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    • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry
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    • Jefferson, Thomas
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I am just now arrived in the city, and will wait upon you as soon as I can make myself acquainted with the exact state of the public Works. I left Washington on the 30th. of June last. On the 12th. of July, Mrs. Latrobe’s mother died suddenly. On the 17th she was brought to bed of a daughter and continued so unwell for a month that it was improper to communicate to her the loss she had...
I accept with pleasure the favor of Your invitation to dinner tomorrow, and will come to the house at such an hour, with the workmen, as to put the work you propose into immediate execution. After waiting upon you yesterday, I examined the whole of the lower part of the building with a view to a supply of water to the Washhouse by means of the proposed forcing pump, and by this means have...
I arrived here on the 18th. and had the honor to receive Your letter of the 5th. Octr.—I immediately wrote to the works respecting your Iron, & have received for answer that it would be ready to go to Richmond in one Month. In my letter, I ordered our Roller to go to Jones & Howell, late Howell & Roberts to enquire as to the mode of welding the ends of the sheets together. On this point I have...
I arrived at this place from our works on the Canal yesterday, having daily attended at the postroad from the 3rd of Novr. to the 5th. in hopes that I should have been able to procure a passage to Washington. But the stages were so crouded with the Members going to Congress that I could not get a seat, and on the 5th both lines were preengaged for three days to come. It was then too late to go...
I returned home last night from the Canal and found your favor of the 14th. Our directors meet on Tuesday next the 20th. instant, and will probably sit the two following days. As soon as the board breaks up, I shall set off for Washington, and arrive with the Mail.—There are a few articles of information which it will be necessary for me to obtain before I can compleat my report,—as to the...
This day our board & its Committees finish their business. I shall get into the Mail, if possible today. At all events tomorrow & come on without the loss of a moments’ time. I am with the sincerest respect Yrs DLC : Papers of Thomas Jefferson.
In the reporting to You on the manner in which the work on the public buildings of the United States has been conducted during the Year 1804, I cannot avoid expressing my regret that a Sensible portion of the appropriation by Congress has necessarily been expended in pulling down or repairing what was done insufficiently, previously to the Year 1803. The application of the public money to the...
I received while in Philadelphia, (from whence I am just now returned) a short letter Decr. 21st from Mr Thompson, chairman of the Come. of the House of Representatives on the public buildings, requiring simply an estimate of the sum required to finish the Southwing of the Capitol. I promised, by return of post, an answer in a few days. In the meantime, having fortunately all the drawings with...
My very frequent absence from home at the Ch. & Del. Canal, occasions a great unpunctuality in my correspondence, & I have to apologise for not sooner answering Your letter of the 16th. Jany. Immediately after hearing of the passing of the appropriation law by the Senate, I will come to Washington, & in the mean time endeavor to digest a system of procedure for the next season, to be laid...
For the last three weeks I have been at Lancaster as the Agent of the Ches. & Del. Canal Co. to solicit Legislative aid to our undertaking, and having been detained from day to day, by the usual tediousness of such an application. Having succeeded as far as a resolution of each house in our favor, I returned hither last night, and shall in an hour proceed by the Mail to the works and thence to...
I have kept the enclosed letters by me above a Week, doubtful how to act respecting the subject of them. If in sending them to You I act imprudently,—my heart assures me, that the high opinion I have of your candor alone has led me into this imprudence, and that the sincerest & most respectful sentiments accompanies them.—By them it will appear that the sum I mentioned to You in the...
Dr. Salary of the Surveyor of the public Buildings Cr. Decr. 29 to March 1st. 60 days. By one Years pay 1804. 1.700 April 17th.  9 July 1. 13 Balance, loss on this Engagement 86. 62 Oct. 20.
On my return home,—for a few hours today,—to my family, I had the honor to receive both your letters of the 8th. & the 22d. April.—I feared that in the letter to which your first is an answer, I had exceeded the bounds of propriety, in my wish to go to the extent of my duty.—I beg to acknowledge with gratitude the manner in which you have received, & answered my letter.—I hope sincerely that...
I herewith transmit to you my correct, & carefully collated copies of your original Sketches of the arrangement of the connecting buildings between the Presidents house and the public Offices. The originals having been drawn in very soft black lead pencils, have been so rubbed by carriage, as to be almost obliterated in some parts, and I have therefore by carefully examining every part of them...
I herewith transmit to You two sheets containing the drawings of the buildings proposed to connect the president’s house with the public Offices on each side The heighth of story indispensibly necessary in the fireproof of the Treasury (of which Wythe’s post also transmit a plan to the Secy. Treasury) as well as the general appearance, & the connection of the Colonnade with the Offices at...
The Board of Directors & Committee of Works of our Company broke up only last night. The Subscribers are in debt to the Company for arrears of Subscriptions 86.000$ & upwards,—a deficiency fatal to any active operations this season. I have therefore been directed to discharge all our hands (about 300) excepting 60, and in this distressing business I have been all day engaged,—& have not yet...
We have now struck all the centers & I have employed Laborers to remove all the rubbish from the Ground story of the Capitol. If convenient to you to call when taking your ride at one o’clock, I shall be very happy to wait upon you to show You the Work, & will attend at the Building at that hour. The Men will then be at dinner & not return till two o’clock. With true respect DLC : Papers of...
I hoped yesterday morning to have personally answered the notes I had the pleasure to receive from you. But you were engaged when I did myself the favor to call, & I could not again wait upon you.— The Method used, I believe most generally on the Wharves in London to raise Weights into & out of Vessels is by a Walking wheel as it is called. This Wheel brings your idea of the Wallower or...
Since my departure from Washington, I find by constant correspondence with Mr. Lenthall, that all the works at Washington are regularly going on.—A difficulty has however occurred in procuring the boards for the roof of the Capitol of heart pine 12 inches broad.—Mr. King the Timber merchant at Georgetown has declined engaging to supply them on any terms. I have therefore written to Mr....
I have been here for some time, 10 days, & shall remain untill every thing which requires my presence is compleatly disposed of, which will be the case I hope about the middle of next week. I will now endeavor to give you full information of all the circumstances attending the present state of the public buildings. 1. The Capitol.— The exterior walls are caried up perfectly as high as the tops...
I have been this day honored by your letter of the 8th. and shall immediately take care, that the alteration in the North Wing of the capitol shall extend no further than to divide the room in the north west corner; leaving the Semieliptical Vestibule in its present state. I am, at the same time not a little apprehensive of the disposition of the Senate at their next meeting. On your arrival...
For the last three Weeks I have been confined by a very severe Fever, & am still so far from well that I cannot leave the house.—I take the liberty to enclose a packet containing drawings for the capitol, and with your permission, shall avail myself of your cover for the remaining drawings which are now becoming very numerous & bulky, and the postage of which is a very serious expense.—My...
I arrived in the city last night by the Mail, having for the last five weeks, since my recovery, been detained from day to day, by the most disagreeable task of winding up for the present the concerns of canal company, & discharging our people without the immediate means of discharging their claims.—On this account, and because I did not conceive that I had a right to occupy your valuable time...
In applying the appropriations of the last Session of Congress, of 110,000$ to the prosecution of the work on the South wing of the Capitol, & of 20,000$ to the service of the other public buildings, I have endeavored so to comply with your directions, as to forward the progress of the works to the utmost extent of the limited resources of this City. The mass of building which has been erected...
It has been out of my power from the multiplicity of business necessary now to be done to forward the reports & plans herewith sent before now.—I transmit them by Mr Demun, who will receive any commands with which you may please further to favor me respecting them.—A plan of the Wing so arranged as to be set in types is now in the hands of the printer, & will be ready for the printing of the...
The storm of yesterday prevented my waiting upon you to state, that having done all the business relative to the accounts & design of the public buildings, which can now be done,—it was my wish to return for a short time to my family, from whom I have for the last 3 months been almost entirely separated.—Your note of to day found me just ready to go off by the mail, and as Mr. Lenthall is with...
Although I have been in the city a week, an unfortunate accident has prevented my waiting upon you hitherto, a blow which I received upon my head from a brick, falling from the scaffolding of the building. I was stunned & senseless for a short time, & have been since so troubled with giddiness, that till yesterday, I could not see to write,—& have not ventured since the accident beyond the...
Mr Latrobe most respectfully requests the favor that the President will send him the design of the proposed method of completing the Capitol, as it contains the plan of the recess, without which no commencement of the work can be made. The bearer if convenient will take charge of it. DLC : Papers of Thomas Jefferson.
In the success of my exertions to compleat the South wing of the Capitol so far as that it shall be capable of receiving the House of representatives at their next session, I conceive all my professional reputation, & every evidence of the truth of my profession of attachment & respect to You to be at Stake,—& I beg leave therefore to assure you,—that whatever may be the event of my present...
I have waited till this late hour for the list of his Workmen, & of all the blocks which are now on the Yard which Mr Blagden has promised me, & which is necessary to the completion of the scheme of the progress of the workg which I have to submit to you. I find so many of our Blocks, on examination, to be cracked by drying, that my statement, is incorrect, in as far as the work expected to be...
I promised in a letter I wrote to You on Tuesday last to transmit to You by the post of the next day a statement of the progress which might reasonably be expected in the work of the South Wing of the Capitol in the course of the present season. A difficulty had occurred in the course of that day which had induced me to postpone this statement,—the flaws which were discovered in the stone...
Our Works at the Canal are 18 Miles from hence at the nearest point, and at present 6 Miles in extent. Our Clerk of the Works being absent & sick the whole weight of general & detailed direction has for two Months been on my shoulders, and on this acct. my daily occupation is uncertain as to it’s place . Owing to this circumstance your letter & the drawings you returned to me, did not reach me...
During the course of August the turning of the lobby arches will render the progress of the freestone work unequal, but it is highly probable that on the 1st. of Septr. All the freestone work will be finished & be ready to receive the roof. In the meantime,—on the 1st. of July,—All the sashes & frames of the Office Story will be put in, & the grounds for Plaistering put up.— 10th. The...
I had the favor of your letter of the 1st. of July yesterday evening & have immediately taken the necessary steps to procure 6 Stonecutters,—but as this is the Anniversary of our Independence I have found it impossible to procure the attention of anybody today . Tomorrow, I expect to be able to make sure of as many as the city can spare. I have called the Master Stonecutters together, & have...
Agreeably to your desire, I have exerted myself to collect Workmen (Stonecutters) in this city, but have not yet obtained more than two, who will set off as soon as they can finish a small job which they are now about.—I called the Master Stonecutters together, & was so fortunate, as to obtain their promise to assist me in ascertaining the Character of the Men I may find willing to go to the...
My last letter d. Philadel. July 26th. gave you an account of the measures I had then taken, and was about to take in order to procure the necessary of supply of articles for the Capitol which can only be had to the North ward, & also to engage as many Stonecutters as could be got.—The consequences of my complaint had till then rendered it impossible for me to ride,—but I on the twenty seventh...
As I could not be well spared myself, I sent down my Clerk to the Quarries, immediately after writing to you, and as soon as the business would permit, I followed him, and made such arrangements, as that we have now all our most heavy stone in the Yard, and shall not probably be again at a Stand for stone. The architrave is set round the East semicircle, & by Friday evening the three Stones...
I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 13h. this morning, being arrived here from the country, on my road to Washington. I am still so weak, that a few days of rest are necessary to me, before I can proceed, but on Monday or Tuesday, I shall go by way of Newcastle to Baltimore & be in Washington in all next week. I write to Mr. Lenthall by this post & shall give him such instructions...
During your illness, from which I sincerely rejoice that you are recovering, I was unwilling personally to intrude upon you, & I am still fearful, lest a visit on business, might not yet be convenient to You. I beg leave therefore to request Your consideration, and indulgence, while I state to you in writing, what I should otherwise have verbally laid before you.— I have heard with great...
I am so unwilling to take up your time unnecessarily, especially on my own concerns, that I take the liberty to write, rather than speak to you. During my stay here from the 10th. of April to the latter part of May, I stated to you an account, showing the inadequacy of my Salary of 1.700$ to cover the expenses induced by my appointment. You were pleased to say that it should be raised to...
We have put in the frames of the Pannel lights on the whole of the West side of the dome and are now engaged in putting in those on the East. I find it impossible to save the Center light on the South side, and indeed it would have been better to have sacrificed the two next east & West of them,—for the roof in that part is so flat, that I fear we must cover it with Lead. I will endeavor so to...
In presenting to you the drawing of the Capitol, which I herewith leave at the President’s house, I have no object but to gratify my desire, as an individual citizen, to give you a testimony of the truest respect and attachment;—an attachment to which your high office adds nothing,—and which existed though not in the same degree for your character before I had the happiness to be known to you,...
The difficulty of procuring a sufficient supply of freestone, of a quality suitable to the construction of the interior of the House of Representatives, and of its communications, which I stated and explained to you in my report of the 22nd. day of December 1805, has rendered the completion of the South wing of the Capitol, so that it could be occupied by the House during the approaching...
Mr Lenthall did not put the drawings of the proposed alteration of the North Wing of the Capitol into my hands till this moment. I have in the limits of the recess been attentive to the caution you formerly gave me on the subject of the Center part of the Work, and they are contracted within the line that bounds the North side of the South Recess, at the angle of which stands the pilaster...
The Roof of the South wing of the Capitol having been completly boarded before the late heavy rain, it was sufficiently tight to throw a very large quantity of Water upon the Gutters which lie in the direction of, & over the Arch that surrounds the Area of the house. All the Water which fell between the Gutters & the external Walls was thus collected in a Body in the N.E & N.W, angles. These...
The very unfavorable weather of yesterday rendered it impossible for me to procure all the information necessary to compleat the enclosed report before the evening, & then, having no servant of my own here, I could not procure it to be conveyed to you agreeably to promise. In order to avoid intrusion on your time at the present near approach of the Session, I do not wait upon You. I have left...
I fear I have done wrong in printing the letter herewith sent without communicating to you the Manuscript. My only excuse is this: that having postponed the fulfillment of my intention so long that I found there would be difficulty in getting the letter printed after congress had met,—I at last wrote hastily, & the little pamphlet is the production of three nights, between the hours of 10 &...
Since my arrival in this city I have endeavored by enquiries here, & by writing to New York, Boston, & Albany to procure the glass necessary for the lights of the Cieling of the Hall of Representatives, and have been entirely disappointed. I have therefore sent by the Packet an order to England of which a duplicate shall follow by the first opportunity, and, unless the Vessel should be lost we...
Since the situation of my family has been such as to leave me at liberty to return to Washington, I have been detained here by the most distressing pecuniary embarrassments. They have arisen from the recoil of the notes issued by the Ches: & Del. Canal Company upon me,—which I took in payment & paid away again more than a Year ago; and also from the misconduct of the persons who were...
I fear the largest Vessel which Mr. Foxall could Cast would be too small for a Cistern for the presidents house. A round Vessel might be indeed made of two Cylinder with a flat bottom. Last Year I proposed to Mr Foxall to cast a number of Flanched plates to make a Cistern, but he made some objection. However I will see him as soon as I can get out. At present I am confined by a most painful...