Washington's Birthday eBook

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

Washington’s reply, with his usual good sense, answers a good many questions which are bruited to-day.  Dr. Albert Shaw, in the Review of Reviews, once brought some of these questions forward.  “How far is it right for the people of a free state to kill their magistrates by inches?” This is the question reduced to its simplest terms.  It was generally understood, when the late Governor Greenhalge died in Massachusetts, that his career, invaluable to the people of that State and of the country, had been cut off untimely by a certain etiquette, which obtains in Massachusetts, that whenever there is a public dinner the Governor of the State must be present and make a speech.  With reference to a somewhat similar notion, Washington says: 

Before the present custom was established I was unable to attend to any business whatever.  Gentlemen, consulting their own convenience rather than mine, were calling from the time I rose from breakfast, often before, until I sat down to dinner.  To please everybody was impossible.  I therefore adopted that line of conduct which combined public advantage with private convenience.

In another place he says: 

     Had I not adopted the principle of returning no visits, I should
     have been unable to have attended to any sort of business.

In contrast with the simple ceremonies at which a sensitive democracy took exception, we find now that a great nation considers no honors too profuse for the ceremonies which attend the inauguration of its chief magistrate.


[12] Reprinted from The Independent.

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Extracts from the Contemporary Newspapers and other Accounts of the Inauguration of our First President in 1789

From The Massachusetts Sentinel, May 6, 1789: 

New York, May 1.  Yesterday the great and illustrious Washington, the favorite son of liberty, and deliverer of his country, entered upon the execution of the office of First Magistrate of the United States of America; to which important station he had been unanimously called by the united voice of the people.  The ceremony which took place on this occasion was truly grand and pleasing, and every heart seemed anxious to testify the joy it felt on so memorable an event.  His Excellency was escorted from his house by a troop of light Dragoons, and the Legion, under the command of Colonel Lewis, attended by a committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, to Federal Hall, where he was formally received by both Houses of Congress, assembled in the Senate Chamber; after which he was conducted to the gallery in front of the hall, accompanied by all the members when the oath prescribed by the Constitution was administered to him by the Chancellor of this State, who then said—­

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Washington's Birthday from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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