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Extract from President Washington's Speech to the first American Congress, April 30, 1789.*
SEE PLATES 13 AND 14. With the imprestions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of na'
ations, and whose providential aids can suppl every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentime less than my own; nor those of my
fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important
* The small type in this speech, distinguish such words and parts of words, as are represented by particular signs.
revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct commun from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most govern have been established, without some return of
gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflection, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on
my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the
influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free govern
can more auspiciou commence. By the article establishing the executive department
, it is made the duty of the president “ to recommend to your consideration, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances
which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer you to the great constitutional charter
which we are assembled; and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism