George Washington to U.S. Senate, 8 May 1792

To the United States Senate

If the President of the U.S. should conclude a Convention or treaty with the Government of Algiers for the ransom of the thirteen Americans in captivity there, for a sum not exceeding 40,000 dollars, all expences included, will the Senate approve the same? or is there any & what greater or lesser sum, which they would fix on as the limit beyond which they would not approve the ransom?

If the President of the U.S. should conclude a Treaty with the Government of Algiers for the establishment of peace with them at an expence not exceeding1 twenty five thousand dollars paid at the signature, and a like sum to be paid annually afterwards during the continuance of the treaty would the Senate approve the same? or are there any greater or lesser sums which they would fix on as the limits beyond which they would not approve of such treaty?2

Df (letterpress copy), in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, DLC: Jefferson Papers; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA: RG 233, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of the Office of the Clerk, Records of Reports from Executive Departments; copy, DNA: RG46, Third Congress, 1793–1795, Records of Executive Proceedings, President’s Messages—Foreign Relations.

  1. Jefferson left a blank at this place in the draft. The figure is supplied from the letter-book copy at DLC.
  2. The Senate voted on this day to approve a treaty paying the government of Algiers $40,000 for the release of the American prisoners and $25,000 annually while the treaty between the United States and Algiers remained in effect (Executive Journal, 1:123).

The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.