Washington's Birthday eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about Washington's Birthday.

We are only in the spring-time of our national life, and yet we have realized all that Washington could possibly have anticipated from the creation of the present Government.  What more could be desired in a system of government than is secured in the existing organizations of the General and State governments with their respective powers so admirably adjusted and distributed as to draw from Gladstone the remark that the American Constitution was “the most wonderful work ever struck off at one time by the brain and purpose of man”?

Despite the fears of many patriotic statesmen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, that that instrument would destroy the liberties of the people, every genuine American rejoices in the fullness of a grateful heart that we have a government under which the humblest person in our midst has a feeling of safety and repose not vouchsafed to the citizen or subject of any other country; with powers ample for the protection of the life of the nation and adequate for all purposes of a general nature, yet so restricted by the law of its creation in the exercise of its powers, that it cannot rightfully encroach upon those reserved to the States or to the people.

I will not allude to or discuss particular theories of constitutional construction, but I may say, and I am glad that it can be truthfully said, that the mass of the people concur in holding that only by maintaining the just powers of both the National and State governments can we preserve in their integrity the fundamental principles of American liberty.

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WASHINGTON’S PATRIOTISM.—­Washington would have preferred to spend the remainder of his life in his tranquil home at Mount Vernon, but his patriotism would not allow him to disregard the call of his country.  He had so little money at the time, that his home was threatened by the sheriff, and he had to borrow funds with which to pay his most pressing debts.

WASHINGTON’S INAUGURATION.—­The President-elect left Mount Vernon on April 16, and the entire journey to New York was a continual ovation.  He received honors at almost every step of the way, and was welcomed to the nation’s capital by the joyous thousands who felt that no reward could be too great for the illustrious patriot that had enshrined himself forever in the hearts of his loving countrymen.  The inauguration ceremonies took place April 30, in Federal Hall, on the present site of the sub-treasury building.  Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York administered the oath, in a balcony of the Senate chamber, in full view of the vast concourse on the outside, who cheered the great man to the echo.  Other ceremonies followed, Washington showing deep emotion at the manifestation of love and loyalty on the part of all.

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Washington's Birthday from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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