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Letter from Daniel Carroll of Duddington to the Speaker of the House offering the use of a new building for Congress, December 4, 1815

After British soldiers burned the Capitol in August 1814, Congress met in cramped quarters in the only remaining government building, the Post and Patent Office. Daniel Carroll, owner of a large Capitol Hill estate named Duddington, offered Congress a temporary brick Capitol, which he and other private citizens built at their own expense.

Excerpt:

On behalf of the Gentleman concerned in erecting the new building on square 728, on the Capitol Hill, we beg leave through you, to offer the same to Congress until the Capitol may be ready for their reception.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Letter from Daniel Carroll of Duddington to the Speaker of the House offering the use of a new building for Congress, December 4, 1815 Letter from Daniel Carroll of Duddington to the Speaker of the House offering the use of a new building for Congress, December 4, 1815 (with excerpt highlighted)

Moving the Seat of Government

Washington, D.C., was founded in 1790 to be the nation’s capital. The federal government, which had previously met in New York and Philadelphia, relocated there in 1800. After the British burned Washington’s public buildings—including the U.S. Capitol—in August 1814, northern congressmen proposed moving the government, at least temporarily, back to Philadelphia. A House committee considered the matter, but the full House defeated the bill when put to a vote. District citizens built a temporary brick Capitol for Congress, and Washington, D.C., remained the seat of government.

Resolved, that it is inexpedient expedient to remove the seat of government at this time, from the city of Washington.

Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the expediency of removing the Seat of Government, October 3, 1814