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I CANNOT express how greatly affected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleased to make the communication ; at the same time I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that the choice had fallen upon a man less declined in years, and better qualified to encounter the usual vicissitudes of war,
You know, Sir, what calculation I had made relative to the probable course of events, on my retiring from office, and the determination I had consoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode : you will therefore be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclusion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.
It was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the directory of France towards our country; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it ; the evident tendency of their acts and those of their agents to countenance and invigorate opposition ; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce ; their treatment of our ministers of peace; and their demands, amounting to tribute, could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in their affectionate addresses to you. Believe me, Sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your
administration.—They ought to inspire universal confidence, and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis.
SATISFIED, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavored to avert war, and exhausted, to the last drop, the сир of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause ; and may confidently trust the
final result to that kind Providence who has heretofore, and so often, signally favored the people of these United States.
THINKING in this manner, and feeling how incumbent it is upon every person of every description, to contribute at all times to his country's welfare, and especially in a moment like the present, when every thing we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threatened ; I have finally determined to accept the commission of cominander in chief of the armies of the United States; with the reserve only, that I shall not be called into the field until the army is in a situation to require my presence, or it becomes indispensible by the urgency of circumstances.
In making this reservation, I beg it to be understood, that I do not mean to withhold
assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention, that I must decline having my acceptance considered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public ; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur expence.
The secretary of war being anxious to return to the seat of government, I have detained him no longer than was necessary to a full communication upon the several points he had in charge.
I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
GEN. WASHINGTON'S WILL.
VIRGINIA, FAIRFAX, ss.
I, GEORGE Dentale, clerk of Fairfax county court, do certify,
That the subsequent copy of the last will and testament of GEORGE WASHINGTON, deceased, late president of the United : States of America, wiib the schedule annexed, is a true copy from the original recorded in my office. In testimony whereof, I base bereunto set my band this 23d day of January, 1800.
GEO. DENEALE, C. F. C.
IN THE NAME OF GOD, Amen.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, of Mount Vernon, a citizen
of the United States, and lately president of the same, Do make, ordain and declare this instrument, which is written with my own hand, and every page thereof subscribed with my name*, to be my LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, revoking all others.
Imprimus.-All my debts, of which there are but few, and none of magnitude, are to be punctually and speedily paid ; and the legacies herein after bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit, and in the manner directed.
Item.-To my dearly beloved wife, Martha Wasbington, I give and bequeath the use, profit and benefit of
whole estate, * In the original manuscript, GEORGE WASHINGTON's name is written at the bottom of every page.