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George Washington.


The Chief of the American armies, the first in peace, first in war, first in the hearts of his countrymen, was one of those extraordinary beings whom Providence so wisely raises up at every emergency, when the world needs a leader, and outraged justice a bold defender of her sacred cause. Washington’s disinterestedness stands nobly recorded on the page of history, and he wisely knew that when the contest was over, he would consult the best interests of his country, and promote his own future fame, by resigning his sword into the hands of those in whose defence it had been wielded. And when the liberties of the Union had been secured, by the adoption of the federal compact, he was summoned to the chief magistracy by the loudly expressed popular will. Wherever he appeared in his progress through the land, and from places which he did not visit, from all sects and parties, congratulatory addresses hailed his accession to the executive chair; it was the homage of gratitude to one who had been the father of his country. Our brethren, many of whom had shared the contest for independence, and had thus earned their liberty and equality not less than the other citizens, also joined the general throng in this expression of respect for the civil head of the nation, under whose lead they had shed their blood in war. We already communicated the address from the Israelites at Charleston, in the history of that congregation by N. L.; and we now are gratified to be able to furnish, through the kindness of an esteemed friend, the address of the principal congregations in America as a body, written by the late Manuel Josephson, of Philadelphia, with the President's reply. We will merely add that we shall be greatly indebted to any one for furnishing us mementos of bygone days which, being preserved in our pages, may perhaps be snatched from oblivion, which otherwise they are sure to encounter in a brief space of time. And let us assure our friends, that however trifling such things may appear now, they will be highly valued by their descendants, when they refer to the establishment of the Israelites in America, and their early history. Ed. Oc.

The Address of the Hebrew Congregations in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Richmond.

To the President of the United States.

Sir,—It is reserved for you to unite in affection for your character and person, every political and religious denomination of men; and in this will the Hebrew congregations aforesaid yield to no class of their fellow-citizens. We have been hitherto prevented, by various circumstances peculiar to our situation, from adding our congratulations to those which the rest of America have offered on your elevation to the chair of the federal government. Deign then, illustrious sir, to accept this our homage. The wonders which the Lord of Hosts hath worked in the days of our forefathers, have taught us to observe the greatness of his wisdom and his might throughout the events of the late glorious revolution; and while we humble ourselves at his footstool in thanksgiving and praise in the blessing of his deliverance, we acknowledge you, the leader of the American armies, as his chosen and most devoted servant. But not to your sword alone is our present happiness to be ascribed; that indeed opened the way to the reign of freedom; but never was it perfectly secure till your hand have birth to the federal constitution—and you renounced the joys of retirement to seal by your administration in peace, what you had achieved in war. To the eternal God, who is thy refuge, we commit in our prayers, the care of thy precious life: and when, full of years, thou shalt be gathered unto the people, thy righteousness shall go before thee, and we shall remember amidst our regret, “that the Lord hath set apart the godly for himself,” whilst thy name and thy virtues will remain an indelible memorial on our minds.

Manuel Josephson.

For and in behalf and under the authority of the several Congregations aforesaid.
Philadelphia, 19th Dec. 1790.

To which the President was pleased to return the following answer:

To the Hebrew Congregations in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, Charleston and Richmond:

Gentlemen,—The liberality of sentiment towards each other which marks every political and religious denomination of men in this country, stands unparalleled in the history of nations.

The affection of such a people is a treasure beyond the reach of calculation: and the repeated proofs which my fellow-citizens have given of their attachment to me, and approbation of my doings, form the purest source of my temporal felicity. The affectionate expressions of your address again excite my gratitude and receive my warmest acknowledgments.

The power and goodness of the Almighty were strongly manifested in the events of the late glorious revolution: and his kind interposition in our behalf, has been no less visible in the establishment of our present equal government. In war he directed the sword, and in peace he has ruled in our councils. My agency in both has been guided by the best intentions and a sense of the duty which I owe my country.

And as my exertions have hitherto been amply rewarded by the approbation of my fellow-citizens, I shall endeavour to deserve a continuance of it by my future conduct.

May the same temporal and eternal blessings which you implore for me, rest upon your congregations.

George Washington.