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Public Buildings in the City of Washington.
sent situation of the country, especially if the war money, as much money as you please, for rebuildshould continue, and thereby the difficulty of pro: ing our public edifices; and then the more magcuring materials, and of getting workmen should nificent the plan, the more elegant its execution, be increased, that the two wings of the Capitol the more my pride will be graiified. may be finished, and ready for the reception of It is further said, in support of this bill, that botá Houses of Congress, in about ten or twelve the plan recommended by the bill was the plan years.
of Gen. Washington, and under the sanction of The public buildings, including the President's that imposing name an attempt is made to misHouse, did not cost less than fifteen hundred thou- lead our understanding. True, sir, this was the sand dollars. We are told that five hundred thou. plan of Washington-but, under what circumsand dollars will replace those edifices in statu stances? Washington was then President of the quo. Sir, notwithstanding my respect for the United States. The country then was rich; the artists who have given an opinion on this subject, country was prosperous. An extensive, unreI have still some doubts of the practicability of stricted, and almost unlimited commerce brought making use of the walls as they are now stand then to the remotest corner of this vast continent ing. The architects themselves are not positive all the treasures of a tributary world. The anxon that point. They gave their opinion before ious eye of Washington measured the distances, the very severe frost, which we had this Winter, and his capacious mind was not discouraged by bad its effect upon those susceptible and unpro- them. The rapid, the almost prodigious progress tected walls. Their opinion, if a new examina- of every improvement under his auspicious Adtion was now bad, might be materially different; ministration, justified, in the opinion of that great and the committee themselves, by reporting a bill and modest man, the anticipated expectations of for repairing or rebuilding the public buildings, corresponding improvements under the Adminjostead of confining themselves to reporting a billistration of his successors. But, sir, what has for repairing, have manifested a doubt, which it been the result? Instead of realizing the high cannot be improper for me to entertain. If, then, expectations of General Washington, from causes you should ultimately be compelled to rebuild which it is foreign to my subject here to investi(and I firmly believe you will) the expense for gate, this country once rich, is now poor ; this rebuilding cannot be much less than the original country once prosperous, is now fallen. I bope, cost of construction. The materials which you sir, it will rise again; but till then, speak not to may save will about pay the expense of taking me of what Washington did. Speak what Washdown the walls before you can rebuild.
ington would now advise; I say advise. The Great, indeed, I should almost say incalculable, recollection of General Washington's unshakeable must be the advantages presented by this favorite firmness in the year 1795, forbids the idea of the situation, which, under the pressure of our present possibility of his ever having had to act under emergencies
, could induce this Congress 10 sac- such an accumulation of distressing circumrifice such immense sums of money. Three prin- stances. cipal reasons have been adduced in support of this When I cast my eyes on this wilderness, digbill by its friends. The pride of the nation has nified with the name of a city; a city to be sure, been appealed to, and pressed into the service of very unlike the old-fashioned European city, althis bill. Sir, when gentlemen entrench them- luded to by the Irishman, who, when placed in selves behind the inexpugnable bulwark of pride, the middle of it, complained thai he could not see it would be in vain to use any arguments directed the city, there were so many houses ! Sir, we to their sober judgment. As well might you at- run no risk of hearing of any such complaints tempt, sword in hand, to pierce the heart of your about this city. Every Irishman wbo arrives here enemy, protected from your attack by a fortress, may bave a full view of the whole ground at once. flanked with a hundred cannon. The fortress is None of those encumbrances called houses to limit to be taken first; and I know of no argument the boundless prospects. Or, if there be a few, strong enough to batter down the fortress erected he may, among those few, open a complaisani by pride. There is but one way to come at it, gap through which his inquisitive eye may pierce sir; and it is by erecting alongside of it another to a distance, limited only by the foot of ihe surpride fortress, and then fairly to begin the assault rounding hills. But, sir, the subject is too serious on both sides.
to admit of its being thus long treated with levity. 1, 100, have my pride-not a pride to be fed Let me then return to it, and seriously inquire upon ibe unpaid 'blood of the soldier who wins about the present state and future prospects of our battles; not a pride to be gratified by the this city: What do we see here? Twelve or vain and useless display of a borrowed, ragged fifteen clusters of houses at a considerable dismagnificence. No, sir; my pride is less vora- lance from each other, bringing to our recollection cious, it is less ostentatious. Provide for filling the appearance of a camp of nomad Arabs, which, the ranks of your Army; provide for clothing, however, if connected together
, would make a very feeding, and paying, your soldiers and sailors. respectable town, not much inferior, perhaps, to Instead of borrowing money for building costly the capital of Virginia ; and here and there an edifices, borrow money for protecting against an insulaied house; the whole of it, when seen from invading foe the edifices yet'standing. Drive the the ruins of our public edifices, looking more like enemy from the country; then, indeed, my pride the place where proud Washington once stood, will be satisfied; then I will, with pleasure, voted than where humble Washington now lies. Il,
Public Buildings in the City of Washington. FEBRUARY, 1815. sir, such is the situation of this city, after fifteen I am not unaware, sir, that such a plan will years since the Government removed here, during call into action against it all the private interests ihe six first years of which period there prevailed which will conceive themselves to be aggrieved not only in ibis country, but all over Europe, a by it. But, let private interest beware. In my degree of enthusiasm bordering upon madness opinion, unless some such plan is resorted to, respecting the future destinies of this metropolis, without some such compromise is made, the Govand during which period of six years, too, this ernment will not, cannot remain here many years. country enjoyed still the benefits of the Admin- The inconveniences are too serious, and they are istration of Washington, whose good deeds for not to be surmounted. I speak not of them with several years after his death were still in force- reference to the individual' inconvenience of the Washington, in his tomb, still securing the pros members. I speak of them in reference to their perity of this his beloved country-if, sir, such public duties. It is unnecessary to repeat what be now the situation of this city, what, in the I before stated, when I had the honor io address present state of things, are our prospects for the you on the subject of this bill. Only reflect on future? Awful, indeed. How many ages must the only mode in which we can transact business elapse before this chaos is likely to assume any in this place. Selected from various places of thing like a describable shape?' How many, be this immense empire, we meet here, not altogethfore these disjointed, distracied, warring elements er free from the prejudices which prevail more may be brought together, so as to form a whole, or less in every part of the country we come from. which may entitle it to be what it now purports This social intercourse which ought to prevail, to be, but what it is not. Is it not time, then, that which I am sure should prevail, did we know each we should give up the unsuccessful experiment? other otherwise than through the incorrect meIs it not time, that we should adopt less lofty dium of party representation, is entirely prohibideas, that we should assume sentiments, that we ited by the insuperable obstacles which the present should express opinions more conformable to our situation of this city puts in our way. To these present situation. Troja fuit, fuit Ilium. It be local prejudices are to be added party spirit, precomes us to be modest. Our laws to be whole judices which pursue us upremittingly, and will some, need not be enacted in a palace. A large, not let go their hold of us in this very sanctuary. convenient, unadorned house, which will receive This party spirit, instead of being softened into its lustre from Congress, instead of Congress bor- something like conciliation, by a constant interrowing it from the house, in the neighborhood of course, is hardened into unutterable asperity by the public offices in a part of the city which is the mode of life, we are compelled from impebest calculated by its aciual improvements to af- rious circumstances, to pursue in this place. The ford accommodation to the members, and to fà- very houses where we board have become a test cilitate their communications with each other, by which to ascertain the political opinions which will answer our purpose much better than the we are supposed to profess. We never meet, but plan recommended by the bill on your table; and in battle array. Is it wonderful, that under these if the place to erect those edifices be judiciously discouraging circumstances, so many months selected, it is to me quite immaterial in what should be wasted in transacting business which, quarter of this city. For want of the necessary under less unfavorable auspices, might have been information as to the quantity of ground still gone through in as many weeks. Sir, it is my owned by the Government in the different parts firm conviction, that if we proceed on to passing of this city, I could not now form any opinion as this bill in its present shape, the question of reto the spot where it would be proper to concen-moval of the seat of the Government from this trate all our public edifices, whether temporarily place, which was advocated at the beginning of or permanently. But I may be allowed to express ihis session in the other branch of the Legislature, a wish that it may be found convenient to place will soon want no advocate at all; it will soon them as near as possible to Georgetowo, not very become a matter of necessity, of sheer necessity. distant from the improvements known under the There may be still many unsuccessful attempis, appellation of the Six and Seven Buildings; and but, sir, the best interests of the nation cannot I have little doubt, but that, when in compliance forever be sacrificed. After some struggling, a with the uniform laws of nature, you shall have attempt will succeed at last; and it will then be blown up a soul into this city by creating a heart too late for the opposers of the plan which I have from which the blood may uninterruptedly cir- suggested to give themselves up to upavailing culate to the remotest extremities, the improve- repentance. ments will, by degrees, extend in every direction, Mr. President, I want to prevent such a state until the now most distant parts from tbat spot, of things. I am unwilling to bring forward again, no longer shrivelled, sickly, lingering, rootless at any time, the question of a permanent seat of slips, destined to vegetale a few mornings, in an Government. I want this sacred spot-sacred uncongenial soil, being in their turn reconnected still in my eyes, although temporarily polluted with a sturdy, robust irunk, from which they will by the foot of the enemy, as long as it bears the derive an invigorating sap, will soon spread name of Washington; I want this spot to remain wide hospitable foliage, and become a flourishing forever the permanent seat of the Government of portion of a city, the future prosperity of which the United States. But, sir, I know of but two cannot now, if it come at all, be secured in any ways to accomplish that object; either by a lemother way.
porary removal by the very act providing for
which we should provide likewise for our return; buildings. Sir, I ain disposed to sacrifice everynot provide simply; I do not mean by a clause in thing, but my duty to the people of the United the bill to that effect, but by previous appropria- Siates at large, to keep the seat of Government tions, by contracts, which it should not be in the bere ; and if you agree to concentrate the public power of any succeeding Congress to repeal, or buildings, in the hope of speedy improvements, by an immediate concentration of the public by which many of the inconveniences which now buildings on a modest, economical and commo affect the public interest will be removed, I am dious plan. Of these two modes, I prefer the last, perfectly reconciled to remaining in this city. as likely to meet with fewer obstacles, as being But, sir, if we are to remain here as we now are, much less expensive, but principally as being with no other cheering prospects than those premuch more consonant to the principles of the sented in the bill on your table. I do not hesiiate justice which we owe to the people of this Dis. 1o declare, that any place in the United States trict. Sir, when this bill was reported, I inquired appears to me preferable to Washington, and the from the honorable chairman of the committee sooner we go, no matter where, no mailer how who reported it, for the papers relating to the heavy the amount of compensation justly due to original fixation of the several places for the the inhabitants of this District, the better. building of the public edifices. I inquired for When Mr. F. had concludedthe contracts with the original proprietors of the The question to recommit the bill to a select soil, or with the purchasers. I was answered, that committee, was determined in the negative-yeas there was no such instrument. I shall take no 13, nays 20, as follows: advantage from this concession; in my view of Yxas—Messrs. Bibb, Barry, Brown, Dana, Fromenthe subject, there was a contracta solemn con- tin, German, Gore, Hunter, King, Lambert, Mason, tract; and if by any possible way it could be Thompson, and Wells. avoided, I would not now agree to altering, in its Nays-Messrs. Anderson, Barbour, Chace, Condit, most inconsiderable dispositions, any part of the Daggett, Gaillard, Giles, Goldsborough, Horsey, Kerr, original plan. I am sensible, that by' so doing, we Lacock, Morrow, Roberts, Smith, Tait, Talbot, Tayseem to punish the people of this District for hav- lor, Turner, Varnum, and Wharton. ing placed too much confidence in our words. In On motion, by Mr. Lacock, 10 strike out, of our words, did I say? In our acts, sir! Look at section 1, line 4, after the words “Capitol,” the the new ruins of the monuments on yonder hill. words and public offices ;" and to insert, after Were these massy walls, which have set at defi- - Washington," line 5, “and chat two suitable ance the whole power of an enemy bent on de- buildings for public offices be erected on such part struction, intended to last only the short space of of the Capitol square as shall be designated by the a dozen years ? In these surviving walls I read, President of the United States;" and to insert, in characters not to be effaced, the contract of the in the 4th line, the word “and,” before " Capination with the people of the District. I find in tol:" a division of the question was called for by these walls an agreement signed, sealed, and de- Mr. Dana, and was taken on striking out, and livered. Certainly, sir, you must be convinced, determined in the negative-yeas 13, Day 18, as from what I have just now said, that I do not follows: dissemble to myself, and that I am not willing to YEAs-Messrs. Brown, Dana, Fromentin, Gaillard, conceal from others, the equity of the claims of German, Gore, Hunter, King, Lacock, Lambert, Mathe people of this District. But what is to be son, Tait, and Thompson. done ? imperious necessity commands a sacrifice ÑAYS–Messrs. Anderson, Barbour, Bibb, Barry, of some sort. A compromise must take place. Chace, Condit, Daggett, Giles, Goldsborough, Kerr, You have but a choice of evils. The very bill Morrow, Roberts, Smith, Taylor, T'urnor, Varnum, on your lable promises a tardy relief to the people and Wharton. on Capitol Hill, at the end of ten or twelve years. And the bill having been amended, by striking Under these impressions, and under the belief too, out the second section thereof, the President rethat the people of the District at large are ulti-ported it to the House accordingly; and the bill mately to be benefitted by a concentration, for the was ordered to be engrossed and read the third reasons previously advanced, however a few may time as amended. appear likely to be sufferers by any ultimale determination as to the spot where the concentration is to take place; and under an unshakeable
SATURDAY, February 4. persuasion, thai by a strict adherence to the old The bill, entitled "An act for the relief of Salplan, in our present circumstances, as recommend- tus, Son, & Co., merchants of the city of New ed by the bill on your table, the people of this York," was read the second time, and referred to District, by grasping at too much, will ultimately a select committee, to consider and report therelose all—from motives of economy; from motives on; and Messrs. King, Roberts, and German, of duty to the people of the United States; from were appointed the committee. motives of indispensable convenience to ourselves The bill, entitled "An act for the regulation of to enable us faiibfully to discharge our public du- the courts of justice of Indiana, was read the secties; from motives of justice to the people of this ond time, and referred to a select committee to District-I have been induced to make the motion consider and report thereon ; and Messrs. Morto refer that bill to a committee, for the purpose ROW, Talbot, and Chace, were appointed the of reporting another bill to concentrate the publici committee.
The bill, entitled "An act to authorize the Pre-act 10 authorize the purchase of a tract of land sident of the United Slaies to receive into the for the use of the United States," together with service of the United States certain corps which the amendment reported therelo by the select may be raised and organized by any State, to serve committee; and, on motion by Mr. Smiti, the in lieu of the militia thereof," was read the sec- consideration thereof was further postponed to ond time, and referred to the Committee on Mil- Monday next. itary Affairs, to consider and report thereon. The Senate resumed the consideration of the
The bill, entitled "An act making appropria- bill, entitled "An act to amend the act, entitled tions for the support of the Government for the 'An act to provide additional revenues for defrayyear 1815," was read the second time, and refer- ing the expenses of Government, and maintainred 10 a select committee, to consider and reporting the public credit. by laying a direci tax upon thereon; and Messrs. Taylor, Chace, and ROB- the United States, and to provide for assessing ERTS, were appointed the committee.
and collecting the same;" and the act, entitled The bill, entitled "An aci to amend and extend "An act to provide additional revenues for dethe provisions of the act of the 16th April, 1814, fraying the expenses of Government, and mainentitled 'An act confirming certain claims to land taining the public credit, by laying duties on housein the Illinois Territory, and providing for their hold furniture, and on gold and silver watches." location," was read the second time, and referred Mr. KERR's' motion to add a new section was to the committee appointed on the 21st Septem-withdrawn ; and the bill having been further ber, on the memorial of the Legislature of the amended, by adding thereto a new section, proIndiana Territory, to consider and report thereon. posed by Mr. King, on the question, Shall the
Mr. BARBOUR gave notice that, to-morrow, he amendments be engrossed and ihe bill read a third should ask leave io bring in a bill to incorporate time as amended ? it was determined in the affirmthe subscribers to the Bank of the United States ative. of America.
The Senate resumed, as in Commillee of the The bill making appropriations for repairing Whole, the consideration of the bill, entitled "An or rebuilding the public buildings within the City act to amend the act laying duties on licenses to of Washington was read a third time, and the retailers of wines, spiriiuous liquors, and foreign blank filled with "five hundred thousand dollars."merchandise; and, no amendment having been
Resolved, That this bill pass, and that the title proposed, il passed to a third reading. thereof be" "An act making appropriations for A message from the House of Representatives repairing or rebuilding the public buildings within informed the Senate that the House have passed the City of Washington."
a bill, entitled "An act to provide additional revThe amendments to the bill, entitled "An act enues for defraying the expenses of Government, to alter and amend the several acts for establish and maintaining the public credit, by laying a ing a Navy Department, by adding thereto a duty on gold, silver, and plated ware, and jewelry Board of Commissioners," was read a third time and paste work, manufactured within the United as amended.
Stales;" a bill, entitled "An act concerning the On the question, Shall this bill pass as amend. College of Georgetown, in the District of Columed ? it was determined in the affirmative-yeas bia ;" also, a bill, entitled "An act to provide ad16, pays 8, as follows:
ditional revenues for defraying the expenses of YEusMessrs. Barbour, Chace, Daggett, Fromen. Government, and maintaining ihe public credit, tin, Gaillard, German, Giles, Gore, Horsey, Korr, Ma. by laying a duty on lolleries ;' in which bills they son, Morrow, Tait, Taylor, Thompson and Wharton. request the concurrence of ihe Senate.
Nars-Messrs. Bibb, Condict, Lacock, Lamberi, The three bills last mentioned were read, and Roberts, Smith, Turner, and Varnum.
passed to the second reading. So it was Resolved, That this bill pass with The PRESIDENT laid before the Senate a letter amendments.
from the Secretary for the Department of TreasThe amendments to the bill, entitled "An act ury, transmitting sundry documents, exhibiting a for the better regulation of the Ordnance depart- view of the revenues of the United States, as ment,” having been reported by the committee stated in the report made to Congress, from that correctly engrossed, the bill was read a third time department, on the 23d day of September last, as amended, and passed with amendments. noi having been at that time prepared, owiog 10
The bill, entitled "An act concerning Weston the early meeting of Congress; and the letter Jenkins, and others," was read a third iime, and and documents therein referred to were read. passed.
On motion, by Mr. Smith, the consideration of The amendments to the bill, entitled "An acı the bill to allow a drawback of duties on spirits concerning Matthew Guy, John Woodward, Sam- distilled, and certain goods, wares, and merchanuel Tennison, and Wilfred Drury," having been dise, manufactured, within the United States, was reported by ihe committee correctly engrossed, posiponed to, and made the order of the day for, the bill was read a third time as amended. Monday next.
On motion, by Mr. GORE, the bill was recommilied to the Commiliee on Naval Affairs, further to consider and report thereon.
Monday, February 6. The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the The bill, entitled "An act to provide additional Wnole, the consideration of the bill, entitled "Aprevenues for defraying the expenses of Govern
ment, and maintaining the public credit, by lay within the United States; and the bill having ing a duty on gold, silver, and plated ware, and been amended, the President reported it to the jewelry and paste work, manufactured within the House accordingly; and, on the question, Shall United States," was read the second time, and re- this bill be engrossed and read a third time as ferred to the committee to whom was referred the amended ? it was determined in the affirmative. bill, entitled "An act making appropriations for The amendments to the bill, entitled "An act the support of Government for the year 1815," to to amend the act, entitled 'An act to provide adconsider and report thereon.
ditional revenues for defraying the expenses of The bill, entitled "An act to provide additional Government, and maintaining the public credit, revenues for defraying the expenses of Govern- by laying a direct lax upon the United States, ment, and maintaining the public credit, by lay- and to provide for assessing and collecting the ing a'duly on lotteries," was read the second time, same;" and the act, entitled "An act to provide and referred to the same committee, to consider additional revenues for defraying the expenses of and report thereon.
Government, and maintaining the public credit, On motion, by Mr. TAYLOR, Iwo members were by laying duties on household furniture, and on added to the committee last mentioned; and gold and silver watches," having been reported Mr. Daggett and Mr. BROWN were appointed. by the committee correctly engrossed, the bill was The bill
, entitled "An act concerning the Col. read a third time as amended, and on motion, by lege of Georgetown, in the District of Columbia," Mr. FROMENTIN, the bill was further amended by was read the second time.
unanimous consent; and on motion, by Mr. MORThe bill, entitled "An act to amend the act lay- Row, it was recommitted to a select commillee, ing duties on licenses to retailers of wines, spiritu- further to consider and report thereon; and Messrs. ous liquors, and foreign merchandise," was read Giles, King, and TAYLOR, were appointed the the third time, and passed.
committee. Mr. Roberts, from the committee to whom Mr. BARBOUR. agreeably to notice given, asked was referred the bill
, entitled "An act for the re- leave to introduce a bill to incorporate the sublief of Benjamin Wells and others," reported it scribers to the Bank of the United States of with amendments.
America. The Senate resumed the motion for the ap This was objected to, by Mr. Mason, as out of pointment of an assistant Doorkeeper; and on order, as a bill of a similar nature, passed by both motion, by Mr. TURNER, the further consideration Houses of Congress, and returned by the Presithereof was postponed to the fourth day of March dent of the United States with his objections to next.
the same, had, on reconsideration, been negatived Oa motion, by Mr. Varnum,
by the Senate. Resolved, That the committee to whom was The President decided it to be in order, conreferred that part of the Message of the President sidering it to be sanctioned by the practice of of the United States, of the 2014 September last, Congress in relation to bills thus returned by the which relates to the Military Establishment, bé President of the United States. instructed to inquire into the expediency of mak Whereupon, the bill was read, and passed to ing provision by law for the payment of the mil. the second reading. itia which have been called out by the authority [The principal features of this bill are as follows: of any State for the defence of any part of the the capital to consist of fifty millions of dollars, payUnited States against invasion, since the com able, twenty millions in Treasury notes, fundable at mencement of the present war, and not taken the pleasure of the Government in stock to bear an ininto the pay of the United States; and for reim- terest of six per cent. ; fifteen millions in any public bursing any State for any moneys advanced for stock bearing six per cent. interest; five millions in pay, rations, camp equipage, and other expenses specie; and ten millions to be subscribed by the Govnecessarily incurred in calling out such militia, ernment in stock bearing an interest of four per cent. according to the rules and regulations prescribed per annum; the Government to have the capacity to by law for defraying the expenses of calling out borrow thirty millions of the bank at six per cent. inthe militia by authority of the United States.
terest; the directors not to be obliged to pay specie The President laid before the Senate the re- and, upon the petition of the directors, the Government
until the last payment on the stock shall be completed; port of the Secretary for the Department of Treas.
may introduce any regulation which shall be thought ury, prepared in conformity wiih the act of March proper in regard to the specie payments of the bank; 3d, 1809, further to amend the several acts for the the subscriptions to be opened on the first Monday in establishment of the Treasury, War, and Navy | April, at which time the first payment of one-fifth of Departments, with statements of the purchases or the whole amount of subscription shall be payable, and payments for supplies, made by the collectors of the remaining four-fifths in four quarter yearly inthe customs, during the year 1813, in relation to stalments; the bank to go into operation as soon as the revenue, and to the temporary relief of sick twenty millions are thus paid in. The directors for and disabled seamen; and the report, together the first year are named in the bill.] with the accompanying documents, were read. The PRESIDENT communicated a report of the
The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, stating that Whole, the consideration of the bill to allow a the measures which have been authorized by the drawback of duties on spirits distilled, and cer- board, subsequent to their last report, of the 5th of tain goods, wares, and merchandise, manufactured February, 1814, so far as the same have been com
13th Con. 3d Sess.--8