Washington, D.C. 1818.
3 pages (front and back) with each two-page spread measuring 9.75 x 15.75 inches, Washington, D.C., March 14, 1818. Written to his friend at Bowdoin College, Prof. Parker Cleaveland, American geologist, called "The Father of American Mineralogy," pertaining to the marble columns that supported the Capital building prior to the British burning of Washington, D.C. in 1814, in part: "...You seem to suppose that I might have given you some amount of the marble column of the Capital, and I should have done it, had it not been my intention to carry with me a small specimen of that very curious and beautiful item. I have seen collections of small stones in great numbers, which, if cemented, would resemble some, these fine pillars. They are 2 feet and 8" in diameter and 22 feet in height. In general, the cement is very firm, though in some instance, remnants of pebbles have given way to the hand of the workman...We had some amusement yesterday in the H.of R. from sharp shouting between Clay and Nelson. The Presidents opinion of the unconstitutionality of making roads and canals under the law of the U.S. was under discussion. Nelson supports the Executive Opinion, Clay contested the correctness & propriety of it." Note: according to the papers of architect Benjamin Latrobe, the marble columns of the connecting corridors were moved and subsequently reused during the rebuilding of the Capital (1815 - 1819). However, there are several documented instances of marble disappearing through the wanton pilfering by thieves and the indiscretions of local souvenir hunters. Did any of the marble end up at Bowdoin College? This letter grades very good condition with light show-through -- though easily read. The Integral address leaf has a gorgeous Free Frank of Benjamin Orr as Congressman and a docket in the hand of Professor Parker Cleaveland.
Federalist Congressman from Massachusetts who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1817 - 1819. He became an overseer of Bowdoin College as well as a trustee and later treasurer.