George Washington Papers

III, November 1793


GW’s Notes on the Annual Address to Congress

[November 1793]

Sundry matters to be communicated for the information of Congress—either in the Speech at the opening of the Session, or by Messages thereafter, as shall be thought best.

Proclamation, informing the United States of the actual State of things as they stood between them and the Powers at War.1

State of Our application respecting the surrender of the Western Posts.2

Additional Instructions of his Britanic Majesty relative to Corn &ca in Neutral Vessels.3

State of matters as it respects our Negociation with Spain, relative to Territory and the Navigation of the River Mississipi.4

Corrispondence with Mr Genet, Minister from the French Republic.

The impediments which have taken place in the intended Ransom of our Citizens, captives in Algiers—& treaty with the Barbary States.5

Treaty attempted with the Western Indians, and the result of it.6

March of the Army in consequence of it—delayed by the suspension we were held in thereby

State of matters as they relate to the Creeks and Cherokees—& to the Frontiers of Georgia and the South Western Territory.

Would not a trade on Public ground, with all the bordering tribes of Indians (if they can once be made sensible of their folly by the Superiority of our arms) be an effectual mean of attaching them to us by the strongest of all ties, Interest.

The utility of establishing proper Arsenals unfolds itself more & more every day. And the propriety of a Military Accademy for teaching the Art of Gunnery & Engineering, can scarcely be doubted. A War, at any time, would evince the impropriety of such a neglect.

Might it not be expedient to take off the Tax upon the transportation of News Papers &c.?7

An Act of the Legislature, So. West of the Ohio, Passed Novr 20th 1792—Deposited in the Secretary of States Office.8

As both Representatives & President are newly chosen, and it is their first meeting, may it not be a good occasion, & proper for the latter to express his sentiments of the honor conferred on by his fellow Citizens. The former is an augmented body—The times are critical—and much temper, & cool deliberate reflection is necessary to maintain Peace with dignity & safety to the United States.

Appointments, during the recess of Congress to be laid before the Senate.

AD, DLC:GW. An unidentified writer (probably Edmund Randolph) placed a check mark next to all but the last paragraph.

1GW was referring to his Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April.

2On the stalled effort to obtain British evacuation from western forts, see Cabinet Opinion, 7 Sept., and n.8 to that document; Record of Cabinet Opinions, 22 Nov.; and Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 27:353.

3For the additional instructions of 8 June, see Thomas Jefferson to GW, 15–16 Sept., n.4. See also the cabinet opinions of 31 Aug. and 7 Sept. for the U.S. response to unofficial news of these British orders.

6GW was referring to the unsuccessful treaty with the hostile Indians of the Northwest Territory held at Lower Sandusky in July and August (see ASP, Indian Affairs description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:340–61).

7GW apparently was referring to section 22 of “An Act to establish the Post-Office and Post Roads within the United States,” 20 Feb. 1790, wherein the conveyance of newspapers by mail was charged at “one cent, for any distance not more than one hundred miles, and one cent and a half for any greater distance” (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 , 1:232–39).

8This act, which the territorial secretary thought needed congressional approval, authorized the county courts to levy a tax for the construction of courthouses and prisons and to defray other legal costs (see Jefferson’s third letter to GW of 19 June, and n.2 to that document).

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