George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Inhabitants of New Bern, North Carolina, 20–21 April 1791

To the Inhabitants of New Bern, North Carolina

[New Bern, N.C., c.20–21 April 1791]


I express with real pleasure the grateful sentiments, which your address inspires.1

I am much indebted, in every personal regard, to the polite attentions of the citizens2 of Newbern, nor am I less gratified by their patriotic declarations on the situation of our common country—pleasing indeed is the comparison which a retrospect of past scenes affords with our present happy condition, and equally so is the anticipation of what we may still attain, and long continue to enjoy. A bountiful providence has bless’d us with all the means of national and domestic happiness—To our own virtue and wisdom are referred their improvement and realization.

That the Town of Newbern may eminently participate the general prosperity and its inhabitants be individually happy is my sincere wish.

G. Washington

Df (incomplete), in the hand of William Jackson, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1When GW was met by New Bern citizens at West’s ferry on the Neuse River on 20 April, he probably was presented with an address signed by James Coor, Mayor Joseph Leech, Federal District Court judge John Sitgreaves, Benjamin Williams, Daniel Carthy, William McClure, Samuel Chapman, and Isaac Guion: “Sir, With hearts impressed with the most lively emotions of Love, Esteem and Veneration, We meet you at this time to express the joy We feel in your visit to the State of North Carolina. We Sympathize with You in those delightful sensations, which you now so fully experience when We reflect with you on our past difficulties and dangers during a long and arduous War—and contrast these with the bright, the glorious prospects which present themselves—of our beloved Country’s enjoying in perfect peace, the inestimable blessings of Civil and Religious Liberty. Our Souls overflow with gratitude to the bountiful Dispenser of all good Gifts, that He has committed to your hands the reins of Government in that Country during peace, of which you have been so lately the defence against the Arm of Despotism and Arbitrary Sway. May Almighty God prolong that Life, which has been so eminently useful to the Human Race, for it is not America Alone—but the World shall learn from your example to what a stupendous heigth of Glory, a Nation may be elevated—whose free-born souls are fired with a sincere love of Liberty. It is our most earnest Prayer to the throne of Heavenly Grace that the divine Benediction may accompany you here and hereafter” (DLC:GW). For GW’s trip from Petersburg, Va., to New Bern, and his activities at the latter, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:112–17.

2The text from the middle of this word on is taken from the letter-book copy.

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