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can inspire. It will be happy for us both, and our best reward, if, by a successful administration of our respective trusts, we can make the established government more and more instrumental in promoting the good of our fellow-citizens, and more and more the object of their attachment and confidence.
REPLY TO THE ANSWER OF THE SENATE.
These assurances of favorable attention to the subjects I have recommended, and of entire confidence in my views, make the impression on me, which I ought to feel. I thank you for them both, and shall continue to rely much for the success of all our measures for the public good on the aid they will receive from the wisdom and integrity of your counsels.
REPLY TO THE ANSWER OF THE HOUSE OF
The sentiments expressed in your address are entitled to my particular acknowledgment. Having no object but the good of our country, this testimony of approbation and confidence from its immediate representatives must be among my best rewards, as the support of your enlightened patriotism has been among my greatest encouragements. Being persuaded, that you will continue to be actuated by the same auspicious principle, I look forward to the happiest consequences from your deliberations during the present session.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. VOL. XII.
OCTOBER 25TH, 1791.
Fellow-CitizeNS OF THE SENATE
AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, I meet you upon the present occasion with the feelings, which are naturally inspired by a strong impression of the prosperous situation of our common country, and by a persuasion equally strong, that the labors of the session which has just commenced will, under the guidance of a spirit no less prudent than patriotic, issue in measures conducive to the stability and increase of national prosperity.
Numerous as are the providential blessings, which demand our grateful acknowledgments, the abundance, with which another year has again rewarded the industry of the husbandman, is too important to escape recollection.
Your own observations, in your respective situations, will have satisfied you of the progressive state of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation. In tracing their causes, you will have remarked, with particular pleasure, the happy effects of that revival of confidence, public as well as private, to which the constitution and laws of the United States have so eminently contributed; and you will have observed, with no less interest, new and decisive proofs of the increasing reputation and credit of the nation. But you, nevertheless, cannot fail to derive satisfaction from the confirmation of these circumstances, which will be disclosed in the several official communications, that will be made to you in the course of your deliberations.
The rapid subscriptions to the Bank of the United States, which completed the sum allowed to be subscribed in a single day, is among the striking and pleasing evidences which present themselves, not only of confidence in the government, but of resource in the community.
In the interval of your recess, due attention has been paid to the execution of the different objects, which were specially provided for by the laws and resolutions of the last session.
Among the most important of these, is the defence and security of the western frontiers. To accomplish it on the most humane principles was a primary wish.
Accordingly, at the same time that treaties have been provisionally concluded, and other proper means used to attach the wavering, and to confirm in their friendship the well-disposed tribes of Indians, effectual measures have been adopted to make those of a hostile description sensible, that a pacification was desired upon terms of moderation and justice.
These measures having proved unsuccessful, it became necessary to convince the refractory of the power of the United States to punish their depredations. Offensive operations have, therefore, been directed; to be conducted, however, as consistently as possible with the dictates of humanity. Some of these have been crowned with full success, and others are yet depending. The expeditions, which have been completed, were carried on, under the authority and at the expense of the United States, by the militia of Kentucky; whose enterprise, intrepidity, and good conduct are entitled to peculiar commendation.
Overtures of peace are still continued to the deluded tribes, and considerable numbers of individuals belonging to them have lately renounced all further opposition, removed from their former situations, and
placed themselves under the immediate protection of the United States.
It is sincerely to be desired, that all need of coercion in future may cease; and that an intimate intercourse may succeed, calculated to advance the happiness of the Indians, and to attach them firmly to the United States.
In order to this, it seems necessary, that they should experience the benefits of an impartial dispensation of justice ; that the mode of alienating their lands, the main source of discontent and war, should be so defined and regulated as to obviate imposition, and, as far as may be practicable, controversy concerning the reality and extent of the alienations which are made; that commerce with them should be promoted under regulations tending to secure an equitable deportment towards them, and that such rational experiments should be made for imparting to them the blessings of civilization, as may from time to time suit their condition ; that the executive of the United States should be enabled to employ the means, to which the Indians have been long accustomed, for uniting their immediate interests with the preservation of peace; and that efficacious provision should be made for inflicting adequate penalties upon all those, who, by violating their rights, shall infringe the treaties and endanger the peace of the Union.
A system corresponding with the mild principles of religion and philanthropy towards an unenlightened race of men, whose happiness materially depends on the conduct of the United States, would be as honorable to the national character as conformable to the dictates of sound policy.
The powers specially vested in me by the act laying certain duties on distilled spirits, which respect the subdivisions of the districts into surveys, the appointment of officers, and the assignment of compensations, have likewise been carried into effect. In a matter, in which both materials and experience were wanting to guide the calculation, it will be readily conceived, that there must have been difficulty in such an adjustment of the rates of compensation, as would conciliate a reasonable competency with a proper regard to the limits prescribed by the law. It is hoped that the circumspection, which has been used, will be found in the result to have secured the last of the two objects; but it is probable, that, with a view to the first, in some instances a revision of the provision will be found advisable.
The impressions, with which this law has been received by the community, have been, upon the whole, such as were to be expected among enlightened and well-disposed citizens, from the propriety and necessity of the measure. The novelty, however, of the tax, in a considerable part of the United States, and a misconception of some of its provisions, have given occasion in particular places to some degree of discontent. But it is satisfactory to know, that this disposition yields to proper explanations and more just apprehensions of the true nature of the law. And I entertain a full confidence, that it will, in all, give way to motives, which arise out of a just sense of duty and a virtuous regard to the public welfare.
If there are any circumstances in the law, which, consistently with its main design, may be so varied as to remove any well-intentioned objections that may happen to exist, it will consist with a wise moderation to make the proper variations. It is desirable, on all occasions, to unite with a steady and firm adherence to constitutional and necessary acts of government, the