February 1st 1797
The Senators and Representative, for the State of Delaware, respectfully enclose Copies of addresses, transmitted to them, in pursuance of Resolutions of the General assembly at their late Session, to be presented to the President of the United States.
at what Time it will be most agreeable to him to recieve the same, he will be pleased to intimate.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Dover, January 24th 1797.
The Senate of the State of Delaware cannot view with Insensibility your contemplated retirement from the first Office of your Country, to the repose of private Life.
Upon such an occasion to be silent, and to withhold the most cordial Expression of our Affection, Respect and Veneration for your Character, would be as ungrateful to you, as it would be dishonourable to ourselves. It is in attempting therefore to do justice to our feelings, and to discharge a partriotic Duty, that we present this Address, as a tribute of Gratitude, and an homage due to your Virtues.
More than twenty Years have elapsed since you left the Civil Councils of America, to undertake and sustain the more difficult and perilous duties of the chief Military command. The seven Years conflict which ensued, must have been to you, a gloomy Series of seven years Sufferings, except as it was relieved by temporary Victories, and the pleasing hope, that the exertions of your Country, and the aids of Heaven, would crown your Labours with ultimate Success.
At the close of the important Contest we view you in the command of a disciplined, affectionate and admiring Army; and, from the example of other Conquerers, we might have trembled for the Fate of our Country, in the apprehension that its Protector, would become its Tyrant. But happily for the United States, and honourably for yourself, and the character of Human Nature, the feelings of the Conqueror, were lost in those of the Patriot; and the Infatuations of Ambition were repressed by the Triumph of Virtue.
The glorious Spectacle was presented to the World, of a popular and successful General atchieving the Emancipation of his Country, and then resigning his command to an unarmed Republic; voluntarily retiring from the honors of Office, and receiving in return the Tribute, not of Power; but of Public Gratitude.
We view you a second time, in obedience to the unanimous Voice of America, relinquishing the enjoyment of your beloved retirement, and accepting the chief Majistracy of your Country, in order to add Character, Credit, and Energy to its Government. That Character, Credit and Energy you have assisted, in forming and securing to our Government; and we hope they will be preserved, as well to perpetuate the memory of your Virtues, as the happiness of your fellow Citizens.
We address you, Sir, in the name, and on the behalf of the Citizens we represent; We know that they unite with us, in viewing your Abilities with respect, your Virtues with veneration, and, your Services with gratitude; and in soliciting from Heaven for you, every blessing which can increase your happiness here, and hereafter.
Speaker of the Senate of the State of Delaware.
c. 1 February 1797
To enjoy the advantages resulting from your wise Administration, and not to express our Gratification; to feel the beneficial effects of your firmness and Patriotism, and not acknowledge them, to admire your Magnanimity and to be silent, would throw a shade over the Republican Character, of which we boast, and would wound the sensibility of our Constituents. Permit us, Sir, to offer the only tribute in our Power to give, and the only one worth your acceptance—the grateful acknowledgments of a free and independent People.
When we saw you return into the Hands of your Country, that Sword which had been entrusted to you for her safety; and retire to domestic Peace and Tranquility, We lamented that we could not then employ those Talents which have since shone with such resplendency: But on the approach of a new Æra and when it became necessary to appoint a Chief Magistrate, to discharge the important Duties assigned to him, by our excellent Constitution; every eye was turned towards you; and you, again submitted to the Public wish. In that Station you have directed the Affairs of a rising Nation, with unequalled success. With Justice and Moderation you have confined yourself within the Limits prescribed to you, and you have preserved to your fellow Citizens that Liberty which you were instrumental in establishing. It has been our happiness to see the Resources and Credit of the Republic, and the Prosperity of her Citizens keep pace with your Administration.
In our foreign Relations we perceive the same happy effects. Your inviolable Fidelity to our engagements with one Nation, and the Neutrality, due to others, which you have faithfully respected; have secured us from the Calamities of the War, which is now desolating Europe; and however ardently we wish for the establishment of Universal Liberty, yet our true Interest points out the Wisdom, of adhering to just Policy.
We have yielded to your desire of Retirement only to give Repose to the Evening of a Life, which has been spent in the pursuit of Noble Deeds; and although you may not much longer Personally direct the Councils of America, yet we trust that a Recollection of your Virtues and Wisdom, will forever guide the steps of your Successors. Signed by Order of the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware
Stephen Lewis, Speaker.