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rotation the members of both Houses of Congress, to dine with him on the days fixed for receiving company, without exciting clamors in the rest of the community.
Adams in his reply talked of chamberlains, aidesde-camp, masters of ceremony, and evinced a high idea of the presidential office and the state with which it ought to be maintained. The office," writes he, “ by its legal authority defined in the constitution, has no equal in the world excepting those only which are held by crowned heads ; nor is the royal authority in all cases to be compared to it. The royal office in Poland is a mere shadow in comparison with it. The Dogeship in Venice, and the Stadtholdership in Holland, are not so much-neither dignity nor authority can be ported in human minds, collected into nations or any great numbers, without a splendor and majesty in some degree proportioned to them. The sending and receiving ambassadors is one of the most splendid and important prerogatives of sovereigns, absolute or limited, and this in our constitution is wholly in the President. If the state and pomp essential to this great department are not in a good degree preserved, it will be in vain for America to hope for consideration with foreign powers.”*
According to Mr. Adams, two days in a week would be required for the receipt of visits of compliment. Persons desiring an interview with the President should make application through the minister of state. In every case the name, quality or business of the visitor should be communicated to a chamberlain or gentleman in waiting, who should judge whom to admit, and
* Life and Works of John Adams, vol. viii. p. 493.
VIEWS OF ADAMS AND HAMILTON.
whom to exclude. The time for receiving visits ought to be limited, as for example, from eight to nine or ten o'clock, lest the whole morning be taken up. The President might invite what official character, members of Congress, strangers, or citizens of distinction he pleased, in small parties without exciting clamors; but this should always be done without formality. His private life should be at his own discretion, as to giving or receiving informal visits among friends and acquaintances; but in his official character, he should have no intercourse with society but upon public business, or at his levees. Adams, in the conclusion of his reply, ingenuously confessed that his long residence abroad might have impressed him with views of things incompatible with the present temper and feelings of his fellow-citizens; and Jefferson seems to have been heartily of the same opinion, for speaking of Adams in his anas, he observes that “the glare of royalty and nobility, during his mission to England, had made him believe their fascination a necessary ingredient in government.”* Hamilton, in his reply, while he considered it a primary object for the public good, that the dignity of the presidential office should be supported, advised that care should be taken to avoid so high a tone in the demeanor of the occupant, as to shock the prevalent notions of equality.
The President, he thought, should hold a levee at a fixed time once a week, remain half an hour, converse cursorily on indifferent subjects with such persons as invited his attention, and then retire. He should accept no invitations, give formal enteryear; if
* Jefferson's Works, ix. 97.
tainments twice, or at most, four times in the twice, on the anniversaries of the declaration of independence and of his inauguration : if four times, the anniversary of the treaty of alliance with France and that of the definitive treaty with Great Britain to be added.
The President on levee days to give informal invitations to family dinners; not more than six or eight to be asked at a time, and the civility to be confined essentially to members of the legislature, and other official characters :--the President never to remain long at table.
The heads of departments should, of course, have access to the President on business. Foreign ministers of some descriptions should also be entitled to it. "In Europe, I am informed," writes Hamilton, “ ambassadors only have direct access to the chief magistrate. Something very near what prevails there would, in my opinion, be right. The distinction of rank between diplomatic characters requires attention, and the door of access ought not to be too wide to that class of
perI have thought that the members of the Senate should also have a right of individual access on matters relative to the public administration. In England and France peers of the realm have this right. We have none such in this country, but I believe it will be satisfactory to the people to know that there is some body of men in the state who have a right of continual communication with the President. It will be considered a safeguard against secret combinations to deceive him.”* The reason alleged by Hamilton for giving the
*Hamilton's Works, vol. iv. p. 3.
ANECDOTE OF HUMPHREYS.
Senate this privilege, and not the Representatives, was, that in the constitution “the Senate are coupled with the President in certain executive functions, treaties, and appointments. This makes them in a degree his constitutional counsellors, and gives them a peculiar claim to the right of access.
These are the only written replies that we have before us of Washington's advisers on this subject.
Colonel Humphreys, formerly one of Washington's aides-de-camp, and recently secretary of Jefferson's legation at Paris, was at present an inmate in the presidential mansion. General Knox was frequently there ; to these Jefferson assures us, on Washington's authority, was assigned the task of considering and prescribing the minor forms and ceremonies, the etiquette, in fact, to be observed on public occasions. Some of the forms proposed by them, he adds, were adopted. Others were so highly strained that Washington absolutely rejected them. Knox was no favorite with Jefferson, who had no sympathies with the veteran soldier, and styles him “a man of parade," and Humphreys, he appears to think captivated by the ceremonials of foreign courts. He gives a whimsical account, which he had at second or third hand, of the first levee. An antechamber and presence room were provided, and, when those who were to pay their court were assembled, the President set out, preceded by Humphreys. After passing through the ante-chamber, the door of the inner room was thrown open, and Humphreys entered first, calling out with a loud voice, “The President of the United States.” The President was so much disconcerted with it, that he did not recover in the whole
time of the levee, and, when the company was gone, he said to Humphreys, “Well, you have taken me in once, but by , you shall never take me in a second time."
This anecdote is to be taken with caution, for Jefferson was disposed to receive any report that placed the forms adopted in a disparaging point of view.
He gives in his Ana a still more whimsical account, on the authority of 'a Mr. Brown,” of the ceremonials at an inauguration ball, at which Washington and Mrs. Washington presided in almost regal style. As it has been proved to be entirely incorrect, we have not deemed it worthy an insertion. A splendid ball was, in fact, given at the Assembly Rooms, and another by the French Minister, the Count de Moustier, at both of which Washington was present and danced; but Mrs. Washington was not at either of them, not being yet arrived, and on neither occasion were any mock regal ceremonials observed. Washington was the last man that would have tolerated any thing of the kind. Our next chapter will show the almost casual manner in which the simple formalities of his republican court originated.