George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 17 March 1791

To Thomas Jefferson

Thursday Evening [17 March 1791]

The P. has just recd the enclosed.1 He prays Mr Jefferson to write by tomorrows Post to Majr L’Enfant agreeably to what was mentioned this morning.

AL, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

For the background to this letter, see GW to Jefferson, 16 Mar. 1791.

1The enclosure has not been found. GW and Jefferson conferred about the Federal City on the morning of 17 Mar. 1791, discussing the appropriate response to Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s letter to Jefferson of 11 Mar. 1791 and Deakins and Stoddert’s most recent letter to GW (see GW to Deakins and Stoddert, 17 Mar. 1791). Jefferson apparently had already drafted a reply to L’Enfant, instructing him to complete his work between Goose Creek and the Eastern Branch and to proceed to survey the ground between Goose Creek and Rock Creek in order to complete this work by the time GW arrived in Georgetown. In accordance with GW’s wishes, Jefferson added a postscript informing L’Enfant that “There are certainly considerable advantages on the Eastern branch: but there are very strong reasons also in favor of the position between Rock creek and Tyber independant of the face of the ground. It is the desire that the public mind should be in equilibrio between these two places till the President arrives, and we shall be obliged to you to endeavor to poise their expectations” (Jefferson to L’Enfant, 17 Mar. 1791, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 20:80). Jefferson then submitted the letter to GW again, who replied that “The Postscript to your letter of this morning is quite sufficient for the purpose intended” (ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers).

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