9:06 PM

Our St. Louis Salesman’s is again taking another side trip, this time to Washington, DC where there is building everywhere. As with the other chapters, I needed to fill some detail, mostly what were the buildings like in 1855 and how he walked from place to place. I asked myself the question,  what is he doing and how does he feel (ie like I did walking up the hill from the National Archives to the Library of Congress). In this chapter, he writes in greater depth in his own hand. 
"I spent my leisure time yesterday and today in the Patent Office visiting the model room and hall where are a collected a vast and rich variety of natural curiosities, birds, beasts, fish, reptiles, insects, shells, bones, Indian portraits, the accumulation of the US exploring expedition, minerals, statues, paintings, manufactured goods from various nations, treaties with foreign nations, swords, guns, Clothes worn by Generals Washington and Jackson, Camp equipages, mummies, skulls, &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c.... It is a magnificent temple and to view it, must elevate and purify and enoble even  the most groveling and unthinking man."
 Above shows the 1st floor of the Patent Office and is now the site of the National Portrait Gallery. The image below shows the cases for all the patent models. Now a days, we think that obtaining a patent is out of reach for the average person, but back then, newspapers had many listing for those who wished to patent their innovation. Our Salesman is an inventor and brings up his patent idea of transporting freight by balloon again and again....and eventually the following year purchases a patent himself for a saw mill at the end of his journal. I grew up in the Washington, DC Area, I learned a great deal more about our Nations Capital’s history and look forward to my next visit down there.  


With my own son in Northern Iraq right now I know what he feels like, while watching soldiers at the Navy Yard. Almost like it just slipped out- uncensused, he reflects about the recent war that ended in 1848 between United States and Mexico, “I sighed as I behold them, when will men learn war no more?

By the end of this chapter, you too will see him as I do. He is interested in history, science, the arts, architecture and the newspapers he chooses to read tell us much about the person he was. 


Washington City, District of Columbia
            The next day at a quarter past 9 o’clock and I left Baltimore by railroad again headed for Washington’s city and arrived there about 12 o’clock a.m. 


Visit to a Patent Agent
After settling into my hotel, I saw Mr. B C Robbins, a patent agent, relative to my invention for guiding balloons. His office is very nearby the Patent Office. By his advice I applied for a patent caveat, this is the first step to verify if my idea has already been patented; if none exists I am allowed to apply for a patent and file the patent application. Robbins drew up the necessary papers, including the description and a drawing of my balloon, which will be filed on the tomorrow on the 16th. I can hardly wait for Robbin's correspondence.

U. S. Patent Office
            Following my appointment, I spent my leisure time yesterday and today in the Patent Office visiting the model room and hall where are collected a vast and rich variety of natural curiosities, birds, beasts, fish, reptiles, insects, shells, bones, Indian portraits, the accumulation of the US exploring expedition, minerals, statues, paintings, manufactured goods from various nations, treaties with foreign nations, swords, guns, Clothes worn by Generals Washington and Jackson, Camp equipages, mummies, skulls, &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c. And so accommodating with a spittoon for each alcove for gentlemen’s’ use and numerous government clerks to open the cases for closer inspection of the latest patented innovations.
            I have been most gratified seeing the ten thousand [10,000] models for which patents have been granted…..I have no time to write. All I can say is they are a great interest. The Patent Office Building is a glory and an honor to the race. As I now sit on a stool in the hall of the Patent Office, I cannot over state that.... it is a magnificent temple and to view it, must elevate and purify and ennoble even the most groveling and unthinking man.


Lafayette Square- General Jackson’s Statue
            I cannot now speak as I want to go in haste to see Clark Mill’s Equestrian bronze Statue of General Jackson in Lafayette Square. It was installed 1853 on a very tall foundation of granite and celebrates Andrew Jackson’s victory in New Orleans in the Battle of 1812.  It is north a journey of a thousand miles to see it.
            I continued to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue headed to the Nation’s Capital and consider my good fortune and destiny that so many public building are open that I can freely enter. I visited the Smithsonian Institute, Capital, President’s house, Treasury Building, Post Office, Washington Monument, &c &c &c -- all deeply interesting and would that every son and daughter of our Republic could see and appreciate them all, and especially those who are near and dear to me. (Tomorrow I hope to see something more of the beauties of the city and at evening to find myself say in Baltimore.)
            By appearance the stroll towards the Capital on Pennsylvania Avenue should be leisurely, but it is steep walking up this hill and my legs are getting tired. Therefore, let me pause to rest on a bench to jot some additional notes and thoughts about each building I have seen before the memory fades-


President’s House
            The first place I stopped at was the President’s house, which was not first occupied by George Washington, but John Adams and is now occupied by our current 14th President is Franklin Pierce formerly of New Hampshire. President’s Pierce’s office is on the second floor and that is where he conducts business. At present, there is still no Vice President to replace William King who died from tuberculosis and that was over two years ago. I stepped into the waiting room briefly with other businessmen who desired to discuss affairs with the President. I could have put my name on the list to meet the President, but did not. In reflection, I certainly would not represent the common Missourian who feels slavery should be allowed in Kansas but I will keep that to myself at present.


Smithsonian
            Leaving there I headed towards the Smithsonian Institute and while passing the Washington Monument and I noticed several men engaged in moving scaffolding and I plan to come back to the site later.
            As I continued towards my intended destination, I can say all of these buildings I’ve mentioned thus far are similar in stone, except the Smithsonian Institute. This Building began construction in 1847 and was designed by James Renwick Jr. If I had to describe it, I would say it looks like an English Castle. So I am told, it was made from red Seneca sandstone quarried from the Maryland side of the Potomac River in that new style called the romantic movement with several high towers and wings on either side. It is 447 feet in length and 160 feet in depth at the greatest point with ceilings 200 feet high in the center gallery. It has just opened this year and stands a distance from Pennsylvania Avenue next to a large field used to graze livestock. It has recently opened this year, but there is little to be seen except the grand wooden interior structure since the display cases have not arrived. I assume that the artifacts I saw at the Patent Office earlier in the day are destined for a display here. I hear future plans are for a library and meeting halls for learned men of science.
            From there, I crossed the open space, watching the cow pies, back to Pennsylvania Avenue and went into the Post Office. No where have I seen a larger Post office than here in the District of Columbia. The post master general is James Campbell, who if you recall was mentioned in our St. Louis Democrat News about two years ago, for his undoing the steamboat contracts for a daily mail service that was set forth by the previous postmaster Samuel Dickinson Hubbard. I need not state how unpopular this Irishman is in St. Louis.


U. S. Treasury
            Not far from the Post Office is the Treasury building where currency is stamped out in coin form or on printed paper. After viewing the workrooms, I can recognize any counterfeit currency that passes into my hands and hence never to be fooled again in St. Louis. In my judgment, I have to say our Capital’s Treasury compared with other mints here in the United States is the most professionally ran in the Union.


U. S. Capital
            With well rested legs, I make my last and most desired visit to our Nation’s Captial where decisions are made that impact the smallest storekeeper. With regret, it is between sessions and neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives are in the chambers debating bills. The room is deadly quiet and yet grand from the viewing stand and I can only dream envisioning what will be said when it resumes next March. Our own Missourian, Senator David Rice Atchison, will be returning since no replacement was agreed upon in Jefferson City (Capital of Missouri) and he will continue as the President of the Senate. He will certainly add wood to the fire for a heated debate concerning slavery.  I need not be reminded that almost a year ago Atchison led a mob of border ruffians over to Kansas to sway the election. Tomorrow I hope to see something more of the beauties of the city and at evening to find myself say in Baltimore.




Newspaper- National Era
            In the forenoon on Wednesday 17th of October I called on Dr. Gamaliel Bailey, Jr, editor of the National Era which is one of the weekly newspaper printed here in our Nation’s capital. I consider him one of the noblest of men (Harriet Beecher- Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was first published in this paper in installments).
When the National Era began in 1847, Bailey wrote that his paper,
“While due attention will be paid to current events, congressional proceedings, general politics and literature, the greater aim of the paper will be a complete discussion of the question of slavery.”   
He is a man of great morals and I worry what fate awaits Mr. Bailey. He has withstood having his press burnt by mobs in Philadelphia for his views like Mr. Liverpool’s press in Alton, Indiana, who was murdered in 1837. I enjoyed a short half hour with him very much.

Navy Yard
            Afterwards I went to the Navy Yard, which is some 2 miles from the Patent Office. There I saw many things of interest. Specifically, I saw them making the largest size anchors that weighted when finished some eight or nine thousand pounds and also enormously heavy chains, to hold said anchors. Although I saw men making large brass cannon, all cast solid and bored out.  -- It seems, and in fact is an easy job to make one when everything is ready and rightfully fixed. It takes nearly 3 days to bore out a large cannon, but steam and steel do all the hard work. When finished they look very neat, but I sighed as I behold them, when will men learn war no more?
            In one part of the grounds an officer and some soldiers were testing some of the cannons by repeated firing. They were loaded with balls and fired them down the Potomac Bay. While there I Went on board the steam frigate they were building. It is nearly ready to be launched and is an immense mass of timber, iron, copper, &c &c. One who has not seen a large vessel of war out of the water can have but a poor idea of what it really is and such a vessel fully armed and equipped costs, I think, over ten hundred dollars (i.e.) A million dollars!


Washington Monument
            In the afternoon I again visited the Washington (National) monument designed by the architect Robert Mills. At present, $200,000 of funding have been stopped due to a rumor. Apparently, someone from the Know-Nothing party stole one of the donated blocks of granite given by Pope Puis IX. It like other stones were stored in the shed next to the monument waiting to be placed on the interior walls of the monument. There must be some truth to this, since the “American Party” is anti-Catholic as well as anti-emigrant.



            Even with this trouble, construction still continues today and by the politeness of the Superintendent, William Daugherty, who began the original construction in 1848; I, myself was hoisted in the workmen’s car to the top. It is now 172 feet above ground.  The walls on what is now the top are about 11 feet thick and 49 feet square.  From that height I could see many sheds at the bottom that are used for storage and work rooms for the carpenters and stone carvers who were busily at work executing their craft. While I stood on top for three quarters of an hour, I viewed the beauties of Washington and its vicinity. The day was very fine. Though there were no sailing outside nor inside.  Still I felt at ease, though 172 feet up, -- so thick were the walls.- When I returned to the ground, Mr. Daugherty showed me the shed where many, many, many carved stones  made of limestone, marble, soapstone and granite that have been catalogued and drawings made while waiting to be placed into the walls. You could say this makes the Washington Monument more of a tribute to all states and not just George Washington.
.  [Note: Due to poor materials 13 course of stone masonry built by the Know-Nothings was torn down 1854-1858- therefore the salesman may be right about the Washington Monument was 172 feet when he visited even though other records show only 150 feet. Of course a second theory is the superintendent lied.]
            With time left in the day, I again visited that most beautiful work of art the Equestrian Statue of General Jackson, took a look into the parlor is of the White House including the famous East room, and at half past 4 o’clock bid adieu (I hope not forever) to the National Capital.