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Title: History of the Washington National Monument and of the Washington National Monument Society
Author: Harvey, Frederick Loviad
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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The practical construction of the Washington National Monument, in
detail, as a work of great engineering skill, is a subject for separate
account and technical discussion.

The _history_ of the Monument is found in the annals and proceedings of
Congress and in the records and archives of the Washington National
Monument Society. This history, in the main, is the history of that
Society--its original formation, subsequent incorporation by act of
Congress, and its long continued and patriotic labors to fulfil the
object of its existence, the erection at the seat of the Federal
Government of a great Monument to the memory of Washington.

The origin of the Society is to be found in the failure of the National
Congress, through a long series of years, to redeem a solemn pledge made
by the Continental Congress, in 1783.

A review of this failure properly precedes any account of the Society or
of the constructed Monument.


On the 7th of August, 1783, it was resolved by the Congress "that an
equestrian statue of General Washington be erected at the place where
the residence of Congress shall be established." The resolution also
directed that "the statue should be supported by a marble pedestal on
which should be represented four principal events of the war in which he
commanded in person."

On the pedestal were to have been engraved the following words:

  "The United States, in Congress assembled, ordered this statue to be
  erected in the year of our Lord, 1783, in honor of George
  Washington, the illustrious Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the
  United States of America during the war which vindicated and secured
  their liberty, sovereignty, and independence."

At this time Washington was beloved by the American people as their
great leader in their struggle for liberty. But the passage of this
resolution by Congress was not followed by any legislative action
looking to its practical execution.

As President of the United States, by his wise administration of the
affairs of the new-born Republic, he so added to his fame and so won the
gratitude of his countrymen, that on his death a select joint committee
of both Houses of Congress was appointed to consider a suitable manner
of paying honor to his memory.

December 24, 1799, on motion of John Marshall, in the House of
Representatives, it was resolved by Congress, among other things, "that
a marble monument be erected by the United States at the City of
Washington, and that the family of General Washington be requested to
permit his body to be deposited under it; and that the monument be so
designed as to commemorate the great events of his military and
political life."

A copy of the resolutions was sent to his widow by the President of the
United States. In her reply, acceding to the request, she said:

  "Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me
  never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I need not, I
  cannot, say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense
  of public duty."

The select committee which was appointed to carry into effect the
foregoing resolution, and of which Mr. Henry Lee was chairman, reported
on the 8th of May, 1800, that a marble monument be erected by the United
States, at the Capital, in honor of General Washington, to commemorate
his services, and to express the feeling of the American people for
their irreparable loss. It was further directed by this report that the
resolution of the Continental Congress of August 7, 1783, should be
carried into immediate execution, the pedestal to bear the inscription
which that Congress had ordered for it.

Upon considering the report and resolution of the select committee that
part in reference to the equestrian statue was so amended by Congress as
to provide that a "mausoleum of American granite and marble, in
pyramidal form, one hundred feet square at the base and of a
proportionate height," should be erected instead of it.

To carry these resolves into execution no appropriation was then made;
but on the 1st of January, 1801, it appears the House of Representatives
passed a bill appropriating $200,000 to cover the objects of their

The Senate, however, did not concur in this act. The reason, perhaps,
may be found in the political questions then absorbing the attention of
Congress and the people, and which continued until the War of 1812.

The subject of a suitable national memorial to Washington now slept
apparently forgotten until 1816, when it again awoke in the Halls of
Congress. In the month of February of that year, the General Assembly of
Virginia instructed the Governor of that State to correspond with Judge
Bushrod Washington, then proprietor of Mount Vernon, with the object of
securing his consent to the removal of Washington's remains to Richmond,
to be there marked by a fitting monument to his memory. Upon learning of
this action by the General Assembly of Virginia, Congress, being then in
session, Hon. Benjamin Huger, a member from South Carolina, and who had
been in the Congress of 1799, moved that a select joint committee of
both Houses be appointed to carry into effect the proceedings had by
Congress at the time of Washington's death. In this the Senate

The committee proposed was appointed, and later introduced a bill and
reported, recommending that a tomb should be prepared in the foundations
of the Capitol for the remains of Washington, and that a _monument_
should be erected to his memory. But this plan for the removal of the
remains failed. Judge Bushrod Washington declining to consent to their
removal on the ground that they had been deposited in the vault at Mount
Vernon in conformity with Washington's express wish. "It is his own
will," said Judge Washington, writing to the Governor of Virginia, "and
that will is to me a law which I dare not disobey." The recorded action
in the House of Representatives on this bill was, "And that said bill be
indefinitely postponed."

No report seems to have been made in the Senate. A vault, however,
appears to have been prepared for the remains beneath the center of the
dome and rotunda of the Capitol and beneath the floor of its crypt.

Again did Congress fail to take steps to carry out its deliberate action
to build a monument to Washington. In 1819, Mr. Goldsborough, in the
Senate, moved a resolution to erect an equestrian statue to General
Washington, which passed July 19th. The resolution was read twice in the
House, referred to Committee of the Whole, and was indefinitely

On the 15th of January, 1824, Mr. James Buchanan, then a member of the
House of Representatives, and later President of the United States,
offered to that body the following resolution:

    "_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed whose duty it shall be to
    inquire in what manner the resolution of Congress, passed on the
    24th of December, 1799, relative to the erection of a marble
    monument in the Capitol, at the City of Washington, to commemorate
    the great events of the military and political life of General
    Washington may be best accomplished, and that they have leave to
    report by bill or otherwise."

This resolution, after some discussion, was laid on the table. The hour
was not propitious, and honor to the memory of Washington was again

In his first annual message to Congress, dated December 6, 1825, the
President, John Quincy Adams, invited the attention of Congress to its
unfulfilled pledge in the following language:

  "On the 24th of December, 1799, it was resolved by Congress that a
  marble monument should be erected by the United States in the Capitol,
  at the City of Washington; that the family of General Washington should
  be requested to permit his body to be deposited under it, and that the
  monument be so designed as to commemorate the great events of his
  military and political life. In reminding Congress of this resolution,
  and that the monument contemplated by it remains yet without execution,
  I shall indulge only the remarks that the works at the Capitol are
  approaching completion; that the consent of the family, desired by the
  resolution, was requested and obtained; that a monument has been
  recently erected in this city over the remains of another distinguished
  patriot of the Revolution, and that a spot has been reserved within the
  walls where you are deliberating for the benefit of this and future
  ages, in which the mortal remains may be deposited of him whose spirit
  hovers over you and listens with delight to every act of the
  Representatives of this Nation which can tend to exalt and adorn his and
  their country."

But this reminder of the President's went unheeded by the Congress to
which it was addressed.

Several years now elapsed before the question again arose in Congress of
a monument to the memory of Washington. On the 13th of February, 1832, a
report was made to the Senate of the United States by Henry Clay, and to
the House of Representatives by Mr. Philemon Thomas, chairmen,
respectively, of committees to make arrangements for celebrating the
approaching centennial anniversary of Washington's birthday. One of the
resolutions authorized the President of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives "to make application to John A. Washington,
of Mount Vernon, for the body of George Washington, to be removed and
deposited in the Capitol at Washington City, in conformity with the
resolutions of Congress of the 24th of December, 1799, and that if they
obtain the requisite consent to the removal thereof they be further
authorized to cause it to be removed and deposited in the Capitol on the
22d day of February, 1832."

It will be noted that this resolution does not suggest any connection
between the removal of the remains and their being deposited under a
monument, as proposed by the resolution of 1799. At this time, one of
the standing committees of the House of Representatives, as it appears,
had under consideration the erection of a marble statue of Washington,
to be executed by Mr. Horatio Greenough, and which it was proposed to
place in the centre of the rotunda of the Capitol. The resolution
providing for this statue had been introduced into the House of
Representatives in 1830.

Upon the submission of the select committee's resolutions for the
removal of Washington's remains discussion arose. From a remark by Mr.
Clay, the purpose seems to have been to place the remains in the vault
under the center of the rotunda, which had been suggested on a former
occasion by President Adams, in 1825.

The two Senators and some of the Representatives from Virginia opposed
the removal of the remains of Washington from Mount Vernon. In the
discussion Senator Tazewell referred to the application by Virginia in
1816 for the removal of the remains of Washington to Richmond, to be
there deposited under a suitable monument. He remarked that Judge
Washington replied that "it was impossible for him consent to the
removal unless the remains of one of those dear relations accompanied
the body."

"Are the remains," asked Mr. Tazewell, "of the husband to be removed
from the side of the wife? In their lives they lived happily together,
and I never will consent to divide them in death."

This thought appears to have made so strong an impression on Congress
that the resolution was altered so as to ask the consent of Mr. John A.
Washington and that of Mr. George Washington P. Custis, the grandson of
Mrs. Martha Washington, for the removal and depositing in the Capitol at
Washington City of her remains at the same time with those of her late
consort, George Washington.

In response to the purpose of the resolution, Mr. John A. Washington
felt constrained to withhold his consent by the fact that General
Washington's will, in respect to the disposition of his remains, had
been recently carried into full effect. Mr. Custis, however, took a
different view of that clause in the will, and gave his "most hearty
consent to the removal of the remains after the manner proposed," and
congratulated "the Government upon the approaching consummation of a
great act of national gratitude."

In the debate in the House of Representatives on the resolution and
accompanying report, Mr. Doddridge, of Virginia, remarked that he was a
member of the State's legislature when the transaction by it took place
in 1816, and "he felt entirely satisfied that the resolution for
removing the remains to Richmond would never have passed the Assembly of
Virginia but for the loss of all hope that Congress would act in the

Mr. Duffie opposed the removal of the remains, saying: "As to a
monument, rear it; spend upon it what you will; make it durable as the
pyramids, eternal as the mountains; you shall have my co-operation.
Erect, if you please, a mausoleum to the memory of Washington in the
Capitol, and let it be as splendid as art can make it."

The refusal of Mr. John A. Washington to permit the removal of the
remains of Washington seems to have prompted Mr. Clay to urge the
adoption of the pending resolution to erect a statue of Washington at
the Capitol. "An image," he said, "a testimonial of this great man, the
Father of his Country, should exist in every part of the Union as a
memorial of his patriotism and of the services rendered his country; but
of all places, it was required in this Capitol, the center of the Union,
the offspring, the creation, of his mind and of his labors."

The resolution for the statue of Washington by Greenough was adopted,
and it was ordered. The statue was made and was placed in the rotunda in
1841, but subsequently removed into the east park of the Capitol, where
it now rests.

In 1853, Congress appropriated $50,000 for the erection of an equestrian
statue of George Washington by Clark Mills.

This statue, in bronze, representing Washington on the line at the
battle of Princeton, was placed in its present location in the public
circle at Pennsylvania avenue and Twenty-third street, in the City of


The resolutions and proceedings of Congress which have been referred to
having remained unexecuted as late as 1833, certain citizens of the City
of Washington, whose names were a passport to public confidence, took
steps in that year to form a voluntary association for erecting "a great
National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal

In September, 1833, a paragraph appeared in the "National
Intelligencer," leading paper of the City of Washington, calling for a
public meeting of the citizens of Washington to take up the matter and
redeem the pledges of Congress. In response to this call a meeting of
citizens was held in the aldermen's chamber, in the City Hall, on the
26th of September, 1833. There was great interest and earnestness
manifested on the part of those present in the object of the meeting.
The oft-repeated failure of Congress to finally act in the matter of
erecting a monument to Washington was reviewed, and it was deemed almost
hopeless to expect that body to provide for such a monument in the near

The meeting resulted in the organization of the Washington National
Monument Society. Committees were appointed to draft a constitution and
by-laws, and to report at a future meeting of the citizens and to devise
a practical plan for the collection of funds and to prepare an address
to the country.

On October 31 following the second meeting was had, Constitution and
By-Laws were adopted, and officers were chosen, being nominated by a
committee and elected by ballot:

John Marshall, the great Chief Justice, then seventy-eight years of age,
was chosen the first President of the Society, and Judge William Cranch,
eminent as a learned jurist, as a just and impartial magistrate and for
the uprightness of his life, was selected as the first Vice-President.

In accepting the office of President of the Society, Mr. Marshall
replied as follows to the letter of notification addressed to him by
Judge Cranch:

                                       "RICHMOND, _November 25, 1833_.

  "DEAR SIR: I received yesterday your letter of the 22d, informing me
  that the 'Washington Monument Society' has done me the honor to
  choose me as its President.

  "You are right in supposing that the most ardent wish of my heart is
  to see some lasting testimonial of the grateful affection of his
  country erected to the memory of her first citizen. I have always
  wished it, and have always thought that the Metropolis of the Union
  was the fit place for this National Monument. I cannot, therefore,
  refuse to take any place which the Society may assign me; and though
  my advanced age forbids the hope of being useful, I am encouraged by
  the name of the First Vice-President to believe that in him ample
  compensation will be found for any defects in the President.

    "With great respect and esteem, I am, dear sir,

                   "Your obd't,

                                                         "J. MARSHALL."

Other officers then chosen were the Mayor of Washington, Second
Vice-President (at that time John P. Van Ness, formerly a Representative
in Congress); W. W. Seaton, Third Vice-President; Samuel H. Smith,
Treasurer; and George Watterston, Secretary. A board of thirteen
managers was also appointed to correspond in number with the original
States. This board consisted of Gen. Thomas S. Jessup, Col. Jas.
Kearney, Col. Nathan Towson, Col. Archibald Henderson, Matthew St.
Claire Clark, John McClelland, Thomas Munroe, Col. Geo. Bomford, Robert
C. Weightman, Peter Force, Wm. Brent, Esq., Wm. A. Bradley, and Thomas
Carbery. Aside from other stated meetings to be provided for, an
election for officers and managers was to be held every third year on
the 22d of February.

Of the founders of the Society, the name of George Watterston calls for
especial mention. With him originated the conception of the enterprise.
He remained as Secretary of the Society from its beginning to his death,
in February, 1854, conducting its extensive correspondence, preparing
its numerous addresses and publications, and it appears, in every branch
of the Society's business, he devoted his whole time and energies to its
object with constant, ardent, and effective zeal. To no one name does
the country owe more in the labor and effort to rear a monument to the
memory of Washington than to that of the Society's first Secretary. On
the death of Mr. Watterston he was succeeded in his office by Mr. John
Carroll Brent, of distinguished family, a gentleman of culture and fine
scholarship, and who continued actively and patriotically to discharge
the duties of Secretary until his death, February 11, 1876. It is as
well here to mention the other and succeeding secretaries of the
Society, who in turn ardently and effectively aided the work of the
Society through years. Dr. John B. Blake, a prominent, highly-respected
resident of the District of Columbia, who served from the year 1876 to
his death, in October, 1881, and to whose labors before Congress in
connection with the Society's special committees, the certainty of an
appropriation by that body to aid in the completion of the monument was
assured. He was succeeded by Mr. Horatio King, formerly
Postmaster-General of the United States, who in turn, on his death, was
succeeded by Dr. Francis M. Gunnell of the United States Navy, and the
latter by Frederick L. Harvey.

The Society, upon organization, established its headquarters and offices
in rooms in the basement of the City Hall, and where its office
remained until the year 1878.

An address was issued to the people of the country invoking them to
redeem the promise of the Congress. In order that all might have an
opportunity to contribute the amount to be received from any one person
was limited to a dollar a year. Agents were everywhere appointed in 1835
and the ensuing years to collect funds, and care is shown to have been
taken in their selection by requiring the highest and strongest
endorsement of their fitness for the work, and as to private character
and being men of respectability. The archives of the Society show that
in nearly every instance collectors for a State or Territory were
nominated to the Society for appointment by the Senators,
Representatives, or leading men of the State or community. To obtain
security in the returns front collections, it was required in every case
that bond should be given by the agent for the faithful performance of
his duty in accounting to the Treasurer of the Society. This method of
collecting funds was adhered to until as late as 1855.

The following is the form of a commission that was given to the agents
of the Society:

  "To all who shall see these presents, Greeting:

  "Know ye, That reposing special trust and confidence in the
  integrity, diligence, and discretion of ---- ----, the Board of
  Managers of the Washington National Monument Society do authorize
  and empower him to receive from the White Inhabitants of the
  District for which he has been appointed Collector, embracing ----
  such donations money, not exceeding one dollar each, as they may be
  disposed to contribute to the erection of a National Monument to
  the memory of Washington at the seat of the General Government.

  "Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, this -- day of
  ----, 183 .

                                                "WM. CRANCH,
                                          "_First Vice-President_.


Simultaneous with this commission instructions were given requiring the
regular rendition of accounts at short intervals, and the deposit of the
money collected by them in safe banks to the credit of the Treasurer.
For these services a commission, in most cases of ten per centum (later
increased to fifteen per centum), was allowed.

In 1835, the President of the Society, John Marshall, died, and he was
succeeded in the office by ex-President of the United States James
Madison, who, on accepting the position, addressed the Society as

  "I am very sensible of the distinction conferred by the relations in
  which the Society has placed me; and feeling like my illustrious
  predecessor, a deep interest in the object of the association, I
  cannot withhold, as an evidence of it, the acceptance of the
  appointment, though aware that, in my actual condition, it cannot be
  more than honorary, and that under no circumstances could it supply
  the loss which the Society has sustained. A monument worthy the name
  of Washington, reared by the means proposed, will commemorate at the
  same time a virtue, a patriotism, and a gratitude truly national,
  with which the friends of liberty everywhere will sympathize and of
  which our country may always be proud."

It may be here remarked that upon the death of Mr. Madison the Society
amended its Constitution so that thereafter the President of the United
States should be _ex officio_ its President. The first to so occupy the
office was Andrew Jackson.

The progress of the Society was at first slow, and in 1836 only about
$28,000 had been collected. This fund was placed in the hands of Gen.
Nathan Towson, Samuel H. Smith, and Thomas Munroe, gentlemen of the
highest respectability, members of the Society. Under their faithful and
judicious management this fund was invested, as also the interest
accruing on it, in good stocks or securities. This fund was from time to
time augmented by small amounts raised on special occasions by churches,
organizations, and meetings of the citizens and collections by agents.
The financial difficulties of the Union arising in 1837 operated largely
to suspend collections for the monument for several years despite
frequent addresses to the people and urgent appeals for funds by the
Society and activity by its agents.

In this year, 1836, advertisements were published by order of the
Society inviting designs from American artists, but no limitation was
placed upon the form of the design. It was determined by the Society,
and so recommended, that any plans submitted should "harmoniously blend
durability, simplicity, and grandeur." The estimated cost for the
proposed monument was not less than one million dollars.

A great many designs were submitted, but the one selected among the
number was that of Mr. Robert Mills, a well known and eminent architect
of the times.

This plan, as published to the country, was described in the following

  _Description of the Design of the Washington National Monument, to
    be erected at the seat of the General Government of the United
    States of America, in honor of "the Father of his Country," and the
    worthy compatriots of the Revolution._

  This design embraces the idea of a grand circular colonnaded
  building, 250 feet in diameter and 100 feet high, from which springs
  a obelisk shaft 70 feet at the base and 500 feet high, making a
  total elevation of 600 feet.

  This vast rotunda, forming the grand base of the Monument, is
  surrounded by 30 columns of massive proportions, being 12 feet in
  diameter and 45 feet high, elevated upon a lofty base or stylobate
  of 20 feet elevation and 300 feet square, surmounted by an
  entablature 20 feet high, and crowned by a massive balustrade 15
  feet in height.

  The terrace outside of the colonnade is 25 feet wide, and the
  pronaos or walk within the colonnade, including the column space, 25
  feet. The walks enclosing the cella, or gallery within, are fretted
  with 30 massive antæ (pilasters) 10 feet wide, 45 feet high, and
  7½ feet projection, answering to the columns in front, surmounted
  by their appropriate architrave. The deep recesses formed by the
  projection of the antæ provide suitable niches for the reception of

  A tetrastyle portico (4 columns in front) in triple rows of the same
  proportions and order with the columns of the colonnade,
  distinguishes the entrance to the Monument, and serves as a pedestal
  for the triumphal car and statue of the illustrious Chief; the steps
  of this portico are flanked by massive blockings, surmounted by
  appropriate figures and trophies.

  Over each column, in the great frieze of the entablatures around the
  entire building, are sculptured escutcheons (coats of arms of each
  State in the Union), surrounded by bronze civic wreaths, banded
  together by festoons of oak leaves, &c., all of which spring (each
  way) from the centre of the portico, where the coat of arms of the
  United States are emblazoned.

  The statues surrounding the rotunda outside, under the colonnade,
  are all elevated upon pedestals, and will be those of the glorious
  signers of the Declaration of Independence.

  Ascending the portico outside to the terrace level a lofty vomitoria
  (door way) 30 feet high leads into the cella (rotundo gallery) 50
  feet wide, 500 feet in circumference and 60 feet high, with a
  colossal pillar in the centre 70 feet in diameter, around which the
  gallery sweeps. This pillar forms the foundation of the obelisk
  column above.

  Both sides of the gallery are divided into spaces by pilasters,
  elevated on a continued zocle or base 5 feet high, forming an order
  with its entablature 40 feet high, crowned by a vaulted ceiling 20
  feet high, divided by radiating archevaults, corresponding with the
  relative positions of the opposing pilasters, and enclosing deep
  sunken coffers enriched with paintings.

  The spaces between the pilasters are sunk into niches for the
  reception of the statues of the fathers of the Revolution,
  contemporary with the immortal WASHINGTON; over which are large
  tablets to receive the National Paintings commemorative of the
  battle and other scenes of that memorable period. Opposite to the
  entrance of this gallery, at the extremity of the great circular
  wall, is the grand niche for the reception of the statue of the
  "Father of his Country"--elevated on its appropriate pedestal, and
  designated as _principal_ in the group by its colossal proportions.

  This spacious Gallery and Rotunda, which properly may be denominated
  the "National Pantheon," is lighted in four grand divisions from
  above, and by its circular form presents each subject decorating it
  walls in an interesting point of view and with proper effect, as the
  curiosity is kept up every moment, from the whole room not being
  presented to the eye at one glance, as in the case of a straight

  Entering the centre pier through an arched way, you pass into a
  spacious circular area, and ascend with an easy grade, by a railway,
  to the grand terrace, 75 feet above the base of the Monument. This
  terrace is 700 feet in circumference, 180 feet wide, enclosed by a
  colonnaded balustrade, 15 feet high with its base and capping. The
  circuit of this grand terrace is studded with small temple-formed
  structures, constituting the cupolas of the lanterns, lighting the
  Pantheon gallery below; by means of these little temples, from a
  gallery within, a bird's eye view is had of the statues, &c., below.

  Through the base of the great circle of the balustrade are four
  apertures at the four cardinal points, leading _outside_ of the
  balustrade, upon the top of the main cornice, where a gallery 6 feet
  wide and 750 feet in circumference encircles the whole, enclosed by
  an ornamental guard, forming the crowning member on the top of the
  tholus of the main cornice of the grand colonnade. Within the
  thickness of this wall, staircases descend to a lower gallery over
  the plafond of the proanos of the colonnade lighted from above. This
  gallery, which extends all round the colonnade, is 20 feet
  wide--divided into rooms for the records of the monument, works of
  art, or studios for artists engaged in the service of the Monument.
  Two other ways communicate with this gallery from below.

  In the centre of the grand terrace above described, rises the lofty
  obelisk shaft of the Monument, 50 feet square at the base, and 500
  feet high, diminishing as it rises to its apex, where it is 40 feet
  square; at the foot of this shaft and on each face project four
  massive zocles 25 feet high, supporting so many colossal symbolic
  tripods of victory 20 feet high, surmounted by fascial columns with
  their symbols of authority. These zocle faces are embellished with
  inscriptions, which are continued around the entire base of the
  shaft, and occupy the surface of that part of the shaft between the
  tripods. On each face of the shaft above this is sculptured the four
  leading events in General Washington's eventful career, _in basso
  relievo_, and above this the shaft is perfectly plain to within 50
  feet of its summit, where a simple star is placed, emblematic of the
  glory which the name of WASHINGTON has attained.

  To ascend to the summit of the column, the same facilities as below
  are provided within the shaft, by an easy graded gallery, which may
  be traversed by a railway, terminating in a circular observatory 20
  feet in diameter, around which at the top is a look-out gallery,
  which opens a prospect all around the horizon.

  With reference to the area embraced by the foundations and basement
  of the Monument and the uses to which they may be applied, the
  underspace outwards, occupied by the lower terrace and colonnade,
  may be appropriated to the accommodation of the keepers of the
  Monument, or those having charge of it and attending on visitors.

  These apartments, which are arched, are well lighted and aired, as
  they are all above ground, the light being disposed in the sunk
  panels of the stylobate (base). The principal entrance to all these
  apartments will be from the rear, or opposite side of the portico
  entrance. The _inner_ space, or that under the grand gallery or
  Rotundo, may be appropriated to catacombs for the reception of the
  remains of such distinguished men as the Nation may honor with
  interment here. This subterranean gallery is so large and lofty that
  it would accommodate many catacombs.

  In the centre of the Monument is placed the tomb of WASHINGTON, to
  receive his remains, should they be removed thither, the descent to
  which is by a broad flight of steps lighted by the same light which
  illuminates his statue.

The feature of the pantheon surrounding the shaft was never formally and
finally adopted by the Society as a part of the Monument. The first
purpose was to erect the shaft and to secure funds to that end.

In this year (1838) the Society addressed a memorial to Congress praying
that a site be accorded the Monument on the public mall. For this
purpose a bill was reported in the Senate, which, being under
consideration in that body, June 15th, caused much debate and adverse
criticism of the Society and its work.

Mr. Roane, replying to an inquiry of Mr. Allen (Ohio), stated that the
sum collected by the Society was about $30,000 which was put out at

To this Mr. Allen answered that he believed they had collected more than
that sum in his own State.

Mr. Bayard thought that to erect the Monument on the place proposed
would be to destroy the whole plan of the mall, and that as far as the
prospect was concerned, nothing could be more unfortunate. Besides the
means of the Society were very insignificant compared with the object in
view, for as they had agents all over the United States collecting
simultaneously it was to be presumed they had collected all they were to

Mr. Norvell was satisfied that they (the Society) were incapable of
meriting the imputation impliedly, he hoped not intentionally, cast upon
them by the Senator from Ohio. He presumed extensive subscriptions had
been made to the work, but not yet collected, and that considerable
expense must have been incurred in the employment of agents. As to the
location of the site he could say nothing, but he was certain that such
a monument as proposed ought long since to have been erected to the
memory of the illustrious Chief under whose guidance this Nation had
been led to victory, liberty, and independence.

Mr. Hubbard thought the original plan of building the Monument by the
voluntary contributions of the people ought to be carried out, and that
the President and the Commissioner of Public Buildings and Grounds ought
to have nothing to do with it. As to the expense, he said, judging from
the cost of the Bunker Hill Monument, the $30,000 of the Society would
not be enough to lay the foundations.

Mr. Morris (Ohio) thought the public ought to be informed why so paltry
a sum had been contributed; his own county had contributed over $1,000.
There was a sort of enthusiasm on the subject in Ohio. The Governor had
issued his proclamation in favor of it, and the _sheriffs_ VOLUNTEERED
to act as collectors, and judging from _these tokens_ the sum collected
could not fall short of $30,000 (in Ohio). He also thought the work
should go on without aid by Congress, and hoped the bill would be laid
on the table. Mr. Allen, in further remarks said, in substance, he did
not believe the story that only $30,000 had been collected. He
considered it a reproach to the liberality of the country. He would vote
with the boldest to erect a suitable monument to the memory of the
Father of his country; he would vote a million of dollars, but he
considered it a reproach to the country to commence work with the paltry
sum the Society say they had in hand.

On motion of Mr. Morris, the bill was indefinitely postponed.

These proceedings appearing in the daily press, the Society adopted and
presented the following memorial:

  "_To the Senate of the United States_:

  "The Board of Managers of the Washington National Monument Society,
  having seen in the public prints a statement that representations
  have been made in your body derogatory to their character, consider
  it their duty to lay before you an official account of their
  receipts and expenditures. They hope that the alleged statement is
  erroneous in ascribing to honorable members of your body imputations
  on private character which would not, without proof of their
  correctness, have been hazarded. The respect we entertain for the
  Senate restrains the expression of feelings which are not, however,
  the less indignant for this forbearance.

  "We make this communication in the confidence that it will be the
  means of correcting any honest misapprehensions that may have
  existed; that it will be gratifying to a body distinguished for its
  justice to shield honesty from wanton aspersion within its own
  walls; that it will afford an opportunity to men of honorable
  feelings, who may be conscious of having cast unmerited reproach on
  characters, we flatter ourselves, unsullied, to retract them; that
  more especially, in case the charges be not retracted, it may be
  lodged among the public archives as evidence as well of their
  unfounded nature as of the fidelity with which we have discharged
  duties of a disinterested and elevated nature; and that, if it be
  deemed expedient, it be printed by your order by such publicity
  challenging any detection of the slightest departure from truth. We
  indeed not only hold ourselves amenable to the public, but are ready
  at any moment to submit our proceedings to the most rigid
  examination which either House of Congress may see fit to institute.

  "By order of the Board of Managers:

                                                       "PETER FORCE,
                                               "_Second Vice-President_.


The statement of receipts and _expenditures_ exhibited showed the
following collections:

  Maine,                $1,600.00
  Vermont,                  31.95
  Connecticut,           1,438.61
  New York,              1,167.21
  New Jersey,            1,491.61
  Pennsylvania,          2,102.85
  Delaware,                361.98
  Maryland,              3,057.99
  Virginia,              1,500.00
  South Carolina,          570.00
  Kentucky,              1,610.00
  Ohio,                  6,391.19
  Louisiana,               701.26
  Indiana,                 340.00
  Illinois,                700.00
  Mississippi,           2,120.00
  District of Columbia,    836.36
  Florida,                 227.00
  Army,                    565.89
  Navy,                    228.25

Interest on stocks, in which net collections were invested, $1,608.73,
all of which sums, except $476.67, cash in hand, and the _necessary_
expenses of the Society, amounting to _only_ $465.56, had been invested
in productive stocks.

June 19, 1838, Mr. Morris (Ohio) arose in the Senate to a question of
privilege. He found in a morning paper of the city an editorial
censuring the course which his colleague and himself had deemed it their
duty to take with regard to the bill to grant leave to a Society or
company of gentlemen who have united together to erect a monument to the
memory of Washington upon a portion of the public grounds in this city.
* * * The object of his colleague and himself had been to obtain
information on the subject, and he stated expressly, if in error, he
wished the error to be corrected by authentic documents, and on that
account he objected to the bill until it was clearly shown what money
had been taken up and to what use it had been applied. * * * He was not
willing to attach the honor of his country to a scheme which, for aught
he knew, might have been carried on by means of fraud and deception. Yet
this reasonable _request_ had been trumped up by the morning papers as
making a grave charge, or at least casting imputations. * * * He said it
was evident to his mind that the object and design of this publication
was to produce political effect. It was well known that a majority of
the Senate were the friends of the administration, and if this article
could impress the public mind with the belief that those who sustained
the administration had no regard for the memory of Washington, he had no
doubt it was expected it would tend to promote individual and _party_
views. It was a kind of left-handed blow to injure the administration
and its friends in the Senate by charging them with meanness in refusing
to accede to the wishes of the Society. But he feared there was another
motive beside veneration for the name of Washington that prompted the
agents and managers of this project to be so ardent in their endeavor to
link themselves and scheme to the public concerns of the country. They
were reported as having about $30,000. This sum they could easily expend
on the foundation, or even the first corner-stone of the Monument. They
could devise a plan for the superstructure that would cost millions of
dollars, and if they could make this affair a government concern, they
would insist, no doubt, that the country would be disgraced if the
building was not completed, and Congress would be solicited and urged to
appropriate for the purpose with all the force of speech and the
_blandishments of parties_. Millions would be thus called for, and, in
his opinion, appropriated if the scheme now in operation can succeed, to
be expended by a private corporation, whose dependent friends and
followers would grow rich in the progress of the work. He was totally
averse to the Government having anything to do in this matter or any
other in which individuals were also to be concerned. It was this that
induced him to move postponement of the bill.

Mr. Allen concurred with his colleague. He objected to the bill because
it placed the construction under the Commissioner of Public Buildings
and Grounds, and being upon public ground, Congress must appropriate any
deficiency or the people must be again visited by hosts of traveling
agents. * * * These he thought sufficient reasons for rejecting the bill
without division.

Mr. Clay deprecated the irregular discussion, and said that no newspaper
in the country was conducted with more regard to propriety, decorum,
truth, and _faithfulness_ of report than the "National Intelligencer,"
and he could wish that the other journals of this city, and particularly
the one connected with the Government, would look more to this point for

Notwithstanding the Society by its memorial had furnished the
information _requested_ by Mr. Morris, and stood ready for investigation
of its affairs, the memorial was ultimately laid on the table and the
matter was dropped.

This debate was noticed in the public press, local and elsewhere. It
cannot be known what, if any, influence it had throughout the country to
impair the efforts of the Society in the collection of funds or to
weaken confidence in the enterprise. Such a result was not improbable.

December 10, 1818, the Society adopted and issued in pamphlet form--

        "AN ADDRESS
           OF THE
           OF THE

This address was sent to the Society's agents and friends of the
Monument in all parts of the country, which address they were
"requested," in an accompanying letter, "to diffuse as widely as may be
without incurring expense."

The measure of the result of the Society's efforts at this period, the
discouragement met with, and its faith in the work it had undertaken, is
evidenced by language in this address, which recited, in part:

  "The annexed statement of the sums received and accounted for by
  them (the agents) shows the measure of their success. This, though
  various, has, in no instance, equalled the least sanguine
  expectations. This may be ascribed in some degree to the fundamental
  feature of the plan itself, which, in limiting the individual
  subscriptions to one dollar, has been found, excepting in towns, to
  have involved an expense to the agent nearly, if not quite, equal
  to the amount collected; while in the larger towns the abortion
  heretofore of schemes for a like purpose has produced a general
  impression that this plan would share the same fate. Other causes,
  some of a temporary, others of a permanent nature, co-operated in
  leading to this result, of which, perhaps, the most powerful was the
  general derangement of the currency, and the real or apprehended
  evils that followed in its train, with the impression that it was
  the duty of the General Government, out of the vast resources at its
  command, to effect the object.

  "In reviewing the course of measures pursued, the Board of Managers
  have satisfaction in perceiving no neglect or omission on their part
  in discharging the duties assigned them. If an assiduity
  proportioned to the dignity of the object, a devotion seeking no
  reward but in the gratification of honest feelings, and an economy
  attested by the small expenditures for contingent expenses, are the
  truest evidences of fidelity, they trust that they may, without
  unworthy imputations, lay claim to this humble virtue. * * * Upon
  the whole, however great the disappointment of the Board of
  Managers, they have not abandoned the hope that a plan which, at its
  inception, was hailed with universal approbation, may yet, with
  proper modifications, be effected."

It is shown by this address that the amount collected and interest
accrued on stocks in this year was $30,779.84.

The restriction of a contribution to the sum of one dollar appears to
have been removed on one occasion in 1839. A committee of the Society,
having been appointed for the purpose on November 13, 1839, prepared and
issued a special circular letter, to be sent to the deputy marshals of
the United States, who shortly were to begin taking the census of the
country. This appeal recited in part:

  "The measures incident to the approaching census present an
  opportunity of overcoming this last difficulty (the former
  limitation of subscriptions). It will be the duty of the deputies of
  the marshals to see the head of every family; and as the greater
  portion of their time will be consumed in traveling from one
  dwelling to another, it is thought that but little additional time
  will be occupied in submitting a subscription paper for this object
  at each dwelling and receiving the sums that may be subscribed,
  whereby an opportunity will be offered to every individual in the
  United States to promote it by contributions corresponding to their
  means. There being no limitation in the amount, every man, woman,
  and child will be enabled to enroll their names by subscriptions
  according to their ability. The rich will, it is hoped, be
  munificent in their donations, while from those in inferior
  circumstances any sum will be thankfully received."

It was proposed to allow these special collectors a commission of twenty
per cent. on "amounts that may be received and accounted for by a
deposit in some sound bank to the credit of Samuel H. Smith, Treasurer
of the Society, together with the transmission to him of the names of
the contributors, with the respective sums subscribed by them, and the
certificates of deposits."

The address concluded:

  "The subscription papers may be headed as follows:

  "We, the undersigned, for the purpose of contributing to the
  erection of a great National Monument at the seat of the General
  Government, do subscribe the sums placed opposite our names

  "The favor of an early answer is requested."

Beautiful lithographs, in two sizes, of the design selected for the
Monument were printed and placed in the hands of the agents of the
Society as certificates, and in the form of receipts, to be given
individuals or organizations contributing the sum of one dollar to the
funds of the Society.

These certificates bore the following words and autograph names on the
lower margin and beneath the picture of the proposed Monument:

  "Earnestly recommended to the favor of our countrymen,

  H. CLAY,           ALBERT GALLATIN."

There was also prepared for distribution through the Society's agents
other lithographs, portraits of Washington, it being thought the
contributor might prefer such a portrait to the lithograph of the

The results of this special appeal are to be found in the subsequently
stated accounts of the Treasurer, but the amounts returned did not meet
the expectations of the Society.

May 25, 1844, a joint resolution (No. 514) was introduced into the House
of Representatives, accompanied by a report submitted by Mr. Pratt from
the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which provided "that the
Washington Monument Society, in the City of Washington, be, and they are
hereby, authorized to occupy that part of reservation _No._ 2, bounded
by the Canal, B, Seventh and Twelfth streets, south, for the purpose of
erecting thereon a monument to Washington, under the direction of the
President of the United States, according to the _design proposed by the
Committee on Public Buildings_, and to _aid_ the said Society in
_completing the same_, and for defraying the expense of enclosing the
grounds, laying out walks and planting trees, the Committee on Public
Buildings is hereby authorized and required to cause to be laid into
lots and to sell at auction or otherwise, on condition that three-story
brick, granite or marble buildings be erected thereon within five years
from the day of sale, the piece of vacant ground bounded by the circular
road, New Jersey avenue and B and First streets, north, and the piece of
ground bounded by the circular road, Delaware avenue, B and F streets,
south; also twenty-seven lots between the circular road and Third
street, on Pennsylvania avenue, and twenty-seven lots between the
circular road and Third street, on Maryland avenue, northwest, or so
much as shall be necessary to complete the same. The same to be
designated as 'Monument Square.'"

The report stated, the proposed park would contain about fifty-two
acres, which it was designed "to fence in and lay out in drives, walks,
and trees, and to erect thereon a _National Monument_ in the center
thereof." The position would command a view of all the public buildings,
particularly from the Monument, "which is to be one hundred and fifty
feet high," and "devoted to the public as a place of resort where busts,
statues, and paintings of all the great men connected with the history
of our country may be seen." The site is nearly opposite to the "Patent
and Post Office buildings, or center of the city, and but a square or
two south of the _great_ thoroughfare of the city, the Pennsylvania
avenue, which, in point of magnitude and of easy approach to our
citizens, there is no ground in the District, or in any other country,
which could vie with it as a public square of beauty and recreation."

Lots were to be sold at auction and proceeds used for creating the park,
as described in the resolution, and "so that preparations may be
immediately made" for a "site for a _National Monument_, which in the
course of a few years will become a beautiful resort for the citizens
and visitors of the District as well as for strangers from all parts of
the world." The park would have circles and every device of walk, all
the emblems of the Nation together with forest trees of every State,
plants, flowers, &c. The construction of a national monument the
committee regarded as of great interest to the American people. Half a
century had passed away, and no worthy memorial is found in the Capital.
The committee recommend the "temple form" as best for a monument, "built
to contain busts and statues of Presidents and other illustrious men of
the country, as well as 'paintings' of historical subjects." The
construction of the Monument "would carry out the views of this Society
to erect a monument to Washington," and which it is understood will
apply its funds toward this object "whenever Congress shall authorize
its erection on some portion of the public ground," the site to be due
west of the Capitol. The construction was to be under the direction of
the President of the United States and the Washington Monument Society.
A plan of the proposed temple form of monument accompanied the report, a
statue of Washington surmounting its dome.

While the Society at this time was willing to concede a change in the
form of the Monument, and apply funds collected to speedily realize such
change, no action by Congress resulted from the report quoted so far as
authorizing the building of the National Monument suggested by the
committee or lending aid to the Society, or granting a site for the
Monument it had projected.

In 1845 the Society removed generally the limitation of one dollar as
the amount of a subscription. This action seems to have been wise, as
the later annual gross receipts were for a time greatly increased.

In view of the previous recognition by the Society of this evil of
limitation of contributions, it is surprising that it was not generally
removed when it was specially removed for the occasion of the census in

In 1846 the Society issued a further address "to the American people,"
announcing that it had "appointed the Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, of Ohio,
the General Agent of the Society, whose office will be held in
Washington. To him has been delegated the power of appointing subagents,
who will receive a commission on the funds they may collect as a
compensation for their services. * * * It is scarcely necessary to
remark that the character of the General Agent appointed by the Board of
Managers to make additional collections for the Monument is such as to
insure success and produce entire confidence. It is known to the whole
country; and Mr. Whittlesey's efforts in this new and noble undertaking,
it is hoped, will be crowned with that success which cannot fail to
accompany so glorious an object."

It was further said by this address:

  "It may be proper to state for the information of the public that
  the delay in commencing the Monument has been occasioned by the want
  of a proper site, which the Board had hoped would long since have
  been granted by Congress. * * * The Board designed at as early
  period to commence the Monument, but as no site could be obtained
  sufficientlyy eligible on any other ground than the public mall,
  near the Potomac, and as that could only be obtained by a grant from
  Congress, which has not yet been made, that purpose has been
  unavoidably postponed until the next session of the National
  Legislature, when it is believed no objection will be made to allow
  the Board the use of the ground it desires for so laudable and
  patriotic an object."

This address, signed by the officers of the Society, James K. Polk, _ex
officio_ President; Wm. Brent, First Vice-President; Mayor of
Washington, Third Vice-President; J. B. H. Smith, Treasurer; George
Watterston, Secretary; and by the entire Board of Managers, including
among the number Maj.-Gen. Winfield Scott, Thos. Carbery, Peter Force,
Philip R. Fendall, Gen. Nathan Townson, Gen. Walter Jones, Col. J.
Kearney, J. J. Abert, W. A. Bradley, and Thomas Munroe, contained the
following eloquent language:

  "The pilgrim to Mount Vernon, the spot consecrated by Washington's
  hallowed remains, is often shocked when he looks upon the humble
  sepulchre which contains his dust, and laments that no monument has
  yet reared its lofty head to mark a _Nation's_ gratitude.

  "It is true that the 'storied urn, the animated bust,' or the
  splendid mausoleum, cannot call back the departed spirit, or 'soothe
  the dull, cold ear of death;' but it is equally true that it can and
  does manifest the gratitude and veneration of the living for those
  who have passed away forever from the stage of life and left behind
  them the cherished memory of their virtues. The posthumous honors
  bestowed by a grateful nation on its distinguished citizens serve
  the further purpose of stimulating those who survive them to similar
  acts of greatness and of virtue, while the respect and admiration of
  the country which confers them upon its children are mere deeply and
  ardently felt. The character of Washington is identified with the
  glory and greatness of his country. It belongs to history, into
  which it has infused a moral grandeur and beauty. It presents a
  verdant oasis on the dreary waste of the world, on which the mind
  loves to repose, and the patriot and philosopher delights to dwell.
  Such a being but seldom appears to illustrate and give splendor to
  the annals of mankind, and the country which gave him birth should
  take a pride in bestowing posthumous honors on his name. It is not
  to transmit the name or fame of the illustrious Washington to future
  ages that a Monument should be erected to his memory; but to show
  that the People of this Republic at least are not ungrateful, and
  that they desire to manifest their love of eminent public and
  private virtues by some enduring memorial which, like the pyramids
  of Egypt, shall fatigue time by its duration."

The General Agent, Mr. Whittlesey, submitted a plan which was adopted by
the Society for a systematic collection of funds, which included
constituting Congressional districts as distinct collection districts,
and in 1847 a circular letter was addressed to Members of Congress
respecting the formation of such districts and the appointment of
collecting agents therein. As formerly, it was required that the
appointee should be well recommended and endorsed by Representatives,
Senators, and well-known citizens of the district or State.

It was also determined to specially appeal to the Masonic fraternity of
the country.

The agents appointed were supplied with properly prepared blank books
for the autograph enrollment of contributors, which books, when filled
with names, were to be returned to the office of the Society for deposit
and safe keeping.

On the request of the Society, Mrs. James Madison, Mrs. John Quincy
Adams, and Mrs. Alexander Hamilton effected an organization of ladies to
aid in collecting funds for the proposed Monument. Through appeals,
entertainments, fairs, and many social functions given for the purpose
by ladies in various parts of the country, there resulted but a very
moderate addition to the funds of the Society, but in no way
commensurate with its expectations in the premises.

On the 29th of February, 1847, the Society adopted the following
resolution offered by Mr. Brent:

    "_Resolved_, That the several Consuls of the United States abroad,
    and the Pursers of the Navy, be requested by the General Agent to
    solicit subscriptions for the erection of a suitable National
    Monument to the memory of Washington from American citizens, seamen,
    and others of liberal patriotic feelings, and that the Secretary of
    State and the Secretary of the Navy be respectfully requested, on
    behalf of the National Washington Monument Society, to cause to be
    forwarded the letters and papers necessary to accomplish the object
    embraced in this resolution."

In accordance with this resolve (the consent of the Honorable Secretary
of State and the Honorable Secretary of the Navy having been given), a
circular letter was prepared and sent out to the persons named in the

After setting forth the object of the Society, and earnestly appealing
for funds to accomplish that purpose, the circular stated a compensation
of 20 per cent. would be allowed on funds collected and faithfully
accounted for. This circular was accompanied by a supply of "prints," to
be distributed to subscribers, as follows:

  "Copies of a large portrait of Washington, copied from Stuart's
  painting in Fanueil Hall, Boston.

  "Copies of the large print of the design of the Monument."

Smaller prints of the same subjects were also furnished.

The subscriber of $5.00 was to receive one of the large prints; of
$8.00, both the large prints; of $1.00, one of the small prints; and to
the subscriber of $1.50, both of the small prints.

It was also publicly announced that the corner stone of the Monument
would be laid "on the 4th of July next, and arrangements will be made to
give to the ceremony a national character corresponding with the
character and magnitude of the work."

The accounts of the Treasurer of the Society from time to time show, in
response to this _special_ appeal, a considerable collection of funds,
especially among the officers and seamen of the Navy.

In 1847, the aggregate of collections and accumulated interest was some
$87,000, which amount was deemed sufficient to justify the Society in
beginning the erection of the Monument.

A resolution was adopted that the corner-stone be laid on the 22d of
February next "provided that a suitable site can be obtained in time,"
and a committee was appointed to apply to Congress early in the session
for a "site on the public mall for the Monument." A committee was also
appointed to ascertain "the best terms on which a suitable site on
private grounds within the limits of the City of Washington can be

Before the latter committee reported, in response to the memorial by the
Society to Congress, desiring action by that body to accord a site for
the Monument, on the 31st of January, 1848, Congress passed a resolution
authorizing the Washington National Monument Society to erect "a
Monument to the memory of George Washington upon such portion of the
public grounds or reservations within the City of Washington, not
otherwise occupied, as shall be selected by the President of the United
States and the Board of Managers of said Society as a suitable site on
which to erect the said Monument, and for the necessary protection

January 23, 1848, General Archibald Henderson, Lieut. M. F. Maury, and
Mr. Walter Lenox were appointed a committee to make the necessary
arrangements to lay the corner-stone, but it being found impossible to
make arrangements for that ceremony on the 22d of February, on the 29th
of January it was postponed until July 4th following.


The site selected under the authority of the resolution of Congress was
the public reservation, numbered 3, on the plan of the City of
Washington, containing upwards of thirty acres, where the Monument now
stands, near the Potomac river, west of the Capitol and south of the
President's House. The deed was executed on the 12th day of April, 1849,
and was duly recorded among the land records of the District of Columbia
on the 22d day of February, 1849.

This deed was executed by James K. Polk, President of the United States,
"and in testimony of the selection as aforesaid of the said reservation,
numbered three (3), for the purpose aforesaid," was also signed by
William Brent, First Vice-President; W. W. Seaton, Second
Vice-President; Archibald Henderson, Third Vice-President; J. B. H.
Smith, Treasurer; George Watterston, Secretary; and Peter Force; the
signing being "in the presence of Winfield Scott, Nathan Towson, John.
J. Abert, Walter Jones, Thomas Carbery, W. A. Bradley, P. R. Fendall,
Thomas Munroe, Walter Lenox, M. F. Maury, Thomas Blagden."

As to the reasons for the selection of this particular site, we find
them stated by the Society in an address to the country, in later years,
as follows:

  "The site selected presents a beautiful view of the Potomac; is so
  elevated that the Monument will be seen from all parts of the city
  and the surrounding country, and, being a public reservation, it is
  safe from any future obstruction of the view. It is so near the
  river that materials for constructing the Monument can be conveyed
  to it from the river at but little expense; stone, sand, and lime,
  all of the best kind, can be brought to it by water from convenient
  distances; and marble of the most beautiful quality, obtained at a
  distance of only eleven miles from Baltimore, on the Susquehanna
  railroad, can be brought either on the railroad or in vessels. In
  addition to these and kindred reasons, the adoption of the site was
  further and impressively recommended by the consideration that the
  Monument to be erected on it would be in full view of Mount Vernon,
  where rest the ashes of the Chief; and by evidence that Washington
  himself, whose unerring judgment had selected this city to be the
  Capital of the Nation, had also selected this particular spot for a
  Monument to the American Revolution, which in the year 1795 it was
  proposed should be erected or placed at the 'permanent seat of
  Government of the United States.' This Monument was to have been
  executed by Ceracchi, a Roman sculptor, and paid for by
  contributions of individuals. The same site is marked on Major
  L'Enfant's map of Washington City for the equestrian statue of
  General Washington, ordered by Congress in 1783, which map was
  examined, approved, and transmitted to Congress by him when
  President of the United States."

It may be here remarked, with reference to the site selected for the
Monument, that the foundations were laid but a short distance to the
east of the meridian line, run, at the instance of President Jefferson,
by Nicholas King, surveyor, October 15, 1804. The report of Mr. King, as
found in the Department of State, bears the endorsement, "to be filed in
the office of State as a record of demarcation of the first meridian of
the United States." This line, by the President's instructions, passed
through the center of the White House, and where it intersected a line
due east and west through the center of the Capitol a small monument or
pyramid of stones was placed--an object which disappeared about the year
1874, in the process of improving the Monument grounds. It would also
appear that the center of the District of Columbia, within its original
lines, was not far removed northwestward from the Monument as it stands,
being near the corner of Seventeenth and C streets, N.W., 1,305 feet
north and 1,579 feet west of the Monument. (National Geographic
Magazine, vol. 6, p. 149.)

It does not appear, however, that these latter existing facts were in
any manner considered by the Board of Managers in the selection of the
site for the Monument.

The corner-stone for the Monument, a block of marble weighing
"twenty-four thousand five hundred pounds," was quarried and presented
to the Society by Mr. Thomas Symington, of Baltimore, Md. On its arrival
in the city, the stone was enthusiastically drawn to the site of the
Monument by many workmen from the navy yard, and other persons.

In planning the ceremonies to occur on the laying of the corner-stone of
the Monument, the Society invited ex-President John Quincy Adams to
deliver the oration, but the invitation, however, was regretfully
declined by Mr. Adams on account of the state of his health.

Hon. Daniel Webster being requested to deliver the oration declined
because of pressure of business and the shortness of the time allowed in
which to prepare one.

Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, being then requested consented to deliver the oration.

Invitations were sent by the committee of arrangements to Mrs. Alexander
Hamilton, Mrs. Dolly P. Madison, Mrs. John Quincy Adams, Martin Van
Buren, Millard Fillmore, Lewis Cass, General Sam Houston, Chief Justice
Taney, George Washington Parke Custis, and other distinguished persons
to attend the ceremonies of the laying of the corner-stone. The replies
received indicate the interest of those invited in the erection of the
Monument to Washington.

For the occasion transportation lines entering the District of Columbia
reduced their usual rates of travel.

On the 4th of July, 1848, under a bright sky, in the presence of the
President and Vice-President of the United States, Senators and
Representatives in Congress, Heads of Executive Departments, and other
officers of the Government, the Judiciary, Representatives of Foreign
Governments, the corporate authorities of Washington, Georgetown, and
Alexandria, military commands, associations of many descriptions,
delegations from States and Territories and from several Indian tribes,
and a great multitude of citizens, the corner-stone was laid.

The Rev. Mr. McJilton offered the consecration prayer, and the oration,
lofty and eloquent, was delivered by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop.

Mr. Benj. B. French, Grand Master of the Masonic Fraternity of the
United States, then delivered a beautiful and appropriate address, after
which he descended to the corner-stone and performed the Masonic
ceremonies of laying it.

The gavel used was that employed by George Washington, as Master Mason,
in the Masonic ceremonies in the laying of the corner-stone of the
National Capitol. A patriotic song, written by Robert Treat Paine, was
sung, after which the benediction was pronounced.

The corner-stone was laid at the northeast angle of the foundation.
Among the distinguished guests on the stand at the laying of the
corner-stone were Mrs. Alexander Hamilton (then ninety-one years old),
Mrs. Dolly Paine Madison, George Washington Parke Custis, and others of

The proceedings are thus discussed in the papers of the times:

       *       *       *       *       *

  "The day was fine. The rain had laid the dust and infused a
  delicious freshness in the air. The procession was extensive and
  beautiful. It embraced many military companies of our own and our
  sister cities--various associations, with their characteristic
  emblems; the President and Cabinet and various officers of the
  Executive Departments; many of the Members of Congress; citizens and
  strangers who had poured into the city. When the lengthened
  procession had reached the site of the Monument they were joined by
  a whole cortege of ladies and gentlemen; and we are free to say we
  never beheld so magnificent a spectacle. From 15,000 to 20,000
  persons are estimated to have been present, stretched over a large
  area of ground from the southern hill, gradually sloping down to the
  plain below."

  "In a hollow spread with boards and surrounded with seats the
  crowd gathered. Around two sides of this space were high and
  solidly-constructed seats, hired out to spectators, covered with
  awnings, and affording a favorable position for seeing and hearing.
  A temporary arch was erected, covered with colored cotton and
  suitably embellished. But its most attractive ornament was a living
  American eagle, with its dark plumage, piercing eye, and snowy head
  and tail, who seemed to look with anxious gaze on the unwonted
  spectacle below. This is the same eagle which in Alexandria
  surmounted the arch of welcome there erected to Lafayette; and to
  complete its honors and its public character, it has since been
  entrusted to M. Vattemare, to be presented to the National Museum in
  Paris. He is now forty years old."

  "The fireworks (at night) exhibited on the same theatre, and
  prepared by the pyrotechnists of the navy yard, were admirable
  beyond description. They were witnessed by an immense multitude.
  The President's reception at night in the East Room was very
  numerously attended. Thus passed one of the most splendid and
  agreeable days Washington has ever witnessed."

Objections having been from time to time urged against the plan of the
Monument, the Society, early in 1848, appointed a committee to consider
them. In April of that year, pursuant to a report of a committee of its
members, the Society fixed upon a height of 500 feet for the shaft,
leaving in abeyance the surrounding pantheon and base. And this
modification continued to be the plan of the Monument until it was again
altered at a later period.

The corner-stone laid, the Society began active operations to raise the
shaft, which were most vigorously prosecuted. The purchase of materials
and the general construction of the Monument, embracing the employment
of labor, skilled and common, were committed by the Society to three of
their number, denominated a Building Committee.

The members of this committee devoted much of their time patriotically
to the duties assigned them, held weekly meetings during several years,
and served without any sort of compensation whatever.

With a view of having the States of the Union properly represented in
the Monument, the Society extended an invitation for each State to
furnish for insertion in the interior walls a block of marble or other
durable stone, a production of its soil, of the following dimensions:
Four feet long, two feet high, and with a bed of from twelve to eighteen
inches, the name of the State to be cut thereon in large letters, and,
if desirable to the donor, the State's coat of arms also. Later, this
invitation to contribute memorial blocks of stone was extended to
embrace such a gift from a foreign government.

In response to these invitations were received from time to time the
many rich and durable blocks which now adorn the interior walls of the
shaft, in themselves smaller but not less impressive monuments to the
memory of Washington.

In about six years from the laying of the corner-stone the Monument had
reached the height of 156 feet, not quite one-third of its ultimate
modified elevation. During this period the Society continued most
actively at work in the raising of funds to carry the Monument forward.

An appeal to the people was adopted and issued by the Society in 1848,
immediately after the laying of the corner-stone, in which the past
history of the work was given, what was desired and in contemplation to
do, and an urgent request for contributions was made, and an eloquent
reference to Washington was embodied.

In June, 1849, a special appeal for contributions, to be made in all
parts of the country on the ensuing 4th of July, was issued, and
everywhere distributed.

Another special appeal was made in this year, which recited, among other

  "The scholars and pupils, male and female, of all the institutions
  of learning, and the public and private schools in this country, are
  requested to make such _monthly_ contributions as may be convenient
  towards the erection of the Monument till it shall be completed. It
  is estimated that there are about 3,000,000 of pupils of all ages in
  the United States, and the monthly contribution of even _one cent_
  by each would alone, in a few years, complete the structure now in
  progress. The assistance of the principals and teachers in these
  schools, however, will be essential, and the Board would be thankful
  if they would lend their aid to carry out this plan by making such
  collections monthly, and transmitting the amount collected to the
  Treasurer or to the General Agent of the Society here," &c.

February 5, 1850, the Society adopted the following resolution:

    "_Resolved_, That in view of the liberal contributions made by two
    of the banks of the City of Washington, the General Agent be
    requested to address a circular letter to the several banking
    institutions of the United States, bearing the signatures of the
    Board of Managers, soliciting from them contributions to the
    erection of the Monument."

In accordance with this resolve a circular letter was issued March 1,
1850, appealing to all banks for contributions.

In May, 1850, circular letters were sent to all deputy marshals of the
United States who were to be employed in taking the census then at hand,
soliciting their aid in the collection of funds while engaged in the
enumeration of the people, and offering a commission of 15 per cent. on
the amount collected to each collector, following in this plan the one
pursued in 1840. A further general appeal was also printed and
distributed everywhere.

Early in 1851 the following resolution was adopted by the Society:

    "_Resolved_, That a circular be addressed in the name of this Board
    to the respective Grand Lodges of the Masonic and Odd Fellows'
    fraternities and Grand Divisions of the Sons of Temperance in the
    United States, requesting that arrangements be made to obtain such
    periodical contributions as they may deem proper, to be applied to
    the erection of the Washington National Monument, until the same
    shall be completed."

Accordingly, an appeal was issued to the bodies mentioned in the

In January, 1852, pursuant to a resolution of the Society, the military
organizations of the country were specially called upon for

In 1853, another urgent and general appeal was put forth for funds, to
be given by the Masonic bodies of the country.

In 1854, there was another general address to the country, similar in
character to former appeals, and a special appeal was sent to the
officers of the Navy of the United States, invoking their co-operation
and aid in raising money to carry on the work of building the Monument.

The tangible result of these general and special appeals for funds was
far short of hope. The funds collected went into the treasury of the
Society, and were at once expended to meet the current and contract
obligations of the work of building the Monument.


In this year an act occurred at the Monument which created much
indignation and excitement in the District, and was the subject of much
public discussion throughout the country.

The facts furnished to the press by the Society, after an investigation
by it, were reported thus in the "Daily National Intelligencer" on March
8, 1854:

  "A deed of barbarism was enacted on Monday morning last, between one
  and two o'clock, by several persons (number not known, but supposed
  to be from four to ten), which will be considered as belonging
  rather to some of the centuries considerably in our rear than to the
  better half of the boasted Nineteenth Century. We refer to the
  forcible seizure from its place of deposit, in a shed at the
  Washington Monument, of a block of marble sent hither from Rome, a
  tribute to the memory of Washington by the Pontiff, and intended to
  become a part of the edifice now erecting to signalize his name and
  glory. It originally stood in the Temple of Concord at Rome, was of
  beautiful texture, and had for its dimensions a length of three
  feet, height of eighteen inches, and thickness of ten inches. The
  account we hear of the matter is this: That at about the time above
  mentioned several men suddenly surrounded the watch box of the night
  watchman, and passed a cord, such as is used for clothes lines,
  around the box, and piled stones against the door, calling to the
  man within that if he kept quiet he would not be injured, at the
  same time they pasted pieces of newspapers on the two or three
  window openings that commanded the particular shed containing the
  fated block, so as to prevent the watchman from seeing their
  operations. They then removed one of the strips in front of the
  place where the block stood, and passing in and out by the opening
  carried it off by placing it on a hand cart used about the premises.
  There is no doubt they took the block to the river side, not less
  than a quarter of a mile off, and pitched it over the steep bank
  upon the river beach, where they enjoyed a favorable opportunity of
  breaking it up undiscovered or boating it off into the river, which
  they probably did after defacing it. All this went on, it seems,
  without effective remonstrance from the watchman, although he had
  with him a double-barrel shot gun loaded with buck shot, and the
  operations at the shed were within easy shot. As for the pasting on
  the windows, there was nothing in that, for they slid up and down
  like the sashes of an omnibus. These proceedings, the watchman says,
  took place about half-past one; but he gave no notice of it to the
  family residing at the Monument until four. For these and other
  similar reasons he has been suspended."

A meeting of the Society was held on the 7th of March in reference to
this vandalism, and it was resolved to offer a reward to discover the
perpetrators. Accordingly, the following advertisement appeared in the
"Daily National Intelligencer" on March 8th:

    "$100 REWARD. The Board of Managers of the Washington National
    Monument Society will pay the above reward of $100 for the arrest
    and conviction of the person or persons who, on the night of the 5th
    instant, stole and destroyed a block of marble contributed to said

This advertisement availed nothing as to the discovery of the guilty
persons. It was understood to have been the work of persons belonging to
the party styled "Know-Nothings;" one of their professions being
opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and any political preference of
its members. It was not thought the persons were generally depraved
characters, but, on the contrary, were supposed to be identified with
the respectable part of the community. From the time of the reception of
this stone from Rome by the Society until its destruction, there had
been frequent expressions in a portion of the daily press in opposition
to its being placed in the Monument, and the Society had received many
protesting letters and, in some instances, long petitions from various
parts of the country, numerously signed, urging that the stone be not
used by the Society, as it was representative of the Roman Church, &c.

Many petitions from New Jersey recited:

  "We, the undersigned, citizens of ----, in the State of New Jersey,
  believing the proffer of a block of marble recently made by the Pope
  of Rome to this country for the Washington Monument to be totally
  inconsistent with the known principles of that despotic system of
  government of which he is the head; that the inscription, 'Rome to
  America,' engraved upon it, bears a significance beyond its natural
  meaning; that the construction is an artful stratagem, calculated to
  divert the attention of the American people for the present from his
  animosity to republican institutions by an outward profession of
  regard; that the gift of a despot, if placed within those walls, can
  never be looked upon by true Americans but with feelings of
  mortification and disgust; and believing that the original design of
  the structure was to perpetuate the memory of Washington as the
  champion of American liberty, its national character should be
  preserved, do therefore most earnestly protest against the placing
  of said stone within the Monument, or any other stone from any other
  than a republican government."

But the Society was not organized on sectarian or political lines, and
to the opposition and protests no heed was given. The Society was
composed of men of different political beliefs and church affiliations.

The immediate effect of the destruction of the "Pope's stone" was to
anger a large body of the citizens of the country, members of the
Catholic Church, and then, and for a long time afterward, to estrange
any interest they had had in the building of the Monument, and to this
extent to impair the field for the collection of funds for the Monument.

It has never been certainly known what the precise fate of the stone
was, though occasional uncorroborated statements of individuals,
alleging knowledge of or participation in its destruction, have been
made as to it. But their variance has rendered them of no value.

The further collection of funds for the Monument was not only curtailed
by the destruction of the Pope's stone, but the political and business
conditions of the country in 1854 caused a great falling off in
contributions. The Monument had now reached a height of 153 feet above
the foundation, and the Society had expended on the entire structure
$230,000. The funds being now practically exhausted, and all its efforts
to obtain further sums proving abortive in this year, 1854, the Society
presented a memorial to Congress representing that they were unable to
devise any plan likely to succeed in raising the requisite means, and
under the circumstances asked that Congress might take such action as it
deemed proper.

In the House of Representatives the memorial was referred to a select
committee of thirteen members, appointed under a resolution July 13th,
of which committee the Hon. Henry May, of Maryland, was chairman.

By a previous order, Mr. May, on the 22d of February, 1855, made an
eloquent and able report to the House, in which, after a careful
examination of the whole subject, the proceedings of the Society were
reviewed and approved, and an appropriation of $200,000 by Congress was
recommended "on behalf of the people of the United States to _aid_ the
funds of this Society." There was no suggestion made that Congress
should assume the completion of the Monument; the Society were to
continue actively in the work they had been prosecuting. Congress would
make simply a donation to the funds. The sum proposed was the same in
amount which the House of Representatives, by their resolution of
January 1, 1801, had agreed to appropriate for erecting a mausoleum to
Washington, in the City of Washington. The report referred to the
Society and its work in the following terms of approval:

  "The Society was organized on an admirable plan, and its officers
  undertook the duties assigned them by its Constitution, and have, as
  your committee are well satisfied, faithfully performed them.

  "The funds were to be collected in all parts of the United States;
  and agents as competent and as faithful as could be found were
  appointed, after giving bond for the performance of their duties.
  These agents were sent to all parts of the country, and
  contributions were commenced and continued by the subscription of
  $1.00 for each person. This plan was adopted in order that all might
  have the opportunity to contribute.

  "In the appointment of these agents a careful scrutiny was exercised
  by the Society, and undoubted recommendations of both character and
  capacity were in every case required, and though an opinion may
  prevail in some parts of the country to the contrary, your committee
  are satisfied that these agents generally proved to be worthy of the
  confidence reposed in them. Of the large number employed but two of
  them failed to account for the money collected, and legal measures
  resorted to promptly by the Society against their bonds have, in one
  of these instances, obtained the full amount of the liability.

  "It may well be questioned if any Society executing a plan for
  collecting money so extensively has met with equal success in
  justifying the integrity of its agents, and it is pleasing to state
  that not one cent of the funds received by the Society has at any
  time been lost by investment or otherwise."

This report, recommending "that the sum of two hundred thousand dollars
should be subscribed by Congress on behalf of the people of the United
States to aid the funds of the Society" was submitted to the House with
every assurance of its adoption, and that the appropriation recommended
would be made. But an unfortunate occurrence arose, news of which, upon
reaching Mr. May upon the floor, occasioned a suspension of further
consideration of the report, and the whole matter was laid upon the
table. The occurrence was the result of "a plot, secretly contrived and
suddenly disclosed, to reverse the principles on which the Society had
uniformly acted, and to degrade an enterprise, sacred to patriotism and
humanity, into an instrument of party or sect." On the day the report of
Mr. May was submitted to the House of Representatives, "a crowd of
persons assembled at the City Hall and there voted for seventeen
individuals, named in a printed ticket, to be officers and managers of
'the' Society. The only previous announcement of this proceeding was
notice signed 'F. W. Eckloff, clerk W. N. M. Society,' and published on
the evening of the 21st of February in the American Organ' and the
'Evening Star,' and on the morning of the 22d in the `National
Intelligencer.' On the 24th of February the result of the election was
proclaimed in the Press," by which it appeared 755 votes were cast,
resulting in the election of the following officers: Vespasian Ellis,
First Vice-President; George H. Plant, Second V. P.; Charles C. Tucker,
Secretary; John M. McCalla, Treasurer; and the following Board of
Managers: Samuel S. Briggs, French S. Evans, Henry Addison, Charles R.
Belt, Joseph H. Bradley, J. N. Craig, Thomas D. Sandy, Samuel C. Busey,
James A. Gordon, Robert T. Knight, Samuel E. Douglass, Joseph Libbey,
Sr., Thomas A. Brooke.

This pretended election was not had according to the Constitution of the
Society. The constitutional time of election was every third year from
the year 1835, and the last election had been held in 1853.

It was the province of the Secretary of the Society to issue all notices
of meetings, and the clerk (Eckloff), a mere recorder and messenger, had
no color of authority to issue any such notice. The last regular weekly
meeting of the Society was held on the 20th of February, and it had then
adjourned to meet on the 27th of that month. Of the 755 votes cast all
were given to each of the seventeen persons elected, except one, who
received 754 votes, and not one of the persons elected was a member of
the existing board. This election was carried on certificates of
membership, which could be obtained from the Society or its agents on
the payment of one dollar, but which were issued without any knowledge
of the Society, and no money representing them was ever received by its

Abundant evidence shows that the plan of this election was "silently yet
solemnly resolved," and framed in the secret lodges of the
"Know-Nothing" or American party of that day, its object being to
transfer the entire and exclusive management into its own hands, and to
oust every other description of citizens from participation in the

On the 24th of February, the existing Society held a special meeting,
protesting against the pretended election of February 22d, and appointed
a committee "to investigate the existing state of things and report
thereon at the next regular meeting."

The committee reported at a meeting of the Society on the 27th of
February, and in accordance therewith adopted resolutions declaring
"that the election held on the 22d instant of officers and managers of
the Washington National Monument Society was in direct violation of the
Constitution of said Society, and therefore null and void; that this
Board, being by virtue of the Constitution of the Washington National
Monument Society, the existing Board of Managers, and as such charged
with a trust of the most solemn character, in behalf of the American
people cannot voluntarily surrender the same; that the above resolutions
be communicated to the gentlemen claiming under the election of the 22d
instant, and that we propose that an amicable suit be instituted for the
purpose of testing the rights of the two parties."

Replying to a transmitted copy of these resolutions, the "Know-Nothing"
board adopted resolutions not admitting any right in "the late Board of
Managers" to participate in the "administration of this Society other
than as _members_ thereof," and appointed a committee of three persons
"to confer with those gentlemen in response to the resolutions received
from them to-day, and that they report to the next meeting of this

The two committees met on the 3d of March, but were unable to agree on
terms of arrangement, the committee of the "Know-Nothing" board adhering
to a refusal to submit the dispute to judicial decision.

The Superintendent in charge of the Monument, William Dougherty,
declining to recognize the authority of the pretended board or to
surrender possession of any of the buildings on the Monument grounds to
the new superintendent appointed by it, on the evening of the 9th of
March these buildings were forcibly taken possession of in its name, and
the "new" superintendent was installed in place. Thereafter, for several
years, the Society had no further communication with the "Know-Nothing"
board, and published in the daily press a full account of the
controversy, which demonstrated the illegality of the organization of
the board in usurped possession. Arrangements were also made to secure a
decision by the courts in the premises. The Society's agents were also
advised of the existing conditions. Being bonded, no moneys collected by
them were paid to the treasurer of the "Know-Nothing" board, which board
shortly issued the following address, thereby stamping its character:


  "For twenty years past a voluntary association has existed in this
  city, formed for the purpose of raising funds to erect a monument to
  WASHINGTON. It was founded on the scheme of voluntary contributions
  among the people of the United States, in such sums as would enable
  every citizen to contribute towards it. After years of patient
  waiting, a sufficient amount was accumulated to justify them in
  adopting a plan and beginning the work. A plan was adopted of a
  single shaft of white marble, of four equal sides, having a base 55
  feet square, and rising to the height of 600 feet, diminishing
  gradually from base to top, and to be 33 feet square at the top. The
  base is to be a pantheon, surrounded by columns and ornamented by
  statues. The interior of the Monument is a square chamber: the
  walls, 15 feet in thickness, are composed of the solid blue stone of
  the Potomac in large masses, faced on the outside with white marble
  18 inches thick, firmly bonded at every course into the blue stone.
  The corner-stone was laid on the 4th of July, 1848. The structure
  has reached the height of 170 feet at a cost of upward of $230,000.
  And it appears to be firm as the materials of which it is composed.

  "Last year the contributions were wholly insufficient to keep up the
  ordinary progress of the work, and the managers were constrained to
  apply to Congress for aid. In the course of its construction they
  had thought it expedient and proper to receive not only
  contributions in money from every quarter of the globe, but they
  invited contributions in ornamented stones, to be placed, under the
  direction of the architect, in the face of the wall of the chamber.
  Among others, a stone sent from the Pope of Rome, and was received
  by the managers, to be placed, as the others, in some conspicuous

  "It was an American Monument, and its construction and management
  was said to be mainly in the hands of Catholics and foreigners.
  Complaints were also made of the administration of the association,
  and of the expenditures and losses in the collections of funds. For
  these and divers other causes, the Americans of this District
  resolved in their respective Councils that this work ought to be
  typical of their Government, completed by the free act of the
  People, under the direction and by the hands of the natives.
  Accordingly, at the election held on the 22d of February last, they
  nominated and elected a ticket of their own Order, who now have the
  control of the work.

  "It will require at least one million of dollars to complete it as
  it was originally designed, and that sum must be raised by the
  Councils of our Order, or we must suffer indelible disgrace and
  become a bye-word. There are enrolled in the Order at this time not
  less than two millions of freemen. A contribution of fifty cents
  from each, a sum within the reach of every member, will effect it.
  There may be some too poor--there cannot be any too mean or too
  insensible to the obligation upon them--to give this sum. If this
  shall be so, we have adopted a plan by which that difficulty may be
  met. For every contribution of one dollar, a certificate of
  membership is to be issued to the person in whose name the
  subscription is made. It is therefore proposed that collections
  shall be made in each Council throughout the Nation in such manner
  as each may deem most expedient, and the money remitted to JOHN M.
  McCALLA, Esq., Treasurer of the National Monument, accompanied by a
  letter addressed to CHARLES C. TUCKER, Secretary of the National
  Monument, stating the amount thus forwarded, and transmitting a list
  of the names to whom a certificate for each dollar thus paid in is
  to be sent. For each single subscription of five dollars a handsome
  engraved plate of the Monument, of large size, will be sent.

  "But, Brethren, while the sum of fifty cents from each member of the
  Order may be barely sufficient to complete the structure, it will
  take as much more to finish the work and the grounds, and leave a
  surplus to be invested and yield an interest to keep it in repair
  end defray the incidental annual expenses.

  "We have pledged the American party to this work. We have taken the
  great step of overthrowing, on this pledge, the administration which
  has preceded us, and which not only failed but went as beggars to
  Congress to ask legislative aid for that which loses all merit,
  unless it be the free-will offering of grateful hearts.

  "Have we done right?

  "Brothers, we come to you to demand your aid in this great work to
  which we have been appointed, and to which, through us, you are
  pledged. We do not come alone. Our brethren in the District of
  Columbia, beneath the walls of the Presidential Mansion, from which
  a frowning brow is ever turned upon us--these brethren, moved by the
  sacred fire that ever burns in their hearts, the altars of
  patriotism, defying the scorn and contumely and lust of those
  temporarily in power, have come up freely to our aid. They have set
  to you, the free citizens of free States, with power to remove and
  bring to account those who dare to turn a wrathful eye on the
  movements of those native to the soil--to you in every sense
  Freemen--they have set a bright and glorious example. May you walk
  by its light. The Councils in this the heart of the Nation--yet not
  one of its members--our Councils have, with wondrous unanimity,
  resolved to contribute _one dollar_ for each member enrolled in each
  separate Council. Let it go forth--publish it wherever in this broad
  land, those born beneath the stars and stripes, the glorious banner
  of our Union, have met, or shall meet, to resolve that Americans
  must and shall govern America. Ring it in the ear of the
  slothful--breathe it into the heart of the earnest--the native
  Americans in Council, in the District of Columbia, have resolved to
  contribute a dollar for each member toward the completion of the
  work; and they have already begun their contributions.

  "Brethren, it is a national work--it is the heaped-up offering of
  mighty people--it is the work of the age. To it, from every kindred
  and nation, offerings have been brought--the tribute of far-off
  lands to that name which stands single, alone, mighty, majestic, in
  the history of the world, as though it were written in letters of
  starry light in the high heavens, to be read by all men. These are
  but the homage paid to virtue end renown, while the heart is cold or

  "But to you, Brethren, his name is a household word. It was breathed
  over you on a mother's name and graven on your heart by a mother's
  love. It was taught you by a father's watchful care, and has been
  held ever before you as your beacon and your guide by a father's
  ceaseless anxiety. It was your watchword in the sports of youth; it
  is, it must be, your polar star in the mazes of a maturer life; it
  is the name for patriotism; it is little less than that of a god.
  Oh, the heart--the true American heart--the heart that beats
  responsive to the call of country--the heart that thrills at those
  words of wisdom and warning which fell from his lips, teaching us
  the dangers of foreign influence--the heart that swells with
  gratitude to the great human benefactor, who, having led us through
  the perils of the terrible conflicts of the Revolution, and guided
  us through the scarcely less perilous history of the Federation, and
  presided over that grand and august assembly which framed our
  matchless Constitution, laid in practice the deep foundations of
  this mighty Nation--the heart of the native-born American leaps up
  with joy to testify its deep love and veneration for him and seeks
  some adequate means to express it. And, Brethren and Countrymen, we
  bring it to you; we give you, by the means spread before you, an
  opportunity to enroll your names in the book where is found the
  mighty company who have contributed to this the most remarkable
  Monument ever erected to man, which, as his name, shall stand
  unique, lofty--towering above all others known among men.

  "Brethren, come to our aid.

  "By order of the Board:

                                              "CHAS. C. TUCKER,

  "WASHINGTON, D. C., _May, 1855_."

                 OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY:

                     FRANKLIN PIERCE,
  _President of the United Slates and ex officio President_.

                     VESPASIAN ELLIS,
                 _First Vice-President_.

                     JOHN T. TOWERS,
  _Mayor of Washington and ex officio Second Vice-President_.

                     GEORGE H. PLANT,
                 _Third Vice-President_.

                     JOHN M. McCALLA,

                     CHAS. C. TUCKER,


          JOHN N. CRAIG,      ROBERT T. KNIGHT,
                    THOMAS A. BROOKE.

The address was printed in certain of the daily papers, and transmitted
to the "Councils" of the party by the following letter:

                                           "OFFICE OF THE
                                 WASHINGTON NATIONAL MONUMENT SOCIETY,
                                         WASHINGTON, D. C., _May, 1855_.


  "Enclosed I send you an address from the Board of Managers of the
  Washington National Monument Society to members of our Order, asking
  their contributions in aid of the Washington National Monument, and
  request that you will place it before your Council and lend your
  influence towards the accomplishment of the object in view.

  "By the action of your brethren in the District of Columbia our
  Order stands pledged to the country and the world to complete the
  Monument, and the glory of success or the disgrace of failure will
  be ours alone. The pledge was freely given; for we were confident
  that our brethren in the States would rejoice at the opportunity
  thus presented of testifying their gratitude and veneration for him
  whose "memory, maxims, and deathless example" we endeavor to keep
  alive in the hearts of the American people.

  "I would suggest that your Council appoint a Washington Monument
  Committee to receive subscriptions and forward the sums collected to
  the Treasurer of the Society. The committee should procure a book in
  which to insert the name and address of each contributor and the
  amount contributed. This book should be forwarded to me, to be
  placed in the archives of the Monument, and to each contributor of
  one dollar or upwards will be forwarded a certificate of membership
  and a print of the Monument or a portrait of Washington.

  "The plan laid down by the Board of Managers is to forward to each
  contributor of one dollar or upwards and less than five dollars a
  small print of the Monument, and to each contributor of five dollars
  a print of the Monument, 22 by 30 inches in size, or a large
  portrait of Washington, and both the large print and portrait to
  each contributor of eight dollars or upwards. To each Council will
  be sent a copy of the large print or portrait or both, depending
  upon the amount contributed in such Council.

  "It is not expected, nor is it necessary, that the subscriptions be
  paid at once; but they may be paid in weekly, semi-monthly or
  monthly payments, as the Council or committee may determine. One
  dime per week from each member of our Order for three months will be
  more than sufficient to erect the Monument to its destined height,
  thus bringing it within the means of all to assist us in our noble

  "If the Council deems it advisable to collect subscriptions outside
  of the Council, but within its jurisdiction, let it recommend a
  suitable person to act as agent, who will receive a compensation for
  his services by a commission upon the amount collected. Upon such
  recommendations being received, there will be forwarded to the agent
  named a certificate authorizing him to receive contributions. The
  Council will determine whether the proceeds of such collections be
  received and transmitted by the committee having charge of the
  collections within the Council or be remitted by the agent direct to
  the Treasurer. It is intended that the amount of such collection be
  placed to the credit of the Council in the reports from the Board of
  Managers to the State Councils and National Council.

  "May we not rely upon your best exertion to aid us in the work in
  which we are engaged? We know that our brethren will cheerfully
  contribute their mites if the subject is properly placed before
  them. We wish to dispense, as far as possible, with the services of
  special agents; that all contributions may be applied directly to
  the purpose for which they are intended, and we must rely mainly
  upon those whose abilities or position enable them to render us the
  aid required; and who, like the officers of the Society, will desire
  no compensation for their services other than the pleasure of
  engaging in this patriotic undertaking.

                               "Fraternally yours,

                                                     "CHAS. C. TUCKER,
                                               "_Secretary W. N. M. S._"

The following "Notice to the Public" was issued by the "Know-Nothing"

                                         "OFFICE OF
                                  "WASHINGTON NATIONAL MONUMENT SOCIETY,
                                          "WASHINGTON, _July 1, 1856_.

  are requested to pay no more contributions for the Washington
  National Monument to agents heretofore commissioned by the Board.

  "This notice is not to be construed as a censure on the agents, but
  it is designed to effectuate a general settlement of the affairs of
  the Society. The Board is well assured of eventual success in the
  patriotic enterprise in which it is engaged, but it has resolved to
  suspend further proceedings by agency until a plan, now under
  consideration, for combining efficiency, promptitude, and safety, is

  "Balances due from agents, or offerings from independent
  contributors, are to be sent by draft, _payable to the order of the
  Treasurer of Washington National Monument Society_, enclosed in a
  letter to the undersigned.

  "By order:                                  SAMUEL YORKE ATLEE,
                                                "_Secretary W. N. M. S._

  "N. B.--Editors throughout the United States will confer a favor on
  the Society and benefit the public by publishing this notice and
  sending to the Secretary a copy of the paper containing the same."

Manifestly, the rival claims of the two Boards of Managers, and the
office, books, papers, and property of the Society and the Monument
itself, being in the possession and control of a narrow political
faction, practically arrested the work of the Society's agents in the
collection of funds and further building operations.

The "Know-Nothing" Board, as apparent evidence of its earnestness in the
premises, and presumably to support its appeal for funds (several later
ones being issued) and to establish public confidence, proceeded to add
two courses of stone to the height of the shaft by the use of marble on
the ground when it took possession. But this marble, in the main, were
blocks which had been theretofore rejected and condemned as unfit for
use. In later years, on the final resumption of work on the Monument,
these courses were removed by the engineer in charge of its

The receipts of the Society for the year 1855, from January 3d to
February 20th, amounted to $695; for the remainder of that year, to
$51.66--evidence of the result of the dispossession of the Society and
the disinclination of the public to contribute funds under the existing

The "Know-Nothing" Board continued in possession of the Monument until
October 25, 1858.

The political party which it represented disintegrating, and not being
able to secure contributions toward building the Monument, or to awaken
any interest in the enterprise, it concluded to surrender possession of
the Monument.

On the date named the surrender was made, and the Society was reinstated
in the possession of its office, books and papers, and the Monument. A
number of collectors' filled subscription books, however, were missing.
The Treasurer of the out-going Board passed to the Treasurer of the
Society, through the Bank of Washington, December 14, 1858, the sum of
$285.09. The full amount collected by the "Know-Nothing" Board during
over three years of its control does not appear.

At a meeting, December 28, 1858, the Society reappointed the Hon. Elisha
Whittlesey its General Agent. A committee previously appointed reported
on the present condition of the Monument and other property of the
Society, by which it appeared that the engine house and some other
buildings on "Monument place" were in a dilapidated condition, though
the engine and boiler were in good order; that of two large cranes for
hoisting stone at the wharves, one had fallen down, the other had
disappeared; that marble valued at $300 had been taken away; that the
rope wove through a block at the top of the Monument to enable persons
to ascend had been pulled down, and no means remained for ascent of the
shaft save by scaffolding on the inside. "It will require an expenditure
of at least $2,000 to place the fixtures and machinery in a condition to
enable your Board to resume the progress of the work."

The enterprise having now passed into the hands of the Society again,
they proceeded at once to make suitable arrangements for the
conservation of the Monument and protection of the grounds and other
property connected with it. Admonished by the transaction of February
22, 1856, and its results, of the legal difficulties in the way of
voluntary association, consisting of members residing in all parts of
the Union, they applied to Congress for a charter.

This was at length granted. On the 22d of February, 1859, an act passed
Congress, and was approved by the President on the 26th of the same
month, incorporating "The Washington National Monument Society * * *
for the purpose of completing the erection now in progress of a great
National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the Federal
Government." The incorporators named were Winfield Scott, Walter Jones,
John J. Abert, James Kearney, Thomas Carberry, Peter Force, William A.
Bradley, Philip R. Fendall, Walter Lennox, Matthew F. Maury (as
survivors of the grantees of the site under the grant made by President
Polk), and Jonathan B. H. Smith, William W. Seaton, Elisha Whittlesey,
Benj. Ogte Tayloe, Thomas H. Crawford, William W. Corcoran, and John
Carroll Brent.

The charter vested in and confirmed to the Society all the easements,
rights, privileges theretofore held by the Society under the name of
incorporation, and all thereafter to be acquired, for the purpose of
erecting the Monument; provided for the election of officers and for
exercising the right of amotion; that the President of the United States
should be _ex officio_ President of the Society, and the Governors of
the several States should be respectively _ex officio_ Vice-Presidents;
gave the right to sue and be sued, and rendered the members of the
Society liable in their individual capacities for any indebtedness
contracted in the name of the Society.


The meeting for the organization of the Society under the charter
granted by Congress took place on Tuesday evening, March 22, 1859, in
the aldermen's chamber, in the City Hall, Washington, D. C.

President James Buchanan, as _ex officio_ President of the Society,

Mr. Fendall very briefly reviewed some of the circumstances out of which
the original Society had sprung, stating that but four of its members
now survived, and the object and aim of the Society were remarked.

Eloquently referring to Washington, he concluded:

  "The completion of the Monument now in progress is far more
  important to the fame of the American people than to the fame of

The President, rising, referred to his efforts to awaken the interest of
Congress in the erection of a monument to Washington while he was a
member of the House in 1824.

  "It was considered at that time (1824), and so remarked in Congress,
  that it was rather an indignity that any effort should be made to
  raise a monument to the honor and memory of Washington besides that
  which existed in the hearts of his countrymen."

Mr. Buchanan concluded:

  "Not only in this country is his name loved and revered beyond that
  of all other men, but abroad, in foreign lands, our country is
  illustrated by him, and his name is never mentioned but as that of
  the purest, most unselfish patriot that ever lived; not only the
  most unselfish, but the most self-sacrificing of whom history has
  kept record."

Resolutions were then offered, accepting the act of incorporation by
Congress, and making the charter the Constitution of the Society,
providing for an annual election on the 22d of February of each year,
and such other meetings as might be duly called; the officers of the
Society to be a First Vice-President, (to be the Mayor of Washington;)
Second and Third Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer and Secretary, committees
to draft and report by-laws and to define and prescribe the duties of
officers and agents, and to prepare "An Address to the People of the
United States."

Maj.-Gen. Winfield Scott was chosen Second Vice-President, Thomas
Carberry, Third Vice-President; J. B. H. Smith, Treasurer; and John
Carroll Brent, Secretary.

Every effort was now put forth to revive public interest in the
Monument, and to obtain substantial aid for its completion, the Society
exercising great patience, forbearance, and industry to restore matters
to their former condition.

The plan now proposed and to be carried into execution was the securing
of contributions from voters at all municipal and general elections, and
appropriations by State Legislatures and the invoking by circular letter
of aid from all political, corporate, or voluntary bodies, the Army and
Navy, _all_ associations, societies, churches, and individuals.

June 6, 1859, at a general election in the City of Washington,
contributions were received at the polls towards the funds of the
Society amounting to $150.76.

In the result of this first renewed attempt to raise money to complete
the Monument the Society, however, was not discouraged.

The matter was noticed in a daily paper in an article which, after
referring to the former dispossession of the Society and the long
"silence" at the base of the Monument, said:

  "It was not till this state of things unhappily took place that the
  popular enthusiasm drooped and cooled, and it is hardly fair to
  expect a resuscitation in an hour or a day. We trust, however, that
  the night is far spent; that the day is at hand, and even the
  tribute of the voters of Washington on Monday last, small as it was,
  is an evidence of new life and returning vigor.

  "It will require on the part of the Monument Board the exercise of
  patience and forbearance as well as industry to restore matters to
  the condition they once were in."

In April, 1859, the Society applied to the Honorable the Secretary of
War for the detail of an officer of the Corps of Topographical Engineers
to assume the duty of Engineer of the Monument and to superintend its

June 7, 1859, a letter was received from the Hon. John B. Floyd,
Secretary of War, stating that in compliance with the Society's request
he had detailed Lieut. J. C. Ives, of the Corps of Topographical
Engineers, to act under the direction of the Society as Engineer and
Architect of the Monument. Subsequently, Lieutenant Ives reported for
duty to the officers of the Society. In his letter advising of the
detail of Lieutenant Ives, Secretary Floyd stated:

  "The favorable auspices under which the enterprise has been resumed
  encourage the hope that this reproach will be removed. Composed of
  gentlemen of well-known standing, * * * the Society has a claim upon
  the confidence of the public that is the surest guarantee of the
  success of its labors."

Doubts having been raised as to the stability of the material which had
been employed in building the Monument and as to the sufficiency of its
foundations to support the shaft at its proposed height of 600 feet,
Lieutenant Ives, on the 10th of August, 1859, made a report upon the
subject after a careful examination of all the conditions, which
recited, in part:

  "To those who are aware of the care which was taken in laying the
  foundation of the Monument, both in the selection and preparation of
  the bed and in the execution of masonry work, it will be scarcely
  necessary to enter into any statement in regard to its present
  condition. * * * For five years during which the work has been
  suspended, the foundation has been bearing about four-sevenths of
  the pressure that it will ultimately be required to sustain, and, in
  a recent examination, I was unable to detect any appearance of
  settling or indication of insecurity. * * * Whether the height of
  600 feet can be attained without endangering the stability of the
  obelisk, a computation is herewith subjoined, from which it would
  appear that, without taking into consideration the adhesion of the
  mortar, the weight alone of the structure would offer a resistance
  nearly eight times greater than the overturning effort of the
  heaviest tempest to which it would probably ever be exposed."

The conclusions of this report set at rest at that time all doubts that
had existed as to the stability of the Monument completed and of its

A proposition, submitted by Lieutenant Ives, to raise funds by erecting
contribution boxes in the post-offices throughout the country,
constituting postmasters agents of the Society for their care and
supervision and the transmission of money thus collected to the
Treasurer of the Society, was adopted, and Lieutenant Ives was charged
with the execution of the plan. Amounts collected from the boxes were
sent directly to the Treasurer, and memoranda of the same to Lieutenant
Ives, a record being also kept at the Washington City post-office of all
letters addressed to that officer as Engineer of the Monument.

May 17, 1859, the Society published and circulated a general appeal to
the public. Collateral to the raising of funds by the "post-office
plan," agents were appointed, under bond (allowed the usual 15 per cent.
on the amount of collections to defray their expenses), in defined
districts to solicit contributions, and a circular appeal was
_specially_ addressed to corporations, literary and benevolent
institutions, to schools, organizations, the Masonic fraternity, and to
officers of the Navy in command, asking their aid to bring the subject
before the officers and men under them.

At the end of the first _four_ months under Lieutenant Ives' plan
returns were had from 841 post-offices, the sums aggregating $2,240.31
(some 28,000 offices making no response at all), an amount far short of
hope. It had been estimated that $45,000 a year would be required to
keep the work on the Monument in fair progress when again resumed.

Aside from the post-office receipts, the most considerable items
collected in this year were: Contribution box at the Monument, $822.40;
box at the Patent Office, $396.26; California, $1,000; from collections
in the City of Washington, $49.73. The entire receipts for the year were
$3,074.96, while the expenditures made in preparation to resume work,
printing, &c., amounted to $1,429.39.

On the 15th of March, 1859, at the Masonic National Convention held in
the City of Chicago, a number of the wives, daughters, and sisters of
Masons in attendance upon the Convention, assembled in the "Richmond
House" and formed a "Ladies' National Washington Monument Association to
aid in the completion of the Washington Monument now being erected in
Washington, D. C." Mrs. Finley M. King, Port Byron, N. Y., was elected
President, and Mrs. John L. Lewis, Penn Yan, N. Y., Secretary and
Treasurer, and Vice-Presidents were appointed, residents of different
States, among the number Mrs. Reuben Hyde Walworth, N. Y.; Mrs. Robert
M. Henderson, Mo.; Mrs. Floride C. Cunningham, S. C.; Mrs. William
Sheets, Ind.; Mrs. Margaret C. Brown, Fla.; Mrs. Elbert H. English,
Ark.; Mrs. Giles M. Hillyer, Miss.; Mrs. Jane Van Wagoner, N. J.; Mrs.
Martha E. Holbrook, Or.; Mrs. Gilbert C. Morell, Neb.; Mrs. William S.
Long, Cal.; Mrs. John G. Saxe, Vt.; Miss Sallie Bell, Tenn.; Mrs.
Richard Vaux, Pa.

The Ladies' Association proceeded actively to work to raise funds by
various plans, but with small result. In the year 1860 there was issued
an "Appeal of The Ladies' Washington National Monument Society to the
judges and inspectors of elections of the various towns, wards,
precincts, and election districts in the United States, to every paper
and periodical published, and to the whole people." After reference to
the unfinished Monument and a glowing tribute to the memory of
Washington, the address requested "judges and inspectors of election" in
every place in the ensuing Presidential election (or _any person_, if
they fail to do so) to provide boxes in which to receive contributions,
and appoint suitable persons to take charge of them, and "every voter"
was earnestly entreated to deposit in the boxes any sum, "however
small," and the press were asked to give the appeal notice.

Money collected was to be transmitted by draft or "in postage stamps" to
the Secretary or to any one of the lady Vice-Presidents in the several
States, the amounts collected to be finally published in the daily

The success achieved by the association of ladies was but indifferent
compared with the expectations in its formation, and it collapsed in
about two years. In 1860 it paid to the Treasurer of the Society, as
shown by his account, $458.50.

The prosecution of the "post-office plan" of collection was continued,
and by September, 1860, response had been had from 1,118 postmasters,
contributions received aggregating $4,179.56. Of this amount, through
the post-offices of California was received $1,120.63, of which $755.49
was from the City of San Francisco.

Having been ordered by the War Department to other duty, September 22,
1860, Lieutenant Ives resigned as Architect and Engineer of the
Monument, submitting with his resignation a report of the operations he
had conducted, together with an account of his receipts and
expenditures. He was thanked in a resolution "for the faithful,
efficient, and patriotic manner in which he has discharged the duties as
Engineer of the Monument and originator and superintendent of
post-office contributions."

In his report Lieutenant Ives stated:

  "I am still of opinion that if the plan could have had, as I at
  first supposed it would, the direct aid of the Postmaster-General, a
  great majority, if not all, of the postmasters would have united in
  it, and that it would have insured in a few years a sufficient sum
  to complete the work. Without that aid I have been unable to secure
  the co-operation of a sufficient number to accomplish the work."

A general appeal was now issued, requesting contributions at the polls
at the Presidential election to occur November 6th, following. The
success of this effort was marked and peculiar. From the State of
California was realized $10,962.01; Prince George County, Md., $3.63;
St. Louis, Mo., $54.20. No other receipts are reported. Other
contributions during this year were $290 from employees of the Panama
Railroad; $25.80 from the Post-Office Department; $807.45 from the box
at the Monument, and $413.55 from one maintained at the Patent Office.
The total of all collections reported being for the year $6,026.22;
expenditures, $3,514.32. The California collections were paid over in
the following year.

The expenditures were charged to the erection of new buildings on the
Monument grounds and the necessary repair of others, reorganizing the
plant, and the costs of collections, no salary being paid except to a

Improvements made were thus noticed in a daily paper:

  "The place has been placed in such a condition that all the Board
  wants now in order to resume the work of erection is funds."

To an appeal issued asking contributions to be made on February 23,
1861, but one response was reported.

March 26, 1861, an appeal was addressed "To the people and postmasters,"

  "In consequence of the great falling off in post-office
  contributions, ascribable chiefly to the troubles of the times and
  the usual change on the advent of a new administration, the
  undersigned deem it proper to again appeal to the patriotism of the
  people and postmasters. They therefore respectfully request
  out-going postmasters to commend the system to their successors and
  the incoming to imitate the laudable example of their predecessors,
  and in cases where the latter have not responded and put up boxes to
  have them erected and forward contributions, however small."

In response to this appeal the amount reported through the post-office
for the entire year amounted to only $88.52, of which Rhode Island sent
75 cents, Virginia 48 cents, and Mississippi 15 cents.

A memorial by the Society addressed to Congress, briefly reviewing the
history of the Monument, giving an account of the Society's
transactions, and asking the aid of Congress in the premises, was
adversely reported upon by the Committee on the District of Columbia. A
minority report by Mr. Hughes, from the same committee, to accompany a
bill H. R. 769, among other statements, after referring to the report of
the Select Committee of the House made in 1855, recited:

  "Your committee find no reason for dissenting from the views
  unanimously taken by the select committee in the report already
  cited. We cannot but regard the proceedings adopted by Congress
  shortly after the death of Washington as pledging the public faith
  to the erection of a suitable monument to his memory. It cannot be
  doubted that the pledge was given in full consonance with the
  feelings and wishes of the whole country. Whatever may be said to
  excuse or explain the delay which has been suffered in redeeming the
  pledge, the contributions of nearly a quarter of a million of
  dollars which individual citizens have already made towards erecting
  a monument to the father of his country, abundantly shows that its
  completion is an object dear to the hearts of the people. They
  cannot understand why the universal custom of free States in all
  ages of the world, to commemorate by monumental representations
  deeds of patriotism and glory, has so long been disregarded in the
  instance of the noblest of all national benefactors.

  "Your committee recommend that the sum of $200,000 be appropriated
  by Congress, on behalf of the people of the United States, to aid
  the memorialists in completing the Monument to Washington now in the
  process of erection at the seat of the Federal Government. But they
  are of opinion that this amount ought to be disbursed in annual sums
  of $20,000 for each fiscal year; that each annual installment be
  paid to the Treasurer of the Society, on a joint warrant, to be
  signed by the chairmen of the committees of the two Houses of
  Congress for the District of Columbia; and that the accounts of
  disbursements be settled at the Treasury in the usual mode of
  auditing the accounts of disbursing agents. We report herewith a
  bill accordingly."

The recommendations of this report, however, were not adopted.

The reported collections for the year 1861 were $9,917.64, of which
amount $9,000 was the contributions collected in California in
November, 1860; the balance, $424.08, was collected at the Monument,
$70.02 in the box at the Patent Office, and $298.33 paid by the Ladies'
Washington Monument Society.

The funds the Society had now secured--about $12,000 net over necessary
expense incurred--was invested in good interest-bearing stocks. The
change in the national administration and changes in the reorganization
of the Post-Office Department demoralized the plan to secure collections
through the medium of local post-offices, and it was shortly

The funds of the Society were now but little augmented for a number of
years, the only moneys received being deposits of small amounts in boxes
placed for the purpose at the Monument grounds, in the United States
Patent Office, and in the Smithsonian Institute. At no time did the sums
thus received aggregate more than $700 per annum (1867), the average
being far less.

The paralyzing influences of the Civil War put a blight upon any further
labors of the Society to accomplish the long-cherished object of
erecting, on behalf of the people, a national monument to Washington,
and public interest and attention being absorbed in more momentous
questions, the erection of the Monument was all but forgotten. To the
pen and to the patriotic devotion of the learned and scholarly
Secretary, Mr. John Carroll Brent, is due what little public notice the
Monument obtained during the years of strife.

At the meeting on the 22d of February, 1866, for election of officers,
there was a large attendance. The President of the United States, Mr.
Andrew Johnson, presided. Replying to some remarks of welcome, he said:

  "GENTLEMEN OF THE ASSOCIATION: It is no ordinary pleasure to me to
  have it in my power to meet you here on this occasion and
  participate in your proceedings, intended to resume and progress in
  the completion of a monument, if I may speak the language of his
  eulogist, to him who was 'the first in war, the first in peace, and
  the first in the hearts of his countrymen.'

  "I repeat, it is no ordinary pleasure to me to meet you here on this
  occasion, on the birthday of the Father of his Country, and
  participate with you in your efforts to complete the Monument
  intended to commemorate his name. * * * I hope and trust the work
  will soon be completed. I hope and trust if there are any States
  which have not yet contributed and placed their pledges in that
  Monument of the Union bearing their inscription, it will go on until
  all the States have done so. I will here remark, it will continue to
  go on notwithstanding we have disturbed relations of some of the
  States to the Federal Government; that it will continue to go on
  until those relations are harmonized and our Union again be
  complete. Let us _restore the Union_, and let us proceed with the
  Monument as _its_ symbol until it shall contain the pledge of _all_
  the States of the Union. Let us go on with this great work; let us
  complete it at the earliest moment practicable; let your Monument
  rise--if I may speak in the language of that celebrated and
  distinguished statesman who made the greatest effort of his life in
  vindication of the Union of these States--'let this Monument to
  Washington rise higher and higher until it shall meet the sun in his
  coming, and his last parting ray shall linger and play on its

  "I thank you, gentlemen, for the compliment you have conferred upon
  me in inviting me to attend on this, the birthday of the Father of
  his Country, to participate in your proceedings, and I hope and
  trust your efforts will be crowned with success."

Little progress, however, was made toward resuming work on the Monument
in this year. The receipts from all sources, chiefly at the Monument and
Patent Office, and accrued interest, amounted to only $1,281.06. Early
in 1867 the Society again memorialized Congress, as on former occasions.

July 17th, Mr. Driggs, in the House, offered a preamble and resolution,
which was adopted, reciting that the Society "had been in existence
twenty years without having accomplished anything beyond the partial
erection of a square column on the public grounds; that large sums of
money had been collected, and that collections are still continued in
the _Patent Office_ and other buildings, and directing the Secretary of
the Interior to inform the House what became of the money collected _in
the Patent Office_ and as to the present condition of the Association."

The memorial was referred to a committee of the House, and there filed.

On the following day the Secretary replied to the House with the
information requested, showing present resources of the Society,
disposition of its funds, current expenses, present condition and

March 26, 1869, Mr. Nye (Nevada), in the Senate, introduced--

  "A bill to insure the completion of the Washington Monument."

The preamble recited, in part--

  "Whereas the Monument proposed to be erected in the City of
  Washington in memory of George Washington, the Father of his
  Country, has been shamefully neglected and is now incompleted, with
  no prospect of its being finished at all for want of means; and
  whereas the Government is so deeply in debt in consequence of our
  late international war that there is no prospect of an appropriation
  for the completion of said Monument, and there is now, as there
  always has been, a general, even a national, desire, on the part of
  the people of the United States to complete this great work as
  originally designed for the credit of this country and the national
  respect for our heroic dead; and whereas a number of citizens
  propose that in case certain privileges are granted them by the
  National Congress _to complete_ said Monument _within twenty-one
  years_ from the passage of this act, and that one hundred thousand
  dollars shall be paid into the Treasury of the United States within
  two years from the date hereof, and a like amount per annum until
  the expiration of this act," &c.

The bill provided "that A. T. Stewart, C. Vanderbilt," and other persons
named, "_as per agreement_, dated March 14, 1869, executed by Charles P.
Briton and Charles B. Phillips, &c., are hereby created a body corporate
and politic under the name and style of the _Washington Monument Union_
for the purpose of devising ways and means for completion of said

It was further provided that the said Union could hold and convey
property "and issue certificates of subscription, which shall entitle
the holders thereof to any consideration that may be awarded by such
system, scheme, plan, or means said corporation may devise or adopt, and
use such agency as they shall deem necessary to their success." One
hundred thousand dollars was to be paid in within two years, and
thereafter the same sum _annually_.

April 1, 1869, Mr. Osborne offered a somewhat similar bill, which was
also referred, but having other incorporators, who were to "have the
right, privilege, and franchise of devising such ways and means as they
may desire for the distribution of money or property for the term of
twenty years from the date of the passage of this act."

Precedent to the exercise of these rights a bond should be given the
United States in penalty of $100,000 to pay into its Treasury within two
years a like sum, and such sum every year thereafter for twenty years
the first $200,000 to be subject to the order of the Lincoln Monument
Association, the balance to be subject to the order of the Washington
Monument Association.

These schemes for completing the Monument, however, went no further.

Not until 1871 did the Society feel encouraged to again issue a general
appeal to the public.

February 22, 1871, the Society resolved to offer through the public
press the following propositions, either of which, when accepted, by the
required donation should be a contract between the donor and the
Society: The name of any person, corporation, or society contributing
the sum of $5,000 or more to the Monument fund shall be perpetuated by
inscription on a block in the Monument, to be prepared by the Society
for that purpose. The names of _all_ persons, corporations, or societies
contributing the sum of $2,500 or more and _less_ than $5,000 shall be
included in a list, and such list shall be inscribed on a _block_ or
blocks in the Monument, to be prepared by the Society for that purpose.
The names of all persons, corporations, or societies contributing $1,000
or more and less than $2,500 to be inscribed on a tablet to be erected
in the Monument. Any person or body contributing $100 and less than
$1,000 to be recorded on a list, and such list kept perpetually in the
archives of the Society.

Mr. John S. Benson was appointed the agent of the Society to place these
propositions before the country and to invoke the aid of private
citizens and public men; legislatures, municipal bodies, assemblies,
and _every form_ of organization of the people. Numerous articles in the
press called attention to the claims of the Monument.

The Legislature of New York, April 20, 1871, by a two-thirds vote,
appropriated the sum of $10,000 "as the contribution of the State of New
York, to be paid by the Treasurer on the warrant of the Comptroller to
the Treasurer of the National Washington Monument Society whenever the
Governor shall certify * * * a sufficient sum has been subscribed from
other sources to enable the said Society to resume work with a
reasonable prospect of completing the obelisk or shaft."

By the second section of the same act the Governor was to transmit
copies of it to the Governors of other States, "with a request that they
communicate the same to the Legislatures of their respective States."

The New York "Jewish Messenger," of its own account, undertook to raise
the necessary funds, and appealed to the Jewish people, and especially
the Jewish ladies, to complete the National Washington Monument; "that
the Israelites in America should be Americans in every relation of life,
and distinct only in their fealty to the faith of their fathers. The
Jewesses of America will earn the kindest and most-enduring
acknowledgements of America's sons; they will rear a proud monument for
themselves in working together for the accomplishment of this national

Receipts this year from collections, chiefly at the Monument, and
accrued interest, were $1,008.

Following the act of New York, the Legislature of Minnesota
appropriated, February 27, 1872, the sum of $1,000 towards the
completion of the Monument.

Also, by act of February 28, 1872, upon the like conditions, the
Legislature of the State of New Jersey appropriated the sum of $3,000
towards the work, which was followed on July 30, 1872, by an act of the
State of Connecticut appropriating on the same terms the sum of $2,000.
But these examples of duty discharged, not less than of patriotism, were
not imitated by any other of the State governments.

In February, 1872, a bill was introduced in the House providing that the
affairs of the Society should be vested in a board of directors, to
consist of five members of the Society and President and Secretary _ex
officio_. Any person on payment of $5.00 to be a member, with all the
rights and privileges of incorporators, to vote and hold office, except
that of President of the Association. The bill was referred.

The Society once more addressed a memorial to Congress praying a
_direct_ appropriation might be made towards the completion of the
Monument, or that "such action might be had as to the assembled
patriotism of the Nation might seem meet."

The memorial was referred in the House of Representatives to the
Committee on the District of Columbia, which subsequently reported the
subject back, April 19, 1872, recommending that "it be referred to the
Committee on Appropriations," and it was so ordered, but no action was
taken on the report at this session.

January 27, 1873, a select committee of thirteen was appointed by the
House under a resolution adopted to confer with the Society as to the
practicability of completing the Monument by the "approaching

February 22, 1873, the committee submitted its report, which recommended
that $200,000 be appropriated to aid the Society in its work. The report
recited in part--

  "The committee have become fully impressed with the belief that the
  present time is not only opportune for Congressional action in the
  matter, but that the _honor_ of the Nation demands it. * * * "Some
  question has been made as to the security of the foundations, and
  the committee caused an examination to be made upon this point. The
  Chief of Engineers was called upon to detail an officer to make an
  examination and report. His report is appended hereto, and shows
  that no perceptible change has taken place since the Monument was
  raised to its present height. * * *

  * * * "An opinion has also obtained some credence that the funds of
  the Society, though considerably increased from year to year, are
  absorbed in the payment of sinecures. The committee have had before
  them _the accounts of the Society from its organization to the
  present time_. * * * It will there be found that the Society _has no
  salaried officers connected with it_. Their services have been
  gratuitous, and they are much to be commended for their faithfulness
  and their patriotic zeal in this great work. There are less than
  fourteen thousand dollars, funds of the Society, in the hands of
  the Treasurer, most of which are invested in interest-bearing

It was estimated that $700,000 would be required to finish the shaft,
constructing also a suitable base, and that the work might be completed
by the 4th of July, 1876.

The report concluded:

  "In considering the question as to what action Congress shall take
  in this matter, three views are presented: First, Shall the
  responsibility for the completion of the Monument rest wholly upon
  the efforts of the Monument Society? Second, Shall Congress assume
  the entire responsibility, and to that end repeal the charter of the
  Society? Third, Shall Congress aid the Society by an appropriation,
  leaving it to continue its efforts to raise funds for the completion
  of the Monument?

  "As to the first, the committee find that the Society has made
  _every reasonable effort_ to revive public interest and to secure
  subscriptions, but its efforts have failed and will _continue_ to
  fail without _some expression of confidence on the part of Congress_
  in the form of material aid.

  "As to the second view, the committee are unwilling to recommend the
  disbandment of an association which has already done so much, and is
  still willing to continue its patriotic efforts to redeem the
  plighted faith of the Nation.

  "The committee have taken the third view--that of recommending an
  appropriation by Congress and of the continuation of the Society
  for the purpose of soliciting further subscriptions under the
  original idea upon which it started." * * *

The present consideration of the report, however, was postponed until
the following "Wednesday, at two o'clock," and made a special order. But
on the appointed day the committee failed to secure recognition, and not
obtaining the floor at any time during the remainder of the session,
addressed a letter to the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate
asking an amendment to the sundry civil appropriation act of $200,000,
to be expended as provided in the bill it had reported to the House. But
Congress adjourned without action on the report.

At the next session the select committee of the last Congress was
reappointed, and on May 1, 1874, submitted a report comprehending its
former one, and to which was appended a transcript of the complete
accounts of the Society. The report concurred with prior ones in
Congress, commending the Society's past management and efforts to erect
the Monument.

A report by Lieut. W. L. Marshall, Corps of Engineers, bearing on the
sufficiency of the foundations to support the Monument at a height of
600 feet was also submitted as a part of the committee's report,
Lieutenant Marshall making his report as a result of a request preferred
by the chairman of the select committee to the Chief of Engineers,
U.S.A. It was stated by Lieutenant Marshall:

  "It seems inadvisable to complete the Washington Monument to the
  full height of 600 feet. The area covered by its foundations is too
  small for a structure of the proposed dimensions and weight, causing
  an excessive pressure upon a soil not wholly incompressible."

And he recommended the height be less than 500 feet.

The committee's report recommended the passage of a joint resolution
"that it is the duty of Congress to provide by a sufficient
appropriation for the completion of the unfinished Washington Monument,
at Washington City, by the 4th of July, 1876, the one hundredth
anniversary of American Independence."

The report was ordered printed, and recommitted to the select committee
on the Washington Monument. No further action was had on the report
before the adjournment of Congress.

Abandoning hope that Congress would aid in the resumption of work on the
Monument that it might be under way by the "Centennial year," the
Society proceeded to appeal to the country. Mr. Frederick L. Harvey,
Sr., was appointed its General Agent, and charged with the execution of
a plan he had proposed and which the Society had adopted. This plan was
to appeal to all organized bodies and associations in the country to
make a "contingent" contribution of funds towards building the Monument,
one-half to be payable to the Treasurer of the Society on official
advice that the total sum estimated to be required, $500,000, had been
subscribed, the balance to become payable in equal installments from six
to twelve months later. The interest of the country was to be aroused by
frequent articles in the daily press and by lectures. Contributions to
be sought also from churches and schools and by placing contribution
boxes in the exhibition buildings on the Centennial Exposition grounds,
in the City of Philadelphia, when opened.

Mr. Harvey proceeded most actively and energetically to execute the
plan. The press of Washington and elsewhere earnestly commended the work
and urged contributions.

Rev. Dr. Otis Tiffany, an eloquent pulpit orator, was commissioned to
visit the larger cities of the country and deliver an address on the
life and character of Washington, and this gentleman spoke in Baltimore,
Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and other cities, thus helping to
awaken public attention to the Monument.

President Grant and his Cabinet attended the lecture in Baltimore, going
from Washington.

Between July and September, 1874, over two hundred pledges were received
by the Society from organizations in every part of the country, chiefly,
however, from the Masonic Order, Odd-Fellows, Knights of Pythias,
Independent Order of Red Men, Temperance, and other fraternal bodies.
Subscriptions ranged from five to fifty dollars each. Circular letters
were prepared and sent directly to the executive officers of all
organizations. Interest seemed once more aroused in the completion of
the Monument, the contingent subscriptions continuing to be made.

February 22, 1875, the Society adopted an address to the country, which,
referring to the plan of contingent contributions payable direct to its
Treasurer, continued:

  "The result of their first appeal in this direction has been such as
  to strengthen their faith. * * * The organizations which have been
  thus far reached have responded with subscriptions which, if
  generally and promptly emulated in amount by kindred institutions
  throughout the land, would secure the completion of the structure
  during the Jubilee Year. Had their recent appeal fallen dead upon
  the country and yielded no fruits, they would have been inclined to
  despair of ever reaching success in the great undertaking so long
  entrusted to their care."

A special letter to the railway and banking corporations embodying the
"contingent" plan produced many substantial subscriptions.

In June, 1876, the Society published a further appeal, signed by its
officers, U. S. Grant, _ex officio_ President; W. W. Corcoran, First
Vice-President; Robert C. Winthrop, Second Vice-President; J. B. H.
Smith, Treasurer, and John B. Blake, Secretary, requesting collections
in churches and Sunday schools throughout the country on the 2d of July
following. This appeal was endorsed and signed by the pastors of the
different religious denominations in the City of Washington. Application
to the management of the Centennial Exposition to place contribution
boxes for the Monument in the Exposition buildings was denied; but
permission having been granted by proper authority, boxes were placed in
the State buildings on the Exposition grounds in June, 1876. By the
prosecution of this plan some $90,000 had been contingently subscribed
when the inflow of subscriptions was arrested by unexpected action by
Congress in the matter. The "contingent" plan had been one of the most
successful the Society had ever pursued, and had given every assurance
of final success.

Deferring to the opinion of Lieutenant Marshall the height of the
Monument was reduced to 485 feet.

While pursuing its "contingent" plan of contributions, February 3, 1876,
the Society appointed a special committee, composed of Rear Admiral
Levin M. Powell (chairman), Hon. Walter S. Cox, Dr. John B. Blake, Dr.
Charles F. Stansbury, and Fred D. Stuart, to prepare and present to
Congress a memorial praying an appropriation in aid of its efforts as a
contribution toward completing the Monument.

February 6, 1876, Hon. George F. Edmunds offered in the Senate the
following resolution, which was considered by unanimous consent, agreed
to, and referred to the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds:

    "_Resolved_, That the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds be,
    and it is hereby, instructed to inquire into the expediency of
    making an adequate provision for the speedy completion of the
    Washington Monument in the City of Washington, and that it have
    leave to report by bill or otherwise."

February 10, 1876, Mr. Edmunds laid before the Senate a memorial of the
Society, presented by its committee, which was read and referred to the
Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.

It being understood that plans were suggested in some quarters looking
to a demolition of the uncompleted Monument, and the, use of the
materials of it in the construction of a different style of monument to
Washington, at a meeting of the Society on March 30, 1876, among other
things, it was resolved "that all idea of surrendering the character of
the Monument or allowing the structure, as far as completed, to be taken
down, should be positively and emphatically disavowed."

In view of the resolution of the Senate of February 6th, the chairman of
its Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds received plans for
changing the Monument to a Lombard Tower, and for erecting an arch of
its materials. Bat the committee made no report.

ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1876.

On the 5th of July, 1876, Hon. John Sherman, of Ohio, offered in the
Senate a joint resolution declaring, after an appropriate preamble, that
the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled, "in the
name of the people of the United States, at the beginning of the second
century of the national existence, do assume and direct the completion
of the Washington Monument, in the City of Washington." This resolution
was unanimously adopted in both Houses of Congress.

On July 22d, the Senate passed a bill appropriating $100,000, "to
continue the construction of the Washington Monument in the City of

In the debate in the Senate there was some criticism of the design of
the Monument as an obelisk, and preference was expressed for some other
form of Monument.

It was said by Senator Bayard:

  "I do not believe that the impression we desire to produce upon them
  (the people) will in any degree be assisted by the continuance of
  such a blot upon architecture, as I must consider this obelisk which
  stands here half-shorn of its height."

It was remarked by Mr. Sherman:

  "I think it is the misfortune now of this Washington Monument that
  it has been talked of in Congress for one hundred years. We have
  made promise after promise, and the very moment we come to do
  anything like the execution of the promise we are met by these

The question of the sufficiency of the foundation of the Monument was
also raised, resulting in adding a section to the bill providing for an
examination of the foundation before commencing work on the Monument,
and if the same should be found insufficient no work to be done until
the matter was reported to Congress.

The bill also provided that before the expenditure of any of the
appropriation the Society should transfer and covey to the United
States, in due form, all the property, rights, and privileges belonging
to it in the Monument.

The construction of the Monument was placed under a joint commission
consisting of the President of the United States, the Supervising
Architect of the Treasury Department, and the Architect of the Capitol.

In the House of Representatives the bill was referred, on July 24th, to
the Committee on Appropriations, and reported back by Mr. Foster, of
Ohio, on July 27th, with amendments. As amended, the bill provided for
an appropriation of $200,000, payable in four equal annual installments,
to continue the construction of the Washington Monument, "and provided
that nothing in the bill should be 'so construed as to prohibit the
Society' from continuing its organization for the purpose of soliciting
money and material from the States, associations, and the people in aid
of the completion of the Monument, and acting in an advisory and
co-operative capacity with the Commissioners hereinafter named until the
completion and dedication of the same."

The Joint Commission was increased from the three members provided by
the Senate to five by adding to it the "Chief of Engineers of the United
Staten Army and the First Vice-President of the Washington National
Monument Society."

It was explained by Mr. Foster that the sum had been raised to $200,000,
with an annual expenditure of it of $50,000, and the Society continued;
"because we hope by continuing the Society in existence they can raise
from the people the balance of the sum needed, and as it will take at
least four years to complete the Monument." He further remarked: "This
puts the appropriation of $200,000 in the form of a donation, while at
the same time it secures to the United States all the property and
rights or every name and nature of the Society. * * The present purpose
is to complete the Monument within live years," and to dedicate it
"October 19, 1881, being the centennial of the surrender of Cornwallis
at Yorktown, the last 'great act of Washington's' military career, and
the closing act of the war."

In considering the bill, several amendments were adopted at the instance
of Mr. Holman, of Indiana, and other members.

The bill passed the House July 27th, and as amended, was passed by the
Senate the next day and was approved by President Grant on the 2d of
August, 1876.

September 7, 1876, the Society adopted and issued an appeal "To the
People of the United States," which was signed by its Secretary, John B.

After referring to the act of Congress appropriating $200,000 to aid in
the completion of the Monument, the appeal recited:

  "The occasion is deemed a fitting one to address the citizens of the
  United States upon that subject, and to exhort them, in the name of
  patriotism, not for a moment, on that account, to relax their
  efforts to hasten the accomplishment of that long delayed but much
  desired result."

No response, however, was had from the appeal. The country evidently now
looked to Congress to assume the whole amount required to finish the

January 19, 1877. Mr. W. W. Corcoran and Dr. John B. Blake, as officers
of the Society, conveyed by deed to the United States the property
referred to in the act of August 2, 1876, which deed was duly recorded
in the land records of the District of Columbia.

Of the funds in the possession of the Society was later erected the
memorial building on the Monument grounds for the office of the
custodian, the deposit of the Society's archives, and for the
accommodation of the visitor.

The relations of the Society to the Monument were now limited as
provided in the law. Such States as had omitted providing memorial
blocks to represent them in the Monument had their attention called to
the omission and supplied them.

In accordance with the proviso in the act of Congress the foundations of
the Monument were examined. The board of officers detailed from the
Engineer Corps of the Army by the President to make the examination
reported adversely as to their sufficiency to sustain the weight of the
Monument at its proposed height, and the matter was reported to

Under authority of joint resolutions of Congress of June 14, 1878, and
June 27, 1879, authorizing it, the foundations were strengthened.

This difficult work was successfully accomplished by the eminent
engineer, Lieut.-Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey (later Brigadier-General),
Corps of Engineers, who had been detailed by the President, at the
request of the Joint Commission, as engineer officer in charge of the
construction of the Monument. Capt. George W. Davis, U. S. A., was
detailed as Assistant Engineer. He had been recommended and endorsed for
the position of engineer in charge by the Society. Later, Mr. Bernard R.
Green, C. E., also acted as assistant to Colonel Casey.

Many important features of the work performed emanated from suggestions
made and worked out by these officers, and which were adopted. To
Captain Davis was assigned the duty of observing and superintending the
execution of the details of construction as the work progressed and the
performance of the contracts for materials. The immediate direction of
work and workmen on the grounds was the duty of the master mechanic, Mr.
P. H. McLaughlin. To Mr. Green is to be ascribed the conception and
working out of the plans for placing the pyramidion or top on the shaft,
plans adopted by the Engineer-in-Charge and approved by the Joint

The detail plans of construction were drawn by Mr. Gustav Friebus, of
Washington, D. C., an architect employed in the office of the
Engineer-in-Charge, and under his direction.

The work of strengthening the foundations approaching completion, the
fact was reported to Congress by the Joint Commission, and an
appropriation recommended to begin and continue the erection of the

In support of this recommendation, and to secure adherence to the
original plan of a simple obelisk and to meet the objections frequently
raised, both in and out of Congress as to that form of monument, the
Society, after some correspondence with Colonel Casey, at a meeting held
on the 1st of April, 1880, appointed the following committee "to take
charge of the interests of the Monument before Congress:" Robert C.
Winthrop, Joseph M. Toner, James G. Berret, Horatio King, John B. Blake,
and Daniel B. Clarke.

This committee carefully prepared a memorial, addressed to Congress,
which was adopted at a special meeting of the Society on the 26th of
April, 1880. The memorial was presented to Congress by the committee on
the 20th of April, 1880, referred to the Committee on the District of
Columbia, and ordered printed. The memorial recited, in part:

  "The undersigned are not unmindful that strong efforts have been
  made of late to throw discredit on the design of the Monument, and
  that various plans have been presented for changing the character of
  the structure. Nor has the Association, which the undersigned have
  the honor to represent, ever been unwilling that such modifications
  of the design should be made as should be found necessary for the
  absolute security of the work. With this view they gave formal
  expression a year ago to their acquiescence in the general plans of
  the accomplished American artist, Mr. Story, who had kindly given
  his attention to the subject: but now that the strengthening of the
  foundation has been successfully and triumphantly accomplished by a
  signal application of skill and science, they cannot forbear front
  making a respectful but urgent appeal to Congress to give their
  final sanction to the prosecution and completion of the work without
  more delay according to the plans recommended by the commissioners
  appointed by Congress with the President of the United States at
  their head and by the engineer under their direction. Any other
  course, they are convinced, would be likely to postpone the
  completion of the Monument for another generation, to involve the
  whole subject in continued perplexity, and to necessitate vastly
  larger appropriations in the end than have now been asked for. * * *

  "It has been objected in some quarters that the ancient obelisks
  were all monolithic--massive single stones, cut whole from the
  quarry; but our country has been proud to give examples of both
  political and material structures which owe their strength to union;
  and this Monument to Washington will not be the less significant or
  stately from embodying the idea of our national motto, '_E pluribus

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Something more original and more ornate might have been conceived
  at the outset or might now be designed, but there are abundant
  fields for the exhibition of advanced art in other parts of the
  country, if not here. This Monument and its design will date back to
  the time of its inception, and will make no pretensions to
  illustrate the arts of 1880. It was not undertaken to illustrate the
  fine arts of any period, but to commemorate the foremost man of all
  ages. Indeed, it will date back in its form and in its proportions
  to a remote antiquity. It is a most interesting fact communicated to
  us in the letters, hereto appended, of our accomplished American
  minister at Rome, the Hon. George P. Marsh, as the result of his own
  researches, that the proportions of this Monument, as now designed,
  are precisely those of all the best-known Egyptian obelisks. The
  height of those monuments is ascertained by him to have been
  uniformly and almost precisely ten times the dimensions of the base,
  and _this proportion_ has now been decided on for our own Monument
  to Washington, the measurements of the base being fifty-five feet,
  and projected elevation five hundred and fifty feet. * * * It seems
  to the undersigned sufficient respectfully to suggest that the
  question before Congress at this moment is not whether the original
  plans might not have been improved to advantage, but whether this
  long-delayed work shall be finished within any reasonable period or
  be left still longer as a subject for competition among designers
  and constructors.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "By the adoption of the recommendations of the Commissioners and
  Engineer the work may be completed within the next four years. * * *
  While the structure would make no appeal to a close and critical
  inspection as a mere work of art, it would give a crowning finish to
  the grand public buildings of the Capital, would add a unique
  feature to the surrounding landscape, and would attract the admiring
  gaze of the most distant observers in the wide range over which it
  would be visible. It would be eminently a monument for the
  appreciation of the many, if not of the few, and would thus verify
  the designation originally given it, of 'The People's Monument to
  their most illustrious Benefactor.'"

In a letter to the chairman of the committee of the Society by Colonel
Casey, dated April 19, 1887, he stated:

  "The base of the Monument is 55 feet square, the top will be 34 feet
  6 inches square, and it will be crowned with a pyramidion, or roof,
  50 feet in height. The proportions of the parts of this obelisk are
  in exact accordance with the classic proportions of parts of this
  style of architecture, as determined after careful research by the
  Hon. George P. Marsh, American Minister at Rome."

The recommendations of the Joint Commission, of the Engineer, Colonel
Casey, and of the Society, as to plan and proportions of the shaft, were
happily sustained.

The prediction in the Society's last memorial to Congress was fully
realized in the completed Monument, which has ever since attracted "the
admiring gaze of the most distant observers in the wide range over which
it is visible." None are found to regret the form of the Monument, which
was firmly adhered to as most fitting to perpetuate the name and fame of

Congress making the required annual appropriation for the purpose, the
work proceeded and the Monument was finally completed on the 6th of
December, 1884, on which day its capstone was set in place.

By joint resolution of Congress, approved May 13, 1884, a commission was
created, consisting of five Senators, eight Representatives, and three
members of the Washington National Monument Society to make arrangements
for the dedication of the Monument. The following persons composed the

  Hon. W. W. CORCORAN,
  President JAMES C. WELLING,

Pursuant to the order of proceedings adopted by the Commission the
Monument was dedicated on the 21st of February, 1885. The ceremonies,
began at the base of the Monument at 11 o'clock, Hon. John Sherman,
Chairman of the Commission, presided. After music, prayer by the Rev.
Mr. Suter, of Christ Church, Alexandria, Va.; an address prepared by W.
W. Corcoran, the First Vice-President of the Washington National
Monument Society, read by Dr. James C. Welling, Mr. Corcoran being
unable to attend; Masonic ceremonies by the Grand Lodge of the District
of Columbia, Grand Master Myron M. Parker; remarks by Col. Thomas L.
Casey, the Engineer of the Joint Commission, delivering the Monument to
the President of the United States, the Monument was dedicated by the
President of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, in the following

  "FELLOW COUNTRYMEN: Before the dawn of the century whose eventful
  years will soon have faded into the past--when death had but lately
  robbed this Republic of its most beloved and illustrious
  citizen--the Congress of the United States pledged the faith of the
  Nation that in this city, bearing his honored name, and then, as
  now, the seat of the General Government, a monument should be
  erected to commemorate the great events of his military and
  political life.

  "The stately column that stretches heavenward front the plain
  whereon we stand bears witness to all who behold it that the
  covenant which our fathers made, their children have fulfilled.

  "In the completion of this great work of patriotic endeavor there is
  abundant cause for national rejoicing; for while this structure
  shall endure it shall be to all mankind a steadfast token of the
  affectionate and reverent regard in which this people continue to
  hold the memory of Washington. Well may he ever keep the foremost
  place in the hearts of his countrymen.

  "The faith that never faltered; the wisdom that was broader and
  deeper than any learning taught in schools; the courage that shrank
  from no peril and was dismayed by no defeat; the loyalty that kept
  all selfish purpose subordinate to the demands of patriotism and
  honor; the sagacity that displayed itself in camp and cabinet alike;
  and, above all, that harmonious union of moral and intellectual
  qualities which has never found its parallel among men--these are
  the attributes of character which the intelligent thought of this
  century ascribes to the grandest figure of the last.

  "But other and more eloquent lips than mine will to-day rehearse to
  you the story of his noble life and its glorious achievements.

  "To myself has been assigned a simpler and more formal duty, in
  fulfillment of which I do now, as President of the United States and
  in behalf of the people, receive this Monument from the hands of its
  builder, and declare it dedicated from this time forth to the
  immortal name and memory of George Washington."

The proceedings occurred in the presence of a great concourse of
citizens and visitors from all parts of the country. The day was clear
and cold, and a light fall of snow covered the earth.

The procession to the Capitol, comprising a military escort, embracing
the regular forces of the Army and Navy and visiting military bodies
and a civic division, under command of Lieut.-Gen. P. H. Sheridan,
marshal of the day, was imposing.

The proceedings arranged in the hall of the House of Representatives
occurred in the presence of the President of the United States and his
Cabinet, the assembled Congress, the Judges of the Supreme Court of the
United States, Governors of States, Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers,
official heads in the Departments of the Government, municipal officers
of Washington, judges, distinguished officers of the Army and Navy, the
Marine Corps, and the Militia, scientists, journalists, scholars of
distinction, and many other invited guests of prominence. Among those
present were descendants of the family of Washington, and of his friends
and neighbors.

Prayer was offered by the Rev. S. A. Wallis, of Pohick Church, near
Mount Vernon, Va. An oration by Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of
Massachusetts, was read by Hon. John D. Long, a Representative from
Massachusetts. Music by the United States marine band was followed by an
eloquent oration by the Hon, John W. Daniel, of Virginia.

The benediction was pronounced by the Rev. John A. Lindsay, Chaplain of
the House of Representatives.

The resolution of Congress of 1799 was at last fulfilled. The efforts of
the Washington National Monument Society were realized, and the American
people beheld the consummation of their desire--a great National
Monument erected at the seat of the Federal Government to the name and
memory of George Washington.

A provision in the sundry civil bill, approved October 2, 1888,
dissolved the Joint Commission, and placed the Monument "in the custody,
care, and protection" of the Secretary of War, and "continued" the
Washington National Monument Society "with the same powers as provided
in the act of August 2, 1876, creating the Joint Commission."


Washington National Monument Society.

  Chief Justice John Marshall.
  Ex-President James Madison.
  Hon. Roger C. Weightman.
  Com. John Rodgers.
  Gen. Thomas S. Jessup.
  Col. George Bomford.
  Matthew St. Claire Clarke.
  Samuel Harrison Smith.
  John McClelland.
  Judge William Cranch.
  Hon. William Brent.
  George Watterston.
  Col. Nathan Towson.
  Gen. Archibald Henderson.
  Thomas Munroe.
  Hon. Thomas Carbery.
  Hom. Peter Force.
  Hon. John P. Van Ness.
  William Ingle.
  William L. Brent.
  Gen. Alexander McComb.
  John J. Abert.
  Philip R. Fendall.
  Maj.-Gen. Winfield Scott.
  John Carter.
  Gen. Walter Jones.
  Hon. Walter Lenox.
  T. Hartley Crawford.
  Com. M. F. Maury.
  Benj. Ogle Tayloe.
  Thomas Blagden.
  John Carroll Brent.
  Col. James Kearney.
  Hon. Elisha Whittlesey.
  Hon. W. W. Seaton.
  J. Bayard H. Smith.
  Hon. W. W. Corcoran.
  John P. Ingle.
  James Mandeville Carlisle.
  Dr. John B. Blake.
  Dr. William Jones.
  William L. Hodge.
  Dr. James C. Hall.
  William B. Todd.
  Hon. James Dunlop.
  Gen. U. S. Grant.
  George W. Riggs.
  Hon. Henry D. Cooke.
  Hon. Peter G. Washington.
  William J. McDonald.
  Hon. John M. Broadhead.
  Gen. William T. Sherman.
  Dr. Charles H. Nicols.
  David A. Watterston.
  Hon. Alexander R. Shepherd.
  Fitzhugh Coyle.
  Hon. James G. Berret.
  J. C. Kennedy.
  Hon. William A. Richardson.
  Gen. O. E. Babcock.
  Edward Clark.
  Hon. Walter S. Cox.
  Rear-Admiral Levin M. Powell.
  Dr. Charles F. Stansbury.
  Fred D. Stuart.
  Hon. Robert C. Winthrop.
  Professor Joseph Henry.
  Gen. William McKee Dunn.
  John C. Harkness.
  Hon. Horatio King.
  Dr. Daniel B. Clarke.
  Hon. George W. McCrary.
  Dr. Joseph M. Toner.
  President James C. Welling.
  Hon. George Bancroft.
  Rear-Adm'l C. R. P. Rodgers.
  Hon. Hugh McCulloch.
  Hon. John Sherman.
  Hon. William Strong.
  Hon. Arthur McArthur.
  Brig.-Gen. Thos. Lincoln Casey.
  Hon. A. R. Spofford.
  Hon. J. C. Bancroft Davis.
  Gen. C. C. Augur.
  Professor Asaph Hall.
  Rear-Adm'l S. R. Franklin.
  Dr. Francis M. Gunnell.
  Professor E. M. Gallaudet.
  Hon. Martin F. Morris.
  Hon. George S. Boutwell.
  Samuel H. Kauffmann.
  Maj.-Gen. John M. Schofield.
  Rev. John F. Hurst, D. D.
  Rt. Rev. John J. Keane.
  Hon. Henry B. Brown.
  Hon. William A. Maury.
  Henry A. Willard.
  Charles C. Glover.
  Professor S. D. Langley.
  Frederick L. Harvey.
  R. Ross Perry.


  Elisha Whittlesey,                     1848.
  Lieut. J. C. Ives,                     1859 to 1860.
  John S. Benson,                        1870.
  Frederick L. Harvey,                   1874 to 1876.


                  4th JULY, 1776.


                  4th JULY, 1848.


                  JAMES K. POLK,
  _President of the United States and Ex-officio President of the Board
                   of Managers._

        WILLIAM BRENT, _1st Vice-President_.

  WILLIAM W. SEATON, _Mayor of Washington, 2d Vice-President_.

       GEN'L A. HENDERSON, _3d Vice-President_.

             J. B. H. SMITH, _Treasurer_.

            GEORGE WATTERSTON, _Secretary_.


  M. F. MAURY.
  ELISHA WHITTLESEY, _General Agent_.




  JOSEPH H. BRADLEY, _Chief Marshal_.
  ROBERT MILLS, _Architect_.


ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1876.

(Commission Dissolved October 2, 1888.)


  R. B. HAYES.           CHESTER A. ARTHUR.

_Chiefs of Corps of Engineers, U. S. A._

  Brig.-Gen. A. A. HUMPHREYS.     Brig.-Gen. HORATIO WRIGHT.
  Brig.-Gen. JOHN NEWTON.         Brig.-Gen. THOS. L. CASEY (1888).

_Architect of the Capitol._


_Architects of the Treasury._

  JAS. G. HILL.      JOHN FRASER, Acting.      M. E. BELL.

_First Vice-President of Washington National Monument Society._




_Engineers in Charge Under Joint Commission._

  Col. THOS. LINCOLN CASEY,      Col. JOHN M. WILSON (1888),
                     Corps of Engineers.


  Capt. GEO. W. DAVIS,        BERNARD R. GREEN,
     14th Inft., U. S. A.        Civil Engineer.

_Master Mechanic_--P. H. MCLAUGHLIN.

_Chief Clerk_--JAMES B. DUTTON.

_Draftsman_--GUSTAV FRIEBUS.




  W. W. CORCORAN, _Chairman_.
  M. E. BELL.
  _Act of August 2nd, 1876._


  JULY 4, 1848.

  AUGUST 7, 1880.






  _Master Mechanic._



                             ENGINEER OFFICE WASHINGTON MONUMENT,
                                 CORNER SEVENTEENTH AND F STREETS,
                                    WASHINGTON, D. C., _April 19, 1880_.

  _Chairman of Committee of Washington Monument society_.

DEAR SIR: Agreeably to your request that a succinct account of the
project for the completion and the condition of the work upon the
Washington National Monument should be given your committee, I have the
honor, with the sanction of the Joint Commission for the completion of
the Monument, to report as follows.


Under the authority of the act of Congress of August 2, 1876, and joint
resolutions of June 14, 1878, and June 27, 1879, the Monument is being
constructed under the direction and supervision of a Joint Commission,
consisting of the President of the United States, the Supervising
Architect of the Treasury Department, the Architect of the Capitol, the
Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, and the First
Vice-President of the Washington National Monument Society.


The project or design of the work is an obelisk 550 feet in height,
faced with white marble mid hacked with dressed granite rock. Of this
structure 156 feet is already finished.

The base of the Monument is 55 feet square, the top will be 34 feet 6
inches square, and it will be crowned with a pyramidion, or roof, 50
feet in height.

The proportions of the parts of this obelisk are in exact accordance
with the classic proportions of parts of this style of architecture, as
determined after careful research by the Hon. George P. Marsh, American
Minister at Rome.

The shaft, as proportioned, both in dimensions and weight, will be
entirely stable as against winds that could exert a pressure of one
hundred pounds or more per square foot upon any face of the structure.

The project includes the preparation of the foundation so as to enable
it to carry this structure. This preparation, or strengthening, consists
in making the existing foundation wider and deeper, in order to
distribute the weight over a greater area, and in bringing upon each
square foot of the earth pressed no greater weight then it is known to
be able to sustain.


1. _Preparation of foundation._--This consisted in placing a mass of
Portland cement concrete beneath the existing foundation, extending
downwards 13½ feet; underneath and within the outer edge of the old
foundation 18 feet; and without this edge 23 feet; then, of taking out
the old foundation from beneath the shaft, for a sufficient distance
back to obtain a good bearing upon the new masonry which is built out
upon the slab first mentioned.

This work is so far advanced that it will be entirely completed by the
15th of June.

2. _Preparation for the shaft._--The other operations have consisted in
the erection of the interior frame-work for the staircases and elevator
within the shaft, which frame-work will be used in the construction of
the masonry; the collection of granite and marble for continuing the
shaft; and the preparation of the machinery for raising the stones to
the top of the shaft, and setting them in place on the walls.


The only appropriation for this work as yet made by Congress is two
hundred thousand dollars, contained in the act of August 2, 1876, which
sum will be exhausted by the end of August, 1880.

The estimate for completing this work is $667,000, and the time required
will be four working seasons.

    Very respectfully, your ob't servant,
                                              THOS. LINCOLN CASEY,
                                _Lieutenant-Colonel Engineers, U.S.A.,
                                                    Engineer in Charge._

                                    UNITED STATES SENATE CHAMBER,
                                    WASHINGTON, D. C., _March 31, 1879_.

DEAR SIR: I inclose, as possibly of interest, extracts from a letter I
have just received from Hon. George P. Marsh, our Minister at Rome.

These extracts refer to the Washington Monument question. Mr. Marsh is
among the most learned and accomplished of those in any country who have
given the subject of architecture and monumental art attention.

    Very truly yours,
                                                        GEO. F. EDMUNDS.
  Gen. T. L. CASEY,
    _Corps of Engineers_.


                                               ROME, _February 9, 1879_.

DEAR MR. EDMUNDS: By a letter from the sculptor Mead to Mrs. Marsh, I
understand that the main feature of the Washington Monument is to be an
obelisk of great height, surmounted by a colossal statue, and with
_bas-reliefs_ at a suitable height from the base. I believe I have
not only seen but sketched every existing genuine--that is,
Egyptian--obelisk, for no other can fairly said to be genuine. The
obelisk is not an arbitrary structure which every one is free to erect
with such form and proportions as suit his taste and convenience, but
its objects, form, and proportions were fixed by the usage of thousands
of years; they satisfy every cultivated eye, and I hold it an esthetical
crime to depart from them.

In its objects the obelisk is monumental, its inscriptions having
reference to and indicating what or whom it commemorates. I do of think
_bas-reliefs_ too great a departure from the primitive character the
inscriptions, because we can come no nearer an alphabet answering the

The most important point is the form and proportions of the structure,
as to which the modern builder of obelisks transgresses greatly. The
Egyptian obelisks do not, indeed, all conform with mathematical
exactness to their own normal proportions, but (probably from defects in
the stone) frequently vary somewhat from them. When truly fashioned,
however, they are more pleasing to the eye than when deviating from the
regular shape.

The obelisk consists: First, of a naked shaft, with or without
inscription, the height of which is ten times the width of its base, so
that if the base of the shaft is fifty feet square, then the height of
the shaft must be five hundred feet. For optical reasons (which cannot
be considered in the Washington Monument, it being too late) the faces
of the shaft are slightly convex.

The dimensions of the shaft are reduced as it rises, and in this point
the ancient obelisks vary more than any other, the top of the shaft
varying from two-thirds to three-quarters of the linear measurement of
the base. Hence, if the base of the shaft (I do mot mean of the pedestal
or plinth, if there is one) is fifty feet square, its summit may be
anywhere between thirty-three and one-third and thirty-seven and
one-half feet square. The obelisks much reduced are the most graceful,
but in this case the great height will of itself reduce the apparent
measurement, so that perhaps thirty-five would not be too much. But the
shaft has already gone up so far as to have settled those questions of
form irrevocably. Second, of a pyramidion or apex, the form and
proportions of which are constant. The base of the pyramidion is of
exactly the same dimensions as the summit of the shaft, and unites with
it directly without any break (except, of course, one angle), and with
no ledge, molding, or other disfigurement. The height of the pyramidion
is equal to the length of a side of the base of the shaft, and therefore
greater than the side of its own base.

There are cases where the hyeroglyphics run up one or more faces of the
pyramidion, but in general these faces are perfectly plain.

The Egyptians often covered the whole pyramidion with a closely fitted
gilt bronze cap, the effect of which most have been magnificent.

It has been said that it was sometimes surmounted by a gilt star, but I
doubt this, for the casing of the pyramidion would of itself have much
the same effect.

The notion of spitting an the sharp point of the pyramidion is supremely
absurd. Not less so is the substitution of a low hipped roof for am
acute pyramidion, or the making of a window in the face of the
pyramidion or of the shaft, both which atrocities were committed in the
Bunker Hill Monument. There will no doubt be people who will be foolish
enough to insist on a peep-hole somewhere; and if they must be gratified
the window should be of the exact form and size of one of the stones,and
provided with a close-fitting shutter colored exactly like the stone, so
that when shut it would be nearly or quite imperceptible from below.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Yours truly,
                                                          GEO. P. MARSH.


                                      WASHINGTON, D. C., _May 12, 1879_.

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have received from Mr. Marsh a letter on the subject
of the Monument, a copy of which I herewith forward to you, thinking it
may interest you.

    Yours truly,
                                                      GEORGE F. EDMUNDS.

  General T. L. CASEY,
    _Corps of Engineers, Washington, D. C._

                                                 ROME, _April 25, 1879_.

DEAR MR. EDMUNDS: I am much obliged to you for yours of April 8, with
General Casey's letter and the two Congressional documents. I am
agreeably surprised to learn from General Casey's interesting letter
that the normal proportions have been so early observed hitherto in the
construction of the obelisk. In fact, it being difficult to obtain such
vast masses of granite rock, even in the quarries of Syene, entirely
free from flaws, the Egyptians were very often obliged to depart more or
less from the proportions most satisfactory to the eye, and the
Washington obelisk conforms so nearly to those proportions, except in
two points, that it is hardly subject to criticism. These points are,
the batter, which is more rapid than in any obelisk known to me, and the
pyramidion. Perhaps the designer adopted the proportions from
considerations of stability, as a summit considerably less than the base
would give greater security, and when the dimensions are all so great,
differences of proportion are less appreciable.

As to the form and proportion of the pyramidion, the existing obelisks
are more uniform than in the measurements of the shaft, and I think
that, not merely on the ground of precedent but on that of taste, it
would be by all means advisable to give to the pyramidion of the
Washington obelisk a height of not less than fifty feet. In any case, if
the height of the pyramidion is not greater than the side of its base,
the summit will have a truncated shape quite out of harmony with the
_soaring_ character of the structure.

I infer from General Casey's drawings, accompanying Mr. Corcoran's
letter, that the plan of a sort of temple-like excrescence from the
base--a highly objectionable feature--is abandoned. It is curious that
we do not know precisely what the Egyptian form of the base was. Some
authorities state it was a die of larger dimensions than the shaft, and
with sides battering at the same rate as the shaft, but I do not find
satisfactory evidence that this was by any means universal, though it
would certainly be an appropriate and harmonious form. Of course any
desirable base can be constructed around the shaft. There are obelisks
the surface of which indicates that they were stuccoed, and this
suggests that if the shaft of the Washington obelisk shall from time or
difference of material be found parti-colored, surface uniformity of
tone may be obtained by the same process.

We have no knowledge of any Egyptian obelisk much exceeding one hundred
feet in height, though some writers speak of such monuments of
considerably greater dimensions. The extreme difficulty of obtaining
monoliths exceeding one hundred feet renders it probable that the
measurements of the authorities referred to were mere vague estimates
rather than ascertained dimensions.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Yours truly,
                                                          GEO. P. MARSH.

                                     BROOKLINE, MASS., _August 1, 1878_.

MY DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 20th ultimo reached me yesterday. I thank
you for sending me the copy of Mr. Story's letter, which I have read
with great interest. I am only a second vice-president of the Monument
Association, and am not included in the commission for completing the
work. I had no part or lot in the original design of the Monument. * * *
As an original question, I might have desired a different design; and I
had no small part in inducing the building committee, many years ago, to
omit the pantheon at the base, and to confine the design to a simple
obelisk. After that was arranged, and when the Monument had reached so
considerable a height, I was very averse to changing the plan. A whole
generation of men, women, and children had contributed, in larger or
smaller sums, to this particular Monument; and States, cities, and
foreign nations had sent stones for its completion.

To tear it all down, with a view to improve the design, was abhorrent to
me. Story called to see me when he was in Boston, and I told him that,
so far as I was concerned, my first wish was to finish the Monument as a
simple obelisk; but that, if a change was unavoidable, owing to any
insecurity of the foundations, his idea of turning it into an ornamental
Lombard Tower was the best plan I had seen suggested. * * *

I am aware that what is called "advanced art" looks with scorn on
anything so simple and bald as an obelisk, more especially when it is
made up of a thousand pieces, instead of being a monolith shaft. Yet the
Bunker Hill Monument, of which the design was furnished by one of our
earliest and best artists, Horatio Greenough, is one of these complete
obelisks, and Webster was proud to apostrophize it as "the true orator
of the day," when he was pronouncing his own incomparable oration.

I recall other obelisks, at home and abroad, which tell their story most
impressively; and when I look around to see what "advanced art" has done
for us and done for itself to the myriad soldiers' monuments which have
been recently erected, I fall back on the simple shaft as at least not
inferior to any one of them in effect and as free from anything tinsel
or tawdry.

A grand arch, which I believe you once proposed, would be a noble
monument of our Union, and might well be the subject of independent
consideration in season for the centennial of the organization of the
Government in 1889. I have repeatedly urged such an arch as
commemorative of our Constitutional Union, in Boston. But it would have
still greater propriety in Washington. I cannot help hoping, however,
that it will be erected with new stones, and without any disturbance of
the Washington obelisk.

Pardon me for so long a letter and for so frank an expression of my

I have heard nothing on the subject of late from any of the
Commissioners or of the Association, but have taken it for granted that
the whole matter was decided.

If, however, it is to be reopened, I shall be very glad to see Mr.
Story's designs, and to consult with you agreeably to your friendly

Believe me, dear Mr. Morrill, respectfully and truly,

                                                     ROBERT C. WINTHROP.

    _United States Senator_.


Act of August 2, 1876,                19 Statutes, p. 123.
Joint Resolution, June 14, 1878,      20    "      p. 254.
Joint Resolution, June 27, 1879,      21    "      p.  54.
Sundry Civil Act, June 16, 1880,      21    "      p. 268.
Sundry Civil Act, March 3, 1881,      21    "      p. 444.
Sundry Civil Act, March 3, 1883,      22    "      p. 615.
Sundry Civil Act, August 9, 1886,     24    "      p. 245.
Sundry Civil Act, February 28, 1887,  24    "      p. 424.
Sundry Civil Act, March 3, 1887,      24    "      p. 509.
Sundry Civil Act, October 2, 1888,    25    "      p. 553.



  New Hampshire.
  Rhode Island.
  New York.
  New Jersey.
  West Virginia.
  North Carolina.
  South Carolina.

  Paros and Naxos, in Grecian Archipelago.
  Cherokee Nation.


  New York City.
  Philadelphia, Pa.
  Warren, R. I.
  Boston, Mass.
  Baltimore, Md.
  Richmond, Va.
  Washington City.
  Alexandria, Va.
  Frederick, Md.
  Charlestown, Mass.
  Little Rock, Ark.
  Durham, N. H.
  Stockton, Cal.
  New Bedford, Mass.
  Lowell, Mass.
  Nashville, Tenn.
  Newark, N. J.
  Salem, Mass.
  City of Roxbury, Mass.

F. A. A. M.

  Patmos Lodge, Maryland.
  Grand Lodge of Maryland.
    "     "      Ohio.
    "     "      Mississippi.
    "     "      Kentucky.
    "     "      New York.
    "     "      Virginia.
    "     "      Alabama.
    "     "      Tennessee.
    "     "      Florida.
    "     "      Pennsylvania.
    "     "      Arkansas.
    "     "      Georgia.
    "     "      Dist. of Colum.
  Subordinate Lodges, Philadelphia.
  Roxbury Lodge, Mass.
  St. John's Lodge, Richmond, Va.
  Washington Naval Lodge, No. 4.
  Arthenia Lodge, Troy, N. Y.
  Lafayette Lodge, 64, New York.

I. O. O. F.

  Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
    "     "      Mississippi.
    "     "      Kentucky.
    "     "      Indiana.
    "     "      Iowa.
    "     "      Virginia.
    "     "      New Jersey.
    "     "      Ohio.
    "     "      United States.
    "     "      Maryland.
  Philadelphia, Penna.
  Eureka Lodge 117, New York City.
  Troy, N. Y.
  Germantown, Penna.


  Grand Division of North Carolina.
    "      "        Connecticut.
    "      "        Illinois.
    "      "        New Jersey.
    "      "        Ohio.
    "      "        Rhode Isl'nd.
  Philadelphia, Penna.

  Mount Lebanon Lodge, B. B. B.
  Washington Naval, A. Y. M.
  Addisonian Literary Society.
  "Cincinnati Commercial, 1850."
  United Sons America, Penna.
  American Whig Society.
  Hibernian Society, Baltimore, Md.
  Independent United Order of Brothers.
  Uni'd Amer'n Mechanics, Phila'a.

  Fire Department, New York City.
  Invincible Fire Co., Cincinnati, O.
  Washington Light Inft., D. C.
  Fire Depart't., Philadelphia, Pa.
  Co. I, 4th U. S. Infantry. 1851.
  National Greys, Washington, D. C.
  Continental Guards of New Orleans.
  First Regiment, Light Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteers.
  Westmoreland County, Va., Birthplace of Washington.
  "Braddock's Field."
  "Battlefield of Long Island." Kings County, 1776.
  Association of Journeymen Stonecutters, Philadelphia, Penna.
  "From the Home of Knox--Citizens of Thomaston, Maine."
  Hawkins County, Tenn.
  "From Otter's Summit--Virginia's loftiest peak."
  Oakland College, Miss.
  General Assembly of Presbyterian Church, Washington, May, 1852.
  American Institute, New York.
  "Maryland Pilgrims."
  German Benevolent Society, Washington, D. C.
  Columbia Typographical Society, Washington, D. C.
  "Postmasters and Assistant Postmasters, Indiana, 1852."
  "Pupils of the Public Schools, Baltimore, Md."
  Cliosophic Society, Nassau Hall, N. J.
  Wilmington, North Carolina, Thalian Association.
  Tuscarora Tribe, District of Columbia, I. O. R. M.
  Anacostia Tribe, No. 3, I. O. R. M.
  Oldest Inhabitant's Association, Washington, D. C.
  Young Men's Mercantile Library Association, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  Mosaic Block--ruins of ancient Carthage.
  From Chapel of William Tell, Luzerne, Switzerland.
  Americans residing in Foo-Chow-Foo, China, 1857.
  "From the Temple of Æsculapius, Island of Paros. Presented by Officers
    of U. S. S. Saranac."
  American Medical Society.
  Jefferson Society, University of Virginia.
  Lava--Vesuvius. Geo. Wm. Terrell.
  Pupils Buffalo Public Schools.
  Honesdale, Wayne County, Penna., 1853.
  Citizens of Stockton, San Joaquin County, Cal.
  "From two Disciples of Daguerre," of Philadelphia.
  Children of Sunday Schools, M. E. Church, City of New York.
  Ladies and Gentlemen--Dramatic Profession of America.
  Erina Guard, Newark, N. J.
  Sons of New England in Canada.
  "From Alexandrian Library in Egypt."
  "From Tomb of Napoleon, St. Helena."
  Western Military Institute, Ky.
  Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.



"So as to strengthen the friendship between the two countries,
Abdul-Majid Kahn has also had his name written on the Monument to

These words form a chronogram--"1269-1779 of the Hegira." Above the
inscription is a monogram signifying "Abdul-Majid, son of Mahomet Kahn."
Upon a lower corner, "Written by the court poet, Mustapha Izyt."

Block is of white marble, highly polished, and ornamental.


"Washington dem Grossen und Gerechten das befreundete Bremen."

(Friendly Bremen to the great and good Washington.)


"Exported from the harbor of Simoda, in the Province of Isu, the fifth
month of the year Ansey Tora." [April, 1853.]


Block of white marble from ruins of the Parthenon:

"George Washington, the hero, the citizen of the new and illustrious
liberty: The land of Solon, Themistocles, and Pericles--the mother of
ancient liberty--sends this ancient stone as a testimony of honor and
admiration from the Parthenon."


"Su-Ki-Yu, by imperial appointment, Lieutenant Governor of the Province
of Fuh Kun, in his Universal Geography, says:

"'It is evident that Washington was a remarkable man. In devising plans
he was more decided than Chin-Sing, or Wu-Kang,[A] in winning a country,
he was braver than Tsau-Tsau or Lin Pi.[B] Wielding his four-footed
falchion, he extended the frontiers thousands of miles, and then refused
to usurp the regal dignity or transmit it to his posterity, but first
established rules for an elective administration. Where in the world can
be found such a public spirit? Truly, the sentiments of three dynasties
have all at once unexpectedly appeared in our day! In ruling the State
he promoted and fostered good customs, and did not depend on military
merit. In this he differed from all other nations. I have seen his
portrait; his air and form are grand and imposing in a remarkable
degree. Ah! who would not call him a hero?

"'The United States of America regard it promotive of national virtue
generally and extensively neither to establish titles of nobility and
royalty nor to conform to the age, as respects customs and public
influence, but instead deliver over their own public deliberations and
inventions, so that the like of such a nation--one so remarkable--does
not exist in ancient or modern times. Among the people of the Great
West, can any man, in ancient or modern times, fail to pronounce
Washington peerless?'

"This stone is presented by a company of Christians and engraved at
Ningpo, in the Province of Che Heang, China, this third year of the
reign of the Emperor He-en Fung, sixth month and seventh day." [July 12,

ON JULY 4, 1848.

Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence;
presented by Mr. Hickey.

American Constitutions; by W. Patton.

Large design of the Washington National Monument, with the _fac simile_
of the names of the Presidents of the United States and others.

Large design of the Washington National Monument. Lithographed.

Historical sketch of the Washington National Monument since its origin,
in MS.

Portrait of Washington, from Stuart's painting, Faneuil Hall.

Plate engraved with the names of the officers and members of the Board
of Managers.

The Statesman's Manual, containing President's Messages from Washington
to Polk, from 1789 to 1846, vols. 1 and 2.

Copy of the grant for the site of the Monument under the joint
resolution of Congress.

Constitutions of the Washington National Monument Society, addresses,
circulars, commissions, instructions, form of bond, from 1835 to 1848.

Small design of Monument and likeness of Washington, with blank
certificates for contributors.

Watterston's New Guide to Washington; by G. Watterston.

Map of the City of Washington; by Joseph Ratcliffe.

Laws of the Corporation of Washington; by A. Rothwell.

J. B. Varnum, Jr., on the Seat of Government; by J. B. Varnum, Jr.

Statistics by John Sessford of the number of dwellings, value of
improvements, assessments of the real and personal tax, &c., in the City
of Washington, from 1824 to 1848, print and manuscript; by John

Census of the United States, 1840; Force's Guide to Washington and
vicinity, 1848; by W. Q. Force.

Drake's Poems; Catalogue of the Library of Congress, printed 1839;
Catalogue from 1840 to 1847, both inclusive; by Joint Committee on the
Library of Congress.

Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, 1846-'47; by R. P. Anderson.

All the coins of the United States, from the eagle to the half-dime,

Census of the United States from 1790 to 1848, inclusive.

A list of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, its
Officers, with the dates of their respective appointments; by W. J.
Carroll, Clerk Supreme Court of the United States.

Proceedings of the General Society of the Cincinnati, with the original
institution of the order and _fac simile_ of the signatures of the
original members of the State Society of Pennsylvania; by Charles L.

Constitution and General Laws of the Great Council of the Improved Order
of Red Men of the District of Columbia.

By-Laws of Powhatan Tribe, No. 1, and General Laws of the Great Council
of the same Order.

American Silk Flag; presented by Joseph K. Boyd, citizen of Washington,
District of Columbia, on the 4th of July, 1848.

The Temple of Liberty, two copies, one ornamented and lettered with red.
The letters are so arranged in each that the name of Washington may be
spelled more than one thousand times in connection; by John Kilbourn.

Design of the Monument, small plate, produced by a process called
electrotype; by Chas. Fenderich, Washington.

A copy of the Constitution of the first organized Temperance Society in
America; by L. H. Sprague, July 4, 1848.

Sons of Temperance in the District of Columbia.

Report on the Organization of the Smithsonian Institution; by Professor

Coat of Arms of the Washington family; by Mrs. Jane Charlotte
Washington, July 4, 1848.

The Blue Book for 1847; Congressional Directory; by J. & G. S. Gideon.

Thirty-first Annual Report of the American Colonization Society.

Message of the President of the United States and accompanying
documents, 1847.

Navy Register, 1848; by C. Alexander.

Coast Survey Document; Army Register for 1848.

The Washington Monument; Shall It Be Built? by J. S. Lyon.

Holy Bible; presented by the Bible Society; instituted 1816.

Vail's Description of the Magnetic Telegraph; by A. Vail.

Report of the Joint Committee on the Library, May 4, 1848, and an
engraving; by M. Vattemare.

Morse's North American Atlas.

African Repository and Colonial Journal, 1848.

Military Laws of the United States, 1846; by G. Templeman.

Appleton's Railroad and Steamboat Companion.

Daguerreotype likeness of General and Mrs. Mary Washington, with a
description of the Daguerreotype process; by John S. Grubb, Alexandria,

True Republican; the likeness of all the Presidents to 1846, and
inaugural addresses; by G. Templeman.

Silver Medal, representing General Washington and the National Monument;
by Jacob Seeger.

Copies of the Union Magazine, National Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book,
Graham's Magazine, and Columbian Magazine, for July, 1848; by Brooke &

Constitution of the Smithsonian Association, on the Island, instituted
November 9, 1847.

Harper's Illustrated Catalogue; by S. Colman.

Smithsonian Institution--Report of the Commissioners on its
organization; Reports from the Board of Regents; by W. W. Seaton.

American Archives; A Documentary History of the American Colonies to the
present time; fourth series, vol. 5; by Peter Force.

Guide to the Capitol; by R. Mills.

An American Dollar; by Miss Sarah Smith, Stafford, N. J.

American State Papers, 1832; National Intelligencer for 1846 (bound); by
Gales & Seaton.

Abstract Log for the use of American Navigators; by Lieut. M. F. Maury,
U. S. N.; by M. F. Manry.

Report of Prof. Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey; by Coast
Survey Office.

_Fac simile_ of Washington's Accounts; by Michael Nourse.

Claypole's American Daily Advertiser, December 25, 1799, and the
Philadelphia Gazette, December 27, 1799, containing a full account of
the death and funeral ceremony of General Washington, the official
proceedings of Congress, Executive, &c.; by G. M. Grouard.

Publication No. 1, Boston, 1833.

A cent of 1783 of the United States of America; by W. G. Paine.

United States Fiscal Department, vols. 1 and 2; by R. Mayo, M. D.

Maps and Charts of the Coast Survey; by Survey Office.

Letters of John Quincy Adams to W. L. Stone, and introduction; letters
of J. Q. Adams to Edward Livingston, Grand High Priest, &c.; Vindication
of General Washington, &c., by Joseph Ritner, Governor of Pennsylvania,
with a letter to Daniel Webster and his reply, printed in 1841;
American Antimason, No. 1, vol. 1, Hartford, Connecticut, 1839, Maine
Free Press; Correspondence Committee of York, Pennsylvania, to Richard
Rush, April, 1831; his answer, May 4, 1841; Credentials of a Delegate
from Jefferson County, Missouri, and proceedings of a meeting of
citizens to make the appointment of a delegate; by Henry Gassitt,
Boston, Massachusetts.

Annual Report of the Comptroller of the State of New York, January 5,
1848; Tolls, Trade, and Tonnage of the New York Canals, 1847; State of
New York--first report of the Commissioner, Practice and Pleadings; by
Hon. Washington Hunt.

Specimens of Continental Money, 1776; by Thos. Adams.

Report of the Commissioner of Patents, 1847; by Edmund Burke.

Walton's Vermont Register and Farmers' Almanac, 1848; by Hon. Mr. Henry.

Maury's Wind and Current Charts of the North Atlantic; by M. F. Maury.

Astronomical Observations for 1845, made under M. F. Maury, at the
Washington Observatory; by M. F. Maury.

Casts from the seals of the S. of T. and I. O. R. M.; by J. W. Eckloff.

Journals of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Thirtieth
Congress and Documents; by R. P. Anderson.

Deposited in Corner-Stone.


  Worcester Palladium                Worcester.
  Salem Oracle                           Salem.
  The Telegraph                     Gloucester.
  Cape Ann Light                         "
  Boston Daily Atlas                    Boston.


  New England Weekly Gazette          Hartford.


  Irving Democrat                       Irving.
  Long Island Farmer                   Jamaica.
  Cayuga New Era                        Auburn.
  Troy Daily Post                         Troy.
  Troy Daily Whig                          "
  Journal and Advertiser                Auburn.
  Auburn Daily Advertiser                  "
  Star of Temperance                       "
  New York Day Book                   New York.
  Mercantile Times                        "
  Northern Christian Advocate           Auburn.
  New York Daily Sun                  New York.
  New York Weekly Sun                     "


  American Democrat                   Carlisle.
  Pennsylvania Democrat              Uniontown.
  Lycoming Gazette                Williamsport.
  American Press Republican          Lancaster.
  Daily Morning Post                 Pittsburg.
  Lancaster County Farmer            Lancaster.
  Bradford Argus                       Towanda.
  Pittsburg Daily Gazette            Pittsburg.
  Daily Morning Telegraph                "
  Pennsylvania Republican                 York.
  North American U. S. Gazette    Philadelphia.
  Public Ledger                        "


  Somerset Herald                     Somerset.
  Der Somerset Republican                 "
  Marlboro Gazette              Upper Marlboro.
  Baltimore Daily Sun                Baltimore.
  Baltimore American                      "


  Spirit of Jefferson              Charlestown.
  Valley Whig                        Fincastle.
  Martinsburg Gazette              Martinsburg.
  Weston Sentinel                       Weston.


  North Carolinian                Fayetteville.
  Old North State               Elizabeth City.


  Federal Union                  Milledgeville.
  Southern Recorder                    "


  Mobile Register and Journal           Mobile.
  Mobile Daily Advertiser                  "
  Alabama Tribune                          "
  Hannibal Journal                    Hannibal.


  Weekly Jacksonian              Holly Springs.
  Vicksburg Weekly Whig              Vicksburg.
  Mississippi Telegraph             Louisville.


  Daily Cincinnati Gazette          Cincinnati.
  Western Reserve Chronicle             Warren.
  Greenville Banner                 Greenville.
  Buckeye Eagle                         Marion.
  Defiance Democrat                   Defiance.
  Democratic Herald                 Greenville.
  Claremount Courier                   Batavia.
  Massillon Telegraph                Massillon.
  Mahoning Index                      Canfield.
  Troy Weekly Times                       Troy.
  Daily Cleveland Times              Cleveland.
  Cleveland Plain Dealer                 "
  Democratic Inquirer               Portsmouth.


  Western Citizen                        Paris.
  Kentucky Flag                      Mazeville.


  Quincy Times                          Quincy.


  National Intelligencer            Washington.
  Union                                  "
  National Era                           "
  Saturday Evening News                  "

NOTE.--The papers above all contained articles relative to General
Washington or the erection of the proposed National Monument to his


[A] Chin Shing and Wu-Kwang, two Chinese patriots, who commenced the
overthrow of the Tsin dynasty (B. C. 209), remarkable for their vigor of

[B] Tsau-Tsau destroyed the Han dynasty A. D. 220, and Ling Pi, having
survived all his own efforts to uphold it, founded the Shuh State, which
had a short duration.


  Text in italics is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Punctuation has been corrected without note.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected as follows:
    Page 21: pannels changed to panels
    Page 72: Amercan changed to American
    Page 76: consituting changed to constituting
    Page 85: memoralized changed to memorialized
    Page 115: Rorert changed to Robert
    Page 118: missing word feet added
    Page 123: apostophize changed to apostrophize

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