Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on the Time, Place,
and Manner of the President-Elect Taking the
Oath of Office1
[Philadelphia, February 28, 1793]2
If the qualification is to be in private, T.J, A.H H.K and E.R, are of opinion, that Mr. Cushing3 should administer the oath to the President at his own house, where such officers, or others, as he may notify, will attend. T.J. and A.H. think, that it ought to be in private.
H.K. and E.R. on the other hand think, that the qualification ought to be in public: and that the Marshal of the district should prepare the house of Representatives for the purpose where Mr. Cushing shall administer the oath. The Prest. to go without form, accompanied with such gentlemen, as he thinks proper, and return preceded by the Marshall.
Monday, 12 o’clock, is presumed to be the best time.
But as the mode will be considered by the public, as originating with the President, it is submitted to him for his decision.
D, in the handwriting of Edmund Randolph, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.
1. For background to this document, see George Washington to H and Henry Knox, February 27, 1793.
Jefferson’s account of this meeting reads as follows: “Feb. 28. Knox, E. R. and myself met at Knox’s where Hamilton was also to have met, to consider the time manner & place of the President’s swearing in. Hamilton had been there before & had left his opn with Knox. To wit, that the Presid. shd. ask a judge to attend him in his own house to administer the oath in the presence of the heads of deptmts, which oath should be deposited in the Secy. of state’s office. I concurred in this opn. E. R. was for the President’s going to the Senate chamber to take the oath, attended by the Marshal of the U.S. who should then make proclmn &c. Knox was for this and for adding the house of Repr. to the presence, as they would not yet be departed. Our individl. opns were written to be communicated to the Presidt. out of which he might form one …” (AD, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress).
This account is printed in the “Anas,” Ford, Writings of Jefferson description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1892–1899). description ends , I, 221–22.
2. This document is incorrectly dated February 27. According to Jefferson and Washington the cabinet met on February 28 (AD, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress; JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 61, 63).
3. William Cushing, associate justice of the Supreme Court.