Monday, 23 February 1789


            On Monday last, the Honourable Thomas Hartley, Esquire, took his departure from this town, for the city of New-York, there to take his seat in the Congress of the United States, which are to meet on the fourth of March next, agreeably to a resolution of the late Congress.

            At this important period of our country, when the refined integrity of European policy, and the more useful consequences of the defects in our late general government have ravaged our citizens with domestic evils, fettered the aspiring genius of our country, and clipped the wings of our commerce.  I say, at this period of general out-cry and distress, what a pleasing prospect have we of approaching happiness.

            If wise and enlightened Representatives---grave and experienced Senators---a patriotic and magnanimous President and Vice-President, to set in motion the wheels of our grand Federal Machine, are calculated to afford us safety, with what security may we view the tumults of European nations---with what confidence may we look forward to the uninterrupted enjoyment of every civil and religeous right.

            Colonel Hartley was accompanied to the [Susquehanna] river by a numerous and respectable company from York town, and its neighbourhood, and was met there by a number of gentlemen from the very verge of the county, and from Lancaster.

            An elegant dinner was provided, of which about 48 persons partook; the following toasts, (prepared at the moment) were drank on the occasion:

            1. His Excellency General Washington, President of the United States.

            2. The Hon. John Adams, Vice-President of the United States.

            3. The Hon. the Senate of the United States.

            4. The Hon. the House of Representatives of the United States.

            5. The friends of Liberty and good Government throughout the world.

            6. General [Governor Thomas] Mifflin and the State of Pennsylvania.

            7. The Vice President [George Ross, Jr.] of the State of Pennsylvania.

            8. The King of France [Louis XVI] and our friendly Allies.

            9. James Wilson, Esquire.

            10. Governor [Arthur] St. Clair and the Western territories.

            11. May York-town or Lancaster be the permanent residence of Congress.

            12. The Houses of York and Lancaster, and may they be ever united.1

            13. May the States of North Carolina and Rhode Island soon consider their true interest, and be united to the combined States, or sink into nought.

            After which, Colonel Hartley, having taken leave of his friends, proceeded to Lancaster, and the company dispersed.

            Colonel Hartley, before his departure, was waited upon by the Principal, Professors and Students of the York-town Academy,2 with the following Address:


            "At a time when our country is involved in the deepest distress, and the minds of the citizens of America are variously agitated, as to the efficacy and safety of that system of government they have adopted: We, the Principal, Professors and Pupils of the York academy, beg leave to congratulate you on your appointment to a seat in the Representative Body of this rising empire.  We rejoice in common with all our fellow-citizens, that the several departments of our new government, are likely to be filled by those men who have hitherto proved themselves the truest friends of private and public virtue, and of the common rights of human kind.  But at the same moment that we felicitate our country on the possession of so many worthy characters, we cannot but feel regret, even at the temporary removal from us, of a gentleman, of whose friendship we have had so many proofs, and to whom we owe, in a great degree, our establishment and reputation.

            May that being at whose command empires rise and fall, direct your public councils; and restore you in due time to your family, and those very many friends to whom, from long experience of your virtues, your memory will be always dear."

            To which he returned the following answer.


            "I Received with gratitude your kind and affectionate congratulations, and I shall be peculiarly happy, if in my appointment to the Representative branch of Congress, I can render service to my country, or be any wise instrumental in averting those ills which so long have afflicted these States.

            My abilities, I well know, are not of the superior kind, but it will be my study to do what is right; and with the assistance of abler counsel, I trust that religion and learning, as well as the rights of human kind, will be advanced and protected under the new government.

            I shall always have a friendly regard to your institution, and have no doubt but it will arrive to the highest eminence in the learned world; and if we still continue to be assisted by such able and virtuous Instructors, we may presume that period is not very far distant.

            I wish you every success and happiness.  Farewell.  I hope we shall soon meet again."


            [York] Pennsylvania Herald, 25 February; reprinted at Philadelphia and New York.

            1A pun making use of the fifteenth century competitors for the English throne during the Wars of the Roses.

            2Founded by the Episcopalian Reverend John Campbell (1752--1819) in 1787.