During his administration of eight years he brought into full force his noblest energies to advance the best interests of his country--meliorate the condition of those who were suffering from the effects of a protracted war--improve the state of society, arts, science, agriculture, manufactures--commerce--disseminate general intelligence--allay local difficulties and render the infant Republic as happy and glorious as it was free and independent. His patriotic exertions were crowned with success--his fondest anticipations were realized--he finished the work assigned him with a skill before unknown--the government foundations were laid deep and strong--the superstructure was rising in grandeur--Washington wrote his farewell address and on the 4th of March 1797 retired from public life honored and loved by a nation of freemen, respected and admired by a gazing world--crowned with an unsullied fame that will grow brighter and more brilliant through all time. He then repaired to Mount Vernon to repose in the bosom of his family and enjoy that domestic peace by his own fireside that he had long desired. He had served his country long, ably, impartially, justly. He could look back upon a life well spent in the cause of human rights, liberal principles and an enlarged philanthropy.
For his arduous services during the revolutionary war Washington took no compensation. More than this, owing to the depreciation of continental money he paid three-fourths of his own expenses. He kept a correct book entry of every business transaction and produced a written voucher for every disbursement he had made of public funds. During his presidential terms his expenses exceeded his salary over five thousand dollars a year which he paid from his private funds and refused a proffered remuneration. With the exception of his appointment as commander-in-chief of the American army in 1798 when France threatened invasion, Washington was relieved from any farther participation in public affairs. He continued to live at Vernon's sacred Mount until the 14th of December 1799 when his immortal spirit left its noble tenement of clay--soared aloft on angel wings to realms of enduring bliss there to receive a crown of unfading glory--the reward of a spotless life spent in the service of his country and his God. His body was deposited in the family tomb where it slumbered amidst the peaceful groves of his loved retreat until 1837, when it was deposited in a splendid marble sarcophagus designed by Mr. Strickland and manufactured and presented by John Struthers, marble mason, both of the city of Philadelphia. Upon the top of this masterpiece of workmanship is most exquisitely and boldly carved the star spangled banner surmounted by the American Eagle. Under these the name WASHINGTON is carved in bold relievo. The design and finely finished work do great credit to Mr. Strickland as an architect and to Mr. Struthers as an artist. The gift and the delicate manner it was presented by the latter worthy gentleman do honor to his head and heart. The body was in a state of preservation as remarkable as the history of the man in life. The face retained its full form and fleshy appearance and was but slightly changed in color. The ceremony of removal was sublimely interesting and witnessed by a large concourse of tearful spectators. This hallowed spot is visited yearly by large numbers who approach it with profound veneration and awe. All nations revere the memory of the father of our country--unborn millions will chant his praise. Foreigners are proud to say they have visited the tomb of Washington at Mount Vernon. This estate was left to George Washington by his brother Lawrence in 1754. This brother served under Admiral Vernon in his memorable attack upon Carthagena in 1741. Having been treated with marked attention by the Admiral he named his estate in commemoration of him.
The name of George Washington is associated with every amiable and noble quality that can adorn a man. It is encircled by a sacred halo that renders it dear to every philanthropist--respected by all civilized nations. His fame is too bright to be burnished by eulogy--too pure to be tarnished by detraction. His praises have been proclaimed by talents of the highest order, hearts of the warmest devotion, imaginations of the happiest conception--eloquence of the loftiest tone. It would require an angel's pen dipped in ethereal fire and an angel's hand to guide it to fully delineate the noble frame work and perfect finish of this great and good man. Like the sun at high meridian, the lustre of his virtues can be seen and felt but not clearly described. His picture is one on which we may gaze with increased delight and discover new beauties to the last. Like that of our nation--his history is without a parallel. Unblemished rectitude marked his whole career, philanthropy his entire course, justice his every action. Under the most trying circumstances and afflictive dispensations a calm holy resignation to the will of God added a brighter lustre to his exalted qualities. Like a blazing luminary--his refulgence dims the surrounding stars and illuminates the horizon of biography with a light ineffable. His brilliant achievements were not stained with that reckless effusion of blood that marked the ambitious Cæsar, the conquering Alexander and the disappointed Bonaparte. He was consistent to the last.
In private life he was graced with all the native dignity of man, reducing all things around him to a perfect system of harmony, order, economy, frugality and peace. In every thing he was chastened by sterling merit, actuated by magnanimity, mellowed by benevolence, purified by charity. He was a living epistle of all that was great and good. He was the kind husband, the widow's solace, the orphan's father, the faithful friend, the bountiful benefactor, the true patriot, the examples worthy the contemplation and imitation of all who figure on the stage of public action or in the walks of retired life. His private worth was crowned with amaranthine flowers, richer and sweeter than the epic and civic wreaths that decked his brow in the public view of an admiring world. His virtues were enlivened by the richest colors of godliness--his mind was finished by the finest touches of creative power. His sacred memory will live through the rolling ages of time--will be revered until the wreck of worlds and the dissolution of nature shall close the drama of human action--Gabriel's dread clarion rend the vaulted tombs--awake the sleeping dead and proclaim to astonished millions--TIME SHALL BE NO LONGER.