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Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 19, 1858.

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Title: Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 19, 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 August 19, 1858., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 20, 2018)

Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 19, 1858.

Transcribed by :

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

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Boston Aug 19..1858

My Friend Marsh,

Yours of the 16 is reced. I was some surprised to learn by you letter that you had informed Doct. P. that you thought I ought to explain to Mr Richards any alledged discrepancy in my drawings amp;c. Your advice to me was when we published the articles that I remained as architect amp;c. This position meditatively taken we have not as yet in the least degree departed from. Powers' construction of our agreement was, that neither party could break a contract. I proposed a resignation of my part but he indignantly refused to accept, then I withdrew the proposition. Has he more than myself, the power to break the contract when it pleases him? Having consulted authority of the first order, I have not -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- the slightest doubt but my position is right, and were it not for the condition of the Montpelier people I would long ere this have tested the thing. Powers has assumed much more than his own interpretations of the contract will warrant him in doing and so will he find it. Assuming the premises to be right do I know Richards in the matter? Had you requested me to confer with him you may depend to serve you would have given me pleasure and a request of the kind would be in strict accordance with contract, but to pass information into the hands of Richards for the execution of my work would be anything but contract, unless you as a commissioner had requested it. Mr. Richards finds but little sympathy here among those who knew us both. But one hour before I received his note one of the first Architects of this city advised me to inform him -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- that if he did not refrain from further reports derogatory to my business he would be held responsible. I took the step I thought best. I courteously give him my reasons for declining to impart information and then wrote to Doct. P. informing him that I was prepared to make any explanations he desired, and to give him full sized drawings of the whole dome if he desired it. Have I not been fair with him? He is not anxious to do right. His idea is to simply have his own way and make the thing as he desires. I again repeat that I am ready at one day's notice to go to M. and explain any part of the work or make him full size drawings. And to that offer he must not take exceptions if he does he alone is responsible. Their great aim was to amend the dome. They did it on the floor and when thwarted in their purposes tried to make out my figuring would not produce it as originaly drawn. It is a well established principle laid down and defended by all Architects -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- and Engineers, that a man himself understands best his own drawings and figures. They are private property, and marks or figures may be true and right to the one who made them but wrong to all others especialy those who interpret them wrong. This question of what they call wrong figuring has nothing to do with the dome. That is a thing by itself, and any radius but the one I gave you will not produce the right one. I am not sure whether or not I informed you fully in regard to the figures. I think I said some were for framing some for finish cc. cc. Perhaps I ought to add that those on the left hand side of my dome section drawing are all for finish, and with the exception of one item, made in consequence of an amendment to the length of the columns all are right. Any variation from them will disarrange the whole of the finish as "got out" ready for me. Those on the right side are in the main sort of data for my own use some respecting framing some, finish, and some furring. I know them all and if I was about my work as I should be all would have been well. The master carpenter always understood that my figures were for the purposes I name. Richards, has made already more mistake in figuring then he can get out of my dome [...] all he claims. I hope to be able to do as you would have me. Thus far I have followed as you have proposed.

Yours truly T. W. Silloway

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