Prompted by this memorial from the mayor and other citizens of Philadelphia, the House and Senate commemorated the 130th Anniversary of Washington’s birth by reading aloud his Farewell Address in 1862. In a special joint session held in the House Chamber, the House and Senate, along with several cabinet officials, Justices of the Supreme Court and high-ranking officers of the Army and Navy, gathered to listen to the Secretary of State read the address aloud. Eventually, the reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address became an annual event for the Senate, a tradition that is still observed today. In fact, when the Senate convenes today, after returning from a week-long recess, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will read Washington’s Farewell Address, which will mark the 150th anniversary of the this tradition.
Memorial of the mayor and other citizens of Philadelphia, 1/31/1862, Records of the U.S Senate