Washington Jan 23 1832
My dear Frances
I wrote you yesterday giving an account of my arrival here. Since that time I have called on Mr. Verplanck. He took me last evening to the house of Mr. Woodbury, Secretary of War whom we found in the midst of his family and two or three friends, a fine looking man nearly as large as Col. Ward, with a prepossessing face and of agreeable conversation. 1 After a stay of about three quarters of an hour we went to Mr. McLane's Secretary of the Treasury where we found more display. Mr. McLane is a quiet cock-eyed man of small stature and unassuming manners. His wife the mother of ten children is a lady of great vivacity and as I should judge a good deal of address full of conversation and talking to all the guests with great fluency. The eldest daughter is a young lady as I should judge of sixteen. --There were several ladies, half a dozen members of Congress, and Mr. Poinsett the Minister to Mexico. 2 Among the ladies was a daughter of the Ex-Empress Iturbide, looking much as you might suppose Mrs. Salazar to have done at the age of eighteen. 3 A young lady of the name of Christie played a psalm tune or two on the piano--accompanying the music with the words. One of the hymns she sang was Watts's "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood" &c.
This morning I went to visit the Capitol. We first entered the Representatives Hall, a splendid spacious building but not well designed for its purpose, on account of the difficulty which the speakers experience of being heard in it. Mr. Verplanck then took us to the library, a spacious and elegant room and tolerably well stocked with books. We then went to the Gallery of the Senate Chamber and waited for the Senators to assemble. The Senate Chamber is not a large nor handsome apartment compared with the Representatives Hall. 4 We saw Harry Clay who has what I should call a rather ugly face-- He is a tall thin narrow-shouldered man with a light complexion, a long nose a little turned up at the end and his hair combed back from the edge of his forehead. 5 We saw also the Vice President who you know is the presiding officer of the Senate. 6 He is a man of the middle size or perhaps a little over, with a thick shock of hair dull complexion and of an anxious expression of countenance. He looks as if the fever of political ambition had dried up all the juiciness and pithiness of his constitution. --He despatched the business of the body over which he presided, with decision and rapidity. Afterwards we went