George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Thornton, 20 December 1798

To William Thornton

Mount Vernon Decr 20th 1798

Dear Sir,

Enclosed is a check on the Bank of Alexandria for five hundred Dollars, to enable Mr Blagden, by your draughts, to proceed in laying in Materials for carrying on my buildings in the Federal City.1

I saw a building in Philadelphia of about the same front & elevation that are to be given to my two houses, which pleased me. It consisted also of two houses united, Doors in the centre—a pediment in the roof and dormar window on each side of it in front—skylights in the rear.

If this is not incongruous with rules of architecture, I should be glad to have my two houses executed in this style. Let me request the favor of you to know from Mr Blagden what additional cost will be.2 I am—Dear Sir Your Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL; ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. GW wrote on the cover: “Favored by Mr [Thomas] Law Esqr.”

1For GW’s “buildings in the Federal City,” see GW to the District of Columbia Commissioners, 28 Sept., n.2, and 27 Oct., nn.2 and 3. A Day Book entry for 20 Dec. reads: “By a Check on the Bank of Alexa. in favor of Doctr Willm Thornton—to be applied towards the building my Houses in the City of Washington by Mr George Blagden—[$]500.”

2After Thornton expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the “pediment in the roof,” GW at first refused to give it up but apparentiy did so in the end. See Thornton to GW, 21 Dec., and GW to Thornton, 30 Dec. 1798. See also note 1 of that document.

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