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Washington was glad to remain at Mount Vernon as long as possible after he
had consented to serve as President, enjoying the life of a country
gentleman, which was now much more suited to his taste than official
employment. He was weary of public duties and the heavy demands upon his
time which had left him with little leisure for his private life at home.
His correspondence during this period gives ample evidence of his extreme
reluctance to reassume public responsibilities. To bring the matter to its
true proportions, it must be remembered that to the view of the times the
new constitution was but the latest attempt to tinker the federal scheme,
and it was yet to be seen whether this endeavor would be any more
successful than previous efforts had been. As for the title of President,
it had already been borne by a number of congressional politicians and had
been rather tarnished by the behavior of some of them. Washington was not
at all eager to move in the matter before he had to, and he therefore
remained on his farm until Congress met, formally declared the result of
the election, and sent a committee to Mount Vernon to give him official
notice. It was not until April 30, 1789, that he was formally installed as

Madison and Hamilton were meanwhile going ahead with their plans. This
time was perhaps the happiest in their lives. They had stood together in
years of struggle to start the movement for a new constitution, to steer
it through the convention, and to force it on the States. Although the
fight had been a long and a hard one, and although they had not won all
that they had wanted, it was nevertheless a great satisfaction that they
had accomplished so much, and they were now applying themselves with great
zest to the organization of the new government. Madison was a member of
Congress; Hamilton lived near the place where Congress held its sittings
in New York and his house was a rendezvous for the federal leaders.
Thither Madison would often go to talk over plans and prospects. A lady
who lived near by has related how she often saw them walking and talking
together, stopping sometimes to have fun with a monkey skipping about in a
neighbor's yard.

At that time Madison was thirty-eight; Hamilton was thirty-two. They were
little men, of the quick, dapper type. Madison was five feet six and a
quarter inches tall, slim and delicate in physique, with a pale student's
face lit up by bright hazel eyes. He was as plain as a Quaker in his style
of dress, and his hair, which was light in color, was brushed straight
back and gathered into a small queue, tied with a plain ribbon. Hamilton
was of about the same stature, but his figure had wiry strength. His
Scottish ancestry was manifest in his ruddy complexion and in the modeling
of his features. He was more elegant than Madison in his habitual attire.
He had a very erect, dignified bearing; his expression was rather severe
when his features were in repose, but he had a smile of flashing radiance
when he was pleased and interested, Washington, who stood over six feet
two inches in his buckled shoes, had to look down over his nose when he
met the young statesmen who had been the wheel horses of the federal

Soon after Washington arrived in New York he sought Hamilton's aid in the
management of the national finances. There was the rock on which the
government of the Confederation had foundered. There the most skillful
pilotage was required if the new government was to make a safe voyage.
Washington's first thought had been to get Robert Morris to take charge
again of the department that he had formerly managed with conspicuous
ability, and while stopping in Philadelphia on his way to New York, he had
approached Morris on the subject. Morris, who was now engaged in grand
projects which were eventually to bring him to a debtor's prison, declined
the position but strongly recommended Hamilton. This suggestion proved
very acceptable to Washington, who was well aware of Hamilton's capacity.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013851214
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 12/17/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 126 KB

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