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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 belligezent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
The luty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain in violate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations...
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will be best referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been, to endeavour 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 liave committed inany errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they inay 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 oblivi. on, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Reiying on its kindness in this as in other things,