Letter from JOHN NORTON POMEROY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated March 23, 1870.

Primary tabs

Page: of 3
Download: PDF (7.91 MiB)
Burlington, 23 Mar. 70.

Hon G P Marsh, Florence, Italy,

Page 1

I was much relieved and gratified by the receipt of yours of the 22 February, on the 19 instant, just four days after writing you to ascertain the cause of the long delay. I was gratified also by your approval of my report. Your suggestions as to the Statue I have read over with much care and interest and think I appreciate the importance and desirableness of the aid and approval of M Powers--and the proposition to furnish, by his son, a plaster model within two years, in Florence at $1000. in gold presents strong inducements for my acceptance in the relief it would afford from responsibility and the assurance of a success. But the objections to this course are too strong, I fear, to overcome--1st the time it would take to complete the job (at least three years), and 2 the greater expense. The people have become impatient and it is only by the assurance that the statue is to be done at once that they are willing to subscribe, and at that, we have yet added to the old subscription, but some seven hundred dollars, making in all but $2300; of which would be absorbed in the model, delivered here. Now I know that more can be raised, but it comes hard and all conditional that the the statue be forth coming. I wrote to M Edmunds

Page 2

a few weeks since, requesting him, with his own, to obtain the subscription of the others of the Vermont delegation, but he has not responded, having enough else more important to attend to, I presume, and it is pretty much so with the rest.

It appears to me that the great point, in the case is to obtain the best and most appropriate of the man, as to time place and circumstances and if M Powers would give us that on paper, we could transfer it to a model and thence to granite or marble with complete fidelity, and save much in time and money. The ideal is the whole--it does not as I understand require any very nice work on a statue of the kind and of course not on the model, as at 43 feet height its expression and effect must chiefly if not entirely depend upon figure and attitude -- Now will not M Powers, for patriotism or other consideration give us his ideal ideal on paper (he being only responsible for this) that we may have the benefit of it as coming from him. This would seem to be a very appropriate mode of indicating the interest in the undertaking which he so strongly professes, and doubtless feels.

As to the material of the Statue, whether of granite or marble, it is not perhaps necessary [to] decide now. For the matter of durability of Vermont granite, I cannot but consider the case

Page 3

of failure, you name, as altogether exceptional, being probably, some portion of the rock which had been denuded and exposed to the action of the elements, by the deluge! -- And one can hardly help remark the apparent inconstancy of raising the question of durability of granite in a Statue, which is to be placed on a monument composed of that same. I am not committed on this point, but assuming both be equally durable and appropriate, I am rather inclined to favor granite because Harrington will furnish the same without cost.

I notice with pleasure and approval your highly complimentary remarks, of our friend H.G. Loomis (son of Luther)--he is a capital fellow, as was his father before him [but] this [was] never duly appreciated. You will I think have found our M Ware very much of a gentleman, as well as "very acceptable" in the pulpit. I am disappointed in your balance sheet, hoping it would show some thousands accumulated for the [...] day--but I know your expenses must be very large especially those of a charitable nature. The College has not made as to number of pupils, very great advance, but in vitality and efficiency is altogether ahead of any former period. M Angell, as you probably know has declined the appointment at Ann Arbor, and is a live man and very popular.

My wife would join me in our very kind and respectful regards to yourself and M Marsh and I remain yours truly

John N Pomeroy

References in this letter:

In 1855 the Vermont legislature appointed a committee to be in charge of a monument over the grave of Ethan Allen in the Green Mount Cemetery in Burlington. John Norton Pomeroy was appointed chair and Marsh served with him. Larkin Goldsmith Mead was chosen to create a figure of Allen for the monument. Unable to raise the necessary funds, the project was not completed until 1873. Mead's statue was instead placed on the portico of the State House and another figure, by Boston sculptor Peter Stephenson, surmounted the granite base erected in Burlington.

Hiram Powers (1805-1873), the most famous 19th century American sculptor and a friend of Marsh's from their early childhood in Woodstock, Vermont. Powers emigrated to Italy in 1837.

George Franklin Edmunds (1828-1919) began his career practicing law in Burlington. He served in the Vermont State House of Representatives and in the State Senate. In 1866 he was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to fill the vacancy caused by Solomon Foot's death and served for four terms. He resigned in 1891. Edmunds was married to Susan Edmunds, the daughter of Marsh's sister and Wyllys Lyman, his Burlington friend.

Ira P. Harrington owned the "Harrington Quarry" in Barre, Vermont. It was one of two quarries that supplied granite for the Vermont State House.

Loammi Goodenow Ware1827-1891, was a preacher at the First Congregational Society (Unitarian) in Burlington, Vermont.

President James B. Angell (1829-1906) was the tenth president of the University of Vermont; he later became president of the University of Michigan.

The lawyer, John Norton Pomeroy, (1792-1881) was a lawyer and prominent resident of Burlington, Vermont. He held several position in Vermont state government and was named chairman of the Statuary Committee to oversee the construction of the monument placed over the grave of Ethan Allen in Green Mount Cemetery in Burlington.