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[First year of the administration of Andrew Jackson, and the first day.]
MY DEAR SISTER, I thank you for yours, received to-day, and thank you both for the letter itself and for your pardon which it contains, and of which I stood in so much need. Your benignity is memorable and praiseworthy. To be serious, however, my dear sister, let me say once for all, that I have a very affectionate regard for you ; that I am very glad you are my sister, and the wife of the best of all brothers ; and that if, like him, I am not the most punctual of all correspondents, I am like him in sincerity and constancy of esteem. If you find in your connection with my own little broken circle but one half as much pleasure as you bestow, you will have no reason to regret it. Your presence with my children, through the winter, has relieved me from a pressing weight of anxiety.
To-day we have had the inauguration. A monstrous crowd of people is in the city. I never saw any thing like it before. Persons have come five hundred miles to see General Jackson, and they really seem to think that the country is rescued from some dreadful danger.
The inauguration speech you will see. I cannot make much of it, except that it is anti-tariff, at least in some degree. What it says about reform in office may be either a prelude to a general change in office, or a mere sop to soothe the hunger, without satisfying it, of the thousand expectants for office who throng the city, and clamor all over the country. I expect some changes, but not a great many at present. The show lasted only half an hour. The Senate assembled at eleven, the judges and foreign ministers came in, the President elect was introduced, and all seated by half-past eleven. The Senate was full of ladies ; a pause ensued till twelve. Then the President, followed by the Senate, &c., went through the great rotunda, on to the portico, over the eastern front door ; and those went with him who could, but the crowd broke in as we were passing the rotunda, and all became confusion. On the portico, in the open air, the day very warm and pleasant, he read his inaugural, and took the oath. A great shout followed from the multitude, and in fifteen minutes, " silence settled, deep and still." Every body was dispersed. As I walked home, I called in at a bookstore, and saw a volume which I now send you ; it may serve to regulate matters of etiquette at Boscawen.
I hope to write Edward to-night. If not, I shall not fail to do so to-morrow.
Yours very sincerely and truly,
- Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster, Edited by Fletcher Webster, Volume I, 1857