October 20th 1804
Today I received a letter from Mr. Latrobe Dated Philad. Octr. 17th. wherein He says, He is so far on his way, but so weak, that He must rest a day or two, before He can proceed, but says, He shall be in Washington, in all next week.—
By tomorrow evening we shall have finished the Carcase of the roof agreeable to the surveyor’s directions, which were, as I understood him, to leave in the roof openings equal in height and width to one compartment of pannels or lights of Glass, with proper allowance for thickness of frames, so that at a future Day, they might be put in, if found necessary, without cutting or disturbing any other part of the roof but to fill them up for the present and cover them in common with the rest of the roof. (the openings being exactly in their proper places) and make a lanthorn 15. ft 4 in Diameter containing twelve movable sashes, and a Spherical roof side, for all of which He gave me a design.—the whole of it is prepared and ready for fixing up.—
By thursday we shall have the roof sheathed all around from the top, downward to the tops of the Window openings, beyond which, I do not see how we can very well proceed to the purpose, until the window frames are fixed in, which I find to be one Hundred in number, none of which are yet made.
According to the design, each frame is double, with framed and pannelled linings wrought to the curves of the Dome both ways, & in breadth, equal to the thickness of the roof, with circular mouldings &c &, all of which will require considerable time to execute. this will much retard, not only the Covering of the roof, but the plaistering also.—My intentions are to make all possible exertions to get one half of the roof on the west Covered in, & the wt. gutter laid, and then immediately set the plaisterers to work on that part of the Ceiling, and also in the office story below, both of which might be in great forwardness, whilst the other part of the roof was covering. for except we can keep out the water it is in vain to attempt plaistering. On this subject with submission I wait for Instructions, and
Am Sir Your Most Obdt Servt
for BH Latrobe
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.