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THE ROTUNDO — LIBRARY. 109 walls and to the height of the dome in a most astonishing manner. The sound of a melodious voice is re-echoed so as to be exquisitely melodious. Soft music comes to the ear in tones of witchery that it possesses no where else. — In the niches are four pieces of sculpture. One represents the landing of our Pilgrim Fathers --- another, a contest between Daniel Boon, one of the first settlers of the West, and an Indian Chief --- the third, William Penn and two Indian chiefs engaged in a treaty beneath an elm tree on the eastern bank of the Delaware --- the fourth, the delivery of Capt. John Smith of Virginia memory from a violent death--the sentence of King Powhatan. He is saved by the intercession of Pocahontas, who almost breathes and speaks be. fore the spectator. In the other niches are the following paintings by Col. Trumbull: Declaration of Independence - Surrender of Burgoyne --- Surrender of Cornwallis --- Resignation of Washington at Annapolis in '83.
The Library Room is spacious, being ninety-two feet long, thirty-four wide, and thirty-six high. It contains twelve arched alcoves. A gallery extends nearly round with recesses corresponding to the al coves. Fluted pilasters, in imitation of the Octagon Tower at Athens, adorn the several alcoves. The number of volumes is about fourteen thousand. There are in this room busts of Jefferson, La Fayette, and Napoleon. That of La Fayette is poor. The Chamber of the House of Representatives
110 THE HALLS OF CONGRESS. resembles an ancient Grecian Theatre. Its greatest length is ninety feet, its height sixty. It is decorated with twenty-four superb columns of mixed marble or breccia, of the Corinthian order, quarried from the banks of the Potomac. These support capitals of white Italian marble, and rest on bases of free-stone. A dome of remarkable beauty springs from them, painted to represent the Pantheon at Rome. This was done by Bonani, a young Italian artist who died a few years since. An immense chandelier of gilt bronze hangs from the centre. The Speaker's chair is placed under a canopy. Above it is a colossal figure of Liberty,and on the entablature beneath the figure, the American Eagle. Facing the chair, on the other side, is a fine statue of marble, representing History. Red moreen hangs fringed and festooned between the columns. A full length portrait of La Fayette completes the dec. oration of the Hall.
The Senate Chamber has the same form. Its greatest length is seventy-five feet, its height fortyfive. A gallery extends nearly round supported by Ionic columns of Potomac marble, with capitals in omitation of those of Minerva Polias. The dome is ornamented with caissons of stucco, and the walls with drapery of straw-color between pilasters of marble.
Beneath the Rotundo is what has been denominated a Crypet, supporting the floor above by forty columes. On the same level is the appartment used
VIEW FROM THE DOME. 111 by the Supreme Court of the United States. The ceiling of this room which is somewhat peculiar, is supported by massy Doric columns in imitation of those in the temples of Pæstum. There is a concentration of golden rays immediately over the head of the Chief Justice. Three marble figures adorn the East front --- the Genius of America, Hope, and Justice. In front of the Capitol, on the West side, is a noble monument erected to the memory of the American officers who fell in the Tripolitan war. It was wrought in Italy and is contained within an oblong marble vase. The ascent to the top of the Dome is rather fatiguing, but one is sufficiently repaid by the view. The grounds about the Capitol --- Pennsylvania Avenue --- the President's House --- the apparently distinct villages of the city --- Columbian College --- the Navy Yard --- Greenleaf's
Point --- the National Burying Ground --- the Poto· mac and the Bridge thereon --- Georgetown --- Mt.
Vernon, &c. all lie around you. — So much for Washington and its environs. As Congress was not in session and the Sabbath had passed, I have nothing to say on politics or religion. The next day I parted from my friends and stepped aboard a steamboat to descend the Potomac on my way to Virginia.
CHAPTER IV. Fredericksburg. The Coachman a Slave-holder.
Conversation on Slavery. Richmond --- Character of the Inhabitants. Thoughts and Feelings. Shockoe Hill. Monumental Church. Promenade on the banks of James River. April in Vir
ginia. Jewish Family. Wrecks on Chesapeake. . The view of Mt. Vernon from the river was surpassingly beautiful. At Potomac Creek, fortyfive miles from Washington, my steamboat passage was at an end, and I was under the necessity of transferring myself to the stage-coach. Nine miles brought me to Fredericksburg, a town situated on the South side of the Rappahannock river. It contains several thousand inhabitants. The chief object of interest in the place is a touching monument to the mother of Washington.
From F**. to Richmond is some over an hundred miles. The several points on the route are Vileboro', Bowling-Green, Matapony river, White Chimneys, Hanover Court House, and Chickahomany River.
Out of Fredericksburg I took a seat upon the stage box and ventured to converse with the driver, who was a slave-holder, upon the subject of slavery. I found him as willing to be free in speech as myself. In the course of conversation he testified to the truth of what many seem disposed to doubt at the present day — that many of the slave-holders are very hard masters. He told me that some fed
THE OQAOHMAN A SLAVE-HOLDER. 113 their slaves upon nothing but salt-fish and bread, and dealt out to them on Saturday night their allowance for a week that;they let them have nothing but straw to sleep on, and worked them from day-light until sun-down and after --- a long day in mid-summer. --- Indeed we passed them in the fields --- women as well as men --4 planting and plowing long after sunset. The women however prefer field-work to house:work. — My informant remarked, they are clothed in rags, their mode of living gives them a sort of scurvy and enfeebles them, and this cause with incessant labor brings on premature decay. This is the treatment of some masters. Others, he said, fed thein well, clothed them well, and worked them no more than they could bear. They saw that it was for their interest to treat them well. They took good care of them as they would of their horses. For himself he sed his negroes on bread and bacon and clothed them with stuff similar to what he wore himself, though a trifle coarser, and gave them three suits yearly. When we arrived at his house — where the stage-passengers usually dined — I took the opportunity to examine his negroes somewhat attentively, but did not find them so well clothed as he repre, sented.
He informed me moreover that the value of a good negro was treble that of a good horse — that there was much promiscuous intercourse among the slaves, though a form of marriage was often used and pronounced over them by the master or over