George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Deakins, Jr., 24 February 1793

To William Deakins, Jr.

Philada Feby 24th 1793


I was much pleased with the information which you gave me in your letter of the 19th Inst. relative to the progress of the work on the Potomack, and the prospect there is of the navigation being so nearly completed in the course of the ensuing summer.1

I observe, however, that you say nothing of what is doing or about to be done at the great falls. But as it is so obvious that the rendering that place navigable is one of the most important objects in the whole business, I presume that every exertion will be made there, in conjunction with the progress of the work in other parts of the River, that the funds of the Company will admit of.2 and I was happy to learn, when I was last in Virginia, that there was no probability of a delay for the want of Cash. This being the case, I am persuaded that the numerous & great advantages which present themselves from a speedy completion of the work, will excite every execution that can possibly be made towards it. With very great regard I am Sir &c.

G. W——n

Df, in Tobias Lear’s writing, CtY: Franklin Papers; LB, DLC:GW.

1On the Potowmack Company’s plan to construct a Potomac River canal system to facilitate inland navigation and trade, see GW to John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin, 27 Jan. 1789, source note.

2The Great Falls, where the Potomac River begins its descent to the Atlantic Ocean approximately ten miles upriver from the site of the Federal City, challenged the company’s finances and ingenuity. By 1799 only one of five planned locks at the falls had been built, and the Potowmack Company admitted to its shareholders that up to “sixty thousand dollars” would be necessary to finish the job, because “the difficulty and expence have proved much greater than at first contemplated” (Potomac Company, Great Falls, description begins Potomac Company. “Great Falls, July 2, 1799. Entrusted as we are, with the interests of the Potomack Company, we deem it a duty ... to give you, as a Stockholder, as general a view of those interests. . . .” [Georgetown, D.C., 1799]. Broadside. description ends 2 July 1799, broadside, in Early American Imprints, 1639–1800 [microfilm], ed. American Antiquarian Society).

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