Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
The Senate and Foreign Affairs

Description of Washington's Senate Appearance
William Maclay's description of Washington's Senate appearance, August 22, 1789
(Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

DHFFC Transcription, DHHFC v. 9, p.128-131

"Faced with a motion to commit the report on negotiations with the southern Indians and questions that he and his Secretary of War had brought to the Senate, the President started up in a Violent fret. This defeats every purpose of my coming here, were the first words that he said. he then went on that he had brought his Secretary at War with him to give every necessary information, that the Secretary knew all about the Business--and yet he was delayed and could not go on with the Matter--He cooled however by degrees said he had no Objection to putting off the Matter untill Monday, but declared he did not understand the Matter of Commitment, he might be delayed he could not tell how long, he rose a 2d time and said he had no Objection to postponement untill Monday at 10 O'Clock. By the looks of the Senate this seemed agreed to. a pause for some time ensued. We Waited for him to withdraw, he did so with a discontented Air. had it been any other, than the Man who I wish to regard as the first Character in the World, I would have said with sullen dignity. I cannot now be mistaken the President wishes to tread on the Necks of the Senate. . . ."



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