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George Washington’s Celebrated Trip from Mount Vernon to Inauguration in New York City
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His reception was warm, and joy sparkled in every countenance: the crowd was amazing.

GEORGE WASHINGTON. First Inauguration. The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, May 2, 1789. Newspaper. Philadelphia, Pa.: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. 4 pp., 11½ x 18¼ in.

Inventory #30027.11       Price: $850

Once Congress achieved a quorum on April 6, 1789, it counted the electoral votes and declared George Washington elected as president. After he received official notice at Mount Vernon, he traveled to New York to assume the Presidency. His trip, from April 16 to April 23, took him through Alexandria, Georgetown, Baltimore, Wilmington, Chester, Philadelphia, Trenton, Princeton, Brunswick, Woodbridge, Bridgetown, and Elizabeth Town. On Wednesday, April 23, Washington was conducted from Elizabeth Town Point to New York aboard a 47-foot ceremonial barge, constructed for the occasion, rowed by thirteen Masters of Vessels dressed in white uniforms and black caps. Six other barges carried Congressional delegates and more dignitaries. The flotilla moved across Newark Bay and past Bedlar’s (now Liberty) Island, to Murray’s Wharf, where New York Governor George Clinton welcomed Washington.

This issue also includes news from Great Britain regarding thesanity of King George III during the regency crisis (p2/c1-3); news from Newport, Rhode Island, where local citizens urged their representatives to ratify the new U.S. Constitution (p2/c3-4); a brief essay on raising cotton (p3/c1); and a variety of notices and advertisements.

 

Excerpts
New York, April 25: “The illumination of the city on Thursday evening was brilliant. The transparent paintings in various quarters did honor to the ingenuity and public spirit of the parties concerned in their exhibition…. The spontaneous effusions of gratitude to the illustrious WASHINGTON, exhibited by all ranks of people, in a thousand various indications of the sublime principle, are the highest reward that virtue enjoys, next to a conscious approbation, which always precedes such undissembled testimonials of public affection.” (p2/c4)

New Brunswick: “his Excellency… passed through this city on his way to the seat of the Federal Government.... The near approach of his Excellency was announced by the firing of a federal salute from the artillery, and by the ringing of the bells.... About five o’clock in the afternoon, his Excellency, accompanied by the Governor of the state, by many of the citizens of New-Brunswick, and by several gentlemen from the county of Essex, and amidst the joyful acclamations of a large concourse of happy people, crossed the [Raritan] river….” (p2/c4-p3/c1)

His Excellency and suite lodged at Woodbridge, and in the morning set out for New-York, and was met in Rahway by the light dragoons from Elizabeth-Town and Newark, and at Elizabeth-Town by the infantry, grenadiers, and artillery, who saluted him as he passed by.... he was conducted to the Point, where, after viewing the troops, whose appearance was truly martial, he took his leave, and was seated in the barge, when a salute was fired; as he passed Staten-Island, he was saluted from the shore, when the oarmen rowed half-minute strokes: a great number of vessels were out to meet him, which all fell astern. The Spanish packet first saluted—then the fort. The vessels were elegantly dressed, and the yards manned. His reception was warm, and joy sparkled in every countenance: the crowd was amazing.” (p3/c1)

On April 30, Washington took the oath of office and delivered his inaugural address in the Senate chamber of Federal Hall in New York City.  That news took a few more days to be printed in Philadelphia.

 

The Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser (1771-1800) was founded by John Dunlap in late 1771 as a weekly newspaper. In 1776, Dunlap became the official printer for the Continental Congress, and he printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence. He relocated to Lancaster during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-1778. Dunlap and partner David Claypoole made their Pennsylvania Packet America’s first successful daily newspaper beginning on September 21, 1784. They were the first to print the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and the first to publish George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796.

George Washington(1732-1799) was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and educated by private tutors. In 1749, he became a surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia, and spent several years surveying land in western Virginia. Washington fought as an officer in the French and Indian War and the French captured him at Fort Necessity in 1754. He later became General Edward Braddock’s aide-de-camp, and helped rally the troops after Braddock’s death at the disastrous Battle of Monongahela. In 1759, Washington married the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis, and they moved to his plantation Mount Vernon, where they raised her two surviving children. Washington was an innovative farmer, owner of hundreds of slaves, and emerging leader in Virginia’s planter elite. Selected as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Washington was appointed General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army when it was created in June 1775. After victory at Boston, defeat at New York, perilous winter encampments and many more battles, Washington accepted the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781. After the Treaty of Paris ended the war officially in October 1783, Washington resigned and briefly retired to private life. He served as a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the Electoral College unanimously elected him the first President of the United States in 1789 and again in 1792. His two terms set many precedents for the Presidency, and he exercised broad powers, appointing all members of the U.S. Supreme Court and establishing the new nation on a firm foundation with the assistance of his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. He adopted an isolationist foreign policy, kept the nation out of the French Revolutionary Wars that engulfed Europe, and supported the controversial Jay Treaty. He supported Hamilton’s proposals for the assumption of state debts and the creation of a mint and national bank. He retired again to Mount Vernon in March 1797, but during the Quasi-War with France, Washington accepted a commission as lieutenant general from his successor John Adams and served as senior officer in the U.S. Army from July 1798 until his death in December 1799.


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