February 11, 1861
"Friends, no one who has never been placed in a like position, can understand my
feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than a quarter of a century I
have lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here I have
lived from my youth until now I am an old man. Here the most sacred ties of earth were assumed; here all my
children were born; and here one of them lies buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I
All the strange, chequered past seems to crowd now upon my mind. Today I leave you; I go to assume a task more
difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God who assisted him, shall be with and aid
me, I must fail. But if the same omniscient mind, and Almighty arm that directed and protected him, shall guide and
support me, I shall not fail, I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now.
To him I commend you all - permit me to ask that with equal security and faith, you all will invoke His wisdom and
guidance for me. With these few words I must leave you - for how long I know not. Friends, one and all, I must now
bid you an affectionate farewell."