George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 3 March 1791

To the United States Senate

United States 3rd March 1791.

Gentlemen of the Senate

Certain vacancies having taken place in the Offices of the Troops established by an Act passed on the 30⟨th⟩ of April 1790, I nominate, to fill those vacancies, the persons whose names are in the annexed list under the head of the first Regiment.1 I likewise nominate the persons to fill the Offices affixed to their names in the annexed list under the head of the Second Regiment, agreeably to a Law passed this day.2

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, 1789–1791, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Executive Nominations; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW is referring to “An Act for regulating the Military Establishment of the United States,” signed into law on 30 April 1790, and “An Act for raising and adding another Regiment to the Military Establishment of the United States, and for making farther provision for the protection of the frontiers,” 3 Mar. 1791 (1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 119–21, 222–24).

2The Senate approved GW’s nominations for both regiments on 4 Mar. 1791 (DHFC, 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 2:130–33).

On 6 Mar. 1791 Henry Knox wrote to Tobias Lear: “In making the communications to the officers of their appointments, it appears to be very proper, in order to enable them to form a judgement, whether to accept, or not, to transmit a list of the officers of the same regiment—Unless this shall be done, vague and perplexed answers will be received requiring further explanations. I do not see any evil resulting from the list being made public, for it is well known that the appointments have been made. I beg you to submit this point to the President of the United States, and to transmit me his orders thereon” (DLC:GW). Lear responded the same day: “The letter with which you have honored me this morning has been submitted to the President, who has commanded me to communicate to you his opinion, that altho’ there is no doubt but the appointments to which you allude and the object of them are too generally known; yet, as the matter has hitherto been conducted, at least, with appearances of secrecy on the ⟨part⟩ of the Government, he conceives it would not be proper to publish the appointmts⟨. B⟩ut if lists of them are necessary for the purpose which you mention it would be best to have such ⟨a⟩ number of them as may be wanted struck off by a printer and one enclosed with each commission” (DLC:GW).

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