Washington's Final Farewell
In 2007, the Maryland State Archives acquired George Washington's handwritten copy of his resignation speech. The draft contains Washington's edits, showing the changes he made as he wrote, none more important than his crossing out of the words "final" and "ultimate" at the close of his speech, "I retire from the great theatre of action, -- and bidding an affectionate a final farewell to this August body, I here offer today deliver my Commission, and take my ultimate leave of all the employments of public life." These edits suggest that Washington intentionally left open the possibility of a return to public life.
Washington’s personal copy of the speech from which he read on December 23, 1783 is on display in the rotunda.