George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate, 31 October 1791

To the United States Senate

[Philadelphia, 31 October 1791]


This manifestation of your zeal for the honor and the happiness of our Country, derives its full value from the share which your deliberations have already had in promoting both.

I thank you for the favorable sentiments with which you view the part I have borne in the arduous trust committed to the Government of the United States; and desire you to be assured that all my zeal will continue to second those further efforts for the public good, which are ensured by the spirit in which you are entering on the present session.1

Go: Washington

LS, owned (1992) by Gary Hendershott, Little Rock, Ark.; LB, DLC:GW.

1On 27 Oct. Senator Aaron Burr reported from the committee appointed two days earlier to prepare an address in answer to GW’s speech to Congress (see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 25 Oct., source note). The next day the Senate considered and accepted the committee’s address: “The Senate of the United States have received with the highest satisfaction the assurance of public prosperity contained in your Speech to both Houses: the multiplied blessings of providence have not escaped our notice or failed to excite our gratitude. The benefits which flow from a restoration of public and private confidence are conspicuous and important and the pleasure with which we contemplate them is heightened by your assurance of those further communications which shall confirm their existance and indicate their source. Whilst we rejoice in the success of those military operations which have been directed against the hostile indians, we lament with you the necessity that has produced them, and we participate the hope that the present prospect of a general peace, on terms of moderation and justice, may be wrought into complete and permanent effect, and that the measures of Government may equally embrace the security of our frontiers and the general interests of humanity; our solicitude to obtain, will ensure our zealous attention, to an object so warmly espoused by the principles of benevolence, and so highly interesting to the honor and welfare of the nation. The several subjects which you have particularly recommended and those which remain of former Sessions will engage our early consideration; we are encouraged to prosecute them with celerity and steadiness by the belief, that they will interest no passion, but that for the general welfare, by the assurance of concert and by a view of the arduous and important arrangements which have been already accomplished. We observe, Sir, the constancy and activity of your zeal for the public good. The example will animate our efforts to promote the happiness of our Country” (U.S. Senate to GW, 31 Oct., DLC:GW). The Senate then ordered that the address be presented by John Adams attended by the full Senate and that Burr’s committee should inquire of GW when and where he desired to receive it. Burr reported on 31 Oct. that GW had requested its transmittal at noon the same day at the presidential mansion, “Whereupon, the Senate waited on the President of the United States at his own house, and the Vice President, in their name, communicated to him the Address agreed to on the 28th instant.” After GW made his reply, the Senate returned to the Senate Chamber (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 1st sess., 15, 19–20).

Index Entries