George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Judges of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 20 April 1789

To the Judges of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

[Philadelphia, 20 April 1789]


It affords me the most sensible pleasure to be informed that my accession to the chief Magistracy of the United States has met the approbation of my fellow-citizens in general, and particularly that of the Judges of the supreme Court of Pennsylvania.1

Your recapitulation of the deliverance in which almighty God hath been pleased, in some sort, to make use of me as his instrument, ought only to awaken my deepest gratitude for his mercies in the time past, and a humble reliance on them for the time to come. Feeling how greatly I shall stand in need of the patriotic assistance of every good citizen of America, the confidence they continue to express in the rectitude of my dispositions, will always be, as it ever has been, an unfailing source of consolation to me, in every hour of difficulty or distress—While the whole course of my past conduct will be a better security for my future transactions, than any verbal assurances I can give; I will only say that I should find myself singularly happy in contributing to realise the glorious work, which your partiality for me has been indulgent enough to anticipate, of establishing justice, ensuring tranquillity, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of Liberty and Independence to the good people of our native country, and their latest posterity.

I intreat you to be persuaded, Gentlemen, That, although it was with the utmost difficulty I could prevail upon myself to enter again on the Stage of Public Life, yet, since I have done it, the unequivocal encouragement of support, given by the most respectable citizens and Magistrates, will tend very much to remove my embarrassments, and, I hope, to open the way for a prosperous Administration.2

Go: Washington

LB, DLC:GW; LS (partial facsimile), sold by Parke-Bernet, 23 Mar. 1938, item 308.

1The address from the judges reads: “We the Judges of the supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania do most heartily congratulate your accession to the high and important office of President of the United States of America.

“We are sensible of what we owe to almighty God for the great deliverance he hath wrought for us by your Excellency, when General and Commander in chief of the armies of our country, and for having inspired the People with the wisdom of appointing you by an unanimous suffrage to the chair of first Magistrate over them.

“The tender regard which heretofore you always paid to the laws and liberties of these States, when you possessed almost dictatorial power, gives us a certain prospect of a mild, legal, and upright government in future.

“We are duly impressed with the mercies of God in preserving you hitherto, in so many public and private dangers to which your person hath been exposed, and we hope and pray the same Providence will carry you through the great work (which seems reserved for you) of establishing justice, ensuring tranquillity, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of Liberty and Independence to the good people of your native country and their latest posterity.

“We want words to express our satisfaction on this occasion, and beg leave to assure you of our affectionate attachment to your Person and our best endeavors to render your administration happy and glorious” (DLC:GW). The address is signed by Thomas McKean, William A. Atlee, Jacob Rush, and George Bryan.

2The last paragraph has been taken from the partial facsimile in the dealer’s catalog.

Index Entries