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ginia. This brilliant and conclusive military operation was ef. fected by the combined armies of France and the United States. In the year 1783 the peace, liberty and independence of the country being acknowledged and secured, our beloved general presented himself before congress, and returned into their hands that authority which he had received from them, and which he had so successfully exercised in conducting their armies through the war.

But as this grand and majestic scene cannot be so well delineated as through the medium of his own words, we here subjoin his resignation and the answer of the president of congress upon that memorable occasion.

DecemBER 23d, 1783. ACCORDING to order, his excellency the commander in chief was admitted to a public audience, and being seated, the presie dent, after a pause, informed hiin, that the United States in congress assembled, were prepared to receive his communications; whereupon he arose and addressed congress as follows

" Mr. PRESIDENT, “ The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere congratulations to congress, and of presenting myself before them, to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country. Happy in the confirmation of our independ. ence 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I accepted with diffidence-a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which, however, was superceded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of heaven.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, encreases 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 gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the

It was impossible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate.


“ PERMIT me, Sir, to recommend in particular, those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage of congress.

“ I consider it an indispensible duty to close this last act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest couna try to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendance 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 farewel to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.”

To wbicb the president returned the following answer :


“ 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, through a perilous and a 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 funds or a government to support you. You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regard. ing 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 by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled, under a just 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 blessings of your fellow-citizens—but the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military commandit 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 those confidential officers, who have attended your person to this affecting moment. We join you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens, to improve the opportunity afforded them, of becoming a happy and respectable nation. And for you we address to him our earnest prayer, 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.”

Our illustrious hero, Cincinnatus like, immediately returned to his farm at Mount Vernon, expecting there to spend the remainder of his days, and determined that no public employment should thereafter draw his attention from his favorite pursuit, agriculture. With inexpressible delight, he laid aside his military habit and assumed the simple garb of a plain Virginia planter. Having enjoyed himself but a few years in this sweet retirement, and his country finding it impossible to secure either peace, liberty, or independence, under the then inefficient government, again required his services as a member of the grand convention of the different states, of which that illustrious body unanimously elected him president.

Soon after, the new constitution framed by this assembly, was adopted by the several states, and general Washington unanimously appointed the executive officer by the name of president, which important trust he accepted with diffidence and reluctance, wishing for no farther honors, and desirous of spend.

ing his close of life in peace and retirement. Nothing but the ardency of his affections for his country could have induced him again to appear on the theatre of public life, which the following elegant and original letters of his own will evince.

APRIL 16, 1789. To the mayor, corporation and citizens of Alexandria.

GENTLEMEN, ALTHOUGH I ought not to conceal, yet I cannot describe the painful emotions which I felt, on being called upon to determine, whether I would accept or refuse the presidency of the United States. The unanimity in the choice--the opinion of my friends, communicated from different parts of Europe as well as America—the apparent wish of those who were not entirely satisfied with the constitution in its present form, and an ardent desire, on my part, to be instrumental in conciliating the good will of my countrymen towards each other, have induced an acceptance. Those who know me best, and you, my fellow-citizens, are from your situation in that itumber, know better than any others, my love of retireinent is so great, that no earthly consideration, short of a conviction of duty, could have prevailed upon me to depart from my resolution, “ never more to take any share in transactions of a public nature.” For at my age, and in my circumstances, what possible advantages could I promise to myself, from embarking again in the tempestuous and uncertain ocean of public life.

I do not feel myself under the necessity of making public declarations, in order to convince you, gentlemen, of my attachment to yourselves and regard for your interests. The whole tenor of my life has been open to your inspection ; and my past actions, rather than my present declarations, must be the pledge for my

future conduct. In the meantime, I thank you most sincerely for the expressions of kindness contained in your van ledictory address. It is true, just after having bid adieu to my domestic connections, this tender proof of your friendship is but too well, calculated still farther to awaken my sensibility, and encrease my regret at parting from the enjoyments of private life. All that now remains for me, is to commit myself


and you to the protection of that beneficent Being, who on the former occasion, hath happily brought us together, after a long and distressing separation. Perhaps the same gracious Provi. dence will again indulge us with the same heart-felt felicity.

But words, my fellow-citizens, fail me. Unutterable sen. sations must then be left to more expressive silence, while from an aching heart, I bid you all, my affectionate friends, and kind neighbors, farewel. (Signed)


Answer of the president of the United States, to an address from the citizens of Baltimore, on bis way to New-York, dated 17th April, 1789.

GENTLEMEN, The tokens of regard and affection which I have often re. ceived from the citizens of this town, were always acceptable, because I believed them always sincere. Be pleased to receive my best acknowledgments, for the renewal of them on the present occasion. If the affectionate partiality of my fellow-citizens, has prompted them to ascribe greater effects to my conduct and character, than were justly due, I trust the indulgent sentiment on their part, will not produce any presumption on mine. I cannot now, gentlemen, resist my feelings so much, as to withhold the communication of my ideas, respecting the actual situation of our national affairs. It appears that little more than common sense, and common honesty in the transactions of the community at large, would be necessary to make us a happy nation. For, if the general government, lately adopted, shall be arranged and administered in such manner as to acquire the full confidence of the American people, I sincerely believe they will have greater advantages from their natural, moral and political circumstances, for public felicity, than any other peo. ple ever possessed.

In the contemplation of these advantages, now soon to be realized, I have reconciled myself to the sacrifice of my fondest wishes, so far as to enter again upon the stage of public life:

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