George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Gorham, 5 July 1788

From Nathaniel Gorham

Boston July 5th 1788


It is with the most sincere pleasure that I congratulate you on the adoption of the Constitution by Virginia—This great event affords the most sincere and heart-felt pleasure to all ranks of People here—The importance of that State is fully understood and our anxiety was in proportion—the business I now look upon to be compleat & that every thing will go on harmoniously & with good will—The temper of the People in this State is truly Federal—the late elections have fully evinced this—The Legislature and Executive being fill’d with federalists—I have a very general knowledge of characters throughout this State and can confidently assert that there has never been since the revolution so peaceable and quiet a temper pervading the State as at the present moment—Industry & frugallity is allso very prevalent & increasing—I please myself Sir with the idea of soon seing you at the head of the American Government1—and in the mean time remain very respectfully your most Obedient & Hume Servt

Nathaniel Gorham


1GW responded from Mount Vernon on 21 July: “Sir, I received your congratulatory letter of the 5th instt by the last Mail. It gives me reciprocal satisfaction to find that the adoption of the Constitution by Virginia has diffused so general a joy through the other States. The good disposition manifested by the Citizens of your Commonwealth, excites also a flattering & consolatory reflection in all who wish well to the fœderal interest & the glory of the American Nation. Much happiness may rationally be anticipated from the encreasing prevalence of industry & frugality, invigorated and encouraged by the operation of a free, yet efficient general government.

“Although I am passing rapidly into the vale of Years, where the genial warmth of youth that fires its votary with a generous enthusiasm becomes extinct, & where the cheerfulness of the prospect often infects the animal spirits with a similar contageon; yet I trust there are few who rejoice more fervently in the expectation that the beams of prosperity will break in upon a Country, which has ever engaged my most disinterested wishes & fondest hopes. And although I shall not live to see but a small portion of the happy effects, which I am confident this system will produce for my Country; yet the precious idea of its prosperity will not only be a consolation amidst the encreasing infirmities of Nature, and the growing love of retirement, but it will tend to sooth the mind in the inevitable hour of seperation from terrestrial objects. With earnest prayers that you and all the worthy patriots of America may long enjoy uninterrupted felicity under the New Government—I have the honor to subscribe myself with due regard & esteem Sir, Yr Most Obedt and Most Hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, CLjC; LB, DLC:GW).

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