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where they are clearly misled by error, ambition, or interest, that the Constitution has placed a check in the negative of the President.
XXII.--Opinion relative to locating the Ten Mile Square for the Federal Government, and building the Federal city.
March 11, 1791. Objects which may merit the attention of the President, at Georgetown.
The commissioners to be called into action.
Proclamation completing the location of the territory, and fixing the site of the capitol.
Town to be laid off. Squares of reserve are to be decided on for the capitol, President's house, offices of government, townhouse, prison, market, and public walks.
Other squares for present sale designated.
Terms of sale to be settled. As there is not as yet a town legislature, and things may be done before there is one to prevent them, which yet it would be desirable to prevent, it would seem justifiable and expedient that the President should form a capitulary of such regulations as he may think necessary to be observed, until there shall be a town legislature to undertake this office; such capitulary to be indented, signed, sealed, and recorded, according to the laws of conveyance in Maryland. And to be referred to in every deed for conveyance of the lots to purchasers, so as to make a part thereof. The same thing might be effected, by inserting special covenants for every regulation in every deed; but the former method is the shortest. I cannot help again suggesting here one regulation formerly suggested, to wit: To provide for the extinguishment of fires, and the openness and convenience of the town, by prohibiting houses of excessive height. And making it unlawful to build on any one's purchase any house with more than two floors between the com
mon level of the earth and the eaves, nor with any other floor ir. the roof than one at the eaves. To consider in what way the contracts for the public buildings shall be made, and whether as many bricks should not be made this summer as may employ brick-layers in the beginning of the season of 1792, till more can be made in that season.
With respect to the amendment of the location so as to include Bladensburgh, I am of opinion it may be done with the consent of the legislature of Maryland, and that that consent may be so far counted on, as to render it expedient to declare the location at once.
The location A B C D A having been once made, I consider as obligatory and unalterable, but by consent of parties, except so far as was necessary to render it practicable by a correction of the beginning. That correction might be lawfully made
. either by stopping at the river, or at the spring of Hunting creek, or by lengthening the course from the court-house so that the second course should strike the mouth of Hunting creek. I am of opinion, therefore, that the beginning at the mouth of Hunting creek, is legally justifiable. But I would advise the location E F G H E to be hazarded so as to include Bladensburgh, because it is a better location, and I think will certainly be confirmed by Maryland. That State will necessarily have to pass another act confirming whatever location shall be made, because her former act authorized the delegates then in office, to convey · the lands. But as they were not located, no conveyance has been made, and those persons are now out of office, and dispersed. Suppose the non-concurrence of Maryland should defeat the location E F G H E, it can only be done on this principle, that the first location A B C D A was valid, and unalterable, but by mutual consent. Then their non-concurrence will re-establish the first location ABC DA, and the second location will be good for the part E I D K E without their concurrence, and this will place us where we should be were we now to complete the location EBCKE. Consequently, the experiment of an amendment proposed can lose nothing, and may gain, and probably will gain, the better location.
When I say it can lose nothing, I count as nothing, the triangle A I E, which would be in neither of the locations. Perhaps this might be taken in afterwards, either with or without the consent of Virginia.
XXIII.—Report on the policy of securing particular marks to
Manufacturers, by law.
December 9, 1791.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred by the House of Representatives the petition of Samuel Breck and others, proprietors of a sail-cloth manufactory in Boston, praying that they may have the exclusive privilege of using particular marks for designating the sail-cloth of their manufactory, has had the same under consideration, and thereupon
Reports, That it would, in his opinion, contribute to fidelity in the execution of manufacturers, to secure to every manufactory an exclusive right to some mark on its wares, proper to itself.
That this should be done by general laws, extending equal right to every case to which the authority of the Legislature should be competent.
That these cases are of divided jurisdiction: Manufactures made and consumed within a State being subject to State legislation, while those which are exported to foreign nations, or to another State, or into the Indian Territory, are alone within the legislation of the General Government.
That it will, therefore, be reasonable for the General Government to provide in this behalf by law for those cases of manufacture generally, and those only which relate to commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
And that this may be done by permitting the owner of every manufactory, to enter in the records of the court of the district wherein his manufactory is, the name with which he chooses to mark or designate his wares, and rendering it penal in others to put the same mark to any other wares.
XXIV.–Opinion relative to the demolition of Mr. Carroll's house by Major L'Enfant, in luying out the Federal City.
Decernber 11, 1791. Observations on Major L'Enfant's letter of December 7th, 1791, to the President, justifying his demolition of the house of Mr. Carroll, of Duddington.
He says that “Mr. Carroll erected his house partly on a main street, and altogether on ground to which the public had a more immediate title than himself could claim.” When blaming Mr. Carroll, then, he considers this as a street ; but when justifying himself, he considers it not yet as a street, for to account for his not having pointed out to Carroll a situation where he might build, he says, “ The President had not yet sanctioned the plan for the distribution of the city, nor determined if he would arprove the situation of the several areas proposed to him in that plan for public use, and that I would have been highly to be blamed to have anticipated his opinion thereon.” This latter exculpation is solid ; the first is without foundation. The plan of the city has not yet been definitely determined by the President. Sale to individuals, or partition decide the plan as far as these sales or partitions go. A deed with the whole plan annexed, executed by the President, and recorded, will ultimately fix it. But till a sale, or partition, or deed, it is open to alteration. Consequently, there is as yet no such thing as a street, except adjacent to the lots actually sold or divided; the erection of a house in any part of the ground cannot as yet be a nuisance in law. Mr. Carroll is tenant in common of the soil with the public, and the erection of a house by a tenant in common on the common property, is no nuisance. Mr. Carroll has acted imprudently, intemperately, foolishly; but he has not acted illegally. There must be an establishment of the streets, before his house can become a nuisance in the eye of the law.. Therefore, till that establishment, neither Major L'Enfant, nor the commissioners, would have had a right to demolish his house, without his consent.
The Major says he had as much right to pull down a house, as to cut down a tree.
This is true, if he has received no authority to do either, but still there will be this difference: To cut down a tree or to demolish a house in the soil of another, is a trespass; but the cutting a tree, in this country, is so slight a trespass, that a man would be thought litigious who should prosecute it; if he prosecuted civilly, a jury would give small damages; if criminally, the judge would not inflict imprisonment, nor impose but a small fine. But the demolition of a house is so gross a trespass, that any man would prosecute it; if civilly, a jury would give great damages; if criminally, the judge would punish heavily by fine and imprisonment. In the present case, if Carroll was to bring a civil action, the jury wonld probably punish his folly by small damages; but if he were to prosecute criminally, the judge would as probably vindicate the insult on the laws, and the breach of