James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel Carroll, 6 April 1791

From Daniel Carroll

George Town Apr. 6th. 1791

My dear Sir,

I have flatterd myself with hopes of receiving a line from you with information of the time you woud be at this place. On enquiry however I find it incertain whether you wou’d not turn yr. face to the East. Shou’d that not be the Case, I claim yr. promise of letting me know when I may expect to see you, & hope you will arrange matters so as not to be in a hurry to proceed when you get to this place. I refer you to the George Town paper for some intelligence respecting the Fœderal City. The Union of the George Town & Carrollsburgh interests, has given a Cast to this business more favourable than was expected even by its friends. It was a union I have most ardently wish’d for & promoted on public & personal considerations.1

I inclose the articles of Agreement, sign’d by all the proprietors of Land within the propos’d limits of the City, so far as to compleat this important object with a Condemnation of a Small ps. of land the right of a person insane, & by an accommodation respecting the Lotts in Hamburgh & Carrollsburgh & a Condemnation of some Lotts in each of those places, as the proprietors cannot be come at.2

It is propos’d that both these places shall be Subject to be lay’d out again. At the time the principal proprietors of the two interests agreed to a compromise, it was proposd & agreed too that the private property shou’d be subject to the same regulations respecting the buildings &ca as shou’d be thought proper for the public; this was in the hurry omitted to be inserted in the articles signd. We hope however to obtain it in the deeds.

I wish much to see you & am My dear Sr, allways & Sincerely yr. affte. friend & Servt.

Danl Carroll

Present my comps. to Mrs House & Mrs Triste, & assure them of my esteem & regard.

Send the inclosd note to Fenno.

RC and enclosure (DLC). Cover addressed: “Mr. Maddison—for Mr. Jeffersons perusal.” The two-page enclosure is in an unknown hand (see n. 2).

1Carroll was appointed by Washington on 22 Jan. 1791 to serve as one of three commissioners charged with surveying the ten-mile-square federal district for a permanent capital. On a technicality he delayed action until his term as a congressman ended in March 1791, then took up his new duties (Geiger, Daniel Carroll, pp. 166, 168–69). Carroll and his nephew, Daniel Carroll of Duddington, owned lands in the Carrollsburgh area between James Creek and the Eastern Branch of the Potomac. Washington saw no conflict of interest in the arrangement and left details of the land acquisition to William Deakins and Benjamin Stoddert of Georgetown. As Carroll’s enclosure indicates, in a matter of weeks these negotiators settled with the landowners for sixty-seven dollars per acre “for the Squares or lands in Any form which Shall be taken for public buildings or any kind of public Improvements” (Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital [2 vols.; New York, 1914–16], I, 59–60, 123–25).

2The enclosure, dated 13 Mar. 1791, is a copy of the conveyance of lands lying “between the Eastern-Branch and Rock-Creek” to trustees of the federal district “pursuant to the Tenor of the agreement signed by the Proprietors.” A version of the document was recorded in the commissioners’ proceedings of 12 Apr. (DNA: RG 42, Records of the District of Columbia Commissioners, Proceedings, 1791–95).

Index Entries