Wednesday, August 18, 2010

John Adams, the President's House, and "May None But Honest and Wise Men Ever Rule Under This Roof"

Late in the morning of November 1, 1800, John Adams arrived in the new capital city of Washington D.C. and moved into the President’s House. The next day, while sitting in a damp, unfinished room, John wrote a letter to his wife Abigail which included a blessing for the new house and its future inhabitants. This is what he wrote:

I Pray Heaven To Bestow
The Best of Blessings On
All That shall hereafter Inhabit it.
May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule
under This Roof

More than a century later, in the final year of World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had these words carved in the stone mantle of the fireplace in the State Dining Room. These words are still there today

FAST FACT: The State Dining Room served as a drawing room, office, and Cabinet room. It wasn't until Andrew Jackson's administration that it was called the "State Dining Room," although "it had been used for formal dinners by previous presidents."