Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Inauguration of George Washington

At our last meeting with George Washington, we witnessed the final hours of the ailing President's life. Today though, I am happy to mark a far happier event in that particular gentleman's life and one that marked on iconic moment. On 30th April 1789, George Washington attended Federal Hall in New York to be received by Robert Livington, the Chancellor of the State of New York. In the hours that followed, he was inaugurated as the first president in this history of America.


 George Washington's Inauguration by Ramon de Elorriaga, 1899
 George Washington's Inauguration by Ramon de Elorriaga, 1899

As the day dawned an excited crowd began to amass in the city, keen to witness this historic event and whilst some went directly to Federal Hall, others lined the roads along the route Washington would take to reach his Wall Street destination. He had only been in New York a week, having travelled from Virginia and when he emerged from the house to meet his supporters, Washington was dressed in a dark brown suit of American cloth, with bright white stockings. His shoes bore silver buckles and at his hip he wore a ceremonial sword.


Federal Hall
Federal Hall

When he arrived at Federal Hall, Washington was taken first to the Senate chamber and then to the balcony where 10,000 people watched as Livingston swore in the new president. Using the bible from St. John's Masonic Lodge No.1, the solemn oath was undertaken by a clearly nervous Washington. Indeed, my colonial gentleman's people in the know say that you could fairly see his hands shaking as the ceremony progressed. As the military fired a 13 gun salute the crowd gave an uproarious cheer to welcome the new president into his now iconic office.

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