George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Oliver Ellsworth, 6 March 1797

From Oliver Ellsworth

March 6. 1797.


As preperation for your departure will not conveniently admit of your receiving any more visits, you will suffer me in this manner, to bid you a most respectful and most cordial, farewell. With the same ardour that I have sought the felecity and glory of your Administration: do I now implore for you in repose, those sublime pleasures from a review of the past and perspective of the future, which a life of Patriotism eminently entitles and quallifies, to enjoy. I can not wish, Sir, that your happiness may be compleat without being permitted to extend the same wish to Mrs Washington.1 With high consideration, I have the honor to be, Sir your obedient humble Servant

Oliver Ellsworth


Oliver Ellsworth (1745–1807) of Connecticut resigned from the U.S. Senate in the spring of 1796 to become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was succeeded as chief justice in 1800 by John Marshall.

1GW responded on 8 Mar. shortly before leaving Philadelphia: “Dear Sir, Before I leave this City, which will be within less than twenty four hours; permit me, in acknowledging the receipt of your kind and affectionate note of the 6th, to offer you the thanks of a grateful heart for the Sentiments you have expressed in my favour, and for those attentions with which you have always honoured me. In return, I pray you to accept all my good wishes for the perfect restoration of your health, and for all the happiness this life can afford. As your official duty will necessarily call you to the Southward, I will take the liberty of adding, that it will always give me pleasure to see you at Mount Vernon as you pass & repass. With unfeigned esteem & regard in wch Mrs Washington joins me I am always—& affectionately Yours Go: Washington” (ALS [photocopy], ViMtvL; letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW). Chief Justice Ellsworth had dinner at Mount Vernon on 20 June 1799 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:352).

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