Extract from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

I received this summer a letter from Messrs Buchanan & Hay as directors of the public buildings desiring I would have drawn for them plans of sundry buildings, & in the first place of a Capitol ... we took for our model what is called the Maison-quarrèe of Nismes, one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful & precious morcel of architecture left us by antiquity. it was built by Caius & Lucius Caesar & repaired by Louis XIV. and has the suffrage of all the judges of architecture who have seen it, as yeilding to no one of the beautiful monuments of Greece, Rome, Palmyra & Balbec which late travellers have communicated to us. it is very simple, but it is noble beyond expression, and would have done honour to our country as presenting to travellers a morsel of taste in our infancy promising much for our maturer age.

RC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 8:534–37.
Date Range
September 20, 1785
Quote Category