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ating dispositions, and that they should prove themselves not less virtuous and useful as citizens, than they have been victo. rious as soldiers. What though there should be some envious individuals, who are unwilling to pay the debt the public has contracted, or to yield the tribute due to merit, yet, let such unworthy treatment produce no invective, or any instance of intemperate conduct. Let it be remembered, that the unbiassed voice of the free citizens of the United States, has promised the just reward, and given the merited applause. Let it be known and remembered, that the reputation of the federal armies is established beyond the reach of malevolence; and let a consciousness of their atchievements and fame, still excite the men who composed them to honorable actions, under the persuasion that the private virtues of economy, prudence and industry, will not be less amiable in civil life, than the more splendid qualities of valor, perseverance and enterprize were in the field. · Every one may rest assured that much, very much of the future happiness of the officers and men, will depend upon the wise and manly conduct which shall be adopted by them, when they are mingled with the great body of the community. And although the general has so frequently given it as his opinion, in the most public and explicit manner, that unless the principles of the federal government were properly supported, and the powers of the union encreased, the honor, dignity and justice of the nation would be lost forever : yet he cannot help repeating on this occasion so interesting a sentiment, and leaving it as his last injunction to every officer and every soldier who may view the subject in the same serious point of light, to add his best endeavors to those of his worthy fellow-citizens, towards effecting these great and valuable purposes, on which very existence as a nation so materially depends.
The commander in chief conceives little is now wanting to enable the soldier to change the military character into that of the citizen, but that steady, decent tenor of behavior, which has generally distinguished not only the army under his immediate command, but the different detachments and armies through the course of the war. From their good sense and prudence he anticipates the happiest consequences; and while he congratulátės them on the glorious occasion which renders their services in the field no longer necessary, he wishes to express the strong obligations he feels himself under for the assistance he has received from every elass, and in every instance. He presents his thanks in the most serious and affectionate männer, to the general officers as well for their councils on many interesting occasions, as for their ardor in promoting the success of the plans he had adopted. To the commandants of régiments and corps, and to the other officers, for their zeal and attention in carrying his orders promptly into execution to the staff 'for their alacrity and exactness in performing the duties of their several departments, and to the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers, for their extraordinary patience and suffering; as well as their invincible fortitude in action. To the varioüs branches of the armiy, the general takes this fast and so: lemn opportunity of professing his inviolable attachment and friendship. He wishes more than bare professions were in his power, that he was really able to be useful to them all in future life. He flatters himself, however, they will do him the justice to believe that whatever could with propriety be attempted by him, lias been done.
And being now to conclude these his last public orders, to take his ultimate leave in a short time of the military characa ter, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he ha's so long had the honor to command, he can only again offer in their behalf, his recommendations to their gråteful 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 for others. With these wishes, and this 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 forever.
GEORGE WASHINGTON TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES,
ANNOUNCING HIS INTENTION OF RETIRING FROM PUBLIC
Friends and fellow-citizens, THE HE period for a new election of a citizen to administer the
executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the persor., who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may' conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
I BEG you at the same time to do me the justice to be ass sured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country ; and that in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my situation will im. ply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for
future interest ; no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kind* ness; but am supported by a full conviction, that the step is compatible with both.
The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto, in the office to which your suffrages has twice called me; have been an uniformi sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a defer: ence for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at libertỳ to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to des clare it to you ; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the una
nimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.
I REJOICE that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety: and am persuaded whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove
determination to retire.
The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust I will only say, that I have with good intentions contributed towards the organization and administration of the government, the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the out-set, of the inferiority of any qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the encreasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to be. lieve, that while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.
In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public 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 niore for the stedfast 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 appearances sometimes dubious vicis
situdes 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 virtuethat, 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.
HERĖ, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude, for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehen. sion of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solenin contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments, which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable ob. servation, 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. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentia ments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.
INTERWOVEN as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine -is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pil.