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VIEWS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE AND NEW YORK.
Previous to the adjournment of the ing now declared their independence and convention, it had been ordered that the adopted a constitution, they were by no first election under the constitution should means to be cajoled into an acknowledgtake place in December, 1777; and that ment of the “supremacy" of that state. the representatives then elected, should An answer to this proclamation was afmeet at Bennington in January following. terwards published by Ethan Allen, in Public attention was, however, so much which he points out its sophistry, shows engrossed by the advance of the enemy that its overtures “are all romantic, deunder Burgoyne, that the constitution signed only to deceive woods people,” was not printed in season to have the and he exhorts his fellow citizens to election take place at the time appointed. maintain inviolate the supremacy of the The convention was, therefore, again legislative authority of the independent called together at Windsor by the coun- state of Vermont, as the only means of cil of safety, on the 24th of December, security to their persons and property ; where they revised the constitution, and and he closes with the following bold and postponed the day of election to the first energetic address to the people of VerTuesday of March, 1778, and the meeting mont : of the assembly to the second Thursday “ You have experienced every species of the same month.
of oppression, which the old government The manner in which these proceed. of New York, with a Tryon at its head, ings of Vermont were viewed by New could invent and inflict; and it is maniHampshire and New York, is obvious fest that the new government are minded from the style of their communications to follow nearly in their steps. Happy is during this period. In answer to the ap- it for you that you are fitted for the seplication of the council of safety of Ver- verest'trials! You have been wonderfully mont for assistance, Mr. Weare, president supported and carried through thus far in of the council of New Hampshire, ad- your opposition to that government. Fordressed Vermont as a free and sovereign, merly you had every thing to fear from bat new state, and in such terms as to it, but now little ; for your public characleave no doubt but that New Hampshire ter is established, and your cause known willingly acknowledged her indepen- to be just. In your early struggles with dence. But not so with New York. The that government, you acquired a reputaproceedings of Vermont, it is true, had tion for bravery; this gave you a relish changed her policy, but had by no means for martial glory, and the British invasion reconciled her to a relinquishment of her opened an ample field for its display, and jurisdiction over the Grants. In his proc. you have gone on conquering and to conlamation addressed to the inhabitants of quer until TALL GRENADIERS are the Grants, February 23d, 1778," the dismayed and tremble at your approach. Governor of New York, after confirming Your frontier situation often obliged you their titles to their lands in particular to be in arms and battles; and by repeatcases, and making several concessions in ed marchings, scoutings and manly exertheir favor, expressly declares, that that cises, your nerves have become strong to government "will digorously maintain its strike the mortal blow.
What enemy rightful supremacy over the persons and to the state of Vermont--or New York property of those disaffected subjects.” land-monopolizer, shall be able to stand
The overtures in the proclamation of before you in the day of your fierce anGovernor Clinton, from which the above ger."'* extract is taken, have a semblance of fairness which might have misled a people less discerning, and less jealous of their
Section III. rights than they to whom they were ad. dressed. But the people of Vermont had Controversy with New Hampshire in 1778 been too long accustomed to a thorough and 1779—Legislative proceedings of investigation of every point in the con. Vermont. troversy not to perceive that these over
After the royal decision of the controtures held out no prospect of substantial relief. They perceived at once that New versy between New Hampshire and New York was now endeavoring to effect that York, in favor of the latter, in 1764, New by policy, which she had heretofore vain. Hampshire had made no attempt to con
tinue her jurisdiction over the disputed ly attempted by force. They had ever acted upon the conviction that the claims * The work from which this extract is taken, is of New York were groundless; and, hav. entitled : An Animadversory Address to the inhab
itants of the State of Vermont, with Remarks on a
Proclamation, under the hand of his Excellency, * See Slade's Vt. State Papers, page 82. George Clinton, Esq. Governor of the State of New shire was justly incensed at the proceedWith these views of their relations to ings. Mr. Weare, President of the CounNew Hampshire, the people on the terri- cil of New Hampshire, wrote to Congress tory between Mason's grant and Connect on the 19th of August, to procure advice, icut river, proceeded to make arrange and, in case of necessity, the interference ments for proposing a connection with of that body.* On the 22d of August, he, Vermont. The Legislature of Vermont in the name of the general assembly of met, for the first time, on the 12th of that state, wrote to Mr. Chittenden, gov. March, 1778, at Windsor, and the same ernor of Vermont, claiming the sixteen day a petition was presented froin sixteen towns as a part of New Hampshire. He towns on the east side of Connecticut stated that a large portion of the inhabiriver, praying to be admitted to a union tants of those towns were opposed to the with Vermont. The Legislature was union, that this minority had claimed the much embarrassed by this application. protection of the state, and that the gov. Most of the members from the west side ernment of New Hampshire considered of the mountains regarded the union as a itself bound to protect them. He urged dangerous measure, and the majority of Gov. Chittenden to exert his influence the assembly appeared to be against it; with the legislature, to dissolve a connecyet several of the towns in Vermont on tion, which would endanger their peace Connecticut river were very desirous that and probably their political existence. the towns from New Hampshire should On the reception of this communicabe received, and went so far as to propose tion, Governor Chittenden convened the withdrawing from their connection with council, and it was agreed that Colonel Vermont, and setting up another state. Ethan Allen should repair to Philadelphia In this state of things, and for the pur- and ascertain how the proceedings of pose of preserving its own union, the Vermont were regarded by Congress. On
UNION WITH A PART OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
DIFFICULTY WITH NEW HAMPSHIRE.
territory. Hence we have hitherto had | legislature voted, on the 18th of March, occasion to consider the people of Ver. 1778, to refer the decision of the question mont only in their relation to the govern to the people. ment of New York; but the declaration The Legislature met again by adjournof their independence and the organiza- ment on the 4th of June, at Bennington, tion of their government were, in their when it appeared that a majority of the consequences, the occasion of new diffi- towns were in favor of the union with culties, not only with New York, but also the sixteen towns from New Hampshire; with New Hampshire and Massachusetts. and, June 11th, it was “ voted that the
The original territory of New Hamp: union take place-thirty-seven in the afshire was granted to John Mason, and firmative and twelve in the negative." was bounded on the west by a line sixty It was also voted that any other towns on miles from the sea. The lands between the east side of Connecticut river might this line and Connecticut river, were roy- be admitted to a union, on producing a al grants, and belonged to New Hamp- vote of the majority of the inhabitants, or shire by virtue of the commissions of the on their sending a representative to the governors of that province. Vermont had assembly of Vermont. Having thus efno sooner organized her government than fected their purpose, the sixteen towns the inhabitants on these lands manifested informed the government of New Hamptheir desire to dissolve their connection shire that they had withdrawn from their with New Hampshire, and unite with jurisdiction, and wished the division line Vermont. In their justification, they con- to be established and a friendly intertended, that all the territory west of Ma- course to be kept up. son's grant, had been held in subjection Those who were anxious for this union to New Hampshire by force of the royal had represented to the Legislature, that commissions—that when the royal author- the inhabitants of the sixteen towns were ity ceased in the colonies, in consequence nearly unanimous in their votes to join of the declaration of independence, their Vermont, and that New Hampshire, as a allegiance to New Hampshire ceased, and state, would not object to their withdraw. they were left at liberty to form a sepa- ing from her jur iction. But the event rate government, or to unite with such proved both these representations to be neighboring government as would con- false. The government of New Hampsent to a union.
his return, he reported that Congress was York. By Ethan Allen.' It was dated Benningion, unanimously opposed to the proceedings August 9, 1778, and printed at Hartford, Ch. in a of Vermont in relation to the union with neat pamphlet of 24 pages, and is now in the pose session of the author. The substance of this pamphlet was afterwards incorporated into Allen's * For this letter, see Slade's State Papers, p. 90.
Vindication of Vermont,' and may also in part be found in Slade's Vt. State Papers, page 85.
† Ibid. page 91.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE.
CONVENTION AT CORNISH.
New Hampshire; but that if those pro- | The object of this convention was to esceedings were disannulled, only the dele. tablish a government in the valley of the gates from New York would oppose their Connecticut, the centre and seat of which independence.* The Legislature met should be somewhere upon that stream. again by adjournment on the Sth of Oc- The convention met at Cornish, New tober, 1778, at Windsor, and, having re- Hampshire, on the 9th of December, and ceived the report of Col. Allen, Oct. 13th, a union was agreed upon by the majority they took up the subject of the union. of the delegates, without any regard to
At the first session of the Legislature former limits, and a proposal was made to in March, the state had been divided into New Hampshire, either to agree with that two counties, Bennington on the west state upon a division line, or to submit it side of the mountains, and Cumberland to Congress, or to arbitrators mutually on the east. After considering and deba- chosen. In case neither of these propoting the subject of their connection with sals was accepted, they proposed that tbe sixteen towns from New Hampshire, they would consent that all the grants from the 13th to the 21st of October, votes should be united with New Hampshire, were taken in the Legislature on the fol- and altogether become one entire state, lowing questions, the result of which co-extensive with the claims of New evinced the determination of a majority Hampshire previous to the royal decision of the members to proceed no further in in 1764. Till one of these proposals was that hazardous experiment. Question 1st. acceded to, they “resolved to trust in Shall the counties in this state remain as providence and defend themselves.” they were established in March last? Only eight towns on the west side of This question was decided in the affirma- Connecticut river were represented in tive ; yeas 35, nays 26. Question 2d. this convention, and the delegates from Shall the towns on the east side of the some of these declined taking any part Connecticut river, which have been ad- in making the foregoing proposals to New mitted to a union with Vermont, be inclu- Hampshire. From the proceedings of ded in the county of Cumberland ? Ques- this convention, it became obvious that tion 3d. Shall said towns be erected into the whole aim of the leading men in the a county by themselves? The last two vicinity of Connecticut river, was to esquestions were both decided in the nega- tablish such a government as to bring tive ; yeas 28, nays 33.1
themselves in the centre, and it did not Finding by these votes that the Legis- appear to be material with them whether lature did not incline, at present, to do this was effected by a union of a part of any thing more on the subject of the New Hampshire with Vermont, or by union, the representatives from the towns bringing the whole of Vermont under the on the east side of the Connecticut with jurisdiction of New Hampshire. The drew from the assembly, in which they people of Vermont were now fully sensihad been admitted to seats, and were fol. ble of the impolicy, as well as injustice, lowed by fifteen representatives from of aiding in the dismemberment of New towns on the west side of the river, to. Hampshire, and they were wise enough gether with the lieutenant governor, and to embrace the first opportunity to retrace two of the council. After these members their steps, and dissolve a connection had withdrawn, the number left was bare- which threatened their ruin. ly sufficient to constitute a quorum. They, The legislature of Vermont met at Bentherefore, proceeded to transact the re- nington, according to adjournment, on maining business of the session, and ad- the 12th of February, 1779, and the next journed on the 24th of October, to meet day they voted to dissolve the union again at Bennington on the second Thurs- which had subsisted between them and day of February next, having resolved to the towns in New Hampshire.* This derefer the subject of the union with New termination of the legislature of Vermont Hampshire to their constituents for in- was immediately communicated to the structions how to proceed at their next government of New Hampshire by Ira session.
Allen, and was received while efforts The seceding members, after entering were making to gain the assent of that a formal protest upon the journals against government to the proposals made by the proceedings of the assembly, held a the Cornish convention. Encouraged by meeting, at which they made arrange these divisions, the legislature of New ments for calling a convention, to which Hampshire now resolved to lay claim, they invited all the towns in the vicinity not only to the sixteen towns, which had of Connecticut river to send delegates. united with Vermont, but to the whole
* For a copy of this report see Slade's state Papers, * For those proceedings see Slade's State Papers, pago 92. For these proceedings, see Ibid. p. 94.
CLAIMS UPON VERMONT.
DIFFICULTIES IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY.
state of Vermont, as grants originally I wrote to Congress, urging their decision made by that province. Application was of the controversy, and blaming the peomade to Congress for a confirmation of ple of Vermont for the violence of their this claim, and at the same time New proceedings. York applied to that body for a confirma- In conformity to the recommendation tion of her title to the territory in ques- of Governor Clinton, the friends of New tion.
York met in convention at Brattleboro', Circumstances connected with these on the 4th of May, 1779, and, having orapplications convinced the people of Ver- ganized, drew up a petition to the Govermont, that they were the result of the nor of New York, in which, after stating intrigues of the leading men in those the summary manner in which the prestates, and were designed to effect a di- tended State of Vermont was proceeding vision of Vermont between them, by a to confiscate their property, and various line along the summit of the Green Moun- other grievances, they "entreat his ex. tains.* As the other states in general cellency to take immediate measures for took but little interest in these controver- protecting the loyal subjects of that part sies, and as the adjustment of them was of the state, and for convincing Congress embarrassing to Congress, it was thought of the impropriety of delaying a decision that, if New Hampshire and New York in a matter, which so nearly concerned should agree, it would be left pretty much the peace, welfare and lives of many of to those two states to settle the affairs of their firm adherents.* About the same Vermont between them, in which case Ver- time a military association was formed in mont must certainly lose her separate Cumberland county for the parpose of existence as a state. But either to disap- opposing the authority of Vermont. point the parties, which appeared to be In consequence of representing that resolved on the annihilation of Vermont, they had a regiment of 500 men, and of or for some other cause, Massachusetts making some other false assertions, sev. now interposed, and claimed a portion of eral commissions had been obtained from the disputed territory, as within her juris- Governor Clinton; and the government diction. Thus was Vermont struggling of Vermont, therefore, found it necessary to maintain her independence against the to take measures to put a stop to these three adjoining states, which were all military movements. Ethan Allen was claiming her territory and the right of accordingly ordered by the governor to jurisdiction, nor had her proceedings yet call out the militia for that purpose. received any countenance or encourage. When the adherents of New York were ment from the continental Congress. informed of these transactions on the part
of Vermont, Col. Patterson, who held a commission in the county of Cumberland
under the authority of New York, wrote Section IV.
to Governor Clinton, May 5th, for direcControversy with New York, New Hamp- tions how to proceed, and suggested the
shire and Massachusetts, in 1778, 1779, necessity of sending the militia of Albany and 1780.
county to his assistance. This letter and
the foregoing petition were answered by During the troubles, resulting from the governor with assurances of protecthe union with a part of New Hamp- tion; and he recommended that the au. shire, and which have been mentioned in thority of Vermont should not be acknowlthe preceding section, Vermont was still edged, except in the alternative of subas deeply as ever involved in the contro- mission or inevitable ruin. versy with New York ; but now, events
On the 18th of May, Governor Clintranspired in the southeastern part of the ton wrote to the president of Congress, county of Cumberland, which gave to “ that matters were fast approaching to a that controversy a much more alarming very serious crisis, which nothing but aspect. On the 7th of July, 1778, Gover the immediate interposition of Congress nor Clinton wrote to his friends in Ver- could possibly prevent; that he daily ex: mont, recommending, that wherever the pected' he should be obliged to order out partizans of New York were sufficiently a force for the defence of those who adpowerful, firm resistance should be made hered to New York; that the wisdom of to the draughting of men, the raising of Congress would suggest to them what taxes, and to all the acts of the “ideal would be the consequence of submitting Vermont State ; and also “ that associa- the controversy, especially at this junetions be formed for mutual defence against ture, to the decision of the sword; but this usurpation." At the same time he
* For this petition see Slade's Vermont State Pa. , See Williams' History, Vol. II. page 184.
pers, Page 106.
PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS.
RESOLUTIONS RESPECTING VERMONT.
that justice, the faith of government, the | 1779, passed several resolutions, the subpeace and safety of society would not per- stance of which was as follows: * mit them to continue any longer passive Resolved, that it be earnestly recomspectators of the violence committed on mended, that New Hampshire, Massadieir fellow citizens." This letter and chusetts and New York expressly authorsundry other papers relating to the dis-ize Congress to determine their disputes putes were laid before Congress on the relative to their respective boundaries29th of May, 1779, and were referred to a and that on the first of February next, committee of the whole; and on the first Congress will proceed to settle and deterday of June, Congress resolved "that a mine the same, according to equity. It committee be appointed to repair to the was, moreover, declared to be the duty of inhabitants of a certain district, known by those inhabitants of the New Hampshire the name of the New Hampshire grants, grants, who did not acknowledge the ju. and inquire into the reasons why they re- risdiction of either of the above named fuse to continue citizens of the respective states, to refrain from exercising any powstates, which have claimed jurisdiction er over such of the inhabitants as did acover the said district. And that they take knowledge such jurisdiction, and it was every prudent measure to promote an likewise recommended to the said states amicable settlement; and to prevent di- to refrain, in the mean time, from execuvisions and animosities, so prejudicial to ting their laws over such inhabitants as the United States." ;
did not acknowledge their respective juWbile Congress was engaged in pass- risdictions. ing these resolutions, Allen marched with
From the whole tenor of these resoluan armed force and made prisoners of the tions, it was evident that Congress wished colonel and other officers who were acting for the present to pacify the parties, withunder the authority of New York. Com- out coming to any decision upon the matplaint was immediately made to Governor ter in dispute ; and it was equally evident Clinton, with an earnest request that he that she would prefer sacrificing Vermont would take speedy measures for their re- | as a separate jurisdiction, to a rupture lief. Governor Clinton wrote again to at this time with either of the states, Congress on the 7th of June, stating what which laid claim to that territory. Nor had taken place, disapproving of the reso- shall we be surprised at this partial and lutions of Congress before mentioned, and evasive policy, when we consider that requesting that the committee, appointed the successful termination of the war for to repair to the New Hampshire grants, independence, which was then undecimight postpone their visit till after the ded, and the fate of the colonies generally, next meeting of the New York legisla depended upon the integrity of their ture. June 16th, Congress resolved that union in the common cause. the officers captured by Allen should be These resolutions seem to have quieted liberated, and that the committee above all parties but Vermont. New Hampmentioned be directed to inquire into the shire and New York complied with the circumstances of that transaction. I
recommendations, and authorized ConOf the five commissioners appointed to gress to settle the dispute. Massachusetts repair to Vermont, two only attended did not comply, and she probably negDr. Witherspoon and Mr. Atlee. These lected it for the purpose of relieving Congentlemen repaired to Bennington in gress from the necessity of deciding the June, had several conferences with the matter at the time appointed, and of prefriends of Vermont, and, also, with oth- venting the sacrifice of Vermont. A comers, who were in the interest of New pliance with these resolutions on the part York. It seems to have been the aim of of Vermont, would have been to admit these commissioners to effect a reconcil. the existence of four separate jurisdictions iation between the parties; but it appears at the same time in the same territory, from the report, which they made to Con and in a territory too, the inhabitants of gress on the 13th of July, that they did which had declared themselves to be free not succeed in accomplishing the object and independent, and had assumed the of their mission. Four parties were now powers of government and exercised them claiming the same tract of country, and in all cases and in every part of the terrieach of these parties had applied to Con- tory. No alternative, therefore, remained gress for a decision of the controversy. to Vermont. She had taken a decisive Under such circumstances, Congress could stand-declared her independence--formnot well avoid taking up the matter ; and cd a constitution-enacted laws, and esamong others, on the 24th of September, tablished courts of justice, and now noth• Williams' History, Vol. II. p. 187.
* For these Resolutions seo Sladels State Papers, † Slade's State Papers, p. 108.' 1 Ibid. p. 109.