To Thomas Johnson
Philadelphia Feby 23d 1794
Your letter of the 6th instant came Safe, but not until after it had lain many days in the Post Office in Frederick Town, by the mark thereon.1
Your consenting to remain longer in the Commission of the Federal District gave me much pleasure; for although I have no doubt with respect to the accomplishment of the law (establishing the permanent residence of Congress),2 nor of the execution of the plan of the City; yet a great & sudden change of the Commissioners appointed to conduct this business is not likely, in my opinion, to produce good, but on the contrary, evil consequences. I am unwilling therefore to hazard any thing that can be avoided on this occasion; especially at a time when matters appear to be progressing fast to a favorable result.
Notwithstanding you have agreed to act longer under the Commission, than you had intended, there will, nevertheless, be a vacancy; occasioned by the resignation of Doctr Stuart; from whose last letters I have no expectation of his remaining in Office after your next meeting.3 With much esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir Your Affect. Servt
ALS, NN: Emmet Collection; LB, DLC:GW.
1. The cover for Johnson’s letter to GW of 6 Feb., with the date stamped on it by the Frederick, Md., post office, has not been identified.
2. For the laws establishing the District of Columbia, providing for the transfer of the federal government to the district on the first Monday in December 1800, and approving the district’s location in a ten-mile square on the Potomac River, see “An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States,” 16 July 1790, and “An Act to amend ‘An act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States,’” 3 March 1791 (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 . 1:130, 214).
3. David Stuart offered his resignation as D.C. commissioner, effective 1 March, in a letter to GW of 6 Jan., and in his next extant letter to GW, of 6 Feb., he suggested possible successors. Despite Stuart’s intended resignation date, he continued to serve until July 1794. The next meeting of the D.C. commissioners was held on 19–25 March (DNA: RG 42, Records of the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, Proceedings, 1791–1802).