Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Walker, 9 March 1792

From George Walker

Georgetown March 9th. 1792


Your favour of the 1st Instant I had the honour to receive, and was certainly Sorry that I missed Seeing you the evening before I left Philada.; although, I then had been able to obtain no reply from Major L’Enfant to the letter I had the honour to hand him from you: therefore, did not think it necessary to write.

The dismission of Major L’Enfant has given great alarm to the proprietors, and all those interested in the City of Washington; although I have fully explained to them, the difficulties the President had to Surmount in treating with him.

I this day, received the inclosed letter, which they wish Should be laid before the President when convenient. I am Sorry to discover Such a want of confidence in the abilities of the Commissioners, and am affraid the affairs of the City will come into public investigation, if means cannot be adopted by which Major L’Enfant may be yet continued.—I have the honour to be with reverence & respect Sir Your Mo Obt St,

Geo Walker

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 13 Mch. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

The inclosed Letter was the Proprietors to Walker, 9 Mch. 1792, expressing regret at the misunderstandings with L’Enfant and the resulting dismissal. They doubted whether any other engineer in the United States or elsewhere could match his “unwearied zeal, his firmness, (though sometimes perhaps improperly exerted, in general highly useful), his impartiality to this or to that end of the City.” They hoped he could be retained and requested Walker to send their letter to TJ (RC in DLC, with 12 signatures; FC in DLC: Digges-L’Enfant-Morgan Papers, unsigned, with note that last paragraph was omitted in copy and may not be exactly as in RC); full text printed in William Tindall, Standard History of the City of Washington (Knoxville, Tenn., 1914), p. 140–1.

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