« AnteriorContinuar »
giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure—which a just pride ought to discard.
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations ! but, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit; to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue; to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
How far, in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter, or divert me from it.
After a deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest, to take a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverance and firmness. The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will be best referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been, to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects, not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, 1 fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government; the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours, and dangers.
G. WASHINGTON. United States, 17th September, 1796. 6 ..
WASHINGTON AND THE SIGNERS.
George WASHINGTON—born in the county of Westmoreland, Virginia, on the 22d day of February, A. D. 1732. He lost his father at an early age, and was indebted to the wisdom of his mother for the foundation of his subsequent greatness and un paralled usefulness—died on the 14th of December, A. D. 1799, at Mount Vernon, situated on the west bank of the Potomac, sixteen miles below the City of Washington. October 7, 1837, his remains were removed to a new vault, near the old one, and placed in a highly finished marble sarcophagus, constructed and . presented by Mr. Struthers of this city. They were in a state of preservation, unprecedented in this climate.
In life, taken as a grand whole, he has had no equal. He was like the blazing luminary in the firmament, eclipsing the lights of other days and of his own time, with the more brilliant resulgence and greater volume of his own. His triumphant career crowned him with fresher and greener laurels, with a richer and nobler greatness, than can be justly claimed for any other man of ancient or modern history. A sacred halo surrounds his name, his fame is imperishable, his god-like actions will be rehearsed by millions yet unborn, his memory will be cherished and revered through all future time.
Adams, Samuel-born at Boston, Mass., Sept. 22, 1722. He was educated at Harvard college, for the gospel ministry, but was diverted from this profession by the event of the American Revolution—died, October 3, 1803.
Adams, John-born at Quincy, Mass., Oct. 19, O. S., 30, N.S., 1735. He graduated at Harvard college, at the age of twentydied, July 4, 1826, about four o'clock in the afternoon, a few hours subsequent to the demise of Thomas Jefferson.
BARTLETT, JOSIAH-born at Amesburg, Mass., in Nov. 1729. He received an academical education, studied medicine under Dr. Ordway, became a successful practitioner—died, May 19, 1795.
BRAXTON, CARTER—born at Newington, Va., September 10, 1736, was educated at the college of William and Mary-died, of paralysis, October 10, 1797.
CARROLL, CHARLES, of Carrollton-born at Annapolis, Md., September 20, 1737—was a man of liberal views, pure patriotism, and universal charity. He died, November 14, 1832.
CLARK, ABRAHAM-born at Elizabethtown, N.J., February 15, 1726. He was a self-taught man, with a clear head and good heart-died suddenly, from a stroke of the sun, in June, 1794.
Clymer, George—born in Philadelphia, in 1739. He lost his father at the age of seven, and was brought up by his uncle, William Coleman. He was a man of great originality, a virtuoso, an amateur, a logician, a mathematician, and a philosopherdied, January 24, 1813.
Chase, SAMUEL-born in Somerset county, Md., April 17, 1741. He was a lawyer by profession, a man of warm temperament, bold, open, independent, honest, patriotic, and pure in motive. He headed the party that commenced the burning of stamped paper-died, June 19, 1811.
ELLERY, WILLIAM-born at Newport, R. I., Dec. 22, 1727. He was educated at Cambridge college, and graduated at the age of twenty. He was a successful practitioner at the bar, a man of energy and magnanimity of soul-died, Feb. 15, 1820.
Floyd, WILLIAM-born at Suffolk county, N. Y., Dec. 17, 1734. He was liberally educated, enjoyed an ample fortune, was a man of great urbanity and of an amiable dispositiondied, after four days' illness, August 1, 1821.
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN—born, Jan. 17, 1706—was a self-made man, a sage, patriot, and philosopher. He was the first man who made a plaything of lightning, and invented the conductor of that powerful element-died at Philadelphia, April 17, 1790.
Gerry, ELBRIDGE—born at Marblehead, Mass., July 17,1744. He was a graduate of Harvard college, was in the front rank of
of motive. He heen independent, lion, a man of u
patriots, and was elected Vice President of the U. S., in 1812– died at Washington city, November 23, 1814, highly esteemed and deeply mourned.
Gwinnett, Button-born in England, in 1732, and settled in Georgia, where he rose, politically, with the rapidity of a kite in a gale of wind. He fell as suddenly, a victim to the unhallowed practice of duelling, and died from his wounds, May 27, 1777.
Hall, LYMAN-born in Connecticut in 1721. He graduated at Yale College, studied medicine, and settled at St. John's, Ga., where he became a successful practitioner, and the advocate of FREEDOM-died, 'in 1790, deeply lamented by his numerous friends and acquaintances.
HANCOCK, John-born in Quincy, Mass., in 1737. He graduated at Cambridge college at the early age of seventeen, and was among the first who raised the standard of liberty in our beloved country. He was a man of elegant person and manners, and worthy of the great esteem he enjoyed-died of the gout, October 8, 1793.
HARRISON, Benjamin_born in Berkeley, Va. Of the time, no record can be found. He was a graduate of William and Mary college, and at an early age became a stern opposer of British oppression—died of the gout in April, 1791.
Hart, John—was born at Hopewell, Hunterdon county, N. J., in 1715. His father fought along with Wolfe on the heights of Abraham, and raised a volunteer company called the “ Jersey Blues," a name still cherished and retained in that state. John Hart was a good farmer, a firm patriot, and an honest mandied in 1780, from exposure caused by the enemy.
Hewes, Joseph-born at Kingston, N. J., in 1730. He was educated at Princeton college, and after graduating, became a successful merchant in Wilmington, N. C. He was a zealous whig, and made great personal sacrifices for his country-died in October, 1790.
HEYWARD, THOMAS— born in the parish of St. Luke, S. C., in 1740. He had a liberal education, was a good lawyer, and a sterling patriot-died in March, 1809.
HOOPER, WILLIAM-born at Boston, Mass., June 17, 1743,