George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Congregational Church of Midway, Georgia, 13 May 1791

To the Congregational Church of Midway, Georgia

[Savannah, c.13 May 1791]


I learn with gratitude proportioned to the occasion your attachment to my person, and the pleasure you express on my election to the Presidency of the United States.1

Your sentiments on the happy influence of our equal government impress me with the most sensible satisfaction—they vindicate the great interests of humanity—they reflect honor on the liberal minds that entertain them—and they promise the continuance and improvement of that tranquillity, which is essential to the welfare of nations, and the happiness of men.

You over-rate my best exertions when you ascribe to them the blessings which our country so eminently enjoys. “From the gallantry and fortitude of her citizens, under the auspices of heaven, America has derived her independence—To their industry and the natural advantages of the country she is indebted for her prosperous situation—From their virtue she may expect long to share the protection of a free and equal government, which their wisdom has established, and which experience justifies, as admirably adapted to our social wants and individual felicity.”

Continue, my fellow-citizens, to cultivate the peace and harmony which now subsist between you, and your indian-neighbours—the happy consequence is immediate, the reflection, which arises on justice and benevolence, will be lastingly grateful. A knowledge of your happiness will lighten the cares of my station, and be among the most pleasing of ther rewards.

G. Washington.


1The “Address Of the Congregational Church and Society of Midway, (formerly St John’s Parish)” to the president was dated Midway, Liberty County, Ga., 12 May 1791. The church is thirty miles below Savannah, and it is unlikely that the address was presented to GW on that day since he was traveling all day, with only a brief stop at a private plantation, and the evening of his arrival at Savannah was completely occupied. The address, signed by James Maxwell, Daniel Stewart, Abiel Holmes, Henry Wood, and John P. Mann “in behalf of the Church and Society,” reads: “Sir, We feel ourselves happy in an opportunity of expressing our attachment to your person, and our peculiar pleasure in your election, by the unanimous voice of your country, to the Presidency of the United States. Though situated in the extreme part of the Union, we have gratefully to acknowledge that we already experience the propitious influence of your wise and parental administration. To the troops stationed on our frontiers by your order, and to the Treaty lately concluded with the Creek Nation under your auspices, are we indebted, under Providence, for our present tranquillity. The hatchet is now buried, and we smoke with our Indian neighbours the calumet of peace. This, while it affords us a happy pressage of our future protection, gives, at the same time, a recent proof how justly you have earned, in your civil, as well as military, capacity, the glorious title of FATHER OF YOUR COUNTRY. With the Laurel, then, be pleased to accept the Civic Wreath from a grateful people. We readily conceive how arduous must be the duties, how weighty and complicated the cares, of office, in the government of so extensive a Republic as that over which you are called to preside. Impressed with a deep sense of this, we will not fail to implore the divine blessing in your behalf—May you continue to be directed by that ‘wisdom from above,’ which is necessary to the successful discharge of the duties of your high and important station; and may you long be preserved the favoured Instrument of Heaven, to secure to a Free People those invaluable rights, which you so eminently contributed to secure from the hand of Oppression! Distant as our situation is from the seat of Government, permit us to assure you that our influence, however inconsiderable in the national scale, shall not be wanting in encouraging submission to the laws of the United States, and thus, under GOD, perpetuating the blessings of an efficient, federal government, now so happily established” (DLC:GW).

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