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Message in Reply to the Senate

December 13, 1790

Address of the Senate to George Washington, President of the United States.


We receive, sir, with particular satisfaction the communications contained in your speech, which confirm to us the progressive state of the public credit and afford at the same time a new proof of the solidity of the foundation on which it rests; and we cheerfully join in the acknowledgment which is due to the probity and patriotism of the mercantile and marine part of our fellow-citizens, whose enlightened attachment to the principles of good government is not less conspicuous in this than it has been in other important respects.

In confidence that every constitutional preliminary has been observed, we assure you of our disposition to concur in giving the requisite sanction to the admission of Kentucky as a distinct member of the Union; in doing which we shall anticipate the happy effects to be expected from the sentiments of attachment toward the Union and its present Government which have been expressed by the patriotic inhabitants of that district.

While we regret that the continuance and increase of the hostilities and depredations which have distressed our Northwestern frontiers should have rendered offensive measures necessary, we feel an entire confidence in the sufficiency of the motives which have produced them and in the wisdom of the dispositions which have been concerted in pursuance of the powers vested in you, and whatever may have been the event, we shall cheerfully concur in the provisions which the expedition that has been undertaken may require on the part of the Legislature, and in any other which the future peace and safety of our frontier settlements may call for.

The critical posture of the European powers will engage a due portion of our attention, and we shall be ready to adopt any measures which a prudent circumspection may suggest for the preservation of the blessings of peace. The navigation and the fisheries of the United States are objects too interesting not to inspire a disposition to promote them by all the means which shall appear to us consistent with their natural progress and permanent prosperity.

Impressed with the importance of a free intercourse with the Mediterranean, we shall not think any deliberations misemployed which may conduce to the adoption of proper measures for removing the impediments that obstruct it.

The improvement of the judiciary system and the other important objects to which you have pointed our attention will not fail to engage the consideration they respectively merit.

In the course of our deliberations upon every subject we shall rely upon that cooperation which an undiminished zeal and incessant anxiety for the public welfare on your part so thoroughly insure; and as it is our anxious desire so it shall be our constant endeavor to render the established Government more and more instrumental in promoting the good of our fellow-citizens, and more and more the object of their attachment and confidence.

DECEMBER 10, 1790.

Reply of the President:

GENTLEMEN: These assurances of favorable attention to the subjects I have recommended and of entire confidence in my views make the impression on me which I ought to feel. I thank you for them both, and shall continue to rely much for the success of all our measures for the public good on the aid they will receive from the wisdom and integrity of your councils.


DECEMBER 13, 1790.

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

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