Voyage to Washington — Capitol — City of Washington — Congress — Indians — Funeral of a Member of Congress
By far the shortest route to Washington, both as to distance and time, is by land; but I much wished to see the celebrated Chesapeak bay, and it was therefore decided that we should take our passage in the steam-boat. It is indeed a beautiful little voyage, and well worth the time it costs; but as to the beauty of the bay, it must, I think, be felt only by sailors. It is, I doubt not, a fine shelter for ships, from the storms of the Atlantic, but its very vastness prevents its striking the eye as beautiful: it is, in fact, only a fine sea view. But the entrance from it into the Potomac river is very noble, and is one of the points at which one feels conscious of the gigantic proportions of the country, without having recourse to a graduated pencil-case.
The passage up this river to Washington is interesting, from many objects that it passes, but beyond all else, by the view it affords of Mount Vernon, the seat of General Washington. It is there that this truly great man passed the last years of his virtuous life, and it is there that he lies buried: it was easy to distinguish, as we passed, the cypress that waves over his grave.
The latter part of the voyage shews some fine river scenery; but I did not discover this till some months afterwards, for we now arrived late at night.
Our first object the next morning was to get a sight of the capitol, and our impatience sent us forth before breakfast. The mists of morning still hung around this magnificent building when first it broke upon our view, and I am not sure that the effect produced was not the greater for this circumstance. At all events, we were struck with admiration and surprise. None of us, I believe, expected to see so imposing a structure on that side of the Atlantic. I am ill at describing buildings, but the beauty and majesty of the American capitol might defy an abler pen than mine to do it justice. It stands so finely too, high, and alone.
The magnificent western facade is approached from the city by terraces and steps of bolder proportions than I ever before saw. The elegant eastern front, to which many persons give the preference, is on a level with a newly-planted but exceedingly handsome inclosure, which, in a few years, will offer the shade of all the most splendid trees which flourish in the Union, to cool the brows and refresh the spirits of the members. The view from the capitol commands the city and many miles around, and it is itself an object of imposing beauty to the whole country adjoining.
We were again fortunate enough to find a very agreeable family to board with; and soon after breakfast left our comfortless hotel near the water, for very pleasant apartments in F. street. [The streets that intersect the great avenues in Washington are distinguished by the letters of the alphabet.]
I was delighted with the whole aspect of Washington; light, cheerful, and airy, it reminded me of our fashionable watering places. It has been laughed at by foreigners, and even by natives, because the original plan of the city was upon an enormous scale, and but a very small part of it has been as yet executed. But I confess I see nothing in the least degree ridiculous about it; the original design, which was as beautiful as it was extensive, has been in no way departed from, and all that has been done has been done well. From the base of the hill on which the capitol stands extends a street of most magnificent width, planted on each side with trees, and ornamented by many splendid shops. This street, which is called Pennsylvania Avenue, is above a mile in length, and at the end of it is the handsome mansion of the President; conveniently near to his residence are the various public offices, all handsome, simple, and commodious; ample areas are left round each, where grass and shrubs refresh the eye. In another of the principal streets is the general post-office, and not far from it a very noble town-hall. Towards the quarter of the President’s house are several handsome dwellings, which are chiefly occupied by the foreign ministers. The houses in the other parts of the city are scattered, but without ever losing sight of the regularity of the original plan; and to a person who has been travelling much through the country, and marked the immense quantity of new manufactories, new canals, new railroads, new towns, and new cities, which are springing, as it were, from the earth in every part of it, the appearance of the metropolis rising gradually into life and splendour, is a spectacle of high historic interest.
Commerce had already produced large and handsome cities in America before she had attained to an individual political existence, and Washington may be scorned as a metropolis, where such cities as Philadelphia and New York exist; but I considered it as the growing metropolis of the growing population of the Union, and it already possesses features noble enough to sustain its dignity as such.
The residence of the foreign legations and their families gives a tone to the society of this city which distinguishes it greatly from all others. It is also, for a great part of the year, the residence of the senators and representatives, who must be presumed to be the elite of the entire body of citizens, both in respect to talent and education. This cannot fail to make Washington a more agreeable abode than any other city in the Union.
The total absence of all sights, sounds, or smells of commerce, adds greatly to the charm. Instead of drays you see handsome carriages; and instead of the busy bustling hustle of men, shuffling on to a sale of “dry goods” or “prime broad stuffs,” you see very well-dressed personages lounging leisurely up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Mr. Pishey Thompson, the English bookseller, with his pretty collection of all sorts of pretty literature, fresh from London, and Mr. Somebody, the jeweller, with his brilliant shop full of trinkets, are the principal points of attraction and business. What a contrast to all other American cities! The members, who pass several months every year in this lounging easy way, with no labour but a little talking, and with the douceur of eight dollars a day to pay them for it, must feel the change sadly when their term of public service is over.
There is another circumstance which renders the evening parties at Washington extremely unlike those of other places in the Union; this is the great majority of gentlemen. The expense, the trouble, or the necessity of a ruling eye at home, one or all of these reasons, prevents the members’ ladies from accompanying them to Washington; at least, I heard of very few who had their wives with them. The female society is chiefly to be found among the families of the foreign ministers, those of the officers of state, and of the few members, the wealthiest and most aristocratic of the land, who bring their families with them. Some few independent persons reside in or near the city, but this is a class so thinly scattered that they can hardly be accounted a part of the population.
But, strange to say, even here a theatre cannot be supported for more than a few weeks at a time. I was told that gambling is the favourite recreation of the gentlemen, and that it is carried to a very considerable extent; but here, as elsewhere within the country, it is kept extremely well out of sight. I do not think I was present with a pack of cards a dozen times during more than three years that I remained in the country. Billiards are much played, though in most places the amusement is illegal. It often appeared to me that the old women of a state made the laws, and the young men broke them.
Notwithstanding the diminutive size of the city, we found much to see, and to amuse us.
The patent office is a curious record of the fertility of the mind of man when left to its own resources; but it gives ample proof also that it is not under such circumstances it is most usefully employed. This patent office contains models of all the mechanical inventions that have been produced in the Union, and the number is enormous. I asked the man who shewed these, what proportion of them had been brought into use, he said about one in a thousand; he told me also, that they chiefly proceeded from mechanics and agriculturists settled in remote parts of the country, who had began by endeavouring to hit upon some contrivance to enable them to get along without sending some thousand and odd miles for the thing they wanted. If the contrivance succeeded, they generally became so fond of this offspring of their ingenuity, that they brought it to Washington for a patent.
At the secretary of state’s office we were shewn autographs of all the potentates with whom the Union were in alliance; which, I believe, pretty well includes all. To the parchments bearing these royal signs manual were appended, of course, the official seals of each, enclosed in gold or silver boxes of handsome workmanship: I was amused by the manner in which one of their own, just prepared for the court of Russia, was displayed to us, and the superiority of their decorations pointed out. They were superior, and in much better taste than the rest; and I only wish that the feeling that induced this display would spread to every corner of the Union, and mix itself with every act and with every sentiment. Let America give a fair portion other attention to the arts and the graces that embellish life, and I will make her another visit, and write another book as unlike this as possible.
Among the royal signatures, the only ones which much interested me were two from the hand of Napoleon. The earliest of these, when he was first consul, was a most illegible scrawl, and, as the tradition went, was written on horseback; but his writing improved greatly after he became an emperor, the subsequent signature being firmly and clearly written. — I longed to steal both.
The purity of the American character, formed and founded on the purity of the American government, was made evident to our senses by the display of all the offerings of esteem and regard which had been presented by various sovereigns to the different American ministers who had been sent to their courts. The object of the law which exacted this deposit from every individual so honoured, was, they told us, to prevent the possibility of bribery being used to corrupt any envoy of the Republic. I should think it would be a better way to select for the office such men as they felt could not be seduced by a sword or a snuff-box. But they, doubtless, know their own business best.
The bureau for Indian affairs contains a room of great interest: the walls are entirely covered with original portraits of all the chiefs who, from time to time, have come to negotiate with their great father, as they call the President.
These portraits are by Mr. King, and, it cannot be doubted, are excellent likenesses, as are all the portraits I have ever seen from the hands of that gentleman. The countenances are full of expression, but the expression in most of them is extremely similar; or rather, I should say that they have but two sorts of expression; the one is that of very noble and warlike daring, the other of a gentle and naive simplicity, that has no mixture of folly in it, but which is inexpressibly engaging, and the more touching, perhaps, because at the moment we were looking at them, those very hearts which lent the eyes such meek and friendly softness, were wrung by a base, cruel, and most oppressive act of their great father.
We were at Washington at the time that the measure for chasing the last of several tribes of Indians from their forest homes, was canvassed in congress, and finally decided upon by the FIAT of the President. If the American character may be judged by their conduct in this matter, they are most lamentably deficient in every feeling of honour and integrity. It is among themselves, and from themselves, that I have heard the statements which represent them as treacherous and false almost beyond belief in their intercourse with the unhappy Indians. Had I, during my residence in the United States, observed any single feature in their national character that could justify their eternal boast of liberality and the love of freedom, I might have respected them, however much my taste might have been offended by what was peculiar in their manners and customs. But it is impossible for any mind of common honesty not to be revolted by the contradictions in their principles and practice. They inveigh against the governments of Europe, because, as they say, they favour the powerful and oppress the weak. You may hear this declaimed upon in Congress, roared out in taverns, discussed in every drawing-room, satirized upon the stage, nay, even anathematized from the pulpit: listen to it, and then look at them at home; you will see them with one hand hoisting the cap of liberty, and with the other flogging their slaves. You will see them one hour lecturing their mob on the indefeasible rights of man, and the next driving from their homes the children of the soil, whom they have bound themselves to protect by the most solemn treaties.
In justice to those who approve not this treacherous policy, I will quote a paragraph from a New York paper, which shews that there are some among them who look with detestation on the bold bad measure decided upon at Washington in the year 1830.
“We know of no subject, at the present moment, of more importance to the character of our country for justice and integrity than that which relates to the Indian tribes in Georgia and Alabama, and particularly the Cherokees in the former state. The Act passed by Congress, just at the end of the session, co-operating with the tyrannical and iniquitous statute of Georgia, strikes a formidable blow at the reputation of the United States, in respect to their faith, pledged in almost innumerable instances, in the most solemn treaties and compacts.”
There were many objects of much interest shewn us at this Indian bureau; but, from the peculiar circumstances of this most unhappy and ill-used people, it was a very painful interest.
The dresses worn by the chiefs when their portraits were taken, are many of them splendid, from the embroidery of beads and other ornaments: and the room contains many specimens of their ingenuity, and even of their taste. There is a glass case in the room, wherein are arranged specimens of worked muslin, and other needlework, some very excellent handwriting, and many other little productions of male and female Indians, all proving clearly that they are perfectly capable of civilization. Indeed, the circumstance which renders their expulsion from their own, their native lands, so peculiarly lamentable, is, that they were yielding rapidly to the force of example; their lives were no longer those of wandering hunters, but they were becoming agriculturists, and the tyrannical arm of brutal power has not now driven them, as formerly, only from their hunting grounds, their favourite springs, and the sacred bones of their fathers, but it has chased them from the dwellings their advancing knowledge had taught them to make comfortable; from the newly-ploughed fields of their pride; and from the crops their sweat had watered. And for what? to add some thousand acres of territory to the half-peopled wilderness which borders them.
The Potomac, on arriving at Washington, makes a beautiful sweep, which forms a sort of bay, round which the city is built. Just where it makes the turn, a wooden bridge is thrown across, connecting the shores of Maryland and Virginia. This bridge is a mile and a quarter in length, and is ugly enough. [It has since been washed away by the breaking up of the frost of February, 1831.] The navy-yard, and arsenal, are just above it, on the Maryland side, and make a handsome appearance on the edge of the river, following the sweep above mentioned. Near the arsenal (much too near) is the penitentiary, which, as it was just finished, and not inhabited, we examined in every part. It is built for the purpose of solitary confinement for life. A gallows is a much less nerve-shaking spectacle than one of these awful cells, and assuredly, when imprisonment therein for life is substituted for death, it is no mercy to the criminal; but if it be a greater terror to the citizen, it may answer the purpose better. I do not conceive, that out of a hundred human beings who had been thus confined for a year, one would be found at the end of it who would continue to linger on there, certain it was for ever, if the alternative of being hanged were offered to them. I had written a description of these horrible cells, but Captain Hall’s picture of a similar building is so accurate, and so clear, that it is needless to insert it.
Still following the sweep of the river, at the distance of two miles from Washington, is George Town, formerly a place of considerable commercial importance, and likely, I think, to become so again, when the Ohio and Chesapeake canals, which there mouths into the Potomac, shall be in full action. It is a very pretty town, commanding a lovely view, of which the noble Potomac and the almost nobler capitol, are the great features. The country rises into a beautiful line of hills behind Washington, which form a sort of undulating terrace on to George Town; this terrace is almost entirely occupied by a succession of gentlemen’s seats. At George Town the Potomac suddenly contracts itself, and begins to assume that rapid, rocky and irregular character which marks it afterwards, and renders its course, till it meets the Shenandoah at Harper’s Ferry, a series of the most wild and romantic views that are to be found in America.
Attending the debates in Congress was, of course, one of our great objects; and, as an English woman, I was perhaps the more eager to avail myself of the privilege allowed. It was repeatedly observed to me that, at least in this instance, I must acknowledge the superior gallantry of the Americans, and that they herein give a decided proof of surpassing the English in a wish to honour the ladies, as they have a gallery in the House of Representatives erected expressly for them, while in England they are rigorously excluded from every part of the House of Commons.
But the inference I draw from this is precisely the reverse of the suggested. It is well known that the reason why the House of Commons was closed against ladies was, that their presence was found too attractive, and that so many members were tempted to neglect the business before the House, that they might enjoy the pleasure of conversing with the fair critics in the galleries, that it became a matter of national importance to banish them — and they were banished. It will be long ere the American legislature will find it necessary to pass the same law for the same reason. A lady of Washington, however, told me an anecdote which went far to shew that a more intellectual turn in the women, would produce a change in the manners of the men. She told me, that when the Miss Wrights were in Washington, with General Lafayette, they very frequently attended the debates, and that the most distinguished members were always crowding round them. For this unwonted gallantry they apologized to their beautiful countrywomen by saying, that if they took equal interest in the debates, the galleries would be always thronged by the members.
The privilege of attending these debates would be more valuable could the speakers be better heard from the gallery; but, with the most earnest attention, I could only follow one or two of the orators, whose voices were peculiarly loud and clear. This made it really a labour to listen; but the extreme beauty of the chamber was of itself a reason for going again and again. It was, however, really mortifying to see this splendid hall, fitted up in so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled with men, sitting in the most unseemly attitudes, a large majority with their hats on, and nearly all, spitting to an excess that decency forbids me to describe.
Among the crowd, who must be included in this description, a few were distinguished by not wearing their hats, and by sitting on their chairs like other human beings, without throwing their legs above their heads. Whenever I enquired the name of one of these exceptions, I was told that it was Mr. This, or Mr. That, of Virginia.
One day we were fortunate enough to get placed on the sofas between the pillars, on the floor of the House; the galleries being shut up, for the purpose of making some alterations, which it was hoped might improve the hearing in that part of the House occupied by the members, and which is universally complained of, as being very defective.5 But in our places on the sofas we found we heard very much better than up stairs, and well enough to be extremely amused by the rude eloquence of a thorough horse and alligator orator from Kentucky, who entreated the house repeatedly to “go the whole hog.”
5 As a proof of this defective hearing in the Hall of Congress, I may quote a passage from a newspaper report of a debate on improvements. It was proposed to suspend a ceiling of glass fifteen feet above the heads of the members. A member, speaking in favour of this proposal, said, “Members would then, at least, be able to understand what was the question before the House, an advantage which most of them did not now possess, respecting more than half the propositions upon which they voted.”
If I mistake not, every debate I listened to in the American Congress was upon one and the same subject, namely, the entire independence of each individual state, with regard to the federal government. The jealousy on this point appeared to me to be the very strangest political feeling that ever got possession of the mind of man. I do not pretend to judge the merits of this question. I speak solely of the very singular effect of seeing man after man start eagerly to his feet, to declare that the greatest injury, the basest injustice, the most obnoxious tyranny that could be practised against the state of which he was a member, would be a vote of a few million dollars for the purpose of making their roads or canals; or for drainage; or, in short, for any purpose of improvement whatsoever.
During the month we were at Washington, I heard a great deal of conversation respecting a recent exclusion from Congress of a gentleman, who, by every account, was one of the most esteemed men in the house, and, I think, the father of it. The crime for which this gentleman was out-voted by his own particular friends and admirers was, that he had given his vote for a grant of public money for the purpose of draining a most lamentable and unhealthy district, called “the dismal swamp!”
One great boast of the country is, that they have no national debt, or that they shall have none in two years. This seems not very wonderful, considering their productive tariff, and that the income paid to their president is L6,000 per annum; other government salaries being in proportion, and all internal improvements, at the expense of the government treasury, being voted unconstitutional.
The Senate-chamber is, like the Hall of Congress, a semicircle, but of very much smaller dimensions. It is most elegantly fitted up, and what is better still, the senators, generally speaking, look like gentlemen. They do not wear their hats, and the activity of youth being happily past, they do not toss their heels above their heads. I would I could add they do not spit; but, alas! “I have an oath in heaven,” and may not write an untruth.
A very handsome room, opening on a noble stone balcony is fitted up as a library for the members. The collection, as far as a very cursory view could enable me to judge, was very like that of a private English gentleman, but with less Latin, Greek, and Italian. This room also is elegantly furnished; rich Brussels carpet; library tables, with portfolios of engravings; abundance of sofas, and so on. The view from it is glorious, and it looks like the abode of luxury and taste.
I can by no means attempt to describe all the apartments of this immense building, but the magnificent rotunda in the centre must not be left unnoticed. It is, indeed, a noble hall, a hundred feet in diameter, and of an imposing loftiness, lighted by an ample dome.
Almost any pictures (excepting the cartoons) would look paltry in this room, from the immense height of the walls; but the subjects of the four pictures which are placed there, are of such high historic interest that they should certainly have a place somewhere, as national records. One represents the signing of the declaration of independence; another the resignation of the presidency by the great Washington; another the celebrated victory of General Gates at Saratoga; and the fourth. . . . I do not well remember, but I think it is some other martial scene, commemorating a victory; I rather think that of York Town.
One other object in the capitol must be mentioned, though it occurs in so obscure a part of the building, that one or two members to whom I mentioned it, were not aware of its existence. The lower part of the edifice, a story below the rotunda, &c., has a variety of committee rooms, courts, and other places of business. In a hall leading to some of these rooms, the ceiling is supported by pillars, the capitals of which struck me as peculiarly beautiful. They are composed of the ears and leaves of the Indian corn, beautifully arranged, and forming as graceful an outline as the acanthus itself. This was the only instance I saw, in which America has ventured to attempt national originality; the success is perfect. A sense of fitness always enhances the effect of beauty. I will not attempt a long essay on the subject, but if America, in her vastness, her immense natural resources, and her remote grandeur, would be less imitative, she would be infinitely more picturesque and interesting.
The President has regular evening parties, every other Wednesday, which are called his levees; the last syllable is pronounced by every one as long as possible, being exactly the reverse of the French and English manner of pronouncing the same word. The effect of this, from the very frequent repetition of the word in all companies is very droll, and for a long time I thought people were quizzing these public days. The reception rooms are handsome, particularly the grand saloon, which is elegantly, nay, splendidly furnished; this has been done since the visit of Captain Hall, whose remarks upon the former state of this room may have hastened its decoration; but there are a few anomalies in some parts of the entertainment, which are not very courtly. The company are about as select as that of an Easter-day ball at the Mansion-house.
The churches at Washington are not superb; but the Episcopalian and Catholic were filled with elegantly dressed women. I observed a greater proportion of gentlemen at church at Washington than any where else.
The Presbyterian ladies go to church three times in the day, but the general appearance of Washington on a Sunday is much less puritanical than that of most other American towns; the people walk about, and there are no chains in the streets, as at Philadelphia, to prevent their riding or driving, if they like it.
The ladies dress well, but not so splendidly as at Baltimore. I remarked that it was not very unusual at Washington for a lady to take the arm of a gentleman, who was neither her husband, her father, nor her brother. This remarkable relaxation of American decorum has been probably introduced by the foreign legations.
At about a mile from the town, on the high terrace ground above described, is a very pretty place, to which the proprietor has given the name Kaleirama. It is not large, or in any way magnificent, but the view from it is charming; and it has a little wood behind, covering about two hundred acres of broken ground, that slopes down to a dark cold little river, so closely shut in by rocks and evergreens, that it might serve as a noon-day bath for Diana and her nymphs. The whole of this wood is filled with wild flowers, but such as we cherish fondly in our gardens.
A ferry at George Town crosses the Potomac, and about two miles from it, on the Virginian side, is Arlington, the seat of Mr. Custis, who is the grandson of General Washington’s wife. It is a noble looking place, having a portico of stately white columns, which, as the mansion stands high, with a background of dark woods, forms a beautiful object in the landscape. At George Town is a nunnery, where many young ladies are educated, and at a little distance from it, a college of Jesuits for the education of young men, where, as their advertisements state, “the humanities are taught.” We attended mass at the chapel of the nunnery, where the female voices that performed the chant were very pleasing. The shadowy form of the veiled abbess in her little sacred parlour, seen through a grating and a black curtain, but rendered clearly visible by the light of a Gothic window behind her, drew a good deal of our attention; every act of genuflection, even the telling her beads, was discernible, but so mistily that it gave her, indeed, the appearance of a being who had already quitted this life, and was hovering on the confines of the world of shadows.
The convent has a considerable inclosure attached to it, where I frequently saw from the heights above it, dark figures in awfully thick black veils, walking solemnly up and down.
The American lady, who was the subject of one of Prince Hohenlohe’s celebrated miracles, was pointed out to us at Washington. All the world declare that her recovery was marvellous.
There appeared to be a great many foreigners at Washington, particularly French. In Paris I have often observed that it was a sort of fashion to speak of America as a new Utopia, especially among the young liberals, who, before the happy accession of Philip, fancied that a country without a king, was the land of promise; but I sometimes thought that, like many other fine things, it lost part of its brilliance when examined too nearly; I overheard the following question and answer pass between two young Frenchmen, who appeared to have met for the first time.
“Eh bien. Monsieur, comment trouvez-vous la liberte et l’egalite mises en action?”
“Mais, Monsieur, je vous avoue que ie beau ideal que nous autres, nous avons concu de tout cela a Paris, avait quelque chose de plus poetique que ce que nous trouvons ici!”
On another occasion I was excessively amused by the tone in which one of these young men replied to a question put to him by another Frenchman. A pretty looking woman, but exceedingly deficient in tournure, was standing alone at a little distance from them and close at their elbows stood a very awkward looking gentleman. “Qui est cette dame?” said the enquirer. “Monsieur,” said my young fat, with an indescribable grimace, “c’est la femelle de ce male, “ indicating his neighbour by an expressive curl of his upper lip.
The theatre was not open while we were in Washington, but we afterwards took advantage of our vicinity to the city, to visit it. The house is very small, and most astonishingly dirty and void of decoration, considering that it is the only place of public amusement that the city affords. I have before mentioned the want of decorum at the Cincinnati theatre, but certainly that of the capital at least rivalled it in the freedom of action and attitude; a freedom which seems to disdain the restraints of civilized manners. One man in the pit was seized with a violent fit of vomiting, which appeared not in the least to annoy or surprise his neighbours; and the happy coincidence of a physician being at that moment personated on the stage, was hailed by many of the audience as an excellent joke, of which the actor took advantage, and elicited shouts of applause by saying, “I expect my services are wanted elsewhere.”
The spitting was incessant; and not one in ten of the male part of the illustrious legislative audiences sat according to the usual custom of human beings; the legs were thrown sometimes over the front of the box, sometimes over the side of it; here and there a senator stretched his entire length along a bench, and in many instances the front rail was preferred as a seat.
I remarked one young man, whose handsome person, and most elaborate toilet, led me to conclude he was a first-rate personage, and so I doubt not he was; nevertheless, I saw him take from the pocket of his silk waistcoat a lump of tobacco, and daintily deposit it within his cheek.
I am inclined to think this most vile and universal habit of chewing tobacco is the cause of a remarkable peculiarity in the male physiognomy of Americans; their lips are almost uniformly thin and compressed. At first I accounted for this upon Lavater’s theory, and attributed it to the arid temperament of the people; but it is too universal to be explained; whereas the habit above mentioned, which pervades all classes (excepting the literary) well accounts for it, as the act of expressing the juices of this loathsome herb, enforces exactly that position of the lips, which gives this remarkable peculiarity to the American countenance.
A member of Congress died while we were at Washington, and I was surprised by the ceremony and dignity of his funeral. It seems that whenever a senator or member of Congress dies during the session, he is buried at the expense of the government, (the ceremony not coming under the head of internal improvement), and the arrangements for the funeral are not interfered with by his friends, but become matters of State. I transcribed the order of the procession as being rather grand and stately.
Chaplains of both Houses.
Physicians who attend the deceased.
Committee of arrangement.
(Pall borne by six members.)
The Relations of the deceased, with the
Senators and Representatives of the State
to which he belonged, as Mourners.
Sergeant at arms of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives,
Their Speaker and Clerk preceding.
The Senate of the United States.
The Vice-president and Secretary preceding,
The procession was of considerable extent, but not on foot, and the majority of the carriages were hired for the occasion. The body was interred in an open “grave yard” near the city. I did not see the monument erected on this occasion, but I presume it was in the same style as several others I had remarked in the same burying-ground, inscribed to the memory of members who had died at Washington. These were square blocks of masonry without any pretension to splendour.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01