George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Gustavus Scott, 21 November 1796

Washington 21st November 1796


We do ourselves the honor of inclosing a Memorial concerning the intended University, about which, you expressed a desire to receive some documents, which, if judged proper, might be laid before Congress—The one inclosed, has been drawn up with a view to that object; and the authors of it will feel the highest gratification, if it in any degree brings about the commencement of this great National object. The arguments for passing a Loan appear to be so reasonable that it is impossible to suppose the measure can meet with opposition—Congress surely may, whilst the law is under their own controul, avoid any ways, committing themselves, for its completion—It certainly would have a very powerfull effect towards creating a general confidence: if even the smallest public donation was made to the institution—A few thousand acres of back-lands, now of little value, would add weight to the solicitations of our friends abroad: and although these Lands are already pledged for public purposes, a grant of them, subject to this burthen would have every good effect, flowing from a grant of Lands entirely clear—Many years must elapse before any Lands which congress will grant, can be productive of useful revenue, except by a Sale, & that ought, we think to be prohibited by the very act of grant.

Some difficulties have occurred in the last negotiation for $32,000 which Messrs Morris & Nicholson have been carrying on with the Bank—Things, however, are now so far adjusted as to bid fare to be brought to a successful conclusion, on Thursday next—In that case, our remaining debt of $32,000 due to the Bank, will be transferred to these gentlemen, and we shall be cleared of all demands from that quarter. Our Letter, however, to the Secretary of the Treasury, now preparing to inclose the semiannual account, directed to be laid before Congress, will give so full a detail of our finances, that it is now unnecessary to go into them, further, than to observe, that without some effectual aid, we shall, in a few weeks, be obliged to stop. The power, therefore, to negotiate with the State of Maryland cannot come on too soon—What success it will be attended with, we cannot pretend to say, as we did not choose to enter into the business, until the arrival of the power.

The inclosed copy of a Letter from George Walker & advertisement, inserted by him, in the City-Gazette, are forwarded, because we wish every thing said against us, to be known, from whatever quarter it comes—We shall forbear saying more of his pretended ground of complaint, than that the conduct pursued respecting Walkers property, has been precisely the same with that observed to every other proprietor, and submitted to, as far as we know, without a murmur—We have the honor &c.

G. Scott

W. Thornton

A. White

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

Index Entries