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To George Washington from the U.S. Senate, 11 December 1795

From the United States Senate

In Senate, December 11th 1795

Sir,

It is with peculiar satisfaction that we are informed by your Speech to the two Houses of Congress,1 that the long, and expensive war in which we have been engaged with the Indians North west of the Ohio, is in a situation to be finally terminated; and though we view with concern the danger of an interruption of the peace so recently confirmed with the Creeks, we indulge the hope, that the measures you have adopted to prevent the same, if followed by those Legislative provisions that justice and humanity equally demand, will succeed in laying the foundation of a lasting peace with the Indian tribes on the Southern as well as on the Western frontiers.

The confirmation of our treaty with Morocco, and the adjustment of a treaty of peace with Algiers, in consequence of which our fellow Citizens shall be delivered from slavery, are events that will prove no less interesting to the public humanity, than they will be important in extending and securing the navigation and commerce of our country.

As a just and equitable conclusion of our depending negotiation with Spain, will essentially advance the interest of both nations, and thereby cherish and confirm the good understanding and friendship, which we have at all times desired to maintain, it will afford us a real pleasure to receive an early confirmation of our expectations on this subject.2

The interesting prospect of our affairs with regard to the foreign powers, between whom and the United States controversies have subsisted, is not more satisfactory, than the review of our internal situation: if from the former we derive an expectation of the extinguishment of all the causes of discord, that have heretofore endangered our tranquility, and on terms consistent with our national honor and safety, in the latter we discover those numerous, and wide spread tokens of prosperity, which in so peculiar a manner distinguish our happy country.

Circumstances thus every way3 auspicuous demand our gratitude, and sincere acknowledgments to Almighty God, and require that we should unite our efforts, in imitation of your enlightened, firm and persevering example, to establish and preserve, the peace, freedom, and prosperity of our country.

The objects which you have recommended to the notice of the Legislature will in the course of the Session receive our careful attention, and with a pure zeal for the public welfare, we shall cheerfully cooperate in every measure that shall appear to us best calculated to promote the same.

John Adams
Vice President of the United States
and President of the Senate

LB, DLC:GW.

The draft of this address was reported to the Senate on 10 Dec. and laid aside for consideration on 11 December. At that time two unsuccessful efforts were made to amend the address (see notes 2 and 3 below), after which it was approved by a vote of fourteen to eight. The drafting committee was asked to ascertain at what time GW would receive the address; they reported “that he would receive the address of the Senate, to-morrow at 12 o’clock, at his own house” (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 8:19–24). On 12 Dec. “the Senate in a body waited upon the President at twelve oClock, and the Vice President, delivered” this address. GW then replied: “With real pleasure I receive your address, recognizing the prosperous situation of our public affairs; and giving assurances of your careful attention to the objects demanding Legislative consideration; and that with a true zeal for the public welfare, you will cheerfully co-operate in every measure which shall appear to you best calculated to promote the same. But I derive peculiar satisfaction from your concurrence with me in the expressions of gratitude to Almighty God which a review of the auspicious circumstances that distinguish our happy country have excited; and I trust that the sincerity of our acknowledgments will be evinced by a union of efforts to establish and preserve its peace, freedom and prosperity” (LB, DLC:GW; see also 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 8:25–26). Both the Senate address and GW’s reply were printed in the Gazette United States (Philadelphia), 12 Dec., and other newspapers.

2A motion to expunge the following two paragraphs failed in the Senate by a vote of fourteen to eight.

3Following the failure of the motion to expunge this and the preceding paragraph in their entirety, a second motion was offered to expunge the preceding two words. That motion failed by a vote of fifteen to seven.

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