George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 20 December 1792

Tobias Lear to Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Decr 20th 1792

By the President’s command, T. Lear has the honor to return to the Secretary of State the letter from the Treasurer of Virginia, which has been submitted to him1—and to request that the Secretary would inform the President where he can obtain a copy of the New Impressions of the Federal City? The President wishes to know if it would not be adviseable, in the Secretary’s Opinion, to have a number of the plans of the City sent to our Ministers abroad, in order that the object may become more particularly know[n] abroad than it is at present.2

AL, DLC: Jefferson Papers. Jefferson docketed the letter: “Lear Tobias recd Dec. 20. 92.”

1Virginia treasurer Jaquelin Ambler reported in the enclosed letter to Jefferson of 10 Dec. the payment that morning of $10,000 “in part of the second instalment of the Monies voted by our Assembly towards the public Buildings at the Seat of Government of the United States: the residue will be paid, as soon as the state of our Treasury will enable me” (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 24:715). For background on Virginia’s financial contribution to the new federal capital, see Jefferson to GW, 12 Nov. 1792 (first letter), and note 2, and GW to Ambler, 13 Nov., and notes.

2GW is referring to a map of the Federal City recently completed by Philadelphia engravers James Thackara and John Vallance. For background on attempts to produce a suitable engraving of the new capital, see D.C. Commissioners to GW, 5 Oct. 1792, n.2. Following GW’s suggestion, Jefferson wrote Thomas Pinckney, the U.S. minister to Great Britain, on 30 Dec. that he would send him “two dozen plans of the city of Washington in the Federal territory, which you are desired to display, not for sale but for public inspection, wherever they may be most seen by those descriptions of people worthy and likely to be attracted to it, dividing the plans among the cities of London and Edinburgh chiefly, but sending some also to Glasgow, Bristol Dublin &c.” (ibid., 803).

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