|Gentlemen,||c.12 January 1797|
I receive with great pleasure the expressions of your approbation of my public services. The general marks of satisfaction, and the various testimonies of select and discerning bodies of men among my fellow-citizens, respecting my public conduct; while they have stimulated my exertions to be useful to my country, the sole object of all my aims & wishes, have also enforced the justness of your remark, 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 in pure integrity. And I shall be pardoned when I add, that conscious integrity has been my unceasing support; and while it gave me confidence in the measures I pursued, the belief of it, by acquiring to me the confidence of my fellow-citizens, ensured the success which they have had. This consciousness will accompany me in my retirement: without it, public applauses could be viewed only as proofs of public error, and felt as the upbraidings of personal demerit. In this retirement, to behold the national felicity; will be largely to partake in it; and if with this felicity I enjoy health, which you kindly wish me, my hopes in this world will be consummated.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.