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TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.
GENTLEMEN, I receive with great sensibility the testimonial given by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, of the lively and unfeigned pleasure experienced by them on my appointment to the first office in the nation.
Although it will be my endeavour to avoid being elated by the too favorable opinion, which your kindness for me may have induced you to express of the importance of my former conduct and the effect of my future services, yet, conscious of the disinterestedness of my motives, it is not necessary for me to conceal the satisfaction I have felt upon finding, that my compliance with the call of my country, and my dependence on the assistance of Heaven to support me in my arduous undertakings, have, so far as I can learn, met the universal approbation of my countrymen.
While I reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven, as the source of all public and private blessings, I will observe, that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and economy seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and confirming the happiness of our country. While all men within our territories are protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences, it is rationally to be expected from them in return, that they will all be emulous of evincing the sanctity of their professions by the innocence of their lives and the beneficence of their actions ; for no man, who is prof
ligate in his morals, or a bad member of the civil community, can possibly be a true Christian, or a credit to his own religious society.
I desire you to accept my acknowledgments for your laudable endeavours to render men sober, honest, and good citizens, and the obedient subjects of a lawful government, as well as for your prayers to Almighty God for his blessing on our common country, and the humble instrument, which he has been pleased to make use of in the administration of its government.
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.
GENTLEMEN, I return to you individually, and, through you, to your society collectively in the United States, my thanks for the demonstrations of affection and the expressions of joy, offered in their behalf, on my late appointment. It shall still be my endeavour to manifest, by overt acts, the purity of my inclinations for promoting the happiness of mankind, as well as the sincerity of my desires to contribute whatever may be in my power towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American people. In pursuing this line of conduct, I hope, by the assistance of Divine Providence, not altogether to disappoint the confidence, which you have been pleased to repose in me.
It always affords me satisfaction, when I find a concurrence in sentiment and practice between all VOL. XII.
conscientious men in acknowledgments of homage to the great Governor of the Universe, and in professions of support to a just civil government. After mentioning, that I trust the people of every denomination, who demean themselves as good citizens, will have occasion to be convinced, that I shall always strive to prove a faithful and impartial patron of genuine, vital religion, I must assure you in particular, that I take in the kindest part the promise you make of presenting your prayers at the throne of grace for me, and that I likewise implore the divine benediction on yourselves and your religious community.
TO THE GENERAL COMMITTEE, REPRESENTING THE
ments for your congratulation on my appointment to the first office in the nation. The kind manner in which you mention my past conduct equally claims the expression of my gratitude.
After we had, by the smiles of Heaven on our exertions, obtained the object for which we contended, I retired, at the conclusion of the war, with an idea that my country could have no farther occasion for my services, and with the intention of never entering again into public life; but, when the exigencies of my country seemed to require me once more to engage in public affairs, an honest conviction of duty superseded my former resolution, and became my
apology for deviating from the happy plan which I had adopted.
If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension, that the constitution framed in the convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it; and, if I could now conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. For you doubtless remember, that I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.
While I recollect with satisfaction, that the religious society of which you are members have been, throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously the firm friends to civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution, I cannot hesitate to believe, that they will be the faithful supporters of a free, yet efficient general government. Under this pleasing expectation I rejoice to assure them, that they may rely on my best wishes and endeavours to advance their prosperity.
In the mean time be assured, Gentlemen, that I entertain a proper sense of your fervent supplications to God for my temporal and eternal happiness.
TO THE MINISTERS AND ELDERS OF THE GERMAN REFORMED CONGREGATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES.
GENTLEMEN, I am happy in concurring with you in the sentiments of gratitude and piety towards Almighty God, which are expressed with such fervency of devotion in your address; and in believing, that I shall always find in you, and the German Reformed Congregations in the United States, a conduct correspondent to such worthy and pious expressions.
At the same time, I return you my thanks for the manifestation of your firm purpose to support in your persons a government founded in justice and equity, and for the promise, that it will be your constant study to impress the minds of the people intrusted to your care with a due sense of the necessity of uniting reverence to such a government, and obedience to its laws, with the duties and exercises of religion.
Be assured, Gentlemen, it is by such conduct very much in the power of the virtuous members of the community to alleviate the burden of the important office which I have accepted, and to give me occasion to rejoice, in this world, for having followed therein the dictates of my conscience.
Be pleased, also, to accept my acknowledgments for the interest you so kindly take in the prosperity of my person, family, and administration. May your devotions before the throne of grace be prevalent in calling down the blessings of Heaven upon yourselves and your country.