Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure I: George Washington to Commissioners of the Federal District, 1 December 1791

George Washington to Commissioners of the
Federal District

Philadelphia Dec. 1. 1791.


I recieve with real mortification the account of the demolition of Mr. Carrol’s house by Majr. L’Enfant, against his consent, and without authority from yourselves, or any other person: for you have done me but justice in asserting he had no such authority from me. My letter of the 28th. ult. to Mr. Carrol of Duddington will prove this. I now inclose you one1 to Majr. L’Enfant, in which you will see what I say to him on this subject, and will then be so good as to deliver it to him.—You are as sensible as I am, of his value to us. But this has it’s limits, and there is a point beyond which he might be overvalued. If he is saved from the notice of the law on the present occasion, I would chuse he should owe it entirely to yourselves, and that he be made sensible that there will be no interference from me on his behalf.2

PrC of Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; entry in SJPL reads: “[draught of letter for G.W.] to Commrs. [Carrol’s house].”

Washington sent this letter to the Commissioners with only minor additions (see textual notes below), enclosing one to Daniel Carroll of Duddington dated 2 Dec. 1791 concerning the “unlucky dispute” with L’Enfant, “whose zeal in the public cause has carried him too fast,” and suggesting that he quash the injunction he had brought against L’Enfant. See Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, 1931–1944, 39 vols. description ends , xxxi, 432–3; and Editorial Note on fixing the seat of government, Vol. 20: 48 n. 134.

1In the text of the letter sent, Washington added “the copy of” before this word.

2Washington added: “The enclosed for Mr. Carrol, of Duddington you may either deliver or destroy as it shall seem best to you. With very great esteem &c.”

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