In 1842, a young lawyer from Illinois was asked to give remarks on Washington’s Birthday (February 22, new style). In those days speeches were exceptionally long and his was no exception. His closing was especially grand eloquent, given it was a Temperance Society Audience in his home town of Springfield:
Following a protocol prepared by a committee that included Thomas Jefferson and Washington’s former aide, James McHenry, Washington proceeded to a chair near the dais reserved for the President of Congress, where he sat flanked by two aides who remained standing.
After a proper time for the arrangement of spectators, silence was ordered by the secretary of Congress at which time the President of Congress addressed General Washington with “Sir the United States in Congress assembled are prepared to received your communications”. Washington then rose and gave his brief address with such emotion that he had to steady the hand holding his remarks with his other hand. He congratulated Congress on ‘the opportunity afforded the United States, of becoming a respectable nation,” satisfied that the arduous task assigned him had produced a successful termination of the war and verified the most sanguine expectations.
the word ‘ultimate’ from before “leave of all the employments of public life.”
That we have such a significant document to place on display tonight in a specially designed case is due to the contributions and efforts of many people and institutions.
I particularly want to thank Kendall Ehrlich who first suggested and helped us organize a Friends group to acquire the Washington Document. At her’s and Joe Coale’s behest, Henry Rosenberg provided half the private funds raised for the acquisition. At Governor, then Comptroller Schaefer’s recommendation, the late Williard Hackerman contributed the other half.
The board of public works, Treasurer Kopp, Governor Ehrlich, and Comptroller Schaefer provided the public match, while the owner of the document gifted a considerable portion of the appraised value of the document.