TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Virginia, Mount Vernon, March 28th. 1785.
In Pursuance of Directions from the Legislatures of Virginia and Maryland, respectively to us given, we beg Leave to represent to the State of Pensylvania, that it is in Contemplation of the said two States to promote the clearing & extending the Navigation of Potomack, from tide-Water, upwards, as far as the same may be found practicable; to open a convenient Road, from the Head of such Navigation, to the Waters running into the Ohio, and to render these Waters navigable, as far as may be necessary & proper; that the said works will require great Expence, which may not be repaid, unless a free Use be secured to the said States, & their Citizens, of the water of the Ohio & it's Branches, as far as the same lie within the Limits of Pensylvania: that as essential Advantages will accrue from such Works to a considerable Portion of the said State, it is thought reasonable that the Legislature thereof shou'd by some previous Act engage, that for the Encouragement of the said Works, all Articles of Produce & Merchandize, which may be conveyed to or from either of the said two States, thro' either of the said Rivers, within the Limits of Pensylvania, to or from any Place without the said Limits, shall pass throughout, free from all Duties, or Tolls whatsoever, other than such Tolls as may be established, & be necessary for reimbursing Expences incurred by the State, or it's Citizens, in clearing, or for defraying the Expence of Preserving the Navigation of the said Rivers. And that no Articles imported into Pensylvania thro' the Channel or Channels or any Part thereof to be opened as aforesaid, and vended or used within the said State, shall be subject to any Duties or Imposts, other than such Articles wou'd be subject to, if imported into the said State thro' any other Channel whatsoever.
We request Sir, that you will take the earliest Opportunity of laying this Representation, on Behalf of the two States, before the Legislature of Pensylvania; and that you will communicate the Result to the Executives of Virginia & Maryland.
By Acts of the Legislatures of Virginia & Maryland for opening the Navigation of the River Potomack above tide-Water, the Citizens of the United States have the same Right of trading thro' the said Water, which the Citizens of Maryland & Virginia enjoy; and we have no Doubt but the Legislature of your State will, agreeably to this Principle, give every Encouragement to Measures, which have for their Object, the Interest & Convenience of their Citizens, and those of the other States in the Union. We have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir your most obdt. Servants
Commrs. for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
DAN. OF ST. THOS. JENIFER
Commissioners for the State of Maryland