Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 18 February 1793

To George Washington

Philadelphia February1 18th. 1793.


The Commissioners of the Territory of the United States on the Potomac having, according to law, had the said Territory surveyed and defined by proper metes and bounds, and transmitted their report with a plat of the boundary, I have now the honor to lay them before you. As this work has been executed under the Authority of the Legislature, I presume it would be proper to communicate the report to them, and to submit the Plat also to their inspection, that they may be duly informed of the progress of the Work.

I have to add that these papers, being original, are again to be deposited with the Records in the Office of the Department of State. I have the honor to be, with Sentiments of the most perfect esteem and attachment, Sir, Your most obedient and Most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., with emendation and signature in ink by TJ; at foot of text: “The President of the United States.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). Tr (Lb in DLC: Washington Papers). Not recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Report of the Commissioners of the Federal District on the survey of the Federal District, 1 Jan. 1793 (DNA: RG 42, PC). (2) Andrew Ellicott’s corrected plat of the Federal District (not found).

On this day TJ wrote a brief note to Washington transmitting the above letter, “the plan of the Federal territory just received by Mr. Ellicot,” and a covering message to Congress he had written for the President (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR, addressed: “The President of the US.,” endorsed by Tobias Lear; Tr in Lb in same, SDC; not recorded in SJL). Washington, in turn, submitted TJ’s letter and its two enclosures to the Senate and the House of Representatives on the same day with the message drafted by the Secretary of State: “I now lay before you a Report and Plat of the Territory of the United States, on the Potomac, as given in by the Commissioners of that Territory, together with a letter from the Secretary of State which accompanied them. These papers being original, are to be again deposited with the Records of the Department of State, after having answered the purpose of your information” (PrC in DLC: TJ Papers, 82: 14064, undated, in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., at foot of text: “que—should this be recorded with am. letters”; FC in Lb in DLC: Washington Papers, dated 18 Feb. 1793). Since only one copy of the plat of the Federal District was available, however, the President sent it to the House of Representatives and requested that it be forwarded to the Senate (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 58; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 705; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales, 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 489, 490). For a discussion of the new map Andrew Ellicott made after his corrected plat was returned by Congress, see Ralph E. Ehrenberg, “Mapping the Nation’s Capital: The Surveyor’s Office, 1791–1818,” Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, xxxvi (1979), 282; see also Commissioners of the Federal District to TJ, 25 June 1793.

1“Febr-” interlined in ink by TJ in place of “Jan.”

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