George Washington’s Resignation Address to the Continental Congress

On Saturday 20 December 1783 Washington wrote to the Continental Congress, notifying it of his arrival in Annapolis, Maryland, with the intention of “asking leave to resign the commission he has the honor of holding in their service, and desiring to know their pleasure in what manner it will be most proper to offer his resignation; whether in writing or at an audience” (Washington’s letter of 20 Dec. 1783 is at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.). Upon reading the letter, Congress resolved that Washington “be admitted to a public audience, on Tuesday next, at twelve o’clock.” On the following Tuesday, 23 December 1783, Washington, “according to order . . . was admitted to a public audience, and being seated, the President, after a pause, informed him, that the United States in Congress assembled, were prepared to receive his communications” (Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, vol. 25:837-38). Washington then arose and delivered the following address.

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Images of Washington’s Resignation Address to the Continental Congress, 23 December 1783
(courtesy of the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, M.D.). Click on images for larger view.

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