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man, he saw that if party government was an evil, it also was under a free representative system, and in the present condition of human nature a necessary evil, furnishing the only machinery by which public affairs could be carried on. In a time of deep political excitement and strong party feeling, Washington was the last man in the world not to be decidedly on one side or the other. He was possessed of too much sense, force, and virility to be content to hold himself aloof and croak over the wickedness of people, who were trying to do something, even if they did not always try in the most perfect way. He was himself preeminently a doer of deeds, and not a critic or a phrase-maker, and we can read very distinctly in the extracts which have been brought together in this chapter what he thought on party and public questions. He was opposed to the party which had resisted all the great measures of his administration from the foundation of the government of the United States. They had assailed and maligned him and his ministers, and he regarded them as political enemies. He believed in the principles of that party which had supported the financial policy of Hamilton and his own policy of neutrality toward foreign nations. He was opposed to the party which introduced the interests of France as the leading issue of American politics, and which embodied the doctrines of nullification and separatism in the resolutions of Kentucky and Virginia. In one word, Washington, in policies and politics, was an American and a Nationalist; and 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.”


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 contact with him. 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 allegorical figures then so fashionable. After the festivities Washington lingered for a few days in Philadelphia to settle various private matters an

then started for home. Whether he was going or coming, whether he was about to take the great office of President or retire to the privacy of Mount Vernon, the same popular enthusiasm greeted him. When he was really brought in contact with the people, the clamors of the opposition press and the attacks of the Jeffersonian editors all faded away and were forgotten. On March 12th he reached Baltimore, and the local newspaper of the next day said: — “Last evening arrived in this city, on his way to Mount Vernon, the illustrious object of veneration and gratitude, GEORGE WASHINGTON. His excellency was accompanied by his lady and Miss Custis, and by the son of the unfortunate Lafayette and his preceptor. At a distance from the city, he was met by a crowd of citizens, on horse and foot, who thronged the road to greet him, and by a detachment from Captain Hollingsworth's troop, who escorted him in through as great a concourse of people as Baltimore ever witnessed. On alighting at the Fountain Inn, the general was saluted with reiterated and thundering huzzas from the spectators. His excellency, with the companions of his journey, leaves town, we understand, this morning.” Thus with the cheers and the acclamations still ringing in his ears he came home again to Mount Vernon, where he found at once plenty of occupation, which in some form was always a necessity to him. An absence of eight years had not improved the property. On April 3d he wrote to McHenry:

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