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of all descriptions upon my election to the Presidency of these United States.
I fear, Gentlemen, your goodness has led you to form too exalted an opinion of my virtues and merits. If such talents as I possess have been called into action by great events, and those events have terminated happily for our country, the glory should be ascribed to the manifest interposition of an overruling Providence. My military services have been abundantly recompensed by the flattering approbation of a grateful people; and if a faithful discharge of my civil duties can insure a like reward, I shall feel myself richly compensated for any personal sacrifice I may have made by engaging again in public life.
The citizens of the United States of America have given as signal a proof of their wisdom and virtue, in framing and adopting a constitution of government without bloodshed or the intervention of force, as they, upon a former occasion, exhibited to the world, of their valor, fortitude, and perseverance; and it must be a pleasing circumstance to every friend of good order and social happiness to find, that our new government is gaining strength and respectability among the citizens of this country, in proportion as its operations are known and its effects felt.
You, Gentlemen, act the part of pious Christians and good citizens by your prayers and exertions to preserve that harmony and good will towards men, which must be the basis of every political establishment; and I readily join with you, that, “ while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support."
I am deeply impressed with your good wishes for my present and future happiness, and I beseech the Almighty to take you and yours under his special care.
TO THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY CALLED QUAKERS, AT
THEIR YEARLY MEETING FOR PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, AND THE WESTERN PART OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA.
GENTLEMEN, I receive with pleasure your affectionate address, and thank you for the friendly sentiments and good wishes, which you express for the success of my administration and for my personal happiness.
We have reason to rejoice in the prospect, that the present national government, which, by the favor of Divine Providence, was formed by the common counsels and peaceably established with the common consent of the people, will prove a blessing to every denomination of them. To render it such, my best endeavours shall not be wanting.
Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the persons and consciences of men from oppression, it certainly is the duty of rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but, according to their stations, to prevent it in others.
The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights. While men perform their social duties faithfully, they do all that society or the state can with propriety demand or expect; and remain responsible only to their Maker for the religion, or modes of faith, which they may prefer or profess.
Your principles and conduct are well known to me; and it is doing the people called Quakers no more than justice to say, that (except their declining to share with others the burthen of the common defence) there is no denomination among us, who are more exemplary and useful citizens.
I assure you very explicitly, that in my opinion the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard to the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify and permit.
TO THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE
GENTLEMEN,* Could any acknowledgment, which language might convey, do justice to the feelings excited by your partial approbation of my past services, and your affectionate wishes for my future happiness, I would endeavour to thank you ; but, to minds disposed as yours are, it will suffice to observe, that your address meets a most grateful reception, and is reciprocated, in all its wishes, with an unfeigned sincerity.
If the prosperity of our common country has, in any degree, been promoted by my military exertions, the toils which attend them have been amply rewarded by the approving voice of my fellow-citizens. I
* The President was now on a tour through the eastern States. He left New York on the 15th of October, and returned on the 13th of November. VOL. XII. 22
was but the humble agent of favoring Heaven, whose benign interference was so often manifested in our behalf, and to whom the praise of victory alone is due.
In launching again on the ocean of events, I have obeyed a summons, to which I can never be insensible. When my country demands the sacrifice, personal ease must always be a secondary consideration.
I cannot forego this opportunity to felicitate the legislature of Connecticut on the pleasing prospect, which an abundant harvest presents to its citizens. May industry like theirs ever receive its reward, and may the smile of Heaven crown all endeavours, which are prompted by virtue, among which it is but justice to estimate your assurance of supporting our equal government.
TO THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
OCTOBER 27TH, 1789.
GENTLEMEN, To communicate the peculiar pleasure, which I derive from your affectionate welcome of me to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, requires a force of expression beyond that which I possess. I am truly grateful for your goodness towards me, and I desire to thank you with the unfeigned sincerity of a feeling heart.
Your obliging remembrance of my military services is among the highest compensations they can receive; and, if rectitude of intention may authorize the hope, the favorable anticipation which you are pleased to express of my civil administration will not, I trust, be disappointed.
It is your happiness, Gentlemen, to preside in the councils of a commonwealth, where the pride of independence is well assimilated with the duties of society, and where the industry of the citizens gives the fullest assurance of public respect and private prosperity.
I have observed, too, with singular satisfaction, so becoming an attention to the militia of the State, as presents the fairest prospect of support to the invaluable objects of national safety and peace.
Long may these blessings be continued to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And may you, Gentlemen, in your individual capacities, experience every satisfaction, which can result from public honor and private happiness.
TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE TOWN OF BOSTON.
OCTOBER 27TH, 1789.
GENTLEMEN, The obligations, which your goodness has imposed upon me, demand my grateful acknowledgments. Your esteem does me honor, and your affection communicates the truest pleasure. By endeavouring to deserve, I will indulge the hope of retaining them.
Overrating my services, you have ascribed consequences to them, in which it would be injustice to deny a participation to the virtue and firmness of my worthy fellow-citizens of this respectable town and commonwealth.