George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 23 January 1792

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States, [Philadelphia] January 23d 1792.

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives

Having received from the Governor of Virginia a letter, enclosing a Resolution of the General Assembly of that State, and a Report of a Committee of the House of Delegates, respecting certain lands located by the Officers and Soldiers, of the Virginia line under the laws of that State, and since ceded to the Chickasaw Indians, I lay copies of the same before you; together with a Report of the Secretary of State on this subject.1

Go: Washington

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

1For the background and enclosures to this message concerning the claims of Charles Russell, see Henry Lee to GW, 7 Jan. 1792, and Thomas Jefferson to GW, 22 January. See also John Rogers to Lee, 10 Jan., Calendar of Virginia State Papers, description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds. Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts. 11 vols. Richmond, 1875–93. description ends 5:427–28. The House of Representatives referred the message this day to a standing committee but never took further action on it, and Russell’s widow in 1798 unsuccessfully renewed his claim for compensation (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., 331). The House referred a similar petition from Rogers to the secretary of state in 1793, prompting Jefferson to make a similar report to that body (see Jefferson to GW, 16 Feb. 1793). Congress did not act on the general problem involved in the case until 1807, when the House adopted a committee report stating that the Virginia grants had not been vitiated by the Treaty of Hopewell, because the rights to land acknowledged as belonging to the Indians generally were “confined to the temporary use of the land” (ASP, Public Lands, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:25–26, 80–81, 582).

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