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tion of so respectable a State is calculated to inspire. During the unexampled contest which has so long afflicted Europe, which has prostrated all the laws which have hitherto been deemed sacred among nations, and have so long constituted the rule of their intercourse, we had rainly hoped that our distance from the scene of carnage, and the invariable justice with which we have conducted ourselves towards all parties, would shield us from its baleful effects. But that commerce indispensably necessary for the exchange of the produce of this great agricultural country for the things which we want, increased by a temporary succession to the commerce of other nations, as being ourselves the only neutrals, has brought us into contact with the lawless belligerents in every sea, and threatens to involve us in the vortex of their contests. The privations for the want of a vent for our produce, have been the unavoidable result of the edicts of the belligerent powers. Should the measure adopted in consequence of them, and which meets your approbation, still save the lives and property of our brethren from the insults and rapacity of these powers, it will be a fortunate addition to the other benefits derived from it. On the other hand, should our present embarrassments eventuate in war, I am satisfied that the State of Georgia will zealously emulate her sister States in supporting the government of their choice, and in maintaining the rights and interests of the nation. Our soil, our industry, and our numbers, with the bravery which will be engaged in the cause, can never leave us without resources to maintain such a contest.
To no events which can concern the future welfare of my country, can I ever become an indifferent spectator ; her prosperity will be my joy, her calamities my affliction. .
Thankful for the indulgence with which my conduct has been viewed by the Legislature of Georgia, and for the kind expressions of their good will, I supplicate the favor of heaven towards them and our beloved country.
SOCIETY OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AT NEW
February 4, 1809. The approbation you are so good as to express of the measures which have been recommended and pursued during the course of my administration of the national concerns, is highly acceptable. The approving voice of our fellow citizens, for endeavors to be useful, is the greatest of all earthly rewards.
No provision in our constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority. It has not left the religion of its citizens under the power of its public functionaries, were it possible that any of these should consider a conquest over the consciences of men either attainable or applicable to any desira
To me no information could be more welcome than that the minutes of the several religious societies should prove, of late, larger additions than have been usual, to their several associations, and I trust that the whole course of my Life has proved me a sincere friend to religious as well as civil liberty.
I thank you for your affectionate good wishes for my future happiness. Retirement has become essential to it; and one of its best consolations will be to witness the advancement of my country in all those pursuits and acquisitions which constitute the character of a wise and virtuous nation; and I offer sincere prayers to heaven that its benediction may attend yourselves, our country and all its sons.
TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF VIRGINIA.
February 16, 1809. I receive with peculiar sensibility the affectionate address of the General Assembly of my native State, on my approaching retirement from the office with which I have been honored by
the nation at large. Having been one of those who entered into public life at the commencement of an æra the most extraordinary which the history of man has ever yet presented to his contemplation, I claim nothing more, for the part I have acted in it, than a common merit of having, with others, faithfully endeavored to do my duty in the several stations allotted me. In the measures which you are pleased particularly to approve, I have been aided by the wisdom and patriotism of the national legislature, and the talents and virtues of the able coadjutors with whom it has been my happiness to be associated, and to whose valuable and faithful services I with pleasure and gratitude bear witness.
From the moment that to preserve our rights a change of government became necessary, no doubt could be entertained that a republican form was most consonant with reason, with right, with the freedom of man, and with the character and situation of our fellow citizens. To the sincere spirit of republicanism are naturally associated the love of country, devotion to its liberty, its rights, and its honor. Our preference to that form of government has been so far justified by its success, and the prosperity with which it has blessed us. In no portion of the earth were life, liberty and property ever so securely held; and it is with infinite satisfaction that withdrawing from the active scenes of life, I see the sacred design of these blessings committed to those who are sensible of their value and determined to defend them.
It would have been a great consolation to have left the nation under the assurance of continued peace. Nothing has been spared to effect it; and at no other period of history would such efforts have failed to ensure it. For neither belligerent pretends to have been injured by us, or can say that we have in any instance departed from the most faithful neutrality; and certainly none will charge us with a want of forbearance.
In the desire of peace, but in full confidence of safety from our unity, our position, and our resources, I shall retire into the bosom of my native State, endeared to me by every tie which can attach the human heart. The assurances of your approbation, and that my conduct has given satisfaction to my fellow
citizens generally, will be an important ingredient in my future happiness; and that the supreme ruler of the universe may have our country under his special care, will be among the latest of my prayers.
TO THE CITIZENS OF WILMINGTON AND ITS VICINITY IN TOWN
February 16, 1809 The resolutions which have been entered into by the citizens of Wilmington and its vicinity, are worthy of the well-known patriotism of that place.
The storm which with little intermission has been raging for so many years, which has immolated the ancient dynasties and institutions of Europe, and prostrated the principles of public law' heretofore respected, has hitherto been felt but in a secondary degree by us. But threatening at length to involve us in its vortex, it is time for all good citizens to rally round the constituted authorities by a public expression of their determination to support the laws and government of their choice, and to frown into silence all disorganizing movements. Strong in our numbers, our position and resources, we can never be endangered but by schisms at home. It has been the anxious care of the government to preserve the United States from this destructive contest ; but whether it can yet be done depends on a return to reason by those who have so long rejected its dictates. On our part, there is no doubt of a continuance of the same desire to conduct the nation quietly through the political storms prevailing, and to lead it in safety through the perils with which we are menaced by the ambition of foreign nations.
I am thankful for the great indulgence with which you have viewed the measures of my administration. Of their wisdom others must judge ; but I may truly say they have been pursued with honest intentions, unbiassed by any personal or interested views. It is a consolation to know that the motives for my retirement are approved ; and although I withdraw from public
functions, I shall continue an anxious spectator of passing events, and offer to heaven my constant prayers for the preservation of our republic, and especially of those its best principles which secure to all its citizens a perfect equality of rights.
TO JOHN GASSAWAY, ESQ.
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1809. SIR,—I have duly received the resolutions of the republican citizens of Annapolis and Anne-Arundel county, of the 4th inst., which you were so kind as to forward to me.
That the aggressions and injuries of the belligerent nations have been the real obstructions which have interrupted our commerce, and now threaten our peace, and that the embargo laws were salutary and indispensably necessary to meet those obstructions, are truths as evident to every candid man, as it is worthy of every good citizen to declare his reprobation of that system of opposition which goes to an avowed and practical resistance of these laws. To such a resistance I trust that the patriotism of our faithful citizens in no section of the Union will give any countenance. Where the law of majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them.
I receive with particular pleasure and thankfulness the testimony of the republican citizens of Annapolis and Anne-Arundel, in favor of the course of proceedings during my administration of the public affairs. And I can truly say, in their words, that they have been conducted with the purest regard and devotion to the interests of the people and the national safety and honor; and I pray you, with my acknowledments for these favorable sentiments, to accept the assurances of my high respect and consideration.