George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Georgia Masons, 14 May 1791

To the Georgia Masons

[Savannah, c.14 May 1791]


I am much obliged by your congratulations on my arrival in this city—and I am highly indebted to your favorable opinions.

Every circumstance concurs to render my stay in Savannah agreeable, and it is cause of regret to me that it must be so short.

My best wishes are offered for the welfare of the fraternity, and for your particular happiness.1

Go: Washington


1The Grand Lodge of Georgia (“Ancients”), formed in December 1786, most likely presented its address, dated Savannah, 14 May, and signed by Grand Master George Houstoun, to the president the same day it was written, and GW probably replied shortly thereafter on his last full day in Savannah. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:138–40. Savannah merchant George Houstoun (1744–1795), son of Sir Patrick Houstoun, became grand master of the Grand Lodge in December 1789 (Clarke, Early and Historic Freemasonry of Georgia, description begins William Bordley Clarke. Early and Historic Freemasonry of Georgia, 1733/4–1800. Savannah, 1924. description ends 31). A delegation of the Grand Lodge gathered at Brown’s Coffeehouse on 14 May and proceeded in Masonic order to GW’s lodgings where Houstoun delivered the address to the president: “Sir and Brother. The Grand Master, Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, beg leave to Congratulate you, on your arrival in this City. Whilst your exalted Character, claims the respect and deference of all Men, They, from the benevolence of Masonic principles approach you with the familiar declaration of Fraternal affection. Happy indeed That Society, renowned for its Antiquity, and pervading influence over the enlightened World, which having ranked a Frederick at its head, can now Boast of a Washington as a Brother, A Brother who is justly hailed the Redeemer of his Country, raised it to Glory, and by his conduct in Public and private life has evinced to Monarchs, that true Majesty, consists not in splendid Royalty, but in intrinsic Worth. With these sentiments they rejoice at your presence in this State, and in common with their Fellow Citizens, Greet you Thrice Welcome, flattering themselves, that your Stay will be made agreeable. May the Great Architect of the Universe preserve you, whilst engaged in the Work allotted you on Earth, and long continue you the Brightest Pillar of our Temple, and when the Supreme Fiat Shall Summon you hence, They pray the Mighty I am, may take you into his holy keeping” (DLC:GW).

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