John Tyler photo

Special Message

August 02, 1841

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

On the 18th of February, 1832, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution in the following words:

Resolved , That the President of the United States be authorized to employ Horatio Greenough, of Massachusetts, to execute in marble a full-length pedestrian statue of Washington, to be placed in the center of the Rotunda of the Capitol; the head to be a copy of Houdon's Washington, and the accessories to be left to the judgment of the artist.

On the 23d of the same month the Secretary of State, by direction of the President, addressed to Mr. Greenough a letter of instructions for carrying into effect the resolution of the House.

On the 14th of July, 1832, an appropriation of the sum of $5,000 was made "to enable the President of the United States to contract with a skillful artist to execute in marble a pedestrian statue of George Washington, to be placed in the center of the Rotunda of the Capitol," and several appropriations were made at the succeeding sessions in furtherance of the same object.

Mr. Greenough, having been employed upon the work for several years at Florence, completed it some months ago.

By a resolution of Congress of the 27th of May, 1840, it was directed "that the Secretary of the Navy be authorized and instructed to take measures for the importation and erection of the statue of Washington by Greenough." In pursuance of this authority the Navy Department held a correspondence with Commodore Hull, commanding on the Mediterranean station, who entered into an agreement with the owners or master of the ship Sea for the transportation of the statue to the United States. This ship, with the statue on board, arrived in this city on the 31st ultimo, and now lies at the navy-yard.

As appropriations have become necessary for the payment of the freight and other expenses, I communicate to Congress such papers as may enable it to judge of the amount required.


John Tyler, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives