George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Massachusetts Legislature, 27 October 1789

To the Massachusetts Legislature

[27 October 1789]


To communicate the peculiar pleasure which I derive from your affectionate welcome of me to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, requires a force of expression beyond that which I possess.1 I am truly grateful for your goodness towards me, and I desire to thank you with the unfeigned sincerity of a feeling heart.

Your obliging remembrance of my military services is among the highest compensations they can receive—and, if rectitude of intention may authorise the hope, the favorable anticipation, which you are pleased to express of my civil administration will not, I trust, be disappointed.

It is your happiness, Gentlemen, to preside in the councils of a Commonwealth, where the pride of independence is well assimilated with the duties of Society—and where the industry of the citizen gives the fullest assurance of public respect and private prosperity. I have observed too, with singular satisfaction, so becoming an attention to the militia of the State as presents the fairest prospect of support to the invaluable objects of national safety and peace. Long may these blessings be continued to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! and may you, Gentlemen, in your individual capacities, experience every satisfaction, which can result from public honor and private happiness.

G: Washington


1On behalf of the Massachusetts legislature, John Hancock sent the following address, dated 27 Oct., to GW: “We meet you at this time with hearts replete with the warmest affection and esteem to express the high satisfaction we feel in your visit to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“We can never forget the time when in the earliest stage of the war, and the day of our greatest calamity we saw you at the head of the army of the United States, commanding troops determined, though then undisciplined, by your wisdom and valor, preventing a sanguinary and well appointed army of our enemies from spreading devastation through our Country, and sooner than we had reason to expect, obliging them to abandon the Capital.

“We have since seen you in your high command, superior to the greatest fatigues and hardships successfully conducting our armies through a long war till our enemies were compelled to submit to terms of peace, and acknowledged that independence which the United States in Congress had before asserted and proclaimed.

“We now have the pleasure of seeing you in a still more exalted station to which you have been elected by the unanimous suffrages of a free, virtuous, and grateful country.

“From that attachment which you manifestly discovered while in your military command to the civil liberties of your country, we do assure ourselves that you will ever retain this great object in your view; and that your administration will be happy and prosperous.

“It is our earnest prayer that the divine benediction may attend you here and hereafter; and we do sincerely wish that you may through this life continue to enjoy that greatest of earthly blessings to be accepted by the multitude of your Brethren” (DLC:GW).

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