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to be found, some on one side and some on the other of the questions which have caused these agitationswhy should either of you be so tenacious of your opinions as to make no allowance for those of the other?
“I have a great, a sincere esteem and regard for you both; and ardently wish that some line could be marked out by which both of you could walk.”
WASHINGTON UNANIMOUSLY RE-ELECTED-OPENING OF SESSION OF CON
GRESS-TOPICS OF THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH-ABORTIVE ATTAOK
UPON THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY-WASHINGTON INSTALLED
FOR HIS SECOND TERM.
It was after a long and painful conflict of feelings that Washington consented to be a candidate for a reelection. There was no opposition on the part of the public, and the vote for him in the Electoral College was unanimous. In a letter to a friend, he declared himself gratefully impressed by so distinguished and honorable a testimony of public approbation and confidence. In truth he had been apprehensive of being elected by but a meagre majority, which he acknowledged would have been a matter of chagrin.
George Clinton, of New York, was held up for the Vice-presidency, in opposition to John Adams; but the latter was re-elected by a majority of twenty-seven electoral votes.
But though gratified to find that the hearts of bis countrymen were still with him, it was with no emotion of pleasure that Washington looked forward to another term of public duty, and a prolonged absence from the quiet retirement of Mount Vernon.
The session of Congress, which was to close his present term, opened on the fifth of November. The continuance of the Indian war formed a painful topic in the President's address. Efforts at pacification had as yet been unsuccessful : two brave officers, Colonel Hardin and Major Trueman, who had been sent to negotiate with the savages, had been severally murdered. Vigorous preparations were therefore making for an active prosecution of hostilities, in which Wayne was to take the field. Washington, with benevolent earnestness, dwelt upon the humane system of civilizing the tribes, by inculcating agricultural tastes and habits.
The factious and turbulent opposition which had been made in some parts of the country to the collection of duties on spirituous liquors distilled in the United States, was likewise adverted to by the President, and a determination expressed to assert and maintain the just authority of the laws; trusting in the “full co-operation of the other departments of government and the zealous support of all good citizens."
In a part of the speech addressed to the House of Representatives, he expressed a strong hope that the state of the national finances was now sufficiently matured to admit of an arrangement for the redemption and discharge of the public debt. “No measure,” said he, “can be more desirable, whether viewed with an eye to its intrinsic importance, or to the general sentiment and wish of the nation.'
The address was well received by both houses, and a disposition expressed to concur with the President's views and wishes. The discussion of the subjects to which he had called their attention, soon produced vehement conflicts of opinion in the house, marking the growing virulence of parties. The Secretary of the
Treasury, in reporting, at the request of the House, a plan for the annual reduction of so much of the national debt as the United States had a right to redeem, spoke of the expenses of the Indian war, and the necessity of additional internal taxes. The consideration of the report was parried or evaded, and a motion made to reduce the military establishment. This gave an opportunity for sternly criticizing the mode in which the Indian war had been conducted; for discussing the comparative merits and cost of regular and militia forces, and for inveighing against standing armies, as dangerous to liberty. These discussions, while they elicited much heat, led to no present result, and gave way to an inquiry into the conduct of the Secretary of the Treasury in regard to certain loans, which the President, in conformity to acts of Congress, had authorized him to make; but concerning the management of which he had not furnished detailed reports to the legislature.
The subject was opened by Mr. Giles, of Virginia, who moved in the House of Representatives a series of resolutions seeking information in the matter, and who followed his resolutions by a speech, charging the Secretary of the Treasury with official misconduct, and intimating that a large balance of public money had not been accounted for.
A report of the Secretary gave all the information desired; but the charges against him continued to be urged with great acrimony to the close of the session, when they were signally rejected, not more than sixteen members voting for any one of them.
The veneration inspired by the character of Wash
ington, and the persuasion that he would never permit himself to be considered the head of a party, had hitherto shielded him from attack; a little circumstance, however, showed that the rancor of party was beginning to glance at him.
On his birth-day (Feb. 22) many of the members of Congress were desirous of waiting on him in testimony of respect as chief magistrate of the Union, and a motion was made to adjourn for half an hour for the purpose. It met with serious opposition as a species of homage—it was setting up an idol dangerous to liberty—it had a bias towards monarchy!
Washington, though he never courted popularity, was attentive to the signs of public opinion, and disposed to be guided by them when right. The time for entering upon his second term of Presidency was at hand. There had been much cavilling at the parade attending his first installation. Jefferson especially had pronounced it “not at all in character with the simplicity of republican government, and looking, as if wishfully, to those of European courts.
To guide him on the coming occasion, Washington called the heads of departments together, and desired they would consult with one another, and agree on any changes they might consider for the better, assuring them he would willingly conform to whatever they should advise.
They held such consultation, and ultimately gave their individual opinions in writing, with regard to the time, manner, and place of the President's taking the oath of office. As they were divided in opinion, and gave no positive advice as to any change, no change