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380 ORDINANCE FOR. THE NORTH-WEST TERRITORY. [CHAP. IV.

ritory north-west of the Ohio, being found objectionable and defective, on the seventeenth of July, 1787, another ordinance for the government of the territory was reported by the committee,' and passed unanimously on the thirteenth.

Among other provisions, it proposes to form not less than three, nor more than five States out of the territory; Virginia having first altered her act of cession in conformity with this ordinance. It also ordains the perpetual prohibition of slavery in the territory, in conformity with the proposition made by Mr. Rufus King, in March, 1785.

It is understood that this ordinance was drawn by Mr. Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, one of the committee.

On the ninth of August, South Carolina made a cession of her claims to western territory lying west of the State to the Mississippi, her boundaries having been previously settled by an agreement with Georgia, executed during the current year.

On the twenty-eighth of September, a copy of the proposed Constitution was received from George Washington, of the convention, and signed by thirty-eight members. It was the next day resolved that it should be submitted for ratification to conventions of the States; and, if ratified, that a day should be appointed for the choice of electors, and for the meeting of those electors to elect a President, who should transmit their votes, as the Constitution requires, to the Congress elected under the new Constitution.

The Constitution and the President's letter were ordered to be sent to the State Legislatures.

1 XII. Journals of Congress, page 57. For the ordinance, see Appendix No. IV.

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1788.]

THE STATES RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION.

381

An order made for the admission of Kentucky into the Union, pursuant to an act of Assembly of Virginia, of 1785, express their opinion that it ought to be admitted into the Union when the new Constitution, now ratified by nine States, shall go into operation.'

On the fifteenth of July, 1788, Congress referring to an act of cession of Georgia of western lands, on certain conditions, resolved that the United States ought not to accept the cession on the terms proposed.

On the second of September, Congress appointed a day for choosing electors in the several States which had ratified the Constitution; a day for those electors to assemble and vote for President; and the first Wednesday in March for commencing proceedings under the new Constitution.

There was some disagreement in Congress about the place of meeting, or the seat of government, under the new Constitution; and various propositions were made and rejected. They finally decided on New York, where they were then sitting.

A long report from a committee of finance was made on the thirtieth of September.

The committee say that large sums of the money received in France have not been accounted for, and that the subject is involved in darkness. Of forty-seven millions of livres received, only twenty-seven millions have been accounted for, leaving about nineteen millions for which there are no vouchers.

In the conventions of the several States for ratification of the new Constitution, it was closely investigated in some of them, and with great difficulty ratified. In others, it seemed to have been accepted without difficulty.2

' IV. Journals of Congress, page 830.

2 For the order and dates of the several ratifications, see App. No. VI.

382

WASHINGTON ELECTED PRESIDENT. [CHAP. IV.

In the election of President and Vice-President, George Washington having received the unanimous vote of the electors, and John Adams a majority, the former was, under the new Constitution, elected President of the United States, and the latter, Vice-President; and on the third of March, 1789, the functions of the old Congress expired, after an existence (remitted only by occasional adjournments) of fifteen years-a body which varied greatly in character from the change of its members, its functions, and its duties. At first, when it deliberated on the vindication of the colonies, and on their separation from the parent State to which they were attached by so many ties, it exhibited a degree of disinterested patriotism, of talent, and of practical wisdom, which has been rarely equalled. That was truly the most glorious period of its history. Then, when it devolved on this assembly to conduct a people without money or arms, in a war against the nation most able to make them feel its power; when they contracted alliances with the greatest potentates of Europe; and, under such unfavorable circumstances, conducted the war to a successful termination, they acquired, in the eyes of the world, yet greater reputation, though they may have manifested less exalted virtue or patriotism to the closer inspection of their countrymen; - the personal jealousies, rivalships, and intrigues, from which no deliberative bodies are entirely exempt, being known to mingle themselves in their deliberations and measures at this period.

After the war was closed, or rather after Cornwallis was captured, and peace was confidently anticipated, their principal functions had sunk down to the duty of providing funds to meet the most pressing demands of the treasury, or to carry on an unprofitable diplomatic intercourse with some of the nations of Europe. The

1789.]

TERMINATION OF THE OLD CONGRESS.

383

post of a member, no longer recommended as the means of winning popularity, or of gratifying ambition, often fell into the hands of men, who, with few exceptions, were inferior in standing or talents; and the members, shrinking from the irksome office of making requisitions which were unheeded by the States, and of listening to claims which they could not satisfy, were irregular in their attendance, and often unable to form a quorum; so that the body gradually lost much of its former weight and dignity and thus it might be said of THE OLD CONGRESS which had been the guiding light to the American people in their arduous path to independence, that its morning was bright and glorious; its long day of trial which followed was alternately overclouded and effulgent; but, as it descended to the horizon, its dim orb was scarcely seen in the rising splendors of its successor.

CHAPTER V.

WASHINGTON'S ADMINISTRATION.

FIRST TERM.

1789-1793.

WHEN the Federal Constitution was formed, and about to go into operation, the American people had made another great step in its onward progress. The several States, bound together only by the ties of affinity and neighborhood, by having been colonies of the same empire, all agreed to give up a portion of their newlyacquired sovereignty and independence, to secure, as a Confederated Republic, present safety and prosperity, and to lay the foundations for future greatness.

The country, now buoyant with hopes, in proportion to the dangers it had recently escaped, and the evils it even then encountered, looked forward with impatience to the meeting of the first Congress under the new Constitution. The officers of the army, who had not made sale of their unsatisfied claims, saw in the new government, provided as it was with unlimited powers of taxation, the prospect of justice from their country. The other public creditors, who were generally people of property and influence, looked forward to have their claims doubled or even quadrupled in value. The merchant and ship-owner confidently expected protection from the discriminating duties and navigation laws of other countries; and even the small manufacturing class hoped for the encouragement of a protective impost. The agricultural

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