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tion of the previous year; but the Clay electoral ticket succeeded in the state by the diminutive majority of one hundred and twenty-four. In the electoral colleges, Mr. Polk received one hundred and seventy votes, and Mr. Clay one hundred and five.” The majority of Mr. Polk over his distinguished competitor, on the popular vote, was about forty thousand, exclusive of the vote of South Carolina, whose electors are chosen by the state legislature. The total vote was a little less than two million seven hundred thousand. - On the 28th of November—the result of the election being then known—Mr. Polk visited Nashville, and was honored with a public reception by his democratic friends, together with a number of their opponents in the late contest, who cheerfully united with them in paying due honors to the President elect of the people’s choice. A brilliant civic and military procession escorted him to the public square in front of the Court-house, where he was addressed by the Hon. A. O. P. Nicholson, on behalf of the large assembly, that had collected to welcome him to the seat of government. To the address of Mr. Nicholson, congratulating him on his success, and assuring him of the high respect and admiration entertained for his intellectual capacity and his private virtues by the people of Tennessee, to whom he had been so long endeared, Mr. Polk returned the following reply, not more
* Mr. Polk received the electoral votes of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas; and Mr. Clay those of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.
honorable to his talents than to his kindness and generosity of heart:
“I return to you, sir, and to my fellow-citizens, whose organ you are, my sincere and unfeigned thanks for this manifestation of the popular regard and confidence, and for the congratulations which you have been pleased to express to me, upon the termination and result of the late political contest. I am fully sensible, that these congratulations are not, and cannot be personal to myself. It is the eminent success of our common principles which has spread such general joy over the land. The political struggle through which the country has just passed has been deeply exciting. Extraordinary causes have existed to make it so. It has terminated —it is now over—and I sincerely hope and believe, has been decided by the sober and settled judgment of the American people. “In exchanging mutual congratulations with each other upon the result of the late election, the Democratic party should remember, in calmly reviewing the contest, that the portion of our fellow-citizens who have differed with us in opinion have equal political rights with ourselves; that minorities as well as majorities are entitled to the full and free exercise of all their opinions and judgments, and that the rights of all, whether of minorities or majorities, as such, are entitled to equal respect and regard. “In rejoicing, therefore, over the success of the Democratic party, and of their principles, in the late election, it should be in no spirit of exultation over the defeat of our opponents; but it should be because, as we honestly believe, our principles and policy are better calculated than theirs to promote the true interests of the whole country. “In the political position in which I have been placed, by the voluntary and unsought suffrages of my fellow-citizens, it will become my duty, as it will be my pleasure, faithfully and o truly to represent, in the Executive department of the government, the principles and policy of the great party of the country who have elected me to it; but at the same time, it is proper to declare, that I shall not regard myself as the representative of a party only, but of the whole people of the United States; and, I trust, that the future policy of the government may be such, as to secure the happiness and prosperity of ALL, without distinction of party.”
In the evening of the 28th, a number of public and private houses were illuminated. Hilarity and glee prevailed on every, hand; joy sparkled in every eye and beamed on every countenance; and the festivities of the day were protracted till a late hour. Mr. Polk left his home in Tennessee, on his way to Washington, toward the latter part of January, 1845. He was accompanied on his journey by Mrs. Polk, and several personal friends. On the 31st instant, he had a long private interview at the Hermitage, with his venerble friend, Andrew Jackson. The leave-taking was affectionate and impressive, for each felt conscious, that, in all probability, it was a farewell forever. It was the son, in the pride of manhood, going forth to fulfil his high destiny, from the threshold of his political godfather, whose trembling lips, palsied with the touch of age, could scarce invoke the benediction which his heart would prompt. Ere another harvest moon shed its holy light upon a spot hallowed by so many memories and associations, the “hero of New Orleans” and the “defender of the Constitution ” slept that sleep which knows no waking. A few years passed,—and he to whom that parting blessing had been given, with so fair and bright a promise of a long life before him, had also joined the assembly of the dead. Truly, the realities of History are sometimes stranger far than the wildest creations of Fiction" On the 1st of February, Mr. Polk and suite left Nashville, and proceeded as rapidly as possible, considering the demonstrations of respect with which he was everywhere received on his route, to the seat of government of the nation. For all who approached him—whatever might be the condition in life or occupation, the appearance or dress, of the individual—he had a kind word and friendly greeting. When the steamboat, on which he proceeded up the Ohio river, stopped at Jeffersonville, Indiana, “a plain-looking man came on board,” said a passenger on the steamer, “who, from the soiled and coarse condition of his dress, seemed just to have left the plough handles, or spade, in the field. He pressed forward through the saloon of the boat, to where the President was standing, in conversation with a circle of gentlemen, through which he thrust himself, making directly for the President, and offering his hand, which was received with cordial good will. Says the farmer, “How do you do, Colonel ? I am glad to see you. I am a strong democrat, and did all I could for you. I am the father of twenty-six children, who were all for Polk, Dallas, and Teras " Colonel Polk responded with a smile, saying, he was “happy to make his acquaintance, feeling assured that he deserved well of his country, if for no other reason than because he was the father of so large a republican family.” The President elect with his party arrived at Wash
ington on the 13th of February, and was immediately waited upon by a Committee of the two Houses of Congress, who informed him that the returns from the electoral colleges had been opened, and the ballots counted, on the previous day; and that he had been declared duly elected President of the United States. He thereupon signified his acceptance of the office to which he had been chosen by the people, and desired the Committee to convey to Congress his assurances, that “in executing the responsible duties which would devolve upon him, it would be his anxious desire to maintain the honor and promote the welfare of the country.”
On the 4th day of March, 1845, Mr. Polk was inaugurated President of the United States. An immense concourse of people assembled at Washington—every quarter of the Union being well represented—to witness the imposing ceremony. The morning was wet and lowery; but the spirits of the spectators were proof against the unfavorable influences of the weather. All parties joined in the appropriate observance of the day, and the national standard floated proudly from the flag-staffs of both democrats and whigs.
About eleven o’clock in the forenoon, the procession moved from the quarters of the President elect, at Coleman's Hotel—Mr. Polk and his predecessor, Mr. Tyler, riding together in an open carriage. Arrived at the capitol, the President elect and the ex-president entered the Senate Chamber. Here a procession was formed, when they proceeded to the platform on the east front of the capitol, from which Mr. Polk delivered his inaugural address: