George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 20 March 1792

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

[Philadelphia, 20 March 1792]

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

The several Acts which have been passed relatively to the military establishment of the United States, and the protection of the Frontiers, do not appear to have made provision for more than one Brigadier General.1 It is incumbent upon me to observe, that with a view merely to the organization of the troops designated by those Acts, a greater number of Officers of that grade would in my opinion be conducive to the good of the public service. But an increase of the number becomes still more desireable, in reference to a different organization which is contemplated, pursuant to the authority vested in me for that purpose, and which, besides other advantages expected from it, is recommended by considerations of œconomy.

I therefore request that you will be pleased to take this subject into your early consideration, and to adopt such measures thereon as you shall judge proper.2

Go: Washington

DS, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; copy, DNA: RG 233, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Journals; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW signed congressional acts establishing and organizing the army of the United States and providing for frontier defense on 29 Sept. 1789, 30 April 1790, 3 Mar. 1791, and 5 Mar. 1792 (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 95–96, 119–21, 222–24, 241–43).

2On this date the U.S. Senate committed GW’s message to Aaron Burr, James Gunn, and Benjamin Hawkins to consider and report on it, and the House of Representatives on 21 Mar. appointed a committee of three for similar purposes. On 22 Mar. the Senate committee reported a bill to supplement “An Act for making farther and more effectual Provision for the Protection of the Frontiers of the United States” of 5 March. The supplemental bill passed the Senate on 23 Mar., and the House read it twice and committed it the same day. On 24 Mar. the House amended and passed it, and the Senate approved the amended bill on 26 Mar. (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 1st sess., 110, 112–13, 477, 481–83). On 28 Mar., GW signed “An Act supplemental to the act for making farther and more effectual provision for the protection of the frontiers of the United States,” which authorized the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint up to four brigadier generals “as may be conducive to the good of the public service” (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 246). For GW’s nomination of four additional brigadier generals, see GW to the U.S. Senate, 9 April.

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