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politics, was an American and a Nationalist; and sa the National and American party, from 1789 to 1801, was the Federalist party. It may be added that it was the only party which, at that precise time, could claim those qualities. While he remained in the presidency he would not declare himself to be of any party ; but as soon as this fetter was removed, he declared himself freely after his fashion, expressing in words what he had formerly only expressed in action. His feelings warmed and strengthened as the controversy with France deepened, and as the attitude of the opposition became more un-American and leaned more and more to separatism. They culminated at last in the eloquent letter to Patrick Henry, and in the carefully weighed words with which he tells Trumbull that he can hope for no more votes than “any other Federal character.”
THE LAST YEARS.
WASHINGTON had entered upon the presidency with the utmost reluctance, and at the sacrifice of all he considered pleasantest and best in life. He took it and held it for eight years from a sense of duty, and with no desire to retain it beyond that which every man feels who wishes to finish a great work that he has undertaken. He looked forward to the approaching end of his second term with a feeling of intense relief, and compared himself to the wearied traveller who sees the resting - place where he is at length to have repose. On March 3d he gave a farewell dinner to the President and Vice-President elect, the foreign ministers and their wives, and other distinguished persons, from one of whom we learn that it was a very pleasant and lively gathering. When the cloth was removed Washington filled his glass and said : “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the last time I shall drink your health as a public man. I do it with sincerity, wishing you all possible happiness.” The company did not take the same cheerful view as their host of this leave-taking. There was a pause in the gayety, some of the ladies shed tears, and the little incident
only served to show the warm affection felt for Washington by every one who came in close con
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The next day the last official ceremonies were performed. After Jefferson had taken the oath as Vice-President and had proceeded with the Senate to the House of Representatives, which was densely crowded, Washington entered and was received with cheers and shouts, the waving of handkerchiefs, and an enthusiasm which seemed to know no bounds. Mr. Adams followed him almost immediately and delivered his inaugural address, in which he paid a stately compliment to the great virtues of his predecessor. It was the setting and not the rising sun, however, that drew the attention of the multitude, and as Washington left the hall there was a wild rush from the galleries to the corridors and then into the streets to see him pass. He took off his hat and bowed to the people, but they followed him even to his own door, where he turned once more and, unable to speak, waved to them a silent farewell.
In the evening of the same day a great banquet was given to him by the merchants of Philadelphia, and when he entered the band played “Washington's March,” and a series of emblematic paintings were disclosed, the chief of which represented the ex-President at Mount Vernon surrounded by the
festivities Washington lingered for a few days in Philadelphia to settle various private matters and as he perhaps suspected, from a great Virginian whom he had once trusted. He straightway set himself to oppose this movement with all his might, and he summoned to his aid that other great Virginian who in his early days had been the first to rouse the people against oppression, and who now in his old age, in response to Washington's appeal, came again into the forefront in behalf of the Constitution and the union of the States. The letter which Washington wrote to Patrick Henry on this occasion is one of the most important that he ever penned, but there is room to quote only a single passage here.
“At such a crisis as this,” he said, “ when everything dear and valuable to us is assailed, when this party hangs upon the wheels of government as a dead weight, opposing every measure that is calculated for defence and self-preservation, abetting the nefarious views of another nation upon our rights, preferring, as long as they dare contend openly against the spirit and resentment of the people, the interest of France to the welfare of their own country, justifying the former at the expense of the latter; when every act of their own government is tortured, by constructions they will not bear, into attempts to infringe and trample upon the Constitution with a view to introduce monarchy; when the most unceasing and the purest exertions which were making to maintain a neutrality . . . are charged with being measures calculated to favor Great Britain at the expense of France, and all those who had any agency in it are accused of being under the influence of the former and her pensioners ; when measures are systematically and pertinaciously pursued, which must eventually dissolve the Union or produce coercion ; I say, when these things have become so obvious, ought characters who are best able to rescue their country from the pending evil to remain at home? ....
“ Vain will it be to look for peace and happiness, or for the security of liberty or property, if civil discord should ensue. And what else can result from the policy of those among us, who, by all the measures in their power, are driving matters to extremity, if they cannot be counteracted effectually ? The views of men can only be known, or guessed at, by their words or actions. Can those of the leaders of opposition be mistaken, then, if judged by this rule ? That they are followed by numbers, who are unacquainted with their designs and suspect as little the tendency of their principles, I am fully persuaded. But if their conduct is viewed with indifference, if there are activity and misrepresentations on one side and supineness on the other, their numbers accumulated by intriguing and discontented foreigners under proscription, who were at war with their own government, and the greater part of them with all governments, they will increase, and nothing short of omniscience can foretell the consequences.'
It would have been difficult to draw a severer indictment of the opposition party than that given