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George Washington: Proclamation 1—Defining the Boundaries of the District of Columbia
George
George Washington
Proclamation 1—Defining the Boundaries of the District of Columbia
January 24, 1791
Messages and Papers of the Presidents
George Washington
George Washington
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By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas the general assembly of the State of Maryland, by an act passed on the 23d day of December, A. D. 1788, intituled "An act to cede to Congress a district of 10 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 10 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 3d day of December, 1789, and intituled "An act for the cession of 10 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 10 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 16th day of July, 1790, and intituled "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 10 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 10 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 southwest half a mile, and thence a due southeast 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 southeast course shall have struck the same, and running the said first line due northwest 10 miles; thence the second line into Maryland due northeast 10 miles; thence the third line due southeast 10 miles, and thence the fourth line due southwest 10 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 southwest, 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 hereinbefore 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 24th day of January, A.D. 1791, and of the Independence of the United States the fifteenth.

GO. WASHINGTON.

By the President:

TH. JEFFERSON.



Citation: George Washington: "Proclamation 1—Defining the Boundaries of the District of Columbia," January 24, 1791. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=65589.
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