George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the New York Legislature, 4 August 1789

To the New York Legislature

[New York, 4 August 1789]


The affectionate congratulations of so respectable a public Body, as the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of New York, on my election to the Presidency of the United States, fill my breast with the most pleasing sensations.1

In the fortitude and perseverence of the Citizens of this State, even amidst the calamities and dangers with which they were surrounded in the late war, I found a resource; which it always gave me pleasure to acknowledge in the strongest and most grateful terms. I may also be permitted to add, the satisfaction I experienced in retiring to the enjoyments of domestic life was greatly enhanced by a reflection, that their public virtue had been finally crowned with complete success.

I am now truly happy that my motives, for reassuming the arduous duties of a public Station, have met with your approbation. And, at the sametime, I entreat you will be persuaded that nothing could be better calculated to encourage me to hope for prosperity in the execution of the duties of my office than the assurances you have given of the favorable sentiments & expectations of the Freemen of your State.

I request, Gentlemen, that you will accept my best thanks for your polite intimation, that you will do every thing in your power to make my residence in your State agreeable; as well as for your patriotic promise of being always ready to afford your united aid & Support.

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; LB, DLC:GW.

The letter was headed “To the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York,” in GW’s writing.

1The address of the New York legislature to GW, dated 15 July, reads: “While our country at large bears a chearful testimony to your distinguished virtues and services, we, the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York, avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity, since your election to the Presidency of the United States, to present you our sincere and affectionate congratulations upon your appointment to that illustrious station.

“The Citizens of this State in the course of the late destructive war, pressed with calamities and dangers, with grateful admiration beheld you displaying the brightest military talents for their defence and safety, and when these were no longer necessary, their prayers and acclamations attended you from the head of a victorious army to the enjoyments of domestic life.

“After such distinguished proofs of fortitude and moderation, no motive but the purest patriotism, could have induced you to listen to the voice of your Country, and to re-assume the arduous duties of a public station.

“We are confident, Sir, of expressing with fidelity the sentiments of the Freemen of this State, when we assure you of the regard they have for your person, of the confidence they repose in your wisdom, and of the firm expectations they entertain, that your administration will, by the blessing of Almighty God, be glorious to yourself and happy for your country. Permit us to add that we shall do all in our power to make your residence in this State agreeable, and at all times be ready to afford you our united aid and support” (DLC:GW).

For the proceedings in the New York legislature on the drafting of the address, see Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, at Their First Meeting of the Thirteenth Session, description begins Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, At the First Meeting of their Thirteenth Session, begun and holden at the City of Albany, the Sixth Day of July, 1789. New York, 1789. description ends 7, 18–19, 20, 27. The address was presented to GW by Gulian Verplanck, speaker of the assembly. See Verplanck’s letter to GW, 3 Aug. 1789.

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