Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 Back to the Exhibit

Joint Committee report on the Ceremonial for the Inauguration of the President, April 29, 1789

Broadside Announcing Ceremonial
for Washington's Inauguration, 29 April 1789

      THE Committees of both Houses of Congress, appointed to take order for conducting the ceremonial of the formal reception, &c. of the President of the United Stares, on Thursday next, have agreed to the following order thereon, viz.

      That General Webb, Colonel Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel Fish, Lieut. Col. Franks, Major L'Enfant, Major Bleecker, and Mr. John R. Livingston, be requested to serve as Assistants on the occasion.41

      That a chair he placed in the Senate-Chamber for the President of the United Stares. That a chair be placed in the Senate-Chamber for the Vice-President, to the right of the President’s chair; and that the Senators take their seats on that side of the chamber on which the Vice-President’s chair shall be placed. That a chair be placed in the Senate-Chamber for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the left of the President’s chair—and that the Representatives take their seats on that side of the chamber on which the Speaker’s chair shall be placed.

      That seats be provided in the Senate-Chamber sufficient to accommodate the late President of Congress [Cyrus Griffin of Virginia], the Governor of the Western territory [Arthur St Clair], the five persons being the heads of the three great departments [Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, Secretary of War Henry Knox, Commissioners of the Treasury Arthur Lee, Walter Livingston, and Samuel Osgood], the Minister Plenipotentiary of France [Eleanor Francois Elie, Cpmte de Moustier], the Encargado de negocios of Spain [Don Diego de Gardoqui], the Chaplains of Congress [Bishop Samuel Provoost. Dr. William Liin], the persons in the suite of the President:42 and also to accommodate the following Public Officers of the State, viz. The Governor [George Clinton], the Lieutenant-Governor [Pierre Van Cortlandt], the Chancellor [Robert R. Livingston], the Chief Justice [Richard Morris], and other Judges of the Supreme Court [Robert Yates, Jon Sloss Hobart], and the Mayor of the city [James Duane]. That one of the Assistants wait on these gentlemen, and inform them that seats are provided for their accommodation, and also to signify to them that no precedence of seats is intended, and that no salutation is expected from them on their entrance into, or their departure from the Senate-Chamber.

      That the members of both Houses assemble in their respective Chambers precisely at twelve o’clock, and that the Representatives preceded by the Speaker, and attended by their Clerk, and other Officers proceed to the Senate-Chamber, there to be received by the Vice-President and Senators rising.

      That the Committees attend the President from his residence to the Senate-Chamber, and that he be there received by the Vice-President, the Senators and Representatives rising, and be by the Vice-President conducted to his chair.

      That after the President shall be seated in his Chair and the Vice-President, Senators and Representatives shall be again seated, the Vice-President shall announce to the President that the members of both Houses will attend him to be present at his taking the Oath of Office required by the Constitution. To the end that the Oath of Office may be administered to the President in the most public manner, and that the greatest number of the people of the United States and without distinction, may be witnesses to the solemnity, that therefore the Oath be administered in the outer Gallery adjoining to the Senate Chamber.

      That when the President shall proceed to the gallery to take the Oath, he be attended by the Vice-President, and be followed by the Chancellor of the State, and pass through the door on the right, and the Representatives, preceded by the Speaker, pass through the door on the left, and such of the persons who shall have been admitted into the Senate-Chamber, and may be desirous to go into the gallery, are then also to pass through the door on the right. That when the President shall have taken the Oath, and returned into the Senate-Chamber, attended by the Vice-President, and shall be seated in his chair, that the Senators and the Representatives also return into the Senate-Chamber, and that the Vice-President and they resume their respective seats.

      Both Houses having resolved to accompany the President after he shall have taken the Oath, to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service, to be performed by the Chaplain of Congress, that the following order of procession be observed, viz. The door-keeper [Gifford Dalley] and messenger [‘Ihomas Claxton] of the House of Representatives. The Clerk of the House [John Beckley]. The Representatives. The Speaker. The President, with the Vice-President at his left hand. The Senators. The Secretary of the Senate [Samuel A. Otis]. The door-keeper [James Mathews] and messenger [Cornelius Maxwell] of the Senate.

      That a Pew be reserved for the President—Vice-President—Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Committees; and that pews be also reserved sufficient for the reception of the Senators and Representatives.

      That after divine service shall be performed, the President be received at the door of the Church, by the Committees, and by them attended in carriages to his residence.

      That it be intrusted to the Assistants to take proper precautions for keeping the avenues to the Hall open, and that for that purpose, they wait on his Excellency the Governor of this State, and in the name of the Committees request his aid, by an order or recommendation to the Civil Officers, or militia of the city, to attend and serve on the occasion, as he shall judge most proper.


(Report Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

digitized from DHFFC transcription   
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