George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Arthur Young, 20 March 1793

To Arthur Young

Philadelphia Mar: 20th 1793.


Having had occasion in some late communications to you, to speak of the District which has been decided on (under a law of Congress) for the permanent seat of the government of the United States; I do myself the pleasure of sending you a plan of the intended City, which is now laying out in the centre thereof.1

It will serve to shew you, and such as may have the curiosity to look at it, that whatever our present condition is, we have vanity enough to look forward to a better. With great esteem & regard I am—Sir Your Obedient Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW had written to Young about the federal district on 5 Dec. 1791, but most of their recent correspondence had concerned the profitability of farming in the United States (see GW to Young, 2 Dec. 1792, Young to GW, 17 Jan. 1793). On 16 July 1790 GW signed the “Act for establishing the . . . seat of the Government,” (1 Stat., description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 130). The enclosed plan of the Federal City probably was the October 1792 Philadelphia engraving by James Thackara and John Vallance. For GW’s wish that this map be seen throughout Great Britain, see Tobias Lear to Jefferson, 20 Dec. 1792, and note 2. In a book of GW’s letters which he later edited, Young in a footnote described the engraving as “large and beautiful” (Letters from His Excellency George Washington, to Arthur Young, Esq. F.R.S. and Sir John Sinclair Bart. M.P.: Containing an Account of His Husbandry, with His Opinions on Various Questions in Agriculture; and Many Particulars of the Rural Economy of the United States [Alexandria, Va., 1803], 106).

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