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the great commonwealth of Australia has planned the building of a capital city.
There is no question that the general confidence in Washington and respect for his ability and character which was the tribute paid by his contemporaries had much to do with the success of an enterprise that was novel in its character, hard to finance and had the active opposition of selfish interests.
After four years of the pioneer work of city building Washington retired to private life but his successor, John Adams, while frankly stating he did not agree with some of the details of the policy pursued yet refused to deviate from it. The same feeling was manifested in Congress, so that the enterprise so discouraging in its present and future outlook survived the perils of a sickly and unpromising infancy. If added to the financial and other difficulties Congress had shown during the years prior to 1800 a hostile, interfering spirit, it is doubtful if the project so ambitious in its scope for that period in the history of the country would have long survived. The extent of the plan, the size of the two public buildings, the Capitol and the White House, which did not escape contemporary criticism, are the conceptions of Washington who designed a city that would be suitable for the great and populous country which his clear vision foresaw.
For the accuracy of the copying and also of the research, credit is due Miss Helen Stone.
W. B. BRYAN,
THE WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON RELATING TO THE NATIONAL CAPITAL.
Commissioners' proceedings, Vol. 1, p. 1.
Jan 22 1791
GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States of
Know ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity, skill and diligence of Thomas Johnson and Daniel Carroll, of Maryland, and David Stuart, of Virginia, I do, in pursuance of the powers vested in me by the act entitled “An act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States," hereby appoint them the said Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart, commissioners for surveying the District of Territory accepted by the said act for the permanent seat of Government of the United States, and for performing such other offices as by law are directed, with full authority for them, or of any two of them, to proceed therein according to law, and to have and to hold the said office with all the powers, privileges, and authorities to the same of right appertaining each of them, during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being.
1 Thomas Johnson was a resident of Frederick, Md., and was promi. nent in national and state affairs. For the greater part of his term as commissioner he also served as member of the U. S. Supreme Court.
Daniel Carroll was then completing a term as member of the House of Representatives. He lived on his farm in the vicinity of what is now Forest Glen, Md., just beyond the borders of the District. Daniel Carroll of Duddington was his nephew.
Dr. David Stuart was a physician living near Fairfax Court house, Va. He had married the widow of John Parke Custis, the son of Mrs. George Washington.
In testimony whereof I have caused these letters to be made patent and the seal of the United States thereto affixed.
Given under my hand at the city of Philadelphia, the 22d day of January, in the year of our Lord 1791 & of the independence of the United States of America the fifteenth. By the President:
Dept. of State.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
A PROCLAMATION. [Jan. 24, 1791.] WHEREAS the General Assembly of the State of Maryland, by an Act passed on the Twenty-third day of December, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-eight, entituled, “An Act to cede to Congress a District of Ten Miles square in this State, for the Seat of the Government of the United States," did enact that the Representatives of the said State in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, appointed to assemble at New-York, on the First Wednesday of March then next ensuing, should be, and they were thereby authorized and required, on the behalf of the said State, to cede to the Congress of the United States, any District in the said State, not exceeding Ten Miles Square, which the Congress might fix upon and accept for the Seat of Government of the United States.
AND the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, by an Act passed on the Third Day of December, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-nine, and entituled “An Act for the Cession of Ten Miles Square, or any lesser Quantity of Territory within this State, to the United States in Congress assembled, for the permanent Seat of the General Government,” did enact, that a Tract of Country not exceeding Ten Miles Square, or any lesser Quantity, to be located within the Limits of the said State, and in any Part thereof, as Congress might by Law direct, should be and the same was thereby forever ceded and relinquished to the Congress and
Government of the United States, in full and absolute Right, and exclusive Jurisdiction, as well of Soil, as of Persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the Tenor and Effect of the Eighth Section of the First Article of the Constitution of Government of the United States.
AND the Congress of the United States by their Act passed the Sixteenth Day of July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety, and entituled “ An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent Seat of the Government of the United States," authorized the President of the United States, to appoint three Commissioners to survey under his Direction, and by proper Metes and Bounds to limit a District of Territory, not exceeding Ten Miles Square, on the River Potomac, at some Place between the Mouths of the Eastern Branch, and Connogocheque, which District so to be located and limited, was accepted by the said Act of Congress, as the District for the permanent Seat of the Government of the United States.
Now THEREFORE, in pursuance of the Powers to me confided, and after duly examining and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the several Situations within the Limits aforesaid, I do hereby declare and make known, that the Location of one Part of the said District of Ten Miles Square, shall be found by running four Lines of Experiment in the following Manner, that is to say, Running from the Court-House of Alexandria in Virginia, due South West half a Mile, and thence a due South East course, till it shall strike Hunting Creek, to fix the beginning of the said four Lines of Experiment:
THEN beginning the First of the said four Lines of Experiment at the Point on Hunting Creek, where the said South East Course shall have struck the same, and running the said First Line due North West Ten Miles: thence the Second Line into Maryland due North East Ten Miles: thence the Third Line due South East Ten Miles: and thence the Fourth Line due South West Ten Miles to the beginning on Hunting Creek.
AND the said four Lines of Experiment being so run, I do hereby declare and make known, That all that part within the said four Lines of Experiment which shall be within the State
of Maryland and above the Eastern Branch, and all that Part within the same four Lines of Experiment which shall be within the Commonwealth of Virginia, and above a Line to be run from the Point of Land forming the Upper Cape of the Mouth of the Eastern Branch due South-West, and no more, is now fixed upon, and directed to be surveyed, defined, limited and located for a part of the said District accepted by the said Act of Congress for the permanent Seat of the Government of the United States; (hereby expressly reserving the Direction of the Survey and Location of the remaining Part of the said District, to be made hereafter contiguous to such Part or Parts of the present Location as is, or shall be agreeable to Law).
AND I do accordingly direct the said Commissioners, appointed agreeably to the Tenor of the said Act, to proceed forthwith to run the said Lines of Experiment, and the same being run, to survey, and by proper Metes and Bounds to define and limit the Part within the same, which is herein before directed for immediate Location and Acceptance; and thereof to make due Report to me, under their Hands and Seals.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed to these Presents, and signed the same with my Hand. Done at the City of Philadelphia, the Twenty-Fourth Day of January, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States the Fifteenth.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. By the PRESIDENT,
L. C., Letter Book 17, p. 150.
January 24th 1791. Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives.
In execution of the powers with which Congress were pleased to invest me by their Act intitled “An Act for establishing