Washington Letter to Governors of all States, June 8, 1783

Letter from George Washington to the Governors of all of the States, June 8, 1783.

This letter, written by General Washington to the governors of the various states, addressed the occasion of disbanding the army. Reproduced here are the three closing paragraphs of that letter. These paragraphs are commonly known as “George Washington’s Prayer.” As a humble servant of his country, George Washington expressed his desire that the governors and the citizens of the states over which they preside would seek to acquire the attributes and characteristics of Jesus Christ, “the Divine Author of our blessed religion.” At this point, Washington understood the great sacrifices that the citizens of this country had made to gain their freedom. His hope was that with this freedom, the people of this nation would seek out charity, humility, temperance and other God-like qualities that would help to create and preserve a happy nation.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Religious Institutions Group

It remains, then, to be my final and only request, that your Excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meeting, and that they may be considered as the legacy of one, who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the Divine benediction upon it.

I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant.

George Washington

Letter from George Washington to the Governors of the States (June 8, 1783), in 10 Writings of Washington, at 264-65 (Ford ed.).