George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Leech, 19 April 1796

Newbern North Carolina 19th April 1796


The Inhabitants of the Town of Newbern hope they may stand excused for any forwardness, or indiscretion which may appear in this address, if the convey to you expressions of gratitude and approbation, as the only return your fellow Citizens have the power of making for the hard and in some instances, vexatious burden, which their affections and confidence have placed upon you.

We consider, Sir, that your having refused to comply with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th. March, upon the ground you have taken, among the most signal acts of service which your eminent Virtues & Talents have rendered your Country; as the influence of your examples, may prolong the date of the Constitution, many ages beyond what might have been the short period of its existence, had you admitted the principle, and yielded to the requisition of the House—It is the pride and the boast of every enlightened American, that the principles which have been associated in the composition of our most excellent Constitution, have eminently qualified it to extend the most perfect liberty, security and protection, to every rank and condition of life, and they, who know how to appreciate such a blessing, cannot See any act, that may have the most remote tendency to rob them of it, without alarm, nor behold any exertion to preserve it, but with emotions of gratitude.

In addition, suffer us to express the warmest wishes which grateful hearts can feel for your welfare, that it may be the happiness of America, long to experience the Wisdom of your influence in the management of affairs; and that you may long enjoy that satisfaction which the confidence and gratitude of a happy People is capable of confereing. In behalf of the Citizens of the Town of Newbern I have the Honor to be with The most profound, Respect Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant

Joseph Leech Chm

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Newbern North Carolina 19th April 1796

Pursuant to the notice of yesterday the Citizens of the Town of Newbern Assembled at the Court house to take into consideration, the propriety of presenting an address to the President of the United States on the subject of his message in answer to the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th. March 1796.

Colonel Joseph Leech in the Chair

On motion the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th March and the Presidents answer were read; whereupon, the following resolutions were introduced, and unanimously adopted.

1st Resolved, that this meeting approve in the highest degree possible of the firm and independant temper with which the President of the United States has withstood a compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 24th March requesting him to lay before the House, a copy of the instructions to the Minister of the United States, who negotiated the Treaty with the King of Great Britain together with the Correspondence and other documents relative to that Treaty.

2nd Resolved therefore that an address be prepared and forwarded to the President of the United States expressive of the gratitude and admiration with which every Individual present feels himself agitated, on the recollection of the virtues, integrity, and real love of Country, which determined the President to resist the Resolution of the House, in support of our most excellent Constitution, and in preservation of the liberty, tranquillity and happiness, which as long as the harmony of its’ balances remains undisturbed, it is, calculated to ensure us.

3rd Resolved by a majority, that it has been a subject of some regret with the Citizens who compose this meeting that so much of the public time and Treasure should be consumed in a discussion, which a candid resort to the Constitution in the first instance, might possibly have prevented.

Ordered that the foregoing resolutions be prepared for publication in Mr Martin’s Gazette of Saturday next. By order of the Meeting

Joseph Leech Chairm

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