George Washington Papers

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

From the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

Geo. Town 9th April 1793


Since closing our letter of this date we have had conversation with Mr Blodget on the Subject of another letter The avidity which the Ticketts of the present have been bought up, the probability of the sale of Ticketts in the time of the drawing and the Sale of lots, and our being restrained by an Act of the Assembly of Maryland from raising a Lottery after the first of June, have induced us to agree to Mr Blodgets planning and publishing another if that Mason Should meet your approbation.1 We are &c.

T. Johnson

Dd Stuart

Danl Carroll

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

1D.C. superintendent Samuel Blodget, Jr., planned and heavily advertised a lottery in which subscribers hoped to win money or a future hotel in the Federal District (Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 19 Jan.; Georgetown Weekly Ledger, 16 Feb. 1793). He planned a second lottery before prizes had been awarded in the first drawing and even envisioned an annual lottery (Blodget to D.C. Commissioners, 12, 26 Jan. 1793, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Received). After the first lottery resulted in numerous delays, failure, and lawsuits against Blodget, the commissioners withdrew their support for the second lottery, the legality of which was dubious under Maryland’s November 1792 “Act for the Prevention of Lotteries,” which barred new lotteries for three years starting 1 June 1793, unless specifically approved by the state legislature (D.C. Commissioners to Blodget, 16, 22 Dec. 1793, to Edmund Randolph, 28 Jan. 1794, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent; Md. Laws, 1792 description begins Laws of Maryland, Made and Passed at a Session of Assembly, Begun and held at the city of Annapolis on Monday the fifth of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two. Annapolis, [1793]. description ends November session, ch. 58). Largely because of Blodget’s lottery debacles, the commissioners did not rehire him when his term expired in January 1794, and GW came to view the former superintendent as little more than a speculator (Bryan, National Capital, description begins Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan. A History of the National Capital: From Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act. 2 vols. New York, 1914–16. description ends 226–27; GW to Thomas Johnson, 23 Jan. 1794, ALS, CSmH).

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