Page 4146

4146 HISTORIC DOCUMENTS

current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the

course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I

may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial

benefit, some occasional good-that they may now and then recur

to moderate the fury of party spirit; to warn against the mischiefs

of foreign intrigues; to guard against the impostures of pretended

patriotism-this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude

for your welfare by which they have been dictated.

How far, in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided

by the principles which have been delineated, the public records

and other evidence 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.

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.

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.

Relying on its kindness in this, as in other things, and actuated

by that fervent love toward 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 expectations 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-that ever favorite

object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual

cares, labors, and dangers.