Richmond, December, 17th 1796
By direction of the General Assembly of Virginia we do ourselves the honor of enclosing to you their address on the subject of your retirement from public life.
Permit us Sir, to join our prayers, with those of an admiring Nation, to the supreme Ruler of the Universe, that you may long in health enjoy the happiness which your unexampled patriotism and virtue, have so justly entitled you to. We have the Honor to be with the highest respect Sir Your most Obedt & very Hble Servts
Ludwell Lee S.S.
Jno. Wise S.H.D.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
c.17 December 1796
The General Assembly of Virginia, actuated by the affectionate manner in which you have announced your intention of declining a re-election to the high office you now fill, and impressed with those sentiments of friendship and gratitude, which personal merit and public services ought invariably to inspire, cannot silently behold an event, long deprecated by your fellow citizens; and whilst they deplore the resolution which will deprive a nation of its first hope, they are unable to repress those sensations arising from the prospect of her beloved citizen’s return into the arms of his native State. On a review of the whole tenor of your life, they feel themselves stimulated to bestow upon you the best reward which free men can give, and the most grateful, which a mind like your’s, can receive. They trust that the acclamation will be heard by distant nations, and resound to future ages, when with one voice they proclaim, that you have deserved well of your country.