George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 15 March 1790]

Monday 15th. Received an Address from the Roman Catholics of the United States presented by Mr. Carroll of the Senate, Mr. Carroll & Mr. Fitzimmons of the House of Representatives, and many others, Inhabitants of the City of New York.

Received a letter from the Executive of the State of Pensylvania, by the hands of a Mr. Ryerson one of the Representatives of that State in Assembly, respecting the exposed state of the County of Washington. This letter I sent to the Secretary of War to be laid before Congress.

I also received from the Speaker of the Assembly of Pensylvania, an Act, adopting the Amendments to the Constitution as proposed by Congress, except the first article thereof.

And Mr. Few, Senator from the State of Georgia, presented me with the Copy of an Address from that State requiring to knw. when it would be convenient for me to receive it in form. Finding it out of the usual style—State politics being blended there with, I informed Mr. Few that as soon as I could make it convenient to receive it He should have notice thereof.

roman catholics: The undated complimentary address was signed by Bishop John Carroll, representing the Roman Catholic clergy, and by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Daniel Carroll, Thomas FitzSimons, and Dominick Lynch, in behalf of the Roman Catholic laity (DLC:GW). GW’s reply, also undated, is in MdBAd. executive of the state of pensylvania: Gov. Thomas Mifflin wrote GW “in Council” on 10 Mar. 1790, “transmitting to your Excellency a Letter which has been addressed to the Executive of this State by several very respectable Inhabitants of the County of Washington in Pennsylvania; in which they represent ‘that many mischiefs have taken place in that County for several years past from the hostile incursions of the Indians, and that from the present aspect of Indian affairs in the western and South western Countries, the same are likely to continue’ and request ‘the interposition of Council with the President’” (DLC:GW). Knox delivered the letters to the House of Representatives on 16 Mar. 1790, where they were read and ordered to lie on the table (DE PAUW description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends , 3:329). The letters were delivered to GW by Thomas Ryerson, who represented Washington County in the Pennsylvania Assembly. The act of the Pennsylvania legislature, 10 Mar. 1790, ratifying ten of the proposed amendments to the Constitution, is printed, with accompanying documents, in DE PAUW description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends , 3:330–32. Pennsylvania failed to ratify the first two of the proposed amendments (see entry for 15 Feb. 1790). address: Presumably this is the address to the president drafted in the Georgia General Assembly 22 Dec. 1789 (DLC:GW). After the usual compliments to GW, the assembly complained of Creek incursions on Georgia’s frontiers. “On this subject we wish to be delicate; much has been already said—we have objected, and it has been contradicted; removed at a distance from the centre our actions have been liable to misrepresentation; but we trust that by this time, they are better explained. In the meantime while our population has been checked and our agriculture diminished—the blood of our citizens has been spilled, our public resources greatly exhausted; and our frontiers still open to fresh ravages. The failure of the late negociations for a peace with the Creek nation and the circumstances which attended the same, are the best evidence of the necessity of our measures, and a proof of the late hostile dispositions of these People. . . . Another circumstance of additional calamity attendant on our being the south frontier of the Union, is the facility of our black people crossing the spanish line, from whence we have never been able to reclaim them. . . . We take this occasion of bringing this business into view, with a perfect reliance, that you will cause such discussions to be made, as shall be necessary to bring about a remedy.” Since Georgia was widely accused of provoking Indian retaliation by permitting settlement on Indian lands and by military excursions into Creek territory, GW’s undated reply was carefully noncommittal, promising only to “make such use of the powers vested in me by the constitution as may appear to me best calculated to promote the public good” (DLC:GW).

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