George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexandria, Virginia, Citizens, 5 October 1793

From Alexandria, Virginia, Citizens

[5 October 1793]1

The Citizens of Alexandria, conceiving it to be at all times the right of the People to declare their political principles, and to express their sentiments upon Subjects which concern the national Interest, met at the Court House on Saturday the 6th October, agreeably to notification, in order to take under consideration the late proclamation of the President of the united States 2 and other subjects which agitate the public mind, and came to the following resolutions thereon:

1st Resolved that our illustrious Fellow-Citizen, George Washington, has, by his well-timed proclamation, given an additional proof of his vigilant attention to his duty, and the welfare of his country; and that it is our duty as well as our interest to conduct ourselves conformably to the principles expressed in the said proclamation, and to use our utmost endeavours to prevent any infringement of them by others: And we hereby declare it is our firm intention so to do.

2d Resolved that it is the interest and duty of these united States to maintain a strict Neutrality towards the belligerent powers of Europe, and to cultivate peace and harmony with all the world by just and honourable means.

3d Resolved that all attempts to subvert the Fœderal Government, to violate it’s principles, or to lessen the confidence of the People therein, ought to be firmly and vigorously resisted.

4th Resolved that we are attached to a republican form of Government as being the only one calculated to diffuse true national happiness, and to inspire and cherish those principles and Virtues in the people which are the great Ornaments of human Nature. We reprobate Monarchy, because it tends to oppression, and because, by introducing corruption and depravity, it never fails to destroy those Equal rights to which all Men are, by nature, entitled.

5th Resolved that every attempt to disunite France and America ought to be opposed, as dangerous to Republicanism.

6th Resolved that we entertain the warmest gratitude for the generous and important Services of the French Nation during the American revolution; and that we feel the strongest attachment to those principles which have occasioned the glorious contest in which that Nation is Engaged for its own liberty; and we most ardently wish them the complete & lasting Enjoyment of that inestimable blessing which, under divine providence, was secured to us by their timely aid and assistance.

7th Resolved that the interference of any foreign Minister, of whatever nation, with the Government of this Country will be, at all times, highly improper; but that our gratitude to, and affection for, our good allies, the French People, ought not to be lessened by any indiscretion of their Ambassador. In behalf of the meeting

John D. Orr Secy 3

John Fitzgerald Chairman

8th Resolved that a Copy of these Resolves be sent to the President of the United States and that they be published in the Alexandria News-Papers.4


On 28 Sept. a “Notice to Republicans” appeared in the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette stating, “It is the wish of many of the Inhabitants of Alexandria, whose Love of Liberty and Republican Government have led them to consider the cause of France, as closely connected with the happiness of America, that some fair and becoming method be adopted for a public declaration of these sentiments,” and calling a meeting for that night. Despite its Francophile origins, the meeting evidently discussed the misdeeds of French minister Edmond Genet. According to a letter of 1 Oct. from “A Friend to the People,” the “tories of the day” portrayed America as too weak to espouse the cause of France and made attempts “to criminate the conduct of the French minister” that were “treated with contempt by the almost unanimous voice of the assembly.” The letter also criticized the “aristocratical faction in America” as “officious propagators of the calumny against Citizen Genet” who wished “to harrass the public mind, between an unshaken attachment to the President on the one hand, and a sympathetic regard to the interests of France, and respect to her representative in America, on the other”(National Gazette [Philadelphia], 9 Oct.). A later notice called for the citizens to meet on the next Saturday “for the purpose of considering the report of the Committee appointed last Saturday night” (Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette, 2 Oct.).

1Despite the text of the resolves, Saturday fell on 5 Oct., not 6 Oct., in 1793.

2This is a reference to GW’s Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April.

3John Dalrymple Orr (c.1772–1816) was an Alexandria physician.

4There were at least two Alexandria newspapers at this time: the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette and the Virginia Gazette. The Columbian Mirror printed the resolutions on 9 Oct.; another printing taken from an Alexandria paper of 10 Oct., probably the Virginia Gazette, appeared in Bartgis’s Maryland Gazette, and Frederick-Town Weekly Advertiser, 24 Oct. 1793.

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