George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Inhabitants of Salisbury, North Carolina, 30 May 1791

To the Inhabitants of Salisbury, North Carolina

[Salisbury, N.C., c.30 May 1791]


Your expressions of satisfaction on my arrival in Salisbury are received with pleasure, and thanked with sincerity.

The interest, which you, are pleased to take in my personal welfare, excites a sensibility proportioned to your goodness—While I make the most grateful acknowledgement for that goodness, allow me to observe that your own determination, co-operating with that of your fellow-citizens throughout the Union, to maintain and to perpetuate the federal-government, affords a better assurance of order and effective government, with their concomitants, private and public prosperity, than the best meant endeavors of any individual could give.

Our national glory, and our domestic tranquillity, can never be tarnished or disturbed, while they are guarded by wise laws, founded-in public virtue among the measures which an enlightened and patriotic Legislature will pursue to preserve them. I doubt not the means of diffusing useful information will be duly considered.1

My best wishes for the prosperity of your Village, and for your individual happiness are sincerely offered.

Go: Washington

DS, NcSal; LB, DLC:GW. The editors are grateful to Kevin Cherry at the Rowan Public Library, Salisbury, N.C., for sharing his research on this document.

1For GW’s arrival at Salisbury, N.C., in the morning of 30 May 1791, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:150–51. Before noon he met with John Steele, Spruce Macay (McCay, McCoy, McKay, McKoy), Maxwell Chambers, and other Salisbury gentlemen, who presented GW with this address, signed by Macay, Chambers, Steele, Montfort Stokes, Charles Harris, and Lewis Beard: “We have the honour to signify to you, the joy, which your presence, after a tedious journey undertaken at an advanced period of life, affords to the inhabitants of this place: Words are wanting to express our gratitude to heaven for continuing your life, on which our national glory, and domestic tranquility, are even at this day, depending. Situated at a remote distance from the seat of government; deriving no advantage from the establishment of post-roads, and destitute of regular information, we are sometimes at a loss to form proper opinions of national measures: But we, nevertheless, boast, that we have been and still are zealously attached to order and effective government. And having been ranked with those who have suffered in the late war we pledge ourselves to be among the foremost to maintain and perpetuate the Foederal Government. That your life, justly dear to the people of this Country, a life precious to freedom, an ornament to human nature, and a blessing to the United States of America, may long be preserved, is the fervent and unanimous prayer of the people of this village” (DLC:GW).

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