George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Law, 22 September 1798

From Thomas Law

[22 September 1798]

Dear Sir—

Unless you are irrevocably fix’d, as the Lots are so nearly equal in respect to prospect & nature of the ground permit me to observe that a House in the South Lot will rent better & promote the object you have in view more1—Vizt the encouragemt of accomodations for Congress, as it will be forming an Avenue by cooperating in building & all the digging will be for public improvement—If you purchase Mr Carrolls Lot2 of 52 by 100 at 8 Cents it

will amt to $ 416
and the Commsrs at 10 to 520
Dollars $ 936

now the rent of mine will be 30$ Dollars annum you being liable for taxes &ca.3

Pardon this intrusion which I make that by Houses being together Society may be promoted & others encouraged to join—If upon my honor I was not convinc’d that the S[ou]th is more valuable than the other & that your House would rent better there—I would not write this altho’ my desires are strongly in favor of your fixing in the ⟨N.⟩J. Avenue. Persons doing business on the E. Branch may Lodge in the House on the S[ou]th Lot but not on the N[or]th Lot—a neighborhood raises the value of property, & it is an object to build where a neighborhood will soonest be & pavement lights &ca & to fill up between the Harbor & Capitol. With every apology I remain with sincere esteem & affec. yr mo. obt

T. Law


1The “South Lot” to which Law is referring probably is the one on Pennsylvania Avenue which Alexander White recommended to GW in his letter of 8 September. Thomas Law may well have accompanied GW when he viewed the available lots near the Capitol on 21 September. See White to GW, 8 Sept., n.1

2For GW’s purchase of Daniel Carroll’s lot, see District of Columbia Commissioners to GW, 27 September.

3See GW’s references to the house that Law was building for rental on Capitol Hill in GW to District of Columbia Commissioners, 4 October.

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