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piness, and respectability of our country will be no less an object, than they have heretofore been, I feel a peculiar satisfaction.
If the sentiments, which I expressed on the eve of my retirement from public life, meet the approbation of my countrymen, I must feel highly gratified; for they were the pure sentiments of my heart, founded on the experience, which I had in life, and matured by the best reflection I could give them.
Although guided by our excellent constitution in the discharge of official duties, and actuated, through the whole course of my public life, solely by a wish to promote the best interests of our country ; yet, without the beneficent interposition of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we could not have reached the distinguished situation which we have attained with such unprecedented rapidity. To Him, therefore, should we bow with gratitude and reverence, and endeavour to merit a continuance of his special favors.
Deeply and gratefully impressed by your affectionate addresses and benevolent wishes, I shall not fail to supplicate the throne of grace, that the best of Heaven's blessings may rest upon your State and upon yourselves individually.
TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF
FEBRUARY 17TH, 1797. GENTLEMEN, The kindness of my fellow-citizens has given me frequent occasion to make my acknowledgments for their expressions of confidence, attachment, and affection ; and for their honorable testimonies, that my public cares and labors have been useful to my country. With great satisfaction I receive your additional testimonies, that, as a public man, I have not lived in vain.
Though now seeking that repose, which retirement and the tranquil pursuit of rural affairs are calculated to afford, and which my time of life requires, the love of my country will indeed suffer no abatement; its safety and prosperity will be essential to the enjoyment of my remaining years. And I confide in the discernment and patriotism of my fellow-citizens for the choice of wise and virtuous men, who will successively administer every branch of the government in such manner, as, under divine Providence, to insure the general happiness.
For your affectionate wishes for my present and future happiness, accept, Gentlemen, my cordial thanks.
TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
OF MASSACHUSETTS, IN A LETTER TO THE SENATORS IN CONGRESS FROM THAT STATE.
have delivered to me from the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, sentiments as honorable to them as to me, have excited the most grateful emotions. Whatever services I have rendered to my country, in its general approbation I have received an ample reward. Having nothing in view, but to vindicate its rights, secure its liberty, and promote its happiness, I might expect the most efficient aid and support in the exertions of able and upright men, and in the general spirit of my fellowcitizens.
All this I have experienced ; and our united efforts have resulted in our independence, peace, and prosperity. And I entertain the pleasing hope, that the intelligence and superior information of my fellowcitizens, enabling them to discern their true interests, will lead them to the successive choice of wise and virtuous men to watch over, protect, and promote them, who, while they pursue those maxims of moderation, equity, and prudence, which will entitle our country to perpetual peace, will cultivate that fortitude and dignity of sentiment, which are essential to the maintenance of our liberty and independence.
Should it please God, according to the prayers of your constituents, to grant me health and long life, my greatest enjoyment will be to behold the prosperity of my country; and the affection and attachment of my fellow-citizens, through the whole period of my public employments, will be the subject of my most agreeable recollections; while the belief, which the affecting sentiments of the people of Massachusetts, expressed by their Senate and House of Representatives, with those of my fellow-citizens in general, have inspired, that I have been the happy instrument of much good to my country and to mankind, will be a source of unceasing gratitude to Heaven.
TO THE CLERGY OF DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS, RESIDING IN AND NEAR THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA.
GENTLEMEN, Not to acknowledge, with gratitude and sensibility, the affectionate addresses and benevolent wishes of my fellow-citizens on my retiring from public life, would prove, that I have been unworthy of the confidence, which they have been pleased to repose in
And among those public testimonies of attachment and approbation, none can be more grateful, than that of so respectable a body as yours.
Believing, as I do, that religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society, I view, with unspeakable pleasure, that harmony and brotherly love, which characterizes the clergy of different denominations, as well in this, as in other parts of the United States; exhibiting to the world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our country and the surest basis of universal harmony.
That your labors for the good of mankind may be crowned with success, that your temporal enjoyments may be commensurate with your merits, and that the future reward of good and faithful servants may be yours, I shall not cease to supplicate the Divine Author of life and felicity.*
* See APPENDIX, No. IV.
TO THE CITIZENS OF ALEXANDRIA AND ITS
GENTLEMEN, In the character of a private citizen, I have the honor to receive your Address, and I do it with all the sensibility that gratitude, friendship, and affection can excite.
Having obeyed the call of my country, and spent the prime of my life in rendering it the best services of which my abilities were capable, and finding that the infirmities of age were creeping upon me, it became as necessary, as it was congenial to my feelings, to seek in the shades of retirement the repose I had always contemplated.
To have finished my public career to the satisfaction of my fellow-citizens, will, to my latest moments, be matter of pleasing reflection; and to find an evidence of this approbation among my neighbours and friends (some of whom have been the companions of my juvenile years) will contribute not a little to heighten this enjoyment.
No wish in my retirement can exceed that of seeing our country happy ; and I can entertain no doubt of its being so, if all of us act the part of good citizens, contributing our best endeavours to maintain the constitution, support the laws, and guard our independence against all assaults from whatsoever quarter they may come. Clouds may, and doubtless often will, in the vicissitudes of events, hover over our political concerns; but a steady adherence to these principles will not only dispel them, but render our prospect the brighter by such temporary obscurities.