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both here and hereafter, attend those, who, under the divine auspices, have secured innu. merable blessings for others ! With these wishes, and this benediction, the commander in chief is about to retire from service. The curtain of separation will soon be drawnand the military scene, to him, will be closed forever.
ANNAPOLIS, DEC. 23, 1783. GENERAL WASHINGTON having informed Congress of his intention to resign the commission he had the honor to hold in their service, they resolved that it should be done in a public audience ; and appointed this day for the interesting scene. proper moment, Gen. Washingtos appeared, and addressed The President in the following words :
“ THE great events on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honour 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 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I accepted with diffidence ; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union, and the patronage of heaven.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, 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 those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage of Congress.
“ I consider it as an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests ofour 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 assign
I retire from the great theatre of action; and bidding an affectionate farewel 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.”
TO WHICH 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 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 gov. ernment 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 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 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 interest 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 be