George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 18 January 1792

To Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Wednesday 18th Jany 1792

Dear Sir,

The conduct of Majr L’Enfant and those employed under him, astonishes me beyond measure! and something more than even appears, must be meant by them! When you are at leisure I should be glad to have a further conversation with you on this subject.1 Yrs sincerely & Affectionately

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

For the background to this letter, see Pierre L’Enfant to GW, 21 Nov. 1791, editorial note.

1For the insubordination of Isaac Roberdeau and Valentine Boraff toward the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, see the Commissioners for the District of Columbia to GW, 9 and 10 Jan. 1792, and GW to the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 17 January. The dismissal of L’Enfant’s assistants prompted concerns that the work already accomplished in the Federal City would be sabotaged. Jefferson wrote privately to Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek on 27 Jan. that “the President apprehends that accident or malice may throw down the stakes by which the lots &c. are marked on the ground, and thus a whole summer’s work be lost. He thinks the attention of one person would be savingly employed in a daily visit to these stakes, and fastening such as may be getting loose, or replacing those which may be withdrawn” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 23:77). Carroll replied on 3 Feb. that immediately after discharging Roberdeau the commissioners had employed Elisha Owen Williams “to pay attention in a very particular manner to the posts and Marks in the federal City, as their being distroyd or misplacd may occasion a repetition of heavy expences besides delay equally injurious.” Carroll added that he had sent for Andrew Ellicott’s assistant Thomas Orme to assist Williams in this task (ibid., 98–99; see also Commissioners for the District of Columbia to Williams, 10 Jan., DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent, 1791–1802).

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