George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Paul Revere et al., 24 April 1797

To Paul Revere et al.

Mount Vernon 24th April 1797


I am sorry that the enclosed answer to the Affectionate Address of the Grand lodge of Ancient, Free and accepted Masons, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—transmitted under your Signatures—should appear so much out of season; but from the lapse of time between the date & reception of the Address (from what cause I know not) it was not to be avoided, and is offered as an apology for the delay.1 With brotherly Affection I am always Yours

Go: Washington

ALS (retained copy), DLC:GW.

1The address from the Massachusetts Masons, dated 21 Mar., reads: “Wishing ever to be foremost in Testimonials of respect and admiration for those Virtues and Services with which you have so long adorned and benefited our common Country; and not the last nor least to regret the cessation of them in the public councils of the Union; your Brethren of the Grand Lodge, embrace the earliest opportunity of Greeting you in the calm retirement you have contemplated to yourself. Though, as Citizens they lose you in the Active Labours of Political Life, they hope as Masons to find you in the pleasing sphere of fraternal engagement. From the cares of State, and the fatigues of public Business, our institution opens a recess, affording all the Relief of Tranquillity, the Harmony of Peace, and the Refreshment of Pleasure: of these may you partake in all their purity and satisfaction: And we will assure ourselves that your attachment to this social plan will increase, and that under the auspices of your encouragement, assistance, and patronage, the craft, will attain the highest ornament, perfection, and praise. And it is our ardent prayer that when your light shall be no more visible in this earthly Temple, you may be raised to the all perfect Lodge above; be seated on the right of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, and there receive the refreshment your Labours have merited! In behalf of the Grand Lodge we subscribe ourselves, with the highest esteem Your affectionate Brethren Paul Revere Grand Master[,] Isaiah Thomas, Senior Grand Warden[,] Joseph Laughton Junior Grand Warden [,] Daniel Oliver Grand Secretary” (DLC:GW).

GW’s enclosed response reads: “Brothers, It was not until within these few days that I have been favoured by the receipt of your affectionate Address dated in Boston the 21 st of March. For the favourable sentiments you have been pleased to express on the occasion of my past Services, and for the regrets with which they are accompanied for the cessation of my public function, I pray you to accept my best acknowledgments and gratitude. No pleasure, except that wch results from a consciousness of having, to the utmost of my abilities, discharged the trusts which have been reposed in me by my Country, can equal the satisfaction I feel from the unequivocal proofs I continually receive of its approbation of my public conduct, and I beg you to be assured that the evidence thereof which is exhibited by the Grand lodge of Massachusetts is not among the least pleasing, or grateful to my feelings. In that retirement which declining years induced me to seek, and which repose, to a mind long employed in public concerns, rendered necessary, my wishes that bounteous Providence will continue to bless, & preserve our country in Peace, & in the prosperity it has enjoyed, will be warm & sincere; and my attachment to the Society of which we are members will dispose me always, to contribute my best endeavours to promote the honor & interest of the Craft. For the Prayer you offer in my behalf I entreat you to accept the thanks of a grateful heart; with the assurance of fraternal regard and best wishes for the honor, happiness & prosperity of all the members of the Grand lodge of Massachusetts. Go: Washington” (ADS [retained copy], DLC:GW).

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