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236

THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.

difference, consists in giving to the general government the controul of the revenue, and the regulation of commerce; and thus enabling the congress to raise money directly from the people, instead of resorting to the old system of requisitions on the state governments, which had been found totally inefficient.

By the constitution of the United States, the government is made to consist of three departments, the legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative or law-making department, consists of a senate and house of representatives, collectively styled the congress. The members of the house of representatives are chosen by the people, in districts containing a certain number of inhabitants; and they hold the office for two years.

The senators are chosen by the state legislature, two from each state, to hold office for six years, one-third of the senate being renewed every two years. Besides assisting in the making of laws, this body confirms the appointments of executive officers made by the president, and ratifies treaties.

The executive department consists of the president, and the officers appointed by him to execute the laws. The president is appointed by electors, who are chosen by the people; or by the representatives, when there is no choice by a majority of the electors. He is elected for four years, but may be elected again. The command of the army and navy, the appointment of all civil, military and naval officers, acting by authority of the United States, and the ratification of treaties are vested in him, the two latter powers being subject, however, to the confirmation or rejection of the senate.

Another important power of the president is, that of · putting a negative, or veto, on such acts of congress as he may disapprove. A majority of two-thirds of both houses is then necessary, in order to give the act the authority of a law, without the sanction of the president.

By the constitution, congress is authorised to declare war, raise and support armies, maintain a navy, collect revenue, lay direct taxes, regulate commerce, coin money, and provide in general for the security and welfare of the nation.

The judicial department of the government consists of What were its principal features ?--What are the three departments of the government ?-What constitutes the legislative department ?Describe the senate.-The executive department.----What are the chier powers of the president ?-Of the congress ?

HORMATION OF PARTIES.

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a supreme court, and such district courts as congress may establish. The judges in these courts have jurisdiction of all cases arising under the laws of the United States, and under treaties, as well as the cases between indivi duals of different states, and between foreigners and citizens.

The constitution no sooner appeared, than it was attacked with great earnestness by a powerful party. Various abjections were made to its several provisions, and a dis cussion in the public journals ensued, lively and animated, in proportion to the importance of the subject. It was indeed a question of life and death to the political existence of the nation; and the parties to which it gave rise, have under different names divided the country ever since.

Notwithstanding the animated opposition which was made to it, the federal constitution soon obtained the assent of all the states, save two-Rhode Island and North Ca rolina. New York was said to have acceded, chiefly from fear of being excluded from the union; and, in consenting, she had demanded a new convention to make amendments in the act. ven Virginia thought it necessary to propose alterations. She required a declaration of rights, and the limitation that the president should be but once re-elected. The discussions concerning these points of difference, occupied the year 1788, after which ihe constitution was generally accepted, and the grand point of a federal union achieved.

The fourth of March, 1789, was the time appointed for the commencement of the new government. So wanting, however, were many of the states, or their representatives, in zeal, that three weeks elapsed before a full meeting of both houses could be procured. At length the votes for president and vice-president of the United States weru opened and counted in the senate, when it was found that George Washington was unanimously elected president, and John Adams, having received the second number of votes, was elected vice-president.

With unfeigned reluctance, occasioned both by the love Describe the judicial department.-What ensued on the publication of the proposed constitution ?-What states at once adopted the constitution ?- What states declined acceding to it ?—What is said of New York ?-Of Virginia ?-When was it generally accepted ?-What was the time appointed for the meeting of the first congress under the new constitution ?-What is said of the representatives ?-Who was found to have been chosen president ?--Who was the first vice-president ?-What is said of Washington ?

235

WASHINGTON'S RECEPTION AT TRENTON.

of retirement and tenderness for his reputation, did the illustrious Washington accept the first office of the nation The sacrifice was demanded of him, as, in the words of Hamilton, the success of the great experiment, viz. the working and existence of the new government, altogether depended upon the moral force which the name and character of Washington would bring to its chief office.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION.

The intelligence of his being elected to the office of chief magistrate of the United States, was communicated to General Washington, while on his farm at Mount Vernon, on the 14th of April, 1789. He accepted this high honour with expressions of gratitude for this new proof of the attachment and confidence of his country, and with declarations of diffidence in himself.

As his presence at the seat of government was immediately required, he set out from Mount Vernon on the second day after receiving notice of his appointment.

His journey to New York bore the character of a triumphal procession. The roads were crowded with multitudes desiring to see the man of the people.' Escorts of militia and gentlemen of the highest respectability attended him from state to state. Addresses of congratulation were presented to him at the several towns through which he passed, to which he returned answers marked with his characteristic dignity and modesty.

His reception at Trenton is thus described by Dr. Ramsay:

• When Washington crossed the Delaware, and landed on the Jersey shore, he was saluted with three cheers by the inhabitants of the vicinity. When he came to the brow of the hill, on his way to Trenton, a triumphal arch was erected on the bridge, by the direction of the ladies of the place. The crown of the arch was highly ornas mented with imperial laurels and flowers; and on it was

What was said by Hamilton ?- Where was Washington when he re seived the intelligence of his election ?-How did he receive it ? --When Cid he set out for New York ?- --Describe his journey.-- His reception al Trenton.

ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK.

239

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Washington receiving the intelligence of his election. displayed in large characters, December 26th, 1776. On the sweep of the arch beneath was this inscription: The defender of the mothers will also protect their daughters. On the north side were ranged a number of little girls. dressed in white, with garlands of flowers on their heads, and baskets of flowers on their arms; in the second row stood the young ladies, and behind them the married ladies of the neighbourhood. The instant he passed the arch. the young girls began to sing the following ode:

6“Welcome, mighty chief, once more,

Welcome to this grateful shore :
Now no mercenary foe
Aims again the fatal blow,

Aims at thee the fatal blow.
666 Virgins fair, and matrons grave,

These, thy conquering arm did save,
Build for thee triumphal bowers:
Strew, ye fair, his way with flowers,

Strew your hero's way with flowers." As they sung the last lines, they strewed their flowers on the road before their beloved deliverer. His situation on this occasion, contrasted with what he had felt on the same spot, in December, 1776, when the affairs of America were at the lowest ebb of depression, filled him with sensations that cannot be described. He was met by a committee of congress in New Jersey, who conducted him to Elizabethtown Point, where he embarked for New York in an elegant barge of thirteen oars, manned by thirteen branch pilots. On landing in New York, he was conducted with military honours to the apartments pro

How was he conveyed to New York ?

240

PROCEEDINGS OF THE FIRST CONGRESS.

vided for him. There he received the congratulations of great numbers, who pressed round him to express their joy on seeing the man who possessed the love of the nation at the head of its government. His inauguration took place at New York on the 30th of April.

No sooner was the federal government completed kv the inauguration of its chief, than congress proceeded at once to the consideration of what most pressed upon it attention—the revenue. But as every thing had hithertı remained unsettled, the discussion on this point involver the question of foreign policy and preference; and, lead ing to a warm debate, occasioned a collision between par ties at the very outset of their legislative career.

Mr. Madison proposed a tax upon imported goods and tonnage, and the law establishing duties on imports and tonnage was passed.*

A provision being thus made for raising a revenue and answering the just debts of the states, congress proceeded to complete the machine of government, by the institution of an executive cabinet. Departments were erected, of the treasury, of war, and of state the latter including foreign and domestic relations; and these ministerial departments were filled up with able statesmen. Colonel Hamilton, the friend of Washington, and he who had chiefly induced him to accept the guidance of the new government, was appointed' secretary of the treasury. General Knox, who had been secretary of war under congress, was now re-appointed; whilst Mr. Jefferson, envoy in France, but then on his return to the United States, was named secretary of state. At the head of the judicial department was placed Mr. Jay, as chief justice, one of the most estimable characters of the time.

Such were the chief results of the first session of con gress, as established by the constitution. Immediately after its close, Washington undertook a journey through the New England states, in every quarter of which he was welcomed with the most affectionate enthusiasm. Nor

When was he inaugurated ?-What was the first object of attention in congress ?- What did Mr. Madison propose ?-What duties were established ?---What was next instituted ?-What departments were cres ated ?-What secretaries were appointed ?-Who was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of the United States ?-Whither did Washington proceed after congress rose ?- How was he received ?

* It is pleasant to remember that the chief triumphs of the Americat navy were accomplished during the presidency of that great statesman. who had been one of its earliest friends and supporiers.

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