This section is from the book "The National Capitol. Its Architecture Art And History", by George C. Hazelton, Jr. Also available from Amazon: The National Capitol Its Architecture Art and History.
And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to direct a copy of these resolutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character, of their condolence on the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General George Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution.
And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to issue a proclamation, notifying to the people throughout the United States the recommendation contained in the third resolution.
[The foregoing resolutions were sent to the Senate, and received their concurrence the same day.]
On the 8th of January, 1800, the following message was received from the President by both Houses of Congress :
Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
In compliance with the request in one of the resolutions of Congress of the 21st of December last, I transmitted a copy of those resolutions, by my Secretary, Mr. Shaw, to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character, of their condolence in the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General George Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution. As the sentiments of that virtuous lady, not less beloved by this nation than she is at present greatly afflicted, can never be so well expressed as in her own words, I transmit to Congress her original letter.
It would be an attempt of too much delicacy to make any comments upon it ; but there can be no doubt that the nation at large, as well as all the branches of the Government, will be highly gratified by any arrangement which may diminish the sacrifice she makes of her individual feelings.
The letter referred to in the above message is as follows :
Mount Vernon, Dec. 31, 1799. Sir : While I feel, with keenest anguish, the late dispensation of Divine Providence, I cannot be insensible to the mournful tributes of respect and veneration which are paid to the memory of my dear deceased husband ; and as his best services and most anxious wishes were always devoted to the welfare and happiness of his country, to know that they were truly appreciated, and gratefully remembered, affords no inconsiderable consolation.
Taught by that great example which I have so long had before me never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me ; and, in doing this, I need not, I cannot say, what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.
With grateful acknowledgments, and unfeigned thanks for the personal respect and evidences of condolence expressed by Congress and yourself,
I remain, very respectfully, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Thursday, 8th May, 1800.
Mr. Henry Lee made a further report; which was read, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the Whole House to-day.
The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the report* of the committee; and, after some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Parker reported that the committee had, according to order, had the said report under consideration, and come to a resolution thereupon, which he delivered in at the Clerk's table ; where the same was twice read, amended, and agreed to by the House, as follows : *
This report recommended the adoption of the following resolutions:
* Resolved, That the resolution of Congress passed in the year 1783, respecting an equestrian statue of General Washington, be carried into immediate execution, and that the statue be placed in the centre of an area to be formed in front of the Capitol.
Resolved, That a marble monument be erected by the United States in the Capitol at the City of Washington, in honor of General Washington to commemorate his services, and to express the regrets of the Americanpeople for their irreparable loss.
Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to give such directions as may appear to him proper to carry the preceding resolutions into effect; and that for the present the sum of $100,000 be appropriated for these purposes.
Resolved, That a mausoleum be erected for George Washington in the City of Washington." *
The committee have, in discharge of the important duties devolved on them by the House, been furnished with the following letters :
Arlington House, 27M February, 1830.
Sir : I perceive with the most sincere gratification, that the House of Representatives have appointed a committee to report .upon a national interment of the venerated remains of Washington.
Permit me to offer to your notice, and through you, sir, to that of the honorable committee charged with this interesting subject, certain facts touching the consent of Mrs. Washington to the removal of the remains of the Chief, in 1799.
Mrs. Washington yielded to the request of Government only in the firm and fond belief, that, upon her decease, her remains would be permitted to rest by the side of those of her beloved husband ; and, in a correspondence, strictly private and confidential, which occurred between Colonel Lear, on the part of the bereaved lady, and the first President Adams, touching this subject, the venerable and afflicted relict was given to understand that Government could do no other than comply with her just and honored expectations.
In this belief, Mrs. Washington directed that, upon her decease, her remains should be enclosed in a leaden coffin, precisely similar to the one containing the ashes of her illustrious consort, which command has been obeyed to the letter.