George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 9 January 1793

From the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

Washington 9th Jany—1793


After closing our Letter of the 5th we wrote Majr Ellicott—a copy is sent,1 to which we soon received the inclosed answer2—We feel a strong disinclination to go into discussions before the public and believe we shall not be led or drove3 into it. We are Sir with the greatest respect & esteem Your Obt hble Servts

Th. Johnson

Dd Stuart.

Danl Carroll

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent.

1The D.C. commissioners’ letter to Andrew Ellicott of 8 Jan. reads: “We have before us your two letters of the 4th and 5 Inst.—It can answer no good purpose to go minutely into the subject of the first, and therefore we decline it, but in general without pretending to a scientific acquaintance with your professional Art we cannot sacrifice so much of our sincerity as to say otherwise than that our expectations have been much disappointed as to the Time, the work of surveying has been on hand, and have often mentioned to you our wish of strengthing you with every assistance in our power to expidite it—If your not being able to effectuate the wishes of the public and ours should perfect your resolution to leave us by the first of may, we wish to be on a certainty some time before, for it will be most manly, & agree best with our real inclination to part on good Terms & with as little injury to the business as possible.

“Your Letter of the 5th mentions your opinion that the work may be finished next Summer—whether you continue through or not, we wish every measure to be pursued to shorten the Time as much as may be consistent with accuracy for you must have often observed our difficulties & chagrin at being obliged to act on the existing State of the work & which has obliged us to trouble you often with particular Requests” (DLC:GW).

2Andrew Ellicott’s reply to the D.C. commissioners, written at Georgetown on 8 Jan., reads: “I wish you to direct Mr Gantt to furnish me with copies of my letters of the 4th and 5th of this month as they will be necessary in replying particularly to yours of this date—That you should pass a general censure on work which you say you do not understand and great part of which I am sure you never saw, is to me a most extraordinary circumstance—You will please to recollect that the sale of lots last year was not as extensive as it might have been by two thirds, owing to the property being uncertain & the necessary public notice not being given to enable you to divide without the concurrence of the proprietors—All Hamburgh was ready for division by the first day of June last and yet not one sale could be made on that part of the City—this I trust was no neglect of mine[.] General censures are in my opinion the most unge⟨ner⟩ous mode of commencing an attack, I shall therefore make it a point to vindicate myself as publicly as possible—I claim no merit from doing my duty but would just direct your attention to the plan of the City of Washington—In bringing that forward to serve the cause in which we have been mutually engaged I have lost one of my oldest and most valuable friends and in the execution received your disapprobation—You may rest assured that my exertions will be directed to forwarding the execution of the plan of the City untill the first day of May next when I shall quit the service” (DLC:GW).

3In the letter-book copy this word is “drawn.”

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