Wilmington 16th Decr 1783
May it please your Excellency,
We the Burgesses and Common Council of the Borough of Wilmington, in behalf of themselves, & the Inhabitants thereof, being penetrated with Sentiments of the most perfect Respect, beg leave to approach, & to be permitted to congratulate Your Excellency, that your glorious Endeavours, to rescue our Country from a determined Plan of Oppression, has been not only attended with the most complete & brilliant Success, but crowned with the noble rewards of Liberty & Independence, & the final Accomplishment of an honorable Peace
When we reflect on the Magnitude of the Object for which we contended, & the greatness of the Power we had to Oppose, the boldest among us have sometimes shuddered at the Prospect; whilst your Magnanimity was our invincible Shield on the most gloomy Occasions.
Convinced that our humble Talents cannot express, in Language suitable to the Subject, either the grateful Sensations we feel, in the contemplation of your great & eminent Services, or the Love & Admiration of your many amiable Virtues, which fill the Bosoms of the Friends of Freedom, in America, & in distant nations; yet, rather than wound that Delicacy which hears with Reluctance even less than our Duty & Inclination prompts us to mention, we will conclude with embracing this Opportunity of joining the general Voice of America, which hails you the Deliverer of our Country; & we flatter ourselves You will believe that our most fervent Wishes will accompany your illustrious & long meditated Retirement, that You may long enjoy Health, Tranquility, & every other Felicity, and permit us to indulge the pleasing Hope that ever in the serene enjoyment of that Retirement which will astonish Mankind little less than the Splendour & Greatness of your Services, that, with a partial consideration, your Excellency will occasionally contribute with your Advice & Influence to promote that Harmony & Union of our Infant Governments, which are so essential to the permanent Establishment of our Freedom, Happiness, & prosperity. Signed by Order of the Burgesses & Common Concil.
Joseph Shallcross Jun
DLC: Papers of George Washington.