George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 6 July 1796

Mount Vernon 6th July 1796.


When the letter herewith enclosed, dated the 4th instant was written in answer to yours of the 28th ulto; part of it, as you will perceive, was dictated under the impression of much hesitation & doubt; for I am not fond of rectifying Legislative mistakes by Executive Acts. I determined however to take the Attorney Generals opinion on the case: resolving, if it accorded with those which had been sent me, to give the act you forwarded, my signature.

For this purpose I requested that his opinion might be fully stated to me in writing and delivered at Alexandria on the 4th where I had promised to be at the celebration of the Anniversary of Independance; that I might, by the Post of next day, or rather the Mail of that evening, if his opinion had not a tendency to increase my own doubts, forward the Act to you.

Knowing, that neither time nor opportunity would be allowed at a crowded meeting, to write, I prepared my letter in the morning, before I left home, on the supposition of a concurrence; & in that case, that I might have nothing to do but to sign & enclose the Act; but his opinion being adverse to this (as you will see by the enclosure, which I request may be returned to me) I declined doing it; and have desired him to draught something anew.

This, when it comes to hand, (wch I expected would have been in time for this days Post) shall be sent.

Go: Washington


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