George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 8 March 1790

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States [New York] March 8th 1790

Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives

I have received from his Excellency Joshua Clayton President of the State of Delaware the articles proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States as amendments to the Constitution of the United States;1 which articles were transmitted to him for the consideration of the Legislature of Delaware,2 and are now returned with the following Resolutions annexed to them—viz.

The General Assembly of Delaware

“Having taken into their consideration the above amendments proposed by Congress to the respective Legislatures of the several States,

Resolved that the first article be postponed—

Resolved that the General Assembly do agree to the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth articles; and We do hereby assent to, ratify, and confirm, the same as part of the Constitution of the United States.

In testimony whereof We have caused the great Seal of the State to be hereunto affixed this twenty eighth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety and in the fourteenth year of the Independence of the Delaware State. Signed by order of Council

Geo. Mitchell Speaker

Signed by order of the house of Assembly

John Davis Speaker”

I have directed a copy of the Letter which accompanied the said articles, from his Excellency Joshua Clayton to the President of the United States, to be laid before you.

The before-mentioned articles and the original of the Letter will be lodged in the office of the Secretary of State.3

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA: RG 233, First Congress, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Journals.

2GW had submitted the amendments to the Constitution proposed by Congress to the governors of the states on 2 Oct. 1789. For the text of the amendments, see note 1 to that document. The first of these twelve amendments proposed by Congress was intended to prevent the membership of the House of Representatives from becoming unmanageably large as the national population increased, but its political tendency, if adopted, would have been to increase the relative representation of the more populous, faster-growing states at the expense of the less populous, slower-growing ones. In 1790 Delaware had the smallest population among the states. The Delaware council opposed the amendment, and the assembly concurred without debate.

3Tobias Lear transmitted these documents to Roger Alden, chief clerk of the domestic section of the Department of State (Lear to Alden, 8 Mar. 1790, DLC:GW).

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