On April 27, 1789, the Senate, and two days later the House, passed a resolution in Congress giving instructions with regard to the Inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States:
Resolved, That after the oath shall have been administered to the President, he, attended by the Vice President, and the members of the Senate, and House of Representatives, proceed to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service, to be performed by the Chaplain of Congress already appointed.
Annals of Congress, 1789-1791 (Washington, D.C: Gales & Seaton, 1843), Vol. I, p. 25.
On September 19, 1796, in his Farewell Address, President George Washington said:
Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to the grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence.
The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same Religion, Manners, Habits, and political Principles. …
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.
Let it simply be asked where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice?
And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Henry Steele Commager, ed., Documents of American History, 2 vols. (NY: F.S. Crofts and Company, 1934; Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1948, 6th edition, 1958; Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 9th edition, 1973), Vol. I, pp. 169–173.