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instances by the female branches of their families. The opportunity was thus afforded for enjoying the most acceptable range of intercourse, and for forming an estimate of the social, civil, and political aspect of this metropolis of the States. Previous to the year 1790, Congress had been accustomed to assemble at Philadelphia. At the suggestion of General Washington, a territory was purposely created of one hundred square
miles in extent, and was ceded to the nation from the domains of Maryland and Virginia
, as the future seat of government. The design of the city was executed under the direction of Washington himself: the streets appear unnecessarily wide-they radiate from two central points, and take their names from the various states of the Union. The “Capitol” or Houses of Parliament, is an immense mass of building, composed of white
on an eminence about one hundred feet above the level of the River Potomac, and, when the enlargement now in progress has been completed, the entire edifice will cover four acres of ground, and will appear by far the most magnificent public building in the United States. In the centre is the Rotunda, of ninety-six feet diameter, and in the panels which surround the basement storey, there are four bas-relievos of historical subjects of great interest to that country, such as Penn's Treaty with the Indians; the Landing of the Pilgrims, &c. &c. There are several other public buildings of large dimensions, which are noble specimens of architecture, such as the Treasury, the Patent Office, the Post Office, and the “ White House' of the Presi. dent
. The public monuments of General Washington and of Jefferson, are interesting objects; and the Observatory also, which is in charge of Lieutenant Matry, the well-known author of a work of great merit on the “Currents of the Ocean.” The Smithsonian Institution is a modern building, very Capacious, ornamented with towers in the Romanesque
style of architecture. This institution owes its existence to an English gentleman, who, having led a life of retired and studious habits, left a large sum of money to be expended at Washington, for the founding under his own name of an "Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” The professors and those who have charge of it, are making rapid progress in carrying out this enlightened design, and the world at large has already derived a beneficial influence by the diffusion of publications containing scientific knowledge, which have been annually distributed amongst the various literary institutions of every country Copies of these publications are regularly received at two of the public libraries of Manchester. One of the subjects of leading interest with the executive council has been the collection of portraits of Indian Chiefs and others of celebrity of that race who are now fast disappearing from the country. They have a gallery of about a hundred portraits. Many of the characters appear strongly marked by nature
, and bear the indications of a rude, thoughtful kind of intelligence, but miserably defaced by the decoration, as they conceived, of tatooing. The architecture of the Patent Office is after the celebrated Pantheon. The object of the building is to afford the necessary accomodation for patented inventions. Model representations are exhibited in great numbers there are some specimens of natural history &c., but amongst the most curious and interesting portion of the articles we saw exhibited, was the original manuscript declaration of Independence, with all the signatures attached, and the printing press at which Franklin was employed at the time of his first residence in London
The associations of Washington are suggestive of another, a widely different and more important study, than that of the outward display of city architecture, Taking a comprehensive survey of the successful
issue, coupled with the brief career of the United States, it appears almost necessary that we should endeavour to comprehend the nature of that political organisation which not only founded, but has afterwards sustained, an extent of national and individual prosperity hitherto unexampled. The recognition of the “Sovereignty of the People” seems to have formed the basis of all American institutions. It would appear to have been the policy of the founders to establish an electoral power of the widest range, and in that way to uphold the self-respect as well as the authority of the citizens, by placing in their hands the selection and determination of fitness of every candidate for official appointment, whether in the township, the city, the county, the state, the federal legislature, the judges who administer the laws, or the President of the Union. The frequeney of electoral appeals appears to have a sustaining effect upon the independent character of electors. They insist upon being considered " citi28," and not subjects,” of the State; and so jeal us are they of their position that they often carry out their pride of independence into the CONcon concerns of life, to an extent that borders are rudeness, or an absolute disregard of that consideration which is due to others.
Each state is an independent republic, having a local character in its functions, and a representative character in returning its senators to the Legislature. Congress consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senate is composed of two members from each state, chosen as before stated by the legislatures of the several states, for the term of six years, one third of whom go out biennially. The senators must be 30
years age, nine years citizens of the states, and inhabiting the state for which they are returned. The regular number is 62; and the Vice-President of the United States is President of the Senate. The House of Representatives is com
posed of members from the several states, elected by the people for the term of two years. The representatives are apportioned among the different states
, according to population. The present number is 234, besides eight delegates returned by Oregon and other recent annexations, who are allowed to speak, but not to vote.
The annual salary of the President is.....
.£1600 The compensation allowed to mombers during attendance in Congress is (per day).
.£1 138. ld. And for every 20 miles of travelling, in going to and returning from the seat of government.
£1 13s. The revenue for the year 1856, derived from customs and the
sale of public lands, was ..... The expenditure in the army department, 12,688 soldiers, was £3,58,6 In the pavy department the number of the men is not given, but the cost is ......
£2,815,00 The legislature allows of no pensions : if any warlike emergency should arise they contract with gener, als and other officers for a given period of service, and at a fixed sum by way of payment, let that sum bo more or less; and when the service is ended, the parties so engaging, again retire into private life
, or resume some profession or pursuit, as other citizens do.
Our introductory letters brought us into a wide range of intercourse with the leading officials, and with many members of the two Houses of Congress.
The senators appeared older men and more deliberative than those of the lower house. An inquiry was at that time pending in which the parties, who were members of the lower house, were supposed to be implicated in corrupt practices; and as the report was daily looked for, I attended the sittings in expectation of seeing the immediate effect upon the parties concerned. In this expectation I was disappointed, as the report was not brought in nntil after I had left Washington. There was mnch in what was passing that was interesting to a stranger, the chaplain,
and therefore you may be curious to hear some portion of it
. One of the representatives procured for me an introduction into the body of the house, and, arriving early, we entered the Speaker's room, and had an agreeable conversation with him before the business proceedings commenced. The moment that the Speaker had taken his seat in the house, a venerable-looking old man, who was sitting below him, immediately rose, and with uplifted hands in adoration, proceeded to invoke a blessing upon the deliberations of the day, and with trembling steps retired as soon as he had ended. I remarked to my friend the member, that Congress did not follow our example in England, seeing that they allowed the chaplain of the house to enter their presence rnsdorned by sacerdotal garments. His reply was, "You will not see any finery here,-neither the Speaker por any official is distinguishable by any outward badge of servitude. The old gentleman,
as you are pleased to designate him, is one of the few remaining oficers who served his country in the war of independence, and, as he is now 94 years of age, and is not well provided for, he is willing to accept a small sum annually, not as a pension-you know that pensioners we have nonebut by way of compensation for coming once a day
blessing upon what we are doing." Every member has a writing desk before him, and nearly every one appeared absorbed in giving attention to his correspondence. Very few of them appeared to be having regard to the proceedings of ber address the house under considerable excitethe house
, and it was very common to see a memment, whilst those who were sitting close at hand were coolly engaged in writing letters or turning over folds of papers, and appearing perfectly tranquil and unimpassioned. One instance of the prevailing irrregularity and want of attention which I noticed, occurred in taking the votes.
to ask a