Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure III: An Advertisement for the President’s House, 6 March 1792

An Advertisement for the President’s House

Washington in the Territory of Columbia.

A Premium of 500 dollars, or a Medal of that value, at the option of the party, will be given by the Commissioners of the federal buildings to the person who before the 20th. day of July1 next shall produce to them the most approved plan if adopted by them2 for a President’s house to be erected in this city.3 The site of the building, if the artist will attend to it, will of course influence the aspect and outline of his plan, and it’s destination4 will point out to him the number, size and distribution of the apartments. It will be a recommendation of any plan if the central part of it may be detached and erected for the present, with the appearance of a complete whole, and be capable of admitting the additional parts5 in future if they shall be wanting.6 Drawings will be expected of the ground plats, elevations of each front, and sections thro’ the building in such directions as may be necessary to explain the internal structure; and an Estimate of the Cubic feet of brickwork composing the whole mass of the walls.

The Commissioners

Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand, with pencilled note at bottom: “Will the President be pleased to make the above what he thinks it should be?” Washington added his reply in pencil: “I see nothing wanting but to fill the blanks and that I presume the Comrs. will do—unless, after the words ‘destination of the building’ is added ‘and situation of the ground’ for I think particular situation wd. require parlr. kind or shaped buildings”; prepared after Washington examined the document but before submission to the Commissioners. See textual notes below. PrC (DLC). Tr (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, dated 14 Mch. 1792; date of deadline is 15 July instead of 20 July.

1TJ added the day and month suggested by the Commissioners although it was revised to 15 July after consultation with Andrew Ellicott (Commissioners to TJ 14 Mch. 1792; TJ to Commissioners, 21 Mch. 1792).

2The preceding four words were inserted above the line after Washington examined the draft but before submission to the Commissioners.

3The text originally read “the city of Washington and territory of Columbia,” but TJ placed this at the top and altered the sentence to read as above.

4This sentence originally began “The destination of the building”, but was altered to read as above after the President expressed concern about the siting of buildings.

5This clause originally read “and the other parts to be added.”

6Judging from the PrC of this document, TJ ended his first draft at this point, adding the remaining sentence and the signature after showing it to George Washington and making the revisions described in notes 1–5.

Index Entries