To the Commissioners for the District of Columbia
Gentlemen,Philadelphia, Mar. 14th 1794
My object in giving you a sight of the enclosed letters from Mr Ellicott, is merely to let you see the temper; and tendency of his views; and what may be expected from his representations to others. After reading the letters, be so good as to return them to me.1
Fig. 1: Numbered lots on the west end of the District of Columbia, a detail of “Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia,” as drawn by Andrew Ellicott and engraved by Samuel Hill of Boston in 1792. (See back endpapers; Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.) GW ultimately purchased square 21.
Fig. 2: Numbered lots on the south end of the District of Columbia, a detail of “Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia,” as drawn by Andrew Ellicott and engraved by Samuel Hill of Boston in 1792. (See back endpapers; Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.) GW purchased square 667.
In September last, after having purchased four lots in Carrollsburgh (the doing of which was more the result of incident than premeditation); and being unwilling from that circumstance, it should be believed that I had a greater prediliction to the southern, than I had to the Northern part of the city, I proposed next day (the sale being continued) to buy a like number of lots in Hamburgh, and accordingly designated the spot;2 but as little notice was taken of it then, and none since, that I have heard; and as the sale to Greenleaf & others may have thrown impediments in the way, I should be glad to know what my prospect is; adding, that I am as ready to relinquish, as I was to imbibe the idea, of this purchase.3
I had no desire at that time, nor have I any now, to stand on a different footing from every other purchaser. It was, and certainly would be convenient for me to know if there is a probability of my being accomodated agreeably to the enclosed from Mr Blodget; first, because the means of payment are to be provided, and secondly, because my object in fixing on the spot there-mentioned is to build thereon when I can make it convenient; provided the area described by him can be obtained: for less would not subserve my purpose.4
Whenever deeds to others issue, be so good as to direct those for the lots which I have bought on the Eastern branch, to be forwarded to me.5 With great esteem & regard I am—Gentn Yr Obt Serv⟨t⟩
ALS, DLC: Records of the U.S. Commissioners of the City of Washington, 1791–1869; LB, DLC:GW.
1. For these letters, which concern the long-running dispute between Andrew Ellicott and the commissioners, see Andrew Ellicott, Benjamin Ellicott, and Isaac Briggs to GW, 29 June 1793, and Andrew Ellicott’s two letters to GW of 28 Feb. 1794 (letters 1 & 2).
2. On GW’s purchase of four lots in square 667, south of the Capitol and along the Eastern Branch, see Certificate for Lots Purchased in the District of Columbia, 18 Sept. 1793, and notes. On rivalry between the proprietors of the towns of Carrollsburg and Hamburg, see n.2 of David Stuart to GW, 6 Feb. 1794.
3. GW was interested in purchasing lots in square 21, which was west of the President’s House (D.C. Commissioners to GW, 23 March [first letter]). On land speculation in the Federal City by James Greenleaf, see n.1 of Edmund Randolph to GW, 3 January.
4. The enclosure from Samuel Blodget, Jr., has not been identified.