George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, 16 December 1793

To the United States Senate and House of Representatives

United States Decemr 16th 1793.

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

I lay before you a Report of the Secretary of State on the measures which have been taken on behalf of the United States for the purpose of obtaining a recognition of our Treaty with Morocco,1 and for the ransom of our Citizens and establishment of peace with Algiers.

While it is proper our Citizens should know that Subjects which so much concern their interests and their feelings have duly engaged the attention of their Legislature and Executive, it would still be improper that some particulars of this communication should be made known. The confidential conversation stated in one of the last Letters sent herewith, is one of these—both justice and policy require that the source of that information should remain secret.2 So a knowledge of the sums meant to have been given for peace and ransom might have a disadvantageous influence on future proceedings for the same objects.

Go: Washington

LS, DNA: RG 46, Third Congress, 1793–95, Senate Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Foreign Relations; LB, DLC:GW; Df, in Thomas Jefferson’s writing, DLC: Jefferson Papers.

1For the treaty with Morocco of 28 June and 15 July 1786, ratified 18 July 1787, see Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Vol. 2, 1776-1818. Washington, D.C., 1931. description ends , 185–227.

2GW probably was referring to the conversation with Luis Pinto de Sousa Coutinho, the Portuguese minister and secretary of state for foreign affairs, reported in Edward Church’s letter to Thomas Jefferson of 12 October. According to Church, the secretary stated that the truce between Portugal and Algiers had been engineered by British consul Charles Logie and was “by no means agreeable” to the Portuguese, who were “far from being disposed” to pay the required tribute to Algiers. He “intimated that the Algerines would probably ere long be less at liberty to cruise than at present” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 27:230–35).

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