Thomas Jefferson Papers

Proclamation to Convene Congress, 16 July 1803

Proclamation to Convene Congress

By the
President of the United States
of America.

WHEREAS great and weighty matters, claiming the consideration of the Congress of the United States, form an extraordinary occasion for convening them; I do by these presents appoint Monday the 17th day of October next for their meeting at the City of Washington, hereby requiring the respective Senators and Representatives, then and there to assemble in Congress, in order to receive such communications as may then be made to them, and to consult and determine on such measures, as, in their wisdom may be deemed meet for the welfare of the United States.

In Testimony Whereof, I have caused the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed, and signed the same with my hand.

  Done at the City of Washington, the sixteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and three; and in the twenty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States. L. S.

(Signed)   Th: Jefferson.

By the President,

(Signed) James Madison, Secretary of State.

Broadside (DLC: Printed Ephemera Collection, Portfolio 227, Folder 3). Enclosed in James Madison to members of Congress, printed circular, 18 July, announcing the president’s call for the meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives, which “is rendered necessary by conventions with the French Republic, involving a cession of Louisiana to the United States”; this matter “may require the presence of both Houses, and of which conventions the ratifications are to be exchanged within six months computed from the 30th of April last”; the necessity for prompt action, “with the very great importance of the subject to the interest of the United States, claim from every member the most punctual attendance”; the secretary of state is “charged by the President to urge these considerations on your patriotism, and your sense of duty” (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 5:192; a copy signed by Madison and addressed to John Breckinridge is in DLC: Breckinridge Family Papers).

extraordinary occasion: according to Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president “may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them.”

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