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claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.
"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I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the recti-, tude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union, and the patronage of Heaven.
"The successful termination of the war; has verified the most sanguine expectations;: and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous contest.
"While I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings, not to acknowledge in this place the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the persons who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me, Sir, to recommend in particular
particular those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favourable notice and patronage of
"I consider it as 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.
Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action, and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life."
This address being ended, general Washington advanced, and delivered his commission* into the hands of the president of congress, who replied as follows:
* The commission now returned to congress had been received from them shortly after the commencement of hostilities. It was accompanied with an unanimous resolution of the delegates of the United Coloies; "That they would maintain, assist, and adhere to George Washington with their lives and fortunes in the cause of American liberty." The commission, drawn by a special committee, was in the following words":
"The United States in congress assembled receive with emotions too affecting for utterance, the solemn resignation of the authorities. under which you have led their troops with success through a perilous and doubtful war.
Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge before it had formed alliances, and, whilst it was without friends or a government to support you.
"You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude. Invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes, you have, by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered till these United States, aided
"To George Washington, esquire.
"We, reposing special trust and conuuence in your patriotism, valour, conduct, and fidelity, do by these presents, constitute and appoint you to be general and commander in chief of the army of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, or to be raised by them, and of all others who shall voluntarily offer their service, and join the said army for the defence of American liberty, and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof; and you are hereby vested with full power and authority to art as you shall think for the good and welfare of the service. "And we do hereby strictly charge and require all
by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled under a júst Providence to close the war in freedom, safety, and independence. On which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations."
Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world, having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict and to those who feel oppression, you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessing of your fellow citizens. But the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command, it will continue to animate remotest ages. We feel with you our obligations to the army in general, and will particularly charge ourselves with the interests of these confidential officers who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
officers and soldiers under your command, to be obedient to your orders, and diligent in the exercise of their several duties,
"And we do also enjoin and require you to be careful in executing the great trust reposed in you, by causing strict discipline and order to be observed in the army, and that the soldiers be duly exercised and provided with all convenient necessaries.
"And you are to regulate your conduct in every respect by the rules and discipline of war, (as herewith given you) and punctually to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time as you shall re
"We join with you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protec-. tion of Almighty God, beseeching Him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded to them, of becoming a happy and respectable nation; and for you, we address to Him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved may be fostered with all His care, that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious, and that He will finally give you that reward which this world cannot give."
The military services of general Washington, which ended with this interesting day, were as great as ever were performed by any man to any nation. They were at the same time disinterested. How dear would not a mercenary man have sold such toils, such
ceive from this or a future congress of these United Colonies, or committee of congress.
"This commission to continue in force until revoked by this or a future congress.
"By order of congress,
Peyton Randolph, President.
"Charles Thomson, Secretary."
At the time this commission was accepted, the United States were without established government, arms, magazines, forts, money, trade, navy, disciplined troops, experienced generals and allies. At the same time they