arch. Behind them, at a little distance, was still another throng composed of maidens also, arrayed in white, and still farther in the back ground the aged fathers and mothers. As the stately form of Washington passed through the arch, those children and maidens burst forth into a song of welcome. The chorus was, “Strew your hero's way with flowers," and as its sweet and thrilling melody rolled heavenward, they cast their flowers in his path. The aged parents behind with glad tears streaming down their cheeks; the daughters in front, arrayed in white; the little children nearer still, their eyes beaming with excitement, and the associations connected with the spot, all combined to render the scene one of the most tender and touching in the whole life of Washington ; and as the clear and ringing
Lorus, " Strew your hero's way with flowers,” rose and fell .n thrilling cadences on the air, the enthusiasm broke over all bounds, and a long shout of exultation, and “Long live Washington,” shook the banks of the stream. The beautiful ranks opened to receive the chieftain as he advanced, and looking down on the throng of sweet upturned faces, the tears gathered in his eyes, and with a quivering lip, he waved his hat and passed on.
At Elizabethtown an elegant barge, manned by thirteen New York pilots, neatly dressed in white, was waiting to receive him. The shore was lined with people, and as Washington stepped into the boat, they sent up a long and deafening shout. At a given signal the gayly decorated craft pushed from the shore, and as the oars