Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER 27: Conciliating the Public: Election, Inauguration, and First Appointments (1789) - The Life of George Washington
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CHAPTER 27: Conciliating the Public: Election, Inauguration, and First Appointments (1789) - John Marshall, The Life of George Washington 
The Life of George Washington. Special Edition for Schools, ed. Robert Faulkner and Paul Carrese (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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Conciliating the Public: Election, Inauguration, and First Appointments (1789)
The election of General Washington officially announced to him.—He proceeds to the seat of government.—Marks of affection shown him on his journey.—His inauguration.—His system of intercourse with the world.—Answers of both houses of Congress to his speech.—Domestic and foreign relations of the United States.—Debates in Congress.—Amendments to the constitution.—Appointments to office.—Adjournment of Congress.—The President visits New England.—North Carolina adopts the constitution.
1789The election of General Washington to the office of chief magistrate of the United States, was announced to him at Mount Vernon, on the 14th of April, 1789. Accustomed to respect the wishes of his fellow-citizens, he did not think himself at liberty to decline an appointment conferred upon him by the suffrage of an entire people.
As the public business required the immediate attendance of the President at the seat of government, he hastened his departure; and, on the second day after receiving notice of his appointment, took leave of Mount Vernon.
In an entry made in his diary, the feelings of the occasion are thus described. “About ten o’clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity; and, with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York in company with Mr. Thompson and Colonel Humphries, with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations.”
Throughout his journey the people continued to manifest the ardent and respectful affection which animated almost every bosom. Crowds flocked around him wherever he stopped; and corps of militia, and companies of the most respectable citizens escorted him through their respective states.
At Philadelphia, and at Trenton, he was received with peculiar splendor, and in a manner calculated to excite the deepest interest. At Brunswick, he was joined by the Governor of New Jersey, who accompanied him to Elizabethtown Point. A committee of Congress received him on the road, and conducted him with military parade to the Point, where he took leave of the Governor and other gentlemen of Jersey, and embarked for New York in an elegant barge of thirteen oars, manned by thirteen branch pilots,1 prepared for the purpose by the citizens of New York.
“The display of boats,” says the General in his private journal, “which attended and joined on this occasion, some with vocal and others with instrumental music on board, the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the sky as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful (contemplating the reverse of this scene which may be the case after all my labors to do good) as they were pleasing.”
At the stairs on Murray’s wharf, he was received by the Governor of New York, and conducted with military honors through an immense concourse of people, to the apartments provided for him. These were attended by all who were in office, and by many private citizens of distinction.
It is no equivocal mark of the worth of Washington, and of the soundness of his judgment, that it could neither be corrupted nor misguided by these flattering testimonials of attachment.
A President of the United States being a new political personage, to a great portion of whose time the public was entitled, it was obviously proper to digest a system of conduct to be observed in his intercourse with the world, which would keep in view the duties of his station, without entirely disregarding his personal accommodation, or the course of public opinion. After consulting those most capable of advising on the subject, some rules were framed by General Washington for his government in these respects. As one of them, the allotment of a particular hour for receiving visits not on business, became the subject of much animadversion,2 and has constituted not the least important of the charges made against his administration, the motives assigned by himself for the rule, may not be unworthy of attention.
Not long after the government came into operation, a gentleman nearly connected with the President, addressed to him a letter stating the accusations which were commonly circulating in Virginia on various subjects; and especially on the regal manners of those who administered the affairs of the nation.
In answer to this letter, the President observed, “while the eyes of America, perhaps of the world, are turned to this government, and many are watching the movements of all those who are concerned in its administration, I should like to be informed through so good a medium, of the public opinion of both men and measures, and of none more than myself;—not so much of what may be thought commendable parts, if any, of my conduct, as of those which are conceived to be of a different complexion.”
After some other general observations, the letter adds, “this leads me to think that a system which I found it indispensably necessary to adopt upon my first coming to this city might have undergone severe strictures, and have had motives very foreign from those that governed me, assigned as causes thereof. I mean first, returning no visits; second, appointing certain days to receive them generally, not to the exclusion however of visits on any other days under particular circumstances.” After stating a third rule, he added “a few days evinced the necessity of the two first in so clear a point of view that, had I not adopted it, I should have been unable to attend to any sort of business, unless I had applied the hours allotted to rest and refreshment, to this purpose; for, by the time I had done breakfast, and thence until dinner, and afterwards until bed-time, I could not get relieved from the ceremony of one visit before I had to attend to another. In a word, I had no leisure to read or to answer the dispatches that were pouring in upon me from all quarters.”
The ceremonies of the inauguration having been adjusted by Congress, the President attended in the Senate chamber, on the 30th of April, in order to take the oath prescribed by the constitution, in the presence of both houses.
To gratify the public curiosity, an open gallery adjoining the Senate chamber had been selected as the place in which the oath should be administered. Having taken it in the view of an immense concourse of people, whose loud and repeated acclamations attested the joy with which the occasion inspired them, he returned to the Senate chamber, where he delivered the first address ever made by a President to a Congress of the United States.3
In their answer to his speech the Senate say, “the unanimous suffrage of the elective body in your favor is peculiarly expressive of the gratitude, confidence and affection of the citizens of America, and is the highest testimonial at once of your merit and their esteem. We are sensible, sir, that nothing but the voice of your fellow-citizens could have called you from a retreat, chosen with the fondest predilection, endeared by habit, and consecrated to the repose of declining years. We rejoice, and with us all America, that, in obedience to the call of our common country, you have returned once more to public life. In you, all parties confide; in you, all interests unite, and we have no doubt that your past services, great as they have been, will be equalled by your future exertions; and that your prudence and sagacity as a statesman will tend to avert the dangers to which we were exposed, to give stability to the present government, and dignity and splendor to that country, which your skill and valor as a soldier, so eminently contributed to raise to independence and to empire.”
The answer of the House of Representatives glowed with equal affection for the person and character of the President.
“The representatives of the people of the United States,” says this address, “present their congratulations on the event by which your fellow-citizens have attested the pre-eminence of your merit. You have long held the first place in their esteem. You have often received tokens of their affection. You now possess the only proof that remained of their gratitude for your services, of their reverence for your wisdom, and of their confidence in your virtues. You enjoy the highest because the truest honor, of being the first magistrate, by the unanimous choice of the freest people on the face of the earth.”
A perfect knowledge of the antecedent state of things being essential to a due administration of the executive department, its attainment engaged the immediate attention of the President; and he required the temporary heads of departments to prepare and lay before him such statements and documents as would give this information.
His attention was attracted to the West, by discontents which were expressed with some violence, and which originated in circumstances and interests peculiar to that country.
Spain, in possession of the mouth of the Mississippi, had refused to permit the citizens of the United States to follow its waters into the ocean; and had occasionally tolerated or interdicted their commerce to New Orleans, as had been suggested by interest or caprice. The eyes of the inhabitants adjacent to the waters of that river, were turned down it, as the only channel through which the surplus produce of their luxurious soil could be conveyed to the markets of the world; and they had given some evidence of a disposition to drop from the confederacy, if this valuable acquisition could not be otherwise made.
The President had received intelligence, previous to his departure from Mount Vernon, of private machinations, by real or pretended agents, both of Spain and Great Britain.
Spain had intimated that the navigation of the Mississippi could never be conceded, while the inhabitants of the western country remained connected with the Atlantic states, but might be freely granted to them, if they should form an independent empire.
On the other hand, a gentleman from Canada, whose ostensible business was the recovery of some lands formerly granted to him on the Ohio, frequently discussed the vital importance of the navigation of the Mississippi, and privately assured several individuals of great influence that, if they were disposed to assert their rights, he was authorized by the Governor of Canada to assure them that they might rely confidently on his assistance.4
In contemplating the situation of the United States, no subject demanded more immediate attention than the hostility of the Indian tribes. The nations between the lakes, the Mississippi and the Ohio, could bring five thousand men into the field. Of these, about fifteen hundred were at war with the United States. Treaties had been concluded with the residue; but there was cause for the apprehension that these treaties would soon be broken.
In the South, the Creeks, whose force amounted to six thousand fighting men, were at war with Georgia. The subject of contest was a tract of land on the Oconee, which Georgia claimed under a purchase, the validity of which was denied by the Indians.
The army of the United States was less than six hundred men. Not only the policy of accommodating differences by negotiation, which the government was in no condition to terminate by the sword, but a real respect for the rights of the natives, disposed the President to endeavor, in the first instance, to remove every cause of quarrel by treaty.
The United States had formed a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco, but had been unable to purchase peace from Algiers, Tunis, or Tripoli; and those regencies considered all as enemies to whom they had not sold their friendship. The unprotected vessels of America presented a tempting object to their rapacity; and their hostility was the more terrible, because, by their public law, prisoners become slaves.
The United States were at peace with all the powers of Europe; but controversies of a delicate nature existed with some of them.
The attempt to form a treaty with Spain had been ineffectual. His Catholic Majesty adhered inflexibly to the exclusion of the citizens of the United States from the navigation of the Mississippi below their southern boundary. The violence with which the discontents of the western people were expressed, furnished Spain with additional motives for perpetuating the evil of which they complained. A contest respecting boundary also existed with the same power. The treaty of peace had extended the limits of the United States down the Mississippi to the thirty-first degree of north latitude; but the pretensions of the Catholic King were carried north of that line to an undefined extent. He claimed as far as he had conquered from Britain; but the precise limits of his conquest were not ascertained.
The difference with Great Britain was still more serious, because a temper unfavorable to accommodation had been uniformly displayed. The resentments growing out of the war were not terminated with their cause. The idea that Great Britain was the natural enemy of America had become habitual.
The general restrictions on commerce, by which every maritime power sought to promote its own navigation, and that part of the European system, in particular, by which each aimed at a monopoly of the trade of its colonies, were felt with peculiar keenness when enforced by England. The people of America were the more sensible to the British regulations on this subject, because, having composed a part of that empire, they had grown up in the habit of a free intercourse with all its ports.
The failure of an attempt to form a commercial treaty with Portugal, was attributed to the influence of the cabinet of London. The depredations of the Barbary corsairs,5 and the bloody incursions of the Indians, were also ascribed to the machinations of the same power.
With France, the most perfect harmony subsisted. Those attachments which originated in the signal services received from his Most Christian Majesty during the war of the revolution, had sustained no diminution; and a disposition was felt extensively to enable the merchants of that nation, by legislative encouragements, to compete with those of Britain in the American market.
A great revolution had commenced in that country, the first stage of which was completed by limiting the powers of the monarch, and by establishing a popular assembly. In no part of the globe was this revolution hailed with more joy than in America. Its ulterior effects were not distinctly foreseen, and but one sentiment existed respecting it.
The relations of the United States with the other powers of Europe, were rather friendly than otherwise.
The subjects which pressed for immediate attention on the first legislature, were numerous and important. Much was to be created, and much to be reformed.
The qualification of the members was succeeded by a motion for the House to resolve itself into a committee of the whole6 on the state of the Union, in which Mr. Madison moved a resolution, declaring that certain duties ought to be levied on goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States; and on the tonnage of vessels. He presented a scheme of impost, by which specific duties were imposed on certain enumerated articles; and an ad valorem duty on those not enumerated; to which he added a general proposition for a duty on tonnage. In proceeding to fill up the blanks with the sum taxable on each article, great contrariety of opinion prevailed. The taxes proposed were believed to press unequally on the states; and apprehensions were expressed that, in the form of protecting duties, the industry of one part of the Union would be encouraged by premiums charged on the labor of another part. On the discrimination between the duty on the tonnage on foreign and American bottoms, a great degree of sensibility was discovered. It was said that the increased tonnage on foreign bottoms operated as a tax on agriculture, and a premium to navigation. This discrimination, therefore, ought to be very small. These arguments were answered with great ability by Mr. Madison.
No part of the system was discussed with more animation than that which proposed to favor those nations with whom the United States had formed commercial treaties. In the debate on this subject, opinions and feelings were disclosed, which, strengthening with circumstances, afterwards agitated every part of the Union.
At length, the bills passed the House of Representatives, and were carried to the senate, where they were amended, by expunging the discrimination made in favor of the tonnage and distilled spirits of those nations with which commercial treaties had been formed. These amendments were disagreed to; and each house insisting on its opinion, a conference took place; after which, the point was reluctantly yielded by the House of Representatives.
This debate was succeeded by one on the question in what manner the high officers who filled the executive departments should be removable. In a committee of the whole House, on the bill “to establish an executive department, to be denominated the department of foreign affairs,” Mr. White7 moved to strike out the clause which declared the secretary to be removable by the President. The power of removal, where no express provision existed, was, he said, in the nature of things, incidental to that of appointment; and, as the Senate was associated with the President in making appointments, that body must, in the same degree, participate in removing from office.
The amendment was opposed by arguments drawn from the constitution, and from general convenience. The friends of the original bill relied especially on that part of the constitution which vests the executive power in the President. No power, it was said, could be more completely executive in its nature, than that of removal from office.
After an ardent discussion, which consumed several days, the committee divided; and the amendment was negatived. But the express grant of the power rather implied a right in the legislature to give or to withhold it at discretion. To obviate any misunderstanding of the principle, a motion was made in the House to amend the clause, so as to imply clearly that the power of removal resided solely in the President; after which, the whole was stricken out; thus leaving the President to exercise the power as a constitutional privilege. As the bill became a law, it has ever been considered as a full expression of the sense of the legislature, on this important part of the American constitution.
The bill to establish the treasury department contained a clause making it the duty of the secretary, “to digest and report plans for the improvement and management of the revenue, and for the support of public credit.” This clause encountered serious opposition. After a very animated discussion, the motion to strike it out was rejected.
Among the interesting points which were settled in the first Congress, was the question by what style the President and Vice-President should be addressed. Mr. Benson,8 from a committee appointed to confer with a committee of the Senate on the subject, reported, “that it is not proper to annex any style or title to the respective styles or titles of office expressed in the constitution;” and this report was agreed to in the House of Representatives. In the senate, it was disapproved. A committee of conference not being able to agree, the subject was permitted to rest; and the Senate, conforming to the precedent given by the House of Representatives, addressed the President, in their answer to his speech, by the terms used in the constitution.
While the representatives were preparing bills for organizing the great executive departments, the senate was occupied with digesting the system of a national judiciary. This complex and extensive subject was taken up in the commencement of the session, and was completed towards its close.
In the course of the session, Mr. Madison brought forward a proposition for recommending to the consideration and adoption of the states, several articles to be added to the constitution.
To conciliate the affection of their brethren to the government, was an object greatly desired by its friends. Disposed to respect what they deemed the errors of their opponents, when that respect could be manifested without a sacrifice of essential principles, they were anxious to annex to the constitution, those explanations and barriers against the possible encroachments of rulers on the liberties of the people, which had been loudly demanded, however unfounded, in their judgments, the fears by which those demands were suggested might be. Among the most zealous friends of the constitution, were found the first and warmest advocates for amendments.
The government being completely organized, and a system of revenue established, the important duty of filling the offices which had been created, remained to be performed. In the execution of this delicate trust, the purest virtue and the most impartial judgment were exercised in selecting the best talents, and the greatest weight of character, which the United States could furnish.
At the head of the department of foreign affairs, since denominated the Department of State, the President placed Mr. Jefferson.9
This gentleman had been a distinguished member of the second Congress, and had been offered a diplomatic appointment, which he declined. On withdrawing from the administration of continental affairs, he had been elected Governor of Virginia, which office he filled for two years. He afterwards again represented his native state in the government of the Union; and, in the year 1784, was appointed to succeed Dr. Franklin at the court of Versailles. In that situation, he had acquitted himself much to the public satisfaction. His Notes on Virginia, which were read with applause, were believed to evince sound political opinions; and the declaration of independence was universally ascribed to his pen. He had been long placed by America among the most eminent of her citizens, and had long been classed by the President with those who were most capable of serving the nation. Having obtained permission to return for a short time to the United States, he was, while on his passage, nominated to this important office; and, on his arrival in Virginia, found a letter from the President, giving him the option of becoming the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, or of retaining his station at the court of Versailles. In changing his situation, he appears to have consulted the wishes of the Chief Magistrate, more than the preference of his own mind.
The task of restoring public credit, of drawing order and arrangement from the chaotic confusion in which the finances of America were involved, and of devising means which should produce revenue in a manner least burdensome to the people, was justly classed among the most arduous of the duties which were devolved on the new government. In discharging it, much aid was expected from the head of the treasury. This important, and at that time intricate department, was assigned to Colonel Hamilton.
This gentleman, with all the enthusiasm of youth, engaged first his pen, and afterwards his sword, in the stern contest between the American colonies and their parent state. Among the first troops raised by New York, was a corps of artillery, in which he was appointed a captain. Soon after the war was transferred to the Hudson, his superior endowments recommended him to the commander-in-chief, into whose family, before completing his twenty-first year, he was invited to enter. Equally brave and intelligent, he continued to display, in this situation, a degree of firmness and capacity, which commanded the confidence and esteem of his general, and of the principal officers of the army.
After the capitulation of Yorktown, the war languished throughout America; and the probability that its termination was approaching, daily increased.
The critical circumstances of the existing government gave a deep interest to the events of the civil government; and Colonel Hamilton accepted a seat in the Congress of the United States. He was greatly distinguished amongst those eminent men whom the crisis had attracted to the councils of their country. He had afterwards been active in promoting those measures which led to the convention in Philadelphia, of which he was a member, and had contributed greatly to the adoption of the constitution by the state of New York. In the pre-eminent part he had performed, both in the military and civil transactions of his country, he had acquired a great degree of well-merited fame; and the frankness of his manners, the openness of his temper, the warmth of his feelings, and the sincerity of his heart, had secured him many valuable friends.
The department of war was already filled by General Knox, and he was again nominated to it.10
Throughout the contest of the revolution, this officer had continued at the head of the American artillery. In this important station, he had maintained a high military character; and, on the resignation of General Lincoln, had been appointed secretary of war. To his past services, and to unquestionable integrity, he was admitted to unite a sound understanding; and the public judgment, as well as that of the chief magistrate, pronounced him to be competent in all respects to the station he occupied.
The office of attorney-general was filled by Mr. Edmund Randolph. To a distinguished reputation in his profession, this gentleman added a considerable degree of political eminence. After having been for several years the attorney-general of Virginia, he had been elected its Governor. While in this office, he was chosen a member of the convention which framed the constitution, and also of that by which it was adopted. After having served the term permitted by the constitution in the executive of the state, he entered into its legislature, where he preserved a great share of influence.
Such was the first cabinet council. In its composition, public opinion as well as intrinsic worth had been consulted, and a high degree of character had been combined with real talent.
In the selection of persons for high judicial offices, the President was guided by the same principles. At the head of this department he placed Mr. John Jay.
From the commencement of the revolution, this gentleman had filled a large space in the public mind. Remaining without intermission in the service of his country, he had passed through a succession of high offices, and, in all of them had merited the approbation of his fellow-citizens. To his pen, while in Congress, America was indebted for some of those masterly addresses which reflected most honor upon the government; and to his firmness and penetration, the happy issue of those intricate negotiations which terminated the war was, in no small degree, to be ascribed. On returning to the United States, he had been appointed secretary of foreign affairs, in which station he had displayed his accustomed ability. A sound judgment improved by extensive reading and great knowledge of public affairs, unyielding firmness, and inflexible integrity, were qualities of which Mr. Jay had given frequent and signal proofs. Although withdrawn for some years from that profession to which he was bred, the acquisitions of his early life had not been lost, and the subjects on which his mind had been exercised were not entirely foreign from those which would, in the first instance, employ the courts in which he was to preside.
John Rutledge of South Carolina, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, William Cushing of Massachusetts, Robert Harrison of Maryland, and John Blair of Virginia, were appointed associate justices.11 Some of those gentlemen had filled the highest law offices in their respective states; and all of them had received distinguished marks of the public confidence.
In the systems of the several states, offices corresponding to those created by the revenue laws of Congress, had been established. Uninfluenced by considerations of personal regard, the President could not be induced to change men whom he found in place, if worthy of being employed.12 In deciding between candidates for vacant offices, if an equality of fitness existed, former merits and sufferings in the service of the public, gave claims to preference which could not be overlooked.
In the legislature as well as the executive and judicial departments, great respectability of character was also associated with an eminent degree of talent. Impelled by an anxious solicitude respecting the first measures of the government, its zealous friends had pressed into its service; and men were found in both branches of the legislature, who possessed the fairest claims to public confidence.
The Vice-President of the United States, though not a member of the legislature, was classed, in the public estimation, with that department. Mr. John Adams was one of the earliest and most ardent friends of the revolution. Bred to the bar, he had necessarily studied the constitution of his country, and was among the most determined asserters of its rights. Active in guiding that high spirit which animated all New England, he became a member of the Congress of 1774, and was among the first who dared to avow sentiments in favor of independence. He soon attained eminence in that body, and was chosen one of the commissioners to whom the interests of the United States in Europe were confided. In his diplomatic character, he had contributed greatly to those measures which drew Holland into the war; had negotiated the treaty with the Dutch republic, and had, at critical points of time, obtained loans which were of great advantage to his country. In the negotiations which terminated the war, he had also rendered important services; and, after the ratification of the treaty of peace, had been deputed to Great Britain for the purpose of effecting commercial arrangements with that nation.
As a statesman, this gentleman had always ranked high in the estimation of his countrymen. He had improved a sound understanding by extensive political and historical reading; and perhaps no American had reflected more profoundly on the science of government.13 The exalted opinion he entertained of his own country was flattering to his fellow-citizens; and the purity of his mind, the unblemished integrity of a life spent in the public service, had gained their confidence.
A government supported in all its departments by so much character and talent, at the head of which was placed a man whose capacity was undoubted, whose life had given one great and continued lesson of patriotism, and for whom almost every bosom glowed with an attachment bordering on enthusiasm, could not fail to make a rapid progress in conciliating the affection of the people.
Towards the close of the session, a petition which had been presented by the creditors of the public residing in Pennsylvania was taken up by the House of Representatives, and two resolutions were passed; the one declaring “that the house considered an adequate provision for the support of the public credit, as a matter of high importance to the national honor and prosperity;” and the other directing “the secretary of the treasury to prepare a plan for that purpose, and to report the same to the house at its next meeting.”
On the 29th of September, Congress adjourned to the first Monday in the succeeding January.
Anxious to visit New England, to observe in person the condition of the country, and the dispositions of the people towards the government and its measures, the President determined to avail himself of the short respite from official duties afforded by the recess of Congress, to make a tour through the eastern states. He left New York on the 15th of October; and, passing through Connecticut and Massachusetts, proceeded as far as Portsmouth in New Hampshire. From that place he returned by a different route to the seat of government, where he arrived on the 13th of November.
The reappearance of their General in the high station he now filled, renewed the recollection of the perilous transactions of the war; and the reception universally given to him attested the unabated love which was felt for his person and character, and indicated unequivocally the growing popularity, at least in that part of the Union, of the government he administered.
Soon after his return to New York, the President was informed of the failure of his first attempt to negotiate a treaty with the Creeks. Some difficulties arose on the subject of boundary; but the principal obstacles to a peace were supposed to grow out of the personal interests of Mr. McGillivray, their chief, and his connexions with Spain.14
This information was more than counterbalanced by the intelligence from North Carolina. A second convention had met under the authority of the legislature of that state, in the month of November, and had adopted the constitution by a great majority.
[1. ]In this sense, a barge is a ship of state, used for ceremonial occasions; branch pilots are helmsmen certified as qualified to steer ships in a harbor or other area requiring local knowledge.
[2. ]Censure, reproof.
[3. ]Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, is reprinted in appendix B, below.
[4. ]This ostensibly private gentleman was George Beckwith (1753–1823), Major in the British army. Since Britain did not establish formal diplomatic relations with the United States after the 1783 peace treaty, a series of British agents operated in America to supplement the reports and activities of British consuls; Beckwith held this post from 1787 to 1791, during which he admitted only to being an aide to the Governor of Canada (General Guy Carleton, now Lord Dorchester), and that he happened to be in America on private business. His initial, and sustained, contact was with Alexander Hamilton.
[6. ]This procedural device, in which the presiding officer of the House adjourns the entire body into a committee, permits the members to engage in a freer debate (due to more expeditious rules of procedure), to amend proposed legislation, and to take a preliminary vote before returning to the normal rules of the House for a final vote on the bill or resolution in question.
[7. ]Alexander White (1738–1804) of Virginia, U.S. Representative (1789–93); Federalist.
[8. ]Egbert Benson (1746–1833) of New York, Revolutionary leader in New York, Confederation Congressman, U.S. Representative (1789–93), Federalist; later New York Supreme Court Justice.
[9. ]Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) of Virginia, Secretary of State (1790–95), Vice President of the United States (1797–1801), third President of the United States (1801–9).
[10. ]Henry Knox (1750–1806) of Massachusetts, promoted to Major General in 1781, conceived and organized the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783, chosen Secretary of War by Congress in 1785, reappointed and confirmed as Secretary, serving until 1794.
[11. ]John Rutledge (1739–1800), Governor of South Carolina, elected to South Carolina chancery court, active delegate at 1787 Constitutional Convention, later chief justice of South Carolina and nominated (but not confirmed) U.S. chief justice; James Wilson (1742–98), leading framer of the 1787 Constitution, professor of law in the College of Philadelphia, later author of the 1790 Pennsylvania Constitution; William Cushing (1732–1810), judge, senior associate judge, and chief justice of Massachusetts superior court; Robert Harrison (1745–90), officer on Washington’s staff from 1775 to 1781, later chief justice of the general court of Maryland (he declined Washington’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court); John Blair (1732–1800), colonial and state legislator, state judge and judge of the first court of appeals of Virginia, delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
[12. ]Some of the states, under the Continental and Confederation Congresses, had appointed revenue collectors to promote compliance with Congressional requisitions; as these offices were transformed into federal posts under the new Constitution, Washington’s policy was to retain officeholders if worthy.
[13. ]In 1787, while American ambassador in London, Adams authored his three-volume Defense of the Constitutions of the United States (published in 1787–88). Among other writings, he published the pamphlet Thoughts on Government in 1776, and his utopian tract Discourses of Davila in 1791. See The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, 10 volumes (Boston: Little, Brown, 1856).
[14. ]Alexander McGillivray (c. 1759–93), chieftain among the Creek Indians, Loyalist during the Revolutionary War; son of a Scotch father and a mother of combined French and Creek descent. He sought to maintain the independence of the Creek and other southern tribes by alliance with Spain against both the American government and the land speculators of Georgia (the Yazoo scheme); to this end, he enjoyed a subsidy from the Spanish crown and partnership in a Spanish fur-trading company.