North America - Volume 2 By Anthony Trollope 




















































































































































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There are six principal public buildings in Washington, as to which
no expense seems to have been spared, and in - Page 11
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There Are Six Principal Public Buildings In Washington, As To Which No Expense Seems To Have Been Spared, And In The Construction Of Which A Certain Amount Of Success Has Been Obtained.

In most of these this success has been more or less marred by an independent deviation from recognized rules of architectural taste.

These are the Capitol, the Post-office, the Patent-office, the Treasury, the President's house, and the Smithsonian Institution. The five first are Grecian, and the last in Washington is called - Romanesque. Had I been left to classify it by my own unaided lights, I should have called it bastard Gothic.

The Capitol is by far the most imposing; and though there is much about it with which I cannot but find fault, it certainly is imposing. The present building was, I think, commenced in 1815, the former Capitol having been destroyed by the English in the war of 1812-13. It was then finished according to the original plan, with a fine portico and well proportioned pediment above it - looking to the east. The outer flight of steps, leading up to this from the eastern approach, is good and in excellent taste. The expanse of the building to the right and left, as then arranged, was well proportioned, and, as far as we can now judge, the then existing dome was well proportioned also. As seen from the east the original building must have been in itself very fine. The stone is beautiful, being bright almost as marble, and I do not know that there was any great architectural defect to offend the eye.

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