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this voyage. What returns may be made for them, Heaven alone can foretell. Integrity and firmness are all I can promise. These, be the voyage long or short, shall never forsake me, though I may be deserted by all men; for, of the consolation to be derived from these the world cannot deprive me.


The delay [in the assembling of Congress] may be compared to a reprieve. In confidence I tell you, (with the world it would obtain little credit,) that my movements to the Chair of Government, will be accompanied by feelings, not unlike those of a culprit, who is going to the place of his execution. So unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode, for an ocean of difficulties, without that competency of political skill, abilities, and inclination, which are necessary to manage the helm.



The display of boats, which attended and joined on this occasion,† some with vocal, and others with instrumental, music on board; the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people, which rent the sky as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful,

*General Knox.

Ilis journey from Mount Vernon to New York.

ontemplating the reverse of this scene, which may be the case, after all our labors to do good,) as they were pleasing.


I require no guard but the affections of the people.



When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty, required, that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation.

From this resolution I have in no instance departed; and being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline, as inapplicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments, which may be indispensably included in the permanent provision for the Executive department; and must accordingly pray, that the pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed, may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures, as the public good may be thought to require.


When I was first called to the station, with which I was honored during the late conflict for our liberties, to the diffidence which I had so many reasons to feel

* He declined having a military escort, on his way to Congress.

in accepting it, I thought it my duty, to join a firm resolution to shut my hand against every pecuniary


To this resolution I have invariably adhered; and from it, if I had the inclination, I do not feel at liberty now to depart.



Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects, not to think it probable, that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty, to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend.

I shall also carry with me the hope, that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness, in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors, for several generations; I anticipate, with pleasing expectation, that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fel

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.



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.



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

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