Beliefnet News

A letter written by George Washington is up for sale. This is far from the first letter written by one of the Founding Fathers to be sold, but this one is especially valuable due to its religious references.

The letter was signed on September 7, 1788, and sent from George Washington to Richard Peters. Peters was the speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and a former member of the Continental Congress.

At the time the letter was written, states were questioning the Constitution and debating whether or not to ratify it. Some were wary of the Constitution and wanted to hold a second convention to rewrite it. Washington, however, hoped that the states would ratify the Constitution and made it clear that he believed God would see the young nation through.

“It would seem from the public Gazettes that the Minority in your State are preparing for another attack of the – now – adopted Government; how formidable it may be; I know not,” Washington wrote in the letter. “But that Providence which has hitherto smiled on the honest endeavors of the well-meaning part of the People of this Country will not, I trust, withdraw its support from them at this crisis.”

The historical organization Mount Vernon clarified that when Washington spoke of “Providence,” he was speaking about God.

“It is clear that he believed in a Creator God of some manner, and seemingly one that was also active in the universe,” Mount Vernon said. “This God had three main traits; he was wise, inscrutable, and irresistible. Washington referred to this God by many names, but most often by the name of ‘Providence.’”

“Washington, who was the General in Chief of the Continental Army during the war and President of the Constitutional Convention makes a remarkable statement in this powerful letter: his victory in battle and his stewardship over the Convention that led to our Constitution came with the guiding influence of a higher power,” said Nathan Raab, president of the Raab Collection. The Raab Collection is a dealer of historical documents and the ones offering the letter for sale.

Artifacts once belonging to Washington have sold well in recent memory, and the letter is unlikely to be the exception to the rule. A lock of Washington’s hair, after all, once sold for $35,000. A handwritten letter praising God for the Constitution is almost certain to meet or beat the asking price of $140,000.