George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 22 February 1792

To Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] Wednesday 7 Oclock A.M. [22 February 1792]

Dear Sir,

The enclosed meets my approbation. Did Walker accord willingly, or reluctantly?1

The Plan I think, ought to appear as the Work of L’Enfont. The one prepared for engraving not doing so, is, I presume, one cause of his dissatisfaction. If he consents to act upon the conditions proposed, and can point out any radical defects, or others to amend which will be a gratification to him—not improper in themselves, or productive of unnecessary, or too much delay, had he not better be gratified in the alterations? This, yourself & Mr Walker can think of. The Plans of the buildings ought to come forward immediately for consideration. I think Mr Walker said yesterday he (L’Enfont) had been shewing the different views of them to Mr Trumbul. Yrs sincerely

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Thomas Jefferson Papers.

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

1The enclosed copy of Jefferson’s letter to L’Enfant of this date has not been identified, but the receiver’s copy reads: “The advance of the season begins to require that the plans for the buildings and other public works at the Federal city should be in readiness, and the persons engaged who are to carry them into execution. The circumstances which have lately happened have produced an uncertainty whether you may be disposed to continue your services there. I am charged by the President to say that your continuance would be desireable to him; and at the same time to add that the law requires it should be in subordination to the Commissioners. They will of course recieve your propositions, decide on the plans to be pursued from time to time, and submit them to the President to be approved or disapproved, and when returned with his approbation, the Commissioners will put into your hands the execution of such parts as shall be arranged with you, and will doubtless see from time to time that these objects, and no others, are pursued. It is not pretended to stipulate here however the mode in which they shall carry on the execution. They alone can do that, and their discretion, good sense and zeal are a sufficient security that those whom they employ will have as little cause to be dissatisfied with the manner as the matter of their orders. To this, it would be injustice to them not to add, as a motive the more in this particular instance, the desire they have ever manifested to conform to the judgment and wishes of the President. The same dispositions will ensure an oblivion of whatever disagreeable may have arisen heretofore, on a perfect understanding being established as to the relation to subsist in future between themselves and those they employ, in the conduct of the works. I must beg the favor of your answer Whether you will continue your services on the footing expressed in this letter” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 23:141). The receiver’s copy is in DLC: Digges-L’Enfant-Morgan Papers, and a letterpress copy, endorsed by GW on 26 Feb., is in DLC:GW. L’Enfant replied to Jefferson’s letter on 26 Feb. (see GW to Jefferson, 26 Feb. [first letter], n.1). George Walker was asked to convey Jefferson’s letter to L’Enfant, and GW probably queried his willingness to do so.

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