To the Charleston Merchants
[Charleston, 3 May 1791]
Your congratulations on my arrival in South Carolina, enhanced by the affectionate manner in which they are offered, are received with the most grateful sensibility.1
Flattered by the favorable sentiments you express of my endeavors to be useful to our country, I desire to assure you of my constant solicitude for its welfare, and of my particular satisfaction in observing the advantages which accrue to the highly deserving citizens of this State from the operations of the [federal]2 government.
I am not less indebted to your expressions of personal attachment and respect—they receive my best thanks and induce my most sincere wishes for your professional prosperity, and your individual happiness.
1. At 3:30 on 3 May a delegation of Charleston merchants presented an address to the president, following which GW “dined with the Citizens at a public dinr. given by them at the Exchange” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:129–30; Henderson, Washington’s Southern Tour, description begins Archibald Henderson. Washington’s Southern Tour, 1791. Boston and New York, 1923. description ends 170–71). The address, signed by Edward Darrell, reads: “The Merchants of Charleston, entertaining a just Sense of the high Honor conferred on this City by your Presence, take the earliest Opportunity of congratulating you on your Arrival. The Obligations which are due to you from every Member of the Republic, are acknowledged by all; to enter into a Detail of them, would be to produce the History of your Life, and, to repeat what is re-echoed from one end of the Continent to the other. Were it possible, Sir, for your Fellow-Citizens to omit doing Justice to your Merits, the Testimony of other Nations would evince their Neglect, or Ingratitude; the whole World concurring in the same Opinion of you. Convinced as we are of your constant Solicitude for the general Welfare, it must afford you particular Satisfaction to find the progressive Effects of the Federal-Government in this State; and, that the Inhabitants are fast emerging from the heavy Calamities, to which they were subjected by the late War. Sensible of the numerous Blessings our Country has derived from your Wise and judicious Administration, we feel animated with the most lively Sentiments of Gratitude towards you: Suffer us then, on the present Occasion, to represent to you the affectionate Sensibility with which we are impressed, by assuring you that we yield to none in sincere Respect and Attachment to your Person; and, we earnestly implore the Almighty Father of the Universe, long to preserve a Life, so valuable and dear to the People over whom you preside” (DLC:GW).
2. The copyist mistakenly wrote “several.”