From the Commissioners of the Federal District
Washington. July 5th. 1792
We have received several plans for the public Buildings, which we had prepared to send forward; and expect several more will be presented; but as we have just heard, from the Presidents Steward, that he may be expected here, by the 15th Instant; we shall, to save the Trouble of carrying and returning, retain them for his inspection and choice here.
Mr. Hoben, applies himself closely, to a Draft for the President’s house; he has made very favorable impressions on us. Our affairs in general are in rather a pleasing Train; and we hope that as soon as plans are approved, we shall be able to proceed with vigour. We are Sir, your mo. Obedt & mo hble Servts
RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand except for signatures; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 July 1792 and so recorded in SJL. FC (DNA: RG 42, DCLB).
Mr. Hoben: James Hoban (ca. 1762–1831), an Irish-born architect and resident of Charleston, was the designer of the South Carolina state house (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ). His design for the President’s House, which was elicited by an advertisement for a public competition drafted by TJ, is described and reproduced in Kimball, Jefferson, Architect, description begins Fiske Kimball, Thomas Jefferson, Architect, Boston, 1916 description ends 176–9, plate 179. On 17 July 1792 the Commissioners, with Washington present, awarded Hoban first prize in the contest for the best design of the presidential residence, and on the following day they decided to employ him him to supervise the execution of his design at an annual salary of 300 guineas (DNA: RG 42, PC; see also TJ to Commissioners of the Federal District, 6 Mch. 1792, Enclosure iii; and Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends xxxii, 52). TJ had anonymously submitted a design of his own for the President’s House (see Kimball, Jefferson, Architect, description begins Fiske Kimball, Thomas Jefferson, Architect, Boston, 1916 description ends 156, plates 127–9).