May 17, 1789
The President of the United States wishes to avail himself of your sentiments on the following points.
1. Whether a line of conduct, equally distant from an association with all kinds of company on the one hand, and from a total seclusion from society on the other, ought to be adopted by him? And in that case, how is it to be done?
2. What will be the least exceptionable method of bringing any system, which may be adopted on this subject, before the public and into use?
3. Whether, after a little time, one day in every week will not be sufficient for receiving visits of compliment?
4. Whether it would tend to prompt impertinent applications, and involve disagreeable consequences, to have it known that the President will, every morning at eight o’clock, be at leisure to give audience to persons who may have business with him?
5. Whether, when it shall have been understood that the President is not to give general entertainments in the manner the presidents of congress have formerly done, it will be practicable to draw such a line of discrimination, in regard to persons, as that six, eight, or ten official characters, including in rotation the members of both houses of congress, may be invited, personally or otherwise, to dine with him on the days fixed for receiving company, without exciting clamors in the rest of the community?
6. Whether it would be satisfactory to the public for the President to make about four great entertainments in a year, on such great occasions as the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the alliance with France, the peace with Great Britain, the organization of the general government; and whether arrangements of these two last kinds could be in danger of diverting too much of the President’s time from business, or of producing the evils which it was intended to avoid by his living more recluse than the presidents of congress have hitherto lived?
7. Whether there would be any impropriety in the President’s making informal visits; that is to say, in his calling upon his acquaintances or public characters, for the purpose of sociability or civility? And what, as to the form of doing it, might evince these visits to have been made in his private character, so as that they may not be construed into visits from the President of the United States? And in what light would his visits rarely at tea-parties be considered?
8. Whether, during the recess of congress, it would not be advantageous to the interests of the union for the President to make the tour of the United States, in order to become better acquainted with their principal characters and internal circumstances, as well as to be more accessible to numbers of well-informed persons, who might give him useful information and advice on political subjects?
9. If there is a probability that either of the arrangements may take place, which will eventually cause additional expenses, whether it would not be proper that these ideas should come into contemplation at the time when congress shall make a permanent provision for the support of the executive?
Labels: Works of John Adams