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Title: Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 7, 1858.


  • Silloway, Thomas William, 1828-1910


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter



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Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 7, 1858., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 17, 2018)


Transcribed by : Ellen Thomson and Ralph H. Orth

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Montpelier April 7..1858

Mr. Marsh. I returned to M. the morning after I left you. The doct remains the same, as he was,-- entirely confident that he is the all. I have entered my protest against his using the old and burnt stones that he has [...] up, and proposes to use also, the lower segm[...] of the columns. He does not reply, but I think he will not dare use them. They are poor things,--fit only for ballast, or for things to condemn. Those who know best of matters relating to the work invaribly unite in disapproving his course of operation. There is hardly a man with whom he has yet dealt that does not condemn his acts. I think I do not at all misstate the case when I say that every contractor without exception has had trouble with him. I have talked with nearly every one. The invariable story is, He does not know what he is doing. The common talk of the place is, that he ought not to be in the position he is. I write you -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- this that you may know who and what we are dealing with, you will of course consider such reports as confidential, if however they are confirmed to you by others, you will act from time to time accordingly I have been to the shop with the men and as best I could posted them up for the future, all is liable to be reversed at any time, and confusion reign. I took such grounds against the circular plinths to the column bases, that they will in time get made square. He treated the matter lightly when I spoke of it but has since signified to the master carpenter a desire to have them amended. Other things that were bad I have taken steps to remedy. I am in hopes that in a short time I shall be in a proper situation to see that the work is done as it should be. How this is to be brought about I know not. He is entirely stubborn, and self opinionated, and having power he injudiciously uses it. I have had two good conversations with Mr. Merrill. He is with us. He says no man in the State would he confide in sooner than in you & -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- as soon as the court is over, (next week) he will aid you as best he can. He does not hesitate to talk as unqualifiedly as do you, and is anxious to have you see to it that no botching is done at the Capitol. He will not think for a moment that the commissioners are without power. He says a report amp;c. is not a completion of service nor a surrender. He is pretty firm in his opinion. However that may be you must in the end decide. I have conversed freely with Mr. Jewett and Mr. Colamer. They are with us. They had a few weeks ago decided to pay into the treasury $10,000 Powers is after them for it. They partialy agreed to let him have it but fearing things to come refuse to pay it. He is anxious to get it. It may be he fears that gales of October it may be, and in time of calm, is preparing for storm. The troubles with workmen amp;c. have intimated to him that "sic transit gloria mundi" My place just now is anything but desirable. The universal advice is to hold on, and not be alarmed. That I shall try and do. Last night we had a long talk (the doct & myself) but his idea is that he is alone supreme. The Doct need not talk of a need of money and hence -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- must delay the work. He can get credit for all his materials, copper, lead, amp;c. amp;c. for one year. He has in the shape of credit and funds what is as good as $50,000 now. Tomorrow I go to Woodstock and shall converse freely with Mr. Williams and Mr. Porter. The latter Mr. Collamer says can manage Tom better that any man in the state. I shall not hesitate to inform them of our real condition as I see it. Mr. C. says that the Gov. will not dare side with Tom, but as he wishes to again be in office considering how this thing will end, if he is but properly advised, will side with us. I hope to go to B. on Friday that I may enjoy a little quietness, for a week, the wretched state of affairs about the work has deprived me of anything like peace. Mr. Collamer will go to Burlington to confer with you tomorrow, Thursday. That is the idea now. In regard to the Statue I have not as yet dared to let him have the specification. He has intimated his intention of getting the carpenter to build it up of planks and sending it to B. to have it carved. As soon as I get to B. I will write out the document and send it to you. If that thing (the statue) gets into the hands of the philistines I tremble for its fate. We cannot amend it. I long for my proper position in this work I am architect and constructor. He the superintendent. He asks what I shall do if he employs another architect. I say "remain as I am, ready to work, and to protest against attempts at abortion" The shop is hired by him, and so are the men. The material is his and I only trespass if I direct, but still I am disposed to hold on and if possible see that no great harm is done. I can be about at the building in spite of him. All I want is to have my place which is superintendent of Construction. Then he may do the rest.

Please write me soon at Boston

Yours truly T. W. Silloway

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