George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 29 May 1789

To the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church

[29 May] 1789


I return to you individually, and (through you) to your Society collectively in the United States my thanks for the demonstrations of affections, and the expressions of joy, offered in their behalf, on my late appointment.1 It shall still be my endeavor to manifest, by overt acts, the purity of my inclinations for promoting the happiness of mankind, as well as the sincerity of my desires to contribute whatever may be in my power towards the preservation of the civil and religious liberties of the American People. In pursuing this line of conduct, I hope, by the assistance of divine providence, not altogether to disappoint the confidence which you have been pleased to repose in me.

It always affords me satisfaction, when I find a concurrence in sentiment and practice between all conscientious men in acknowledgements of homage to the great Governor of the Universe, and in professions of support to a just civil government. After mentioning that I trust the people of every denomination, who demean themselves as good citizens, will have occasion to be convinced that I shall always strive to prove a faithful and impartial Patron of genuine, vital religion: I must assure you in particular that I take in the kindest part the promise you make of presenting your prayers at the Throne of Grace for me, and that I likewise implore the divine benedictions on yourselves and your religious community.

G. Washington


1The address of the bishops, signed in behalf of the church by Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury, reads in part: “We the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, humbly beg leave in the name of our Society collectively in these United States, to express to you the warm feelings of our hearts, and our sincere congratulations on your appointment to the Presidentship of these States. We are conscious from the signal proofs you have already given that you are a friend of mankind; and under this established idea, place as full a confidence in your wisdom and integrity, for the preservation of those civil and religious liberties which have been transmitted to us by the providence of GOD and the glorious revolution, as we believe ought to be reposed in man.

“We have received the most grateful satisfaction from the humble and entire dependence on the great Governor of the Universe which you have repeatedly expressed, acknowledging him the source of every blessing, and particularly of the most excellent constitution of these States, which is at present the admiration of the world, and may in future become it’s great exemplar for imitation: and hence we enjoy a holy expectation that you always will prove a faithful and impartial Patron of genuine, vital religion—the grand end of our creation and present probationary existence. And we promise you our fervent prayers to the Throne of Grace that GOD almighty may endue you with all the graces and gifts of his holy spirit, that may enable you to fill up your important station to his glory, the good of his Church, the happiness and prosperity of the United States, and the welfare of mankind” (DLC:GW).

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