John Adams

Special Message

January 08, 1800

Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

In compliance with the request in one of the resolutions of Congress of the 21st of December last, I transmitted a copy of these resolutions, by my secretary, Mr. Shaw, to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character, of their condolence in the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General George Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution. As the sentiments of that virtuous lady, not less beloved by this nation than she is at present greatly afflicted, can never be so well expressed as in her own words, I transmit to Congress her original letter.

It would be an attempt of too much delicacy to make any comments upon it, but there can be no doubt that the nation at large, as well as all the branches of the Government, will be highly gratified by any arrangement which may diminish the sacrifice she makes of her individual feelings.


MOUNT VERNON, December 31, 1799.


SIR: While I feel with keenest anguish the late dispensation of Divine Providence, I can not be insensible to the mournful tributes of respect and veneration which are paid to the memory of my dear deceased husband; and as his best services and most anxious wishes were always devoted to the welfare and happiness of his country, to know that they were truly appreciated and gratefully remembered affords no inconsiderable consolation.

Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this I need not, I can not, say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.

With grateful acknowledgments and unfeigned thanks for the personal respect and evidences of condolence expressed by Congress and yourself, I remain, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


John Adams, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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