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others my love of retirement is so great, that no earth ly 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 pubtick nature. For at my age, and in my circumstances, what prospects or advantages could I propose to myself, from embarking again on the tempestuous and uncertain ocean of publick life 2 I do not feel myself under the necessity of making publick declarations, in order to convince you, gentlemen, of my attachment to yourselves, and regard for your interests. The whole tenour of my life has been open to your inspection ; and my past actions, rather than my present declarations, must be the pledge of my future conduct. “In the mean time I thank you most sincerely for the expressions of kindness contained in your valedictory address. It is true, just after having bade adieu to my domestick connexions, this tender proof of your friendships is but too well calculated still farther to awaken my sensibility, and increase my regret at part ing 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 a former occasion, hath happily brought us together after a long and distressing separation. Perhaps the same gracious Providence will again indulge me. Unutterable sensations must then be left to more expressive silence—while from an aching heart, I bid you all, my affectionate friends, and kind neighbours, farewell !” It was the wish of General WASHINGTON to avoid parade on his journey to the seat of government, but he found it impossible. Numerous bodies of respectable citizens, and detachments from the militia escorted him the whole distance, and at every place through which he passed, he received the most flattering cvidence of the high estimation, in which his countrymen held his talents and his virtues
Gray's bridge over the Schuylkill was, with much taste, embellished on the occasion. At each end arch es were erected composed of laurel, in imitation of a Roman triumphal arch; and on each side was a laure shrubbery. As the General passed, a youth by the aid of machinery (unperceived by him) let down upon his head a civick crown. Through avenues and streets thronged with people, he passed from the Schuylkill into Philadelphia, and at night the city was illuminated. At Trenton, the ladies presented him with a tribute of gratitude for the protection which, twelve years before, he gave them, worthy of the taste and refinement of the sex. On the bridge over the creek which runs through this place, a triumphal arch was erected on thirteen pillars; these were entwined with laurel and decorated with flowers. On the front of the arch was the following inscription, in large gilt letters,
THE DEFENDER OF THE MOTHERS
On the centre of the arch above the inscription was a dome of flowers and evergreens encircling the dates of two events particularly interesting to the inhabitants of New-Jersey, viz. the successful assault on the Hessian post in Trenton, and the gallant stand made by General WASHINGto.N at the same creek on the evening preceding the battle of Princeton. A numerous party of matrons, holding their daughters in their hands, who were dressed in white and held on their arms baskets of flowers, assembled at this place, and on his spproach the daughters sung the following ode,
Welcome, Mighty Chief, once more
Welcome to this grateful shore;
Now no mercenary foe
Aims again the fatal blow,
Aims at THEE the fatal blow.
Virgins fair and matrons grave Those thy conquering arms did save, Build for THEE triumphal bowers; Strew ye fair his way with flowers, Strew your HERO's way with flowers. At the last line the flowers were strewed before him. On the eastern shore of New-Jersey, he was met by a Committee of Congress, and accompanied over the river in an elegant barge, of thirteen oars, and manned by thirteen branch pilots. “The display of boats,” observes the General in his diary, “which attended and joined on this occasion, some wit: vocal and others with instrumental musick on board, the decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon, and the loud acclamations of the people which rent the sky as I passed along the wharves, filled my mind with sensations as painful (contemplating the reverse of this scene, which may be the case after all my endeavours to do good) as they were pleasing.” He landed on the 23d of April at the stairs on Murray's wharf, which were highly ornamented for the purpose. At this place the Governour of New-York received him, and with military honours, and amidst an immense concourse of people, conducted him to his apartments in the city. At the close of the day, Foreign Ministers and other characters of distinction, made him congratulatory visits, and the publick exhibi tion was at night closed by a brilliant illumination.