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placing me at the head of their federal republic, I am still more pleased with a recollection of the manly conduct on their part, which, in the issue of an arduous struggle, put them into a condition to enjoy the blessings of a free government. It was owing to their steady and strenuous support, with the smiles of a gracious Providence, that I did not sink under the oppression I felt from a diffidence in my abilities to conduct their military operations. It was a distressing consideration, that so good a cause might be endangered by a single false step on the part of their general; but in such a cause, although surrounded with difficulties and dangers on every side, and in the midst of dark and gloomy prospects, it would have argued the most infamous pusillanimity to despair of the commonwealth. Seconded by such a body of yeomanry, as repaired to the standard of liberty, fighting in their own native land, fighting for all that freemen hold dear, and whose docility soon supplied the place of discipline, it was scarcely in human nature, under its worst character, to abandon them in their misfortunes ; nor is it for me to claim any singular title to merit for having shared in a common danger, and triumphed with them, after a series of the severest toil and most accumulated distress, over a formidable foe.
The value of liberty was thus enhanced in our estimation by the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of characters appreciated by the trial of adversity. The tempest of war having at length been succeeded by the sunshine of peace, our citizensoldiers impressed a useful lesson of patriotism on mankind, by nobly returning with impaired constitutions and unsatisfied claims, after such long sufferings and severe disappointments, to their former occupations.
Posterity, as well as the present age, will doubtless regard with admiration and gratitude the patience, perseverance, and valor, which achieved our revolution. They will cherish the remembrance of virtues, which had but few parallels in former times, and which will add new lustre to the most splendid page of history.
If there be for me any peculiarly just subject of exultation, and with an honest pride I avow the fact, it is in being the citizen of a country, whose inhabitants were so enlightened and disinterested, as to sacrifice local prejudices and temporary systems for the sake of rendering secure and permanent that independence, which had been the price of so much treasure and blood. Animated with the hope of transmitting to posterity the spirit of a free constitution in its native purity, they have, since the conclusion of the war, evinced the rectitude of their principles, as well as proved themselves, by their practice, worthy of iheir successes.
For myself, notwithstanding my former intentions and declarations, I could not hesitate to return to public life, when, from all the circumstances within my knowledge, I had collected it to be my duty , because it was apparently the wish of a whole nation. Nor shall I regret the loss of that tranquillity in retirement, which my time of life and state of health seemed in some measure to authorize and require, if I may still be an instrument of any good to that country, which has continued to assist my administration with such generous and unlimited confidence.
I pray you to be persuaded, that, while I receive with great sensibility such repeated proofs of the partiality of my fellow-citizens in my favor, I feel increasing obligations to devote my labors unremittingly to the public service, and, with the benediction of
the great Father of the Universe on our councils, to use my best endeavours, that the American people, who have of right assumed an independent station amongst the nations of the earth, should for ever remain a great, respectable, and happy nation.
TO THE FREEMEN OF THE TOWN OF NEWPORT.
August 16th, 1790.
GENTLEMEN, I receive with emotions of satisfaction the kind address of the citizens of Newport on my arrival in this State.
Although I am not ignorant how much the worthy inhabitants of this town have been injured in their circumstances by their patriotic sufferings and services, yet I must be allowed to say, that nothing on their part has been wanting to convince me of their affection to myself and attachment to the government over which I am appointed to preside.
I request, Gentlemen, you will be persuaded, that I take a due interest in your particular situation, and that I join with you in anticipating the happy period when, in our country at large, commerce, arts, manufactures, and agriculture shall attain the highest degree of improvement.
My expressions would but faintly communicate my feelings, should I enlarge beyond the proper limits of an answer to your address, in evincing my sensibility of your affectionate wishes for my felicity in the present and future state of existence. It will be a better proof of my zeal for the prosperity of the inhabitants
of this town, and their fellow-citizens of this State, to lose no opportunity of attending to the advancement of their interests, in combination with the general welfare of the community. This I shall do with unfeigned satisfaction ; and may all the happiness be theirs, which can result in their social character from the uniform practice of industry, virtue, fraternal kindness, and universal philanthropy.
TO THE MASTER, WARDENS, AND BRETHREN OF KING DAVID'S LODGE IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND.
August 16th, 1790.
I receive the welcome, which you give me to Rhode Island, with pleasure; and I acknowledge my obligations for the flattering expressions of regard, contained in your address, with grateful sincerity.
Being persuaded, that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the society, and be considered by them a deserving brother.
My best wishes, Gentlemen, are offered for your individual happiness.
TO THE CORPORATION OF RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE.
August 17TH, 1790.
GENTLEMEN, The circumstances, which have, until this time, prevented you from offering your congratulations on my advancement to the station I hold in the government of the United States, do not diminish the pleasure I feel in receiving this flattering proof of your affection and esteem ; for which I request you will accept my thanks.
In repeating thus publicly my sense of the zeal you displayed for the success of the cause of your country, I only add a single suffrage to the general testimony, which all, who were acquainted with you in the most adverse and doubtful moments of our struggle for liberty and independence, have constantly borne in your favor.
While I cannot remain insensible to the indulgence, with which you regard the influence of my example and the tenor of my conduct, I rejoice in having so favorable an opportunity of felicitating the State of Rhode Island on the coöperation I am sure to find in the measures adopted by the guardians of literature in this place, for improving the morals of the rising generation, and inculcating upon their minds principles peculiarly calculated for the preservation of our rights and liberties. You may rely on whatever protection I may be able to afford in so important an object as the education of our youth.
I will now conclude, Gentlemen, by expressing my acknowledgments for the tender manner in which you mention the restoration of my health on a late occasion, and with ardent wishes that Heaven may pros