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by Robert Mills, engineer and architect; printed by J. C. Greer, Washington, 1854; and the second, "Keim's Illustrated HandBook of Washington and its Environs, for 1874,” including a full description of the Capitol building. The author is the accomplished correspondent and littérateur, De B. Randolph Keim, of Pennsylvania. From these we gather the romance of the Capitol: its original foundation; its legislative record; the accidents that impeded its progress; the rapid prosecution of the work within the last twenty years, and the present symmetry of what is admitted to be the completest and most impressive group of government buildings in the world. Located in 1791, according to plans submitted by the French engineer L'Enfant to President Washington, and by him approved ; and afterwards actively encouraged by Mr. Jefferson, as well while he resided in Europe as after he became Chief Magistrate, the corner-stone was laid on the 18th of September, 1793, by “ brother George Washington, assisted by the Worshipful Master Masons and citizens of the surrounding cities, the military, and a large number of people.” The silver plate deposited in the cavity of this stone bore the following inscription :

“T sout est corner-stone of the Capitol of the United States of America, in the city of Washington, was laid on the 18th day of September, 1793, in the thirteenth year of American Independence, in the first year of the second term of the Presidency of George Washington, whose virtues in the civil administration of his country have been as conspicuous and beneficial as his military valor and prudence have been useful in establishing her lib. erties, and in the year of Masonry 5793, by the President of the United States, in concert with the Grand Lodge of Maryland, several lodges under its jurisdiction, and Lodge No. 22 from Alexandria, Virginia.

“ Thomas Johnson, David Stewart, and Daniel Carroll, commissioners; Joseph Clarke, R.W. G. M. P. T., James Hoban, and Stephen Hallate, architects ; Collin Williamson, Master Mason.”

The north wing was ready for occupation in 1800. In the completed wing the Senate on the west side, House of Representatives on the east, and Supreme Court in the basement, first held their sessions. In 1801 the House occupied a temporary structure called the “Oven,” erected on the site of the present southern extension. In 1805 it returned to its first apartment in the north wing. In 1803 President Jefferson appointed R. H. Latrobe architect of the Capitol. This gentleman made radical changes in the elevation and ground-plan of the building, raising the floor from the ground story to the principal order over the casement. The south wing was in readiness for the occupation of Congress in 1811. The central portions were still unfinished. An unsightly wooden passage connected the two wings. During the war of 1812 work on the building was suspended. In 1814 the interior of both wings was destroyed by the British, after which Congress, on September 19, 1814, met temporarily in the structure known as Blodgett's Hotel, situated on the E Street front of the square now occupied by the General Post-office. The session of Congress commencing December 18, 1815, assembled in a building erected by the citizens of Washington for the purpose, and was occupied till the restoration of the south wing of the original Capitol.

In 1815 Congress determined to restore the Capitol. In 1827 the central portion of the building, including the rotunda and library, was completed. In 1850 Congress passed an act authorizing the extension of the Capitol. July 4, 1851, the corner-stone of the south extension was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The following is a copy of the record deposited beneath the corner-stone :


“On the morning of the first day of the seventy-sixth year of the independence of the United States of America, in the city of Washington, being the fourth day of July, 1851, this stone, designed as the corner-stone of the extension of the Capitol, according to a plan approved by the President, in pursuance of an act of Congress, was laid by


President of the United States, assisted by the Grand Master of the Masonic lodges, in the presence of many members of Congress ; officers of the Executive and Judiciary departments, National, State, and District ; of officers of the army and navy; the corporate authorities of this and neighboring cities; many associations, civil and military and Masonic; officers of the Smithsonian Institution and National Institute ; professors of colleges and teachers of schools of the District of Columbia, with their students and pupils, and a vast concourse of people from places near and remote, including a few surviving gentlemen who witnessed the laying of the corner-stone of the Capitol by President Washington, on the eighteenth day of September, 1793.

“If, therefore, it shall be hereafter the will of God that this structure shall fall from its base, that its foundation be upturned, and this deposit brought to the eye of men, be it known that on this day the Union of the United States of America stands firm ; that their Constitution still exists unimpaired, and with all its original usefulness and glory, growing every day stronger and stronger in the affections of the great body of the American people, and attracting more and more the admiration of the world. And all here assembled, whether belonging to public life or to private life, with hearts devoutly thankful to Almighty God for the preservation of the liberty and happiness of the country, unite in sincere and fervent prayers that this deposit, and the walls and arches, the domes and towers, the columns and entablatures, now to be erected over it, may endure forever ! “God save the United States of America !

“DANIEL WEBSTER, "Secretary of State of the United States."

Mr. Webster was also chosen speaker on this occasion, and his magnificent oration, among the very last he uttered, is universally classed among his finest productions. In 1855 Congress authorized the removal of the wooden dome over the centre of the Capitol, and the construction of a new one of iron, according to the plans of Thomas U. Walter, the architect of Girard College at Philadelphia, which was finished in 1865. The south extension was occupied by the House December 14, 1857, and the north extension by the Senate January 4, 1859. The work was steadily continued through the war of the Rebellion, and the mighty edifice itself was alternately a barrack for the troops, a forum for debate and legislation, a judicial tribunal, always in peril, and defended by an arıny, while a corps of workmen and artists were adding to its strength and its beauty. The Capitol, according to Keim, has cost up to this date $13,000,000, as follows: Main building, $3,000,000; dome, $1,000,000; the two splendid extensions, north and

outh, $8,000,000 ; miscellaneous, $1,000,000. It stands 893 feet above ordinary low tide of the Potomac, one mile distant. The entire length is 751 feet; the greatest depth 324 feet, including the porticoes and steps. The ground-plan covers 33 acres.

The main or central building is 352 feet in length, 1211 feet deep, with a colonnaded portico 160 feet wide. Each extension has a front of 144 feet facing the east and west, and a depth of 239 feet along the north and south. The great dome of the Capitol, designed by Walter, rising magnificently out of the centre of the building, and visible from all points of the compass, is 288 feet above the base line of the eastern façade of the Capitol to the top of the lantern, and 360 feet above the west gate of the park. The statue of Freedom, on the apex, is 194 feet high, and the total height from the base line to the crest of the statue of Freedom 3074 feet, and above low tide of the Potomac 397 feet.

Among my first recollections, vividly renewed by a perusal of “The Guide to the Capitol" by Mills, was a visit to the Supreme Court of the United States, in a little dark room at the foot of the staircase leading to the Senate chamber, on the ground-floor of the old Capitol building. It was both badly lighted and ventilated; the floor was sunk below the general level, and very unhealthy to the members of the bar. The seats of the judges were elevated considerably above the floor of the bar and near the windows; and I recollect well studying the faces and the manners of the following members of that great court (this was in 1853-54): Roger B. Taney, Chiefjustice; associates, John McLean, James M. Wayne, John Catron, Peter V. Daniel, Samuel Nelson, Robert C. Grier, Benjamin R. Curtis, and John A. Campbell. Caleb Cushing was

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Attorney-general. General Pierce was then President; Benjamin C. Howard, reporter ; William T. Carroll, clerk; and Jonah D. Hoover, United States Marshal. Of this illustrious list, Taney, McLean, Wayne, Catron, Daniel, Nelson, and Grier are dead. The two survivors are Judge Curtis, who resigned some years after, and Judge Campbell, who retired to enter the Rebellion in 1861, and is now a practitioner before the same tribunal. Mr. Howard, the reporter; Mr. Carroll, the clerk ; Mr. Hoover, the marshal, are also deceased. But now the Supreme Court has been promoted to more distinguished and appropriate quarters. The old Senate chamber, famous as the scene in which the statesmen of our second generation figured from 1830 to 1860, is occupied by what may be called the reorganized tribunal. Nothing could be more impressive than this historic chamber. It is seventy-five feet in its greatest length or diameter, forty-five feet in its greatest width, and forty-five feet high-admirably proportioned, well lighted, accessible, with the adjacent apartments heretofore assigned to the President and Vice-President turned into robing-rooms for the Supreme Court. I have just given you the names of. the justices in 1853-54. The present bench is composed as follows: Chief-justice, Morrison R. Waite, of Ohio; associate justices, Nathan Clifford, Maine ; Noah H. Swayne, Ohio; Samuel F. Miller, Iowa ; Stephen J. Field, California ; William Strong, Pennsylvania; Joseph P. Bradley, New Jersey; Ward Hunt, New York; John M. Harlan, Kentucky. Under the act of January, 1873, the annual session commences on the second Monday of October in each year, and generally closes in May following. The sessions are from twelve M. to four P.M. The justices, wearing their black judicial robes, enter from the north door of the chamber, and are formally announced by the marshal or deputy. The people in the room rise and remain standing until they are seated. The visitor to this memorable hall unconsciously recalls the great debate between Webster and

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