George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Josiah Dunham, 13 July 1798

From Josiah Dunham

Hanover N.H. July 13th 1798

Venerable Old Man,

Retired from the pinnacle of public trust, to the tranquil vale of rural life, and the glorious level of American freemen, You will not receive an expression of respect from a young and obscure Citizen of New-hampshire, as a selfish oblation, but as an honest “freewill offering.”

In celebrating the anniversary ⟨of⟩ American Independence, the Memory of the patriot naturally runs back, with peculiar delight, to the period of its birth; and his mind swells, gratefully, at the recollection of the Man, who contributed so signally to its establishment and support. The inclosed Sheet, though less than the widow’s mite, is a tribute of that gratitude.1

As such, illustrious Sir, you will deign to accept it—from a heart which glows but with feelings common to every real American.2

With unceasing prayers for your life, health, and happiness, as well as for the honorable peace and real glory of our Country—I have the honor to be, Much respected Sir, Your Fellow Citizen,

J. Dunham


Josiah Dunham (1769–1844) after graduating from Dartmouth College in 1789 became a preceptor of a charity school and then the editor of the Dartmouth Eagle. He later was an army officer and in 1821 moved from Vermont to Kentucky, where he died.

1Dunham’s pamphlet printed in 1798 in Dartmouth, N.H., was entitied An Oration, for the Fourth of July, 1798: Delivered in the Meeting-House, in the Vicinity of Dartmouth- College.

2GW replied on 4 Aug.: “Sir: Your favor of the 13th Ulto accompanying the Oration delivered by you on the Anniversary of American Independence, I recd by the last Post. For both I thank you. The sentiments expressed therein do me much honour. They flatter me highly and cannot fail to make a grateful impression on the sensibility of one who offers you in return his very best wishes, and the assurances of being Sir Your Most Obedt & Very Hble Servant Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW the ALS was advertised by F. Kelleher Co., Inc., in its March 1976 catalog, item no. 3).

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