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Then, he successively urged, the speedy adjustment of the disputed titles to lands, by the mode pointed out in the con •atitution; the regulation of future elections, in such manner as to guard against undue influence; the appointment of two senators, to represent the state in the congress of the United States; and the passage of a law to compel sheriffs, and other public officers, to give security for the due performance of their duties.
To the house of representatives, he recommended, the raising of an adequate revenue, for public exigencies; and the appointment of commissioners, to fix on a place for the permanent seat of government. Giving to both houses, his assurance of a cordial co-operation in such measures, as should have for their object, the good of the republic: and finally, advising them to use despatch; rendered the more necessary, by the unorganized state of the various departmentaof the government.
In this procedure of the first governor of Kentucky, is seen an imitation of the example, equally appropriate, and respectful, set by President Washington, upon entering into the execution of his official duties. While it is also seen, that the two houses of the general assembly, readily reciprocated the civility of the governor; as did congress, that of the president.
That distinguished personage, George Washington, elevated to the highest office in his country's gift, did not feel, or think, himself, either, too great, or too. little, to meet in proper person, the senators, and representatives, of the people, intrusted also, with the performance, of high public duties; and to exchange with them in official form, the civilities,, and courtesies which should exist, and be practised, in the intercourse between the public functionaries, of a free, and enlightened, government.
Such continued to be the course pursued at the opening of each session of congress, during the two presidencies of Washington, and that of his immediate successor, Mr. Adams. And such also was. in substance, the practice ia Kentucky, for the same period. After the expiration of twelve years, Mr. Jefferson, at the head, of anti-federalists, and an appropriate democracy, becoming President of the United States—it was ordained, in the cabinet, of party expediency, "that whatsoever could be traced to President Washington, should be changed, in name, or appearance; and, if possible, consigned to forgetfulness." Hence, this intercourse of official comity, was. abolished; and in its place, was substituted, the cold, and ungracious formality of sending a written message by a private secretary.
This might be read, or laid on the table, at the option of either house. And so has been the course of Kentucky.
Thus, foregoing, those answers, or responses, in either house; in whieh new ideas were occasionally suggested, new sources of information opened, and a grateful commixture of feeling, and sentiment, produced; to the mutual nurture of approbation, confidence, or esteem—ever pleasant to generous, and elevated minds. While the same channel of intercourse, furnished a vehicle equally convenient, for suggesting an admonition, modifying a project, or checking a contemplated enterprise.— Again: the publication of these reciprocal communications in the newspapers, would furnish their readers, with authentic evidence of the state of public opinion, of the prominent subjects of ensuing legislation, and of the probable results of proposed improvements^ And thus also, in a plain and simple interchange of intellect, the best dispositions of the human heart were gratified, expanded, reproduced, and cherished.
Among the earliest appointments made by the governor, was that of James Brown, the brother of John Brown, already introduced to the reader, and George Nicholas: the first, being made secretary, the last, attorney general; of the commonwealth.
By joint ballot of the two houses of the general assembly, John Brown, and John Edwards, were chosen senators, to Congress. And by the house of representatives alone, twentyone persons, were elected, as a nomination; of whom, five were to be left—by the representations from Mercer, and Fayette, counties, alternately striking out one; after which the remaining five, were to be commissioner^, to fix on the place for the permanent seat of government. The list after this excision, exhibited the names of Robert Todd, John Edwards, John Allen, Henry Lee, and Thomas Kennedy. These were of course the "five commissioners," on whom the duty devolved; any three of whom might .fix! the seat of government.
So much had the performance of this duty, been the subject of jealousy, and apprehension, between the opposite sides of the Kentucky river, that recourse was had to this singular mode of election, to obviate the consequences. Fixing the permanent seat of government, whether it be considered, in either, a civil, or military, point of view, is no doubt at all times, a matter of real importance. In Kentucky, no sooner was the separation from Virginia, and the consequent new state, talked of, than the future seat of government, mingled in the conversation, of each political party. As the time for the separation &c. approached, the interest in the seat of government, not only appeared to magnify, and extend itself to all descriptions of people, but it took a local character; shaping itself by the Kentucky river; and which of course was either north, or south, to the exclusion of the other. This contest, had excited much feeling, on account of the supposed conflict of interests, between the opposite sides, of the river; interests, it is believed, always considerable to those immediately at the place; and much overrated, by those at a distance. Such was the strength of this local rivalry in the convention, which formed the constitution, that neither side was willing to leave it, a subject of ordinary legislation.
While the result may fairly be considered as a compact. One, which should have proposed to embrace the object, more directly, and definitively, could not have been agreed to, by the parties. Such was the state of the case, for which provision was made.
A majority of the five commissioners, met soon after their appointment, and fixed on Frankfort, as the proper place. The constitution attached "permanent," to it: and to ensure the effect, required the concurrence of two-thirds of each branch of the legislature, to remove it, to any other place.
The situation of Frankfort, immediately on the northward bank of the river, which separated the parties; in a bottom, common to both—if the expression may be allowed—but largest on the south side, whence in time, the town might be extended; should have silenced, if any thing could, all opposition, and complaint. Such, however, was not the case, then; nor, has all the favourable circumstances which unite in support of the choice, been able to free it from obloquy, and reproach, notwithstanding its advantages.
Let them be enumerated, and compared with those of any other place.
The river, navigable by steam boats, much more equally bisects the state, than any other. While the water conveyance will ever be important for transportation of every kind: among which, the article of fuel, is one of no inconsiderable magnitude; and to be found in mines of coal, and in durable forests of trees, on its banks.
It is at the lower edge of the fine rich lands on both sides of the river: but especially, of those on Elkhorn, &c.
It is, probably,- at the head of steam navigation. The connexion which it holds with many of the principal towns, point out Frankfort, as their port of storage, for export, and import. It is, without exception, as healthy as any town in the state.
Nothing need be said of its market. It will always be best supplied, when most is demanded.
it challenges any place in the commonwealth, as near the centre, to shew- as many circumstances favourable to a permanent seat of government, as are concentrated at its site.
It being fixed on, by the commissioners: measures were soon after taken to erect a house for the accommodation of the general assembly, and the subordinate officers, immediately attached to the government. This was a building of stone; paid for
princpally, by the proceeds of private contributions; and called "the State House."
Another, was afterwards built of brick, for the residence of the governor; and paid for out of the public funds. This hardly can be said to have a name. Sometimes it js called, "the Governor's House;" at other times, "the Government House;" and frequently, "the Palace." Each of which, appears improper. The first, because the governor may have a house of his own in town; which would render the name, ambiguous. The second, because it accommodates but one department; and that as a family residence merely. The third, because, "a palace" is the residence of a prince, or viceroy. And these are not recognised by the constitution; nor need the term, or appellation, be familiarized, to the popular ear.
"The State House," is a name sufficiently appropriate, and now familiar. There is, therefore, no occasion for changing it.
The house occupied by the governor, in his official capacity, with a little effort of the imagination, may be called "the Capitol;" as it accommodates, the head of the executive department. Or, there is, or that is, the house, of the "head man." The Roman "Capitol" being so- named, from caput, a head.
It may perhaps be said, that it is the business of history, to perpetuate names, not make them. That may apply where they exist; but would be impertinent, where they do not. After all, names are arbitrary, often accidental, in their origin; any one may invent, or bestow them—it is use, and consent, which establish them. Capitol, is a name of easy pronunciation;. "it suits the mouth well;" is of reasonable dignity, venerable antiquity, and modern use: what more is required for a name?
Be all this, however, as it may; it will be admitted, that any one who can find Frankfort, may find where, the governor lives.
Let all then, that has been said about the name of the house, go for nothing. Nevertheless, it is of some consequence that the seat of government should remain where it was first placed. Inasmuch, as to all the reasons, then in favour of it, there have been added since, in consequence of the act of selection, many