George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Citizens of Savannah, Georgia, 8 January 1794

From the Citizens of Savannah, Georgia

[8 Jany 1794]1


The Citizens of Savannah, strongly impressed with the danger and mischeifs, to which the United States have been exposed, by the possibility of their being involved in the War existing between those European Nations, with whom we are most intimately united in Amity, and connected by Commerce; beg leave to take this method of expressing to you, the sincere and cordial sentiments of approbation and applause, with which the measures you have adopted, in this very interesting situation, have inspired them.

The Services performed by you for our common Country, on so many, such various, and important occasions, in the exercise of the highest civil and military authority, were such as not to have rendered necessary the public declaration of our sentiments, concerning this last instance of the paternal Zeal, with which you have incessantly watched over the public happiness—But when some of our Citizens have spared us pains to inflame the public mind, and to stimulate individuals to actions contrary to their duty as citizens, and distructive of the most important interests of the United States—And when such individuals have not only been publicly countenanced and encouraged by the French Minister, but that he has dared to distribute Commissions, and instructions for enlisting soldiers in the name of the French Republic, within the Jurisdiction, and without the approbation or knowledge of our Government;2 We think it right thus publicly to declare, that in our opinion the timely notice given by your proclamation of the Neutrality of the United States—Your instructions for preventing the fitting out of armed vessels in our ports—The sentiments contained in your Speech to Congress, and your letter concerning the conduct of the person employed in America as the Minister of the French Republic, are agreeable to the principles of our excellent Constitution;3 and wisely calculated to ensure a continuance of Peace—promote the public prosperity—And preserve the Dignity of the American Nation. To the wisdom of these measures, and the good Sense, and manly firmness of the great bulk of the American People, it is owing, that we have not yet experienced the horrid carnage, and devastation of an unnecessary War—And We rejoice that Congress have so cordially expressed their approbation and concurrence in the measures you have adopted for the preservation of Peace to our Country.4

Accept, Sir, the tender of our gratefull acknowledgements, for your past services, and the sincere profession of that perfect confidence with which such an uniform series of great and good actions have inspired us, with respect to your future conduct.5

Signed by order of a public meeting of the citizens of Savannah.

Nathl: Pendleton

DS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. This address was enclosed with a brief cover letter of the same date from Nathaniel Pendleton, judge of the U.S. district court in Georgia (DLC:GW). Pendleton mistakenly wrote the year of his letter as 1793.

1The date in brackets is from the docket on the DS. The DS does not have an original date on it, although two different and later hands added the erroneous date of 1793 on both the first and last pages. The LB is dated “Jany 8. 1794.” This letter appears in the 16 Jan. 1794 issue of the Georgia Gazette (Savannah), which indicates that this letter was approved at a meeting held on “Wednesday the 8th day of January.”

2On the attempt by Edmond Genet to recruit Americans from Georgia and the Carolinas for service in expeditions against Spanish territory in North America, see GW to John Adams, this date, and n.1 to that document.

3See Neutrality Proclamation, 22 April 1793; Cabinet Opinion on the Rules of Neutrality, 3 Aug. 1793; and GW to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 3 and 5 Dec. 1793.

5GW replied to Pendleton on 3 March: “The sentiments, expressed by the Citizens of Savannah, are a very acceptable addition to the testimonies of public approbation, already given to my late conduct, with respect to the belligerent powers of Europe.

“The favorable views, in which you have placed my past endeavors receive my warm acknowledgments, and I request you to convey them to the citizens whom, on this occasion, you represent” (LS, NHi: Correspondence of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr; LB, DLC:GW).

6This word is in the same handwriting as the body of the address.

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