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Message in Reply to the House of Representatives

December 17, 1795

Address of the House of Representatives to George Washington, President of the United States.


SIR: As the Representatives of the people of the United States, we can not but participate in the strongest sensibility to every blessing which they enjoy, and cheerfully join with you in profound gratitude to the Author of all Good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings which He has conferred on our favored country.

A final and formal termination of the distressing war which has ravaged our Northwestern frontier will be an event which must afford a satisfaction proportionate to the anxiety with which it has long been sought, and in the adjustment of the terms we perceive the true policy of making them satisfactory to the Indians as well as to the United States as the best basis of a durable tranquillity. The disposition of such of the Southern tribes as had also heretofore annoyed our frontier is another Prospect in our situation so important to the interest and happiness of the United States that it is much to be lamented that any clouds should be thrown over it, more especially by excesses on the part of our own citizens.

While our population is advancing with a celerity which exceeds the most sanguine calculations; while every part of the United States displays indications of rapid and various improvement; while we are in the enjoyment of protection and security by mild and wholesome laws, administered by governments rounded on the genuine principles of rational liberty, a secure foundation will be laid for accelerating, maturing, and establishing the prosperity of our country if, by treaty and amicable negotiation, all those causes of external discord which heretofore menaced our tranquillity shall be extinguished on terms compatible with our national rights and honor and with our Constitution and great commercial interests.

Among the various circumstances in our internal situation none can be viewed with more satisfaction and exultation than that the late scene of disorder and insurrection has been completely restored to the enjoyment of order and repose. Such a triumph of reason and of law is worthy of the free Government under which it happened, and was justly to be hoped from the enlightened and patriotic spirit which pervades and actuates the people of the United States.

In contemplating that spectacle of national happiness which our country exhibits, and of which you, sir, have been pleased to make an interesting summary, permit us to acknowledge and declare the very great share which your zealous and faithful services have contributed to it, and to express the affectionate attachment which we feel for your character.

The several interesting subjects which you recommend to our consideration will receive every degree of attention which is due to them; and whilst we feel the obligation of temperance and mutual indulgence in all our discussions, we trust and pray that the result to the happiness and welfare of our country may correspond with the pure affection we bear to it.

DECEMBER 16, 1795.

Reply of the President:

GENTLEMEN : Coming as you do from all parts of the United States, I receive great satisfaction from the concurrence of your testimony in the justness of the interesting summary of our national happiness which, as the result of my inquiries, I presented to your view. The sentiments we have mutually expressed of profound gratitude to the source of those numerous blessings, the Author of all Good, are pledges of our obligations to unite our sincere and zealous endeavors, as the instruments of Divine Providence, to preserve and perpetuate them.

Accept, gentlemen, my thanks for your declaration that to my agency you ascribe the enjoyment of a great share of these benefits. So far as my services contribute to the happiness of my country, the acknowledgment thereof by my fellow-citizens and their affectionate attachment will ever prove an abundant reward.


DECEMBER 17, 1795.

George Washington, Message in Reply to the House of Representatives Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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