George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Bee, 5 March 1784

From Thomas Bee

Charleston [S.C.] 5 March 1784


The Charleston Library Society desirous of Testifying their Esteem for your Excellency, and at the same time of having the Opportunity to Inroll your Name as one of their Members, Did, by an Uninimous Vote at their last Anniversary Meeting, Elect you, an Honorary Member of their Society, as will appear by the inclosed Certificates, which as their President, I have now the Honour of Transmitting to your Excellency.1

This Institution was formed about Thirty years ago, with an immediate view, to the Extension of Learning and Science amongst the Inhabitants of this New World, and ultimately, for the purpose of Endowing a College in the Neighbourhood of this City. The ravages of war have for a time suspended these Intentions, but the repose we have now the prospect of Enjoying, in the procuring of which, your Excellency has borne so distinguished a part, makes us look forward with pleasing satisfaction to the Completion of our Plan.

It is the wish of the Society that this Mark of their respect may prove acceptable to your Excellency, and it will be an infinite gratification for them to receive from you Sir, any hints or Observations for the improvement of their plan, or that may in any way contribute to the advancement of knowledge, or benefit of Mankind. with the most sincere respect and Esteem I have the honour to be your Excellency’s most Obt & most humble Servt

Tho. Bee


Thomas Bee (1739–1812), a Charleston lawyer who studied at Oxford and became a federal district judge in 1790, was active throughout his adult life in public affairs in South Carolina. He was a member of the board that organized the College of Charleston in 1785.

1The certificate of membership in the Charleston Library Society is dated 13 Jan. 1784 (DLC:GW). GW responded from Mount Vernon on 28 May: “I acknowledge the receipt of your favor dated the 5th of March, enclosing a unanimous vote of the Charleston library Society electing me an honorary Member of their body with the cert. thereof ⟨illegible⟩.

“For this mark of attention, and for the honor done me by enrolling my name as a member of so respectable a Society—formed for such generous & laudable purposes, I beg the favor of you, Sir, to present my gratitude & best wishes for the completion of its objects; which, from the repose we have a prospect of enjoying, is scarcely to be doubted.

“If it shou’d ever be in my power to offer any thing which may be useful, or that can afford the least satisfaction to the society, it will contribute not a little to my pleasure to do it” (ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW).

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