George Washington braved the dangers of war, had horses shot out from under him, and ventured into enemy territory during battle to return a lost dog to its owner – but no one ever claimed to witness him being the least bit nervous until he stood before Congress on April 30, 1789, and gave his inaugural address as the first President of the United States. Source

Senator William Maclay of Pennsylvania observed that ‘even the great Washington trembled when he faced the assembled representatives and senators:’ “This great man was agitated and embarrassed, more than ever he was by the levelled Cannon or pointed Musket.”

The first line of Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30 1789: “Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month.”

Photo: National Archives