Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH and CHARLES PAINE to HIRAM POWERS, dated June 12 1847.
Under the authority of a Resolution of the General Assembly of Vermont, His Excellency the Governor has appointed us a committee to correspond with you, and inquire upon what terms, and within what time, you will execute for the State statues of Thomas Chittenden and Ethan Allen, to be placed in the niches in the lobby of the Capitol at Montpelier.
We enclose for your information a description and plan of the apartment in which it
is proposed to place the statues, and as soon as the General Assembly shall
authorize your employment, the best histories
of Vermont, and all other accessible means of information concerning the lives and characters of those eminent patriots, will be transmitted to you.
To the best of our knowledge, no busts or portraits of Chittenden or Allen are extant, nor has tradition preserved any other description of the person of either, than that they were men of large stature, muscular frame, and a severity of expression befitting [the?] [stern?] and arduous duties, which their position and the necessity of the times imposed upon them.
In testifying our gratification that your first commission from Vermont will be, not
from a private citizen, but from the whole people of a State, which is justly proud
of having given birth to the first of living sculptors, and which we are happy to
know you still remember with the affection that no true and generous man can ever
cease to feel for his natal soil, we trust you will pardon us for suggesting, that
has claims upon you not to be postponed to those of any other patron, and expressing the hope that you will permit no less important engagement to prevent you from soon bestowing upon the beautiful Capitol of your native State the most appropriate of decorations the images of the most famous among the fathers of her people from the hand of the most renowned of her sons.
We are sir, with the highest respectYour obedient servantsGeorge P Marsh Charles PaineHiram Powers Esq Florence
References in this letter:
Powers never made a statue of either Thomas Chittenden (1730-1797), Vermont's first governor, or of Ethan Allen (1737-1789). A marble statue of Allen for the portico of the Vermont State House was eventually executed by Larkin Goldsmith Mead and unveiled October 10, 1861. An eight-by-six foot engraving of Chittenden by H.P. Hall was installed in the State House in 1873.
Charles Paine (1799-1853) was governor of Vermont 1841-43 and a leading proponent of the Vermont Central Railroad, which opened in October 1848.