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Placing the Cart Before the Horse

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionLibrary of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Papers view image
Document Information
Date June 12, 1793
Author Name George Washington (primary)
Recipient Name Thomas Jefferson (primary)
Summary Washington warns that the pending application should not be addressed until a survey, an essential document, is taken. Doing so would be like placing the cart before the horse.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; George Washington; Alexander Hamilton; Thomas Jefferson; Attorney General; Secretary of State; ;
Related Places enclosed application; obstacle; concluding act; survey; law; signature; propriety; ;
Keywords [not available]
Key Phrases [not available]

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[sideways, right side of page]

The Secretary of State


As you are about to meet another business, it is my desire that you would take the enclosed application into consideration.

__It is not my wish on one hand, to shren unnecessary obstacles in the way of gratifying the wishes of the applicant__on the other it is incumbent on me to proceed with regularity. __Would not the [undecipherable]ting of a Patent then, which I believe is always the concluding act of predicated on the Survey (as an essential document) have too much the appearance of placing the Cart before the Horse. __ And does not the Law [undecipherable] something on the Attorney General of the U. States [undecipherable] to the [undecipherable]nature of the President?

__Whatever be done with property I am willing to do. __More I ought not to do.__

G Washington

To Secretaries of


Treasury &