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that noble animal, and mention is occasionally made of four white horses of great beauty which he owned while in New York. His favorite exercise when the weather permitted it was on horseback, accompanied by one or more of the members of his household, and he was noted always for being admirably mounted, and one of the best horsemen of his day.*
* For some of these particulars concerning Washington we are indebted to the late William A. Duer, president of Columbia College, who in his boyhood was frequently in the President's house, playmate of young Custis, Mrs. Washington's grandson.
Washington's Residences in New York. --The first Presidential residence was at the junction of Pearl and Cherry streets, Franklin square. At the end of about a year, the President removed to the house on the west side of Broadway, near Rector street, afterwards known as Bunker's Mansion House. Both of these buildings have disappeared, in the course of modern “improvements."
CHAPTER I V.
ALARMING ILLNESS OF THE PRESIDENT-TIIE SENATE REJECTS ONE OF
HIS NOMINATIONS-HIS SENSITIVE VINDICATION OF IT-DEATH OF HIS
MOTHER-HER CHARACTER-TIIE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS INSTITUTEDSELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR THE TREASURY AND WAR DE
PARTMENTS-HAMILTON INSTRUCTED TO REPORT A FINANCIAL PLAN
AT THE NEXT SESSION OF CONGRESS-ARRANGEMENT OF THE JUDI
CIARY DEPARTMENT-EDMUND RANDOLPH-ADJOURNMENT OF CON
GRESS-ITS CHARACTER, BY FISHER AMES.
As soon as Washington could command sufficient leisure to inspect papers and documents, he called unofficially upon the heads of departments to furnish him with such reports in writing as would aid him in gaining a distinct idea of the state of public affairs. For this
purpose also he had recourse to the public archives, and proceeded to make notes of the foreign official correspondence from the close of the war until his inauguration. He was interrupted in his task by a virulent attack of anthrax, which for several days threatened mortification. The knowledge of his perilous condition spread alarm through the community; he, however, remained unagitated. His medical adviser was Dr. Samuel Bard, of New York, an excellent physician and most estimable man, who attended him with unremitting assiduity. Being alone one day with the doctor, Washington regarded him steadily, and asked his candid opinion as to the probable result of his case.
“Do not flatter me with vain hopes,” said he, with placid firmness ; “I am not afraid to die, and therefore can bear the worst." The doctor expressed hope, but owned that he had apprehensions. " Whether to night or twenty years hence, makes no difference," observed Washington. “I know that I am in the hands of a good Providence.” His sufferings were intense, and his recovery was slow. For six weeks he was obliged to lie on his right side; but after a time he had his carriage so contrived that he could extend himself at full length in it, and take exercise in the
While rendered morbidly sensitive by bodily pain, he suffered deep annoyance from having one of his earliest nominations, that of Benjamin Fishburn, for the place of naval officer of the port of Savannah, rejected by the Senate.
If there was any thing in which Washington was scrupulously conscientious, it was in the exercise of the nominating power ; scrutinizing the fitness of candidates ; their comparative claims on account of public services and sacrifices, and with regard to the equable distribution of offices among the States; in all which he governed himself solely by considerations for the public good. He was especially scrupulous where his own friends and connections were concerned. “ So far as I know my own mind,” would he say, “ I would not be in the remotest degree influenced in making nominations by motives arising from the ties of family or blood."
He was principally hurt in the present instance by the want of deference on the part of the Senate, in
THE SENATE REBUKED.
assigning no reason for rejecting his nomination of Mr. Fishburn. He acquiesced, however, in the rejection, and forthwith sent in the name of another candidate; but at the same time administered a temperate and dignified rebuke. have been the reasons which induced your dissent,' writes he to the Senate, “I am persuaded that they were such as you deemed sufficient. Permit me to submit to your consideration, whether, on occasions, where the propriety of nominations appears questionable to you, it would not be expedient to communicate that circumstance to me, and thereby avail yourselves of the information which led me to make them, and which I would with pleasure lay before you. Probably my reasons for nominating Mr. Fisburn may tend to show that such a mode of proceeding, in such cases might be useful. I will therefore detail them.'
He then proceeds to state, that Colonel Fishburn had served under his own eye with reputation as an officer and a gentleman; had distinguished himself at the storming of Stony Point; had repeatedly been elected to the Assembly of Georgia as a representative from Chatham County, in which Savannah was situated; had been elected by the officers of the militia of that county Lieutenant Colonel of the militia of the district;
had been member of the Executive Council of the State, and president of the same; had been appointed by the council to an office which he actually held, in the port of Savannah, nearly similar to that for which Washington had nominated him.
“It appeared therefore to me," adds Washington, that Mr. Fishburn must have enjoyed the confidence
of the militia officers in order to have been elected to a military rank—the confidence of the freemen, to have been elected to the Assembly—the confidence of the Assembly to have been selected for the Council, and the confidence of the Council to have been appointed collector of the port of Savannah.”
We give this letter in some detail, as relating to the only instance in which a nomination by Washington was rejected. The reasons of the Senate for rejecting it do not appear. They seem to have felt his rebuke, for the nomination last made by him was instantly confirmed.
While yet in a state of convalescence, Washington received intelligence of the death of his mother. The event, which took place at Fredericksburg in Virginia, on the 25th of August, was not unexpected ; she was eighty-two years of age, and had for some time been sinking under an incurable malady, so that when he last parted with her he had apprehended that it was a final separation. Still he was deeply affected by the intelligence; consoling himself, however, with the reflection that "Heaven had spared her to an age beyond which few attain; had favored her with the full enjoyment of her mental faculties, and as much bodily health as usually falls to the lot of fourscore.
Mrs. Mary Washington is represented as a woman of strong plain sense, strict integrity, and an inflexible spirit of command. We have mentioned the exemplary manner in which she, a lone widow, had trained her little flock in their childhood. The deference for her, then instilled into their minds, continued throughout life, and was manifested by Washington when at the