Copyright 1972- , Smithsonian Institution Press. All rights reserved.
14. TO HARRIET HENRY
Washington Saturd— Jany 30th 1847
My dear H.
The Board met again this morning but did not finish all the business.
they They will I fear keep me until the latter part of next week. All the plans of the building and the operations for the future year (or I should say the present year) have been arranged. I am getting quite home sick and sometimes wish almost that congress would stop the whole affair and suffer me to return to Princeton.
I again take courage and resolve to persevere with a stout heart believing that all would be well were my wife and children around me— I have been engaged most of the day since the adjournment of the Board with the architect in arranging the plans of the different parts of the building. It will be a most magnificent affair when finished but if the whole fund necessary to
the structure is derived from the accruing interest I think it will be more than five years in completion. I have just received a note of invitation from Mrs Marcy to dine with the secretary of war[1
] on Tuesday next. I called last evening with Dr Lindly[2
] to see Mr Webster but found him engaged in a political meeting with some of friends of the same side. Dr Lindly I think I have mentioned before; he is a Brother of Dr Lindly once a professor in Princeton.[3
] His Wife is a relative of Daniel Webster[4
] and was an acquaintance of Mrs Taylor.[5
] She became acquainted with Mrs T. I think she said in New-ark. Finding Mr Webster engaged I called at General Dix's[6
] and there spent the evening very pleasantly with the General—I never was intimately acquainted with Mr Dix I found him very kind and gentlemanly though he did not
impress me very much with his talents. I meet a great many persons every day that I have not seen before for some time. Yesterday I was acosted
two persons from Albany and to day
others from the south. Mr Dix informed my that Horatio Potter[7
] had come on from Albany to perform the marriage cerimony between an officer I think of the Navy and the eldest daughter of Mr Ferguson.[8
Mr Espy and his wife are here staying at a boarding house.[9
] I have not yet call on them though I have promised to do so. My time has been so much occupied with the meetings of the Board that I have been unable to make any calls except in the evening and then but seldom.
I wish I were with you and the children this evening— All the excitement of pressing my plans on the Board is now passed and I am left
this time in a state some what approaching a collapse and feel that nothing would give me more pleasure than a cheerful fire—a good easy chair with my wife and children around me. I sent a letter enclose with one to you to Will yesterday.[10
] I mentioned in this that the cost of the of the pictures in the rotunday was 5 thousand dollars apiece. I am correctly informed to day that the cost was 10 thousand Dollars each. The only pannel yet unfilled is that which was assigned to Inman. He received before he died[A
] 6 thousand dollars in advance but did little or nothing to the picture. It is not probable this pannel will be filled until the mexican war is finished. When this will be[B
] the case is now not known—the prospect is darker rather than otherwise.[11
I am writing this in the room of the vice President and it has become so dark that I can scarcely see the point of my pen. I must therefore close with the assurance that I am as ever
Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
] William Learned Marcy, an acquaintance of Henry's from his Albany days, was appointed secretary of war in 1845. Henry Papers, 2:
253n. His wife, the former Cornelia Knower, was the daughter of Benjamin Knower, a prominent Democrat and another of Henry's New York acquaintances. Henry Papers, 2:
] Harvey Lindsley or Lindsly (1804–1889), a graduate of Princeton (1820), was a Washington physician. Princeton Catalogue,
p. 133; John M. Lindly, The History of the Lindley-Lindsley-Linsley Families in America, 1639–1930
(Winfield, Iowa, 1930), pp. 430–431.
] Philip Lindsley (1786–1855), another Princeton graduate (1804), was its professor of languages from 1813 to 1824 and acting college president in 1823. He became president of Cumberland College (the University of Nashville) in 1824. DAB.
] Harvey Lindsley's wife, Emeline C. Webster (1808–1892), was a cousin of Daniel Webster's. Lindly, p. 431; Charles M. Wiltse, ed., Guide and Index to the Microfilm of the Papers of Daniel Webster
(Ann Arbor, 1971), p. 36.
] Perhaps Julia Taylor, a family friend. Henry Papers, 5:
] John A. Dix, formerly New York's adjutant-general and later its secretary of state, was currently a Democratic senator from that state. Henry Papers, 3:
] An Episcopalian minister, Horatio Potter was rector of St. Peter's Church in Albany. Henry Papers, 6:
] Robert A. Lacey and Blanche Ferguson were married on January 27, 1847. Her father, James Ferguson (Henry Papers, 2:
15n–16n), another of Henry's Albany associates, was a first assistant on the Coast Survey. Old Marriage Records A-K (1811–1858), District of Columbia Marriage Bureau, Washington, D.C.
] Since 1842, James Pollard Espy had been employed by the Surgeon General's Office of the War Department to coordinate its meteorological observations. He met his wife, the former Margaret Pollard (d. 1850), in 1812 while he was principal of, and she a teacher at, the Cumberland Academy in Maryland. After their marriage, he adopted her maiden name as his middle name. Henry Papers, 2:
] Henry Inman had died the year previous just as he was beginning work on a painting of Daniel Boone's Kentucky cabin, the first in a series he had been commissioned to complete for the Capitol. William H. Powell (1823–1879, DAB
), a former student of Inman's, received the balance of his commission in 1847. His painting, Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto A.D. 1541,
was installed in 1855. Henry Papers, 6:
390; Vivien Green Fryd, Art & Empire: The Politics of Ethnicity in the United States Capitol, 1815–1860
(New Haven, 1992), pp. 46, 57.
The Papers of Joseph Henry,
ed. Nathan Reingold
(Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2000).
Electronic version based on
The Papers of Joseph Henry,
ed. Nathan Reingold
(Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, distributed by Braziller, New York, 1972- ). On the Web at http://mep.blackmesatech.com/mep/ [Accessed 20 October 2017]