SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENTS: (1) John Jay (1745-1829), of New York, served as chief justice 1789-1795. As the first chief justice, he established court procedure. While on the bench he negotiated Jay's Treaty (see "Administra-tion"). He resigned to serve as governor of New York. (2) John Rutledge (1739-1800), of South Carolina, served as associate justice 1789-1791.His appointment as chief justice in 1795 was rejected by the Senate. (3) William Gushing (1732-1810), of Massachusetts, served as associate justice 1789-1810. He was the only Supreme Court justice to persist in wearing the formal wig popular among British jurists. (4) James Wilson (1742-1798), of Pennsylvania, served as associate justice 1789-1798. A Scottish immigrant, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Speaking for the Court in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793), he ruled that a citizen of one state was entitled to sue another state, a decision so unpopular that it prompted passage of the Eleventh Amendment (1795), specifically nullifying it. (5) John Blah- (1732-1800), of Virginia, served as associate justice 1789-1796. A friend of Washington-they had served together as Virginia delegates to the Constitutional Convention-he brought to the bench many years of experience on Virginia state courts. (6) James Iredell (1751-1799), of North Carolina, served as associate justice 1790-1799. An English immigrant, he was at 38 the youngest member of the original Supreme Court. His lone dissent in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) formed the basis of the Eleventh Amendment (1795). (7) Thomas Johnson (1732-1819), of Maryland, served as associate justice 1791-1793. A friend of Washington since the Revolution, he served as the first governor of Maryland and chief judge of the state's General Court. He resigned from the Supreme Court for health reasons. (8) William Paterson (1745-1806), of New Jersey, served as associate justice 1793-1806. He helped draft the Judiciary Act of 1789 creating the federal court system. In Van Home's Lessee v. Dorrance (1795) he established the Court's authority to strike down as unconstitutional a duly enacted state law, a precedent that anticipated judicial review of federal laws. (9) Samuel Chase (1741-1811), of Maryland, served as associate justice 1796-1811. Irascible and acid tongued, his gratuitous attacks on President Jefferson in 1803 led the House to impeach him, but the Senate fell four votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction. He was the only Supreme Court justice to be impeached. Speaking for a unanimous Court in Ware v. Hilton (1796), he established the supremacy of national treaties over state laws. (10) Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807), of Connecticut, served as chief justice 1796-1800. He was the principal architect of the Judiciary Act of 1789, creating the federal court system. In United States v. La Vengeance (1796), he spoke for the majority in extending federal authority to all inland rivers and lakes.
RANKING IN 1962 HISTORIANS POLL: Washington ranked second of 31 presidents and second of 5 "great" presidents. He ranked above Franklin Roosevelt and below Lincoln.
RETIREMENT: March 4, 1797-December 14, 1799. Washington, 65, returned to Mount Vernon to oversee much-needed repairs. He played host, often reluctantly, to an endless parade of visitors, many longtime friends, others perfect strangers there just to ogle the former president and his family. Briefed on affairs of state by War Secretary McHenry and others, he maintained a keen interest in the course of the country. With tensions between the United States and France threatening to erupt into war in the wake of the XYZ Affair (see "John Adams, 2d President," "Administration"), Washington was commissioned lieutenant general and commander in chief of American forces on July 4, 1798, the only former president to hold such a post. He accepted the commission on the condition that he would take to the field only in case of invasion and that he had approval rights over the composition of the general staff. He promised the cause "all the blood that remains in my veins." Fortunately the undeclared "Quasi-War" that followed was limited to naval encounters and Washington's services were not required. In his last year Washington faced a liquidity crisis: Money owed him from the sale or rental of real estate was past due at a time when his taxes and entertainment bills were climbing. As a result, at age 67 he was compelled for the first time in his life to borrow money from a bank.
DEATH: December 14, 1799, after 10 P.M., Mount Vernon, Virginia. On the morning of December 12, Washington set out on horseback around the plantation. With temperatures hovering around freezing, it began to snow; this turned to sleet, then rain, and back to snow by the time Washington returned indoors five hours later. Still in his cold, wet clothes, he tended to some correspondence and ate dinner. Next morning he awoke with a sore throat, and later in the day his voice grew hoarse. About 2 A.M. on December 14 he awoke suddenly with severe chills and was having trouble breathing and speaking. Three doctors attended him-his personal physician and longtime friend Dr. James Craik and consultants Drs. Gustavus Richard Brown and Elisha Cullen Dick. They diagnosed his condition as inflammatory quinsy. The patient was bled on four separate occasions, a standard practice of the period. Washington tried to swallow a concoction of molasses, vinegar, and butter to soothe his raw throat but could not get it down. He was able to take a little calomel and tartar emetic and to inhale vinegar vapor, but his pulse remained weak throughout the day. The physicians raised blisters on his throat and lower limbs as a counter-irritant and applied a poultice, but neither was effective. Finally, Washington told his doctors to give up and about 10 P.M. spoke weakly to Tobias Lear, his fide, "I am just going. Have me decently buried and do not let my body be put into a vault in less than two days after I am dead. Do you understand me?" "Yes, sir," replied Lear. "'Tis well,"12 said Washington. These were his last words. Soon thereafter he died while taking his own pulse. After a lock of his hair was removed, his body was placed in a mahogany coffin bearing the Latin inscriptions Surge Ad Judicium and Gloria Deo. The funeral services, con ducted by the Reverend Thomas Davis on December 18, were far from the simple ceremony Washington had requested. A procession of mourners filed between two long rows of soldiers, a band played appropriate music, guns boomed in tribute from a ship anchored in the Potomac, and the Masonic order to which Washington belonged sent a large contingent. His remains were deposited in the family tomb at Mount Vernon. In his last will and testament, a