Page images
[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Beginning of the New Government under the present Con stitution.-WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION, FROM MARCH 4TH, 1789, TO MARCH 4TH, 1797.-Proceedings of the first Congress.

1. WE have now reached the period when the present Constitution of the United States went into operation. Washington was the first president, and began his administration in 1789; from that time to this, a period of seventy-seven years, we have had seventeen presidents. Washington was inducted into his new office April 30th, 1789, in the presence of the first Congress of the United States which convened under the new constitution. As soon as the inauguration ceremonies were over, he entered the Senate chamber and delivered his first speech. This speech, which has been much commended, was in nothing more

CHAP. CXXXVIII.-1. Who was the first American president? When did Washngton's first administration begin? How long since the government began under the constitution? How many presidents since Washington? Describe the inauguration of Washington. For what was his speech remarkable? How did the ceremony close?


[ocr errors]


remarkable than its frequent reference to a Supreme Being as the Ruler of the universe, and Controller of human actions and human destiny, whether individual or national. Then, suiting the action to the word," he and the members of both houses of Congress attended divine service almost immediately afterward.

2. Never was the business of a legislative body more pressing or more important than that of the first Congress of the United States. Four prominent measures could not be delayed. There must be a revenue; the various departments of government must be arranged and filled; a judiciary department and its officers were needed; and the public credit was, if possible, to be maintained.

3. To create a revenue and pay the public debt, foreign and domestic, and support the present government, it was decided that duties should be laid on imported goods and merchandise, and on the tonnage of vessels. A Department of State, a Treasury Department and a War Department were created, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox placed at their heads respectively.

4. The power of removal from office, in the executive departments, occasioned a good deal of discussion; but it was at length decided that it should be left with the president alone. Congress adjourned September 29th; but not till they had requested the president to recommend to the people a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

5. During the recess of Congress, President Washington made a tour through New England as far as Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, with a view to observe the character, habits, etc., of the people. He was received every where with those marks of attention which indicated an entire confidence in his administration.

6. The second session of the first Congress commenced January 8th, 1790. From the report of Mr. Hamilton, secretary of the treasury, it was found that the United States debt was fifty-four million dollars, for the payment of all which he recommended adequate provision.

7. No objection was felt in Congress, to paying the foreign debt which had been incurred, now amounting, including interest, to eleven million five hundred thousand dollars; but the question of the full assumption, by Congress, of all the rest of the debts, including those contracted by the states, caused a long and anxious debate.

8. Congress, however, by a small majority, finally concluded to pay the whole debt. In order to do this, the money derived from the sale

2. What four measures were deemed necessary to be taken? 8. What was decided apon? What departments were created, and who were placed at the head? 4. What dis eussion arose? When did Congress adjourn? 5. What journey did Washington take? 6. What debt had the United States incurred? 7. What caused a long debate? 8. Upon what did Congress conclude? What sum did they decide to borrow!

of western lands was to be applied, together with what remained of the revenue after paying the current expenses of the government. It was also decided to borrow, at five per cent. interest, two millions of dollars.

9. During the session, the state of Vermont, by consent of both houses of Congress, was received into the Union, which although it had aided actively in the Revolutionary War, had not joined the confederation. The seat of general government was fixed for ten years at Philadelphia, after which—that is, in the year 1800-it was to be removed to Washington. A tax was laid, after a long and angry debate, on domestic spirits. A National Bank was also established, with a capital of ter millions of dollars, and a charter was granted, to extend to May, 1811.


WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION, CONTINUED.-Rise of Par ties.- Wars with the Indians.

1. THE discussion of so many great and important subjects at the


treat with the Indians.

two sessions of the first Congress

had already formed a line of demarcation between the two great political parties, whose frequent subsequent conflicts for power have more than once shaken the very confederacy itself to its centre.

2. But while these things were going on at Philadelphia, a war was preparing with the Indians of the north-west. By an ordinance of Congress, in 1787, a territorial government had been formed north-west of the river Ohio; and, by another ordinance, power had been given to commissioners In spite, however, of governments and

treaties, an Indian war broke out in 1790.

9. When was Vermont received into the Union? Where was the seat of government to be at first? When was it to be removed to Washington? What tax was laid! of a bank?


CHAP CXXXIX.-1. What distinction in parties grew out of the debates in Congress? 2. What war was in preparation? What had been ordered by Congress?



3. On the 30th of September, General Harmar, with fourteen hundred and fifty men, three-fourths of whom were Pennsylvania and Kentucky militia, marched against the Indians at their villages, on the Sci-o'-to and Mi-a'-mi Rivers. The Indians, having set fire to their huts with their own hands, fled to the woods.

4. After burning and plundering and some skirmishing, for several days, a general and decisive battle was fought near the spot where Chillicothe now stands, in which the army of the United States was defeated, with the loss of nearly two hundred men. The loss of the Indians, however, was considerable. They had lost also, during the whole time, about three hundred huts and wigvrams.

5. The success of the United States was greater this year, in making treaties with the Indians, than in fighting them. By the persevering exertions of General Knox, the secretary of war, a treaty was made with the Creek Indians, in which a large territory, hitherto claimed by that tribe, was ceded to Georgia.

6. After the failure of the expedition under General Harmar, General St. Clair was appointed to the command of the north-western army, and additional troops were raised. He was also appointed governor of the North-Western Territory. He was instructed to carry on the war against the Indians, by destroying their villages about the Miami, and driving them wholly away from the Ohio country.

7. In the spring of 1791, he took the field with about fifteen hundred men. The Indians in that region had, as it was supposed, about an equal number of warriors. Generals Wilkinson and Scott were sent out with eight hundred and fifty men, but did not effect much. Early in November, General St. Clair himself went against them with his whole force.

8. On the 4th of November, a great battle was fought on the Miami, in which the army of St. Clair was entirely defeated, with the loss of more than six hundred men-nearly half his army. This was the most signally destructive battle which had been fought with the Indians since the memorable defeat of Braddock.

9. But, instead of relinquishing the war, on account of a few disasters, Congress, after a good deal of discussion and much opposition to the measure, passed a bill to raise several new regiments of troops, to be employed in the service, if necessary, three years.

10. During the year 1791, Washington made a tour of observation through the Southern states, as he had done through the Northern,

3. Who marched against the Indians? 4. Where was a battle fought? What of the Indian loss? 5. What was done by General Knox? 6. What of General St. Clair? 7. What was done in 179!? 8. What of the battle on the Miami? 9. What did Congress do in regard to the Indian war?

two years before, and for similar purposes. The day, and in many instances the hour, of his appearance at each place, was fixed long before his arrival, from which, except in a single instance, he never deviated. He was received every where with demonstrations of great joy.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]


1. DURING the year 1792, Kentucky was admitted to the Union, as the fifteenth grand pillar of the Union-Vermont having made the fourteenth. It may be useful to trace the history of this state from the earliest known periods, as well as the character of the individual who began its settlement.

10. Describe Washington's tour in 1791.

CHAP CXL.-1 When was Kentucky made a state?

« PreviousContinue »