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the seat of government of the United States shall, by virtue of this act, be transferred to the district and place aforesaid. And all offices attached to the said seat of government shall accordingly be removed thereto by their respective holders, and shall, after the said day, cease to be exercised elsewhere; and that the necessary expense of such removal shall be defrayed out of the duties on impost and tonnage, of which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated. Approved, July 16, 1790.


President of the United States. The Legislature of Maryland, on the 19th of December, 1791, passed an act ratifying and confirming the cession of the District in the following terms :

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That all that part of the said territory, called Columbia, which lies within the limits of this State, shall be, and the same is hereby acknowledged to be, 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: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed to vest in the United States any right of property in the soil, as to affect the rights of individuals therein, otherwise than the same shall or may be transferred by such individuals to the United States : And provided, also, That the jurisdiction of the laws of this ŝtate over the persons and property of individuals residing within the limits of the cession aforesaid shall not cease or determine until Congress shall by law provide for the government thereof, under their jurisdiction, in manner provided by the article of the Constitution before recited.

By an amendment, passed in Congress, March 3, 1791, so much of the act as required the District to be located above the mouth of the Eastern Branch is repealed, and the President is authorized to make any part of the territory below the said limit and above the mouth of Hunting Creek a part of said District, so as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch, and of the lands lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria, provided that no public buildings be erected otherwise than on the Maryland side of the Potomac. Washington defined the boundaries of the District in the following amendatory proclamation:

Whereas, by a proclamation, bearing date the 24th day of January, of this present year, and in pursuance of certain acts of the States of Maryland and Virginia, and of the Congress of the United States, therein mentioned, certain lines of experiment were directed to be run in the neighborhood of Georgetown, in Maryland, for the purpose of determining the location of a part of the territory of ten miles square, for the permanent seat of the government of the United States; and a certain part was directed to be located within the said lines of experiment, on both sides of the Potomac, and above the limit of the Eastern Branch, prescribed by the said act of Congress;

And Congress, by an amendatory act, passed on the 3d day of this present month of March, have given further authority to the President of the United States to make any part of the said territory, below the said limit, and above the mouth of Hunting Creek, a part of the said District, so as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch and of the lands lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria ;”

Now, therefore, for the purpose of amending and completing the location of the whole of the said territory of ten miles square, in conformity with tủe said amendatory act of Congress, I do hereby declare and make known that the whole of the said territory shall be lo

cated and included within the four lines following, that is

to say,

Beginning at Jones' Point, being the upper cape of Hunting Creek, in Virginia, and at an angle in the outset of 45 degrees west of north, and running in a direct line ten miles, for the first line; then beginning again at the same Jones' Point, and running another direct line at à right angle with the first, across the Potomac, ten miles, for the second line; then, from the terminations of the said first and second lines, running two other direct lines, of ten miles each, the one crossing the Eastern Branch aforesaid, and the other the Potomac, and meeting each other in a point.

And I do accordingly direct the Commissioners named under the authority of the said. first-mentioned act of Congress to proceed forthwith to have the said four lines run, and by proper metes and bounds defined and limited, and thereof to make due report under their hands and seals; and the territory so to be located, defined, and limited, shall be the whole territory accepted by the said act of Congress as the District for the permanent seat of the government of the United States.

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 Georgetown aforesaid, the 30th day of March, in the year of our Lord, 1791, and of the Independence of the United States, the fifteenth.

GEORGE WASHINGTON. In pursuance of the act of Congress, three Commissioners—Thomas Johnson, David Stuart, and Daniel Carroll—were appointed in January, 1791, to survey the District; and, on the 15th of April, they superintended the laying of the corner-stone of the District defined by the proclamation, at Jones' Point, near Alexandria, with all the usual Masonic ceremonies of the day. The Commissioners informed Major L'Enfant, the engineer, in a letter dated at Georgetown, September 9, 1791, that they had agreed that the federal District shall be called the Territory of Columbia, and the federal city the City of Washington, and directed him to entitle his map accordingly.

Congress assumed jurisdiction over the District of Columbia by an act approved February 27, 1801.


In compliance with the act establishing the seat of government, the Commissioners proceeded to lay out a city. The boundaries are thus defined in the act of cession by the Legislature of Maryland, Dec. 19, 1791 :

The President of the United States directed a city to be laid out, comprehending all the lands beginning on the east side of Rock Creek, at a stone standing in the middle of the road leading from Georgetown to Bladensburgh; thence along the middle of said road to a stone standing on the east side of the reedy branch of Goose Creek; thence southeasterly, making an angle of sixty-one degrees and twenty minutes with the meridian, to a stone standing in the road leading from Bladensburgh to the Eastern Branch

then south to a stone eighty poles north of the east and west line, already drawn from the mouth of Goose Creek to the Eastern Branch ; then east, parallel to the said east and west line, to the Eastern Branch ; then with the waters of the Eastern Branch, Potomac River, and Rock Creek, to the beginning,—which has since been called the City of Washington.

The original proprietors, Daniel Carroll, Notley Young, David Burns, and Samuel Davidson, deeded their lands in trust to Thomas Beall and John Mackall Gantt, trustees, who conveyed the same to the Commissioners, and

Ferry ;

their successors in office, for the United States, forever. The terms of sale are expressed in a letter of March 31, 1791, from the President to the Secretary of State :

The terms entered into by me, on the part of the United States, with the landholders of Georgetown and Carrollsburgh, are, that all the land from Rock Creek, along the river to the Eastern Branch, and so upwards to or above the Ferry, including a breadth of about a mile and a half

, the whole containing from three to five thousand acres, is ceded to the public, on condition that, when the whole shall be surveyed and laid off as a city (which Major 'L'Enfant is now directed to do), the present proprietors shall retain every other lot; and for such part of the land as may be taken for public use, for squares, walks, &c., they shall be allowed at the rate of $25 per acre,—the public having the right to reserve such parts of the wood on the land as may be thought necessary to be preserved for ornament. The landholders to have the use and profits of the grounds until the city is laid off into lots, and sale is made of those lots, which, by this agreement, become public property. Nothing is to be allowed for the ground which may be occupied for streets and alleys.

Washington's attention was arrested, by the advantages which this location presents for a city, when he was a youthful surveyor of the country around, and he encamped with Braddock's forces on the hill now occupied by the Observatory, which was long known as Camp Hill, from this circumstance. His earnest desire, that the seat of government should be located here, is said also to have had great influence in the decision of Congress. Washington directed Major L’Enfant in planning the city; and, finding him somewhat arbitrary and refractory, he appointed Andrew Ellicott in his place.

In laying out the plan of the city, Mr. Ellicott drew a

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