Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from the District of Columbia Commissioners, 1 June 1801

From the District of Columbia Commissioners

Commissioners Office 1st. June 1801.


We have taken into consideration the prospect of an encreased Representation in Congress, and have concluded, that the present House will not, after the next apportionment of Members, be sufficient for their accommodation.

We, in consequence, requested Mr. Hoban to sketch Plans or Estimates of a Building which may temporarily answer that purpose; he has made out Estimates on three different plans, and will wait on you to give any Explanations that may be required to enable you to form an opinion of the propriety of adopting any of them, if means cannot be obtained to finish the south wing of the Capitol.—

We are, with Sentiments of the greatest respect, Sir, Yr. mo: Obt Servants

William Thornton

Alexr White

Tristram Dalton

P.S. Since writing the above, Genl Forrest has written a letter to the Board, a copy of which we think proper to transmit to the President for his consideration.

RC (DLC: District of Columbia Papers); in William Brent’s hand, signed by Thornton, White, and Dalton; at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 June and so recorded in SJL. FC (DNA: RG 42, DCLB). Enclosure not found.

From November 1800 to March 1801, both the House and Senate met in the Capitol’s north or Senate wing, the only completed portion of the Capitol building. On 27 May 1801, the District of Columbia Commissioners asked James Hoban to estimate the cost of erecting a temporary building “on the eliptic Foundation in the South wing of the Capitol” so that “the Arcades, and as much of the other work as can be done consistently with the general Plan of the Capitol may remain permanent.” Hoban was superintendent of public buildings (27 May and list of salaries at 12 Jan., DNA: RG 42, PC; Vol. 33:xlvi).

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