George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Kearsley, 6 October 1796

6 October 1796

At a meeting of the Inhabitants of Shepherds Town & its Vicinity on the 6th day of October 1796 Resolved.

That an Address be presented to the President of the United States of America, Expressive of the Gratefull sense we entertain of the faithfull & Important Services, both in the Cabinet & in the field, which in the course of a long life he has rendered to his Country. Resolved that John Kearsley and Joseph Swearingen Esqrs be appointed in behalf of this Meeting to present the following address.


Amidst the tribute of gratefull respect which does and will Surround you from all quarters. The Inhabitants of Shepherds Town & its Vinicity, by their Commitee beg leave to Offer theirs with equal Sincerity & fervency with any that can be presented to you. Having seen your address of the 17th Ultimo to the people of the United States, we beg leave to Approach you on this Occasion with Sentiments of the Highest regard for your publick as well as private Character we most Sincerely regret that the time is so near when you purpose to finish your political career, and when the Important trust you have so long managed with a fidelity & wisdom unexampled in the Annals of former Ages, must be commited to another hand, What the consequences of this change may be, we have not political discernment enough to forsee; but we cannot help looking forward to the eventfull period with trembling Anxiety; we are however much Supported by the pleasing hope that a good Providence which has so often Interposed in our behalf in various ways, particularly in raising you up to conduct our troops to Victory in a War undertaken for the defence of our Violated Rights and to preserve by your Counsels in the Cabinet what had been acquired in the field, will not forsake us. It also alleviates our Anxiety when we consider, that you have already conducted the Vessel Through more than one dangerous Storm; A less skillfull Pilot may perhaps be equal to the task of Navigating in less turbid Waters. While we admire your sagacity in discerning the true Interest of our rising Impire, and your firmness in prosecuting those plans which Appeared to you necessary for promoting that Interest notwithstanding the many obstructions laid in your way both by Insidious Enemies & mistaken friends of our happy Constitution, it is with great pleasure we congratulate you upon the Success with which they have been attended, nor in the shades of that Retirement which you now contemplate shall we consider you as Intirely removed from the guardianship of our political Interests, and your Invaluable address which is the Germ of our Political Creed, will we trust in some good measure supply the place of your personal Inspection & care, The Just & Accurate Statement you have therein given of our great political Interests, and the precision with which you have marked out the numerous rocks & quick Sands in our way, will we make no doubt be of Signal advantage to us & to our posterity while the American Empire lasts: and very much facilitate the Accomplishment of your pious & fervent aspirations, That our Union & brotherly affection may be perpetual; That the free Constitution which is the work of our own hands may be Sacredly maintained, That its administration in every department may be stamped with Wisdom & virtue and that the happiness of the people of these States under the Auspices of Liberty may be Compleat, by so Carefull a preservation and so prudent a [use] of this blessing as will acquire to them the Glory of Recommend[ing] it to the applause the affection & adoption of every Nation that is yet a stranger to it.

May every blessing which you Anticipate in retirement be experienced without Alloy, and all that happiness which is the Just reward of a long life devoted with an upright Zeal to the Service of your Country Attend you to the end of your days And may you then be received to a mansion of everlasting Rest.

In behalf of the Inhabitants of Shepherds Town and its Vicinity we beg leave to Subscribe ourselves with every Sentiment of Greatfull respect and Esteem Sir your most Obedient & Affectionate Humble Servants

John Kearsley

Joseph Swearingen

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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