LOS ANGELES (WTOC) - History buffs have the opportunity to bid on an early piece of American — and Savannah — history later this week. A newspaper featuring a printing of George Washington’s address to Savannah’s Jewish community will be auctioned off in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The issue of the “Massachusetts Spy: Or, The Worcester Gazette” is dated July 1, 1790. President Washington’s address was a response to Levi Sheftal, who spoke on behalf of The Hebrew Congregation of Savannah, Georgia on May 6, 1789. In his address, Sheftal thanked the President for his support of religious tolerance in the new nation.
The ’'Massachusetts Spy: Or, The Worcester Gazette’' was founded in 1770 to support American independence from Great Britain. The paper’s motto was “The Liberty of the Press is Essential to the Security of Freedom,” written in four languages on its masthead.
Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction the newspaper online, and the starting bid is $18,000. The newspaper is considered to be in very good condition. An unrestored issue of the same paper sold in a 2014 Sotheby’s auction for $68,750.
President Washington’s published response to Sheftal reads in part:
’'I thank you with great sincerity for your congratulations on my appointment to the office which I have the honor to hold by the unanimous choice of my fellow-citizens, and especially the expressions you are pleased to use in testifying the confidence that is reposed in me by your congregations...
I rejoice that a spirit of liberality and philanthropy is much more prevalent than it formerly was among the enlightened nations of the earth, and that your brethren will benefit thereby in proportion as it shall become still more extensive; happily the people of the United States have in many instances exhibited examples worthy of imitation, the salutary influence of which will doubtless extend much farther if gratefully enjoying those blessings of peace which (under the favor of heaven) have been attained by fortitude in war, they shall conduct themselves with reverence to the Deity and charity toward their fellow-creatures.
May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, planted them in a promised land - whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation - still continue to water them with the dews of heaven and make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah. / G. Washington.”