Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Charles L’Enfant, 27 February 1792

To Pierre Charles L’Enfant

Philadelphia Feb. 27. 1792.


From your letter received yesterday in answer to my last,1 and your declarations in conversation with Mr. Lear, it is understood that you absolutely decline acting under the authority of the present commissioners.2 If this understanding of your meaning be right, I am instructed by the President to inform you that notwithstanding the desire3 he has entertained to preserve your agency in the business, the condition upon which it is to be done is inadmissible, and your services must be at an end.—I have the honor to be Sir your most obedt. humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Digges-L’Enfant-Morgan Papers). PrC (DLC). FC (DNA: RG 360, DL). Tr (DLC: Digges-L’Enfant-Morgan Papers). Dft (DLC); in the hand of Alexander Hamilton, with variations in phraseology as indicated in notes below.

L’Enfant’s declarations had been made in a meeting with Lear between 17 Feb. and 22 Feb. (see Editorial Note on fixing the seat of government, Vol. 20: 69–70). This letter marks the end of correspondence between TJ and L’Enfant until late in 1800, when L’Enfant began a limited exchange concerning compensation and indemnification for his services to the government (L’Enfant to TJ, 7 Dec. 1800; TJ to L’Enfant, 14 Mch. 1802).

1In Dft, Hamilton wrote “From your letter <of> in answer to mine of the”, leaving the date to be supplied by TJ.

2In Dft, Hamilton first wrote and then deleted: “and that the alternative is either to supersede them.” Moreover, the remainder of the letter appears as a separate paragraph.

3Hamilton first wrote in Dft “his desire to,” but altered it to read as above.

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