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Message in Reply to the House of Representatives

October 28, 1791

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

SIR: In receiving your address at the opening of the present session the House of Representatives have taken an ample share in the feelings inspired by the actual prosperity and flattering prospects of our country, and whilst with becoming gratitude to Heaven we ascribe this happiness to the true source from which it flows, we behold with an animating pleasure the degree in which the Constitution and laws of the United States have been instrumental in dispensing it.

It yields us particular satisfaction to learn the success with which the different important measures of the Government have proceeded, as well those specially provided for at the last session as those of preceding date. The safety of our Western frontier, in which the lives and repose of so many of our fellow-citizens are involved, being peculiarly interesting, your communications on that subject are proportionally grateful to us. The gallantry and good conduct of the militia, whose services were called for, is an honorable confirmation of the efficacy of that precious resource of a free state, and we anxiously wish that the consequences of their successful enterprises and of the other proceedings to which you have referred may leave the United States free to pursue the most benevolent policy toward the unhappy and deluded race of people in our neighborhood.

The amount of the population of the United States, determined by the returns of the census, is a source of the most pleasing reflections whether it be viewed in relation to our national safety and respectability or as a proof of that felicity in the situation of our country which favors so unexampled a rapidity in its growth. Nor ought any to be insensible to the additional motive suggested by this important fact to perpetuate the free Government established, with a wise administration of it, to a portion of the earth which promises such an increase of the number which is to enjoy those blessings within the limits of the United States.

We shall proceed with all the respect due to your patriotic recommendations and with a deep sense of the trust committed to us by our fellow-citizens to take into consideration the various and important matters falling within the present session; and in discussing and deciding each we shall feel every disposition whilst we are pursuing the public welfare, which must be the supreme object with all our constituents, to accommodate as far as possible the means of attaining it to the sentiments and wishes of every part of them.

OCTOBER 27, 1791.

Reply of the President:

GENTLEMEN: The pleasure I derive from an assurance of your attention to the objects I have recommended to you is doubled by your concurrence in the testimony I have borne to the prosperous condition of our public affairs.

Relying on the sanctions of your enlightened judgment and on your patriotic aid, I shall be the more encouraged in all my endeavors for the public weal, and particularly in those which may be required on my part for executing the salutary measures I anticipate from your present deliberations.


OCTOBER 28, 1791.

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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