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Friends and Fellow-Citizens:
A SOLICITUDE for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments, which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a People. . These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. .
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 of 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.
September 17th, 1796.
If we look over the catalogue of the first magistrates of nations, whether they have been denominated Presidents or Consuls, Kings or Princes, where shall we find one, whose commanding talents and virtues, whose overruling good fortune, have so completely united all hearts and voices in his favor? who enjoyed the esteem and admiration of foreign nations, and fellow-citizens, with equal unanimity? Qualities so uncommon are no common blessings to the country that possesses them. By these great qualities, and their benign effects, has Providence marked out the Head of this Nation, with a hand so distinctly visible, as to have been seen by all men, and mistaken by JOHN ADAMS, 1789.
His example is complete; and it will teach wisdom and virtue to Magistrates, Citizens, and Men, not only in the present age, but in future generations. JOHN ADAMS, 1799.
The only man in the United States, who possessed the confidence of all. There was no other one, who was considered as any thing more than a party leader.
The whole of his character was in its mass perfect, in nothing bad, in a few points indifferent. And it may be truly said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance.