Philadelphia 9th December 1783
We beg leave to present to your Excellency our Congratulations on the perfect Establishment of American Independance. We cannot look back upon past Events, nor compare them with present Prospects, without feeling a Glow of Gratitude and Joy. The Boldness of the Attempt and the Success of our Efforts have equally surprized Mankind.
But amid the various Orders of Citizens who have contended for the equal Rights of Men, the foremost Rank most undoubtedly belongs to our Patriot Army. Brave with native Courage, they have opposed superior Discipline, numbers and Resources; Firm in the Sense of collected Dignity, they have patiently endured unparalleled Calamities; they have borne Want without Complaint, sustained Defeat without Despair, and enjoyed victory without Exultation. To have been a Member of this heroic Band; to have shared their sufferings, partaken of their Toils, been familiar to their Dangers and the Companion of their Glories, is in itself a Title to the most durable Fame; But to you, their Chief, your Country turns her admiring Eyes, and hails you her favourite Son. When she called you from domestic Ease to act a distinguished Part on the Theatre of Nations, she confided in your moderation, and that Confidence has been amply repaid. The History of former Times has recorded many Instances of the great Actions of Patriot Citizens; but it remained for the present Age to furnish the illustrious Example of a Citizen called by a free People to the Exercise of supreme Command, and after having so eminently contributed to effect a mighty Revolution which has raised his Country to Empire returning with Dignity to a private Station with the universal Esteem and applause of his fellow Citizens.
Convinced from our professional Habits how important is the Duty of performing Engagements; taught by Reflection the sacred nature of Public Faith, and feeling from Experience what fatal Consequences result from a violation of it, we know that a due Provision for the Public Debts is inseparably connected with our National Prosperity and Reputation. We pray Heaven therefore that each of the United States may properly feel those Sentiments which you have so forcibly inculcated. Thus shall the Miseries of Thousands be relieved; thus shall the Happiness of our Country be secured; and thus, Sir, shall you enjoy the supreme Consolation of reflecting that you have established by Justice those Rights which you had rescued by Arms. In Behalf of the Merchants of Philadelphia
DLC: Papers of George Washington.