Presented 3 January 1792
To the Ancient York Masons of the Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania.
Gentlemen & Brothers,
I receive your kind congratulations with the purest sensations of fraternal affection; and from a heart deeply impressed with your generous wishes for my present and future happiness, I beg you to accept my thanks. At the same time, I request you will be assured of my best wishes and earnest prayers for your happiness while you remain in this terrestrial mansion and that we may hereafter meet as brethren in the eternal Temple of the Supreme Architect.
G. Washington 1
December 27, 1792.
To the Grand Master of the Free & Accepted Masons, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Flattering as it may be to the human mind, & truly honorable as it is to receive from our fellow citizens testimonies of approbation for exertions to promote the public welfare; it is not less pleasing to know that the milder virtues of the heart are highly respected by a society whose liberal principles must be founded in the immediate laws of truth and justice. To enlarge the sphere of social happiness is worthy the benevolent design of the Masonic Institution; and it is most fervently to be wished, that the conduct of every member of the fraternity, as well as those publications which discover the principles which actuate them may tend to convince Mankind that the grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.
While I beg your acceptance of my thanks for the "Book of Constitutions" you have sent me, and the honor you have done me in the dedication, permit me to assure you that I feel all those emotions of gratitude which your affectionate address & cordial wishes are calculated to inspire: and I sincerely pray that the Great Architect of the Universe may bless you and receive you hereafter into his immortal Temple.
G. Washington 2
September 25, 1798
Mount Vernon, September 25, 1798.
George Washington Snyder,
Sir: Many apologies are due to you, for my not acknowledging the receipt of your obliging favour of the 22d. Ulto, and for not thanking you, at an earlier period, for the Book3 you had the goodness to send me.
I have heard much of the nefarious, and dangerous plan, and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the Book until you were pleased to send it to me. The same causes which have prevented my acknowledging the receipt of your letter have prevented my reading the Book, hitherto; namely, the multiplicity of matters which pressed upon me before, and the debilitated state in which I was left after, a severe fever had been removed. And which allows me to add little more now, than thanks for your kind wishes and favourable sentiments, except to correct an error you have run into, of my Presiding over the English lodges in this Country. The fact is, I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice, within the last thirty years.4 I believe notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this Country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the Society of the Illuminati. With respect I am &c. 5
October 24, 1798
Mount Vernon, October 24, 1798.
George Washington Snyder
Revd Sir: I have your favor of the 17th. instant before me; and my only motive to trouble you with the receipt of this letter, is to explain, and correct a mistake which I perceive the hurry in which I am obliged, often, to write letters, have led you into.
It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am.
The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a seperation [sic.] of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.
My occupations are such, that but little leisure is allowed me to read News Papers, or Books of any kind; the reading of letters, and preparing answers, absorb much of my time. With respect, etc. 6