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right, that I could put the building in a good situation by fall. Let me hear from you. Direct to Madison.
Respectfully, yours, (Signed, DANIEL BAXTER.
Madison, August 30th, 1842. Join Y. SMITII,
Dear Sir :-1 am anxious to see you here, and hope you will come out as soon as possible. If you can bring out any materials for fixing the dome, do so. I have done most of the inside work except plastering and finishing the stairs, which cannot be done until the dome is done.
I want one or two joiners, and if you can send any, do so. If the lead for the dome costs more than the money in your hands, I will pay it at any time, and would have forwarded it if I had known the amount. If you cannot come immediately, please write, on the receipt of this, when you will be here. In my last letter, I made some suggestions about the manner of fixing the dome, and if the suggestions meet your views, bring the material for fixing it as I suggested.
Respectfully, your obedient serv't,
(Signed,) DANIEL BAXTER.
Madison, Aug. 22, 1842. Dear Sir :-Mr. Baxter has now no men at work on the capitol, and for some time past he has had but one. He says the reason why he does not go on with the work, is because you are not here to give directions. At all events, he progresses so slow that I am satisfied he has not the least intention of completing the capitol this fall. I shall be constrained to cause suit to be commenced against him for his violation of his first contract, in order to secure the territory for the damages which have in consequence accrued, and which must hereafter accrue, if the capitol stands another winter unenclosed, and with the basement exposed to wet and frost. Baxter attributes the delay entirely to yourself, and doubts whether you intend to give any further attention to the capitol... If this is so, I shall be glad to be informed by youas there are many here who are willing to undertake to finish the building in six weeks, and I shall feel it my duty, in order to preserve the public property, to make a bargain with them, if I can, soon. Baxter is preparing to remove to Green county what little stuff and effects he has in Madison—which very clearly indicates what is his intention. He has done nothing to the dome or hips of the roof, and at every shower the floor and stairs and ceiling are covered with water, and if they remain so much longer, you must be aware that they will be totally ruined, as also the whole of the interior much injured. I hope to have the favor of hearing from you soon, if you are unable to visit this place.
Very respectfully, yours,
J. D. DOTY.
PRAIRIEVILLE, Sept. 6, 1842. To His ExcELLENCY, JAMES D. Doty.
Sir :-Your favor of the 22d August came to hand yesterday, and I am sorry to learn that Mr. Baxter makes so little progress in finishing the capitol. It certainly cannot be for want of directions, for he told me, when I was last at Madison, that he had all the drafts for completing the building, and that he would need little or no further directions, excepting as to the manner of re-tinning the dome ; and this I promised to aitend to as soon as either he or could procure a workman, or the necessary tools. This he has not done, and I have been unable to do it for want of means. You must be aware that I have no funds in my hands, and that nothing can be done upon credit.
I am fully aware of the wretched and decaying state of the building, in consequeuce of the leakage about the dome and indeed the whole roof; and as early as last April I earnestly solicited the treasurer for permission to draw on him for the small sum which was necessary to plit the building in a state of preservation, not exceeding fifty or one hundred dollars, but could obtain no other answer than that “it ought to be done.” It would seem
needless for me to name to you the real cause why the capitol is not finished. It is because neither the commissioner nor the contractor have the necessary means.
It is true, the contractor has been paid, and perhaps overpaid, nominally for the work he has done ; but these payments are only nominal, having been made in territorial bonds, and these bonds, so far as your authority extends, you have publicly repudiated and, for all practical purposes, rendered as useless as blank paper. Of this state of things you seemed to have been aware, in May last ; and also of the propriety of redeeming the bonds held by Baxter, in such a manner as to secure the territory against loss, and at the same time enable Baxter to proceed with the work.--Accordingly, I drew an agreement in all respects pursuant to your own suggestions, and presented it to you for your approval and assurance that the money should be paid according to its stipulationg. You made no objection to the agreement, but immediately raised a new idea, aud would consent to the arrangement upon no other conditions than that the suits against yourself, O'Neil, Bird, and Morrison, should be discontinued, upon such terms as I considered wholly incompatible with the rights and honor of the territory, and to which I could not accede. I pointed to the fact, which you admitted, that finishing the capitol and settling the suits had no necessary connection, and yet you persisted in making the withdrawal of the suits the sine qua non in the premises.
Now, sir, I beg to know, if the arrangement to which you proffered your consent upon those terms, was an unjust one, and calculated to operate to the injury of the territory, why you should have proffered your consent to it upon any terms? If the arrangement was a just and equitable one, and calculated to promote the interests of the territory, why should you have withheld your consent and co-operation, merely because you could not turn it to your private advantage ? You say you are harrassed with unjust and vexatious suits. Admitting this to be so, is it an honorable, is it a manly satisfaction, and worthy of a chief magistrate, to withhold the necessary means for the preservation and completion of the public buildings, and embarrass and thwart an innocent contractor who has never done or wished you harm ?
You speak of employing others to finish the building ; this will require the payment of money from the treasury without diminishing its outstanding liabilities; and why would it not be preferable to pay the money to Baxter for doing the work, and take up a corresponding amount of bonds; than to pry it to another man and have the bonds outstanding, and incur the odium of re. pudiation and a contest of seven years at law.
Mr. Baxter is ready to do the work, if he can be paid for it; and no man can do it without, Precisely what you propose to do with an other man can be done with Mr. Baxter, and avoid an endless deal of trouble. I must be permitted further to remark, that, for you to say this man shall, or that man shall not finish the capitol, is assuming the discharge of a duty which devolves exclusively upon the commissioner.' Place the means at my command and I will see that the capitol is finished, and if Mr. Baxter does not do it, I will see that some one else does.
As to commencing a suit against Mr. Baxter, it appears to me that it would be palpably unjust for the territory, by any department of the government, in effect to withdraw from a public contractor the means mutually contemplated for performing a contract, and then bring an action against him for a failure in the performance of the contract ; and while Mr. Baxter stands ready to enter into an agreement, which you acknowledged yourself was a reasonable one, a suit will not be conmenced with my consent.
I shall be at Madison soon, and should have been there several times during the summer, had there been the slightest prospect of my accomplishing anything by it.
JOHN Y. SMITH.
MADISON, September 28, 1842. To His Excellency, James D. Doty,
Sir:- In reflecting upon our interview of yesterday, I have determined again to address you seriously and plainly in regard to the position you have assumed in relation to the capitol. You have repeatedly assured me and others that your only object in vetoing the bills for extending Baxter's contract and allowing him
to draw the money on his bonds, was, to see that the money and the bonds remaining in the treasury, were fuithfully applied to finishing the capitol.
Would not the funds have been faithfully applied to this object by the plan you suggested, and which I put in writing last May? You admitted that ihey would, and yet you would not suffer the agreement to be consummated unless another and a distinct object could be accomplished by it, to wit: the secilement of the suits. Now is it possible for you or any other man to believe, that the faithful expenditure of those funds is at all dependent upon the issue of the suits? Cannot money be expended just as economically, and the capitol finished just as speedily, while those suits are pending, as though they were dismissed?
You have repeatedly told me that if Baxter did not prosecute the work with energy, you wished me to take the funds in the treasury and procure others to do the work. Mr. Baxter did not progress with the work as rapidly as I had hoped, and I at length determined 10 pursue the course you had recommended, unreasonable as it appeared 10 me, that you should not be willing to extend to Baxter the same facilities for finishing the building that you would to another man. I made inquiry, and found mechanics who were willing to do the work immediately. I then submitted the question to you, whether my drafts in payment for their work should be honored by the treasurer. You answered me that if I would settle those suits as you had proposed, my drafts should be cashed; but on no other terms could I coinınand a dollar of that money. I assured you that the territory would not be compelled, by the want of a few hundred dollurs of her own money, to abandon a just claim to as many thousands.
I entreat you to examine well your position. The suits out of the question, you are not willing that the money should be paid to Mr. Baxter as he progresses with the work and gives up the bonds; you are not willing that I should use the funds in employing others to do it; and you are determined that Mr. Baxter shall not do it with his own means, if you can possibly prevent him by repudiating his bonds, by crying down his credit, and decoying inen from his employment.
You say that a similar course was pursued with Mr. Morrison.