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THURSDAY, DEC. 19. The following Message was received from THE
PRESIDENT of the United States. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,
THE letter herewith transmitted will inform you, that it has pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life, our excellent fellow-citizen, GEORGE WASHINGTON, by the purity of his character, and a long series of services to his country, rendered illustrious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honour to his memory.
6 Mount Vernon, Dec. 16, 1799.
“ IT is with inexpressible grief that I have to announce to you the death of the great and good Gen. WASHINGTON. He died last evenning, between 10 and 11 o'clock, after a short illness of about twenty-four hours. His disorder was an inflammatory sore throat, which proceeded from a cold, of which he made but little complaint on Friday. On
Saturday morning about three o'clock, he became ill. Dr. Dick attended him in the morning, and Dr. Craik, of Alexandria, and Dr. Brown, of Port Tobacco, were soon after called in. Every medical assistance was offered, but without the desired effect. His last scene corresponded with the whole tenor of his life. Not a groan, nor a complaint, escaped him, though in extreme distress. With perfect resignation, and a full possession of his reason, he closed his well-spent life. I have the honor to be, &c.
TOBIAS LEAR. “ The President of the United States."
Gen. MARSHALL, with deep sorrow on his countenance, and in a pathetic tone of voice, thus addressed the house :
THE melancholy event which was yesterday announced with doubt, has been rendered but too certain. Our WASHINGTON is no more !—The hero, the sage, and the patriot of America the man on whom in times of danger, every eye was turned, and all hopes were placed, lives now, only in his own great actions, and in the hearts of an affectionate and affected people.
IF, sir, it had not been usual, openly to testify respect for the memory of those whom heaven had selected as its instruments, for dispensing good to man : yet, such has been the uncommon worth, and such the extraordinary incidents which have marked the life of him whose loss we all deplore, that the whole American nation, impelled by the same feelings, would call with one voice for a public manifestation of that sorrow which is so deep and so universal.
MORE than any other individual, and as much as to one individual was possible, has he contributed to found this our wide spreading empire, and to give to the western world its independence and its freedom. Having effected the great object for which he was placed at the head of our armies, we have seen him convert the sword into the ploughshare, and voluntarily sink the soldier in the citizen.
WHEN the debility of our federal system had become manifest, and the bonds which connected the parts of this vast continent were dissolving, we had seen him the chief of those patriots who formed for us a constitution, which, by preserving the union, will, I trust, substantiate and perpetuate those blessings our revolution had promised to bestow.
IN obedience to the general voice of his country, calling on him to preside over a great people, we have seen him once more quit the retirement he loved, and in a season more stormy and tempestuous than war itself, with calm and wise determination pursue the trueinterests of the nation, and contribute,more than any other could contribute,to the establishment of that system of policy which will, I trust, yet preserve our peace, our honour, and our independence. Having been twice unanimously chosen the chief magistrate of a free people, we see him, at a time when his re-election with the universal suffrage could not have been doubted, affording the world a rare instance of moderation, by withdrawing from his high station to the peaceful walks of private life.
HOWEVER public confidence may change, and the public affections fluctuate with respect to others, yet, with respect to him, they have, in war and in peace, in public and in private life, been as steady as his own firm mind, and as constant as his own exalted virtues.
LET us then, Mr. Speaker, pay the last tribute of respect and affection to our departed friend. Let the grand council of the nation display those sentiments which the nation feels.
FOR this purpose, I hold in my hand some resolutions which I will take the liberty to offer to the house :
“ RESOLVED, that this house will wait on the president of the United States, in condolence of this mournful event:
“ RESOLVED, that the speaker's chair be shrouded with black, and that the members and officers of the house wear black during the session ;
RESOLVED, that a committee, in conjunction with one from the senate, be ap