George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Savannah Citizens, 13 May 1791

To the Savannah Citizens

[Savannah, c.13 May 1791]


I am extremely happy in the occasion now afforded me to express my sense of your goodness, and to declare the sincere and affectionate gratitude, which it inspires.1

The retrospect of past scenes, as it exhibits the virtuous character of our country, enhances the happiness of the present hour, and gives the most pleasing anticipation of progressive prosperity—The individual satisfaction, to be derived from this grateful reflection, must be enjoyed in a peculiar degree by the deserving citizens of Georgia—a State no less distinguished by its services, than by its sufferings in the cause of freedom.

That the city of Savannah may largely partake of every public benefit, which our free and equal government can dispense, and that the happiness of its vicinity may reply to the best wishes of its inhabitants is my sincere prayer.

Go: Washington


1An undated address, signed by Noble Wimberly Jones, Lachlan McIntosh, Joseph Clay, John Houstoun, and Joseph Habersham “In the Name and Behalf of a number of Citizens of Savannah and it’s Vicinity convened for the reception of the President,” was presented to GW on 13 May 1791: “Sir, When having accomplished the great objects of a War, marked in it’s progress with events that astonished while they instructed the World, you had again returned to the domestic enjoyments of life, to which you were known to be so strongly attached, there was little probability, in the common order of things, that the People of Georgia, however ardently they might desire, should ever be indulged, the happiness of a personal interview with you—but summoned again, as you were, from your retirement, by the united voice and the obvious welfare of your Country, you did not hesitate to furnish one more proof that, in comparison to the great duties of social life, all objects of a private nature are with you but secondary considerations—And to this your ruling passion of love for your Country it is that we owe the opportunity now afforded of congratulating you on your safe arrival in the City of Savannah—An office we the Committee, under the warmest impressions of sensibility and attachment, execute in the name and behalf of a respectable and grateful number of Citizens. History furnishes instances of some eminently qualified for the field, and of others endued with Talents adequate to the intricate affairs of State, but you, Sir, have enriched the annals of America with a proof to be sent abroad to all mankind that, however rare the association, the virtues and talents of Soldier and republican Statesman will sometimes dwell together, and both characters derive additional lustre from a subserviency to the precepts of Religion. Roused by oppression at home, and inspired by example from America, the People of enlightened Nations in Europe are now beginning to assert their rights—And it is observable that those brave Men, the subjects of foreign Powers, who were Votaries to our Cause and Companions in your Victories, are always found foremost in the struggle for just and equal Government. You have now, sir, an opportunity of viewing a State which from it’s exposed situation has been peculiarly affected by the calamities of War, but which, under the influence of a happy Government, will rise fast to that rank of prosperity and importance to which her natural advantages so justly entitle her, and which will enable her to reflect back upon the Union all the benefits derived from it. We shall always take a deep concern, in common with the other Citizens of the United States, in whatever regards your personal welfare and happiness—We make it our prayer to Almighty God that you may be long continued to your Country, her Ornament and Father—And that it may be more and more exemplified in you, sir, that to know how to conquer, and to improve the advantages of Conquest into blessings to a community, are faculties sometimes bestowed on the same Mortal” (DLC:GW).

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