|Gentlemen,||c.17 February 1797|
The kindness of my fellow citizens has given me frequent occasions to make my acknowledgments for their expressions of confidence, attachment and affection; and for their honorable testimonies that my public cares and labours have been useful to my country.
With great satisfaction I receive your additional testimony, that as a public man I have not lived in vain.
Though now seeking that repose which retirement and the tranquil pursuit of rural affairs are calculated to afford, and which my time of life requires, the love of my country will indeed suffer no abatement: its safety & prosperity will be essential to the enjoyment of my remaining years. And I confide in [the] discernment and patriotism of my fellow-citizens for the choice of wise and virtuous men who will successively administer every branch of the government in such manner as, under divine Providence, to enforce the general happiness. For your affectionate wishes for my present & future felicity, accept, gentlemen, my cordial thanks.