To the Officials and Citizens of Richmond
[Richmond, Va., 12 April 1791]
The very distinguished manner in which you are pleased to notice my public services, and to express your regard towards me, demands and receives a grateful and affectionate return.1
If to my agency in the affairs of our common-country may be ascribed any of the great advantages, which it now enjoys, I am amply and most agreeably rewarded in contemplating the happiness, and receiving the approbation of my fellow-citizens, whose freedom and felicity are fixed, I trust for ever, on an undecaying basis of wisdom and virtue.
Among the blessings which a gracious Providence may be pleased to bestow on the people of America, I shall behold with peculiar pleasure the prosperity of your city, and the individual happiness of its inhabitants.
1. At three o’clock on 12 April, GW received an address from Richmond mayor George Nicholson and the city aldermen and common council members: “If in you the Mayor Aldermen and Commonality of Richmond beheld only the chief Magistrate of the United States of America, they would indeed feel all that Respect which is due to the ruler of a free people; but when they contemplate those virtues which have excited the universal approbation of your own Country, and the admiration of all mankind, they cannot approach you without emotions of veneration too big for utterances too pleasing to be suppressed. If the voice of the people be the trumpet of the Almighty, the universality of that gratitude which pervades every bosom in America, will ever remain an incontestible proof of the plaudit of heaven on the fortitude and wisdom which secured to our Country independence and Empire, and which now leads her to wealth & glory. We well know that to a mind like yours which is fraught with benevolence and affection for all mankind, the gratitude and love of the nation which you have saved must be the best reward; yet we are aware that to such a mind, nothing could be more painful than that servility which would convert the sentiment of Love into the Language of Adulation; we shun therefore the expression of the one least we should incur the imputation of the other; and while we beg leave to congratulate you on the astonishing Success which has heretofore attended all your indeavours for promoting the public welfare, we look forward with confidence and joy to the continuance of the administration, which, thro the blessing of the Supreme Being, hath already been productive of so much general happiness to the American Empire; and we implore that being, propitiously to Smile on all your future designs, to guard and protect you in your intended tour, to grant you every earthly good, and, that, when his providence shall see fit to summon you hence, you may be wafted to the regions of eternal happiness Lamented by Men and welcomed by Angels” (DLC:GW). For GW’s arrival and stay at Richmond, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:108–11.