George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 1 December 1791

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Dec. 1. 1791.

Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President and sends him a draught of letters to Majr L’Enfant & the Commissioners, prepared on a conference with mister Madison. perhaps the former may be too severe.1 it was observed however, that tho’ the president’s sentiments conveyed to him thro’ mister Lear, were serious, & ought to have produced an effect on him, he gave them the go-by in his letter in answer, and shews that he will not regard correction unless it be pointed.2

AL (letterpress copy), DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

For the background to this letter, see Pierre L’Enfant to GW, 21 Nov. 1791, editorial note.

1In response to GW’s letter to him of 30 Nov. 1791, Jefferson met with James Madison and drafted letters for the president to send to L’Enfant and the commissioners. GW sent the letter to the commissioners with only minor additions, but he apparently considered Jefferson’s draft letter to L’Enfant “too severe” and added two paragraphs to the letter (see GW to the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 1 Dec. 1791, and GW to L’Enfant, 2 Dec. 1791).

2As GW informed Jefferson on 30 Nov., he had “engrafted sentiments of admonition” on Tobias Lear’s letter to L’Enfant of 6 November. Neither this letter nor L’Enfant’s reply to Lear of 10 Nov. has been found.

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