George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Maria I of Portugal, 21 February 1791

To Maria I of Portugal

[Philadelphia, 21 February 1791]

Great and good Friend,

Desirous to promote a friendly and useful Intercourse between the Subjects of your Majesty and the Citizens of these States, and to give Proofs of our Goodwill and Consideration towards your Majesty, I have named David Humphreys, one of our distinguished Citizens, Minister Resident for the United States of America near your Majesty. He knows the Interest we take and shall ever take in your Prosperity and Happiness, and I beseech your Majesty to give entire Credence to whatever he shall deliver on our Part, and most of all when he shall assure you of the Sincerity of our Friendship. I pray God to keep you, great and good Friend, under his holy Protection. Written at Philadelphia the Twenty first Day of February, one thousand seven hundred and ninety one. Your good Friend

Go: Washington

By the President
Th: Jefferson

LS, National Archives, Lisbon; copy, DNA: RG 59, Ceremonial Letters, Credences, 1789–1906; copy, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

For the background to this letter, see Jefferson to GW, 8 Aug. 1790, and GW to the U.S. Senate, 18 Feb. 1791. This letter was transmitted to Humphreys with Jefferson’s letter to him of 15 Mar. 1791 (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 19:572–74).

Maria I (1734–1816) ascended the throne of Portugal in 1777 at the death of her insane father, José I. She was married to her uncle, who ruled as Pedro III until his death in 1786. Maria herself was declared insane in 1792, and thereafter her son João acted as regent until her death, when he ascended the throne as João VI.

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