|My dear General,||Lisbon Feby 18th 1797.|
On the 1st of Janry I had pleasure of writing to you a long letter, which I hope you will have received before this shall reach you. But having now nothing to say, but to repeat the expressions of my veneration & affection for you, I shall not trouble you with many words on the occasion. The language of gratitude & friendship may be as concise, as energetic. I believe you are convinced few have a larger portion of either for you. The expression of these cannot but display itself on every new & interesting epocha of your life. Permit me then to offer you my sincere congratulations on your drawing so near to the period when your public life is to be terminated... or, to speak figuratively, when, after having passed the stormy military & political Seas on which you were embarked from necessity & duty, you are on the point of reaching the ports of private life and domestic felicity—May tranquility, health & happiness long attend you in your retirement.
As you will have become a private Citizen before this shall be put into your hand, I may now venture to ask your acceptance of a pair of Shoe & Knee Buckles, made expressly for you of oriental Topases... which Captn OBrien is charged to deliver or send to you. As, I think, they are neither mean or gaudy or too vulgar or too expensive, I hope you will wear them very often for my sake: and that, in wearing them, you will some times have the goodness to recollect, they only meant as a silent memorial of the sentiments of inexpressible attachment, affection & respect, with which I shall never cease to be. Your sincerest friend & Most devoted Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.