George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 26 November 1791

From the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

George-Town [Md.] Novr 26th 1791


A variety of considerations have induced us to think, that many and great benefits might result from the employment of a person of intelligence, to make a tour for a few months into the Eastern States, and inform himself of the terms on which men, and materials may be had—We are happy that Mr Cabots engagements have permitted him to undertake this Office.1 We have requested him to call on you before he leaves Philadelphia, and hope you will suggest to him whatever may occur to you as most proper to be attended to, in addition to the communications we have imparted to him—As he is to correspond with us regularly, we shall be happy in conveying to him any thing which may occur to you at any time—We are &c.

Da. Stuart

Dl Carroll

LB, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent, 1791–1802.

1For an identification of Francis Cabot, who recently had settled in Georgetown, see Benjamin Lincoln to GW, 10 June 1791, n.1. The commissioners wrote to Cabot on 26 Nov., engaging him to tour the eastern states to determine what investors might offer for tracts of land in the Federal City. Cabot was also to determine prices for materials (particularly lime) that would be needed to construct the federal buildings (DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Letters Sent, 1791–1802). Cabot accepted the commissioners’ proposal by a letter of the same date. He was paid $1,000 to defray his expenses (DNA: RG 42, General Records, Letters Received, 1791–1867). Accusations were later made in the Federal City that Cabot had been engaged to solicit bribes for the commissioners to prevent the completion of the federal buildings there (see David Stuart to GW, 26 Feb. 1792). While not countenancing such reports, GW reported to the commissioners on 8 Mar. that doubts were held in Philadelphia about the sincerity of Cabot’s interest in the Federal City.

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