George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 29 January 1796

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

united States January 29. 1796

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives.

In pursuance of the authority vested in the President of the united States by an act of Congress passed the third of March last, to reduce the weight of the copper coin of the united States, whenever he should think it for the benefit of the united States, provided that the reduction should not exceed two pennyweights in each cent, and in the like proportion in a half cent; I have caused the same to be reduced since the twenty seventh of last December; to wit, one pennyweight and sixteen grains in each cent, and in the like proportion in a half cent; and I have given notice thereof by Proclamation.1

By the letter of the Judges of the Circuit Court of the united States held at Boston in June last, and the inclosed application of the under Keeper of the Jail at that place, of which copies are herewith transmitted, Congress will perceive the necessity of making a suitable provision for the maintenance of prisoners committed to the Jails of the several States under the authority of the united States.2

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LS, DNA: RG 46, entry 47; copy, DNA: RG 233, entry 28, Journals; copy, DLC:GW; Df, DNA: RG 59, Reports of the Secretary of State to the President and Congress.

1GW is referring to section 8 of “An Act supplementary to the act intituled ‘An act establishing a Mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States’” (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 439–41). His proclamation, dated 26 Jan., was printed in the Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia) on 27 January.

2For these copies, see James Iredell and John Lowell to GW, 15 June 1795, and its enclosure. In the House, this message was laid on the table. In the Senate, it was referred to committee and later sent to another committee that was considering a memorial from the sheriff of Suffolk County, Mass., “for a law to be passed relative to the support of prisoners in jail, committed under the authority of the United States, in order to indemnify the Sheriff or keeper of the jail for their cost and expenses in such support.” On 8 Feb. that committee reported their opinion “that the existing laws are sufficient for the purpose aforesaid,” and no further action was taken (Journal of the House, description begins The Journal of the House of Representatives: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends 8:136; Journal of the Senate, description begins The Journal of the Senate including The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends 8:60–62, 70–72).

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