George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 25 January 1790

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States [New York], January 25th, 1790.

Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives.

I have received from His Excellency John E. Howard, Governor of the State of Maryland, an Act of the Legislature of Maryland to ratify certain Articles in addition to, and amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States; and have directed my Secretary to lay a copy of the same before you, together with the copy of a letter accompanying the above act, from His Excellency the Governor of Maryland to the President of the United States.1

The originals will be deposited in the Office of the Secretary of State.2

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.

GW had earlier sent copies of the first twelve amendments to the federal Constitution to each state executive for ratification (Circular to the Governors of the States, 2 Oct. 1789, and note 1).

1Howard wrote GW from Annapolis on 15 Jan. 1790: “I have the honor to enclose a copy of an act of the Legislature of Maryland, to ratify certain articles in addition to and amendments of the constitution of the united States of America proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States” (MdAA).

The ratification act forwarded by Howard was passed by the Maryland house of delegates on 17 Dec. 1789 and by the state senate on 19 December. The copy made by Lear was presented with the president’s message to Congress on Monday, 25 Jan. 1790, when the House ordered they should lie on the table, and the Senate also ordered them to lie for consideration (DHFC, description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends 1:226–27, 3:271–73, 585–88).

2Lear presented the documents to Roger Alden, chief clerk at the State Department, on 25 Jan. “to be deposited in the Office of State with other public papers under your care, and to be delivered to the Secretary of State whenever he may enter upon the duties of his office” (DNA: RG 59, Correspondence with Secretaries of State).

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