George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 27 April 1794

To the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

Philadelphia April 27th 1794


The Post of yesterday brought me your favor of the 23d instant.

I am obliged to you for the early attention which you have given to the request contained in my letter of the 11th preceeding, and I am perfectly well satisfied with the price which you have affixed on the lot, I have obtained.

If it be necessary for me to decide at this moment, whether I will avail myself of the offer you have made me of the No. West quarter of the same square, I shall answer in the affirmative; but it would be more agreeable to me (if no inconvenience would result from delay) to suspend my determination until I could examine, & form my plan on the spot; for as it is for the purpose of improvement I fix on that site, whensoever my finances will enable me, I should like to see in what manner this can be done most advantageously. Had the So. East, instead of the No. West quarte⟨r⟩ of this square fallen to the public, I should have embraced your offer with avidity; not that I think it of more intrinsic value than the other (if I recollect the ground rightly) but because the hill declining that way also, it would have laid me entirely open to the South, and have given a fine exposure for a Garden.1

As soon after the rising of Congress as the business of the public will allow, I intend a visit to Mount Vernon for a few days; and if I knew the time appointed for your next meeting at George Town, a few days delay on my part, in order to meet you there, would be attended with no inconvenience to me.2

Your letter to Messrs Harrison and Tayler was sent to them as soon as I had read it. I sincerely wish you were rid of that business to your intire satisfaction. I fear, however, you will have some trouble in it before this happens.

I shall not, at this time, enter upon the subject of the letter written to me by Mr Johnson & Doctr Stuart, further than to express my wish that they would remain in Office until August, if it can be made to comport with their convenience.3 The reasons for this shall be assigned when we meet, or in another letter, if this is not likely to happen soon. With very great esteem & regd I remain Gentlemen Yr Obedient Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Records of the U.S. Commissioners of the City of Washington, 1791–1869; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The text in angle brackets is from the letterpress copy.

1On GW’s subsequent purchase of Lot No. 1 in square 21 of the Federal City, see his letter to the commissioners of 1 June.

2The first session of the Third Congress ended on 9 June. GW departed Philadelphia for Mount Vernon on 17 June, and he arrived back in Philadelphia on 7 July (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 310–11). GW was unable to meet with the commissioners during their meeting of 22–28 June because of a riding accident on 22 June (GW to Henry Knox, 25 June; DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings, 1791–1802).

3See Thomas Johnson and David Stuart to GW, 23 April. GW addressed the issues of appointing new commissioners and questions about financial compensation for the new commissioners in a letter to Johnson of 27 June. For the new commissioners appointed later this year, see n.2 of GW to Johnson, 23 January.

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