To the Citizens of Newburyport
[30 October 1789]
The demonstrations of respect and affection which you are pleased to pay to an individual, whose highest pretension is to rank as your fellow-citizen, are of a nature too distinguished not to claim the warmest return that gratitude can make.1
My endeavors to be useful to my country have been no more than the result of conscious duty—Regards like yours would reward services of the highest estimation and sacrifice: Yet it is due to my feelings, that I should tell you those regards are received with esteem, and replied to with sincerity.
In visiting the Town of Newburyport, I have obeyed a favorite inclination, and I am much gratified by the indulgence. In expressing a sincere wish for its prosperity, and the happiness of its inhabitants, I do justice to my own sentiments, and their merit.
Leaving Salem “A Little after 8 Oclock” on the morning of 30 Oct., GW and his party passed through Beverly, stopping to view the Beverly Cotton Manufactory, continued to Ipswich, and arrived in Newburyport about 4 o’clock in the afternoon (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:485–86).
1. The address of the citizens of Newburyport reads: “When by the unanimous suffrages of your countrymen, you were called to preside over their public councils, the citizens of the Town of Newbury-Port participated in the general joy that arose from anticipating an administration conducted by the Man, to whose wisdom and valour they owed their liberties.
“Pleasing were their reflections that he, who by the blessing of Heaven, had given them their independence, would again relinquish the felicities of domestic retirement to teach them its just value.
“They have seen you, victorious, leave the field, followed with the applauses of a grateful country, and they now see you entwining the olive with the laurel, and, in peace giving security and happiness to a People, whom, in war, you covered with glory.
“At the present moment they indulge themselves in sentiments of joy, resulting from a principle, perhaps less elevated, but exceedingly dear to their hearts; from a gratification of their affection in beholding personally among them, the friend, the benefactor, and the father of their Country.
“They cannot hope, Sir, to exhibit any peculiar marks of attachment to your person, for could they express their feelings of gratitude, the most ardent and sincere, they would only repeat the sentiments, which are deeply impressed upon the hearts of all their fellow-citizens: But injustice to themselves, they beg leave to assure you, that in no part of the United States are those sentiments of gratitude and affection more cordial and animated than in the Town, which at this time is honored with your presence.
“Long, Sir, may you continue the Ornament, and support of these States, and may the period be late, when you shall be called to receive a reward, adequate to your virtues, which it is not in the power of your country to bestow” (DLC:GW). A note at the bottom of this document, attested by Mr. Hodge, town clerk of Newburyport, indicates that Benjamin Greenleaf, Jonathan Jackson, Edward Wiggles worth, and Micajah Sawyer were appointed a committee to present the address to GW.