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This address being ended, Gen. Washington advanced and delivered his commission into the hands of the President of Congress, who replied as follows ;
nied with an unanimous resolution of the delegates of the United Col. onies, “ That they would maintain, assist, and adhere to George Washington, with their lives and fortunes, in the cause of American liberty.” The comnuission, drawn by a special committee, was in the following words;
“ The delegates of the United Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts’ Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware ; Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina,
“ TO GEORGE WASHINGTON, ESQ.
“We, reposing special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valour, conduct, and fidelity, do by these presents constitute and appoint you to be General, and Commander in Chief of the army of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised or to be raised by them, and of all others who shall voluntarily offer their service and join the said army, for the defence of American liberty, and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof; and you are hereby vested with full power and au. thority, to act as you shall think for the good and welfare of the service.
“ And we do hereby strictly charge and require all officers and soldiers under your command, to be obedient to your orders, and diligent in the exercise of their several duties.
" And we dlo also enjoin and require you to be careful in exercising the great trust reposed in you, by causing strict discipline and order to be observed in the army, and that the soldiers be duly exercised and provided with all convenient necessaries.
“ And you are to regulate your conduct in every respect by the rules and discipline of war, as lerewith given you, and punctually to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time, as you shall re. ceive from this, or a future Congress of these United Colonies, or com: mitlee of Congress.
“ The United States in Congress assembled, receive with emotions too affecting for utterance, the solemn resignation of the authorities under which you have led their troops with success, through a perilous and doubtful war.
“Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge be.
« This commission to continue in force, until revoked by this, or a future Congress. (Signed)
“PEYTON RANDOLPH, President. (Altest)
"CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary. “ June 17th. 1775."
At the time this commission was accepted, the United Colonies had no assurance of foreign assistance, and were without established government, arms, magazines, forts, money, trade, navy, disciplined troops, or experienced officers.
At the same time they were denounced by their sovereign as in a state of rebellion, Washington, by accepting the command of their armies, not only subjected one of the largest estates in America to confiscation, but his life to execution. The diffidence he avowed on the occasion, was not the common cant of successful candidates for promotion, nor did it arise from apprehensions of personal danger ; but was the offspring of excessive modesty. Though willing to risk every thing on the contest, he really distrusted his ability to contend in regular war, with the expe. rienced Generals of Britain. The doubts and fears which for some time kept him in suspense, at length yielded to a conviction of duty, and the . earnest invitation of friends, who appreciated his talents more correctly than he did himself. On the event of his declining the high commis. sion, as was for some time expected, it was privately resolved to confer it on Gen. Ward, of Massachusetts. What would have been the issue of the military opposition of America conducted by that much esteemed officer, no one can tell ; but without in vidions comparison, it may be safely affirmed, that it could not have been more suceessful than under the auspices of Washington.
fore it had formed alliances, and whilst it was without friends or a government to support you.
“ You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortitude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes. You have by the love and confidence of your fellowcitizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity; you have persevered till these Unit. ed States, aided by a magnanimous king and nation, have been enabled under a just Piovidence, to close the war in safety, freedom, and independence; on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.
“ Having defended the standard of liberty in this new world ; having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict, and to those who feel oppression, you retire from the great theatre of action with the blessings of your fellowcitizens ; but the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command, it will continue to animate remot
We feel with you our obligations to the army in general, and will particularly charge ourselves with the interest of those confidential of. ficers who have attended your person to this affecting moment.
“ We join you in commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseeching him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them of becoming a happy and respecta. ble nation ; and for you we address to Him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved, may be fostered with all his care ; that your days may be hap
py as they have been illustrious, and that he will finally give you that reward which this world can. not give.”
The military services of Gen. Washington, which ended with this interesting day, were as great as ever were rendered by any man to any nation. They were at the same time disinterested. How dear would not a mercenary man have sold such toils, such dangers, and above all, such successes? What schemes of grandeur and of power would not an ambitious man have built upon the affections of the people and of the army? The gratitude of Aimerica was so lively, that any thing asked by her resigning chief, would have been readily granted. He asked nothing for himself, his family, or relations; but indirectly solicited favours for the confidential officers who were attached to his person. These were young gentlemen without fortune, who had served him in the capacity of Aids de Camp. To have omitted the opportunity which then offered, of recommending them to their countr: 's notice, would have argued a degree of insensibility in the breast of their friend.
The only privilege distinguishing him from other private citizens, which the retiring Washington did or would receive from his grateful country, was a right of sending and receiving letters free of postage.
The American chief, having by his own voluntary act, become one of the people, hastened with ineffable delight to his seat at Mount Vernon, on the banks of the Potowmac. There, in a short time, the most successful General in the world, became the most diligent farmer in Virginia.
To pass suddenly from the toils of the first com. mission in the United States to the care of a farm; to exchange the instruinents of war, for the imple. ments of husbandry, and to become at once the patron and example of ingenious agriculture, would to most men have been a difficult task. But to the elevated mind of Washington, it was natural and delightful. From his example, let the commanders of arinies learn, that the faine which is acquired by the sword, without guilt or ambition, may be preserved without power or splendour in private life.