Speech to the New York Legislature

George Clinton

January 11, 1788

The SPEECH of His Excellency GEORGE CLINTON, Esq. Governor, &c. &c. of the State of New—York, to both Houses of the Legislature, convened at Poughkeepsie, on the 11th day of Jan. 1788.

Gentlemen of the Senate and Assembly, It being essential to the welfare of our Confederacy that a representation in the National Council should be maintained without intermission, and as the term for which the delegates from this State were elected, is expired, you will perceive the necessity of proceeding to an immediate new appointment.

Gentlemen, The requisition for the Federal services of the current year also claims your early attention. I have full confidence that the same spirit which has invariably influenced the Legislature of this State, will induce you to a cheerful and effectual compliance with every measure founded on the National Compact, and necessary to the honor and prosperity of the Union.

It will appear from the act of Congress, and other papers on this subject, that the supplies required for the common Treasury are principally to arise from the arrears due on former requisitions.’ Advantages will therefore result from the punctuality of past payments, as a greater proportion of the resources of the State may now be applied to the relief of our own citizens. To assist you in making the necessary arrangements, I shall cause to be laid before you estimates of the Public Debt, with the receipts and expenditures since the conclusion of the war, abstracted from the Treasurer’s annual audited accounts, by which you will be particularly informed of the present state of our Treasury.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the jurisdiction line between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and this State, which has been so long a subject of controversy, and attended with much inconvenience and distress to the borderers, is at length finally adjusted, and that the boundary line between this State and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is also compleated. The reports of the Commissioners employed in these respective transactions, accompanied with maps of the line, will be delivered to you, in order that the proper direction may be given for their authentication and deposit, and for the final liquidation and settlement of the expences which have attended their services.

I shall leave with you the several official communications which have been made to me in the recess; with these you will receive the proceedings of the General Convention lately held in the city of Philadelphia, and an act of the United States in Congress, for their transmission to the Legislatures of the different States. From the nature of my office you will easily perceive it would be improper for me to have any other agency in this business, than that of laying the papers respecting it before you for your information.

Gentlemen, It must afford the highest satisfaction to observe that, under the blessings of Heaven, tranquility and good order continue to prevail throughout the State; and that by the industry of the citizens, the country is in a great measure recovered from the wastes and injuries of war. The profuse use, however, of luxuries brought from abroad, drains us of our wealth, and is the source from which most of our present difficulties proceed.

I would therefore submit to the wisdom of the Legislature, the propriety of limiting the consumption of foreign articles, by encouraging the manufacture of our own productions, as far as may be consistent with our situation, and a due regard to beneficial commerce.

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