George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 23 July 1794

To the Commissioners for the District of Columbia

Philadelphia July 23d 1794.


I have subscribed to the alteration in the seventh article of the "Terms & conditions declared on the 17th day of October 1791 for regulating the materials and manner of the buildings and improvements on the lots in the City of Washington" and now enclose it to you.1 I wish, however, you had declared that so much of the stone walls, on which the railing in the street is to be placed, as shall appear above the pavement (or surface of the ground before it is paved) should be of free-stone hewed. The presumption I grant is, that no person who would go to the expence of an Iron-railing, on a Wall, would fix it on rough stone; still, the altered article does not prohibit the measure; and as it is better to prevent disputes than to encounter them, the insertion of a word or two may obviate a plea that a good wall may be composed of foundation stone equally with any other stone.

As your seperate cirtificate of my purchase of lot No. 4. is comprehended in the last which you sent me, with No. 1. I return it, as useless to me, and proper for you to repossess.2 With great esteem & regard I am—Gentlemen Your Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Records of the U.S. Commissioners of the City of Washington, 1791-1869; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

2The commissioners sent GW a certificate of his purchase of lot no. 4 in square 21 with their letter to him of 23 April. At that time they offered to sell him lot no. 1 in the same square, and after GW sent them a first payment for that lot on 1 June, the commissioners transmitted the new certificate to GW on 24 June (GW to the Commissioners, 1 June, and n.2).

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