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TO GUSTAVUS SCOTT. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIII (1794-1798).
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TO GUSTAVUS SCOTT.
Mount Vernon, 4 July, 1796.
If the public despatches which I receive, and am obliged to answer by every Post would permit, I would go more into detail and explanation of the subject of your last (seperate letter), than it is possible for me to do at present. I will not, however, let it pass without some further expression of my ideas; and the understanding I always had of your entrance into the office you now hold, in the Federal City.
That the Secretary of State’s letter to you (which I have not by me at this place to resort to) may have been so worded as to leave the alternative of residing in the City, or in George Town, is not necessary, if it was justifiable, to deny; because a change of circumstances would certainly authorize a change of measures. But independent of this, it must not be forgotten, that at the time the letter above alluded to was written, such an alternative was indispensable, for as much as there were no convenient accommodations for the Commissioners in the City, and because houses could not be erected in a moment, under the circumstances which then existed. In addition to this, let it be remembered, also, that the first Commissioners, sensible of the propriety and advantages which would result therefrom, had resolved to build a house for their own accommodation at or near the spot where the Hotel now stands; and were diverted from it (if my memory serves me) partly by two causes:—first, from a doubt of the propriety of such an application of public money; and 2ndly, from an opinion that they could be accommodated in the Hotel, when built,—which, it was expected, would have happened long since.
I mention these things to show there has been no inconsistency in my sentiments or conduct; and that to enable the Commissioners to comply with the views of government, and to devote their time to its service, the present compensation was resolved on.
Your other allegation is of a more serious nature; and if deception withdrew you from what you deemed a permanent establishment at Baltimore, it cannot be justified. But be assured, Sir, this is a new view of the subject; and that the proposal to you, to become a Commissioner, originated in assurances, confidently given to me, that you had resolved to remove to the Federal City, or to George Town; and because I knew you had a considerable interest in the vicinity of them. Was not the first application to you predicated on this information?
But I must be explicit in declaring, that not only to obviate the suspicions and jealousies which proceed from a residence of the Commissioners without the City, or in a remote corner of it, not only that they may be where the busy and important scenes are transacting, that they may judge of the conduct of others not from reports only, but from ocular proof, as the surest guide to œconomy and despatch;—independent, I say, of these considerations, which are momentous of themselves, I should view the residence of the Commissioners of the City and their officers of different grades, in some central part of it as a nest egg (pardon the expression) which will attract others, and prove the surest means of accomplishing the great object which all have in view—the removal of Congress at the appointed time—without which, every thing will become stagnant, and your sanguine hopes blasted.
To be frank, I must give it to you as my opinion, that in relation to the concerns of the City, the Commissioners stand precisely in the same light (if not in a stronger one) that each does to any interesting matter in a train of execution for himself.—Would you, then, notwithstanding you may have an architect to carry on your buildings on Rock Hill, and a man to superintend your attending laborers, trust to their proceeding without your minute inspection of their conduct? I think, and am sure, you will answer, no. I do not mean by this question to exhibit a charge, for I do as truly tell you, that I do not know, or ever heard, how often you visit your own concerns there. It is upon general principles I argue. A man of industry and exertion will not, on his own account, have a work of that sort on hand without giving close attention to it. And certain it is, the obligation (because of the responsibility) is at least equally great when entrusted by the Public.
After all, as the season is now far advanced, houses, in the situation I have described as most eligable, may not be to be rented. I am not unwilling that the removal of the Commissioners, if they find much inconvenience in doing it, may be suspended until the commencement of the operations of next spring, when it will certainly be expected, and if known, I have no doubt but that houses will be prepared for their accommodation by that time.
You will, from the length of this letter, with difficulty, give credit to my assertion in the beginning of it; but as a proof, not only of its verity, but of the friendship and candor with which it is written, it shall go to you in its present rough garb; and with all its imperfections, accompanied with assurances of the esteem and regard, &c.