Sorry about that

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

It was 208 years ago that Pres­i­dent John Adams ap­proved the ap­pro­pri­a­tion of $5,000 for the pur­pose of “such books as may be nec­es­sary for the use of Congress.”

As Se­nate Repub­li­can Leader Mitch McCon­nell re­calls to­day, the li­brary was set up in what is now the re­cep­tion area of his lead­er­ship of­fice.

“The orig­i­nal col­lec­tion in­cluded just 740 vol­umes and three maps, which were stored right here in the Capi­tol,” he notes. “When Bri­tish troops burned the Capi­tol build­ing in 1814, they used the books and maps of the li­brary to ig­nite the flames, and all 3,000 vol­umes of the col­lec­tions were de­stroyed.”

An amused Mr. McCon­nell hasn’t forgotten the day when then-Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair ad­dressed a joint ses­sion of Congress and “he vis­ited the leader’s suite and told then-Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Bill Frist that al­though it was com­ing a bit late, he was sorry for the fire in­ci­dent.”

The li­brary re­mains the largest in the world, with a staff of more than 3,500 and hold­ing more than 138 mil­lion items — books and maps to sheet mu­sic.

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