Thomas Jefferson Papers

George Washington to the Trustees of the Germantown Academy, [ca. 6 November 1793]

George Washington to the Trustees of the Germantown Academy

[ca. 6 Nov. 1793]


The readiness with which the Trustees of the school of Germ. to. tender the buildings under their charge for the use1 of Congress is a proof of their zeal for furthering the public good. And doubtless the other inhabitants actuated by the same motives will feel the same dispositions to accomodate if necessary2 those who assemble but for their service and that of their fellow citizens.

Where it may be best for Congress to remain will depend on circumstances which are daily unfolding3 themselves, and for the issue of which we can but offer up our prayers to the sovereign4 dispenser of life and health.

His favor too on our endeavors, the good sense and firmness of our fellow citizens and fidelity in those they employ will secure to us a permanence of good government.

Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 94: 16096); in TJ’s hand, undated, but prepared no earlier than 6 Nov. 1793 (see note below); written on verso of a detached sheet bearing docketing in a clerk’s hand for an unrelated letter of Thomas Sim Lee to [Henry Knox], 25 Oct. 1793. Recorded in SJPL between 11 Oct. and 5 Nov. 1793. The letter as sent by Washington, still undated, followed TJ’s Dft with minor changes in wording and punctuation, but added this concluding paragraph: “If I have been fortunate enough, during the vicissitudes of my life, so to have conducted myself, as to have merited your approbation, it is a source of much pleasure; and shou’d my future conduct merit a continuance of your good opinion, especially at a time when our Country, and the City of Philada. in particular, is visited by so severe a calamity, it will add more than a little to my happiness” (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxiii, 148–9).

Treasury Comptroller Oliver Wolcott, Jr., and Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin had inquired in October 1793 about the availablity of the Germantown Academy (technically still the Public School of Germantown) for use by Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature, respectively. The trustees of the Academy voted on 2 Nov. 1793 to give the President on behalf of Congress the right of first refusal and set the rent for the building at $300 a session, with a $60 abatement if Congress made certain repairs. On the morning of 6 Nov. a committee of five trustees headed by Henry Hill personally submitted a letter to Washington formally tendering the invitation (A History of the Germantown Academy, 2 vols. [Philadelphia, 1910–35], I, 120–4; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 247). The President ultimately found it unneccessary to accept the offer.

1Preceding nine words interlined in place of “contribute as far as depends on them to the accommodation.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

3Word interlined in place of “developing.”

4Above this word TJ canceled “supreme.”

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