|Sir,||12 January 1797|
Your late Address to the people of the United States, whilst it awakens every sentiment of gratitude, deeply affects our feelings with regret.
The friendly counsel you have offered to your fellow citizens, to induce them to adhere stedfastly, to their present union; to repress the spirit of party; to cherish religion, knowledge and public credit; and to maintain a dispassionate and impartial, ’tho amicable disposition, towards foreign nations, meets with our warmest approbation. In your forcible exposition of the dangers, which will result to their freedom, safety and prosperity from a dereliction of these salutary maxims, we recognize that just dicernment of the real interest of our country, and that firm adherence to the principles of true patriotism, which have always distinguished your public conduct. Your fellow citizens sensible that with your measures their dearest interests were intimately connected, have regarded them with anxious attention; they have beheld you, under the auspices of divine providence, leading their armies to victory, and guiding their councils to prosperity and peace; nor has the closest examination of your conduct produced any other effect, than to strengthen their reliance on your wisdom and virtue.
The various testimonials of attachment which you have received from the people of the United States, must have fully convinced you, that your affectionate sensations towards them, which are so feelingly expressed in your address, are reciprocated by correspondent sentiments, on their part. The signal instance of steady approbation, with which they have supported your administration, and the success which has attended it, have exhibited to the world a striking proof, that the most effectual method of securing the confidence, and accomplishing the welfare, of an enlightened nation, is, to pursue, with undeviating firmness, a policy founded on the purest integrity.
The satisfaction we have derived from your salutary communications is greatly alloyed by the information which has accompanied them, that we are so soon, to be deprived of those faithful services, from which such important benefits have resulted to this in common with the other states. We are, at the same time, compelled to assent to the justice of your claim to that repose, in the evening of your days, which has so long been sacrificed to the voice and interest of your country.
You will carry with you into retirement the solid enjoyment arising from the applause of your grateful country, and the consciousness of a life devoted to virtue and public utility. In addition to these sources of happiness, may you long enjoy the blessings of health; may you largely partake of that national felicity, to the establishment of which you have so eminently contributed; and may your successors in office, be influenced by your example, in their efforts to promote the peace, safety, and dignity of the United States. Signed by order
Speaker of the Senate of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
DLC: Papers of George Washington.