Thomas Jefferson Papers
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George Washington to the Senate, 8 May 1792 [document added in digital edition]

George Washington to the Senate

If the President of the U.S. should conclude a Convention or treaty with the Government of Algiers for the ransom of the thirteen Americans in captivity there, for a sum not exceeding 40,000 dollars, all expences included, will the Senate approve the same? or is there any & what greater or lesser sum, which they would fix on as the limit beyond which they would not approve the ransom?


If the President of the U.S. should conclude a Treaty with the Government of Algiers for the establishment of peace with them at an expence not exceeding   dollars paid at the signature, and a like sum to be paid annually afterwards during the continuance of the treaty would the Senate approve the same? or are there any greater or lesser sums which they would fix on as the limits beyond which they would not approve of such treaty?

May. 8. 1792.

PrC (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand. Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDR). Entry in SJPL reads: “Draughts of messages to Senate on affairs with Algiers.”

will the Senate approve: the Senate immediately took Washington’s message into consideration and referred it to a committee consisting of Robert Morris, George Cabot, and Oliver Ellsworth, which reported a resolution the same day: “Resolved, That if the President of the United States shall conclude a Treaty with the Government of Algiers for the establishment of peace with them at an expense not exceeding forty thousand dollars paid at the signature, and a sum not exceeding twenty five thousand dollars to be paid annually afterwards during the continuance of the Treaty, the Senate will approve the same.—And in case such treaty be concluded, and the President of the United States shall also conclude a convention or treaty with the Government of Algiers for the ransom of the thirteen Americans in Captivity there, for a sum not exceeding forty thousand dollars, all expenses included, that the Senate will also approve such convention or Treaty” (Tr in DLC, attested by Samuel A. Otis; Tr in DNA: RG 59, SDR; entry in SJPL: “Resoln of Senate in answr.”). The Senate agreed to the resolution by a vote of 14 to 2 and ordered the Senate secretary to lay it before the president (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , 1:122-3). TJ had previously drafted versions of Washington’s message on 9 and 10 Apr.

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