George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Pendleton, 12 May 1789

From Nathaniel Pendleton

Savannah Georgia. May 12th 1789


Notwithstanding the arduous, and important affairs in which your Excellency must be deeply Engaged at this time, I beg leave to intrude on a moment of your time while I add my feeble voice to the millions who celebrate their own good Fortune, in seeing Your Excellency at the head of our public Counsels; under a form of Government perfected and established by the influence of your wisdom & patronage.

I know not however whether I ought to congratulate your Excellency upon this event, which will deprive you of those domestic enjoyments to which you returned with so much satisfaction after the peace.

The Sacrifice you have made in yielding to the anxious wishes of your fellow Citizens, in this instance, they gratefully feel as the strongest proof your Excellency could have given, how much of your Ease and happiness you are willing to sacrifice to procure theirs.

That your Excellency may long live to enjoy the love and Veneration of your Country, is the fervent prayer of Your Excellency’s Most obedient & most humble servt

Nathl Pendleton

ALS, DNA:PCC, item 78, vol. 18; ADfS, CtY: Miscellaneous Collections—Pendleton.

Nathaniel Pendleton (1756–1821), a Virginia lawyer and a nephew of Edmund Pendleton of Virginia, served in various Virginia regiments during the Revolution and from 1780 to 1783 was aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene. After the war Pendleton moved to Georgia and received an appointment as the state’s attorney general. In 1789 he was chief justice of the Georgia superior court and was serving in the Continental Congress. In the same year he collaborated in an extensive newspaper campaign in the Georgia Gazette (Savannah) to support GW and the new government (Georgia Gazette [Savannah], 19 and 26 Feb., 12 Mar., and 14 May). In November 1789 GW appointed him judge of the United States district court in Georgia, a post he held until 1796. He became a major purchaser in Georgia lands and in 1795 was involved in the Yazoo speculation. By mid–1796 Pendleton and his family had moved to New York where he was active in federalist circles and in 1804 served as Alexander Hamilton’s second in his fatal duel with Aaron Burr.

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