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TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY, AND LAITY OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE STATES OF NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, AND NORTH CAROLINA, IN GENERAL CONVENTION ASSEMBLED.
August 1971, 1789.
GENTLEMEN, I sincerely thank you for your affectionate congratulations on my election to the chief magistracy of the United States.
After having received from my fellow-citizens in general the most liberal treatment, after having found them disposed to contemplate, in the most flattering point of view, the performance of my military services, and the manner of my retirement at the close of the war, I feel that I have a right to console myself in my present arduous undertakings with a hope, that they will still be inclined to put the most favorable construction on the motives, which may influence me in my future public transactions.
The satisfaction arising from the indulgent opinion entertained by the American people of my conduct will, I trust, be some security for preventing me from doing any thing, which might justly incur the forfeiture of that opinion. And the consideration, that human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected, will always continue to prompt me to promote the progress of the former by inculcating the practice of the latter.
On this occasion, it would ill become me to conceal the joy I have felt in perceiving the fraternal affection, which appears to increase every day among the friends of genuine religion. It affords edifying prospects, indeed, to see Christians of different denominations dwell together in more charity, and conduct themselves in respect to each other with a more Christian-like spirit, than ever they have done in any former age, or in any other nation.
I receive with the greater satisfaction your congratulations on the establishment of the new constitution of government, because I believe its mild yet efficient operations will tend to remove every remaining apprehension of those, with whose opinions it may not entirely coincide, as well as to confirm the hopes of its numerous friends; and because the moderation, patriotism, and wisdom of the present federal legislature seem to promise the restoration of order and our ancient virtues, the extension of genuine religion, and the consequent advancement of our respectability abroad, and of our substantial happiness at home.
I request, most reverend and respected Gentlemen, that you will accept my cordial thanks for your devout supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe in behalf of me. May you, and the people whom you represent, be the happy subjects of the divine benedictions both here and hereafter.
TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF DARTMOUTH
GENTLEMEN, In assigning so important an agency to the endeavours of an individual, as is mentioned in your address, you render a tribute to my services, which a sense of propriety forbids me to assume. For the flattering terms in which you are pleased to express your sentiments of those services, and for the kind wishes you prefer in my behalf, I thank you with grateful sincerity.
To the animated spirit of freedom, that pervades our country, and to the firm temper of our citizens, which braved all dangers in defence of their privileges (under the protecting care of divine Providence), are we indebted for the blessings of political independence. To the enlightened policy, which has directed our public councils, we owe the reform and establishment of our federal constitution. Under its auspicious influence, aided by the industry and moral conduct of those citizens, who compose the great family of our Union, we may hope for the substantial enjoyments of individual happiness and national honor.
From your superintending care, Gentlemen, as the guardians of a seminary and an important source of science, we are to derive great assistance in accomplishing these desiderata. That your labors may be crowned with success, and render you happy in its consequences, is my sincere prayer.
TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FREEMEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.
GENTLEMEN, When the representatives of a free people, delivering the sense of their constituents, give such marks of affectionate attachment to an individual, as are contained in your address to me, it must call forth the warmest acknowledgments of a grateful heart. Under this impression, I beg you to believe, that your favorable opinion of my past conduct, and kind congratulations on my elevation to the high station which I now fill, are indelibly marked on my mind.
The early and decided part, which the citizens of Pennsylvania took in behalf of the present system of government, cannot be forgotten by the people of these United States; and in acknowledging the grateful sense, which I have of your assurances of the firm and constant support of your State, in all measures in which its aid shall be necessary for rendering my administration easy to myself and beneficial to our country, I trust that I meet the concurrence of all good citizens.
The virtue, moderation, and patriotism, which marked the steps of the American people in framing, adopting, and thus far carrying into effect our present system of government, have excited the admiration of nations; and it only now remains for us to act up to those principles, which should characterize a free and enlightened people, that we may gain respect abroad, and insure happiness to ourselves and our posterity.
It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind, that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity, but that its influence may be coextensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn. To establish this desirable end, and to establish the government of laws, the UNION of these States is absolutely necessary; therefore, in every proceeding, this great, this important object should ever be kept in view; and, so long as our measures tend to this, and are marked with the wisdom of a wellinformed and enlightened people, we may reasonably hope, under the smiles of Heaven, to convince the world that the happiness of nations can be accomplished by pacific revolutions in their political systems, without the destructive intervention of the sword.
Your wishes for my personal happiness, and fervent prayers for the preservation of my existence, have made a grateful impression upon me; and I shall not fail to implore the divine Author of the Universe to bestow those blessings upon you and your constituents, which can make a people happy.
TO THE SYNOD OF THE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH
IN NORTH AMERICA.
V NORTH AMERICA
GENTLEMEN, I receive with a grateful heart your pious and affectionate address, and with truth declare to you, that no circumstance of my life has affected me more sensibly, or produced more pleasing emotions, than the friendly congratulations, and strong assurances of support, which I have received from my fellow-citizens