Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to David Stuart, 3 July 1792

To David Stuart

Philadelphia July 3. 1792.

Dear Sir

The President, I suppose, informs you that he will be at George town on the 15th. to consult with you in the choice of plans for the public buildings. I expect to pass there on the morning of Wednesday the 18th. on my way to Virginia, and the purport of the present is to remind you that you were so kind as to promise to enquire for the road which would lead me from George town directly into the Frog-eaten country and through that to Elkrun church. I was pretty well informed that there is such a road leading from Elkrun church by Champ’s old race ground, Slatyrun church, and Summer’s tavern to George town, entirely level, except the 5 miles next to George town, and 10. miles nearer than by Newgate. From Elkrun church to Slateyrun church was said to be 12. miles. The other distances I could not learn,1 but should not amount to above 17. miles more, say 29. miles from Elkrun Ch. to George town. Instead of this the Colchester road makes it 62. miles from Georgetown to Elkrun church, and mostly very hilly. The Newgate road is so hilly that I shall never attempt it again. It misses the Frogeaten country almost entirely, coasting along a little above it’s edge. If you will have the goodness to leave directions for me with Mr. Shuter in George town you will much oblige me.—I wrote lately to Mr. Blodget but have no answer from him.—I have the honor to be with great esteem Dear Sir Your most obedt. humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Dr. David Stewart.” Enclosed in TJ to Andrew Ellicott, 3 July 1792.

Washington did not inform Stuart of his travel schedule until 9 July. The President met with the Commissioners on 16–17 July to examine plans for the public buildings in the Federal District (Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends xxxii, 85–6; DNA: RG 42, PC).

An undated fragment in TJ’s hand, headed “Dr. Stewart’ directions from George T. to Elkrun church,” gives detailed directions and distances between points on that route. On the verso is a table, also in TJ’s hand, headed “measures by my odometer Sep. 1792,” which appear to be the distances covered on TJ’s return journey to Philadelphia in September and October 1792 (MS in MHi).

1Remainder of sentence interlined. TJ wrote the next sentence at the foot of the letter, keying it by an asterisk to the end of the interlineated passage.

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