To the United Brethren of Wachovia, North Carolina
[Salem, N.C., 1 June 1791]
I am greatly indebted to your respectful and affectionate expressions of personal regard, and I am not less obliged by the patriotic sentiments contained in your address.1
From a Society, whose governing principles are industry and the love of order, much may be expected towards the improvement and prosperity of the country, in which their settlements are formed—and experience authorises the belief that much will be obtained.
Thanking you with grateful sincerity for your prayers in my behalf, I desire to assure you of my best wishes for your social and individual happiness.
LS, NcWsM; LB, DLC:GW.
In August 1753 the Unitas Fratrum (Unity of the Brethren), or Moravians, purchased 98,000 acres on Muddy Creek in Rowan County, N.C., and named the tract Wachovia. Moravians from Pennsylvania founded the towns of Bethania and Salem there a few years later. GW on 31 May described the latter as “a small but neat Village; & like all the rest of the Moravian settlements, is governed by an excellent police—having within itself all kinds of artizans. The number of Souls does not exceed 200” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:152). See also Johanna Miller Lewis, Artisans in the North Carolina Backcountry [Lexington, Ky., 1995], 35, 88–89). For GW’s arrival and activities at Salem, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:152–54, and Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, description begins Adelaide L. Fries et al., eds. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. 11 vols. Raleigh, N.C., 1922-69. description ends 2324–25. Samuel Gottlieb Kramsch, a schoolteacher at Salem, wrote Abraham Steiner of Bethabara, N.C., on 1 June: “our illustrious President . . . will go from here to the Battle Ground of Guilford to morrow morning. . . . This forenoon he visited the publik builddings and came also in my school. We had just english reading School out of Noah Websters’ American Spelling book and as one boy was called up for reading it happened that he read the following words: ‘A cat may look on a King,[’] whereupon he said to me, that, they think it now also. This day abt 2 o clok he received our humble Adress and gave an excellent answer” (NcWsM).
1. “The humble Address of the United Brethren in Wachovia” was dated Salem, 31 May, and signed by Wachovia oeconomus (chief administrator) Frederic William Marshall (1721–1802), Salem minister John Daniel Koehler, and Marshall’s assistant, Christian Ludwig Benzien (1753–1811): “Happy in sharing the Honour of a Visit from the Illustrious President of the Union to the Southern States, the United Brethren in Wachovia humbly beg Leave upon this joyfull Occasion to express their highest Esteem Duty and Affection for the great Patriot of this Country. Deeply impressed as we are with Gratitude to the great Author of our Being for his unbounded Mercies, we cannot but particularly acknowledge his gracious Providence over the temporal & political Prosperity of the Country, in the Peace whereof we do find Peace, and wherein none can take a warmer Interest than ourselves, in particular when we consider that the same Lord who preserved Your precious Person in so many imminent Dangers, has made you in a conspicuous Manner an Instrument in his Hands to forward that happy Constitution, together with those Improvements, whereby our United States begin to flourish, over which you preside with the Applause of a thankfull Nation. Whenever therefore we sollicit the Protection of the Father of all Mercies over this favoured Country, we can not but fervently implore his Kindness for Your Preservation, which is so intimately connected therewith. May this gracious LORD vouchsafe to prolong your valuable Life as a further Blessing and an Ornament of the Constitution, that by your worthy Example the Regard for Religion be encreased, and the Improvements of Civil Society encouraged. The Settlements of the United Brethren though small, will allways make it their Study to contribute as much as in them layeth, to the Peace and Improvement of the United States and all the particular Parts, they live in; joining their ardent Prayers to the best Wishes of this whole Continent, that Your Personal as well as Domestic Happiness may abound, and a Series of Success may crown Your Labours for the Prosperity of our Times and an Example to future Ages, untill the glorious Reward of a faithfull Servant shall be your Portion” (DLC:GW). Marshall entered one copy of the address into the official church records (NcWsM) and sent another, with GW’s reply, to Gov. Alexander Martin, who forwarded it to state printers Abraham Hodge and Henry Wills at Edenton for publication in the State Gazette of North-Carolina (Fries, Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, description begins Adelaide L. Fries et al., eds. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. 11 vols. Raleigh, N.C., 1922-69. description ends 2340, 2342, 2404).