GW: Life & Times
Questions — Pushing the Boundaries: Address to the Senate on Native Americans
|Read the transcript of To the United States
Senate below to answer these questions.
|1. Why are representatives from the tribes of the Five Nations
at the Capitol?
|2. GW supports giving the Indians "annual presents." What is the
money to be spent on and why?
|3. If you've also read GW's Journal of his trip to the French
Commandant (slide 3), how does the tone when
he discusses the Native Americans here compare to that document from
his younger days?
To the United States Senate
United States [Philadelphia] March 23d 1792.
Gentlemen of the Senate.
At the conferrences which Colonel Pickering had with the five Nations
at the painted post, the last year, ideas were then held out of
introducing among them some of the primary principles of civilization. 
In consequence of which, as well as more firmly to attach them to
the interests of the United States, they have been invited to the
seat of the general government.
As the representation now here, is respectable for its characters
and influence, it is of some importance that the chiefs should be
well satisfied of the entire good faith and liberality of the United
In managing the affairs of the indian tribes, generally, it appears
proper to teach them to expect annual presents, conditioned on the
evidence of their attachment to the interests of the United States--The
situation of the five nations, and the present crisis of affairs
would seem to render the extension of this measure to them highly
judicious--I therefore request the advice of the Senate, whether
an Article shall be stipulated, with the five nations, to the following
"The United States, in order to promote the happiness of the
five nations of indians, will cause to be expended ann[u]ally the
amount of one thousand five hundred dollars, in purchasing for them
clothing, domestic animals and implements of husbandry, and for
encouraging useful artificers to reside in their Villages." 
1. For Pickering's negotiations with the Five
Nations in July 1791, which were moved from Painted Post, N.Y., to Tioga,
Pa., see Henry Knox to GW, 17 Aug., nn.1-2, and Pickering to GW, 27 Aug.
2. After Tobias Lear delivered this message this
day, the Senate ordered it to lie on the table. On 26 Mar., when the message
was read, "It was thereupon Resolved, (two thirds of the Senate concurring)
that they advise & consent to the Stipulation above recited," as an unidentified
person wrote at the bottom of the receiver's copy. The secretary of the
Senate, Samuel A. Otis, was then ordered to lay this resolution before
the president (Executive Journal, 1:116-17). GW and Thomas Jefferson signed
and sealed the ratification of this article on 23 April (copy, DNA: RG
11, U.S. Government Documents Having Legal Effect, Ratified Indian Treaties,
DS, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791-1793, Records
of Executive Proceedings, President's Messages--Indian Relations; LB,
DLC:GW. For the background to this document, see Timothy Pickering to
GW, 21 Mar., source note, and GW to the Five Nations, 23 March.