Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 26, 1857.
The legislature adjourned this morning at 6 o'clock after a nights session. A heated
discussion was the feature of the whole night. Many propositions was offered by each
branch, but all more or less turned on the . They used their whole time
in discussion and at last they adjourned without making any provision whatever for
appropriation. Everything is at a complete stand still. What will be done I know
not. My committee did me good service. Fourt of the five agreed to a report which I
will send you. We got it in so very late that the time for printing was mere nothing
and verbal inacuracies exist in it. As a whole it answers our purpose well. They
had prepared an excellent act to go with it. No time existed to put it along in, and as no appropriation was made nothing more was done. The battle has been fought and I am in hopes it is fought for good. Powers is realy flat and will not soon recover. He has discharged all the workmen and silence now reigns supreme. The dome is nearly done cupola likewise. Four more days would have finished, and then the unsightly scaffolding would have been removed. We now are compeled to submit, to it through the winter. The Montpelier people lost much on his account. I hope before anything is done on the building the Gov. will remove him. There is a good oportunity now, as he has nothing to do and his salary may be dispensed with.
I got a bill in, for a payment [of] $500. It went through both houses in good shape. My expenses here have been nearly $350. I am in good condition with all, and nothing save hindered his removal. He gave it up two weeks ago. He has troubled us all, beyond measure. As the committee sustain me I shall hold on and hope in due time to be put in my proper place Had anything been done would have had your place. Of course you have been informed of your election to the Commissioner of R. Roads I return to Boston tomorrow after a sojourn of over six weeks.
I am yours trulyThomas W Silloway
References in this letter:
Dr. Thomas E. Powers, (1808-1876), of Woodstock, Vermont, was appointed by Governor Fletcher to be the Superintendent of Construction of the 1858-1860 project, to build a new State House in Montpelier to rebuild the structure burned in 1857. He and the architect, Thomas W. Silloway, were soon at loggerheads over their roles in the project. Powers became State Senator in 1861.
Governor Ryland Fletcher, (1799-1885), was born in Cavendish, Vermont. He was the first distinctly Republican Governor of the state of Vermont, and was active in the anti-slavery movement. On January 6, 1857, during his administration, the State House in Montpelier was destroyed by fire, and he appointed a committee to oversee the reconstruction.
In November 1857 Marsh was appointed Vermont Railroad Commissioner, a post he held until 1859. An informed critic of railroad corporate abuses, he wrote three devastating reports, incurring the wrath of the railroad lobby. Using its influence in the Vermont legislature, the lobby sought to block his reappointment.
Thomas W. Silloway, (1828-1910), was only thirty years old in 1857 when he was chosen architect for the new State House in Montpelier. Silloway was from Massachusetts, and had worked in the office of Ammi B. Young, the architect who designed the previous building. Silloway and Dr. Powers, the superintendent of construction for the 1857 job, had worked together to design and build a new courthouse in Woodstock, Vermont, that burned in 1854.