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The first time I saw the President was on the first of January, 1846, the morning after the arrival of myself and my son (the Doctor,) at Washington. On New Year's day it is the privilege of every American and his family to pay their respects to the Chief Magistrate of the country, at the White House. Wishing to see this republican ceremony, so unlike any custom of Europe, we repaired to the residence of the President about one o'clock, and not having had time to deliver any of our letters of introduction, we went alone. The crowd was immense, but perfectly well conducted; no pushing forward, no
murmuring, no jostling; each was solicitous to avoid, if possible, annoying his or her neighbour, and anxiously apologised if such an accident happened; all were neatly dressed, many of the female portion with much elegance, and the men carried their hats high up above their heads to keep them out of the way. I have been in all sorts of crowds, in England and France; at theatres, operas, churches, balls, routs, elections, and ceremonies of various kinds, both public and private, but I have never seen any assemblage of persons so orderly, respectful, patient, and well mannered as the American people on that day. The Democracy behaved like a Lady.
The President stood in the Reception room, and Mrs. Polk at a little distance; they received their guests as they were able to approach; the greeting was friendly and courteous on the one side, and respectful and kind on the other. My son and myself approached with the rest, and I simply introduced myself as an English lady, without even mentioning my name. delighted, madam, to see you here," said the President, shaking me cordially by the hand. I then
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introduced my son, saying that I should hope to see the President again. “ At all times, madam, you will be most welcome.” And he has faithfully kept this encouraging promise; in public and in private I have ever received from him and from Mrs. Polk the utmost kindness and con
This was my first introduction in Washington, and at this time it must be remembered that theUnited States were at variance, and might soon be at war, with Great Britain. Nor should it be omitted that the Americans, a high minded and sensitive people, jealous of their honour, have been the subjects of vulgar and ignorant remark by English travellers. But these circumstances never seemed to recur to their recollection; or rather they appeared additional reasons why they should extend to me a more than ordinary share of courtesy and hospitality. I was a stranger, a woman, and an invalid;this was enough for them. In my various interviews with the President he was ever cautious of making any remark which might even by inference give me pain, and he treated my feelings with respect as one devoted