George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 30 March 1791]

Wednesday 30th. The parties to whom I addressed myself yesterday evening, having taken the matter into consideration saw the propriety of my observations; and that whilst they were contending for the shadow they might loose the substance; and therefore mutually agreed, and entered into articles to surrender for public purposes, one half of the land they severally possessed with in bounds which were designated as necessary for the City to stand with some other stipulations which were inserted in the instrument which they respectively subscribed.

This business being thus happily finished & some directions given to the Commissioners, the Surveyor and Engineer with respect to the mode of laying out the district—Surveying the grounds for the City & forming them into lots—I left Georgetown—dined in Alexandria & reached Mount Vernon in the evening.

GW’s directions for laying out the district were based upon his proclamation dated Georgetown, 30 Mar. 1791, establishing a district ten miles square beginning at Jones Point at the mouth of Hunting Creek on the south side of Alexandria. The survey was done by “the Surveyor” Andrew Ellicott, with the assistance of Benjamin Banneker (see Reps, Tidewater Towns description begins John W. Reps. Tidewater Towns: City Planning in Colonial Virginia and Maryland. Williamsburg, Va., 1972. description ends , 252). The “Engineer” was Pierre L’Enfant. For the agreement dated 30 Mar. 1791, see DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings.

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