Washington and his colleagues; a chronicle of the rise and fall of federalism eBook

Henry Jones Ford
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about Washington and his colleagues; a chronicle of the rise and fall of federalism.
did so against the remonstrances of his friends, whose predictions that what he would get out of it for himself would be calumny, persecution, and loss of fortune, were all fully verified; but he possessed a nature which found its happiness in bringing high ideals to grand fulfillment, and in applying his powers to that object he let everything else go.  Hamilton’s career is one of the greatest of those facts that baffle attempts to reduce history to an exhibition of the play of economic forces.

CHAPTER IV

ALARUMS AND EXCURSIONS

The Shakespearian stage direction which heads this chapter appropriately describes the course of administrative experience while Washington was trying to get from Congress the means of sustaining the responsibilities with which he was charged by his office.  Events did not stand still because for a time anything like national government had ceased.  Before Washington left Mount Vernon he had been disquieted by reports of Indian troubles in the West, and of intrigues by Great Britain—­which still retained posts that according to the treaty of peace belonged to the United States,—­and by Spain which held the lower Mississippi.  Washington applied himself to these matters as soon as he was well in office, but he was much hindered in his arrangements by apathy or indifference in Congress.  He noted in his diary for May 1, 1790, communications made to him of a disposition among members of Congress “to pay little attention to the Western country because they were of the opinion it would soon shake off its dependence on this, and, in the meantime would be burdensome to it.”  From a letter of Gen. Rufus Putnam, one of the organizers of the Ohio company, it appears that in July, 1789, Ames of Massachusetts put these queries to him:  “Can we retain the western country with the government of the United States?  And if we can, what use will it be to them?” Putnam wrote a labored article to the effect that it was both feasible and desirable to hold the West, but the character of his arguments shows that there was then a poor prospect of success.  At that time no one could have anticipated the Napoleonic wars which ended all European competition for the possession of the Mississippi valley, and, as it were, tossed that region into the hands of the United States.  There was strong opposition in Congress to pursuing any course that would require maintenance of an army or navy.  Some held that it was a great mistake to have a war department, and that there would be time enough to create one in case war should actually arrive.

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Washington and his colleagues; a chronicle of the rise and fall of federalism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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