網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

was

along the shores of the river, and made ar- the several States, with streets intersecting rangements with owners of the land for them in such a peculiar way that they have them to cede to the United States the ever been a puzzle to strangers. The corwhole, containing from 3,000 to 5,000 ner-stone of the Capitol was laid by acres, on the condition that when it should Washington in 1793, with masonic cerebe surveyed and laid off as a city the monies. The seat of government proprietors should retain every other lot; transferred to the national capital in 1800, and for such parts of the land as should when the President's house was first ocbe taken for public use—for squares, cupied by Adams and his family. It walks, etc.—they should be allowed at the was then a dreary place. There was only rate of about $75 an acre, the public hav a path leading from the President's house ing the right to reserve such part of wood to the Capitol, which were a mile apart, on the land as might be thought necessary through an elder swamp, along the line to be preserved for ornament; the land of the (present) Pennsylvania Avenue, and holders to have the use and profits of the officers of government suffered many all the lands until the city should be laid privations for a while. Oliver Wolcott, off into lots and sale should be made of the Secretary of the Treasury, wrote, in the lots. Nothing was to be allowed for the fall of 1800: “ There is one good tavern, ground occupied as streets or alleys. about 40 rods from the Capitol, and sev

The lands were surveyed by Major eral houses are built or erecting, but I L'Enfant (an engineer who had served in don't see how members of Congress can the Continental army), under the general possibly secure lodgings unless they will direction of Andrew Ellicott, of Maryland; consent to live like scholars in a college, and the city was laid out on a magnificent or monks in a monastery, ten or twenty scale in 1791, with broad avenues radiat- crowded in one house." Great inconing from the Capitol, bearing the names of venience was felt at the unfinished Presidential mansion. “I could content myself The first meeting of Congress took place anywhere for three months,” wrote Mrs. in Washington in November, 1800. The Adams, “but, surrounded with forests, act assuming jurisdiction was approved can you believe that wood is not to be by President Adams, Feb. 27, 1801. The had, because people cannot be found to Mona hoac and Monacon Indians once occut and cart it! ... We have, indeed, cupied the site of the city, and it was come into a new country.'”

called Conococheague, meaning “Roaring

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

a

Waters," from the number of brooks in When the battle of Bladensburg ended in the vicinity and the falls in the Potomac victory for the British, and the Americans near. The site of the Capitol was once were dispersed or in full retreat, Presiowned by a man named Pope, who gave it dent Madison, Secretary of State Monroe, the name of Rome, and the eastern branch and Secretary of War Armstrong, who had of the Potomac, that flows near, he called come out to see the fight, and, if possible, the Tiber. The eminence on which the to give assistance, hastened back to WashCapitol stands might have been properly ington as fast as fleet horses could carry called, in that connection, the Capitoline them. The race created much merriment Hill. The city was incorporated May 3, at the time. A writer in a New York jour1802.

nal said: Shwuld some Walter Scott [his The Capitol was built of white free- Marmion had recently appeared, and was stone. It is upon an eminence, about 80 then very popular], in the next century, feet above tide-water, in the centre of a write a poem, and call it Jadison, or the large square. It is composed of a central Battle of Bladensburg, we should suggest edifice, with two wings. The north wing the following lines for the conclusion: was begun in 1793, and finished in 1800,

“ Fly, Monroe, fly! run, Armstrong, run! at a cost of $480,000. The south wing

Were the last words of Madison." was commenced in 1803, and completed in 1808, at an expense of about $309,- The President and his fugitive party were 000. The central building was not be- the first to announce to the citizens the gun when the two wings were burned loss of the battle and the march of the hy the British in 1814. The length of the victors on the capital. Up to this time front, including the two wings, was 352 the conduct of the British had been in feet. The construction of the central accordance with the rules of modern warbuilding was begun in 1818, and com- fare. Now they abandoned them. Ross pleted in 1827, at a cost of $958,000. The left the main body within a mile and a wings were rebuilt, and were ready for half of the town, then containing about occupancy, and were first occupied by the 900 buildings. The commanding general, two Houses of Congress, Dec. 6, 1819. The acco

ccompanied by Cockburn, the marauder, whole edifice covered the space of an acre entered the city at 8 P.M., accompanied by and a half, exclusive of the circular en- a guard of 200 men. From a house near closure for fuel, which forms an elegant the Capitol, they were fired upon by a area and glacis on the western front. An single musket, and the ball killed the enlargement of the Capitol was begun in horse on which Ross rode. The house 1851, when the grand master mason (B. was immediately demolished by the exB. French) used the apron and trowel, asperated soldiers. Then the same fate in laying the corner-stone of the enlarge overtook the office of the National Intelment, made use of by Washington in ligencer, whose strictures upon the bru1793. The corner-stone was then laid by tality of Cockburn had excited his anger. President Fillmore. The extension, made These and some houses on Capitol Hill, a at each end of the old Capitol, was finished large ropewalk and a tavern, comprised in 1867. The old building now forms its the bulk of the private property destroyed. centre, with a grand portico composed of Ross had come to destroy the public proptwenty-four Corinthian columns. The erty there, in obedience to the orders of entire length of the Capitol is now 751 his superior, but even that was repugnant feet, and the greatest depth, including to his humane nature. Fortunately for porticos and steps, 348 feet. From the him, he was accompanied by one who decentre rises a cast-iron dome, 1351/2 feet lighted in such cruelties, and Admiral in diameter, to a height of 2871/2 feet Cockburn became, literally, his torchabove the basement floor of the building. bearer. The unfinished Capitol, the PresiThe dome is surmounted by a bronze dent's house (a mile distant), the treasstatue of Liberty, by Crawford, 191/2 feet ury buildings, the arsenal, and barracks in height. Beneath the dome is the ro- for about 3,000 troops, were soon in flames, tunda, 96 feet in diameter, containing the light of which was seen in Baltimore, numerous historical paintings.

40 miles distant. In the course of a few

a

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

hours nothing was left of these superb with the retribution of desolating the edifices but their blackened walls. Of the entire Niagara frontier and the massacre public buildings, only the patent office of the garrison at Fort Niagara. The govwas saved. The President, in a proclama. ernment of England (seldom in accord tion (Sept. 1, 1814), submitted the fol- with the people) thanked the actors in lowing indictment: “They wantonly de- the scenes, caused the Tower guns to be stroyed the public edifices having no fired in honor of the event, and on the relation in their structure to operations of death of Ross, not long afterwards, ordered war, nor used at the time for military an- a monument to his memory to be erected noyance; some of these edifices being costly in Westminster Abbey. While the public monuments of taste and of the arts, and buildings in Washington were in flames, others depositories of the public archives, the national shipping, stores, and other not only precious to the nation as the me- property were blazing at the navy-yard; morials of its origin and its early trans- also Long Bridge that spanned the Potoactions, but interesting to all nations as mac from Washington to the Virginia contributions to the general stock of his- shore. Commodore Tingey, who was in torical instruction and political science.” command at the navy-yard, had received The people of Great Britain deplored this instructions to set the public property on barbarity of their troops, and their best fire rather than let it fall into the hands

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

writers denounced the act. Ross was urged of the invaders. He applied the torch at to it by Cockburn, who declared that it about the same moment when Ross and was the wish of Sir George Prevost, gov- his guard entered the city. Property ernor of Canada, that further retaliation valued at about $1,000,000 was destroyed. for the burning of NEWARK (q. v.) The value of the entire property destroyed should be inflicted, he not being satisfied at Washington, by the Americans and the

POTOMAC

NARTINSBURG

BALTIMORE

HARP CRS FERRY

British, was about $2,000,000. For these nothing that Mr. Buchanan promises. He calamities the public were disposed to will cheat us unless we are too quick for hold the Secretary of War responsible. him.” Nor would they confide implicitly The clamor against him was so great that in each other. The same writer said: he resigned, Sept. 6, 1814.

“ Further, let me warn you of the danger At the close of 1860, when South Caro- of Governor Pickens making Trescott his lina had passed an ordinance of secession, channel of communication with the Presithe enemies of the government were bold dent, for the latter will be informed of and defiant at the national capital. Se- everything that transpires, and that to cession cockades appeared in the streets. our injury.” Washington society was at The newspapers there were generally fill. that time thoroughly permeated with the ed with seditious matter. Virginia news- views of the Confederates, and the Southpapers had already suggested the capture ern members of Congress, in both houses, of Fortress Monroe, the Gosport navy. formed the focus of the disunion moveyard, and the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, ments in the slave-labor States which soon preparatory to the seizure of the national created civil war. Yet, with all this tide of capital and its archives. The Confederates open disloyalty surging around the nationwere so confident of the success of their al capital, the President, seemingly bound scheme that a leading Virginian said hand and foot in the toils of the enemies openly: “Mr. Lincoln will not dare to come to Washington after the expiration of the term of Mr. Buchanan. The city will be seized and occupied as the capital of the Southern Confederacy, and Mr. Lincoln will be compelled to take his oath of office in Philadelphia or New York." The veteran journalist Duff Green, the warm co-worker with Calhoun, said to Joseph C. Lewis, of Washington: “We intend to take possession of the army and navy and of the archives of the government; not allow the electoral vote to be counted; proclaim Buchanan provisional President, if he will do as

we wish—and if not, choose another; seize the Harper's Ferry arsenal and the Gosport navy-yard simultaneously, and, sending armed men down from the of his country, sat with folded hands, and former and armed vessels up from the did not lift a finger to stay the fury of the latter, seize Washington and establish a rising tempest. Of him a writer at the new government." The Confederates be- capital (John W. Forney) said: His conlieved the President was pledged not to in- fidants are disunionists; his leaders in terfere, and that the seat of government of the Senate and in the House are disthe “ Southern Confederacy” might be es- unionists, and while he drives into exile tablished there without governmental re- the oldest statesman in America [General sistance. But all were not satisfied of the Cass] simply and only because he dares co-operation of the President. Some South to raise his voice in favor of the country, Carolina spies in Washington could not he consults daily with men who publicly trust him. One of them, writing to the avow in their seats in Congress that the Charleston Mercury, said: “I know all Union is dissolved and that the laws are that has been done here, but depend upon standing still.”

WINCHESTER

LEESBURG

CHAIN BRIDGE

[ocr errors]

WASHINGTON

MANAS AS GAPYRA

N

DCENT CROWILLE

PICOMONT

ALEXANDR

WARRCNTON

[ocr errors]

MAP OF WASHINGTON AXD VICINITY IN 1861.

« 上一頁繼續 »