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.