George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Stuart, 1 February 1793

To David Stuart

Philadelphia Feby 1st 1793

Dear Sir

Yesterday I wrote two letters to the Commissioners. One public, the other private. The first giving ideas of the compensation which ought to be made them for their past, and an allowance for future services. In doing this I did not, as the Law is silent, chuse to be governed wholly by my own Judgment; and therefore took the opinion of known friends to the District, and to yourselves. The result, you have handed to you in the letter abovementioned. I hope it will be satisfactory; if not, say wherein it is otherwise. The sum therein mentioned is exclusive of your expences, which, it is presumed, have been paid from the public fund.1

Doctr Thornton’s Plan for the Capitol, is so much superior to any I have seen, that I have no hesitation in giving it a decided preference. He will attend your meeting in March;2 which, if the sitting continues a few days—or if delayed until Monday the 4th of that month, and the Commissioners be in George Town during that Week—They would have an opportunity of seeing most, if not all the Southern Members who will be returning home by land, as Congress must rise the third of that Month.3 Many advantages would result, in my opinion, if pains was taken to make them better acquainted with this matter than most of them seem to be. The exertions of next summer will, if great, be all in all in this business. With much regard I am Your Affecte Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1For GW’s compensation proposal, see GW’s first letter to the D.C. Commissioners of 31 Jan. 1793. The “Act for establishing the . . . seat of the Government,” signed into law on 16 July 1790, set no salary for the commissioners of the newly created federal district (1 Stat., description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 130). On 8 Feb. the commissioners responded to GW’s proposal, and Stuart sent GW that day a private letter regarding compensation.

2In March, William Thornton delivered his completed Capitol design to the D.C. commissioners, who approved it early the next month (GW to D.C. Commissioners, 3 Mar. [first letter], 2 April, D.C. Commissioners to GW, 11–12 Mar. 1793; minutes for 2 April 1793, DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings).

3The D.C. commissioners appear to have followed GW’s suggestion, for they held an extended meeting from 4–14 Mar. (DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings).

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