George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Deakins, Jr., and Benjamin Stoddert, 24 January 1791

To William Deakins, Jr., and Benjamin Stoddert

United States Georgetown January 24th 1791.


I enclose you several proclamations expressing the lines which are to bound the District of ten miles square for the permanent Seat of the general government, which I wish you to have made public with all expedition.1 And in the most general and extensive manner that you can to prevent any kind of speculation.2 Let them be published in the News Papers—put up in public places and otherwise so disposed as to answer my object as fully as possible. The Proclamations are this moment struck off and the Mail is about to be closed, which prevents me from adding more at this time; but I shall write you more fully upon this subject in a few days.3 I am, Gentlemen, Your Most Obt Servt

Go: Washington


1GW enclosed broadsides of his proclamation of this date fixing the location of the federal district. One of these broadsides is in the Daniel Carroll Papers at the Library of Congress. The proclamation was published in Bache’s General Advertiser [Philadelphia] and Brown’s Federal Gazette [Philadelphia] on 25 Jan. 1791. Deakins and Stoddert may have had the proclamation published in the Georgetown newspaper, the Times, and Patowmack Packet.

2William Loughton Smith, who visited the site of the Federal City on 22 April 1791, recorded in his diary that “The speculations of land in this neighborhood have been great since the president has fixed on the spot; land in the neighborhood which before sold for five or seven pounds an acre, has been sold for thirty and forty pounds” (Matthews, Journal of William L. Smith, description begins Albert Matthews, ed. Journal of William Loughton Smith, 1790–1791. Cambridge, Mass., 1917. Reprint from Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 51 (1917-18):20-88. description ends 62).

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