7th feby 1797.
We have just received a Letter from Mr Law, of which a Copy is inclosed at his Request, as you will observe. & We think it unnecessary to trouble you with any Remarks. We are with sentiments of the greatest Respect sir Yr obt servts
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
Washington, 6th Feby 1797
I am obliged by the perusal of the Letter from the President—His mind, being ever intent upon the public good, and his disposition always ready to adopt its suggestions, of course, he expected the same from others—At first, he slightly suggested the propriety of Mr Scotts residing in the City, next, he was delicately urgent, but, at length, when mildness had almost degenerated into culpability, he uses the language of exhausted forbearance.
As it has been doubted whether there are habitations near the Capitol, for the Commissioners, their Offices and Officers, with their families, permit me to explain to you, how the whole may be accommodated.
1st Mr Ralph’s house, which lately belonged to the public, would, very well suit one Commissr.
2—The house now occupied by Mr Hadfield, would accommodate another.
3—Mr Thornton is already provided, and if either of the two houses above-mentioned, would not answer, Doctor Crocker’s house would be Soon ready.
4—The Offices might all be held in Mr Carroll’s houses, at a lower rent than at present and the Papers might be more securely lodged.
5—Mr Munroe and his family, might reside in Mr Barcklay’s house, or, in a good brick house belonging to Mr Burrows.
6—Mr Dermott might reside in his own brick house.
Thus, you perceive, gentlemen, that there are plenty of houses, all ready; but should others be wanting, I will relinquish my own, and remove any where, & chearfully submit, with my family, to a temporary inconvenience, which would be nothing, in my mind, when put in competition with the advantages to result from the arrangement: and others will do the same.
Mr Carroll promises, immediately, to erect an hotel at the Capitol, & I will instantly commence solid Improvements, to promote private buildings for Congress—Mr Cooke of Annapolis, Samuel Ringold of Hagers Town & Mr Tayloe of Virginia, resolved, last Year, to build on Square 688—In short, if you, Gentlemen, will reside near the Capitol, your presence will create a Society, and not only promote the public-buildings, but more private houses, in One Year, than have been produced in the Six last.
I earnestly request that the board will not Separate at this important crisis; and as I trust, this Statement will be acceptable to you, and agreeable to the President, you will oblige me by transmitting it to him, with any remarks, for every proprietor in the City, will benefit by a certainty that Congress would have buildings ready for them, and must know their fate, by your decisions. I remain, with much respect, yr Obt Servant
(Signed) Thomas Law