Item of the Day: Journal of the House of Representatives (1790)

Full Title: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States. Anno M,DCC,XC, and of the Independence of the United States the Fourteenth. New-York: Printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine, M,DCC,XC.

FRIDAY, January 8

. . . Mr. Speaker laid before the House a copy of the Speech deliverd by the President of the United States, to both Houses of Congress, in the Senate-chamber, as followeth:

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Reprsentatives,

I EMBRACE with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself, of congratualting you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North-Carolina to the Constitution of the United States, (of which official information has been received)–the rising credit and respectablity of our country–and the general encreasing good-will towards the Government of the Union–and the concord, peace and plenty, with which we are blessed, are circumstances, auspicious, in an eminent degree, to our national prosperity.

In resuming your consultations for the general good, you cannot but derive encouragement from the reflection, that the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents, as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their expectations, and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach, will, in the course of the present important session, call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects, which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence, will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end, a uniform and well digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly, for military supplies.

The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable, will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it, it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers, with a due regard to economy.

There was reason to hope, that the pacific measures adopted with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians, would have relieved the inhabitants of our southern and western frontiers from their depredations. But you will perceive, from the information contained in the papers which I shall direct to be laid before you (comprehending a communication from the commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of the Union; and if necessary, to punish aggessors.

The interest of the United States require, that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provsions as will enable me to fulfil my duty in that respect, in the manner which circumstances may render most conducive to the public good: And to this end, that the compensations to be made to the persons, who may be employed, should, according to the nature of their appointments, be defined by law; –and a comptetent fund designated for defraying the expences incident to the conduct of our foreign affairs.

Various considerations also render it expedient that the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of citizens, should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.

Uniformity in the currency, weights and measures of the United States, is an object of great importance and will, I am persuaded, by duly attended to.

The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, by all proper means, will not, I trust, need recommendation. –But I cannot forbear intimating to you, the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home; — and of facilitating intercourse betwen the distant parts of our country, by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.

Nor am I less persuaded, that you will agree with me in opinion, that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness. In one, in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community, as in our’s [sic] , it is proportionably essential. To the security of a free Constitution it contributes in various ways: By convincing those who are entrusted with the public administration, that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people; and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between opression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness,  cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temprate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.

Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries of learning already established–by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients, will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the Legislature. . . .

GEORGE WASHINGTON

 

 

 

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Filed under 1790's, Congress, Early Republic, Government, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Washington

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