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it would seein as if our trade to the Mediterranean, without a protecting force, will always be insecure ; and our citizens exposed to the calamitics from which numbers of them have but just been relieved.
« These considerations invite the United States to look to the means, and to set about the gradual creation of a Navy. The increasing progress of their navigation promises them, at no distant period, the requisite supply of seamen; and their means, in other respects, favour the undertaking. It is an encourage. ment, likewise, that their particular situation will give weight and influence to a moderate naval force in their hands. Will it not then be adviseable to begin without delay to provide and lay up materials for the building and equipping of ships of war; and to proceed in the work by degrees, in proportion as our resources shall render it practicable without inconve. nience ; so that a future war of Europe may not find our commerce in the same unprotected state in which it was found by the present.”
He proceeded to recommend those establishments for the manufacturing such articles as are necessary for the defence of the country, an institution for the improvement of agriculture, a Military Academy, and a National University. In reference to foreign powers, ne observed :
" While in our external relations, some serious inconveniences and embarrassments have been overcome, and others lessened, it is with much pain and deep regret I mention that circumstances, of a very unwelcome nature, have lately occurred. Our trade has suffered, and is suffering extensive injuries in the West Indies from the cruisers and agents of the French Republick ; and communications have been received from its minister here, which indicate the danger of a further disturbance of our commerce by its authority; and which are in other respects far from agrecable.
“ It has been my constant, sincere, and earnest wish, in conformity with that of our nation, to maintazu cordial harmony, and a perfectly friendly understanding with that Republick. This wish remains unabated : and I shall persevere in the endeavour to fulfil it to the utmost extent of what shall be consistent with a just and indispensable regard to the rights and honour of our country; nor will I easily cease to cherish the expectation, that a spirit of justice, candour, and friendship, on the part of the Republick, 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 countrymen.”
In the following manner, he concluded his Address.
“ 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 recalls the period when the administration of the present form of Government commenced; and I cannot omit this 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 inay 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, may be perpetual.”
The Senate in their reply approved the sentiments of the address, and, noticing the prosperity of tho United States, they added,
“ Whilst contemplating the causes that produced this auspicious result, we must acknowledge the ex cellence of the constitutional system, and the wisdom of the legislative provisions; but we should be deficient
in gratitude and justice, did we not attribute a great portion of these advantages to the virtue, firmness, and talents of your adninistration; which have been con. spicuously displayed, in the most trying times, and on the most critical occasions ; it is therefore with the sincerest regret, that we now receive an official notification of your intentions to retire from the publick employments of your country.
“When we review the various scenes of your pub lick life, so long and so successfully devoted to the most arduous services, civil and military; as well during the struggles of the American Revolution, as the convulsive periods of a recent date, we cannot look forward to your retirement without our warmest affections and most anxious regards accompanying you ; and withont mingling with our fellow citizens at large, in the sincerest wishes for your personal happiness, that sensibility and attachment can express.
" The most effectual consolation that can offer for the loss we are about to sustain, arises from the animating reflection that the influence of your example will extend to your successors, and the United States thus continue to enjoy an able, upright, and energetick Administration." In the House of Representatives, an answer,
which promised attention to the several subjects recommended in the Speech, and concluded as follows, was after pointed objection and warm debate, voted by a large majority
“ And while we entertain a grateful conviction that your wise, firm, and patriotick administration has been signally conducive to the success of the present form os government, we cannot forbear to express the deep sensations of regret with which we contemplate your intended retirement from office.
“ As no other suitable occasion may occur, we cali. not suffer the present to pass without attempting to VOL. II.
disclose some of the emotions which it cannot fail to awaken.
“ The gratitude and admiration of your country. men are still drawn to the recollection of those resplendent virtues and talents which were so eminently instrumental to the achievement of the Revolution, and of which that glorious event will ever be the memorial. Your obedience to the voice of duty and your country, when you quitted reluctantly, a second time, the retreat you had chosen, and first accepted the Presidency, afforded a new proof of the devotedness of your zeal in its service, and an earnest of the patriotism and success which have characterized your Administration. As the grateful confidence of the citizens in the virtues of their Chief Magistrate has es. sentially contributed to that success, we persuade ourselves that the miilions whom we represent, partici pate with us in the anxious solicitude of the present occasion.
“ Yet we cannot be unmindful that your moderation and magnanimity, twice displayed by retiring from vour exalted stations, afford examples no less rare and instructive to mankind than valuable to a Republick.
Although we are sensible that this event, of itself, completes the lustre of a character already conspicuously unrivalled by the coincidence of virtue, talents, success, and publick estimation ; yet we conceive we owe it to you, sir, and still more emphatically to ourselves and to our nation, (of the language of whose hearts we presume to think ourselves, at this moment, the faithful interpreters) to express the sentiments with which it is contemplated.
“ The spectacle of a free and enlightened nation, offering by its Representatives the tribute of unfeigned approbation to its first citizen, however novel and interesting it may be, derives all its lustre (a lustre which accident or enthusiasm could not bestow, and
which adulation would tarnish) from the transcendent merit, of which it is the voluntary testimony.
May you long enjoy that liberty which is so dear to you, and to which your name will ever be so dear May your own virtue and a nation's prayers obtain the happiest sunshine for the decline of your days, and the choicest of future blessings. For our country's sake, and for the sake of republican liberty, it is our earnest wish that your example may be the guide of your successors; and thus, after being the ornament and safeguard of the present age, become the patrimony of our descendants"
President Washington now with supreme delight anticipated the time when he should quit the storms and agitucions of publick life, for the retirement of Mount Vernon; and un the day, which terminated his Presidential course, le directed the following letter to the Secretary of State.
« DEAR SIR, “ At the conc'rasion of my publick employments I have thought it expedient to notice the publication of certain forged letters which first appeared in the year 1776, and were obtruded upon the publick as mine. They are said by the editor to have been found in a small portmanteau that I had left in the care of my mulatto servant named Billy, who it is pretended was taken prisoner at Fort Lee, in 1776.
The period when these letters were first printed will be recollectod, and what were the impressions they were intended to produce on the publick mind. It was then supposed to be of some consequence to strike at the integrity of the motives of the American Commander in Chief, and to paint his inclinations as at variance with his professions and his duty—another crisis in the affairs of America having occurred, the same weapon has been resorted to, to wound my character and deceive the people.