From Thomas Jefferson
[Philadelphia] Mar. 17. 1793.
Th: Jefferson with his respectful compliments to the President returns him Colo. Humphrey’s letter & those from George town.1 the last are indeed disagreeable: yet there does not seem any room for the President’s interposition.2 should Dr Stewart and mister Johnson persist in their idea of retiring, it seems really desireable that they should do it separately, leaving such an interval between the two resignations as that the public mind may receive no unfavorable impression.3
AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW.
1. David Humphreys wrote GW on 23 Jan. 1793. For recent letters from the D.C. commissioners to GW describing their contentious relationship with surveyor Andrew Ellicott, and for the correspondence between Ellicott and the commissioners, see D.C. Commissioners to GW, 11–12 Mar., and notes 4–5, and 13 Mar. 1793, and note 3.
2. In his letter to Ellicott of 22 Mar., Jefferson informed the surveyor that the president would not interfere in matters involving the commissioners and their employees (Jefferson to GW, 22 Mar., 1793, n.1.; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 99). Nevertheless, in April, GW chose to intervene in the dispute (GW to D.C. Commissioners, 3 April, D.C. Commissioners to GW, 9 April 1793 [first letter]).
3. David Stuart and Thomas Johnson attended their last meetings as commissioners for the federal district in July 1794 (see 4–6, 27–31 July 1794, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings).