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Full text of "Address of the Washington national monument society to the people of the United States, with an appendix, containing proceedings of the society at the inauguration meeting of 22d March 1859; report of the select committee of the House of representatives appointed to consider the memorial of the society, made on the 22d February, 1855; and the charter of the society"

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\ Containing PnocEEDiSGS of the Society at the Inacgcratiok Meeting of 22d March, ^ 

1859; Report op the Select Committee of the House op Representatives 


22d Febrcary, 1855; and the Charter of thb Society. 



geo. s. gideon, printbjel. 









CosTAiNiKG Proceedings of the Society at the Inausdration Meeting of 22d March, 
1859; Report of the Select Committee op the House of Representatives 


22d Febeuart, 1855; and the Charter of the Society. 





MAY %\m 

D. ot D« 


To the People of the United States. 

Commended to you by a charter from Congress, the Washing- 
ton National Monument Society invites your prompt, earnest, 
and persevering action in completing the Monument to the 
Father of his Country at the National Metropolis. 

The universal custom of nations, civilized and barbarous, 
to commemorate by monumental representations remarkable 
events in their history, and their gratitude to great public bene- 
factors, is evidence that such testimonials are prompted by a 
feeling natural to the human heart. Experience has shown 
that in free States their tendency is to cherish public spirit, de- 
votion to liberty, and generous emulation of the patriotism 
which incited to deeds thus honored by the community. The 
life of George "Washington is the history of the American 
Revolution and of the foundation of the American Republic; 
events equaling in dignity and importance any other, and, in 
their influence on human freedom and progress, surpassing all 
others, in the annals of our race. His personal character is 
hailed by the consenting voice of the whole world as a model of 
excellence — solitary, transcendent, unapproached. Men of all 
descriptions, and everywhere, take pride in his name. It is the 
watchword of liberty in every land; it is heard with mingled 
respect and apprehension in the palaces of kings; with reverence 
in the hut of the savage. Men of the most discordant principles; 
men who have agreed in nothing else; friends of liberty like 
Fox and Erskine and Brougham; despots like Napoleon; have 

united in according to Washington the loftiest place in the tem- 
ple of human glory, and in considering his examj^le as a pre- 
cious legacy to all mankind. Since his death, almost sixty 
years have passed, and yet the nation which, under Providence, 
was created by his valor, his wisdom, and his virtue, has 
(unless the erection of his statue in 1841, on the Capitol 
grounds, can be so regarded,) hitherto reared no monument to 
his memory. Of this strange neglect an explanation not less 
strange is sometimes given It has been said that his country- 
men deeply feel and cordially acknowledge his pre-eminence, and 
the vast, incalculable debt of gratitude which they owe to him; 
that he is enshrined in their affections and veneration; that 
material monuments, however suitable to other illustrious men, 
are inappropriate to him; and that his true monument already 
exists in the heart of every American. This doctrine, as per- 
verse in logic as in morals, is the casuistry of an indolent 
patriotism, which, almost confessing that a high public duty 
has been neglected, seeks shelter and excuse in a cloud of decla- 
mation. From such reasoning the glowing hearts of the 
American people resile. They feel, if Washington did indeed 
render services to his country more exalted in their nature, more 
comprehensive in their sco]3e, and more enduring in their con- 
sequences, than individual man had ever before rendered to 
social man, then that his country, instead of refusing a monu- 
ment to his memory, owes it to her own character and to the 
cause of human liberty, to build one which shall be nobler than 
any former monument ever erected in honor of a mortal. This 
is the logic of American common sense and American right 

The art of sculpture has often been employed to commemorate 
the deeds of Washington and his country's gratitude. Vir- 
ginia, his native State; her noble neighbors, on one side Mary- 
land, ou the other North Carolina; other States, cities, and ru- 
ral districts^ throughout the Union, have, at different times, hon- 
ored by monumental memorials his services and his principles 
of action — principles which are the very salt of a Kepublic. On 
the 22d of June, 1784, the Legislature of Virginia passed a res- 

olution for procuring a statue of Washington of tlie '^ finest 
marble and best workmanship," with the following inscription on 
its pedestal, viz: "The General Assembly of the Common- 
wealth of Virginia have caused this statue to be erected as a 
monument of affection and gratitude to George Washington, 
who, uniting to the endowments of the hero the virtues of the 
patriot, and exerting both in establishing the liberties of his 
country, has rendered his name dear to his fellow-citizens and 
given the world an immortal example of true glory. Done in 
the year," &c. 

The foregoing resolution was promptly carried into effect. 
The statue ordered by it was executed by Houdon, and now 
stands in the capitol at Richmond. At the same place, on the 
22d of February, 1858, was inaugurated, with imposing cere- 
monies and in the presence of an enthusiastic multitude, an 
equestrian statue of Washington, which had been ordered by 
the Legislature and executed by Crawford, a native artist, 
whose genius was the pride of his country, and whose early 
death she mourns. 

In the same year, (1784,) in which the State of Virginia ordered 
a statue of Washington to be erected, she offered to him a magnifi- 
cent gift in connexion with the great scheme, originating with him- 
self, of intercommunication of the Atlantic and Western waters. 
"It is the desire," said the Legislature, "of the representatives 
of this Commonwealth to embrace every suitable occasion of tes- 
tifying their sense of the unexampled merits of George Wash- 
ington, Esq. , towards his country, and it is their wish in partic- 
ular that those great works for its improvement, which, both as 
springing from the liberty which he has been so instrumental in 
establishing, and as encouraged by his patronage, will be du- 
rable monuments of his glory, may be made monuments also of 
the gratitude of his country." The extraordinary circumstan- 
ces of this benefaction made its offer embarrassing to Washing- 
ton. But, obeying a rule which he had early prescribed to him- 
self, and never swerved from, he declined the offer, as a personal 
gift, but consented to receive it in trust for public objects. Some 
time before his death he assigned a portion of it — one hundred 

shares in the James Eiver Company — to the now flourishing 
seminary of learning in Kockbridge county, Virginia, known 
as "Washington College." The other portion — fifty shares in 
the Potomac Company — he bequeathed for the endowment of a 
college in the District of Columbia. These shares are supposed 
to be held in trust by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, 
as successors of the Potomac Company. 

After peace had been proclaimed, the continental Congress, 
on the 7th of August, 1783, resolved unanimously, '^That an 
equestrian statue of General Washington be erected at the place 
where the residence of Congress shall be established;" and di- 
rected that the statue should be supported by a marble pedestal, 
on which should be represented four principal events of the Rev- 
olutionary war, in which he commanded in person. On the pe- 
destal were to be 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 
GrEORGE 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 independ- 

When Congress in 1783, and Virginia in 1784, ordained mon- 
umental memorials in honor of Washington, the closing act in 
the great drama of his life had not been performed. His char- 
acter, though then illustrious beyond rivalry, was still incom- 
plete. He was the hero, the patriot, the triumphant champion 
of human rights and public liberty, the founder of an Empire. 
But events were yet to come, bringing with them the crowning 
glory of his character. In the exercise of the great and extra- 
ordinary powers conferred upon him as the leader of our armies, 
he had indeed shown, in his camp, that he possessed civic abili- 
ties of the highest order. But they were not brought into full 
display till he became the Chief of the new Federal Government. 
It was then that he earned his last, perhaps proudest, title to the 
gratitude of his country, and the veneration of the world, as a 
wise ruler. 

On the deatli of WASiimGTON a joint committee of the two 
Houses of Congress was appointed to consider on the most suita- 
ble manner of paying honor to his memory. Among the reso- 
lutions adopted on their report was one, ''That a marble monu- 
ment be erected by the United States, at the city of Washington, 
and that the family of General Washington be requested to per- 
mit his body to be deposited under it; and that the monument 
be so designed as to commemorate the great events of his mili- 
tary and political life." A copy of the resolutions was trans- 
mitted to his widow by the President of the United States. 
"Taught," — she says in her most touching and impressive an- 
swer, "taught by the great example which I have so long Imd 
before me, never to ojJpose my private icishes to the public tviU, I 
must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have 
had the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this I need 
not, I cannot say, tvliat a sacrifice of individual feeling I mahe to 
a sense of public duty." Alas! the sacrifice was useless as it 
was painful. The resolution of Congress which asked for it is to 
this day a dead letter. [See note at page 17.] 

On the 8th of May, 1800, the committee made a further re- 
port to the House of Representatives, on which the House passed 
a resolution "that a mausoleum be erected for George Washing- 
ton in the city of Washington." 

On the 1st of January, 1801, the House of Representatives 
passed a bill appropriating |200,000 for the erection of the 

On the 15th of January, 1824, Mr. Buchanan, now President 
of the United States, than a member of the House of Representa- 
tives, offered to that body the following resolution: 

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

The resolution was, after discussion, laid on the table. 


This is believed to be the last proceeding in Congress on the 
subject until a recent period. [See note at page 17.] 

The resolutions of Congress which have been referred to, 
having remained unexecuted as late as 1833, some citizens of 
Washington, whose names were a passport to public confidence, 
formed in that year a voluntary association for erecting '^a great 
national monument to the memory of Wasliington, at the seat of tJw 
Federal Government." They invoked the people to redeem the 
plighted faith of the Kepresentatives of the people and the States. 
Among the founders of the society the name of George Wat- 
TERSTON, now deceased, calls for special notice on this occasion. 
With him originated the conception of the enterprise. He was 
the Secretary of the Society from its beginning to his death, in 
February, 1854; conducted its extensive correspondence, pre- 
pared its numerous publications; and, in every branch of its 
business, devoted his time and energies to its object, with a zeal 
as eifeetive as it was ardent, constant, and disinterested. 

The Washington National Monument Society commenced its 
pious work under the highest, the most animating auspices. 
John Marshall, the great Chief Justice, was its first President, 
On his death, in 1835, he was succeeded hj ex-President Madi- 
son. The language of the " Father of the Constitution" in ac- 
cepting the appointment is, like all else from his pen, memo- 
rable. He was then in the 85th year of his age. *' I am very 
sensible," said he, "of the distinction conferred by the relations 
in which the society has placed me ; and feeling, like my illustri- 
ous 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 can- 
not be more than honorary, and that under no circumstances 
could it supply the loss which the society has sustained. 

^' A monument worthy the memory 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." 


The first Vice President of the Society was Judge William 
Cranch, eminent as a learned jurist, as a just and impartial 
magistrate, and for the purity of his life. 

The progress of the Society was at first slow. In order that 
all might have an opportunity to contribute, the amount to be 
received from any one person was limited to $1 a year. This 
restriction was removed in 1845. In 1836 about $28,000 had 
been collected. This fund was placed in the hands of General 
Nathan Towson, Samuel Harrison Smith, and Thomas Munroe, 
gentlemen of the highest respectability. Under their faithful 
and judicious management it was invested, as was also the in- 
terest accruing on it, in good stocks. The financial difficulties 
of the country, beginning in 1837, suspended collections for 
several years. In 1847, the aggregate of collections and accu- 
mulated interest was |87,000, which amount was deemed suffi- 
cient to justify the Society in beginning the erection of the monu- 
ment. On the 31st of January, 1848, Congress passed a resolu- 
tion 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 thereof." The site 
selected, under the authority of this resolution, was the public 
reservation numbered 3 on the plan of the city of Washington, 
containing upwards of thirty acres, near the Potomac river, di- 
rectly west of the Capitol,, and south of the President's House. 
The grant was executed, on the 12th of April, 1849, by the Pre- 
sident of the United States and the Board of Managers of the 
Society, and is duly recorded among the land records of the Dis- 
trict of Columbia. The site selected piesents 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 construct- 
ing 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 farther 
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 WASHiNaTON himself, whose unerring judgment had selected 
this city to be the ca]3ital 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 Cerac- 
chi, a Roman sculptor, and paid for by contributions of indi- 
viduals. The same site is marked on Major L'Enfant's map of 
Washington city for the equestrian statue of General Washing- 
ton, ordered by Congress in 1783; which map was examined, 
approved, and transmitted to Congress by him when President 
of the United States. 

A plan for the monument was adopted, after wide consultation 
with experienced and judicious experts, and a careful compari- 
son of the various plans submitted, as well with each other as 
with an ideal standard of excellence. The one selected proposed 
an obelisk 517 feet high, and a pantheon or base. The obelisk 
was estimated to cost |552,000, and the whole work, including 
obelisk and pantheon, $1,122,000. 

The anniversary of American Independence was chosen as a fit 
day for laying the corner-stone of a monument to its hero. 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, the Heads of the Executive Depart- 
ments, and other officers. Executive and Judicial, of the Govern- 
ment, the Corporate Authorities of Washington, Georgetown, 
and Alexandria, military companies, associations of many de- 
scriptions, delegations from States and Territories of the Union 


and from several Indian tribes, and a countless multitude. 
Robert C. Wintiirop, Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
pronounced an eloquent oration on the occasion; other addresses 
were delivered; and the corner-stone was laid of a "Great Na- 
tional Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of 
the Federal Grovernment." The board of managers at once com- 
menced active operations, which were vigorously prosecuted. In 
about six years from the laying of the corner-stone they were 
enabled to raise the obelisk to the height of 170 feet, being a 
little more than one-third of its proposed ultimate elevation. On 
the work as thus far done $230,000, the whole amount of col- 
lections, including interest on investments, from the origin of 
the society, were expended. The foundation of the obelisk was 
laid eighty-one feet square, eight feet below the surface of the 
ground, and the obelisk is contracted in its progress so as to be 
sixty-one feet ten inches at the top, an elevation of twenty-five 
feet of solid masonry. It is commenced at the height of seven- 
teen and a half feet above the ground, fifty-five feet square, 
cased with marble, with walls fifteen feet thick, leaving a cavity 
of twenty-five feet. It will be ascended by stairs in the inside, 
and by machinery. The purchase of materials and the general 
construction of the work were committed by the Board of Mana- 
gers to three of their number, denominated a Building Commit- 
tee, subject to the revisory authority of the poard, which met 
weekly. The services of the Board were gratuitous. Faithful 
to the principles on which the Society had acted from the begin- 
ning, they solicited contributions from the whole people, without 
distinction of party, or sect, or creed; and in the same national 
spirit administered, in all respects, the trust confided to them. 

In 1854 the Board of Managers presented a memorial to Con- 
gress, giving a brief history of the Monument enterprise, and 
stating that all recent efibrts on their part to obtain means for 
completing the work had proved abortive; that they were unable 
to devise any plan more likely to succeed; and that under these 
circumstances they brought the subject before Congress for such 
action as Congress might deem proper. The memorial was re- 
ferred in the House of Representatives to a select committee of 


thirteen members, of wliicli committee Henry May, of Mary- 
land, was chairman. On the 22d of February, 1855, Mr. May, 
from the select committee, made a most able and eloquent re- 
port, in which, after a careful examination of the whole subject, 
the proceedings of the Society were reviewed and strongly ap- 
proved, and a subscription recommended of $200,000 by Con- 
gress "on behalf of the people of the United States, to aid the 
funds of the Society." This, it will be recollected, is the sum 
which the House of Eepresentatives, by their resolution of Jan- 
uary 1st, 1801, had agreed to appropriate for a mausoleum to 
Washington in the city of Washington. 

The report of the select committee was made under favoring 
circumstances. But on the very day of its presentment the 
Managers of the Society were unexpectedly superseded in their 
places by an unlawful election. We purposely forbear on this 
occasion any comment on that proceeding and its consequences, 
except the remark that the experiment of constructing the Monu- 
ment through the agency of a jparty signally failed. After this 
experiment had been abandoned by its projectors the enterprise 
passed into the hands of gentlemen who, after making suitable ar- 
rangements for the conservation of the Monument and protection 
of the grounds and other property connected with it, on the 20th 
of October last surrendered them to the Board which was ejected 
from office by the transaction of February 22d, 1855. Admon- 
ished by that transaction and its results of the legal difficulties 
in the way of a voluntary association, consisting of members re- 
siding in all parts of the Union, we had applied to Congress for 
a charter. This was at length granted. On the 22d of Febru- 
ary, 1859, an act passed Congress, and was approved by the 
President on the 26th, incorporating "The Washington National 
Monument Society." By one of its provisions the President of 
the United States for the time being is ex officio President of the 
Society, and the Governors of the several States of the United 
States are respectively ex officio its Vice Presidents. 

On resuming the administration of the Monument affairs, we 
found that during the interruption there had been added to its 
obelisk, which we had left at the height of 170 feet, only two 


courses of marble, each two feet high; that of this a sufficient 
quantity of marble was on the ground on the 22d of February, 
1855, dressed and finished, and ready for setting, to make a 
course, and of the other a number of rough blocks of marble 
were on hand; and that it was dressed by the persons in posses- 
sion, and the residue made up of condemned marble which had 
been accumulating for years. We found also numerous repairs 
to be necessary, which the building committee were instructed 
to make, so far as the means of the Society would allow, in 
order to preserve the property, and in view of as early a resump- 
tion of the work as might be possible. 

In accordance with our former system, it is our purpose to so- 
licit contributions from the people of the United States, through 
the instrumentality of agents, of known or well attested integ- 
rity and intelligence, who will be required to give adequate se- 
curity for the faithful discharge of their duties; to invoke aid, 
at suitable times, from Congress, from State and Territorial 
Legislatures, and from the voluntary associations, formed for 
diversified and meritorious objects, which overspread our country. 
The intended appeal to the States has by one of them been gen- 
erously anticipated. The Legislature of the young State of 
California recently passed an act appropriating one thousand dol- 
lars annually in aid of the monument. 

Seventy-five years ago, in the course of an extensive Western 
journey, the eagle eye of Washington descried the political ne- 
cessity and the practicability of opening a communication be- 
tween the head-waters of the Potomac and the tributaries of the 
Ohio river. In a private letter on that subject to a friend, 
written in the following year, after deprecating commercial con- 
nexions between the Western States and foreign Governments, 
he speaks of 'Hhe country of California" as "being still more 
to the westward, and belonging to another Power." California! 
Now one of the sovereign States of the American Union, and 
the first of them all to pay the debt of gratitude to its founder 
by aiding in the erection of a monument to him at the seat of 
the Federal Government. Brighter, more glorious, is this act 
than are all her golden treasures. May her sister States soon 
imitate her example ! 


"Each State," said the Select Committee of the House of 
Kepresentatives in their report in 1855, "and two of the Terri- 
tories of the Union, have contributed a block of marble or stone, 
inscribed with its arms or some suitable inscription or device, 
and a great many others have been offered by various institu- 
tions and societies throughout the land; and several foreign 
Governments have testified their desire to unite in this great 
work of humanity, intended to commemorate the virtues of its 
chief ornament and example. The boundaries of Christendom 
do not limit his fame, which reaches to the remotest parts of the 
earth, and the most distant and isolated nations have testified 
their veneration towards his memory. Switzerland, Rome, Bre- 
men, Turkey, Grreece, China, and Japan, have piously united to 
pay their homage to our Washington, Such tributes are our 
highest trophies. The history of mankind affords no parallel to 

To the testimonials described by the committee others of a 
similar character have been recently added, and more will doubt- 
less be offered. 

Having in the past been honored by your confidence, we hope 
to receive it in the future. We shall strive to deserve it by 
maintaining the principles and the policy on the ground of 
which it was acquired. We return to our labors expecting you 
justly to estimate and candidly to allow for the circumstances 
under which they are resumed. We find an empty treasury: 
an enterprise now in a state of suspended animation is to be 
resuscitated: tlie arrangements and connexions through which 
it had been formerly prosecuted are dissolved: new instrumental- 
ities are to be provided: an interval of inaction or joernicious 
activity has continued for four years: and into the minds of some 
of you distrust may have been infused. But such considerations 
do not discourage us. We appeal to the great heart of the 
American People; we invoke them to come forward promptly, 
one and all, and rescue their good name from the ojiprobrium of 
ingratitude to Washington: to him whom, in tlie first agony of 
a nation's bereavement, her Representatives, with tearful eyes 
and bleeding hearts, proclaimed — whom an admiring world 

confessed — and whom history has decreed to he — "First in wak, 


In the success of this appeal our confidence is unfaltering. The 
character of the people of the United States furnishes abundant 
grounds for the confidence. A single, and of itself a sufficient 
one, is that our object will find untiring and persuasive advo- 
cates among the women of the United States. Indignant at a 
sixty years' apathy in the other sex, they came forward, but yes- 
terday as it were, with an almost simultaneous impulse in all 
sections of the Union, and said that one stipulation at least of 
the public faith, in relation to the Father of his Country, should 
no longer go unperformed. They said that so much of the reso- 
lution of Congress in 1799 as pledged the national faith to guard 
from desecration and the contingencies of fortune the mortal re- 
mains of Washington, should at once, without another moment 
of delay, be carried out. What they said, they did. They will 
soon be the guardians of the grave of Washington. 

If the spirits of the ''just made perfect" are permitted to look 
down on earth and to sympathize with mortals, we can imagine 
no tribute more grateful to the spirit of Washington than the 
spectacle of his countrywomen as the self-elected, perpetual watch- 
ers at his tomb. Of all the numerous testimonies of public vene- 
ration and affection which were offered to him in 1789, on his 
journey from Mount Vernon to New York, to be there inaugu- 
rated as the first President of the United States, none is said to 
have so touched his heart as an incident connected with his 
reception at Trenton. "The gentler sex," says the historian, 
"prepared in their own taste a tribute of applause, indicative of 
the grateful recollection in which they held their deliverance, 
twelve years before, from an insulting enemy. On the bridge 
over the creek which passes through the toAvn was erected a tri- 
umphal arch, highly ornamented with laurel and flowers^, and 
supported by thirteen pillars, each entwined with wn-eaths of 
evergreen. On the front of the arch was inscribed in large gilt 
letters, 'The Defender of tJie Mothers ivill he the Protector of the 
Daughters.' * * * At this place he was met by a party of 
matrons, leading their daughters dressed in white, who carried 


baskets of flowers in tlieir hands, and sang with exquisite sweet- 
ness an ode of two stanzas, composed for the occasion." The 
flowers referred to in its last line were then strewed before him. 

Gruardians of the grave of Washington ! A holy office; holier 
than that of the pious Vestals who guarded the sacred fire of 
Rome : An office sought and won in the spirit which animated 
American women in the trying scenes of the Revolution : An 
office well suited to the social position, at once lofty and unobtru- 
sive, of American women in the American Republic. Twenty 
years ago the peculiarities of this position were perceived by a 
foreign observer of our country and its institutions, whom an 
enlightened public opinion has justly placed by the side of Mon- 
tesquieu. After explaining these jieculiarities, De Tocqueville 
adds : 

''If I were asked, now that I am drawing to the close of this 
work, in which I have spoken of so many important things done 
by the Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing 
strength of that people ought to be attributed, I should reply, 
to the superiority of their women." 

The French philosopher has lived to witness another and a 
crowning illustration of his eulogy. He has seen the duty of 
patriotism to the ashes of Washington, so long neglected by 
husbands, and fathers, and brothers, assumed and discharged by 
the matrons and the maidens of our land. Heaven has blessed 
their efforts. May their energies be now directed to another and 
kindred duty of their country to the memory of Washington ! 
May their persuasive example, their just influence, and their 
active sympathies waken husbands, and fathers, and brothers to 
the duty of erecting a monument to Washington worthy of his 
name and of the American People ! 

By order of the Society: 


Washington National Monument Office, May IT, 1859. 


Note to Pages 7 and 8. 

On the 13th of February, 1832, a report was made to the Senate of the United States 
by Mr. Clay, and to the House of Representatives by Mr. Philemon Thomas, chairmen, 
respectively, of committees to make arrangements for celebrating the approaching cen- 
tennial 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 ap- 
plication to John A. Washington, of Mount Vernon, for the body of George Washing- 
ton, to be removed and deposited in the Capitol at Washington city, in conformity 
■with the resolution of Congress of the 24th 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." This re- 
solution does not suggest any connexion between the removal of the remains and 
their being deposited under a monument, as proposed by the resolution of 1*799. It 
is understood that when the report of the joint committee was made, one of the 
standing committees of the House of Representatives had under consideration the 
erecting of a marble statue of Washington, to be executed by Mr. Greenough, and, 
as was then expected, to be placed in the centre of the rotundo of the Capitol. In the 
course of the discussion occasioned by the report, one of the speakers stated that two 
years before, a resolution had been submitted to the House of Representatives for the 
erection of a pedestrian statue of Washington in the Capitol. From a remark of 
Mr. Clay, the purpose seems to have been to place the remains in a vault under the 
centre of the rotundo. 

The two Senators and several of the Representatives from Virginia opposed the 
removal of Washington's remains from their resting-place in his native State. 
Senator Tazewell referred to an application which she had made in 1816 to Judge 
AVasihngton, then the proprietor of Mount Vernon, for his consent to the removal of 
the remains to Richmond, to be deposited under a suitable monument in that city. Mr. 
T. represented Judge Washington to have answered: "It was impossible for him to 
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 consideration made so strong an im- 
pression on Congress that the resolution was modified so as to ask the consent of 
Mr. John A. Washington, and that of Mr. George W. 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 Wash- 
ington. 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 eflFect. Mr. Custis, taking a different view of that 
clause in the will, 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 Representivtiyes on the report of the joint committee, 
Mr. Doddridge, of Virginia, remarked that he "was a member of the legiskiture of that 
State -when the transaction of 1816 took place, 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. McDuFFiE opposed the removal of the remains from Mount Vernon. But, 
said he, " 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 yen 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 the proprietor of Mount Vernon to permit the removal of the remains 
was regarded bj' Mr. Clay as a new reason why the pending resolution for erecting 
a statue of Washington at the Capitol should prevail. " 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 Capital, the centre of the Union, the offspring, 
the creation of his mind and of his labors." 

The pedestrian statue of Washington by Greenough, ordered in 1832, was placed 
in the rotundo in 1841, and afterwards removed to the east park. In 1853 Congress 
appropriated $50,000 for the erection, by Clark Mills, of an equestrian statue of 



The meeting for the organization of the Washington National Monument Society, 

under the act of incorporation granted by Congress at its recent session, took place 

on Tuesday evening, 22d March, 1859, in the Aldermen's Chamber, in the City Hall. 

The chair was taken at a few minutes past 1, o'clock by the President of the 

United States, as ex officio President of the Society. 

Mr. Fend ALL then rose and said : 

Mr. President : The illness and consequent absence of a distinguished membet of 
this Society devolves on me the unexpected duty of welcoming you to this chamber. 
Here, more than a quarter of a century ago, a few patriotic citizens assembled and 
founded the Washington National Monument Society. Of those individuals only 
four, it is believed, now survive. On the death of Washington, Congress passed a 
resolution to erect a monument to the memory of that greatest and best of men ; but 
years rolled on and this sacred duty remained undischarged. The object of this 
Society was to waken the hearts of the people to fulfil the neglected promise of their 
representatives, and to redeem the republic from the reproach of ingratitude to its 
founder. The earnest efforts of an association of private individuals to effect this 
purpose have been sustained by their fellow-citizens and approved by Congress. The 
monument has been elevated to about one-third of its proposed height. A commit- 
tee of the House of Representatives, after a careful examination of the proceedings of 
the Society, reported an emphatic approval of its conduct, and recommended a lib- 
eral subscription on the part of Congress towards completing the monument; and, 
more recently. Congress has given the Society the power of self-protection by grant- 
ing to it a charter of incorporation. It has now here assembled for organization 
under this charter ; and on an occasion so interesting to its future prospects it was 
deemed proper to request the presence of the President of the United States as ex officio 
President of this Society. Oppressed as the Chief Magisti-ate of this great nation must 
be with the cares of state, his compliance with this request is felt by the Society to 
be a gi-acious act, which cannot fail to exert an auspicious influence on their labors. 


They look forward to the effect of this high example in stimulating their fellow- 
citizens to unite in the vigorous prosecution of a •work dear to patriotism and to 
national honor. Undoubtedly the proudest of all monuments is that already raised 
to the fame of Washington in the hearts of his countrymen, in the applause of all 
mankind, and in a memory ■which will descend to the last posterity. But all history 
shows that the erection of national monuments in honor of great national benefactors 
is a form of public gratitude so universal as to be closely allied to the sentiment 
itself; and that, when a nation forgets the glory of its great men, it ceases to be 
worth}- of them. The completion of the monument now in progress is far more im- 
portant to the fame of the American people than to the fame of Washington. 

In the name, and on behalf of the Society, I take leave, sir, to thank you for 
your presence and co-operation on this occasion. 

The President said, that before proceeding to the business of organization, he 
would make a few remarks in reference to his connexion with this matter, when, 
thirty-four or thirty-five years ago, he was a member of the House of Eepresentatives. 
At that time, a young man and a new member, he offered a resolution the object of 
which was to redeem the plighted faith of the country to erect a monument to him 
to whom its warmest gratitude was due. He did not remember at whose instance he 
did this, but it was undoubtedly at the instance of some respectable citizens of Wash- 
ington, who remembered the obligations which had been incurred by the previous 
action of the national legislature. All must recollect that after the death of Wash- 
ington Congress passed a resolution to erect a monument to his memory, and a re- 
spectful communication was addressed to Mrs. Washington requesting the body of 
the deceased to be placed within it. What was the reply he (the President) did not 
now recollect; but so the matter remained till 1823 or 1824, when he himself brought 
it before Congress. He was a young man then, and perhaps there was something of 
the sophomore in his dealings with the subject, but he pressed it with all the ardor 
of youth. No doubt if any one were to examine the files of the National Intelligencer 
of the year 1823 or 1824, his speech would be found there reported. It was consid- 
ered at that time, and was 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. The Presi- 
dent did not remember what was done, but he did remember the extreme mortifica- 
tion which he suffered from the ill success of his movement. To attempt to pronounce 
any eulogy on Washington would be vain. Not only in this country is his name 
loved and revered beyond that of all other men. but abroad, where he had been a 
good deal, 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 kept record. It is 
vain to say that no painting or no sculpture of such men should be preserved. It is 
a duty the people owe to themselves to see that this work shall go on ; and whilst he 
would not say it is a reproach, it is a reflection on the people of this country that 
the resolution of Congress made sixty years ago should have been peimitted to lie a 
dead letter upon the statute-book. The President thought in his remarks made in 
the House of Representatives in 1824 or 1825 some of the objects and advantages 
sought to be secured by the present Society were alluded to. He would now proceed 
to organize the Societv. 


On motion of Mr. Lenox, Mr. J. C. Brent was chosen Secretary of the meeting. 
On motion of Capt. Carbery, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted : 

1. Eesolned, That the charter granted to this Society by the act of Congress passed 
on the 22d and approved on the 2Gth of February, in the year 1859, and entitled 
" An act to incorporate the Washington National Monument Society," be accepted, 
and that said charter be the constitution of this Societ3% 

2. That this Societj'- shall hold an annual meeting on the 22d day of February in 
every year, and such other meetings as may hereafter be prescribed or called. 

3. That the officers of this Society, in addition to those prescribed by the charter, 
shall be a First Vice President, who shall be the Mayor of Washington for the time 
being ex officio, and a Second and Third Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, and a Secre- 
tary, to be now elected, and to continue in ofBce till the annual meeting on the 22d 
day of February next. 

4. That the Second and Third Vice Presidents, the Treasurer, and the Secretary 
shall be elected at the annual meeting on the 22d of February of every year : Pro- 
vided, That all officers shall continue in office till their successors are respectively 
duly appointed. 

5. That a committee of three members be appointed to prepare and report at a 
meeting of the society to be held on Tuesday, the 12th of April next, a plan for car- 
rying out its objects, and by-laws and regulations for the conduct of business, and 
defining and prescribing the duties of officers and agents. 

6. That a committee of three members be appointed to prepare and report at the 
meeting named in the fifth resolution an Address to the People of the United States. 

7. That the Secretary shall forward a copy of the charter to each corporator, and 
reciuest him to state whether or not he accepts the trust, and will be able punctually 
to attend the meetings of the society. 

On motion of Mr. Wm. A. Bradley, the blanks in the resolutions appointing com- 
mittees were filled each with the number three; when, it having been agreed that the 
committees should be appointed by the President, the following gentlemen were ap- 
pointed, viz: on the committee to prepare a constitution, by-laws, &c.. Col. Force, 
Mr. J. B. H. Smith, and Mr. John C. Brent; on the committee to address the public, 
Mr. Fendall, Gen. Walter Jones, and Mr. Walter Lenox. 

Mr. J. B. H. Smith moved that the society proceed to elect officers for the purpose 
of organizing the corporation; when, it having been resolved to elect by ballot, the 
following officers were elected: 

General Winfield Scott, 2d Vice President. 

Thomas Carbery, 3d Vice President. 

J. B. H. Smith, Treasurer. 

John C. Brent, Secretary. 

Mr. Richard S. Coxe said that for some reason or other he had never become con- 
nected with this society. He had, however, always sympathized with it, and he ac- 
knowledged the warmest wishes for its furtherance and success. He was aware that 
difficulties and disputes had arisen in the course of its history, but with them he had 
never had any connexion. The only objection he had ever heard to the society' was 
just the one the President had alluded to in his remarks, namely, that the only pro- 
per monument for Washington is a monument in the hearts of his countrymen. This 
objection he deemed one of the most puerile and ridiculous he had ever heard uttered. 


Is it because a man stands high in the world's respect, because he is embalmed in its 
memory, that he deserves no testimoni-al of this sort ? Is it for this that no national 
monument is to be raised to tell men of his worth and glory? Such reasoning would 
imply that we are to erect monuments only to those who are undeserving. Is it not 
the highest ground to take that the memory of the man first in the world's respect 
should be perpetuated to them that did not know him and did not live in his time ? 

Mr. C. hoped the project now in hand would be carried out and terminate i^ com- 
plete success. It had been said by orators of Great Britain, to which country Wash- 
ington was opposed, against which he warred, that of all the men of history the 
purest and most disinterested was Washington. Mr. C. earnestly wished all pros- 
perity to the institution, and was delighted at its resuscitation, and was also de- 
lighted at hearing the narrative of the part already taken by the President in fur- 
therance of the object for which the meeting was now assembled. 

Mr. Lenox rose to move that the society now adjourn; when. 

The President asked to say a few words in connexion with the remarks of Mr. 
CoxE, The day had gone by when the monument of Washington should be left to 
rest alone in the hearts of his countrymen. This is the city called by him into ex- 
istence — called by his name — and the most appropriate place in the world for a 
monument to his memory, to tower to the skies. The appeal to build this monument 
will never be made to the American people in vain. In the mountains, in the val- 
leys, the appeal will he answered with cheerfulness, as each one of the people of the 
whole nation will feel the honor he does himself in contributing towards a becoming 
testimonial to the Father of his Country. 

The society, said the President, has been organized under the happiest auspices, 
and he had no doubt that in less than ten years the monument would be completed. 
If Congress will not regard the wishes of the people in helping to raise this monu- 
ment, the people will do it themselves. The cause ought not to be allowed to slum- 
ber. Let us, therefore, said the President, like faitliful sentinels, make proper ap- 
peals, and my life for it such appeals will be successful. 

Mr. Lenox renewed his motion to adjourn, which was passed, and the society ad- 
joui'ned, to meet at its next regular period. 

President of the United States, and ex officio President of the Society. 

John Carroll Brent, Secretary. 


SELECT com:mittee. 

M Session. \ ) No. 94. 

gloitmitent la i\t Ptnwrg of §MHsIjiitgl0it. 


On the 13th of July, 1854, it was resolved that a select committee of thirteen 
members be ajipointed to consider the memorial of the Washington National Monument 
Society, and the following gentlemen were appointed tlie members of the committee: 

Mr. MAY, of Maryland, Chairman. 
Mr. J. GLANCY JONES, of Fenn. 
Mr. REESE, of Georgia. 
Mr. PURYEAR, of North Carolina. 
Mr. HASTINGS, of Ncio York. 
Mr. ELIOT, of Massachusetts. 
Mr. OLIVER, of Missouri. 

Mr. PRATT, of Connecticut. 
Mr. ELLISON, of Ohio. 
Mr. VAIL, of Neiv Jersey. 
Mr. McMULLEN, of Virginia. 
Mr. MACY, of Wisconsin. 
Mr. DOWDELL, of Alabama. 


Mr. May, from the Select Committee on the Washington National Monument, made 

the following report: 
The Select Committee of Thirteen, to whom was referred the memorial of the Board of 
3Ianagcrs of the Washington National Monument Society, beg leave to rejiort: 
That this memorial states, "that in the year 1833, an association of individuals 
was formed in this city for the purpose of raising funds, by appeal to the patriotism 
of the people, for the erection of a monument, in the national metropolis, to the 
memory of the Father of his Country. 


"That your memorialists, and their predecessors, elected managers of the asso- 
ciation, have gratuitously given their services, at great personal sacrifice, to the pro- 
motion of its objects ; that they have been enabled to raise the proposed monument 
to the height of 170 feet; that 341 feet remain yet to be erected; that the funds 
of the association are entirely exhausted ; and all recent efforts on the part of 
your memorialists to obtain means for completing the work have proved abortive, 
and that your memorialists are unable to devise any plan more likely to succeed. 

"Under these circumstances, they feel it to be their duty to bring to the notice of 
the representatives of the States and people of the Union these facts, in order that 
such action may be had on them as to the assembled wisdom and patriotism of the 
nation may seem meet. 

"ARCH. HENDERSON, First Vice President. 



It will be seen that no specific prayer is presented ; but upon the facts stated above, 
the society submits it to the wisdom of Congress to provide such measures as may be 
appropriate to the subject. 

Your committee conceive that the duty is devolved upon them, on the part of the 
House of Representatives, to recommend such measures ; and being deeply impressed 
with all the associations attending so interesting and hallowed a subject, they have 
well considered it. 

As early as It 83 Congress ordered that an equestrian statue of Washington should 
be erected, "to testify the love, admiration, and gratitude of his countrymen ;" and 
again, when the mournful intelligence of his death was communicated, on 24th De- 
cember, 1199, that a marble monument, with suitable inscriptions, should be erected 
in the Capitol to the memory of Washington, and that it be "so designed as to com- 
memorate the great events of his military and political life." It is painful to observe 
that these resolutions have not yet been executed. Perhaps the claims of kindred, 
and of his native State, have prevailed against that resolution, which ordered that 
his remains should be entombed beneath the monument to be erected in the Capitol. 
We know that his honored widow consented that this should be done; yet. Mount 
Vernon still holds the sacred remains of him who was "first in war, first in peace, 
and first in the hearts of his countrj^men." Your committee could not but feel that 
these obligations, resolved upon, as they were, by the great and good men who were 
witnesses of his sublime life and character, and who were also associates of his fame, 
yet remain upon Congress. 

Aware that a marble statue has been erected within the grounds of the Capitol, 
and an equestrian statue ordered by the last Congress to be raised, yet your commit- 
tee think that these testimonials are not adequate to fulfil the obligation so solemnly 

States and cities have raised their greatful tributes, in marble, to Washington. 
Maryland, near forty years ago, undertook her part in this patriotic duty, and her 
noble monument, at Baltimore, attests the love and gratitude other people towards a 
chief whose steps their fathers so faithfully followed through the trying scenes of the 
Revolution. And Virginia, with gratitude unsatisfied by a faithful statue, is now 
raising, at Richmond, a monument, proportioned to the greatness of her son. And 
North Carolina, too, invoked the highest living art to present, at Raleigh, the image 


of the Father of his Country to the admiring eyes of her patriotic children. And 
memorials of public and jirivate love and gratitude towards him are to be found 
throughout the land, commemorating a universal veneration. But no national trib- 
ute of adequate design has yet been raised — no offering fit to denote a country's grat- 
itude has been constructed. Yet who shall deny that the fame of Washington de- 
serves the grandest of human monuments, or say that such tributes can be multiplied 
beyond the measure of his claims? 

A voluntary association of patriotic citizens of Washington, as early as 1833, con- 
ceived the purpose of erecting a national monument to the memory of Washington at 
the Metropolis of the republic. This association was organized under the name of 
"The Washington National Monument Society." Chief Justice Marshall was its first 
president, and after him ex-President Madison. The proposed monument was in- 
tended to be raised by the voluntary contributions of the American people. The so- 
ciety was organized on an admirable plan, and its officers undertook the duties as- 
signed to 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 com- 
menced and continued by the subscription of $1 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 wor- 
thy 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 this society has at any 
time been lost by investments or otherwise. 

The sum of $28,000 having been raised upon this plan, it was judiciously invested 
in safe funds yielding interest; and then the pulpit, the press, and the ballot-box were 
all invoked to aid the work; and days of sacred and patriotic associations were em- 
ployed to invite a general contribution. 

The restriction as to the amount of subscription being removed in 1845, the whole 
funds amounted by accumulations of interest then to $62,450, and the work of build- 
ing the monument was at length begun in the year 1848. 

An appropriate site on the banks of the Potomac was selected out of the public 
reservation, under a grant from Congress. Its location is most eligible. Here the 
first light of the morning sun will salute, and the last rays of evening rest upon its 
lofty head. The coincidence is striking and interesting, that the monument now in 
progress is on the same site which is marked on Major L' Enfant' s map for the ecjuestrian 
statue of Washington ordered by Congress in 1183; and that the map, after General 
Washington had examined and approved it, was presented by him to Congress. 


Near this unfinished monument is the Smithsonian Institution. Its edifice is com- 
pleted, its system in practical operation, and its annual income thirty thousand 
dollars. So much easier has it been found to give effect to the bounty of a benevolent 
foreigner, than to the gratitude of a nation to its founder. 

The first object to meet the view, and inspire the patriotic feelings of the visitor to 
the national metropolis, the Washington Monument will stand before the eyes of the 
resident or sojourner as a perpetual memorial of him whose whole life was so signal 
an example of public virtue and patriotism. 

On the 4th of July, 1848, the cornerstone was laid. A plan had been selected, after 
careful consideration of many that were proposed, and your committee highly 
approve of the design. 

It is a noble moiiument, altogether worthy of the sublime character of which it is to 
be a grateful testimonial. 

Its foundations are deeply, broadly, and securely laid, and are sufficient to support 
the entire superstructure. 

The work, so far as it has been performed, has been faithfully done. It appears to be 
plain, yet beautiful; and your committee are satisfied that it will be enduring. 

Each State and two of the Territories of the Union have contributed a block of marble 
or stone, inscribed with its arms or some suitable device, and a great many others have 
been offered by various institutions and societies throughout the land; and several foreign 
governments have testified their desire to unite in this great work of humanity, intended 
to commemorate the virtues of its chief ornament and example. The boundaries of 
Christendom do not limit his fame, which reaches to the remotest parts of the earth, and 
the most distant and isolated nations have testified their veneration towards his 
memory. Switzerland, Rome, Bremen, Turkey, Greece, China, and Japan, have 
piously united to pay their homage to our Washington. Such tributes are our highest 
trophies. The history of mankind affords no parallel to this. 

. We feel bound, in this place, especially to commend the zeal and liberality of the 
Masonic societies, the order of Odd Fellows, the various fire companies, and the touch- 
ing contributions of the children of the schools of the country — all regularl}^ dedicating 
their affectionate tributes. And the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations of Indians also 
deserve to be honored for their very liberal donations of money; commemorating also 
in this, the eloquent sentiment of the great chief, Cornplanter, delivered to Wash- 
ington in 1791 : "The voice of the Seneca nation speaks to you, the great Councillor, 
in whose heart the wise men of all the thirteen Fires have placed their wisdom." 

The shaft of the monument now reaches to the height of ITO feet. It is intended 
to be raised to the full height of 517 feet; so that, when completed, this monument will 
be proportionate to the character of its sulyect — the loftiest in the world. 

The sum of $230,000 has been already expended upon the work, and the sum of 
$322,000 will be needed to complete the shaft; while the cost of the whole work, in- 
cluding shaft and pantheon, or base, is estimated to be $1,122,000. Let the present 
generation at least complete the shaft, and we may then permit those who come after 
us to finish the whole work. 

Your committee have derived this information from the competent officers of the 
society, its architect, and its agents, who have charge of the work, and who have 
attended the sittings of the committee, explained the subject, and produced before it 
their plans, books, accounts, and other evidences of their transactions. 


The duties of this society have demanded the constant attention of its members; 
and it is very gratifying to the committee to state, that neither the president, vice 
presidents, treasurer, secretary, nor any of tlie managers or members, have, from its 
institution, received or desired any compensation whatever. Their services have 
been, and will continue to be, wholly gratuitous. 

We unanimously approve the plan of this monument, and of the work that has 
been already done; and we bear cheerful testimony to the energy, integrity, economy 
and patriotic love which have animated and governed the transactions of this society, 
and especially we commend the design of building this monument by the voluntary 
contributions of the people of the United States. 

We do not intend to disturb this happy arrangement, or to withdraw from the ex- 
clusive jurisdiction and control of so fliithful a society the completion of a work so 
well begun and prosecuted; we trust, and doubt not, that it will go on, with continued 
attention on the part of the board of managers, and of the people of the whole coun- 

But, at the same time, your committee think that a subscription to aid the work is 
due by Congress. By the faith of obligations which we have before recited, by the fact 
that his commission as Commander-in-Chief was bestowed on Washington by Congress, 
and all his glorious military services performed under their orders and authority, and 
by the further consideration that a sum subscribed by Congress will probably be the only 
mode by which each and all of the people of the United States can be said to add their 
share to this grateful memorial, your committee recommend 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. This was the sum devoted to the monument 
ordered by the resolutions of 1T99, and voted by the House of Representatives on the 
1st of January, 1801. 

In making this recommendation we expressly disclaim engaging for any further aid by 
Congress to the work, on the distinct ground, that whilst it is proper Cougress should 
make a liberal subscription towards it, yet it is both the right and duty of the people 
of the United States to complete it. 

We canot doubt that their disposition will prove more than adequate to this result, 
and that this holy work should hereafter be exclusively committed to them — to the sev- 
eral States, cities, towns, and other organized communities of the whole country. 

Assuring them, as we again do, of its noble proportions and beauty — of its solid and 
enduring plan and materials — of the fidelity of the work done — of the integrity, econo- 
my, energy, and system, that have marked the duties of the members of this society, 
and of their disinterested and patriotic zeal, we commend to the care of our country- 
men this tribute of a republic's love, admiration, and gratitude towards him who, 
under the providence of God, was the chief author of its freedom, its dignity, and its 

We report hei-ewith a joint resolution, and subjoin the names of the officers and Board 
of Managers of the Society. 


AN ACT to incorporate the Washington National Monument Society. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rej^resentatives of the United States of A7iier- 
ica in Congress assembled, That 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," Winfield Scott, Walter Jones, John J. Abert, James 
Kearney, Thomas Carbery, Peter Force, William A. Bradley, Philip R. Fendall, Wal- 
ter Lenox, Matthew F. Maury, and Thomas Blagden, (being the survivors of the per- 
sons mentioned in a certain grant bearing date on the twelfth day of April, in the 
year one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, by James K. Polk, then President 
of the said United States, in virtue of a joint resolution of Congress, approved on the 
thirty-first day of January, in the same year, of an authority to erect a monument to 
the memory of George Washington, on reservation numbered three, in the said city 
of Washington, ) and also Jonathan B. H. Smith, William W. Seaton, Elisha Whit- 
tlesey, Benjamin Ogle Tayloe, Thomas H. Crawford, William W. Corcoran, and John 
Carroll Brent, and their successors, to be elected in the manner hereinafter directed, 
shall be, and are hereby, created a corporation and body politic, by the name and 
style of "The Washington National Monument Society." 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all the easements, and all and singular the 
rights and privileges, conveyed in the aforesaid grant, shall be, and the same hereby 
are, vested in and confirmed to the corporation and body politic hereinbefore created; 
and that any and all property and right of property of any and every kind and de- 
scription whatsoever, whether in possession, or in action, or in expectancy, which 
may at any time before the passing of this act have been acquired by the voluntary 
association heretofore known by the name of the Washington National Monument So- 
ciety, or which may hereafter be acquired by the corporation and body politic here- 
inbefore created, shall be and the same hereby are vested in and confirmed to the cor- 
poration and body politic hereinbefore created; and that the said corporation and 
body politic may apply to its uses, and for the purpose of completing the erection of 
the monument aforesaid, according to such by-laws, rules, and regulations, as it 
may, from time to time, hereafter make and ordain, any and all property, of any and 
every kind and description whatsoever, which is now appertaining to said monu- 
ment, or which the corporation and body politic hereby created may hereafter ac- 
quire, by purchase, gift, or other lawful means. 

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be competent for the persons herein- 
before named and described as constituting the corporation and body politic hereby 
created, and their successors, to remove, by a vote of four-fifths of the said persons, 
any of their number; and the person so named shall no longer be a member of said 


corporation and body politic, nor have any authority therein: Provided, That for 
any other act within the legitimate objects of this corporation a quorum of five shall 
be sufficient for the transaction of business: Provided, That notice of all meetings 
which may not be provided for in the by-laws and ordinances of the corporation shall 
be given to all members thereof residing within the District of Columbia. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That when any vacancy shall happen in the said 
corporation, and body politic, from death or resignation, or otherwise, the remain- 
ing members thereof shall elect and appoint a successor to fill the same, within ten 
days after the happening of such vacancy; and that on failure to file the same within 
thirty days, it shall be the duty of the attorney of the United States for the District 
of Columbia to proceed against the said corporation and body politic, by a writ of 
scire facias, for a forfeiture of the charter hereby granted, before the Circuit Court of 
the District of Columbia, and the adjudication of that court thereon shall be conclu- 
sive. And should this charter be so adjudged forfeited, the monument and other im- 
provements and property held under the same shall be placed by the President of the 
United States under the care and custody of the Commissioner of Public Buildings, 
or such other officer of the United States as he may designate or appoint for the time 

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the said corporation and body politic, here- 
inbefore created, shall, by the name and style of the ' 'Washington National Monu- 
ment Society," have perpetual succession, shall be capable to sue or to be sued, to 
plead or be impleaded in any court of law or equity in the United States; may have 
and use a common seal, and the same may destroy, alter, and renew at pleasure, and 
shall have power to purchase, take, receive, and enjoy, to them and their successors, 
any and all property, of any kind and description whatsoever, for the purpose of com- 
pleting the erection of said monument; to dispose of the same as they shall deem most 
conducive to the object of completing the erection now in progress of the monument 
aforesaid; to elect, so soon after the passage of this act as may be convenient, such 
officers as they may deem proper, and to make and ordain such constitution, by-laws, 
ordinances and regulations, consonant to the objects of this charter, as they may deem 
expedient and proper, and which shall not be repugnant to the Constitution and laws 
of the United States; and to repeal, alter, and amend the same : Provided, ahvays, 
That the President of the United States for the time being shall be ex officio president, 
and the governors for the time being of the several States of the United States shall 
be respectively ex officio vice presidents of the said society, corporation, and body 
politic, and that all meetings thereof shall be held and all records and papers thereof 
kept at the said city of Washington. 

Sec. 6. And he itfurther enacted, That this act may at any time be altered, amended, 
or repealed by the Congress of the United States. 

Sec. 7. And be itfurther enacted, That all laws, acts, or resolutions, or any part of 
any law, act, or resolution, inconsistent with this act, shall be and the same are here- 
by repealed. 

Sec. 8. And be itfurther enacted. That this act shall be in force from and after the 
passage thereof. 

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted. That nothing in this act shall be so construed as 
to authorize this said corporation to issue any note, token, device, scrip, or other 
evidence of debt to be used as a currency. 


Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That each of the corporators in the said corpora- 
tion shall be held liable, in his individual capacity, for all the debts and liabilities 
of said corporation, however contracted or incurred, to be recovered by suit, as other 
debts or liabilities, before any court of competent jurisdiction : Provided, hotoever. That 
nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to render said corporators in said 
corporation. individually liable for any debt or liability contracted in the name or be- 
half of the Washington National Monument Society at any time prior to the twentieth 
day of October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight. [Passed February 22d, 
1859.] Approved February 2G, 1859. 


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