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SECOND ACTION NEAR STILLWATER.
SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE.
unorganized assemblage of cowardly Yan-| had so completely hemmed him in, as to kees, which could never be brought to face render it utterly impracticable. Gates regular British and German troops upon now employed every means to cut off the the field of battle. And when they came supplies of the enemy, and the situation to see those, whom they regarded as des of the royal army became so desperate, picable back-woodsmen, maintaining, in that, on the 13th of October, Burgoyne their rustic homespun and leather aprons, called a council of war, by which it was with no other arms than rusty fowling unanimously determined to propose a pieces, an animated and determined at. capitulation. The next day, Major Kingstack upon the royal troops, till darkness ton was sent to the Americans ; hostilities put it out of their power to continue it, were suspended ; and on the 15th and their hearts sunk within them, and the 16th, the articles of capitulation were most sanguine could not suppress fearful severally agreed upon, and were to be forebodings with regard to the termina- signed the next day. During the night tion of their expedition.
of the 16th, Burgoyne received intelliThe Indians in particular, were so dis- gence that a British army was advancing heartened, that nearly all of them imme- up the Hudson to his assistance; and as diately left the British service, and about the capitulation was not yet signed, he 250 of them came over and joined the was of opinion that it was best to suspend American army.
The Canadians and the execution of it, and trust to events. Tories also deserted in large numbers. But his council decided that the publie From the 20th of September to the 7th of faith was already pledged for the execuOctober, the two armies lay very near tion of the treaty. each other and skirmishes between small Gates, who was well apprised of the parties were continually kept up. During advance of the British up the Hudson, this time the American army was receiv- and fearful that Burgoyne might be ening daily accessions from the surrounding couraged by it to further resistance, got country, while that of the British was every thing in readiness for attacking him continually diminishing by desertion and on the morning of the 17th. At nine other causes. On the 7th, General Bur- o'clock, the time fixed for signing the argoyne put himself at the head of 1500 ticles, he sent Colonel Greaton on horseregulars, for the purpose of covering a back to General Burgoyne for his signaforaging party, and discovering whether ture, allowing him only ten minutes to go it would be possible to force a passage and return. The business was accomdown the Hudson, should it be found ne- plished in the time specified, and the cessary to alter his position.
Americans marched back to their camp to As soon as Gates received intelligence the tune of Yankee-Doodle. The whole of the marching of this detachment, he number of troops, which were surrenderput his troops in motion to meet them, ed by this capitulation, was 5752, together and about four o'clock in the afternoon an with all the arms and military stores beaction commenced which continued till longing to the British army. night, and was one of the most animated This event terminated the career of and obstinate ever fought in America. Burgoyne and of the northern British arThe British troops were at length com- my in America, and nearly put an end to pelled to retreat to their camp, and some the war in the vicinity of Vermont. The of their entrenchments were carried by regular force under Gates was moved off the Americans sword in hand; their loss to combat the enemy in other quarters, in the conflict was very severe, compared and the sturdy yeomanry, who had rallied with that of the Americans. Gen. Fraser, around his standard and fought the battles Col. Breymen and several other officers of their country, now returned to their were slain, and Sir James Clark, Major homes. The country which had been Williams and Maj. Ackland were wound- made desolate by the ravages of war, beed and taken prisoners. The Americans gan again to be inhabited; and the inhabitook in the whole, 200 prisoners, nine tants were allowed once more to devote pieces of cannon, and a large quantity of their attention to their civil and domestic ammunition and camp equipage.
affairs As the force of Burgoyne was thus con- We have been thus particular respectstantly diminishing, while that of Gates ing the invasion of Burgoyne, as well on was daily augmenting by fresh arrivals, it account of its effects in breaking up the became obvious that nothing short of a settlements in the western parts of Verretreat to Canada could now prevent the mont, as of the important part performed complete overthrow of the royal army. by the Green Mountain Boys in check. This Burgoyne attempted as a dernier re, ing, and finally capturing the British sort, but soon found that the Americans army. In this business the people of Ver
CONDITION OF THE N. II. GRANTS.
CONVENTION AT DORSET.
mont made common cause with those of ceed in the next chapter, to consider more other states, and we have therefore not particularly the situation of Vermont, with interrupted our account of the great respect to her internal government, and events of the revolution which transpired her relations to the neighboring states,and upon our borders, by any account of our to the British forces in Canada, during internal policy. We shall, however, pro- the war for Independence.
CIVIL POLICY OF VERMONT DURING THE REVOLUTION.
union, and to convince them of the necesFrom the year 1775, to the Declaration of ble them to maintain the grounds, which
sity of a better organization, both to enathe Independence of Vermont in 1777.
they had assumed in relation to New Having completed our account of those York, and to put it in their power to renimportant events in the American war, in der efficient aid to their countrymen in which the people of Vermont were more the contest with Great Britain. particularly concerned, we shall now turn Accordingly, in the fall of the year our attention to their internal policy, and 1775, several of the leading men in the endeavor to trace the successive steps by Grants, repaired to Philadelphia, where which the powers of government were the American Congress was then sitting, assumed, and their political fabric erect- to procure the advice of that body with ed. The New Hampshire grants, having regard to the course proper to be pursued, never been recognized by the king as a under existing circumstances, by the inseparate jurisdiction, and having ever re- habitants of the Grants. Congress did fused submission to the authority of New not act formally upon their request, but York, were, at the commencement of the on the return of these men to the Grants, revolution, nearly in a state of nature, be they spread circulars among the people, ing without any internal organization un- setting forth as the opinion of several inder which the inhabitants could act with fluential members of that body, that the system and effect. Their only rallying inhabitants should immediately form a point and bond of onion, was their com temporary association and 'adopt such mon interest in resisting the claims and regulations as were required by the exauthority of New York. Yet the same igencies of their situation. interests which drove thein to resistance, A convention of delegates from the se gave the effect of law to the recommen-eral towns was accordingly assembled at dations of their committees and the or. Dorset, on the 16th of January, 1776. ders of their councils of safety, while a This convention forwarded a petition and few bold and daring spirits, as if formed address to Congress,* in which, after giv. for the very occasion, gave impulse, and ing a brief sketch of the controversy with energy, and system to their operations. New York, they avowed their unwaver
Thus situated were the inhabitants of ing attachment to the cause in which the the New Hampshire grants, when the first colonies bad unsheathed the sword, and scene of the great drama of the revolution expressed their willingness to bear their was opened at Lexington, and, as all full proportion of the burden of prosecu. lesser lights are swallowed up in the su- ting the war. But at the same time, they perior splendor of the sun, so were all the declared their unwillingness to be consid minor controversies among the colonists ered as in any manner subject to the aufor a while absorbed in the more momen- thority, or jurisdiction of New York, or tous controversy with the mother coun- to be called upon, when their services try. But the partial relief now experi
* For this petition and the resolutious of Congress enced from the oppression of New York respecting it, see Slade': State Papers, pages 63 served only to discover to the inhabitants and 64. The persons appointed to present this po. of the Grants the frailty of their bond of litrov, were James Breckenridge, Heman Allen and
Jonas Fay. Pr. i.
seyCONVENTION AT DORSET.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
should be required, as inhabitants of that as soon as may be, to declare the New province.
Hampshire grants a free and separate disThis was the first petition of the inhabi- trict." tants of the Grants to Congress, and the On the 15th of January, 1777, the concommittee to whom it was referred re- vention met again at Westminster.* The ported, that it be recommended to the pe sentiments of their constituents were now titioners to submit for the present to the well ascertained, and, being convinced government of New York, and assist their that there was now no other way of safety countrymen in the contest with Great left, they on the 16th of that month pubBritain ; but that such submission ought lished the following declaration : " This not to prejudice their right to any lands convention, whose members are duly in controversy, or be construed to affirm, chosen by the free voice of their constituor admit, the jurisdiction of New York ents, in the several towns on the New over the country, when the present Hampshire grants, in public meeting as. troubles should be ended. Mr. Heman sembled, in our own names, and in behalf Allen, the agent by whom this petition of our constituents, do hereby proclaim was forwarded, considering the report of and publicly declare that the district of terthe committee unfavorable to the Grants, ritory comprehending, and usually known obtained leave to withdraw the petition, by the name and description of ihe Nero and thus prevented Congress from com- Hampshire grants, of right ought to be, ing to any decision upon the subject. and is hereby declared forever hereafter 10 This took place on the 4th of June, 1776, be, a free and independent jurisdiction, or and on the 4th of July following, Con- state ; to be forever hereafter called, known, gress published to the world the memora- and distinguished by the name of New ble declaration of American Indepen- Connecticut, alius VERMONT.” dence.
And this declaration of independence By this declaration of Independence, furthermore asserts, “ that the inhabitants the people on the New Hampshire grants who at present are, or who may hereafter were placed in a situation more difficult become residents, either by birth or emiand embarrassing than before, and there gration, within said territory, shall be en. were various opinions with regard to the titled to the same privileges, immunities course which should be pursued. Some and enfranchisements as are allowed, or thought it best to place themselves under may hereafter at any time be allowed, to the jurisdiction of New Hampshire : some the inhabitants of any of the free and inconsidered the submission of the Grants dependent states of America: And that to the authority of New York, the only such privileges and immunities shall be course of safety; but the more resolute regulated in a bill of rights, and by a form and influential were for assuming the of government to be established at the powers of government and hazarding the next session of this convention." consequences. To ascertain the state of The foregoing declaration was unanipublic opinion on this subject, it was de- mously adopted by the convention; after termined that a general convention should which they drew up a declaration and pebe called, and circulars were accordingly tition to Congress, in which they anaddressed to the different towns, request. nounced to that body, as the grand reping them to appoint delegates.
resentative of the United States, that they There was a general compliance with had declared the territory, commonly this request, and delegates from thirty- known by the name of the New Hampfive towns assembled at Dorset on the shire grants, a free and independent state, 24th of July, 1776.*. At this session it possessing the right to regulate their own was agreed by the delegates to enter into internal policy in any manner which an association among themselves for the should not be repugnant to the resolves defence of the liberties of their country. of Congress. They moreover declared But at the same time they resolved that their attachment to the common cause they would not associate with, or submit and expressed their willingness to conto, the provincial government of New tribute their 'l proportion towards mainYork, and that all such inhabitants of the taining the war with Great Britain. They Grants as should thus associate, or sub-closed by praying that their declaration mit, should be regarded as enemies to the might be acknowledged by Congress and common cause. This convention met that delegates from Vermont might be adagain by adjournment at the same place on the 25th of September, and resolved
* The proceedings at Westminster may be found unanimously, “ to take suitable measures, History, Vol. 11. page 450.
in Slade's State Papers, page 70, and in Williams The proceedings of this convention may be seen
| For the Bill of Rights and Foren of Goverument, in Slade's State Papers, page 66.
see Chapter VII.
VIEWS OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF VERMONT.
DR. YOUNG'S LETTER.
mitted to seats in that body. This declara- renounce their allegiance to the authority tion and petition was signed, and was pre- of New York, sented to Congress by Jonas Fay, Thomas They complained of the injuries done Chittenden, Heman Allen and Reuben them by Congress in the appointment of ofJones, four of the most respectable mem- ficers in the disaffected portion of their state bers of the convention. *
without their consent, and intimated their These prompt and decisive measures of apprehensions that it was the design of the convention evinced the wisdom and Congress to countenance the insurgents boldness of the statesmen, who at this in their rebellion. They urged upon Conperiod directed the affairs of Vermont, gress the necessity of immediately recall. and placed the community in a condition ing the commissions given to Col.
Warner to adopt an efficient organization of its and the officers under him, as an act of own. Vermont, in justification of the justice to New York, and as the means of course of policy she was pursuing, con opening the eyes of the "deluded peotended that she had the same right to as- ple” on the Grants, who had set up for a sume the powers of government, which separate jurisdiction, and were now dewas possessed by the continental Con- siring Congress to sanction their illegal gress, and that every consideration, which proceedings. They represented the influcould justify the proceedings of that body, ence of Warner as very inconsiderable, might be urged as a reason why the peo- even in the disaffected district, and that ple of Vermont should embrace the pres- his services were a matter of no conseent opportunity, effectually to secure quence to the country. themselves against the oppression under While New York was thus laying her which they had so long suffered. Happy grievances before Congress, and using all was it for the new state, that these meas- her influence to prevent that body from ures were adopted and supported with recognizing the independence of the that firmness and temperance, which were Grants, the internal affairs of Vermont alone adequate to secure a happy result. were rapidly assuming that form and reg.
ularity, which was calculated to insure a permanent and efficient organization of
the government. In April, Thos. Young, SECTION II.
a distinguished citizen of Philadelphia,
addressed a communication to the inEstablishment of the Government of Ver- habitants of Vermont, in which he rep
mont-from the Declaration of Indepen- resented it as the opinion of several of the dence, January 15, 1777, to the meeting leading members of Congress, that Verof the General Assembly on the 12th of mont should proceed in her organization, March, 1778.
form a constitution, and appoint delegates These proceedings of Vermont, by which to Congress; and he declared it to be his she had declared herself to be a separate own individual opinion that Congress and independent jurisdiction, were re- would not hesitate to sanction their progarded with very different feelings by the ceedings, or to admit their delegates to a neighboring states. While New Hamp- seat in that honorable body.* shire, Massachusetts and Connecticut This communication was prefixed to a were ready to admit Vermont as a new resolution, which Congress had passed on member of the federal union, and ap- the 15th of May, 1776, which recomplauded the spirit and boldness with which mended to the assemblies and conventions she asserted and maintained her rights, of the United Colonies, where no governNew York regarded these transactions as ment, sufficient to the exigencies of their open acts of treason and rebellion against affairs, had already been established, to the lawful authority of that state. With adopt such government as, in the opinion these views, the convention of New York, of the representatives of the people, should on the 20th of January, 1777, and again best conduce to the happiness and safety on the 1st of March, of the same year, ad- of their constituents. This resolution was dressed communications to Congress, in regarded by the author of the communiwhich they represented the proceedings cation, as a full license from Congress to of Vermont as resulting from the arts and the Grants, to assume the powers of gov. instigations of designing men, and not, as ernment, and he recommended that no had been represented, from a general de time be lost in availing themselves of the sire of the inhabitants of that district to present opportunity to establish a separate
dominion *Slade's State Papers, page 70-Williams' History Vol. II. page 453.
* An extract from this communication may be For these documents see Slade's S. P., page 73. seen in Slade's State Papers, page 76.
PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS.
CONVENTION TO FORM A CONSTITUTION'
Alarmed at the suggestions in the fore and appointed a committee to make a draft going communication of Thomas Young, of a constitution for the state. They also the council of safety of New York pro. adopted a resolution, recommending that ceeded, on the 28th of May, to make a the several towns appoint delegates to further effort to arrest the progress of meet in convention at Windsor, on the Vermont. With this view they address. 2d day of July following, for the purpose ed a letter to the president of Congress, of discussing and adopting said constitu. in which they say that, “ as a report pre- tion. vails and daily gains credit, that the re- In compliance with the foregoing resovolters are privately countenanced in their lution, the convention assembled at Wind. designs by certain members of Congress, sor, on the 2d day of July, and a draft of we esteem it our duty to give this infor- a constitution was presented and read. mation, that by a proper resolution on the While the convention were deliberating subject, the reputation of Congress may upon, and adopting the several articles of cease to be injured by imputations so dis- this important instrument, they received graceful and dishonorable. However un- the news of the evacuation, on the 6th of willing we may be to entertain suspicions July, of 'Ticonderoga by the American so disreputable to any member of Con- troops. This event left the whole westgress, yet the truth is, that no inconsid- ern border of Vermont exposed to the eneerable numbers of the people of this state my, and spread alarm and consternation do believe the report to be well founded." through this and the neighboring states.
With a view of bringing Congress to a “ In this awful crisis," says Allen, in his decision on the subject of this controver- History of Vermont, “the convention sy, on the 23d of June, one of the New was for leaving Windsor; but a severe York delegates laid before that body the thunder storm came on and gave them communication of Thomas Young to the time to reflect; while some members, less inhabitants of Vermont. Congress now alarmed at the news, called the attention took up the matter, and the petitions and of the convention to finish the constitucommunications from New York and the tion, which was then reading, paragraph New Hampshire grants, were referred to by paragraph, for the last time. This was a committee of the whole. This commit- done, and the convention appointed a tee, on the 30th day of June, among other council of safety to act during their rethings resolved, that Congress would not cess, and adjourned.” recommend or countenance any thing in- Immediately after the adjournment of jurious to the rights and jurisdiction of the convention, the council of safety of the several communities herein repre- Vermont wrote to the councils of safety sented,--that the inhabitants of the New of Massacbusetts and New Hampshire, Hampshire grants cannot be justified in setting forth their exposed condition since their declaration of independence, by the the abandonment of Ticonderoga, and example of the United Colonies, nor by calling upon them in the most pressing any act or resolution of Congress,--that terms for assistance. These communicathe petition of Vermont, to be recognized tions were dated at Manchester, July 15th, as an independent state, and to have her 1777.* Upon this application, the coundelegates admitted to seats in Congress, cil of safety of New Hampshire immedibe dismissed. They farther resolved that ately convened the assembly of that state, the communication of Thomas Young was who without delay placed a large body of derogatory to the honor of Congress, and their militia under ihe command of Gen. contained a gross misrepresentation of the Stark, and ordered him to repair to resolution of that body therein referred Charlestown on Connecticut river; conto, and was calculated to mislead the peo- sult with the council of Vermont with ple to whom it was addressed.
regard to supplies and future operations; While Congress were thus resolving to and act in conjunction with the troops of dismiss the petition of the inhabitants of that or any other state, or of the United Vermont, and utterly to discountenance States, as in his opinion would tend most their proceedings, the people of Vermont effectually to stop the progress of the enewere engaged in forming a constitution my on the western frontier. These orfor the regulation of their civil govern- ders were promptly obeyed, and these ment, being fully persuaded that their in- troops, in conjunction with those of Ver. dependence must now be supported with mont, at Bennington, gave the enemy the the same firmness and spirit with which first effectual check, as related in the preit had been declared. The same conven- ceding chapter. tion which had declared the independence of Vermont, met, by adjournment, at
* For the correspondence with New flampshire Windsor on the first Wednesday of June, see Slade's State Papers, page 79.