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PROCEEDINGS OF THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE.
ing remained for her, but to go onward did and impartial world,* in which they with firmness and resolution ; and happy declared that they could not view themwas it for her that she possessed states- relves as holden, either in the sight of men endowed with courage and abilities God, or man, to submit to the execution suited to the exigency of her condition; of a plan, which they had reason to be statesmen who well understood the rights lieve was commenced by neighboring and interests of the community, and were states ; that the liberties and privileges determined that they should not be sacri- of the state of Vermont, by said resoluficed by the neighboring states, or by the tions, are to be suspended upon the arbi. policy of Congress.
trament and final determination of ConThe foregoing resolutions of Congress gress, when, in their opinion, they were had been communicated by express to the things too sacred ever to be arbitrated Legislature of Vermont, then in session upon at all; and what they were bound at Manchester; and, on the 16th of Octo- to defend at every risk : that Congress ber, Ethan Allen, Reuben Jones, N. Clark had no right to intermeddle in the interand Jonathan Fassett were appointed a nal policy and government of Vermont; committee to report a plan of " defence that the state existed independent of against the neighboring states, in conse- any of the thirteen United States, and quence of the late acts of Congress.” On was not accountable to them, or to their the 19th, the General Assembly went into representatives, for liberty, the gift of the committee of the whole on the state of benevolent Creator ;the country, and on the 21st made a re- That the state of Vermont was not repport, which was unanimously adopted, in resented in Congress, and could not subwhich they assert their right and deter- mit to resolutions passed without their mination to maintain the independence of consent, or even knowledge, and wbich Vermont, and recommend to the Assem- put every thing that was valuable to them bly to make grants of the unappropriated at stake;that there appeared a manifest lands of the state for the benefit of the inequality, not to say predetermination,
On the next day, it was resolved that Congress should request of their conthat Ethan Allen, Jonas Fay, Paul Spoon- stituents power to judge and determine in er, Stephen R. Bradley and Moses Robin- the cause, and never ask the consent of son be appointed agents on behalf of the the thousands whose all was at stake. state, to attend the deliberations of Con- They also declared that they were, and gress in February for the purpose of vin- ever had been, ready to bear their propordicating the independence of Vermont, tion of the burden and expense of the war and negotiating for her admission into the with Great Britain from its commenceUnion.
ment, whenever they were admitted into On the 28th of October, Governor Chit. the union with the other states. But tenden, by direction of the Council and they were not so lost to all sense and General Assembly, wrote to the president honor, that, after four years of war with of the Council of Massachusetts, inform- Great Britain, in which they had expending him that he had been made acquainted so much blood and treasure, they ed with the proceedings of Congress on should now give up every thing worth the 24th of September, and that those fighting for,-ihe right of making their proceedings contained the first intimation, own laws, and choosing their own form which he had received, of the claims of of government to the arbitrament and that state over a part of Vermont. In determination of any man, or body of men, this letter, which was forwarded by Gen. under heaven.' Ethan Allen, Gov. Chittenden vindicates
Congress, as already noticed, had apthe rights of the people of Vermont to pointed the first day of February, 1780, liberty and independence, and expresses for considering and determining the mata determination, on his part, “to bring ters in question; but, contrary to the about an equitable accommodation of all wishes and expectations of all the parties, differences, agreeable to the strict rules the subject was not called up. Congress, of justice and equity." |
however, ordered, on the 2ist of March, On the 10th day of December, 1779, that, as there were not nine states reprethe governor and council of Vermont, in sented in that body, exclusive of the parreference to the foregoing resolutions of ties concerned, the matters should be, for Congress, published an appeal to the can- the present, postponed, but on the 2d of
June, resumed the consideration of it, * For these procesdicgs see Slade's Vermont State Papers, page 113.
* This Appeal was written by the Hon. Stephen
R. Bradley, and published in a pampblet, a copy of page 114.
len, of Irasburgh.
AGENTS SENT TO CONGRESS,
REMONSTRANCE OF THE AGENTS.
and among other things, resolved "that but not as the representatives of any the proceedings of the people on the New state, or of a people invested with legisHampshire grants, were highly unwar. lative authority. “New Hampshire and rantable and subversive of the peace and New York now urged, and endeavored to welfare of the United States, and that prove, their respective claims to the disthey be strictly required to abstain from puted territory, and it soon became eviall acts of authority, civil or military, over dent to the agents that Congress did not those inhabitants who profess allegiance regard Vermont as a party in the controto other states.” The subject was again versy, but that, in attempting to decide called up on the 9th of June, and the fur- the dispute between New Hampshire and ther consideration of it postponed to the New York, she was adjudicating upon second Tuesday of September following:* the very existence of Vermont without
The foregoing resolutions and proceed- her consent. ings of Congress were communicated to Alarmed and indignant at these proGovernor Chittenden, who laid the same ceedings, the agents withdrew their at. before his council; and on the 25th of tendance, and on the 22d of September, July, they replied, in a communication transmitted a remonstrance* to Congress, addressed to the president of Congress, in which they declare they can no longer that “ however Congress may view those sit as idle spectators, without betraying resolutions, they are considered by the the trust reposed in them, and doing viopeople of this state, as being in their na- lence to their own feelings; that by the ture subversive of the natural rights mode of trial which was adopted, the which they had to liberty and indepen- state of Vermont could have no hearing dence, as well as incompatible with the without denying her own existence, and principles on which Congress grounded that they would not take on themselves their own right to independence, and such humility and self abasement as to had a natural and direct tendency to en- lose their political life in order to find it. danger the liberties of America; that Ver. They expressed the willingness of Vermont, being a free and independent state, mont to submit the dispute to the mediahad denied the authority of Congress to tion and settlement of the legislatures of judge of their jurisdiction ;
disinterested states, but reprobated the That as they were not included in the idea that Congress could sit as a court of thirteen United States, if necessitated to judicature, and determine the matter by it, they were at liberty to offer or accept virtue of authority given them by one terms of cessation of hostilities with Great only of the parties. They conclude by Britain, without the approbation of any observing, that, if the present policy be other man, or body of men.” And they pursued by Congress, they “are ready to further declared that if Congress and the appeal to God and the world to say who neighboring states persisted in the course must be accountable for the awful conse, they were pursuing, they could have no quences that may ensue.” motives to continue hostilities with Great On the 27th of September, Congress Britain, and maintain an important fron. again resumed the subject of the controtier for the benefit of a country which versy, and, having heard the evidence on treated them as slaves. Yet, notwith the part of New Hampshire, resolved that standing the injustice done them, they the further consideration of the matter be were induced, by their attachment to the postponed ; and this was doubtless the cause of liberty, once more to offer union wisest course of policy which Congress with the United States, of which Congress could pursue under existing circumstanwere the legal representative body."
The contest with the mother counAll parties now anxiously awaited the try was yet undecided, and its issue decision of Congress on the second Tues-doubtful, and the grounds which the sevday of September, and, although Vermont eral parties in the dispute had assumed denied the authority of Congress to de- were such, that Congress could not hope termine the matter, she judged it prudent to make a decision which would satisfy to employ Ira Allen and Stephen R. Brad- them all; and to irritate either of the ley as her agents, to attend the delibera- states concerned to such a degree as to tions upon the subject. On the 19th of drive them to an abandonment of the September, I Congress took up the subject common cause, might paralyze the efforts of the controversy, and the agents from of Congress, and prevent the attainment Vermont were permitted to be present, of that liberty and independence for
which they were struggling. * For these proceedings seo Slado's State Papers, page 116.
* For this remonstrance see Slade's Stato Papers, † For this communication sec Slade's State Papers, pago 118. Ibid. page 122.
CONVENTIONS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
APPLICATION TO JOIN VERMONT. SECTION V.
sirous of being united with Vermont, in Union of Vermont with a part of Nero
one separate independent government, Hampshire and a part of New York in upon such principles as should be mutu 1781.
ally thought the most equitable and bene
ficial.” This application, together with The indefinite postponement of the de- another of similar import from the inhabicision of the controversy by Congress, as tants of several towns in the north-eastern mentioned in the preceding section, was part of New York, was referred to a comby no means agreeable to Vermont. She mittee of the whole, which reported on well knew the ground on which she stood, the 14th of February. In this report the and although this postponement evinced committee, after recapitulating the history that her claims to independence had made of the controversies with New Hampshire some impression on the mind of Congress, and New York, recommend that the legyet it forbade the hope of an immediate islature of Vermont should lay jurisdicrecognition of that independence, and her tional claim to all the lands situated east admission into the union. And, more-of Connecticut river, north of Massachuover, being irritated by the course pur- setts, west of Mason's line and south of sued by New Hampshire and New York, latitude forty-five degrees," and also “to in substantiating their claims, and being all the lands situated north of the north wounded by the humiliating treatment line of Massachusetts, and extending the which her agents had received from Con- same to Hudson river, the east of the gress, Vermont now resolved upon a deepest channel of said river to the head course of policy, which would enable her thereof; from thence east of a north line to assume a more imposing attitude, and being extended to latitude 45°, and south induce her opponents to yield to power of the same line including all the lands what had been so long denied to the claims and waters to the place where this state of justice.
now exercises jurisdiction; and that they Since the dissolution of the union be- do not exercise jurisdiction for the time tween Vermont and the sixteen towns being." from New Hampshire, a large number of In addition to various other reasons for the inhabitants in the western part of New the recommendation above mentioned, the Hampshire were still anxious to be an. committee say, that notwithstanding the nexed to Vermont. There were at the brave exertions of this state in the battles same time many who were desirous that of Bennington and Hubbardton, Congress New Hampshire should sustain her claim has been induced through the influence and exercise jurisdiction over the whole of the state claiming jurisdiction over its territory. To facilitate the accomplish- territory, not only to withdraw her troops, ment of the object last mentioned, a con- but all her articles and stores “even to vention* of delegates from the several pick-axes and spades, at a time when the towns in Cheshire county, N. H., had as- state was erecting a new line of forts on sembled at Walpole on the 15th of No- her frontiers,” thus compelling her to vember, 1780, and had sent an invitation rely upon her own strength and resources to the towns on both sides of Connecticut for defence against a powerful enemy, and river to appoint delegates to meet in con- rendering it justifiable to increase her vention at Charlestown on the 3d Tuesday ability by enlarging the extent of her of January following. Accordingly, rep- jurisdiction. resentatives from forty-three towns as- The report being accepted and its resembled at Charlestown on the 16th of commendations adopted by the assembly, January, 1781 ; but, to the surprise and a committee was appointed to confer with disappointment of those who had proposed a committee of the convention of the New the measure, a large majority of the con- Hampshire towns, which was then sitting vention were found to be opposed to the at Cornish, on the opposite side of the jurisdiction of New Hampshire and in river, and after repeated communications favor of a union with Vermont.
between them, articles of union were A committee was therefore appointed finally agreed upon. By these articles by the convention to confer with Vermont it was stipulated that the constitution of on the subject of the union. This com- Vermont should be adopted by the New mittee, on the 10th day of February, in- Hampshire towns; that application should formed the assembly of Vermont, then be made to Congress to be admitted as sitting at Windsor, that “the convention one of the United States; that full act of of the New Hampshire towns, was de
* For this Report, see Slade's State Papers, p. 128. * For proceedings of this convention, see Slade's | For a detailed account of these articles and State Papers, pago 126.
proceedings see Slade's State Papers, pages 133-136. + The fullest account of these negotiations is • Slado's State Papers, p. 137.
ONION WITA PART OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
UNION WITH PART OF NEW YORK.
oblivion he passed for all former offences the west. On the 11th of April, 1781, a against Vermont by persons denying her committee was appointed by the general jurisdiction; and that the towns in Ver- assembly to attend a convention of delemont, and also the New Hampshire towns, gates from the towns in New York which should be called upon to express their desired a union with Vermont, and make opinions of the proposed union; and if, the necessary arrangement for effecting at the adjourned session of the assembly, it. This convention met at Cambridge, in April next, it should appear that two and on the 15th of May, the articles of thirds of each were in favor of the meas. union were agreed to by the committee ure, the union should then be consum- from Vermont and the delegates from mated, and representatives should be ad- twelve districts in New York; and on the mitted to the assembly from the New 16th of June following, they were conHampshire towns. These articles, agreed firmed by the legislature of Vermont, and upon by the committees, were confirmed representatives from those districts were by the assembly, which pledged the faith admitted to seats in the general assembly. * of the state that they should be held sa- By these bold and decisive measures, cred.
Vermont placed herself in an interesting The assembly of Vermont met again at attitude, and evinced to the world the Windsor agreeably to adjournment, on abilities and the peculiar genius of her the 4th of April, and the convention of statesmen. Than the measures which we the New Hampshire towns also re-assem- have just recorded, no course of policy bled at Cornish. On the 5th of April, a could be better calculated to enable her committee of the convention informed the to sustain her independence and thwart assembly that thirty-five towns on the the designs of her enemies. By the east side of Connecticut river had con- unions, thus formed, she had doubled the sented to the union, being all the towns extent of territory within her jurisdiction from which returns had been received; and added greatly to her numbers and reand that the way was now clear on their sources. She had quieted the disaffection part for the union to take place. On ex- of her people at home, and restored conamining the returns, which had been for- fidence to her friends abroad. She had warded from the towns in Vermont, it ap- placed the territory in a condition to inpeared that thirty-six were in favor and vite immigration from the neighboring seven opposed to the union; whereupon states, and had laid the foundation for å a committee was appointed to inform the large and powerful community. In short, convention that a major part of the towns she had placed herself in a condition to in Vermont had agreed to the union, and command the respect even of her enemies, that the assembly would receive the mem- and to draw from them concessions which bers returned from the New Hampshire justice alone had sought in vain. She towns, on the morrow, at nine o'clock in therefore wisely determined, so to manthe morning. Accordingly, on the next age her own affairs, as to secure her own day, thirty-five representatives from towns safety and independence, against the arms on the east side of Connecticut river, took of the British on the north, and the wiles their seats in the General Assembly of of her enemies in other quarters. The Vermont.*
manner in which this was effected will be On account of the unjustifiable meas- related in the following section. ures by which New York was endeavor. ing to embarrass and overturn the gov. ernment of Vermont, and in consequence of repeated solicitations from several
SECTION VI. towns in New York, which bordered on Vermont, to be taken into union with this Negotiations with the British in Canada state, the legislature of Vermont had, on
from 1780, to 1783.7 the 14th of February, 1781, laid jurisdic- From the commencement of hostilities tional claim to all the lands west of her at Lexington, no people in America had present territory, and east of Hudson riv. espoused the cause of liberty and of their er to the head thereof, and thence east of country with greater alacrity, or sustaina north line extending to the 45th degree ed it with more spirit and resolution, than of north latitude; with the proviso, that the people of Vermont. Yet, after all this jurisdiction should not be exercised their efforts and sacrifices in the common for the time being. But Vermont, hav- cause, they had the mortification to find ing now completed her eastern union, once more turned her attention to that on * Slade's Vermont State Papers, p. 138-14i.
contained in Ira Allen's History of Vermont.
COL, ROBINSON'S LETTERS.
LETTERS FORWARDED TO CONGRESS.
themselves denied a just participation of|to the commander-in-chief; and I hereby the blessings which they had labored to promise that I will faithfully lay them secure. Their claims to independence before him according to your directions, were not acknowledged by Congress; the and flatter myself I can do it with as good dismemberment of their territory and the effect as any person whatever. I can annihilation of their sovereignty were make no proposals to you until I know your threatened by the intrigues and the un sentiments; but think, upon your taking just claims of the neighboring states, and, an active part and embodying the inhabto crown the whole, they were now aban- itants of Vermont, under the crown of doned by the power which ought to pro- England, you may obtain a separate gov. tect them, and left to contend single ernment under the king:--If you should handed with the common enemy. think proper to send a friend here with
But notwithstanding their attachment proposals to the general, he shall be proto the cause of their country, the people tected and allowed to return whenever he of Vermont could not fail to perceive that pleases.”. every step which they took to support it, Allen immediately communicated the only rendered their own condition more contents of this letter to Governor Chithopeless. They could hardly wish to lend tenden and some confidential friends, who their aid for the purpose of bringing the agreed in opinion, that no answer should struggle with a foreign enemy to a suc- be returned. Robinson, not receiving a cessful termination, when they perceived reply to his letter and supposing it to have that, by such an event, they should be miscarried, wrote again to Allen on subjected to the domination of a more the 2d of February, 1781, enclosing his detestable enemy at home. In this state former letter. In his second letter, after of things, Vermont wisely consulted her saying he had received new assurances own safety; and by the negotiation with of the inclination of Vermont to join the the enemy in Canada, in which she now king's cause, he said that he could then engaged, she was so fortunate as to se. write with more authority; and assured
Allen that he and the people of Vermont The British generals in America had could obtain the most favorable terms, for some time entertained hopes of turn-provided they would take a decisive and ing the disputes in relation to Vermont active part in favor of Great Britain. He to their own account, by detaching that requested an answer; and, that the way district from the American cause and might be pointed out for continuing the making it a British province. But the correspondence; and desired to be infirst intimation of their views and wishes formed in what manner the people of Ver. was communicated in a letter from Col. mont could be most serviceable to the Beverly Robinson to Ethan Allen, dated British cause. New York, March 30th, 1780. In July, Allen returned no answer to either of this letter was delivered to Allen in the these letters; but, on the 9th of March, street in Arlington, by a British soldier 1781, inclosed them in a letter to Conin the habit of an American farmer. Al- gress, informing them of all the circumlen perused the letter, and then told the stances, which had thus far attended the bearer that he should consider it, and that business. He then proceeded to justify he might return.
the conduct of Vermont in asserting her Colonel Robinson began his letter by right to independence, and expressed his expressing a wish that his proposals might determinate resolution to do every thing be received with the same good intention in his power to establish it. Conscious with which they were made. He then of his own integrity, and sensible that his proceeds:-" I have often been informed activity and sufferings in the cause of his that you and most of the inhabitants of country were well known throughout Vermont, are opposed to the wild and America, he expressed himself in the folchimerical scheme of the Americans in lowing independent and decided lanattempting to separate from Great Britain guage. and establish an independent government “I am confident," said he, “that Conof their own; and that you would wil. gress will not dispute my sincere attachlingly assist in uniting America to Great ment to the cause of my country, though Britain, and in restoring that happy con- I do not hesitate to say, I am fully groundstitution so wantonly and unadvisedly ed in opinion, that Vermont has an indudestroyed. If I have been rightly inform- bitable right to agree on terms of a cesed, and these should be your sentiments sation of hostilities with Great Britain, and inclination, I beg that you will com- provided the United States persist in remunicate to me without reserve, whatjecting her application for an union with ever proposals you would wish to make them. For Vermont would be, of all peo