George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the President and Faculty of Princeton College and the Inhabitants of Princeton, 21–22 April 1789

To the President and Faculty of Princeton College and the Inhabitants of Princeton

[Princeton, N.J., 21–22 April 1789]


As your truly affectionate and solemn address to me on my late appointment merits, so it receives, the genuine acknowledgements of a grateful heart.1

Upon perceiving the unanimous voice of my countrymen had called me to occupy the first office in confederated America, I could not hesitate to determine that it was my duty to obey that call: notwithstanding I had at the close of the war, most seriously resolved to pass the evening of my days in peaceful retirement free from the toils and cares of public life—If the sacrifice has been great, the occasion was still greater. After thanking you, Gentlemen, for the repeated testimonies I have, at different times, received of your affection, I pray that Almighty God will have you all in his holy keeping.

G: Washington


1The address, signed in the name of the faculty of Princeton and the inhabitants of the town by John Witherspoon and John Beatty and delivered probably on 22 April (see GW to the Ladies of Trenton, 21 April, source note), reads in part: “The unanimity with which you have been destined to this station does honor to the citizens of the United-States, as it shews they retain a just and grateful sense of your eminent services during the late war in council and in the field: and we are of opinion that you have hardly had an opportunity, even in your own life, of discovering greater self-denial and devotedness to the public good than by relinquishing your peaceful retirement with fulness of honor, and again submitting to the toils and cares of public life.

“That Almighty God may direct your counsels, and prosper your undertakings; and that your life may be long continued as a blessing to your country, is our sincere and fervent Prayer” (DLC:GW).

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