James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Peter Van Ness, 28 August 1815

Office of the Commissioners of the Public
Buildings Washington Augt. 28th. 1815


Herewith you will recieve executed in Duplicate another contract for a loan of Seventy five thousand dollars, which in pursuance of the authority you have been pleased to invest in us, we have lately negotiated with the Union Bank of Alexandria and now forward for your approbation, making the loans already effected amount to four hundred and twenty five thousand dollars.

We have the satisfaction to inform you, that we entertain now no doubt of the Treasury & War offices being completely repaired and fit for occupation by the 1t. January next.

The repairs of the Capitol and Presidents house, are advancing as fast, considering the difficulties we had to encounter in removing the defective parts of those buildings, in procuring materials (particularly Stone) and in collecting Artizans (more especially Stonecutters) as can reasonably be expected. We have already commenced the rebuilding of the interior of the Chamber of the House of Representatives, and the vaults of eight rooms are completed in the North Wing in an elegant & masterly Style. In the course of a fortnight temporary roofs will be thrown over both wings, so as to preserve both the old and new works from injury.

Mr. Andrei has also lately sailed for the Mediterranean.

Mr. Latrobe at our request has recently explored the upper Potowmack for Marble; and has discovered a quarry of Statuary Marble, above Nowlands ferry a few miles South of the River in Loudoun County Virginia, and of variegated Marble in the same range of Country in the County of Frederick Maryland. The first quarry being buried deep in the earth he fears it will be expensive to work: the latter is very accessible both for Work and for Water transportation, and he is inclined to an opinion that the Columns of the house of Representatives may be made out of it. This will remain a subject for future enquiry. We continue Sir, with sentiments of the highest consideration & respect Yr obt Serts

John P. Van Ness

Richard Bland Lee

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

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