Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure II: An Advertisement for the Capitol, 6 March 1792

An Advertisement for the Capitol

Washington in the territory of Columbia1

A Premium of a lot in this city to be designated by impartial judges and2 500. dollars, or a Medal of that value, at the option of the party, will be given by the Commissioners of the federal buildings to the person, who before the 20th. day of July3 1792 shall produce to them the most approved plan if adopted by them4 for a Capitol, to be erected in this city,5 and 500 dollars or a medal for the plan deemed next in merit to the one they shall adopt. The building to be of brick and to contain the following apartments, to wit.

a Conference room } sufficient to accomodate 300 persons each. } these rooms to be of full elevation.
a room for the Representatives
a Lobby or Antichamber to the latter.
a Senate room of 1200 square feet area.
an Antichamber or Lobby to the last.
12. rooms of 600. square feet area each for Committee rooms and clerk’s offices, to be of half the elevation of the former.

Drawings will be expected of the ground plats, elevations of each front, and sections thro the building in such directions as may be necessary to explain the internal structure; and an Estimate of the Cubic feet of brickwork composing the whole mass of the walls.

The Commissioners.

PrC of 2 Dft (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand. Dft (same); partially edited as in 2 Dft; endorsed by TJ: “Federal buildings. Copy of paper I gave to the Presidt. & to the Commrs. in 1791.” On verso in TJ’s hand is detailed outline of “Idea of the public buildings to be erected at the Federal seat,” containing suggestions for rooms for the capitol, the courthouse, and the President’s house, and possibly composed at the time TJ prepared drawings for the announced competition. Another, more elaborate copy of these “ideas” in TJ’s hand is also with the Dft. Tr (same); in a clerk’s hand, dated 14 Mch. 1792, with date of submission deadline as 15 July instead of 20 July. See textual notes below.

1TJ first entitled this “Plan of an advertisement,” but crossed through that heading and replaced it with the above.

2The drafts first read “A Premium of 500. dollars” but the sentence was altered to include the lot as well.

3Blanks were originally left here to be filled in after the Commissioners conferred. The final date of 15 July was settled upon, however (See note 1 to enclosure iii below).

4Preceding four words inserted above line.

5Originally “the above city of the said territory”, but then altered to read as above and the remainder of the sentence inserted above the line.

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