George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives, 9 July 1789

To the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives

New York July 9th 1789


Your Address, with which I have been honored, has made a most sensible impression upon me.1 That my acceptance of the Presidency of these United States should have given joy to the people of Massachusetts—and that my conduct through our late arduous struggle for Liberty and Independence hath met the approbation of the Citizens of that Commonwealth will be considered by me, as among the most pleasing circumstances of my life.

In executing the duties of my present important station I can promise nothing but purity of intentions—and in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence; if these, under the guidance of a superintending Providence, shall continue to me the approbation and affection of my fellow-citizens of the Union, it will be the highest gratification and the most ample reward that my mind can form any conception of in this life.

The adoption of the present Government by so large a majority of the States, and their Citizens—and the growing dispositions which are discoverable among all descriptions of men to give support and energy to it, are indications of its merit—auspicious of the future greatness and welfare of the Empire which will grow under it—and is the foundation on which I build my hopes of public felicity; the best efforts of mine towards the accomplishment of these great and glorious objects can only be secondary.

For the Benedictions you have been pleased to implore the Parent of the Universe on my person and family I have a grateful heart—and the most ardent wish that we may all, by rectitude of conduct and a perfect reliance on his beneficience, draw the smiles of Heaven on ourselves and posterity to the latest generation.

Go: Washington

LS, M-Ar; LB, DLC:GW; copy, MNFL.

1The receiver’s copy of the address has not been found, but in M-Ar there are two draft versions of this address, dated 23 June. These two documents differ not only from each other but also from the letter-book version in DLC:GW, dated 25 June, which is evidently a copy of the final compromise version agreed to by both houses. The letter-book version reads: “Your acceptance of your present exalted and important station affords universal joy to the People of Massachusetts. They have long felt the most grateful veneration for your character and attachment to your Person; and they reflect with pleasure on the ardor, which your presence inspired in the alarming and novel circumstances of a war within their country, and on their civil security so soon restored by the discipline and success of the army under your command.

“The unanimity of the suffrages of these States in your election is no less a testimony of your merit, than of the gratitude of this extensive community. They have declared by investing you with the powers of their President their confidence in you from their experience of your wisdom and virtues—and they delight to honor you; for your services, in their estimation, will yet exceed their rewards.

“The union of these States by a form of government intended to secure the blessings of liberty is rendered more perfect under you as their Chief. All the advantages of that government, of our national Independence, and civil liberty, may be rationally expected under your administration. From you we shall receive those examples of public and private œconomy, of Prudence, Fortitude, and Patriotism, of Justice, Morality, and Religion, which, by the aid of Divine Providence, ensure the welfare of a Community.

“To express the voice of our constituents, we join in the congratulations of United America on this great event, and we earnestly implore the protection of Almighty God upon your Person and family, that he would afford you his divine aid in the duties of your important station, and would long continue you a blessing to the United States” (DLC:GW).

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