George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Savannah Officials, 13–14 May 1791

To Savannah Officials

[Savannah, c.13–14 May 1791]


Your affectionate congratulations on my arrival in this city, and the very favorable sentiments you express towards me, are received with gratitude and thanked with sincerity.1

Estimating favors by the cordiality with which they are bestowed, I confess, with real pleasure, my obligations to the Corporation of Savannah, and I can never cease to entertain a grateful sense of their goodness.

While the virtuous conduct of your citizens, whose patriotism braved all the hardships of the late war, engaged my esteem, the distresses peculiar to the State of Georgia, after the peace, excited my deepest regret.

It was with singular satisfaction I perceived that the efficacy of the general government could interpose effectual relief, and restore tranquillity to so deserving a member of the Union—Your sentiments on this event are worthy of citizens, who placing a due value on the blessings of peace, desire to maintain it on the immutable principles of justice and good faith.

May the harmony of your city be consequent on your administration, and may you individually be happy.

G. Washington


1An address signed by Savannah mayor Thomas Gibbons and dated 13 May 1791 at the city council chamber apparently was presented to the president the same day, probably before the Society of the Cincinnati dinner. A copy drafted and signed by Gibbons (DLC:GW) most likely was given earlier to William Jackson, from which he was able to draft GW’s reply. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:137–39, Henderson, Washington’s Southern Tour, description begins Archibald Henderson. Washington’s Southern Tour, 1791. Boston and New York, 1923. description ends 221. The address reads: “The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah, do unanimously concur, in presenting their most affectionate congratulations to you, on your arrival in this City. Impressed with a just sense of your great, and eminent services to America, permit us, the Representatives of the City, to assure you of the high opinion the Citizens entertain of your elevated virtues. We respect you as one of the richest and most valuable blessings, divine goodness has bestowed on the People of these United States, your presence is an evidence of the watchful care you have for every part of the extended empire over which you preside. If we cannot by external shew, demonstrate that respect for you, which is in the power of the more wealthy of our sister States to display, yet none estimate your merits higher than the People of Georgia. The historic page bears record of our sufferings in the late revolution, and the vestiges of War remain within view of our Capital; and although peace was in 1783 restored to America, yet Georgia continued to suffer under the destructive ravages of an Indian war, and it has been reserved for the efficacy of the present government to give Peace to our State. May the blessings of the government long continue under your administration, and may it please the great ruler of events, to grant you long residence on Earth, and, to length of days, add the Blessings of uninterrupted health, that the advantages of the present government, may be permanently established” (DLC:GW).

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