Decr 6th 1783
I want Words to express the heart-felt pleasure I experence on receiving the congratulation & plaudit of so respectable a Body, as the Legislature of the State of New Jersey—I cannot however suppress the effusions of my gratitude for their flattering allusion to an event which hath immortalized & signalized the name of Trenton; for the delicate manner of their recalling to mind none but grateful ideas; as well as for all their former assistance at the period of our deepest distress.
I am heartily disposed to join with you, Gentlemen, in adoration to that all-wise & most gracious Providence which hath so conspicuously interposed in the direction of our public affairs & the establishment of our national Independance.
The faithful page of History, will I doubt not, record all the patriotic sufferings & meritorious Services of the gallant little Army I have had the honor to command; Nor, (if my tesimony & the voice of truth can avail any thing), shall the efficacious exertions of the State of New Jersey, or the almost unrivalled bravery of its Militia ever be forgotten. Let the fact be made known to the whole world, let it be remembered forever as an example to suceeding Ages—that, after a large extent of Country had been overrun by a formidable Enemy, and thousands of Citizens driven from their possessions; the virtuous freemen of New Jersey—recovering from the temporary shock—stung by the remembrance of what their wives, their children & Friends had already suffered, by the thought of losing all they yet held dear & sacred—animated by an enthusiastic hope of success—and bouyed, by a reliance on the aid of Heaven, above the fear of danger & death itself; then began to stem the tide of adversity; and, in concert with our other force, recoiling like an impetuous torrent on our lately victorious foes, confined them within narrow limits ‘till compelled to take their final departure from the State.
For me, it is enough to have seen the divine Arm visibly out-stretched for our deliverance, and to have recd the approbation of my Country, and my Conscience on account of my humble instrumentality in carrying the designs of Providence into effect; but for my gallant Associates in the Field, who have so essentially contributed to the establishment of our Independence & national glory, no rewards can be too great.
I am now to bid you a long farewell, & to recommend, you Gentlemen, & the State whose wellfare you are appointed to superintend, to the indulgent care of Heaven. May unaminity & wisdom ever prevail in your public Councils! May justice & liberality distinguish the Administration of your Goverment! And may the Citizens of New Jersey be completely happy in the practice of Industry, oeconomy & every private Virtue.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.