James D. Richardson.

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 1, part 1: George Washington online

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frontiers from the depredations of the hostile Indians, to prevent all
intrusions on the public lands, and to facilitate the surveying and
selling of the same for the purpose of reducing the public debt.

As these important objects continue to require the aid of the troops, it
is necessary that the establishment thereof should in all respects be
conformed by law to the Constitution of the United States.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



NEW YORK, _August 20, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate_

In consequence of an act providing for the expenses which may attend
negotiations or treaties with the Indian tribes and the appointment of
commissioners for managing the same, I nominate Benjamin Lincoln as one
of three commissioners whom I shall propose to be employed to negotiate
a treaty with the Southern Indians. My reason for nominating him at this
early moment is that it will not be possible for the public to avail
itself of his services on this occasion unless his appointment can be
forwarded to him by the mail which will leave this place to-morrow
morning.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



NEW YORK, _August 21, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate_:

The President of the United States will meet the Senate in the Senate
Chamber at half past 11 o'clock to-morrow, to advise with them on the
terms of the treaty to be negotiated with the Southern Indians.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



SEPTEMBER 16, 1789.

_Gentlemen of the Senate_:

The governor of the Western territory has made a statement to me of the
reciprocal hostilities of the Wabash Indians and the people inhabiting
the frontiers bordering on the river Ohio, which I herewith lay before
Congress.

The United States in Congress assembled, by their acts of the 21st
day of July, 1787, and of the 12th August, 1788, made a provisional
arrangement for calling forth the militia of Virginia and Pennsylvania
in the proportions therein specified.

As the circumstances which occasioned the said arrangement continue
nearly the same, I think proper to suggest to your consideration the
expediency of making some temporary provision for calling forth
the militia of the United States for the purposes stated in the
Constitution, which would embrace the cases apprehended by the
governor of the Western territory.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



SEPTEMBER 17, 1789.

_Gentlemen of the Senate_:

It doubtless is important that all treaties and compacts formed by the
United States with other nations, whether civilized or not, should be
made with caution and executed with fidelity.

It is said to be the general understanding and practice of nations, as a
check on the mistakes and indiscretions of ministers or commissioners,
not to consider any treaty negotiated and signed by such officers as
final and conclusive until ratified by the sovereign or government from
whom they derive their powers. This practice has been adopted by the
United States respecting their treaties with European nations, and I am
inclined to think it would be advisable to observe it in the conduct of
our treaties with the Indians; for though such treaties, being on their
part made by their chiefs or rulers, need not be ratified by them, yet,
being formed on our part by the agency of subordinate officers, it seems
to be both prudent and reasonable that their acts should not be binding
on the nation until approved and ratified by the Government. It strikes
me that this point should be well considered and settled, so that our
national proceedings in this respect may become uniform and be directed
by fixed and stable principles.

The treaties with certain Indian nations, which were laid before you
with my message of the 25th May last, suggested two questions to my
mind, viz: First, whether those treaties were to be considered as
perfected and consequently as obligatory without being ratified. If not,
then secondly, whether both or either, and which, of them ought to be
ratified. On these questions I request your opinion and advice.

You have, indeed, advised me "_to execute and enjoin an observance of_"
the treaty with the Wyandottes, etc. You, gentlemen, doubtless intended
to be clear and explicit, and yet, without further explanation, I fear
I may misunderstand your meaning, for if by my _executing_ that treaty
you mean that I should make it (in a more particular and immediate manner
than it now is) the act of Government, then it follows that I am to
ratify it. If you mean by my _executing it_ that I am to see that it be
carried into effect and operation, then I am led to conclude either that
you consider it as being perfect and obligatory in its present state,
and therefore to be executed and observed, or that you consider it as
to derive its completion and obligation from the silent approbation and
ratification which my proclamation may be construed to imply. Although I
am inclined to think that the latter is your intention, yet it certainly
is best that all doubts respecting it be removed.

Permit me to observe that it will be proper for me to be informed of
your sentiments relative to the treaty with the Six Nations previous to
the departure of the governor of the Western territory, and therefore
I recommend it to your early consideration.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



UNITED STATES, _September 29, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate:_

His Most Christian Majesty, by a letter dated the 7th of June last,
addressed to the President and members of the General Congress of the
United States of North America, announces the much lamented death of his
son, the Dauphin. The generous conduct of the French monarch and nation
toward this country renders every event that may affect his or their
prosperity interesting to us, and I shall take care to assure him of the
sensibility with which the United States participate in the affliction
which a loss so much to be regretted must have occasioned both to him
and to them.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



UNITED STATES, _September 29, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate:_

Agreeably to the act of Congress for adapting the establishment of the
troops in public service to the Constitution of the United States,
I nominate the persons specified in the inclosed list to be the
commissioned officers thereof.

This nomination differs from the existing arrangement only in the
following cases, to wit: Lieutenant Erkuries Beatty, promoted to a
vacant captaincy in the infantry; Ensign Edward Spear, promoted to a
vacant lieutenancy of artillery; Jacob Melcher, who has been serving as
a volunteer, to be an ensign, vice Benjamin Lawrence, who was appointed
nearly three years past and has never been mustered or joined the
troops.

It is to be observed that the order in which the captains and subalterns
are named is not to affect their relative rank, which has been hitherto
but imperfectly settled owing to the perplexity of promotions in the
State quotas conformably to the late Confederation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



UNITED STATES, _September 29, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the Senate_:

Having been yesterday informed by a joint committee of both Houses of
Congress that they had agreed to a recess to commence this day and to
continue until the first Monday of January next, I take the earliest
opportunity of acquainting you that, considering how long and laborious
this session has been and the reasons which I presume have produced this
resolution, it does not appear to me expedient to recommend any measures
to their consideration at present, or now to call your attention,
gentlemen, to any of those matters in my department which require your
advice and consent and yet remain to be dispatched.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.



UNITED STATES, _September 29, 1789_.

_Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:_

Having been yesterday informed by a joint committee of both Houses of
Congress that they had agreed to a recess to commence this day and to
continue until the first Monday of January next, I take the earliest
opportunity of acquainting you that, considering how long and laborious
this session has been and the reasons which I presume have produced this
resolution, it does not appear to me expedient to recommend any measures
to their consideration at present.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.




PROCLAMATION.


A NATIONAL THANKSGIVING.

[From Sparks's Washington, Vol. XII, p. 119.]

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and
humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee,
requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of
public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with
grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially
by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of
government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of
November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the
service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of
all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all
unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind
care and protection of the people of this country previous to their
becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable
interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the
late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which
we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which
we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our
safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately
instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are
blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful
knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors
which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to
pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether
in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative
duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a
blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise,
just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and
obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such
as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments,
peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true
religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us;
and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal
prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October,
A.D. 1789.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.




FIRST ANNUAL ADDRESS.


UNITED STATES, _January 8, 1790_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents
itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our
public affairs. The recent accession of the important State of North
Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official
information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of
our country, the general and increasing good will toward the Government
of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are
blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our
national prosperity.

In resuming your consultations for the general good you can not but
derive encouragement from the reflection that the measures of the last
session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty
and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize
their expectations and to secure the blessings which a gracious
Providence has placed within our reach will in the course of the present
important session call for the cool and, deliberate exertion of your
patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention that
of providing for the common defense will merit particular regard. To be
prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end
a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and
interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to
render them independent of others for essential, particularly military,
supplies.

The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable
will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may
be made respecting it it will be of importance to conciliate the
comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to
economy.

There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted with regard
to certain hostile tribes of Indians would have relieved the inhabitants
of our Southern and Western frontiers from their depredations, but you
will perceive from the information contained in the papers which I shall
direct to be laid before you (comprehending a communication from the
Commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford
protection to those parts of the Union, and, if necessary, to punish
aggressors.

The interests of the United States require that our intercourse with
other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will enable
me to fulfill my duty in that respect in the manner which circumstances
may render most conducive to the public good, and to this end that the
compensations to be made to the persons who may be employed should,
according to the nature of their appointments, be defined by law, and
a competent fund designated for defraying the expenses incident to the
conduct of our foreign affairs.

Various considerations also render it expedient that the terms on which
foreigners may be admitted to the rights of citizens should be speedily
ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.

Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States
is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly
attended to.

The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper
means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can not forbear
intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as
well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad as
to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home, and of
facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country
by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.

Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in opinion that
there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the
promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country
the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of
government receive their impressions so immediately from the sense of
the community as in ours it is proportionably essential. To the security
of a free constitution it contributes in various ways - by convincing
those who are intrusted with the public administration that every
valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened
confidence of the people, and by teaching the people themselves
to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against
invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary
exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a
disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable
exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that
of licentiousness - cherishing the first, avoiding the last - and uniting
a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an
inviolable respect to the laws.

Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids
to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a
national university, or by any other expedients will be well worthy of
a place in the deliberations of the Legislature.

_Gentlemen of the House of Representatives_:

I saw with peculiar pleasure at the close of the last session the
resolution entered into by you expressive of your opinion that an
adequate provision for the support of the public credit is a matter of
high importance to the national honor and prosperity. In this sentiment
I entirely concur; and to a perfect confidence in your best endeavors to
devise such a provision as will be truly consistent with the end I add
an equal reliance on the cheerful cooperation of the other branch of the
Legislature. It would be superfluous to specify inducements to a measure
in which the character and permanent interests of the United States are
so obviously and so deeply concerned, and which has received so explicit
a sanction from your declaration.

_Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have directed the proper officers to lay before you, respectively,
such papers and estimates as regard the affairs particularly recommended
to your consideration, and necessary to convey to you that information
of the state of the Union which it is my duty to afford.

The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and
efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from
a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring
to our fellow-citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect
from a free, efficient, and equal government.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.




ADDRESS OF THE SENATE TO GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: We, the Senate of the United States, return you our thanks for your
speech delivered to both Houses of Congress. The accession of the State
of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States gives us much
pleasure, and we offer you our congratulations on that event, which at
the same time adds strength to our Union and affords a proof that the
more the Constitution has been considered the more the goodness of it
has appeared. The information which we have received, that the measures
of the last session have been as satisfactory to our constituents as we
had reason to expect from the difficulty of the work in which we were
engaged, will afford us much consolation and encouragement in resuming
our deliberations in the present session for the public good, and every
exertion on our part shall be made to realize and secure to our country
those blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within her reach.
We are persuaded that one of the most effectual means of preserving
peace is to be prepared for war, and our attention shall be directed to
the objects of common defense and to the adoption of such plans as shall
appear the most likely to prevent our dependence on other countries
for essential supplies. In the arrangements to be made respecting the
establishment of such troops as may be deemed indispensable we shall
with pleasure provide for the comfortable support of the officers and
soldiers, with a due regard to economy. We regret that the pacific
measures adopted by Government with regard to certain hostile tribes of
Indians have not been attended with the beneficial effects toward the
inhabitants of our Southern and Western frontiers which we had reason to
hope; and we shall cheerfully cooperate in providing the most effectual
means for their protection, and, if necessary, for the punishment
of aggressors. The uniformity of the currency and of weights and
measures, the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad
and the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home,
the facilitating the communication between the distant parts of our
country by means of the post-office and post-roads, a provision for
the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and a uniform rule
of naturalization, by which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of
citizens, are objects which shall receive such early attention as their
respective importance requires. Literature and science are essential
to the preservation of a free constitution; the measures of Government
should therefore be calculated to strengthen the confidence that is
due to that important truth. Agriculture, commerce, and manufactures,
forming the basis of the wealth and strength of our confederated
Republic, must be the frequent subject of our deliberation, and shall be
advanced by all proper means in our power. Public credit being an object
of great importance, we shall cheerfully cooperate in all proper
measures for its support. Proper attention shall be given to such papers
and estimates as you may be pleased to lay before us. Our cares and
efforts shall be directed to the welfare of our country, and we have the
most perfect dependence upon your cooperating with us on all occasions
in such measures as will insure to our fellow-citizens the blessings
which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal
government.

JANUARY 11, 1790.



REPLY OF THE PRESIDENT.

GENTLEMEN: I thank you for your address, and for the assurances which it
contains of attention to the several matters suggested by me to your
consideration.

Relying on the continuance of your exertions for the public good, I
anticipate for our country the salutary effects of upright and prudent
counsels.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.

JANUARY 14, 1790.



ADDRESS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO GEORGE WASHINGTON, PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: The Representatives of the people of the United States have taken
into consideration your speech to both Houses of Congress at the opening
of the present session.

We reciprocate your congratulations on the accession of the State
of North Carolina, an event which, while it is a testimony of the
increasing good will toward the Government of the Union, can not fail to
give additional dignity and strength to the American Republic, already
rising in the estimation of the world in national character and
respectability.

The information that our measures of the last session have not proved
dissatisfactory to our constituents affords us much encouragement at
this juncture, when we are resuming the arduous task of legislating for
so extensive an empire.

Nothing can be more gratifying to the Representatives of a free people
than the reflection that their labors are rewarded by the approbation
of their fellow-citizens. Under this impression we shall make every
exertion to realize their expectations, and to secure to them those
blessings which Providence has placed within their reach. Still prompted
by the same desire to promote their interests which then actuated us,
we shall in the present session diligently and anxiously pursue those
measures which shall appear to us conducive to that end.

We concur with you in the sentiment that agriculture, commerce, and
manufactures are entitled to legislative protection, and that the
promotion of science and literature will contribute to the security of a
free Government; in the progress of our deliberations we shall not lose
sight of objects so worthy of our regard.

The various and weighty matters which you have judged necessary to
recommend to our attention appear to us essential to the tranquillity
and welfare of the Union, and claim our early and most serious
consideration. We shall proceed without delay to bestow on them that
calm discussion which their importance requires.

We regret that the pacific arrangements pursued with regard to certain
hostile tribes of Indians have not been attended with that success which
we had reason to expect from them. We shall not hesitate to concur in
such further measures as may best obviate any ill effects which might
be apprehended from the failure of those negotiations.

Your approbation of the vote of this House at the last session
respecting the provision for the public creditors is very acceptable to
us. The proper mode of carrying that resolution into effect, being a
subject in which the future character and happiness of these States are
deeply involved, will be among the first to deserve our attention.

The prosperity of the United States is the primary object of all our
deliberations, and we cherish the reflection that every measure which
we may adopt for its advancement will not only receive your cheerful



Online LibraryJames D. RichardsonA Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 1, part 1: George Washington → online text (page 6 of 24)