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WASHINGTON'S CIRCULAR LETTER OF CONGRATULATION AND ADVICE TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE THIRTEEN STATES.*

HEAD-QUARTERS, NEWBURG, June 18, 1783.

SIR:-The great object for which I had the honor to hold an appointment in the service of my country being accomplished, I am now preparing to resign it into the hands of Congress, and return to that domestic retirement which, it is well known, I left with the greatest reluctance; a retirement for which I have never ceased to sigh through a long and painful absence, in which (remote from the noise and trouble of the world) I meditate to pass the remainder of life in a state of undisturbed repose; but, before I carry this resolution into effect, I think it a * See Appendix, page 189.

duty incumbent on me to make this, my last, official communication, to congratulate you on the glorious events which heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor, to offer my sentiments respecting some important subjects, which appear to me to be intimately connected with the tranquillity of the United States, to take my leave of your Excellency as a public character, and to give my final blessing to that country in whose service I have spent the prime of my life; for whose sake I have consumed so many anxious days and watchful nights; and whose happiness, being extremely dear to me, will always constitute no inconsiderable part of my own.

Impressed with the liveliest sensibility on this pleasing occasion, I will claim the indulgence of dilating the more copiously on the subject of our mutual felicitation. When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for, the doubtful nature of the contest, and the favorable manner in which it has terminated, we

shall find the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing; this is a theme. that will afford infinite delight to every benevolent and liberal mind, whether the event in contemplation be considered as a source of present enjoyment or the parent of future happiness; and we shall have equal occasion to felicitate ourselves on the lot which Providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, a political, or moral point of view.

The citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole lords and proprietors of a vast tract of continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the world, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now, by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and independency; they are, from this period, to be considered as the actors on a most conspicuous theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designed by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity; here they

are not only surrounded with every thing that can contribute to the completion of private and domestic enjoyment, but heaven has crowned all its other blessings by giving a surer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation has ever been favored with. Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly than the recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our republic assumed its rank among the nations. The foundation of our empire was not laid in a gloomy age of ignorance and superstition, but at an epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined than at any former period; researches of the human mind after social happiness have been carried to a great extent; the treasures of knowledge acquired by the labors of philosophers, sages, and legislators, through a long succession of years, are laid open for us, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the establishment of our forms of govern

ment; the free cultivation of letters, the unbounded extension of commerce, the progressive refinement of manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and, above all, the pure and benign light of revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society. At this auspicious period the United States came into existence as a nation, and if their citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

Such is our situation, and such are our prospects; but notwithstanding the cup of blessing is thus reached out to us -notwithstanding happiness is ours, if we have a disposition to seize the occasion, and make it our own; yet, it appears to me, there is an option still left to the United States of America, whether they will be respectable and prosperous or contemptible and miserable as a nation. This is the time of their political probation; this is the moment when the eyes of the world are turned upon them; this

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