At the beginning of the annual session of Congress, the clerk transmits to it a full and complete statement of all the judgments rendered by the court during the previous year, stating the amounts thereof and the parties in whose favor they were rendered, together with a brief synopsis of the nature of the claims; and at the end of every term of the court he transmits copies of its decisions to the heads of the various departments of the Government, to specified government officials, and to other officers charged with the adjustment of claims against the United States.

No member of either branch of Congress can practice as an attorney or counselor in the court of claims.

The court of claims has jurisdiction over all claims founded on statutes or contracts, or which are referred to it by either house of Congress; all set-off and counter-claims of the Government against persons presenting claims upon it; the claims of disbursing officers for relief from responsibility on account of the capture, while in the line of his duty, of Government funds, vouchers, records or papers in his charge, and claims for captured or abandoned property, arising from the exigencies of insurrection or other cause. The methods of procedure and practice in such court of claims are particularly described in the United States statutes. It has also power to appoint commissioners to take testimony to be used in the investigation of claims that come before it, to prescribe the fees which they receive for their services, etc.

Any final judgment against a claimant on any claim prosecuted in the court of claims according to the provisions of the law forever bars any further claim or demand against the United States arising out of the matters involved in the controversy.

These brief sketches of the various United States tribunals will serve to give the reader a faint idea of the power and dignity that distinguish in our national judicial system.

Statement Of Judgments Rendered 497

A Sketch of the Capitol at Washington.

ABOUT one and one-half miles easterly from the President's Mansion is the United States Capitol, a structure distinguished as much by its size and elegance of finish as by being the place in which the two houses of Congress assemble to enact the national laws. The corner-stone was laid by Washington in September, 1793, and it was first occupied by Congress in November, 1800. In 1814 it was partially burned by the British soldiery; the reconstruction of the burned wings was begun in 1815; the corner-stone of the main building was laid in March, 1818, and it was finished in 1827. In 1850 it was decided to extend the structure, and the corner-stone of the new work was laid July 4, 1851, with an address by Daniel Webster. The structure was completed in 1867.

The whole edifice has an eastern front, and its entire length is 751 feet four inches, and its greatest depth, including steps and porticoes, is 348 feet. The building covers about three and a half acres of ground. The main or old portion is built of sandstone, painted white, and the extensions are of white marble, slightly variegated with blue. The outside of the building is adorned with architectural ornaments and several groups of sculpture. An iron dome rises from the center to a height of 287 1/2 feet above the basement floor, having a diameter of 135 1/2 feet. The top of this dome is surmounted by Crawford's bronze statue of Liberty, nineteen and a half feet high. The inside of the Capitol is liberally decorated with frescoes, sculptures and paintings. The rotunda, inside of the dome, is a circular apartment, ninety-six feet in diameter and 180 feet high.

The chamber occupied by the United States Senate is situated in the center of the northern extension of the Capitol; is of rectangular form, being over 113 feet in length, more than eighty feet in width, and thirty-six feet in height. The galleries surrounding it will seat 1,200 persons.

The House of Representatives occupies the center of the southern extension of the Capitol, and is 139 feet long, ninety-three feet wide and thirty-six feet high. The galleries will seat 1,000 people.

The Supreme Court of the United States holds its sessions in the old Senate chamber, on the east side of the north wing of the central building. It is a semicircular apartment, seventy-five feet long and forty-five feet high. The former Hall of Representatives, also of a semi-circular form, ninety-six feet long, and fifty-seven feet high, is in the south wing of the central building, and is used as a depository for the historical statues contributed by the several States, in accordance with the invitation of Congress, in 1864, with other statuary and paintings. It is considered the most stately and beautiful apartment in the Capitol.

The Library of Congress is another attractive room, ninety-one and a half feet long, thirty-four feet wide and thirty-eight feet high, on the west side of the rotunda, together with two wings, each ninety and a half feet long, twenty-nine and a half feet wide.

The Capitol grounds cover an area of fifty-one and a half acres, handsomely laid out, and containing a great variety of trees.