Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 29: Conditional Good Wishes

On March 29, 1776, the legislature of Massachusetts appointed a Committee to greet Gen. George Washington.  On March 28, the two houses of the legislature composed an acknowledgement of Washington's public service and the evacuation of British forces from Boston on St. Patrick's Day (March 17, 1776).

The Massachusetts legislators wrote, "The Supreme Ruler of the Universe having smiled on our arms, and crowned your labours with remarkable success, we are now, without the effusion of blood we so much wished to avoid, again in the quiet possession of our capital."  The lawmakers added, "The wisdom and prudence of those movements which have obliged the enemy to abandon our Metropolis will ever be remembered by the inhabitants of this Colony."

In response, Washington wrote, "May that Being, who is powerful to save, and in whose hands is the fate of nations, look down with an eye of tender pity and compassion upon the whole of the United Colonies; may He continue to smile upon their councils and arms, and crown them with success whilst employed in the cause of virtue and of mankind...."

As he would throughout his public service, Washington offered good wishes with moral conditions.  Washington hoped that American plans and military efforts might have success only while "employed in the cause of virtue and mankind...."
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