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Plan of the City of Washington
Washington: U. S. Senate, [no date, originally 1792, but 1852]. Engraved by Samuel Hill. Originally folded, skilful repairs to separations at folds. 18 1/8 x 22 inches. Issued in "Maps of the District of Columbia and city of Washington", this is a fine 19th century re-issue of the first separately published plan of Washington. It was published by the U. S. Senate in 1852. The city's lay-out derived from a number of ideas , Washington's and Jefferson's most famously, but owes most of its initial configuration to Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825), who had served under Washington during the war as an engineer. Spreading out from the crux of the Potomac and its East Branch in a north-south grid, the city has superimposed upon it fifteen avenues (for the fifteen states as of 1792) that radiate from the White House or Capitol or parallel one of those radiant avenues. These, happily, violate the obligatory grid and that provide circles at the many-branched intersections and create broad axes from horizon to horizon. The Federal City, as depicted in the present plan, was modified by Andrew Ellicott (1754-1820). Troubles between the Commissioners of the City and L'Enfant because they needed to have a printed copy of the plan in order to sell building lots. L'Enfant irritated them by working slowly and releasing only sketchy plans . On instruction from President Washington, Thomas Jefferson on February 27, 1792 wrote a letter to L'Enfant dismissing him as city planner." (Washington Map Society, online). Ellicott " trained to be a mathematician and surveyor. He conducted several large surveys with David Rittenhouse, the Philadelphia astronomer, signed from the project." "The authority to establish a federal capital was provided in Article One, Section 8, of the United States Constitution, which permits a 'District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States'. James Madison explained the need for a federal district on January 23, 1788 in the Federalist No. 43, arguing that the national capital needed to be distinct from the states, in order to provide for its own maintenance and safety ...The Constitution, however, does not specify a location for the new capital. In what later became known as the Compromise of 1790, Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would assume war debt carried by the states, on the condition that the new national capital would be located in the South. On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act provided for a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by President Washington... Both Maryland and Virginia ceded portions of their territory to form the new capital. A new 'federal city' was constructed on the north bank of the Potomac ... On September 9, 1791, the federal city was named in honor of George Washington and the district was named the Territory of Columbia... Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800." (Wikipedia) Wheat & Brun 530; Reps, Washington on View, p.36-37;
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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