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Special Message

January 21, 1794

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

It is with satisfaction I announce to you that the alterations which have been made by law in the original plan for raising a duty on spirits distilled within the United States, and on stills, cooperating with better information, have had a considerable influence in obviating the difficulties which have embarrassed that branch of the public revenue. But the obstacles which have been experienced, though lessened, are not yet entirely surmounted, and it would seem that some further legislative provisions may usefully be superadded, which leads me to recall the attention of Congress to the subject. Among the matters which may demand regulation is the effect, in point of organization, produced by the separation of Kentucky from the State of Virginia, and the situation with regard to the law of the territories northwest and southwest of the Ohio.

The laws respecting light-house establishments require, as a condition of their permanent maintenance at the expense of the United States, a complete cession of soil and jurisdiction. The cessions of different States having been qualified with a reservation of the right of serving legal process within the ceded jurisdiction are understood to be inconclusive as annexing a qualification not consonant with the terms of the law. I present this circumstance to the view of Congress, that they may judge whether any alteration ought to be made.

As it appears to be conformable with the intention of the "ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio," although it is not expressly directed that the laws of that territory should be laid before Congress, I now transmit to you a copy of such as have been passed from July to December, 1792, inclusive, being the last which have been received by the Secretary of State.


George Washington, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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