Address of The Senate and House of Representative to George Washington, President of the United States. 1789



Volume: I Pages: 54-57

Address of the Senate

SIR: We, the Senate of the United States, return you our sincere thanks for your excellent speech delivered to both Houses of Congress, congratulate you on the complete organization of the Federal Government, and felicitate ourselves and our fellow-citizens on your elevation to the office of President, an office highly important by the powers constitutionally annexed to it and extremely honorable from the manner in which the appointment is made. The unanimous suffrage of the elective body in your favor is peculiarly expressive of the gratitude, confidence, and affection of the citizens of America, and is the highest testimonial at once of your merit and their esteem. We are sensible, sir, that nothing but the voice of your fellow-citizens could have called you from a retreat chosen with the fondest predilection, endeared by habit, and consecrated to the repose of declining years. We rejoice, and with us all America, that in obedience to the call of our common country you have returned once more to public life. In you all parties confide; in you all interests unite; and we have no doubt that your past services, great as they have been, will be equaled by your future exertions, and that your prudence and sagacity as a statesman will tend to avert the dangers to which we were exposed, to give stability to the present Government and dignity and splendor to that country which your skill and valor as a soldier so eminently contributed to raise to independence and empire.

When we contemplate the coincidence of circumstances and wonderful combination of causes which gradually prepared the people of this country for independence; when we contemplate the rise, progress, and termination of the late war, which gave them a name among the nations of the earth, we are with you unavoidably led to acknowledge and adore the Great Arbiter of the Universe, by whom empires rise and fall. A review of the many signal instances of divine interposition in favor of this country claims our most pious gratitude; and permit us, sir, to observe that among the great events which have led to the formation and establishment of a Federal Government we esteem your acceptance of the office of president as one of the most propitious and important.

In the execution of the trust reposed in us we shall endeavor to pursue that enlarged and liberal policy to which your speech so happily directs. We are conscious that the prosperity of each State is inseparably connected with the welfare of all, and that in promoting the latter we shall effectually advance the former. In full persuasion of this truth, it shall be our invariable aim to divest ourselves of local prejudices and attachments, and to view the great assemblage of communities and interests committed to our charge with an equal eye. We feel, sir, the force and acknowledge the justness of the observation that the foundation of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue. It is therefore the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility as well as the necessity of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice. We beg you to be assured that the Senate will at all times cheerfully cooperate in every measure which may strengthen the Union, conduce to the happiness or secure and perpetuate the liberties of this great confederated Republic.

We commend you, sir, to the protection of Almighty God, earnestly beseeching Him long to preserve a life so valuable and dear to the people of the United States, and that your Administration may be prosperous to the nation and glorious to yourself.

May 7, 1789

Address of the House of Representatives

SIR: The Representatives of the people of the United States present their congratulations on the event by which your fellow-citizens have attested the preeminence of your merit. You have long held the first place in their esteem. You have often received tokens of their affection. You now possess the only proof that remained of their gratitude for your services, of their reverence for your wisdom, and of their confidence in your virtues. You enjoy the highest, because the truest, honor of being the first Magistrate by the unanimous choice of the freest people on the face of the earth.

We well know the anxieties with which you must have obeyed a summons from the repose reserved for your declining years into public scenes, of which you had taken your leave forever. But the obedience was due to the occasion. It is already applauded by the universal joy which welcomes you to your station. And we can not doubt that it will be rewarded with all the satisfaction with which an ardent love for your fellow-citizens must review successful efforts to promote their happiness.

This anticipation is not justified merely by the past experience of your signal services. It is particularly suggested by the pious impressions under which you commence your Administration and the enlightened maxims by which you mean to conduct it. We feel with you the strongest obligations to adore the Invisible Hand which has led the American people through so many difficulties, to cherish a conscious responsibility for the destiny of republican liberty, and to seek the only sure means of preserving and recommending the precious deposit in a system of legislation founded on the principles of an honest policy and directed by the spirit of a diffusive patriotism.

The question arising out of the fifth article of the Constitution will receive all the attention demanded by its importance, and will, we trust, be decided under the influence of all the considerations to which you allude.

In forming the pecuniary provisions for the executive department we shall not lose sight of a wish resulting from motives which give it a peculiar claim to our regard. Your resolution, in a moment critical to the liberties of your country, to renounce all personal emolument, was among the many presages of your patriotic services which have been amply fulfilled; and your scrupulous adherence now to the law then imposed on yourself can not fail to demonstrate the purity, whilst it increases the luster, of a character which has so many titles to admiration.

Such are the sentiments which we have thought fit to address to you. They flow from our own hearts, and we verily believe that among the millions we represent there is not a virtuous citizen whose heart will disown them.

All that remains is that we join in our fervent supplications for the blessings of heaven on our country, and that we add our own for the choicest of these blessings on the most beloved of her citizens.

May 5, 1789


Website: The History
Article Name: Address of The Senate and House of Representative to George Washington, President of the United States. 1789
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of books: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 by James D. Richardson, A Representative from the State of Tennessee published by the authority of Congress 1899.
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