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either to govern a state or improve a plough, provided that it had the flavor of ingenuity. The two men might easily have thought the same concerning the republic, but they started from opposite poles, and no full communion of thought and feeling was possible between them. That Washington chose fitly from purely public and outside considerations can not be questioned, but he made a mistake when he put next to himself a man for whom he did not have the personal regard and sympathy which he felt for his other advisers. The necessary result finally came, after many troubles in the cabinet, in dislike and distrust, if not positive alienation.
Looking at the cabinet, however, as it stood in the beginning, we can only admire the wisdom of the selection and the high abilities which were thus brought together for the administration and construction of a great national government. It has always been the fashion to speak of this first cabinet as made up without reference to party, but the idea is a mistaken one from any point of view. Washington himself gave it color, for he felt very rightly that he was the choice of the whole people and not of a party. He wished to rise above party, and in fact to have no party, but a devotion of all to the good of the country. The time came when he sorrowed for and censured party bitterness and party strife, but it is to be observed that the party feeling which he most deplored was that which grew up against his own policies and his
own administration. The fact was that Washington, who rose above party, more than any other statesman in our history, was nevertheless, like most men of strong will and robust mind, and like all great political leaders, a party man, as we shall have occasion to see further on. It is true that his cabinet contained the chiefs and founders of two great schools of political thought, which have ever since divided the country; but when these parties were once fairly developed, the cabinet became a scene of conflict and went to pieces, only to be reformed on party lines. When it was first made up, the two parties of our subsequent history, with which we are familiar, did not exist, and it wa in the administration of Washington that they were developed. Yet the cabinet of 1789 was, so far as there were parties, a partisan body. The only political struggle that we had had was over the adoption of the Constitution. The parties of the first Congress were the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, the friends and the enemies of the Constitution. Among those who opposed the Constitution were many able and distinguished men, but Washington did not invite Sam Adams, or George Mason, or Patrick Henry, or George Clinton to enter his cabinet. On the contrary, hi took only friends and supporters of the Constitution. Hamilton was its most illustrious advocate. Randolph, after some vacillation, had done very much to turn the wavering scale in Virginia in its favor. Knox was its devoted friend; and Jeffer
son, although he had carped at it and criticised it in his letters, was not known to have done so, and was considered, and rightly considered, to be friendly to the new system. In other words, the cabinet was made up exclusively of the party of the Constitution, which was the victorious party of the moment. This was of course wholly right, and Washington was too great and wise a leader to have done anything else. The cabinet was formed with regard to existing divisions, and, when those divisions changed, the cabinet which gave birth to them changed too.
Outside the cabinet, the most weighty appointments were those of the Supreme Court. No one then quite appreciated, probably, the vast importance which this branch of the government was destined to assume, or the great part it was to play in the history of the country and the development of our institutions. At the same time no one could fail to see that much depended on the composition of the body which was to be the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. The safety of the entire scheme might easily have been imperiled by the selection of men as judges who were lacking in ability or character. Washington chose with his wonted sureness. At the head of the court he placed John Jay, one of the most distinguished of the public men of the day, who gave to the office at once the impress of his own high character and spotless reputation. With him were associated Wilson of Pennsylvania, Cushing of Massachu
setts, Blair of Virginia, Iredell of North Carolina, and Rutledge of South Carolina. They were all able and well-known men, sound lawyers, and also, be it noted, warm friends of the Constitution.
Thus the business of organizing the government in the first great and essential points was completed. It was the work of the President, and, anxious and arduous as it was, it is worth remembering, too, that it was done, and thoroughly done, in the midst of severe physical suffering. Just after the inauguration, Washington was laid up with an anthrax or carbuncle in his thigh, which brought him at one time very near death. For six weeks he could lie only on one side, endured the most constant and acute pain, and was almost incapable of motion. He referred to his illness at the time in a casual and perfectly simple way, and mind and will so prevailed over the bodily suffering that the great task of organizing the government was never suspended nor interrupted.
When the work was done and Congress had adjourned, Washington, feeling that he had earned a little rest and recreation, proceeded to carry out a purpose, which he had formed very early in his presidency, of visiting the Eastern States. This was the first part of a general plan which he had conceived of visiting while in office all portions of the Union. The personal appearance of the President, representing the whole people, would serve to bring home to the public mind the existence and reality of a central government, which to many
not to most persons in the outlying States seemed shadowy and distant. But General Washington was neither shadowy nor distant to any one. Every man, woman, and child had heard of and loved the leader of the Revolution. To his countrymen everywhere, his name meant political freedom and victory in battle; and when he came among them as the head of a new government, that gov.ernment took on in some measure the character of its chief. His journey was a well-calculated appeal, not for himself but for his cause, to the warm human interest which a man readily excites, but which only gathers slowly around constitutions and forms of government. The world owes a good deal to the right kind of hero-worship, and the United States have been no exception.
The journey itself was uneventful, and was carried out with Washington's usual precision. It served its purpose, too, and brought out a popular enthusiasm which spoke well for the prospects of the federal government, and which was the first promise of the loyal support which New England gave to the President, as she had already given it to the general. In the succession of crowds and processions and celebrations which marked the public rejoicing, one incident of this journey stands out as still memorable, and possessed of real meaning. Mr. John Hancock was governor of Massachusetts. There is no need to dwell upon him. He was a man of slender abilities, large wealth, and ready patriotism, with a great sense of his