George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Connecticut Legislature, 17 October 1789

To the Connecticut Legislature

New-Haven October 17th 1789.


Could any acknowledgement, which language might convey, do justice to the feelings excited by your partial approbation of my past services, and your affectionate wishes for my future happiness, I would endeavor to thank you: But, to minds disposed as yours are, it will suffice to observe that your address meets a most grateful reception, and is reciprocated, in all its’ wishes, with an unfeigned sincerity.1

If the prosperity of our common country has in any degree been promoted by my military exertions, the toils which attended them have been amply rewarded by the approving voice of my fellow-citizens—I was but the humble Agent of favoring Heaven, whose benign interference was so often manifested in our behalf, and to whom the praise of victory alone is due.

In launching again on the ocean of events I have obeyed a summons, to which I can never be insensible—when my country demands the sacrifice, personal ease will always be a secondary consideration.

I cannot forego this opportunity to felicitate the Legislature of Connecticut on the pleasing prospect which an abundant harvest presents to its’ citizens—May industry like theirs ever receive its’ reward, and may the smile of Heaven crown all endeavors which are prompted by virtue—among which it is justice to estimate your assurance of supporting our equal government.

Go: Washington

LS, Ct: Unbound Manuscripts Collection; LB, DLC:GW.

For background to GW’s tour of the eastern states, see his letter to Betty Lewis, 12 Oct. 1789, n.3. See also GW to the Congregational Ministers of New Haven, 17 Oct. 1789.

1The address from the Connecticut legislature, signed by Samuel Huntington, reads: “Impressed with sentiments which animate the millions of our fellow-citizens, We, the Legislature of the State of Connecticut, cannot on this occasion be silent.

“Your presence recalls to our admiration that assemblage of talents, which with impenetrable secrecy and unvarying decision, under the smiles of divine providence guided to victory and peace the complicated events of the late long and arduous war.

“The scenes of perilous honor through which you conducted the american arms taught your country and mankind to revere you, as the greatest of heroes. Your sacred regard to the rights of freemen and the virtues of humanity inspired the united voice of all America to hail you as the first and worthiest of citizens.

“With grateful veneration we behold the Father of his country, our friend, our fellow-citizen, our supreme magistrate.

“When peace had succeeded to the vicissitudes of war, your ardent desire for retirement was sanctioned by the voice of patriotism, Your country has again solicited your aid; In obedience to her wishes you have sacrificed the felicity of dignified retirement, and have hazarded, on the tempestuous ocean of public life, the rich treasure of your fame. This display of patriot zeal gives you a new right to what you before possessed, the hearts of all your fellow-citizens.

“While we thus express our sentiments, and those of the freemen, whom we represent, we beg liberty to assure you of our zeal to support our public administration.

“May the divine Being who has given you as an Example to the world, ever have you in his holy keeping. May he long preserve you the happiness and the glory of your country. May the assurance that the government, formed under your auspices will bless future generations, rejoice the evening of your life—and may you finally be rewarded with the full glories of immortality” (DLC:GW).

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