|Gentlemen,||24 February 1797|
The sentiments expressed in the address you have delivered to me from the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, sentiments as honorable to them as to me, have excited the most grateful emotions. Whatever services I have rendered to my country, in its general approbation I have received an ample reward. Having nothing in view but to vindicate its rights, secure its liberty, and promote its happiness, I might expect the most efficient aid and support in the exertions of able and upright men, and in the general spirit of my fellow citizens. All this I have experienced; and our united efforts have resulted in our independence, peace and prosperity. And I entertain the pleasing hope, that the intelligence and superior information of my fellow citizens, enabling them to discern their true interests, will lead them to the successive choice of wise and virtuous men to watch over, protect and promote them, who while they pursue those maxims of moderation, equity and prudence, which will entitle our country to perpetual peace, will cultivate that fortitude and dignity of sentiment which are essential to the maintainance of our liberty and independence.
Should it please God, according to the prayers of your constituents, to grant me health & long life, my greatest enjoyment will be to behold the prosperity of my country; and the affection and attachment of my fellow citizens, through the whole period of my public employments, will be the subject of my most agreeable recollections: while the belief, which the affecting sentiments of the people of Massachusetts, expressed by their Senate and House of Representatives with those of my fellow citizens in general, have inspired, that I have been the happy instrument of much good to my country and to mankind, will be a source of unceasing gratitude to Heaven.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.