George Washington Papers

Address to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, 4 July 1775

Address to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress

[Cambridge, c.4 July 1775]


Your kind Congratulations on my Appointment, & Arrival demand my warmest Acknowledgements, and will ever be retained in grateful Remembrance.

In exchanging the Enjoyments of domestic Life for the Duties of my present honourable, but arduous Station, I only emulate the Virtue & publick Spirit of the whole Province of Massachusetts Bay, which with a Firmness, & Patriotism without Example in modern History, has sacrificed all the Comforts of social & political Life, in Support of the Rights of Mankind, & the Welfare of our common Country. My highest Ambition is to be the happy Instrument of vindicating those Rights, & to see this devoted Province again restored to Peace, Liberty & Safety.

The short Space of Time which has elapsed since my Arrival does not permit me to decide upon the State of the Army—The Course of human Affairs forbids an Expectation, that Troops formd under such Circumstances, should at once posses the Order, Regularity & Discipline of Veterans—Whatever Deficiencies there may be, will I doubt not, soon be made up by the Activity & Zeal of the Officers, and the Docility & Obedience of the Men. These Quali⟨ties,⟩ united with their native Bravery, & Spirit will afford a happy Presage of Success, & put a final Period to those Distresses which now overwhelm this once happy Country.

I most sincerely thank you, Gentlemen, for your Declarations of Readiness at all Times to assist me in the Discharge of the Duties of my Statio⟨n.⟩ they are so complicated, & extended that I shall Need the Assistance of every good Man, & Lover of his Country; I therefore respose the utmost Confidence in your [Aids]1—In Return for your affectionate Wishes to my-self permit me to say, that I earnestly implore that Divine Being in whose Hands are all human Events, to make2 you & your Constituents, as distinguished in private, & publick Happiness, as you have been by ministeria⟨l⟩ Oppression, by private & publick Distress.

D, in Joseph Reed’s writing, M-Ar: Revolution Letters. There is no dateline on the manuscript in the Massachusetts Archives, but in Sparks, Writings description begins Jared Sparks, ed. The Writings of George Washington; Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts. 12 vols. Boston, 1833–37. description ends , 3:14–15, this address is dated 4 July 1775. It could not have been written earlier than 3 July, the date of the address from the Massachusetts provincial congress to which it is a reply, nor is it likely that it was written later than 5 July because it appears in the New-England Chronicle: or, the Essex Gazette (Cambridge, Mass.) of 6 July 1775.

1The word “Aids” is taken from the text printed in the New-England Chronicle. The manuscript in the Massachusetts Archives originally read “in yours.” The “s” in “yours” was subsequently struck out, and the word “Support,” written by either Joseph Reed or Thomas Mifflin, was inserted above the line. “Support,” however, is also struck out, and no substitute appears in the manuscript.

2The word “implore,” apparently written by Charles Lee, is inserted above the line in place of the original wording “hope & wish.” Lee also apparently inserted the word “to” before “make” in place of the original word “will.”

Index Entries