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of my conduct must witness to You, and to the World.—To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In relation to the still subsisting War in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index of my plan.Sanctioned by your approving voice and by that of Your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me:-uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.
After deliberate examination with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, [*] I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest, to take a Neutral position.—Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance and firmness.
[The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, [it is not necessary] † on this occasion [to detail.] I will only observe, that according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.-] I
(* and from men disagreeing in their impressions of the origin, progress,
and nature of that war,) t some of them of a delicate nature, would be improperly the subject of explanation.
# The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, some of them of a delicate nature, would be improperly the subject of explanation on this occasion. I will barely observe that according to my understanding of the matter, that right so far from being denied by any belligerent Power, has been virtually admitted by all.
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every Nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of Peace and Amity towards other Nations.
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct, will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error-I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I [may) have committed many errors.[Whatever they may be I] * fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate [the evils to which they may tend.] t-I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. [+]
This paragraph is then erased from the word "conduct," and the following sentence interlined, “would be improperly the subject of particular discussion on this occasion. I will barely observe that to me they appear to be warranted by well-estab. lished principles of the Laws of Nations as applicable to the nature of our alliance with France in connection with the circumstances of the War and the relative situation of the contending Parties.”
A piece of paper is afterwards wafered over both, on which the paragraph as it stands in the text is written, and on the margin is the following note : "This is the first draft, and it is questionable which of the two is to be preferred.”
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for [several] generations ;-I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good Laws under a free Government,—the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors and dangers.*
* I deprecate the evils to which they may tend, and † them
May I without the charge of ostentation add, that neither ambition nor interest has been the impelling cause of my actions—that I have never designedly misused any power confided to me nor hesitated to use one, where I thought it could redound to your benefit ? May I without the appearance of affectation say, that the fortune with which I came into office is not bettered otherwise than by the improvement in the value of property which the quick progress and uncommon prosperity of our country have produced ? May I still further add without breach of delicacy, that I shall retire without cause for a blush, with no sentiments alien to the force of those vows for the happiness of his country so natural to a citizen who sees in it the native soil of his progenitors and himself for four generations ?
On the margin opposite this paragraph is the following note : “ This paragraph may have the appearance of self-distrust and mere vanity.”
GO. WASHINGTON. UNITED STATES,
1796. 19th September,
PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE DEATH OF WASH
SPEECH OF JOHN MARSHALL IN THE HOUSE OF REP
RESENTATIVES, AND RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED
MR. SPEAKER, —
The melancholy event, which was yesterday announced with doubt, has been rendered but too cer
* The paragraph beginning with the words, “May I without the charge of ostentation ada,” having been struck out, the following note is written on the margin of that which is inserted in its place in the text : Continuation of the paragraph preceding the last ending with the word 'rest.'"
+ The intelligence of the death of Washington had been received the preceding day, and the House immediately adjourned. The next morning Mr. Marshall addressed this speech to the House.
tain. Our Washington is no more! The hero, the
If, sir, it had even not been usual openly to testify
More than any other individual, and as much as to one individual was possible, has he contributed to found this our wide-spreading empire, and to give to the western world independence and freedom.
Having effected the great object for which he was placed at the head of our armies, we have seen him convert the sword into the ploughshare, and sink the soldier in the citizen.
When the debility of our federal system had become manifest, and the bonds which connected this vast continent were dissolving, we have seen him the chief of those patriots who formed for us a constitution, which, by preserving the Union, will, I trust, substan