To the Officials of Petersburg, Virginia
[Petersburg, Va., 14 April 1791]
Receiving with pleasure, I reply with sincerity to your flattering and affectionate address.1 I render justice to your regard and to my own feelings, when I express the gratitude which the sentiments it contains have inspired—and you will allow me to say, that gratitude, so impressed, must be lasting.
The government of the United States, originating in the wisdom, supported by the virtue, and having no other object than the happiness, of the people, reposes not on the exertions of an individual yet, as far as integrity of intention may justify the belief, my agency in the administration will be consonant to your favorable opinions—and my private wishes will always be preferred for the prosperity of Petersburg and the particular welfare of its inhabitants.
DS, ViPetCHM; LB, DLC:GW.
1. The address of the mayor, recorder, alderman, and common council of Petersburg, signed by Mayor Joseph Westmore, reads: “We avail ourselves of the earliest oppertunity that your Presence has afforded us, to offer you our Sincere and Affectionate respects—to welcome you, most Cordially, to this place, and to Assure you, which we do with Confidence, of the high regard and great Affection the Inhabitants of this Town entertain for your Person and your many virtues. We look upon you, Sir, as the Father of your Country and the friend of mankind &, when we Contemplate your Charecter in that light, we feel ourselves impressed with the purest Sentiments of gratitude respect and veneration. May you long continue at the head of our Government honour’d, respected and beloved as you are at Present, and we pray, most ardently, that the all wise director of human Events, may Prolong your life to a far distant period of time and bless you, to your latest breath with Health, uninterrupted, and with that happy Tranquility of mind which ever flows from conscious rectitude and from a Heart always anxious to promote the happiness of the human race. We Sincerely wish that the Tour which you are about to make may be an Agreable one and that it may afford you every imaginable Satisfaction” (DLC:GW). For GW’s arrival at Petersburg on 14 April and his activities there before his departure early the next morning, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:111–12, and Edward Carrington to James Madison, 20 April, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 14:10–11.