Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated January 31, 1859.
As you are probably aware Powers has issued a scandalous pamphlet, in which he abuses the committee and all
who have not sided with him and been in subjection. I am not possessed of one of the
documents but a friend loaned me one which I was under the necessity of returning.
He has published a lot of affidavits and as many of them relate to questions once at
issue before the committee I have thought the opportunity a good and proper one to
get before the public those put in by myself, also the letters of resignation c.
which will set the whole matter right before the public. While I would refrain from
anything like a or any reply that could be construed into an
honorable notice of his "Star Chamber" pamphlet I may properly enough put before the
public such incidental facts as will
tend to counteract any bad influence that might come from what he has published as "Sworn evidence" I have been sacrificed on the alter for and must guard my reputation. He is a man bad enough to injure me all he can, and will exert himself to the utter most. I propose to publish at the end of my statement such certificates as I had in the case, and then leave the public to judge.
I wish you to do me the favor of writing such an opinion of me, my intentions concerning the work on the Capitol, and qualifications for the work as your experience with me will justify you in doing.
An article or rather some brief statement of the kind will be of more service than anything you can now do for me.
I have hosts of friends in all parts of
the State who assure me of their Sympathy and all are unanimous that his present seeming success is but a worse defeat.
The people at M. are so far as I can judge, my friends. There are one or two there who are for him but the mass are for me. They are unrighteously under him and he is for the present ruling them. I am not much sorry for them since they lack the back bone to stand up they should be permitted to lie down. They do not correspond with me at all. Tom is in his way carrying on the work. The steam boiler project is . The wooden stairs are not put up yet, but I hear the men are to go up with them soon. Bradley was here last week and read my manuscript.
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.
Thomas E. Powers, Vermont Capitol and the Star Chamber : testimony and defence of the Superintendent of Construction, October, 1858. Montpelier : E.P. Walton, 1858.
J. Dorr Bradley (1803-1862), a Brattleboro attorney, served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1856 to 1857. He represented Silloway in his battle with Superintendent Powers.
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.