To the Citizens of Fayetteville, North Carolina
[Brunswick County, N.C., c.26 April 1791]
It is due to your goodness, and to my own feelings, that I should express the sensibility excited by your address, and that I should acknowledge the grateful pleasure with which I receive it.1
My best services are more than compensated by the affectionate partiality of my fellow-citizens—and my most anxious wishes are gratified in observing the happiness which pervades our country.
The very favorable change already manifested in our political system, justifies the prediction that the future operations of the general government will be alike conducive to individual prosperity and national honor.
Should it consist with the necessary arrangements of my journey I shall be happy in a personal opportunity of confessing my obligations to the regard of the citizens of Fayetteville. In any event I entreat them to be persuaded of my sincere wishes for their welfare.
1. After Congressman William Barry Grove returned to Fayetteville with the news that GW would shortly visit North Carolina, Grove’s brother-in-law John Hay presided over a town meeting on 15 April that voted to have Grove deliver an address to GW Hay notified GW on 16 April that Grove would present the address whenever and wherever the president appointed (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Grove met GW’s party on 26 April at Russ’s Tavern in Brunswick County, where he presented GW the “address of the Merchants, Traders and Principal Inhabitants, of the Town of Fayetteville,” signed by Hay: “Altho’ our voice can add little to the general acclamation which attends you, and to your Excellency must be of small moment, yet amidst the warm congratulations on the appearance in this State of their beloved chief Magistrate, our silence would indicate a want of respect, a silence which would be the more reprehensible in a community so largely interested in Trade & Navigation more peculiarly under the directing hand of that Government in which you preside. Could any incident improve the admiration we feel for your illustrious character, heretofore so fully established as the Soldier, the Statesman, and the Patriot; it is your present expedition, in undertaking at an advanced period of life, a long and laborious journey, for the purpose of advising yourself by personal observation, and inquiry, of the true interests of the several States which compose our confederation. From this tour we presage the happy consequence, that those who are not yet satisfied with the tendency, operation, and effects of the present constitution of the Union will be convinced of its superior excellency to all former systems of Government. Throughout your journey we wish you as much satisfaction as can attend it, and if in its progress we are to be honoured by your visitation, the Citizens of Fayetteville will be happy in every attention which may contribute to your pleasure, and conveniency. Under the impression of the importance of a life so valuable to our Country, we commit it to God with our most fervent prayer that it may long be preserved as full of happiness, as it hath been already full of Glory” (DLC:GW).