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spirit of justice, candour, and friendship, on the part of the republic, will eventually en
“ In pursuing this course, however, I cannot forget what is due to the character of our government and nation, or to a full and entire confidence in the good sense, patriotism, self-respect, and fortitude of my country
This address was concluded in these
pathetic terms :-“ The situation in which I now stand for the last time, in the midst of the representatives of the people of the United States, naturally recals the period when the administration of the present form of government commenced; and I cannot omit the occasion to congratulate you and my country on the success of the experiment, nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the universe and sovereign Arbiter of nations, that his providential care may still be extended to the United States ; that the virtue and happiness of the people may be preserved; and that the government which they have instituted for the protection of their liberties inay be perpetual.”.
Washington rejoices at the prospect of retiring-Writes
to the secretary of state, denying the authenticity of letters said to be from him to J. P. Custis and Lund Washington in 1776.—Pays respect to his successor, Mr. John Adams.-Review of Washington's administration. He retires to mount Vernon.-Resumes agricultural pursuits.—Hears with regret the aggressions of the French republic.--Corresponds on the subject of his taking the command of an army to oppose the French.-Is appointed lieutenant-general. --His commission is sent to him by the secretary at war.--Directs the organisation of the proposed army, -Three envoys extraordinary sent to France; who adjust all disputes with Buonaparte, after the overthrow of the directory.-General Washington dies,
-Is honoured by congress and by the citizens. His character.
Tue pleasing emotions which are excited in ordinary men, on their acquisition of power, were inferior to those which Washington felt on the resignation of it. To his tried friend, general Knox, on the day preceding the termination of his office, he observed, in a letter, “ To the weary traveller, who sees a festing place and is bending his body to lean thereon, I now compare myself. Although the prospect of retirement is most grateful to my soul, and I haye not a wish to mix again
in the great world, or to partake in its
pon litics, yet I am not without my regrets at parting with (perhaps never more to meet) the few intimates whom I love. Among these, be assured, you are one.”
The bitter invectives and malignant calumnies of which Washington was the object, drew from him no public animadversion, except in one case, which was on the last day of his presidency. A volume of letters, said to be from general Washington to John Parke Custis, and Lund Washington, was published by the British in the year 1776, and was given to the public as being found in a small portmanteau, left in the care of the general's servant, who, it was said by the editor, had been taken prisoner in fort Lee. These letters were intended to produce in the public mind impressions unfavourable to the integrity of Washington, and to represent his inclination as at variance with his profession and duty. When the first edition of these spurious letters was forgotten, they were republished, during the civil administration of Washington, by some of his fellow-citizens who differed from him in politics. On the morning of the last day of his presidency, he addressed a letter to the secretary of state, in which, after enumerating all the facts and CC 4
dates connected with the forgery, and declaring that he had hitherto deemed it unnecessary to take any formal notice of the imposition ; he concluded as follows: " But as I cannot know how soon a more serious event may succeed to that which will this day take place, I have thought it a duty that I owed to myself, to my country, and to truth, now to detail the circumstances above recited, and to add
solemn declaration, that the letters herein described are a base forgery, and that I never saw or heard of them till they appeared in print. The present letter I commit to your care, and desire it
be deposited in the office of the department of state, as a testimony of the truth to the
present generation and to posterity.”
The moment now approached which was to terminate the official character of Washington, and in which that of his successor, John Adams, was to commence. The old and new president walked in together to the house of representatives, where the oath of office was administered to the latter. On this occasion Mr. Adams concluded an impressive speech with a handsome compliment to his predecessor, by observing, that though he was about to retire, “ his name may still be a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives, a bulwark against all open or secret enemies of his country.”
The immense concourse of citizens who were present, gazed on the retiring Washington with love and affection, while cheerfulness overspread his countenance, and joy filled his heart, on seeing another invested with the high authorities he had so long exercised, and the way opened for his returning to the longwished-for happiness of domestic private life. After paying the most respectful compliments to the new president, Washington set out for mount Vernon, the scene of enjoyment which he preferred to all others. His wish to travel privately was in vain, for wherever he passed, the gentlemen of the country took every occasion of testifying their respect for him. In his retirement, be continued to receive the most flattering addresses from legislative bodies and various classes of his fellow citizens.
During the eight years administration of Washington,, the United States rose in reputation, wealth, and credit. The debts contracted in the revolutionary war, which, from the imbecility of the old government, had greatly depreciated, were funded, and such ample revenues provided for the payment of the interest, and the gradual extinc