George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the United States Senate, 9 December 1793

From the United States Senate

December the 9th 17931

To The President of the United States.

Accept, Sir, the thanks of the Senate for your Speech delivered to both Houses of Congress at the opening of the session.2 Your reelection to the chief magistracy of the United States gives us sincere pleasure.3 We consider it as an event every way propitious to the happiness of our Country; and your compliance with the call, as a fresh instance of the patriotism which has so repeatedly led you to sacrifice private inclination, to the public good. In the unanimity which a second time marks this important national act, we trace with particular satisfaction, besides the distinguished tribute paid to the virtues and abilities which it recognizes, another proof of that just discernment, and constancy of sentiments and views, which have hitherto characterized the Citizens of the United States.

As the European powers with whom the United States have the most extensive relations were involved in war in which we had taken no part; it seemed necessary that the disposition of the Nation for peace should be promulgated to the world, as well for the purpose of admonishing our Citizens of the consequences of a contraband trade and of acts hostile to any of the belligerent parties, as to obtain by a declaration of the existing legal state of things, an easier admission of our rights to the immunities of our situation, we therefore contemplate with pleasure, the proclamation by you issued, and give it our hearty approbation.4 We deem it a measure well timed, and wise; manifesting a watchful solicitude for the welfare of the Nation and calculated to promote it. The several important matters presented to our consideration will, in the course of the Session, engage all the attention to which they are respectively entitled; and as the public happiness will be the sole guide of our deliberations, we are perfectly assured of receiving your strenuous & most zealous cooperation.

John Adams, Vice President of the U. States,
and Presidt of the Senate.

LB, DLC:GW; Df, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages.

The draft is in two parts: a report of the committee appointed to draft the address and a list of “Motions for Amendment.” A notation on the committee report states that it was “adopted as amended.” The amendments are indicated in the notes below.

1The letter-book copy is dated 9 Dec. 1793, headed by a note which reads, “At twelve o’Clock, agreeably to appointment, the Senate waited on the President at his House and presented the following.” The message was approved by the Senate on 9 Dec., at which time Senators Pierce Butler and Oliver Ellsworth were designated to “wait on the President of the United States, and desire him to acquaint the Senate at what time and place it will be most convenient for him that the foregoing address should be presented.” The address actually was delivered to GW at noon on 10 Dec. (see Journal of the Senate description begins The Journal of the Senate including The Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends , 6:14–15; JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 265; and GW to U.S. Senate, 10 Dec.).

3A substitute for the preceding two sentences was proposed but not adopted: “Called again by the general Suffrage of your Country to resume the executive power, to which from your distinguished Virtues and eminent Services you were justly entitled, the Senate of the United States express to you their sincere Congratulations for this renewed Testimony of public Approbation.”

4The preceding long sentence was substituted by amendment for the following text: “The Proclamation which you issued during the recess of Congress, with reference to the war in Europe, has our entire approbation.” The sentence refers to GW’s Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April.

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