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providence which governs the destinies of men and nations, to dispense his choicest blessings on yourselves and our beloved country.
TO THE REPUBLICAN MECHANICS OF THE TOWN OF LEESBURG AND
ITS VICINITY, ASSEMBLED ON THE 27TH OF FEBRUARY LAST.
MONTICELLO, March 29, 1809. The receipt of your kind address in the last moments of the session of Congress, will, I trust, offer a just apology for its late acknowledgment.
Your friendly salutations on the close of my public life, and approbation of the motives which dictated my retirement, are received with great satisfaction.
That there should be a contrariety of opinions respecting the public agents and their measures, and more especially respecting that which recently suspended our commere and produced temporary privations, is ever to be expected among free men ; and I am happy to find you are in the number of those who are satisfied that the course pursued was marked out by our country's interest, and called for by her dearest rights. While the principles of our constitution give just latitude to inquiry, every citizen faithful to it will, with you, deem embodied expressions of discontent, and open outrages of law and patriotism, as dishonorable as they are injurious; and there is reason to believe that had the efforts of the government against the innovations and tyranny of the belligerent powers been unopposed among ourselves, they would have been more effectual towards the establishment of our rights.
Unconscious of partiality between the different callings of my fellow citizens, I trust that a fair review of my attention to the interests of commerce in particular, in every station of my political life, will afford sufficient proofs of my just estimation of its importance in the social system. What has produced our present difficulties, and what will have produced the impending war, if that is to be our lot ? Our efforts to save the rights of
commerce and navigation. From these, solely and exclusively, the whole of our present dangers flow.
With just reprobations of the resistance made or menaced against the laws of our country, I applaud your patriotic resolution to meet hostility to them with the energy and dignity of freemen ; and thankful for your solicitude for my health and happiness, I salute you with affectionate sentiments of respect.
TO THE FRIENDS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE UNITED STATES IN BRISTOL COUNTY, RHODE ISLAND.
MONTICELLO, March 29, 1809. The receipt of your friendly address in the last moments of the session of Congress, will, I trust, offer a just apology for its late acknowledgment.
We have certainly cause to rejoice that since the waves of affliction and peril, raised from the storm of war by the rival belligerents of Europe, have undulated on our shores, the councils of the nation have been able to preserve it from the numerous evils which have awfully menaced, and otherwise might have fallen upon us. How long we may yet retain this desirable position is diflicult to be foreseen. But confident I am that as long as it can be done consistently with the honor and interest of our country, it will be maintained by those to whom you have confided the helm of government. A surer pledge for this cannot be found than in the public and private virtues of the successor to the chair of government, which you so justly recognize. Your reflections are certainly correct on the importance of a good administration in a republican government, towards securing to us our dearest rights, and the practical enjoinment of all our liberties; and such an one can never fail to give consolation to the friends of free government, and mortification to its enemies. In retiring from the duties of my late station, I have the consolation of knowing that such is the character of those into whose hands they are transferred, and of a conviction that all will be done for us which wisdom and virtue can do.
I thank you, fellow citizens, for the kind sentiments of your address, and am particularly gratified by your approbation of the course I have pursued ; and I pray heaven to keep you under its holy favor.
THE TOWNSHIPS OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, IN PENNSYLVANIA, CONVENED ON THE 21st OF FEBRUARY, 1809.
MONTICELLO, March 31, 1809. The satisfaction you express, fellow citizens, that my endeavors have been unremitting to preserve the peace and independence of our country, and that a faithful neutrality has been observed towards all the contending powers, is highly grateful to me; and there can be no doubt that in any common times they would have saved us from the present embarrassments, thrown in the way of our national prosperity by the rival powers.
It is true that the embargo laws have not had all the effect in bringing the powers of Europe to a sense of justice, which a more faithful observance of them might have produced. Yet they have had the important effects of saving our seamen and property, of giving time to prepare for defence; and they will produce the further inestimable advantage of turning the attention and enterprise of our fellow citizens, and the patronage of our State legislatures, to the establishment of useful manufactures in our country. They will have hastened the day when an equilibrium between the occupations of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, shall simplify our foreign concerns to the exchange only of that surplus which we cannot consume for those articles of reasonable comfort or convenience which we cannot produce.
Our lot has been cast, by the favor of heaven, in a country and under circumstances, highly auspicious to our peace and prosperity, and where no pretence can arise for the degrading and oppressive establishments of Europe. It is our happiness that honorable distinctions flow only from public approbation ; and that finds no object in titled dignitaries and pageants. Let
us then, fellow citizens, endeavor carefully to guard this happy state of things, by keeping a watchful eye over the disaffection of wealth and ambition to the republican principles of our constitution, and by sacrificing all our local and personal interests to the cultivation of the Union, and maintenance of the authority of the laws.
My warmest thanks are due to you, fellow citizens, for the aftectionate sentiments expressed in your address, and my prayers will ever be offered for your welfare and happiness.
TO THE CITIZENS OF ALLEGH ANY COUNTY, IN MARYLAND.
MONTICELLO, March 31, 1809. The sentiments of attachment, respect, and esteem, expressed in your address of the 20th ult., have been read with pleasure, and would sooner have received my thanks, but for the mass of business engrossing the last moments of a session of Congress. I am gratified by your approbation of our efforts for the general good, and our endeavors to promote the best interests of our country, and to place them on a basis firm and lasting. The measures respecting our intercourse with foreign nations were the result, as you suppose, of a choice between two evils, either to call and keep at home our seamen and property, or suffer them to be taken under the edicts of the belligerent powers. How a difference of opinion could arise between these alternatives is still difficult to explain on any acknowledged ground; and I am persuaded, with you, that when the storm and agitation characterizing the present moment shall have subsided, when passion and prejudice shall have yielded to reason its usurped place, and especially when posterity shall pass its sentence on the present times, justice will be rendered to the course which has been pursued. To the advantages derived from the choice which was made will be added the improvements and discoveries made and making in the arts, and the establishments in domestic manufacture, the effects whereof will be permanent and diffused through our wide-extended continent. That we may live to behold the
storm which seems to threaten us, pass like a summer's cloud away, and that yourselves may continue to enjoy all the blessings of peace and prosperity, is my fervent prayer.
TO THE REPUBLICAN CITIZENS OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, MARYLAND, ASSEMBLED AT HAGERSTOWN ON THE 6TH INSTANT.
Monticello, March 31, 1809. The affectionate sentiments you express on my retirement from the high office conferred upon me by my country, are gratefully received and acknowledged with thankfulness. Your approbation of the various measures which have been pursued, cannot but be highly consolatory to myself, and encouraging to future functionaries, who will see that their honest endeavors for the public good will receive due credit with their constituents. That the great and leading measure respecting our foreign intercourse was the most salutary alternative, and preferable to the submission of our rights as a free and independent republic, or to a war at that period, cannot be doubted by candid minds. Great and good effects have certainly flowed from it, and greater would have been produced, had they not been, in some degree, frustrated by unfaithful citizens.
If, in my retirement to the humble station of a private citizen, I am accompanied with the esteem and approbation of my fellow citizens, trophies obtained by the blood-stained steel, or the tattered flags of the tented field, will never be envied.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.
I salute you, fellow citizens, with every wish for your welfare, and the perpetual duration of our government, in all the purity of its republican principles.