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"After advancing to the chair, and delivering his commission to the president, he returned to his place, and received, standing, the following answer of Congress, which was delivered by the president.
accepted the sacred
"Sir, The United States, in Congress assembled, receive with emotions too affecting for utterance the solemn resignation of the authorities under which you have led their troops with success through a perilous and a doubtful war. Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you charge, before it had formed alliances, and whilst it was without funds or a government to support you. You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power, through all disasters and changes. You have, by the love and confidence of your fellow citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity. You have persevered until these United States, aided by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled under a just Providence to close the war in freedom, safety, and independence; on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.
66'6 Having defended the standard of liberty in this New World, -having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict and to those who feel oppression, you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessings of your fellow citizens. But the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command; it will continue to animate remotest ages.
"We feel with you our obligations to the army in general, and will particularly charge ourselves with the interests of those confidential officers who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
"We join with you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of becoming a happy and a respectable nation. And for you, we address to him our earnest prayers that a life so beloved may be fostered with all his care; that your days may be as happy as they have been illustrious; and that he will finally give you that reward which this world cannot give.'
"This scene being closed, a scene rendered peculiarly interesting by the personages who appeared in it, by the great events it recalled to the memory, and by the singularity of the circumstances under which it was displayed, the American chief with
drew from the hall of Congress, leaving the silent and admiring spectators deeply impressed with those sentiments which its solemnity and dignity were calculated to inspire.
"Divested of his military character, General Washington retired to Mount Vernon, followed by the enthusiastic love, esteem, and admiration of his countrymen. Relieved from the agitations of a doubtful contest, and from the toils of an exalted station, he returned with increased delight to the duties and the enjoyments of a private citizen. He indulged the hope, that, in the shade of retirement, under the protection of a free government, and the benignant influence of mild and equal laws, he might taste that felicity which is the reward of a mind at peace with itself and conscious of its own purity."*
HE change which now took place in the situation and pursuits of Washington was remarkable. Suddenly passing from the toils of the first commission in the United States to the condition of a simple farmer, exchanging the implements of war for those of husbandry, and becoming the patron and example of ingenious agriculture, was a task that to most men would have presented
insuperable difficulties. To the elevated mind of Washington, however, it was at once natural and delightful. The sensations he experienced on the total change in his habits of life are best expressed in his own words.