JEFFERSON, Thomas, President (1743-1826). Letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") as Secretary of State, to Governor George Clinton, "Office of Secretary of State," [New York], 31 March 1790. 1 full page, integral blank, verso docketed by Clinton "Letter from the Secretary of the United States enclosing Acts," traces of old mounting on blank, otherwise in exceptionally crisp condition.
CONGRESS AUTHORIZES THE NATION'S FIRST CENSUS AND SPECIFIES "UNIFORM RULES" FOR THE NATURALIZATION OF IMMIGRANTS. "I have the honor," Jefferson writes, "to send you herein [not enclosed] two copies duly authenticated of the Act providing for the enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States: also of the Act to establish an uniform rule of Naturalization; also of the Act making appropriations for the support of Government for the Year 1790, and of being with sentiments of the most perfect respect....."
One of the key enactments of the second session of the First Congress under the Constitution was the legislation approving the first Census, signed by President Washington on 1 March 1790. The new Constitution mandated such an enumeration, as it stipulated that representation in the House of Representatives would be proportional based on population. Marshals, appointed for the various districts, were charged with the compilation of the tallies, and were to report the results within nine months (though at least one state, South Carolina, required an additional nine months to complete its census data). Similarly, Article I, section 8 of the new Constitution required Congress "to establish an uniform rule of naturalization," and, in light of the expected increase in immigration, this legislation was speedily passed. The new act specified that "any alien, being a free white person" who was of "good character" and had resided in the United States for two years could become a citizen after taking an oath "to support the constitution of the United States." [With:] The Columbian Centinel, Boston, 28 July 1790. 2pp. folio (of 4). Page one features text of the three acts referred to above.