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Contract with Mr. Baxter. I do not know that this is necessary, as it appears to me that the law shows what the contract is, or at least what it should be.
While at Madison, I was unable to get Mr. Baxter to say whether he would, or would not, proceed with his contract and complete the work. But Prentiss and Baxter appeared shy and distrustful, and I became tolerably well satisfied that all was not right, and that Mr. Baxter had no intention of prosecuting the work in earnest without another appropriation. I have given him until the first of April, to give me a decisive answer; and if I do not hear from him by that time, I shall be anxious to adopt some other measures to secure the completion of the building.
Baxter, it seems, has drawn the whole amount of appropriation, (in bonds or money) save about 800 dollars, and claims that he has done extra work nearly to balance what remains to be done to the contract, and from a rough estimate, I should judge that it would require several thousand dollars to complete the work.
Whatever may be the tenure of his contract, I am clear that the law does not allow of the extra work, of which he talks. Now in case Mr. Baxter does not go on with the job, the question arises, what can be done? The idea of letting the capitol remain as it is, ought not, I think, to be entertained.
Two causes have occurred to me, upon both of which I would particularly solicit your opinion.
1st. To sue Baxter on his bond, and
2d. To divert, if possible, the funds in the treasury from the redemption of the bonds held by Mr. Baxter, so far as is necessasy to the completion of his contract.
If it is necessary to sue him, I can see no means of finishing the capitol this season, as it will require a long time to collect the means.
The latter course appears to be the shortest one, if it can be done, as it will secure the speedy completion of the capitol, and compel Mr. Baxter to submit to justice at once, or if he is dissatisfied, to stand as plaintiff against the territory. If this course is advisable, I would like your opinion, whether I would be authorized to make a private contract, or whether it would be necessary to advertise for proposals. If any other course to you is preferable to either of those which I have made, please advise me accordingly.
I am aware that this business has been a bone of party contention; but I care but little for party prejudices, my only desire is to adopt a course which will be strictly legal, and one which will secure the completion of the work without further expense to the territory.
I expect to be at Madisen about the first of April, and if you will address me at that place, between this and the 10th of April, you will much oblige me.
I have understood that Mr. Baxter has one man at work on the capitol. My impression has been, that he intended to dally along in this way, through the season, with the expectation of getting another appropriation next winter. This, however, will not be allowed; and I hope that no feint of this kind will deter you from examining the subject and favoring me with your opinion. Still, I would be glad to have him go on with the work in good faith.
Respectfully, your ob't servant,
JOHN Y. SMITH.
MADISON, April 15th, 1842. TO JAMES MORRISON, Esq., Treasurer of Wisconsin:
Sir:-Will you please inform me, as you return home, whether you will deem it consistent with your duty to pay, in cash, upon my draft, a sum sufficient to repair the dome section of the capitol, say not much exceeding 100 dollars -perhaps much less. I am not certain whether the tin will have to be taken off and put on again. If this should be necessary, it will cost probably something more than 100 dollars. If soddering will answer, it will probably cost less than that sum. I am doubtful whether soddering will withstand the action of frost, in so exposed a situation. Of this, I shall inquire of experienced tinners. It will require from 100 io 200 pounds of sheet lead; this cannot be obtained without the money. Neither could I expect to get a good tinner to do the work, without cash down, or at an enormous price.The leakage must be stopped soon, or the central parts of the building will be entirely ruined, and I have no hope that Mr. Baxter will ever do it. Please address me at Prairieville.
JOHN Y. SMITH,
Commissioner Pub. Buildings.
MADISON, April 16, 1843. John Y. SMITH, Esq:
Dear Sir:- I arrived here yesterday morning, and found you had just left. I was sorry that I could not have seen you, as I am making preparations to proceed in the finishing of the capitol, and it is of the utmost importance that I should have your assistance in the business. I have not received any information from you, when you would be here, or I should have attended at the time you was here. I will now mention the tenth day of May, to meet you here, and hope you will find it convenient to be here at that time.
Respectfully, your ob’t servant,
(Signed) DANIEL BAXTER.
. PRAIRIEVILLE, May 4, 1843. Dear Sir:-Your favor of the 16th of April has been received, and I am happy to learn that you intend to finish the capitol immediately. I regret that I cannot comply with your request, to meet you at Madison on the 10th inst. I will endeavor to be there by the 14th, (next Saturday a week) but possibly I may not till the Tuesday following. I think it will not make any material difference to you, as there is considerable work about the courtroom hall, &c, which might be done, and for which, I understand, draughts have been given by Mr. Prentiss. It will also be necessary for you to procure some materials for the columns to the two piazzas, and for other parts of the work, if you have not got them on hand, as I think you have not. I hope you will put the work
forward as fast as possible, and I will endeavor to meet you as above.
Respectfully and truly yours,
JOHN Y. SMITH. DANIEL BAXTER, Esq.
[DOCUMENT H.] It is hereby agreed between the territory of Wisconsin, by John Y. Smith, commissioner of public buildings, and Daniel Bax. ter, of Green county, in the territory aforesaid, in relation to a certain contract entered into between the territory and the said Baxter, which contract bears date the 27th day of April, A. D. 1841, as follows, to wit;
The said commissioner agrees to extend the time upon the said contract, till the first day of November next.
The said commissioner further agrees to pay to the said contractor, monthly, as the work progresses, in drafts on the treasury such proportion of money in the treasury, belonging to the fund appropriated by congress for the completion of the capitol, (which sum is about 1758 dollars) as 1758 dears to the whole amount of work now to be done: Provided, that the said contractor, upon each payment being made as above specified, deliver to the treasurer such amount of the bonds held by him against the territory as in the judgment of the commissioner the security of the territory may require, not exceeding the amount of money received.
The said contractor agrees to complete the capitol according to his contract above refered to, and do such other work eccording to the original plan and specifications in James Morrrison's contract for building the capitol, as is not specified in his, the said Baxter's contract, and which may be required to be done by the said commissioner.
In consideration of the work to be done, and not specified in his, the said Baxter's contract, the commissioner will release the said contractor from the performance of such work contained in his contract as in the judgment of the commissioner can be dispensed with, and if the extra work so done shall amount to more than the commissioner may feel justified in remitting from the specifications contained in the said Baxter's contract, he, the said contractor, shall present his claims to the legislative assembly for adjustment.
The said contractor further agrees to have the building completed as aforesaid, by the first day of November next.
In witness whereof the parties have hereunto set their hands and seals. Dated at Madison, the 20th day of May, A. D. 1842.
In presence of
MONRJE, July 4th, 1842. JOHN Y. SMITH, Esq.
Dear Sir :-Yours of the 24th of June, is received, containing a bill of articles, which I presume have arrived at Madison. I have not been there for a few days, but have the work going on as well as I can. I send after Jumber to-morrow, and when my team returns, I expect to go to Madison. I think if you could get some sheet lead and come out and fix the dome at the top, and at the breaks, that the tin could be made tight without taking it off. By fetching 3 or 4 bunches of small hammered nails with clout heads, # of an inch long, with a brad awl to make holes, and where the tin is started up, there nail it down, and then I can hire some person to come and solder where it is necessary, and, I think, make it tight. If you will obtain the lead and nails, and come out and fix the dome, as soon as you can, if there is not money enough in your hands, I will furnish more to pay the balance, and have the tin made tight, if possible, and then I can have the stairs and inside work finished. · Perhaps if the lead will not arrive soon enough at Madison you can send to Chicago and obtain it. I am very anxious to fix the dome, if possible, as the stairs cannot be finished without the dome is fixed.
The Governor, & Co. are doing all that their business prompts them to, to hinder me, but I still think if the dome could be made