Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/202

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1801.
191
THE INAUGURATION.

prominent nose and lofty forehead showed character, and his eyes expressed humor. A slight foreign accent betrayed his Genevan origin. Gallatin was also one of the best talkers in America, and perhaps the best-informed man in the country; for his laborious mind had studied America with infinite care, and he retained so much knowledge of European affairs as to fit him equally for the State Department or the Treasury. Three more agreeable men than Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin were never collected round the dinner-table of the White House; and their difference in age was enough to add zest to their friendship; for Jefferson was born in 1743, Madison in 1751, and Gallatin in 1761. While the President was nearly sixty years old, his Secretary of the Treasury had the energy and liberality of forty.

Jefferson was the first President inaugurated at Washington, and the ceremony, necessarily simple, was made still simpler for political reasons. The retiring President was not present at the installation of his successor. In Jefferson's eyes a revolution had taken place as vast as that of 1776; and if this was his belief, perhaps the late President was wise to retire from a stage where everything was arranged to point to a censure upon his principles, and where he would have seemed, in his successor's opinion, as little in place as George III. would have appeared at the installation of President Washington. The collapse of government which marked the last weeks of February, 1801, had been such as to leave of the