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cluding sentences of which may be reproduced for the benefit of the living:
May this stone long commemorate the goodness of God in those uncommon events which have given America a name among nations. Under this stone may jealousy and selfishness be forever buried. From this stone may a superstructure arise whose glory, whose magnificence, whose stability unequalled hitherto shall astonish the world, and invite even the savage of the wilderness to take shelter under its roof."
During the summer the pillar marking the centre of the district was set near the present Washington Monument. As yet, neither district nor city had been christened, and, at a meeting of the commissioners at Georgetown, September 8 and 9, 1791, Jefferson and Madison being present, this important matter was attended to, the district being named Columbia, after the great navigator, and the city WASHINGTON, after the father of the nation, who was also its chief benefactor. At the same meeting the method of designating the streets by letters and numbers was adopted, and names, letters, and numbers were all given to Major L'Enfant to be incorporated in the plan.
The engineer inserted the names and numbers, and completed his plan, but never saw it come to full fruition by being engraved. He possessed the usual infirmities of genius,-a quick temper and overbearing disposition, *—and as the commissioners
*“Men who possess talents which fit them for peculiar purposes are almost invariably under the influence of untoward dispositions, or a sottish pride, or possessed of some other disqualification by
were not disposed to abate one jot or tittle of their authority, he was soon involved in a bitter quarrel with them, and these were the grounds of the quarrel. When the plan was completed, the commissioners demanded it in order to have it engraved and published, but L'Enfant declined to do this, alleging that, if published, the plan would be made use of by speculators to purchase the best locations in his “vistas and architectural squares, and raise huddles of shanties which would permanently disfigure the city.” When this refusal was reported to Washington he dismissed the engineer March 1, 1792, and appointed Andrew Ellicott in his place, who made a plan in close imitation of L'Enfant's, which was published late in 1792 and widely circulated. In the Congressional Library may still be seen L'Enfant's original plan, carefully secluded by him during his life, but secured by government after his death—a torn and discolored paper, yet giving proof of having once been an elaborate and elegant design.
Immediately on L'Enfant's dismissal Jefferson wrote to the commissioners that he ought to be fairly rewarded for his services, and that the President had suggested $2,500 or $3,000, but had left the determination to them. The commissioners soon after ordered their bankers to place five hundred guineas at Major L'Enfant's disposal, and wrote him that they had also recorded a building lot near the President's house " in his name as further compensation, but the proud Frenchman returned a curt note expressing his wish and request “ that you will call back your order for the money and not take any further trouble about the lot.” His subsequent fate was a sad one, and marks alike the limitations of genius and the ingratitude of republics.
which they plague all those with whom they are concerned ; but I did not expect to meet with such perverseness in Major L'Enfant as his late conduct exhibited."—Washington to the commissioners, November 20, 1791.
Retiring to Philadelphia he planned there some public works of moment, but soon retired to private life-not to be entirely forgotten, however, by his old friends. Madison, while President, appointed him Professor of Engineering at West Point, but the position was promptly declined. In the war of 1812 he was appointed to construct the present Fort Washington on the Potomac, and did plan and partly execute the work, but again he failed to agree with his superiors, and was dismissed. From this time he resided chiefly with his friend, Dudley Digges, Esq., at his fine manor house, Chellum Castle, near Bladensburg, and haunted the halls of Congress seeking compensation for past services. His tall, thin form, clad in blue military coat buttoned close to the chin, broadcloth breeches, military boots, with a napless, bell-crowned hat upon his head, and swinging as he walked a hickory cane with large silver head, was for years a familiar object in the streets of the city he had planned. Congress never heeded his appeal, and at last, on the 4th of June, 1825, he died, a disappointed, broken old man. He was buried in the garden of Chellum Castle, and his grave is marked for remembrance only by a tall cedar tree and fragrant beds of myrtle. There is neither stone nor inscription-perhaps none is needed, for so long as time endures the beautiful city that he planned will remain his grandest monument and noblest epitaph.