necessary, for the public buildings. On January 22, 1791,
the first commissioners, three in number, were appointed to
superintend the affairs of the city. On January 24 the Presi-
dent issued a proclamation directing the commissioners to lay
down the four experimental lines of boundary, as follows :
First, by running a line from the com-t-house of Alexan-
dria, in Virginia, due SW. ^ m., and thence a due SE. course
till it struck Hunting Creek. This was to be the initial
point, from which the first line was to run due JSTAV. 10 m. ;
the second into Maryland due KE. 10 m. ; the third due SE.
10 m. ; and the fourth due SW. 10 m. to the beginning, on
Hunting Creek. These were approved by Congress. The
original act required the location of the District above the
mouth of the Eastern Branch or Anacostia river. To con-
form the law to tlie experimental lines, an amendatory act,
approved March 3, 1791, repealed the conflicting portion of
the act of July 16, 1790, but required the public buildings to
be erected on the Maryland side of the Potomac. After the
completion of the necessary legislation on the subject, Presi-
dent Washington set out on a visit to the Potomac. He
arrived March 28, 1791, and put up at Suter's tavern, a one-
story frame structure, the favorite resort of travelers arriving
at Georgetown. On March 29, in company with the tliree
commissioners and the surveyors, Andrew EUicott and Major
Peter Charles L'Enfant, he rode over the ground. The same
night a meeting was held for the purpose of effecting a re-
conciliation with the property owners. There were some
who desired to derive all the advantages offered by the pro-
posed city without making a reasonable concession to its
success. The counsel of Washington had its eflect. The
general terms agreed upon were signed by nineteen of the
original proprietors. The President issued a proclamation,
dated March 30, 1791, at Georgetown, which defined the lines
of the Federal territory accepted by Congress, and ordered
the commissioners to proceed forthwith to have the lines
The President now left for a brief visit to his home at
238 HISTORY OF WASHINGTON.
Mount Vernon ; thence he proceeded to Richmond, Va., to
consult with Gov. Beverly Randolph respecting the payment of
the $120,000 appropriated by the Commonwealth of Virginia
towards the building of the Capital. On April 13 lie wrote,
informing the commissioners that the Governor was willing
to advance the money at earlier periods than agreed upon.
On April 12 the commissioners held their first regular meet-
ing at Georgetown. On April 15 the initial or corner-stone
of the lines of the Federal territory was formally planted in
the presence of the three commissioners, Andrew Ellicott,
the surveyor, and the Masons and many citizens of Alexan-
dria. James Muir, the pastor of that Episcopal parish, deliv-
ered a sermon. On June 29 a final settlement was effected,
by which the lands ceded to the Government were conveyed
in trust to Thomas Beall, of George, and John M. Gantt, of
Maryland, or their heirs, for the United States. The streets,
squares, parcels, and lots were to be laid out, and conveyed
bj^ the trustees to the United States ; the residue of the land
was to be divided equally. For their share the United States
were to pay Â£25, or ^Q6 66f an a. The streets and squares
went to the Government free. There were other stipulations
respecting sales of lands and payment of indebtedness to the
proprietors. They were also permitted to occupy the lands
till required for public use. Owing to a disagreement, the
streets and reservations were never conveyed to the commis-
sioners. The law officer of the Government and the Supreme
Court of the United States, however, have decided that the
United States have absolute control over them notwithstand-
ing. An act of Maryland, Dec. 19, 1791, ratified the cession
of its portion of the Federal territory, and designated certain
powers and duties of the commissioners, who were also au-
thorized to take possession, in the same proportion as agreed
with the others, of lots in Hamburg and CarroUsburg. The
inhabitants of Georgetown, who so requested, were to be in-
cluded, provided they conformed to the general terms of
the agreement, which they declined.
The laying out of the citj^ according to the plans prepared
by L'Enfant, which were approved by Washington in Aug.,
1791, was carried out under the direction of Andrew Ellicott,
a native of Bucks county, Penn., a gentleman of fine attain-
ments, and who had executed a number of important sur-
veys. He was born in 1754, and died at West Point in 1820.
~ The first step was tlie establishment of the "meridian
line " tlirough the site of the Capitol, and the E. and W. in-
tersecting line, which were to form the basis of the execution
of tlie entire plan. At a meeting of the commissioners on
Sept. 8, 1791, certain regulations were prescribed in regard
HISTORY OF WASHINGTON. 239
to the erection of private buildings, and tlie present names of
the city and District and desis^nation of tlie streets were
adopted. The first public sale of lots, of which tlie Govern-
ment had 10,136, took place at Georgetown on Oct. 17, 1791.
A large number of purchasers were present from all parts of
the country, and the prices paid ranged from $26 66 to $306 59.
During the summer and autumn of 1791 the commissioners
also made preparations for the commencement of work early
in the following spring. Contracts for building material and
food were awarded, and a freestone quarry on Higgington's
island, 40 m. below the city, was purchased.
The President's House was the first of the public buildings
commenced. An historical sketch of each of the public
buildings will be found, with their description, in the HAND-
The building of the city, as might be expected, attracted a
number of that class of persons who, though poor in means,
were still rich in schemes. Among the earliest was one
Samuel Blodgett, who appeared on the scene as an applicant for
permission to build an entire street, which was granted. After
considerable planning and negotiating, the enterprise was
abandoned, the commissioners having no funds to spare, and
Blodgett's being all in anticipation. Undaunted, however,
the same person undertook the erection of a great hotel, the
funds for which were to be raised by lottery, the hotel being
the first prize. The building was partly erected, and was
drawn by a person without means to complete it. It re-
mained unfinished till purcliased, j^ears after, by the Gevern-
ment for the Post and Patent Offices.
In 1793, the commissioners entered into an agreement
with Robert Morris and James Greenleaf for the sale of 6,000
lots, at $80 a lot, payable in seven animal installments, Avith-
out interest, they olDliging themselves to erect, in 179-1, and
aimually for six years, twenty brick houses, two stories high.
The above two and John ISTicholson bound themselves to ful-
fill tlie contract. The parties failed to comply with any por-
tion of the contract, which led to the serious embarrassment
of the commissioners.
One of the great obstacles in the way of the commission-
ers in the beginning was the scarcity of skilled workmen.
Agents were sent to the northern cities, and some importa-
tions were made from abroad. The slaves from the adjacent
plantations were almost exclusively employed as laborers.
In 1796, Congress authorized the commissioners, under
the direction of the President, to borrow $300,000, and, at
the same time, assumed a supervision of the affairs of the
city, requh'ing the commissioners to report their operations
240 HISTORY OF WASHINGTON.
semi-annually to the Secretary of the Treasury. Meeting
with no success in negotiating their loan in Holland, whence
the first application of the commissioners was made, the As-
sembly of Maryland came to their rescue by granting them
a loan of |100,000.
The election of John Adams at first excited some solicitude
on the part of the friends of the Federal city, in considera-
tion of the opposition to the selection of the Potomac site
shown by the JSTew England States in the discussion and vote
in Congress in 1790. The President, however, gave assur-
ance of a determination to carry out the ^iews of Ms prede-
In 1799, after a long discussion. Congress voted another
$100,000 to the commissioners, which amount was also ad-
vanced by the State of Maryland. The next year $50,000
was obtained from the same source, on the personal security
of the commissioners.
In February'", 1800, they executed the papers necessary to
the security of all the loans or advances to the city, both
from the State of Maryland and the National Government,
amounting to $300,000, exclusive of the last loan of $50,000.
For that purpose they pledged all the property in the city
sold or contracted for beforethat time, and upon which pay-
ments had not been made. The land acquired or purchased
for the United States and yet unsold, exclusive of lots for-
feited for non-payment of purchase money and then liable to
be sold, amounted to 4,682 lots and 2,043 ft. frontage on
navigable water, valued at $884,750. The debt was $144,125,
and contracted for on the credit of the above funds of $360,-
881. The ]S^. wing of the Capitol, the President's House,
and War and Treasury Oflices, the first commenced in 1797,
were ready for occupation. A number of dwellings had
been erected by private parties in the vicinity of the Capitol,
President's House, and Greenleaf's Point. Pennsylvania
av., the thoroughfare from the Capitol to the President's
House, was ditched. Other avenues and streets connecting
the widely-scattered parts of the city were also opened. The
reservations around the Capitol and President's House were
planted. A turnpike was also opened to Baltimore. Suita-
ble provisions having been made by act of Congress dated
April 24, 1800, the archives of the Government were con-
veyed to Washington. The Executive and ofiices were
transferred at the same time. On November 21 Congress
commenced its sessions in the IST. wing of the Capitol. Con-
gress assumed jurisdiction over the District of Columbia in
1801, and declared that the laws of Virginia and Maryland
HISTORY OF WASHINGTON. 241
slioulcl continue respectively in force in tlie portions of the
District ceded by tliose States.
In 1802 tlie Board of Commissioners was abolished and
succeeded by a superintendent, Thomas Munroe, wlio was re-
quired to settle up all accounts, and to sell a sufficient number
of the lots pledged for the repayment of the loan of $200,000
from the State of Marjdand, so as to meet all obligations of
interest and installments. In event of an unwarrantable sac-
rifice of the property to meet these demands, tlie sale was to
cease, and tlie balance was to be paid out of tlie Treasury of
the United States. Lots not paid for were also to be sold to
meet the loan of $50,000 from the State of Maryland, or, if
not sufficient, the residue was to be paid out of the Treasury.
Mayors of Washington. â€” 1802, Robert Brent ; 1812, Daniel
Rapine ; 181 3, James H. Blake ; 1817, Benjamin G. Orr ; 1819,
Samuel M. Small wood; 1822, T. Carberry; 1824, Roger C.
Weightman; 1827, Joseph Gales, jr.; 1830, John P. Van
ISTess; 1834, W. A. Bradley; 1836, Peter Force ; 1840, W. "VV.
Seaton ; 1850, AValter Lenox ; 1852, John W. Maury ; 1854,
John T. Towers; 1856, W. B. ^lagruder; 1858, J. G. Ber-
rett ; 1862, Richard Wallach ; 1868, S. J. Bowen ; 1870, M. G.
Governors of the District of Columbia. â€” 1871, Henry D.
Cooke; 1873, A.R. Shepherd.
On May 3, 1802, the municipal government was created by
Congress, to consist of a mayor and council. Congress re-
served supreme jurisdiction. The affiurs of the county, and
the construction of roads outside the city, were intrusted to
a board known as the levy com-t. On Feb. 21, 1871, the ter-
ritorial form of government was substituted.
The most important event in the liistory of the Capital
since its foundation was the occupation by the British. The
President (Madison) and the Cal)inet, over-confident of the
safety of the Capital, or the indisposition of the British, who
controlled the Chesapeake, to attack, had neglected to make
suitable provisions for defense. As a consequence, about
3,500 raw militia, hastily concentrated and badlj^ handled,
were suddenly called upon to confront the enemy, 4,000
strong, at Bladensburg, 5 m. from the. Capital, on August
24, 1814. Commodore Barney, with a few hundred sailors
and marines, and Beall's Maryland militia, made a stubborn
resistance on the turnpike, but, unsupported by the rest of
the troops, who had fled almost without a fight, fell back to
the Capital, proposing to defend that point. From here he
was ordered to rethe and take position behind Georgetown,
leaving the city entirely defenseless. The American troops
242 HISTORY OF WASHINGTON.
retreated towards Montgomery Court House, having been
preceded by the President and Cabinet and other prominent
officers of tlie Government. Tlie total force of Americans
available was 7,000 men, but through mismanagement, the
incapacity of Gen. Winder, the commander, and the inter-
ference of the President and Cabinet, especially the Secretary
of War, not more than half that number reached the field,
and even then were outnumbered five to one on the points of
attaclv. Tlie whole British force which landed on the Pau-
tuxent numbered 5,123 men, of whicli 4,500 men took part
in the fight . The American loss was 26 killed and 51 wounded,
and the British 150 killed and 300 wounded.
At 8 p. m. on the day of tlie battle the enemy bivouacked
on Capitol Hill. The Capitol, Library of Congress, Presi-
dent's House, Arsenal, Treasury^ and War offices. Long
Bridge, and office of the IS'ational Intelligencer newspaper,
were bmnied the same night, also some private buildings.
The Kavy Yard and frigate Columbia, on the stocks, and
Argus, five barges, and two gunboats were destroyed by
order of the Secretary of the Navy. The explosion of pow-
der in a well at the arsenal killed 15 and wounded 30 of the
On the evening of August 25 the British evacuated the
Capital. To use the words of one of the British officers, the
retreat "was as cautious and stealthy and precipitate as was
natural for a retreating army under sucli circumstances."
On the retreat many died of fatigue or were taken prisoners
by the cavalry harassing the rear. I^early 200 of the dead
left by the enemy were buried by the citizens. It was esti-
mated that his aggregate loss was not less than 1,000 men.
The enemy reached Benedict on the evening of August 29,
and re-embarked the next day.
The sight of the Capital in fiames had aroused tlie inhab-
itants of the surrounding country, who were being rallied by
the Secretary of State, tir. Monroe. It was resolved to cut
off the enemy's retreat to his ships. His haste, however,
frustrated these patriotic proceedings.
When the question of the restoration of the public build-
ings was under discussion, a long and bitter debate ensued,
evincing not only a strong disposition to abandon the city,
but a dangerous sectional feeling. For a time the most seri-
ous consequences were tlireatened. Calmer counsels, how-
ever, prevailed, and an appropriation of $500,000 was made
for the repair or re-erection of the buildings on their old
sites. The estimated loss was $1,000,000.
In 1846 that portipn of the District lying on the west bank
of the Potomac was retroceded to Virginia. In 1850 the sale
HISTORY OF WASHINGTON. 243
of slaves was prohibited, and on April 16, 1862, slavery was
abolished in the District.
During the rebellion, 1861-65, the Capital had every ap-
pearance of a vai^t fortress. It was tlie base of operations of
mighty armies, called out for the defense of the Constitution
and the Union. On the surrounding hills were military
camps ; in the city were hospitals and stores ; and the ave-
nues and streets were the daily scene of moving troops and
The infusion of a new element into the population of the
Capital was one of the important results of the rebellion of
1861-'65. It was not, however, till a decade later that a sys-
tem of improvements on a grand scale were commenced. In
that time the number of the inhabitants increased nearly
fifty thousand. Congress, in the meantime, had dispossessed
itself of the idea that a National Capital was a political conve-
nience, instead of necessity. The ideas of Washington, Jeffer-
son, and L'Enfant, after a sleep of more than three quarters
of a century, are being realized. The grand avenues, broad
streets, and beautiful parks are in keeping with the magni-
ficence of the Capitol and the imposing j)roportions of the
structures occupied by the various Executive Departments
of the G-overnment. Elegant residences, fine churches,
commodious school-houses, and many public and private
institutions have been erected. It must be admitted that the
Capital is no longer a reflection upon the taste, culture, and
liberality of the nation, and the least inviting of American
cities. At the same rate of improvement, in ten years the
Capital of the United States will be one of the most beauti-
ful in the world. These gratifying results are unquestion-
ably due to the interest and zeal of President Grant, and to
the energy and courage of Governor Shepherd, with the ap-
probation of Congress and the people.
Adams, John, painting of, 123.
Admiral's Office, 140.
Agriculture, Department of, 156;
Grounds, 156 ; Plant Houses, 156 ;
Building, 157; Museum, 159;
History of, 161.
District of Columbia, 11.
Committe on, 114.
Museum of, 159.
Alexandria, 228; History of, 229;
Washington's Headqu'rs, 229;
Christ Church, 229; National
Canal, 214, 229.
Allegory, Brumidi's, 76.
Altitude, mean, Washington, 15.
Amusements, general, xiv.
Anaeostia river, 15, 49.
Analostan Island, 214,
Antiquities, European, 191.
Aqueduct, 217; Distances, 217; Dis-
tributing Eeservoir, 217; Re-
ceiving, 217; Cabin John Bridge,
218; Falls of the Potomac, 218.
Bridge, 53, 214.
Architects of the Capitol, 114.
Area of Washington, 3.
Arlington House, 215; National Cem-
etery, 215; Custis's Spring, 216.
Army, Headquarters of, 136.
Army Medical Museum, 167.
Art, Corcoran Gallery of, 191.
Associate Justices, list of, 89.
Asylumsâ€” Naval Hospital, 202; Sol-
diers' and Sailors' Orphans'
Home, 202; Columbia Hospital
for Women, and Lying-in, 202;
Washington, 202; Louise Home,
203; Providence, General, 203;
Washington City Orphan, 203;
Children's Hospital, 204; St.
John's Hospital, 204: St. Ann's
Infant, 204; St. Joseph's Male
Orphan, 204; St. Vincent's Fe-
male Orphan, 204; Epiphany
Church Home, 204; Home for
the aged, 205; Deaf and Dumb,
225; Insane, 227.
Attorneys General, list of, 155.
Description of, 26.
Improvement of, 25.
Bache, A. D., grave of, 206.
Baltimore and Potomac Bridge, 53.
Baptism of Pocahontas, painting, 74.
Basement, House of Reps., 113.
N. wing, 104.
S. wing, 105.
Battery and electric gas-lighting
Battle Record room, 170.
Benning's Bridge, 53.
Benton, bust of, 97.
Bladensburg, 224; battle-field of,
224; duelling ground at, 224;
Calvert mansion, 224.
Battle of, 241.
Board of Public Works, 9, 207.
Boone in conflict with the Indians,
Booth, assassin, 173.
Botanical Garden, site, 41 ; Grounds,
41; Conservatories, 42; Botani-
cal class room, 42; Joint Com-
mittee on the Library, 42; Botan-
ical collection, 42; Centre Build-
ing or Rotunda, 43; East range
and wing, 43; West range and
wing, 44; Superintendents, 45;
Botany, District of Columbia, 12.
Boundaries, District of Columbia, 6.
Boundary street, 30, 31.
Bridges, 52; Long Bridge, 52; Navy
Yard, 53; Benning's, 53; Balti-
more and Potomac Railroad, 53;
Aqueduct, 53; Chain, 53; Penn-
sylvania av., (Rock creek,) 53,
214; M-st., 53; P-st., 53; James
creek canal, 53; Culverts, 53;
Uniontown, 53; Cabin John, 218;
Mountain Spring, 218.
Bronze door, main, 67.
Staircases, 94, 109.
Brown, General, grave of, 206.
Cabin Jolm Bridge, 218.
Cabot, relievo of, 70.
Canals, 50; Washington, 50; James
creek, 50 ; Chesapeake and Ohio,
213 ; Alexandria, 214, 229.
Cannon captured, 172, 174.
Capital, a virgin, 1.
Capitol, 50; Situation, 56; Street
cars to, 57; Site of, 57; Ap-
proaches, 57; Grounds, 58 ; Gen-
eral exterior view of, 58 ; First
terrace, 61 ; Fountain, 61 ; Sec-
ond terrace, 61 ; General exte-
rior description, 62; Dome, 63;
â€¢ Statueof Freedom, 64; Porticos,
65 ; Statuary, 65, 66 ; Main Bronze
door, 67; Rotunda, 69; Relievos,
70; Historical paintings, 70;
Canopy of Rotunda, 76; Ascent
of the Dome, 77; Battery and
electric gas-lighting apparatus,
77; Panoramic view of Wash-
ington, 77 ; Library of the United
States, 79; North wing, 87; N.
or Senate Extension, 90; Stair-
cases, 92, 94, 96; Galleries, 97;
Senate Chamber, 99; Basement,
100; Committee rooms, 101;
Heating and ventilating, 103,
114; N. wing basement, 104;
Law Library, 104; Crypt, 104;
Undercroft, 104; National Stat-
uary Hall, 105; S. or House Ex-
tension, 108; Staircases, 109;
Second floor, 112; Galleries, 112;
House of Representatives, 112;
Basement, 113; Com'tee rooms,
114; Capitol police. 114; Archi-
te<^ts, 114; history, 114.
Hill, 15, 57.
-â– â€” History of, 114.
Selection of site of, 17.
Street, E., N., S., 31.
Cemeteries, Eastern and Western,
(Holmead,) 205; Congressional,
205; Arlington, (Military,) 216;
Rock Creek, 223; Military, (Sol-
diers' Home,) 223; Glenwood,
224; Prospect Hill, 224; St. Ma-
ry's. 224; Mt. Olivet, 226: Grace-
land, 227; National, (Alexan-
Chain Bridge, 53.
Chapultepec, storming of, painting,
Chase, grave of, 212.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 213.
Chief Justices, busts of, 87.
list of, 89.
Childrens' Hospital, 204.
Chronicle, The, 200,.
Church, Christ, Alexandria, 229.
Rock Creek, 223.
Churches, list of, xiii.
Circles, Washington, 39 ; 14th street,
39 ; 13th street, 39 ; P street, 39.
City Hall, 171.
City Spring, 198.
Claims, U. S. court of, 89.
Clinton, George, statue of, 107.
grave of, 205.
Climate, District of Columbia, 13.
College, Deaf Mute, 225.
Columbia Hospital for Women, 202.
Institute, for the deaf and
Columbian University, 220.
Columbus, relievo of, 70.
Commissioners of Washington, 235.
Committee Rooms â€” Senate â€” 101 ;
Military Affairs, 102; Naval Af-
fairs, 102; Indian, 102; Foreign
Relations, 102; Judiciary, 102;
House, 114; Agriculture, 114.
Continental, Presidents of, 119.
Continental, Sessions of, 119.
History of, 118.
Congressional Library, (see Library
of the U.S.,) 79.
Connecticut av., 25-27.
Conservatories, President's, 123.
Constitution of the U. S., original,
Ratification of, 119.
Convent of the Visitation, 212.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, 189 ; Stat-
uary, 191; Bronzes, 191; Anti-
quities, 191 ; Paintings, 191.
Corcoran, W. W., 192.
Crawford, sculptor, bust of, 107.
Crypt, the, 104.
Deaf and Dumb Asylum, 225.
Deaf Mute College, 225.
Declaration of Independence, 148.
Signing of, painting, 71.
Defenses of Washington, 232.
Delaware av., 24, 28.
Department of State, 128 ; Treasury,
131; War, 136; Navy, 140; Into-
Department of State â€”
rior, 142; Post Office, 151; Jus-
tice, 154; Agriculture, 150.
Discovery of America, statue, 68.
Discovery of the Mississippi River,
Distances to Great Falls Potomac,
Tables of. xix, 3.
District of Columbia-Geographical
situation, 5; Boundaries, 6, 2.37 ;
Political Divisions, 7; Govern-
ment, 7; Finances, 9; Popula-
tion, 9; Statistics, miscellane-
ous, 10; Vital Statistics, 10; In-
dustry and Wealth, 10; Agri-
culture, 11; Topograph J^ 11:
Geology, 11; Botany, 12; Zoolo-
gy, 12; Ornithology, 12; Ichthy-
ology, 13; Herpetology, 13;
Government, 207; Governor's
Office, 207; Hall of the Legisla-
lative Assembly, 207 ; Board of
Public Works, 207; Fire De-
partment, 207; Metropolitan