Gambar halaman


The biography of Governor Chittenden is not so full as the reader may have expected to find it; but he will consider that his occupation was that of a farmer, and that although he was an enterprising, industrious, economical, and, of course, a successful and wealthy farmer, yet as agriculture had not during his life been raised to the rank of a science, or attracted any public attention, his occupation could afford but little matter for biography. Had he lived in these days of ag. ricultural improvement, he would have been conspicuous a-, mong those individuals, who have devoted their time and their talents to the improvement of agriculture, and would have furnished much useful and interesting matter for history and biography.

His government, too, being rather patriarchal than constitutional, afforded little matter for an extended biography. In portraying his public character, therefore, I have been compelled to rely principally on the difficult task he had to perform, in organizing and administering the government, and the manner in which he performed it; stating, as far as recollection and the traditionary account of those times would enable me to do it, the peculiar traits of his character, which fitted him to perform it so well.

Until after the work was copied for the press, the charge of criminality against Gov. Chittenden and his compatriots, in their secret negotiation with the British authorities in Canada, escaped my notice. This was natural, as I knew the charge to be unfounded. When I wrote the life of Judge Chipman, I noticed the charge, making a concise statement of the facts in the case, but afterwards find that Col. Stone had, in his life of Brant, made the charge at length, with a detail of the evidence in support of it, I felt it to be my duty to insert a refutation of the charge, which occupied a number of pages. I cannot think of swelling this work by inserting that refutation, but I insert in the Appendix a letter from Gov. Chittenden to Gen. Washington, by which the reader will be satisfied that Gov. Chittenden kept Washington informed of that negotiation during its progress.

Ripton, Vt., December 17, 1849.



His Birth-His Settlement in Salisbury—The Governors of

New York and New Hampshire both make grants of lands in the territory now included in the State of VermontCol. Chittenden removes to the New Hampshire Grants Driven from his farm in 1776.

THOMAS CHITTENDEN was born in East Guilford, in the then Colony of Connecticut, on the 6th of January, 1730. Of his ancestors, nothing is known, except that his parents were respectable, but moved in the ordinary walks of life. His father was a farmer, and the subject of this memoir labored on the farm, being allowed only the advantages of a common school education.

In the 18th year of his age, being too full of enterprise and resolution to be confined within the narrow circle within which he seemed to be des tined by his education and fortune to move, he engaged in a voyage to the West Indies. In this enterprise, he was unfortunate. The mother courtry being at war with France, he was captured by a French vessel of war, and landed on a West India island, without money, and without friends. In this condition, he was left to find his way home, which, after a series of suffering and fatigue, he accomplished. After this unfortunate voyage, a sailor's life had no charms for him, and he determined “never again to leave his plough, to go ploughing on the deep.” He accordingly continued on the farm with his father, until the 4th of October, 1749. About this time, he married Elizabeth Meigs, and soon after removed to Salisbury, in Connecticut. He thus made a Yankee settlement, married early, and began to move. The first settlement in the town, by the English, commenced about the year 1738, and the town was organized in November, 1741. This northwestern part of Connecticut, watered by the Housatonic river, and lying west of the Green Mountain range, remained a wilderness many years after the other parts of the colony had been settled. A fear of the Indians had prevented

a settlement in this quarter, until the population in the older parts of the Colony had become somewhat crowded, and notwithstanding it was considered

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »