Response to the Address of Welcome
Alexandria. Mar. 11. 1790.
Accept my sincere thanks for yourself and the worthy citizens of Alexandria, for their kind congratulations on my return to my native country.
I am happy to learn that they have felt benefit from the encouragements to our commerce which have been given by an allied nation. But truth and candor oblige me at the same time to declare you are indebted for those encouragements solely to the friendly dispositions of that nation which has shown itself ready on every occasion to adopt all arrangements which might strengthen our ties of mutual interest and friendship.
Convinced that the republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind, my prayers and efforts shall be cordially contributed to the support of that we have so happily established. It is indeed an animating thought that, while we are securing the rights of ourselves and our posterity, we are pointing out the way to struggling nations who wish, like us, to emerge from their tyrannies also. Heaven help their struggles, and lead them, as it has done us, triumphantly thro’ them.
Accept, Sir, for yourself and the citizens of Alexandria the homage of my thanks for their civilities, & the assurance of those sentiments of respect & attachment with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servt.,
PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “William Hunter esquire Mayor of Alexandria.” Text printed in Gazette of the United States, 27 Mch. 1790, and also in (N.Y.) Daily Advertiser, 29 Mch. 1790; in the latter the text is given as from the Virginia Gazette and Alexandria Advertiser for 18 Mch. 1790 (no copy located in Brigham, Bibliography of American Newspapers, ii, 1111), and with the following account of the ceremonies: “On the 10th inst. arrived in this town, on his way to New-York, Thomas Jefferson, Esq. On his arrival, a number of the inhabitants, impressed with a due sense of the important services rendered by that gentleman to his country, waited on him, and requested the favor of his company at a public dinner at Mr. Wise’s tavern the next day. The day was spent in the most agreeable manner. Patriotic toasts were given—and the company retired highly pleased with the amiable manners and engaging conversation of their celebrated guest; after presenting him with the following address, to which he returned the answer annexed.”
The publication of this address in the capital and its acknowledgement of the friendly dispositions of the French government lent added support to the testimony that Otto had already reported to the ministry of the effect of TJ’s arrival in America (see Vol. 15: 557, note).