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    • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry
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    • Jefferson, Thomas
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    • Jefferson Presidency

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I much fear that in performing my duty, and endeavoring to give you all the information possible on the State of the public buildings, I claim an unreasonable portion of your time & attention.—My present letter is on a subject on which I see only one mode of proceeding, and that one , involves a mode of finishing the roof of the North wing on which I solicit your opinion and direction:...
The fall of the arch or Vault of the Court room in the North Wing of the Capitol on Monday last, & the death of Mr. Lenthall who was buried in its ruins, must be known to you through the medium of the National Intelligencer & the Monitor in all its circumstances. Among the multitude of vexations, regrets, & business which this unfortunate event has thrown upon me, I feel extremely mortified...
The several appropriations made at the last session of Congress for the progress of the work on the Public Buildings, have, during the late recess of the Legislature been applied to their specific objects in the manner which I now beg leave to report to You.  1. South Wing of the Capitol In this wing all the wood work & the covering of the Roof have been painted,—the Iron railing of the...
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...
In arranging the papers which I brought with me from Washington, I have had the mortification to find the enclosed letter, written immediately before my departure from the city, and intended to have been forwarded by the post of that evening, but which it appears, in the hurry of packing up has slipped into my paper case. I still beg the favor of you to read it, as it contains my reasons for...
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 was going to send you the enclosed when I received your valuable present of the Camera obscura, accompanied by a note still more valuable. You have conferred upon me nothing but benefits. This additional kindness renders me at a loss how to express what I feel towards you. I cannot do it in words; but the opinion and the regard that prompted this new proof of your sentiments towards me are...
Your favor of the 18th. came to hand this morning, & I feel exceedingly obliged by your early attention to mine of the 13th. I should have been the happiest Man in the United States had you adopted my first instead of my second proposition. But you have not, & I must now pluck up the courage of a Man who marches to meet certain death at the breach, & do my duty without inquiring the result of...
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...
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...
In reply to the letter I have had the honor to receive from you this morning I beg to submit the following estimate & remarks.— Estimate of the prime cost of Stone walling, in Washington, May 1st. 1808. 1./ The price at which we have paid for rough Stone for the last Season at least, (I believe for 3 Years past) is ⅌ perch delivered at the Wharf.— $1.75 It will not be lower this season,...
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...
I herewith transmit to you, a separate Roll containing drawings:—being the plans & sections of the South Wing of the Capitol according to the ideas which I explained to You when I had the favor of seeing you last.—I fear however that these and any other preparations for proceeding with the public Works may be useless,—for by a letter from Mr Lenthall I learn, that the appropriation bill has...
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...
I received the letter you did me the favor to write on the subject of the removal of the earth from the president’s house a few days ago, but have been unable to go thither till yesterday, & to consider the state of the ground. The ground proposed in your letter to be removed is comprised in the space I to O. The section below shows the relative situation of the ground, to the part comprized...
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...
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...
I herewith submit to your consideration a project for laying out the ground around the president’s house. The present enclosure together with the buildings already erected & those projected are also laid down in their proper situations so as to give to You at one view all the merits of the plan. By the arrangement the public are put to no inconvenience of communication between the parts of the...
The arrangements proposed by me for the use of the rooms with North wing of the Capitol may be postponed untill your arrival, when on inspection of them, it may perhaps occur to you to give directions different from those which I have proposed, or which have yet been suggested. The extremely inconvenient accomodation of the court will no doubt strike you, & in the mean time, I will write to...
Mr Latrobe presents his most respectful Compliments to the President U.S.—& thanks him for the Inventory sent him. Mr. Latrobe’s object in going to Philadelphia is to take some measures necessary for the supply of sundry materials for the Pblic Bldgs, & articles of furniture for the Presids. house. He intends to return without fail on the 2d. of March. Before the President’s journey to...
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 &...
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 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...
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...
To the President of the United States of America. The Report of the Surveyor of the Publick buildings of the United States, at Washington March 23d. 1808 My Report on the progress and state of the publick buildings of the United States in the City of Washington during the year 1807 has been delayed untill all the work performed at the Capitol and the Presidents house could be measured and the...
Since your departure the public Works have made regular progress, nor has any thing occurred which would have authorized, my trespassing on your time by a letter.—I have been since then in Philadelphia & New York, & returned hither about three weeks ago.—The confinement of my wife & the loss of our child has since my return delayed the statement I am now going to make of the present situation...
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...
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...
A Report has just now been made to the House on the public Buildings. It contains all the arguments that can be adduced in favor of the appropriation & the best defence that could have been urged as to the deficit. To me it is highly flattering, a circumstance not less pleasing to my self love, & useful to my professional standing, than agreeable to every feeling of my heart in reference to...
I most sincerely regret your continued illness.—The weather prevented till Saturday any measures being taken to lay out the grounds. Today I am engaged in it.—A contract for the Wall is made.—As soon as the stakes are driven the diggers will go to work. At the capitol we have this morng recommenced the external works. The plaisterers are lathing the cieling.— with high respect Yrs. DLC :...