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104 THE GARDEN AND GREEN-House. rear of the house, and whiļed away a short time in examining the lovely daffodils and hyacinths which grew plentifully on the grounds, the luxuriant box, so lofty and large-leafed, and a strikingly beautiful horse-chestnut which well nigh remained a puzzle to us all. We then passed through the garden to the green-house which was built by the General. This we found in a state of decay, the shingles on the roof shrivelled to a fraction of their original size. Inside however all looked thriving and blooming. Among other plants and trees we noticed the myrtle, the orange, the cocoa-nut, the date, the palmetto, the laurentinus, and two magnificent specimens of the sago, raised by General Washington and Gifteen years old when he died. The rarities of the green-house were pointed out and explained to us by another slave or servant of the family, who seemed to be the gardener and was highly intelligent and polite.
We had now seen Mount Vernon — with all that it contains hallowed by associations with the past, with the good and the great — with all it has to touch the heart of the stranger -- the lover of his country - the lover of patriotism, virtue, and piety. In the short space of time we had been there we had contracted a warm affection and deep rev. erence for the spot, and when we left it, it was likę turning our backs upon an old and valued friend,
CHAPTER III. Return to the city. President's House — Apparte
nances and Decorations — View from the Vestibule. State Department - Curiosities. Patent Rooms. Capitol — Rotunda — Library - Representatives' Chamber - Senate Chamber --- Crypet - View from the Dome.
From Mt. Vernon we returned to the city, having accomplished all that could be wished in a single day. Our thoughts were all einployed. Our hearts were full. On the following morning we took a curricle and drove to the President's House, This was designed and completed by Jarnes Hoban, It is built of white freestone, is two stories in height, and has two entrances -- one on either side - ornamented with porticoes. We were not much pleased with the portico on the side from which we entered. The columns are at irregular distances and have the appearance of plastered brick or stone. We were ushered into a common apartinent, supported by pillars resembling white marble, as they probably were. It contains busts of Americus and Columbus. They may be, for aught I know, very good likenesses, but they certainly are rather ugly, especially that of Americus. They are not what imagination conceives, or demands. We then passed into a setting-room decorated with azure ceiling, with satin-silk arm-chairs and window curtains of the same rich color. Busts of Washington and General Jackson faced each other on opposite sides of the
PRESIDENT'S HOUSE. room. That of Washington is very poor — that of Jackson very good. We thence passed into the great levee apartment. It is truly magnificent. It is ninety or a hundred feet in length, and ornamented with three candelabras, three centre tables of sienite marble, eight splendid mirrors, and four mirror tables. You tread upon a rich and splendidly figured carpet. The figure I do not exactly recollect, but ils prevailing colors are red and yellow, or white. The sofas and easy-chairs are covered with light-blue satin-silk. The walls are deep yellow with a border of crimson. The curtains, some of which are very gracefully supported by imitations of the human arm thrown around them, are white, blue, and light-yellow commingled. The room in some particulars will hardly bear criticism. The lightyellow of the curtains, deep-yellow of the walls and scarlet borders hardly correspond. It was the unanimous opinion of our ladies that the carpet needed the cleansiug effect of tea-leaves. - There are no portraits, paintings, or engravings. -- We next entered the apartment where the General usually receives his friends. It is furnished in a simple but costly manner. Its chief attraction is a fine painting of Washington by Stuart. General Jackson was unable to make his appearance in consequence of iudisposition. Though we had seen him before, we regretted we could not witness his courtesy, and partake of his hospitality in the nation's palace.
Our next point was the vestibule on the South
107 side, looking towards the Potomac. The view is very good, though the house being upon a somewhat level site, cannot command a very extensive prospect. The grounds on this side are diversi. fied by some handsome swells clothed with grass, are appropriately laid out, and, in the neighborhood of the house, beautified with various flowers and plants. On the whole it is a seat worthy the people's idol.
We then drove to the building for the accomodation of the State Department, examined the Library and other rooms, containing among their curiosites the treaties made by the United States with foreign nations. One in the Tukish language was very curious, and attracted much notice. There were exhibited to us the great seals of England, Sweden, France, Russia, &c—the signatures, with their own hands, of Alexander, Francis 1st, King John, Bernadotte, the Sultan, Don Pedro, Louis Phillippe, Bonaparte, &c. -- the original Declaration of Independence as penned by the father of the Rev. Dr. Palfrey, the original Constitution of the United States, the Commission of Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the American forces, and his letter that accompanied the Constitution of the U. S., also various Roman coins, engravings on silver and gold, a gold box set with a vast quantity of diamonds and valued by lapidaries at three thousand dollars, presented by the Emperor of Russia to our Charge d'Affaires for John Quincy Adams, a singular shawl presented by the
- THE CAPITOL.
108 PATENT ROOMS — THE CAPITOL. Emperor of Muscat to a Lieutenant in the Navy, Turkish guns from the Bey of Tunis, Turkish swords from the Pacha of Egypt, &c.
The War Department came next, with its office of Indian Affairs decorated with numberless portraits of Indian chiefs, squaws, and papooses.
The Patent rooms then received us, with their heating, cooking, and ventilating apparatuses, &c. A maze of inventions ! Pity they are no more. It was one of the best illustrations of American character. -- We noticed a remarkable testimony to the principles of phrenology in the vast organ of constructiveness developed on the head of the overseer. · The Capitol again. This building was designed by William Thornton, and accepted by General Washington. It is 215 feet above the level of Pennsylvania Avenue, built of the same materials with the President's House, and has two magnificent wings. On each of these wings is a low dome, and from the centre of the building rises a third, large, lofty, and noble. Porticoes of different style and magnitude project from either side, and a stone balustrade encompasses the whole. The Rotundo is situated be- , twen the two wings, and is circular in shape. It is marble throughout, with the exception of the green baize door through which you enter and the skylight above. The floor is a solid and handsome pavement; the arch is very elevated and grand. The lightest footstep -- the touch of a walking cane -- conversation in a whisper are reverberated along the