Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 22 February 1804

To the Senate and the House of Representatives

To the Senate and
House of Representatives of the US.

I communicate to Congress, for their information, a report of the Surveyor of the public buildings at Washington, stating what has been done under the act of the last session concerning the city of Washington, on the Capitol and other public buildings and the highway between them.

Th: Jefferson

Feb. 22. 1804.

RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 8th Cong., 1st sess.). PoC (DNA: RG 46, LPPM, 8th Cong., 1st sess.). FC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notations “Expenditures on buildings &c. at Washington” and “copied with the double pen of Hawkins.” Enclosure: Benjamin H. Latrobe to TJ, 20 Feb. 1804.

Lewis Harvie delivered this letter and report to the Senate and House on 22 Feb. The Senate ordered both to lie for consideration, while the House referred the report to a committee consisting of Philip R. Thompson, John Smilie, Benjamin Huger, John Campbell, and Richard Cutts. On 13 Mch., the House approved a resolution and ordered the committee to draw up a bill allocating $50,000 for the public buildings. The bill passed the House three days later and after some interference in the Senate passed that body on 27 Mch. (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820-21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:363; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:593, 646-7, 655; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834-56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 13:299-300, 305-6).

As indicated by his notation in SJL, this was TJ’s first recorded use of the polygraph machine invented by John Isaac Hawkins, who transferred the rights to the invention to Charles Willson Peale. While he waited for one of his own, TJ borrowed the polygraph of Benjamin H. Latrobe, much to Latrobe’s and his “Wifes inconvenience, whom,” Latrobe reported to Peale, “I have now restord to her former post of Copying Clerk” (Latrobe, Correspondence description begins John C. Van Horne and Lee W. Formwalt, eds., The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, New Haven, 1984-88, 3 vols. description ends , 1:436).

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