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To George Washington from John Quincy Adams, 11 February 1797

The Hague February 11th 1797

Since I had the honour of writing you I have been informed that about a year ago a workman in the sword manufactories at Sohlingen[,] a hilt founder by the name of Alte, was induced in consequence of the unsettled and distressed situation of that part of Germany to go to America and before he went had the Sword made according to his own fancy, with the intention as I understand of presenting it to you upon his arrival in America, with the hopes that it might serve him as a recommendation of himself[.] His Father is living and received a letter from him last May informing him of his arrival at Philadelphia. But since that time he has had no further accounts from him. He professes not to remember particularly the tenor of the inscription upon the Sword. Its value might be from four to five pounds sterling.

As this Letter will not come to your hands untill after the period which you have fixed upon for retiring from the Chief Magistracy of the Union, I cannot omit the opportunity of expressing the deep concern which, in common with every virtuous American Citizen, I have felt upon being informed of your [resolution] and the veneration and gratitude with which as one of the [people] of the United States. I received your address to them, dated on the 19th of September last. I fervently pray that they may not only impress all its admonitions upon their hearts, but that it may serve as the foundation upon which the whole system of their future policy may rise, the admiration and the example of future times, that your warning voice may upon every great emergency recur to their remembrance with an influence equal to the occasion, that it may controul the fury of domestic factions and check the encroachments of foreign influence; that it may cement with indissoluble force our National Union, and secure at once our dignity and our Peace.

I beg leave at the same time to offer you Sir, the tribute of my grateful acknowledgment for the distinguished notice which in the course of your public administration you were pleased to bestow on me by the repeated nomination to places of honour and trust under the Government of the United States, to places so far beyond any pretensions or expectations of mine[;] that they had never been even the subject of a wish, untill your favourable opinion called me to them. I cannot deem it improper at this moment to express the gratitude which I must ever feel, and as I know that the only acceptable return for favours of this nature will in your mind consist in the zealous and faithful discharge of the public services, which you were pleased to assign, I shall always consider my personal obligations to you among the strongest motives to animate my industry & invigorate my exertions in the service of my Country.

With the most ardent wishes and prayers that the remainder of your life may be as replete with personal and domestic happiness to yourself as it has hitherto been with benefits to your native land, with usefulness to the world and dignity to the human character, I have the honour to be most respectfully, Sir, Your very humble & obedt Servt


MHi: Adams Papers.

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