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low-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
When, in the decline of life, I gratify the fond wish of my heart in retiring from public labors, and find the language of approbation and fervent prayers for future happiness following that event, my heart expands with gratitude, and my feelings become unutterable.
GRATITUDE TO THE COUNTRY.
In looking forward to the moment which is to terminate the career of my political life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country, for the many honors it has conferred upon me ; still more, for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me, and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed, of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal.
If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that, under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead; amidst appear
ances, sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which, not unfrequently, want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans, by which they were effected.
Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing wishes; that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence, that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual, that the free constitution which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained, that its administration, in every department, may be stamped with wisdom and virtue, that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory, of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.
HIS FAREWELL TO THE ARMY.
Being now to conclude these his last public orders, to take his ultimate leave, in a short time, of the military character, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honor to command, he can only again offer, in their behalf, his recommendations to
their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of Armies. May ample justice be done them here, and may the choicest of Heaven's favors, both here and hereafter, attend those who, under the Divine auspices, have secured innumerable blessings to others.
With these wishes, and his benediction, the Commander-in-chief is about to retire from service. The curtain of separation will soon be drawn, and the military scene to him will be closed for ever.
FAREWELL TO CONGRESS, AT THE CLOSE OF THE WAR.
Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States, of becoming a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffidence ; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.
I consider it an indispensable duty, to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to His holy keeping.
ON HIS RETURN TO MOUNT VERNON, AFTER THE WAR.
On the eve of
older man by
The scene is at last closed Christmas, I entered these doors, an nine years than when I left them. . . ginning to experience that ease and public cares, which, however desirable, takes some time to realize.
I am just befreedom from
It was not till lately, I could get the better of my usual custom of ruminating, as soon as I waked in the morning, on the business of the ensuing day; and of my surprise at finding, after revolving many things in my mind, that I was no longer a public man, nor had any thing to do with public transactions. 1783.
CONSECRATION OF THE PATRIOT'S WEAPONS.
To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords, or couteaux, of which I may die possessed; and they are to choose in the order they are named.
These swords are accompanied with an injunction, not to unsheath them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defence, or in defence of their country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands to the relinquishment thereof.
IV. DOMESTIC LIFE.
To his equals he was condescending, to his inferiors kind, and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender. General HENRY LEE, Dec. 26, 1799
Favored of heaven, he was blest in the most endearing relation of human society. The amiable and much respected partner of his happiness, enjoyed his affection and esteem, and was worthy to participate the honors of his exalted station.
Major WILLIAM JACKSON, Aid-de-camp to Washington,
He deserved and enjoyed both success and repose. Of all great men, he was the most virtuous and most fortunate. In this world, God has no higher favor to bestow. M. GUIZOT.
AT MOUNT VERNON, JUST AFTER HIS MARRIAGE.
I am now, I believe, fixed at this seat, with an agreeable partner for life; and I hope to find more happiness in retirement, than I ever experienced amidst the wide and bustling world.
* He married, on the 6th of January, 1759, Mrs. Martha Custis, widow of Colonel Daniel Parke Custis. Her maiden name was Dandridge. At the time of her marriage to Washington, she had a son and a daughter, both under seven years of age.