George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 8 January 1792

From the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

January 8th 1792


The enclosed Papers give the best state we are able of Danl Carroll’s House1—the times of the several runnings and their Difference can best be ascertained by the Artists employed, for, of the first we have no Certainty, of the latter we can conclude nothing—Majr L’Enfant has written us a Letter Concerning Mr Youngs House and Improvements, and without any previous Consultation with us another to Mr Young who has Addressed himself to us without keeping up the Correspondence with the Majr we requested Mr Young to reduce into writing the substance of his Address to us, and he has done so, by way of Letter, Copies of the three are inclosed—⟨L.⟩M.N.2

Thos Johnson

Dd Stewart

Danl Carroll

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

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

1For the commissioners’ statement on Daniel Carroll’s case, see the enclosure to this letter. On 27 Dec. 1791 GW informed the commissioners of his intention to lay the circumstances surrounding the demolition of Daniel Carroll of Duddington’s house before the attorney general and requested details regarding the case. GW referred the case to Edmund Randolph on 14 or 15 Jan. 1792, shortly after receiving the commissioners’ letter of this date (see GW to Jefferson, 15 Jan. 1792). For Randolph’s inquiries into the matter, see Tobias Lear to Randolph, 31 Jan. and 10 Feb. 1792.

2In his letter to the commissioners of 27 Dec. 1791, GW expressed concern over L’Enfant’s report that Notley Young’s house had been found to extend into one of the projected streets. The Georgian brick mansion was located in what would become G Street, SW, between 9th and 10th streets, just a few yards from the Potomac. The enclosed copy of L’Enfant’s letter of 22 Dec. 1791 to the commissioners reads: “One of the streets lately to be run being unavoidable to strike on the house of Mr. Notley Young and of course render it a nuisance in the city—I have the honor of informing you of the circumstance & to request you may adjust matters with Mr. Notley Young so as to insure the house may be removed when necessary; I see no necessity at present to proceed immediately to the removal—because that house lay on the extreme end of a street and can in no way interfere with the operation of the street.” L’Enfant added that “it will be sufficient at present to notify Mr. Notley Young that his house will be subject to be removed at a period which I conceive may safely be fixed at 7 years.” L’Enfant recommended putting off appraising the house until the expiration of the seven years, “as the natural decay of the building will diminish its value,” but he stated that if Young expressed an interest in building a house “in a situation where the aspect may benefit the general improvement of the city, I should be of opinion in that case it would be policy to settle with him for the value of his house as it now stands” (Kite, L’Enfant and Washington, description begins Elizabeth S. Kite, comp. L’Enfant and Washington, 1791–1792: Published and Unpublished Documents Now Brought Together for the First Time. Baltimore, 1929. description ends 101–2).

The commissioners also enclosed Young’s memorial to them of 7 Jan. 1792, in which he complained that “When I signed the paper with other Proprietors, giving up my land for the uses therein mentioned, I had as I thought, a well grounded expectation, that the Plan would be so ordered, as to leave me in an eligible situation, with respect to the spot I delighted in, and where I now reside,” but what “has happen’d a few days past, proves it was wrongly placed, for upon opening a street, my house is found to be entirely in it” (DNA: RG 42, General Records, Letters Received, 1791–1867). The enclosed letter of L’Enfant to Young has not been found. Despite Young’s anxieties, development of this part of the city was very slow, and his house stood until the Civil War.

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