Removal of the Seat of Government

Title

Removal of the Seat of Government

Description

In August 1814, British troops invaded Washington and set fire to many federal buildings. Congress reconvened on September 19, meeting in cramped rooms at Blodgett's Hotel because the Capitol had been heavily damaged. The House of Representatives soon began to debate whether the entire federal government should leave Washington, even temporarily. This document is the first of many pages from the Congressional record detailing the arguments for and against moving the national capital. After almost a month of debate, the House voted on the measure to relocate, defeating it by only 83 yea to 76 nay votes.

Source

Annals of Congress, 13th Cong., 3rd sess., 311. View original.

Date

10/26/1814

Coverage

Text

Removal of the Seat of Government.

Mr. Fisk, of New York, rose and addressed the House, as follows:

Mr. Speaker: Upon a subject which has for several weeks past attracted the attention of this body, and indeed of every person in this nation, I feel it my duty to submit a resolution to bring the question promptly and fully before this House for examination and discussion. After the people of this country had recovered from the surprise and astonishment they felt at hearing of the capture of this city, and the destruction of the public buildings, their first inquiry was, where shall Congress sit with safety and convenience? Some designated one place, some another; but few, if any, imagined that the Councils of the nation would continue here. It is not merely necessary that the members of the General Government should be secure in their own opinion, they must be so in the opinion of the nation. The confidence and credit of the nation is identified with the security of the public Councils, and the safety of the public records. Menace this safety, and public confidence is impaired, public credit is shaken.

Description

In August 1814, British troops invaded Washington and set fire to many federal buildings. Congress reconvened on September 19, meeting in cramped rooms at Blodgett's Hotel because the Capitol had been heavily damaged. The House of Representatives soon began to debate whether the entire federal government should leave Washington, even temporarily. This document is the first of many pages from the Congressional record detailing the arguments for and against moving the national capital. After almost a month of debate, the House voted on the measure to relocate, defeating it by only 83 yea to 76 nay votes.

Creator

United States House of Representatives

Date

10/26/1814

Coverage

1800-1829

Source

Annals of Congress, 13th Cong., 3rd sess., 311. View original.