George Washington Papers

Address of Baltimore City Council, 12 March 1797

Address of Baltimore City Council

[12 March 1797]

To partake of the prosperity arising from your unwearied attention to the Welfare of our Country—To admire that firmness which has never been disconcerted in the greatest difficulties, and which has acquired vigor in proportion to the exigency. To feel that honorable ascendancy you have obtained in the well founded opinion of your fellow Citizens by a Wise administration, and the exercise of the virtues of Private life, and to suppress our admiration and acknowledgment would be wanting to our own individual sensations and the just expectation of those we represent.

Permit therefore the Mayor & City Council of Baltimore amongst the first exercise of their Corporate Capacity to gratify themselves and their Constituents in the sincere expression of regret for your retirement. Their lively gratitude for your public services. Their affectionate attachment to your private Character. Their heartfelt farewell to your person & family, and their unceasing solicitude for your temporal & eternal happiness.1 In behalf of the Corporation of the City of Baltimore

Jas Calhoun Mayor


When Baltimore was incorporated in 1796, James Calhoun (1743–1816) became its first mayor, serving until 1804.

1After GW was escorted into town “thro’ as great a concourse of people as Baltimore ever witnessed” (Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 16 Mar.), Mayor Calhoun delivered this address from the city council, to which GW replied on 12 Mar.: “Gentlemen, I receive with grateful sensibility, the honor of your Address. To meet the Pla[u]dits of my fellow citizens for the part I have acted in public life, is the highest reward, next to the consciousness of having done my duty to the utmost of my abilities of which my mind is susceptible; and I pray you to accept my sincere thanks for the evidence you have now given me, of your approbation of my past Services—for those regrets which you have expressed on the occasion of my retirement to private life—and for the affectionate attachment you have declared for my person. Let me reciprocate most cordially, all the good wishes you have been pleased to extend to me and my family, for our temporal & eternal happiness. G. Washington” (ADS, anonymous donor; LB, DLC:GW).

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