George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 22 March 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Mar. 22. 93.

Th: Jefferson with his respects to the Presidt returns mister Ellicot’s letter, with an answer, which if approved may go by today’s post.1

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State; LB (photocopy), DLC:GW.

1In his letter to GW of 16 Mar. 1793, surveyor Andrew Ellicott requested GW’s intervention in his dispute with the D.C. commissioners. On 19 Mar., Tobias Lear forwarded the letter to Jefferson, who wrote Ellicott on 22 Mar.: “Your letter of the 16th to the President has been duly recieved, wherein you require an examination into the execution of the general plan of the city by men of known professional abilities. if this be addressed to the President under an expectation that he should order such an examination, I have to observe to you that it would be out of the line of his interference to originate orders relative to those employed under the Commissioners. their plans come to him for approbation or disapprobation but every thing concerning the execution is left to themselves, & particularly the President declines all interference with those employed by them, or under them: the President is sincerely concerned at the difference which has taken place, but does not suppose it to be open for any interposition on his part” (DLC: Jefferson Papers; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 95).

Ellicott replied to Jefferson on 26 Mar., expressing his disappointment at GW’s unwillingness to aid him in his defense before the commissioners (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 25:449). However, in early April, GW intervened in the dispute (GW to D.C. Commissioners, 3 April, D.C. Commissioners to GW, 9 April 1793 [first letter]). For the beginning of the quarrel between the commissioners and Ellicott and developments immediately preceding Jefferson’s letter to Ellicott, see D.C. Commissioners to GW, 5 Jan., 11–12 Mar., and notes 4–5, and 13 Mar., and note 3, and Uriah Forrest to GW, 10 Jan., GW to Forrest, 20 Jan. 1793.

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