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DIFFICULTIES WITH N.H. AND N.Y. WASHINGTON'S LETTER TO CAITTENDEN.
During these proceedings, new difficul- | Fortunately, about this time, Governor ties were opening to Vermont in her east- Chittenden received a reply to his comern and western unions. A communica- munication of the 14th of November, from tion was received by Governor Chitten. General Washington, which was obvi. den from one of the sheriffs in the eastern ously dictated by his paternal solicitude union, informing him that the government for the good of his country, and for a hapof New Hampshire, were about taking co- py termination of the troubles in relation ercive measures to bring those citizens of to Vermont. This letter is dated January that state, who had joined Vermont, again 1st, 1782, and from it we extract the folunder their laws and authority. The gov. lowing paragraph: ernor, on the 14th of December, directed “It is not my business, nor do I think General Paine, then lieutenant governor it necessary, now to discuss the origin of of the state, to call out the militia on the the right of a number of inhabitants, to east side of the mountains, for the assis- that tract of country, formerly distinguish. tance of the sheriffs and the defence of the ed by the name of the New Hampshire citizens; and, if armed force should be grants, and now by that of Vermont. I employed by New Hampshire, that he will take it for granted that their right should repel it by the same. Mr. Paine was good, because Congress, by their re. forwarded a copy of this order to the coun- solve of the 7th of August, imply it; and cil of New Hampshire, and informed them, by that of the 20th are willing fully to con. that, if hostilities were commenced, he firm it, provided the new state is confined should execute his orders, and that New to certain described bounds. It appears Hampshire must be accountable for the therefore to me, that the dispute of boun. consequences. With these communica- dary, is the only one that exists; and, tions, commissioners were also sent to that being removed, all other difficulties New Hampshire, to endeavor to aecom- would be removed also, and the matter modate matters, and prevent the effusion terminate to the satisfaction of all parties. of blood.
You have nothing to do, but to withdraw On the other hand, the military force your jurisdiction to the confines of your was called out in New York, to prevent own limits, and obtain an acknowledge Vermont from executing her laws over ment of independence and sovereignty the inhabitants of her western union, and under the resolve of the 20th of August, to aid the sheriff of New York in appre- for so much territory as does not interfere hending several persons in the territory with the ancient established bounds of who had rendered themselves particularly New Hampshire, New York and Massaobnoxious to the government of that state. chusetts. In my private opinion, while This force was commanded by General it behooves the delegates to do ample jusGansevoort, who, being informed that tice to a people, sufficiently respectable Colonel Walbridge was advancing with by their numbers, and entitled, by other a large body of traops from the Grants, claims, to be admitted into the confederawrote to him on the 18th of December, to tion, it becomes them also, to attend to be informed of the object of his movement. the interests of their constituents, and Walbridge replied that it was to protect see, that under the appearance of justice the inhabitants, who, in consequence of to one, they do not materially injure the the union, professed allegiance to the others. I am apt to think this is the prestate of Vermont; that he wished con- vailing opinion of Congress."* ciliatory measures might be adopted, but, Being endeared to all the friends of lib. if those persons who professed to be citi. erty by his integrity and virtue, and by zens of Vermont should be imprisoned his disinterested exertions and sacrifices and their property destroyed, he would for the good of his country, such a comnot be accountable for the consequences. munication from General Washington
Affairs seemed now to have reached an might reasonably be expected to exert a alarming crisis, and all parties trembled powerful influence upon the minds of the at the prospect of a civil war. Happy leading men in Vermont, and the event was it that hostilities were not commenc- showed that it did. At the next meeting ed before the parties had taken time to of the legislature, which was held at Benreflect upon the consequences of such a nington, this letter was laid before them. measure; for when they looked at the It served to open their eyes to the former momentous struggle in which their coun. errors of government, and, knowing it to try was engaged, every philanthropist have come from a man, who had only the was fully convinced that no differences interests of his whole country at heart, his between the states should, on any ac- advice was received with the greatest count, be permitted to endanger the cause of American liberty and independence. * Williams' History, vol. II, page 225. PT. II.
VERMONT UNIONS DISSOLVED.
PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS.
deference, and, after mature deliberation in Congress. These resolutions declared upon the subject, the assembly on the that, if Vermont did not, within one 22d of February, 1782, resolved to comply month from the time these resolutions with the preliminary required by the res- were communicated to Governor Chittenolution of Congress of the 20th of August, den, comply with the resolution of the and relinquish all claims to jurisdiction 20th of August, and relinquish her jurisbeyond the bounds therein mentioned.* diction beyond the bounds therein named,
Thus was dissolved a union which had such neglect and refusal would be regardgreatly increased the power and conse- ed as an indication of hostility to the quence of Vermont, and which, it was United States. believed, had prevented the division of In that case Congress would regard the Vermont between New Hampshire and pretensions of Vermont for admission in. New York. But this union was not dis- to the union as fallacious and delusive, solved without a struggle and much dis- and would, thereafter, consider the lands satisfaction in those parts which were cut in Vermont to the eastward of the ridge off from Vermont, by the prescribed boun- of the Green Mountains, as granted to daries. The inhabitants of those parts New Hampshire, and the lands to the had eagerly sought the union with Ver. westward of said line as granted to New mont, and they were too well satisfied York; and that the commander in chief with it, willingly to return to their alle of the American armies be directed to giance to those states from which they had employ the military forces of the United withdrawn.
States to carry these resolutions into full Vermont, having complied with the execution. After a long debate and sev. requirements of Congress, now confident- eral trials, it was found that a vote could ly expected an immediate recognition of not be obtained to pass these resolutions, her independence, and an admission into and a few days after, as the excitement the federal union; and with it a termina- was beginning to subside, the agents from tion of the disagreeable controversy with Vermont arrived at Philadelphia New York. The legislature therefore These agents were Jonas Fay, Moses proceeded to choose four agents to arrange Robinson, Paul Spooner, and Isaac Tichthe terms of admission, and then take enor, and they were instructed “to netheir seats in Congress as representatives gotiate and complete, on the part of Verof Vermont. But, in their expectations, mont, the admission thereof into the fedthe people of Vermont were again doomeral union, and to subscribe articles of ed to disappointment; a disappointment, perpetual confederation thereunto.' On the pain and mortification of which could the 31st of March, 1782, they officially only be exceeded by the impolicy and laid before Congress the proceedings of injustice of the neglect which occasioned the legislature of Vermont on the 22d of it. Congress still refused to admit Ver: February, by which they had fully commont into the union, and again reverted plied with the requirement of the resoluto her policy of evasion and delay. tion of the 20th of August. Congress
now again took up the subject and refer. red it to a committee of five members,
who, on the 17th of April, reported, * SECTION II.
• That in the opinion of the committee, Proceedings of Congress—Disturbonces in Vermont had fully complied with the re
Vermont-from the Dissolutions of the solution of the 20th of August as prelimunions in Vermont, Feb. 22d, 1782, to inary to the recognition of her soverthe Treaty of Peace between the United eignty and independence, and admission States and Great Britain, January 20th, into the federal union; and that she con1783.
ditional promise of such recognition and The refusal of Vermont on the 18th of admission by Congress, is thereby become October, 1781, to comply with the reso
absolute and necessary to be performed.? lution of the 20th of August, had been tion declaring " That the district, or ter
The committee then proposed a resolucommunicated to Congress, and while the assembly of Vermont, in February, litted in the resolution of Congress of
ritory called Vermont, as defined and lim. 1782, was reconsidering the subject and effecting a compliance with said resolu hereby is, recognised and acknowledged,
the 20th of August, 1781, be, and it tion, Congress was engaged in warm debate upon their preceding refusal. On by the name of the state of Vermont, as the first day of March, several spirited free, sovereign and independent; and resolutions were proposed and discussed
that a committee be appointed to treat
* For this Report, see Slade's State Papers, page Williams' H. Yol. II. p. 227, Slade's S. P. p. 168. I 170.
AGENTS OF VERMONT ADDRESS CONGRESS.
LENIENT MEASURES OF NEW YORK.
and confer with the agents and delegates the 14th of April, 1782, the Legislature of from said state, upon the terms and mode New York passed several acts in relation of the admission of said state into the to this district.* By the first of these acts federal union.” When this report was full pardon and immunity was granted read, motions were successively made to the inhabitants of the district, for all that its consideration be assigned to the crimes and offences with which they stood first Tuesday in October, the first Tues-charged, excepting for the crime of treaday in June, and to Monday next, all of son in adhering to the king of Great which were decided in the negative. Britain, and for murder. This was fol.
By these votes it became evident that lowed by another act confirming—first, Congress did not intend to come to any all the grants made by New Hampshire decision upon the affairs of Vermont, and within the district, which were prior to the agents of Vermont, disappointed at the the grants of the same lands by New York ; result, addressed a letter to the president secondly, all the grants made by New of Congress on the 19th of April, and York, of lands not previously granted by immediately left Philadelphia. * In this New Hampshire, and such as were made communication they say, that in conse in confirmation of New Hampshire grants; quence of the plighted faith of Congress, thirdly, all Vermont grants of lands not and the advice of gentlemen of the first previously granted, and lastly, the possescharacter in America, Vermont had been sions of individuals not included in any induced to comply, in the most ample of the above-mentioned grants, to the manner, with the resolution of the 20th of amount of 500 acres each, and no more ; August, and that they had officially com- all these confirmations to be made withmunicated said compliance to Congress. out requiring any fee to the government. They expressed their disappointment at But the people of Vermont had now the delay of Congress to execute, on their gone too far, and had established their part, the spirit of said resolution, and government upon too firm a basis to be pointed out the critical situation, to which shaken from their purpose of indepenVermont was reduced by casting off a dence by any, however specious, devices considerable portion of her strength,-by of New York. They even appeared to being exposed to the main force of the have adopted a fixed determination to enemy in Canada, and by receiving no listen to no propositions from any quarter aid from the United States, in whose cause by which their separate existence as a she had freely fought and suffered. state should be endangered ; and as the
When these proceedings of Congress acts above-mentioned were not to take became known in Vermont they produced effect until Vermont renounced her asuniversal dissatisfaction. It was the gen- sumed powers of government, and the eral opinion that the resolution of the 20th people returned to their allegiance to New of August, had been designed to dupe York, they seem to have been treated by the assembly to a compliance, for the pur- Vermont with very little attention. pose of weakening Vermont and render- Notwithstanding the unsettled and eming it less dangerous to contravene her barrassing state of her relations to Condesigns and wishes. Faith in the virtue gress and the neighboring states, the inand integrity of congress was nearly de- ternal tranquillity of Vermont had been, stroyed; and by these measures of that for some time, but little disturbed. Her body, the people, and the assembly of political institutions had been gradually Vermont, were determined to adhere to maturing, and the organization of her the boundaries, to which they had agreed, government had assumed a regularity and rely upon their own strength, resour and efficiency which commanded the obeces, and management for defence and dience and respect of the great body of safety, and urge no further upon Congress the citizens. New York had not relintheir right to a confederation with the quished her claim to jurisdiction over the United States. Still, that it might ap- territory, but she had not, of late, made pear to the world that Vermont was not any serious effort to exercise it; and had in fault, the assembly, at their session in contented herself with opposing the adOctober, again appointed agents with full mission of Vermont into the union, and powers to complete arrangements for her by endeavoring, in the manner we have admission into the union.
just related, to bring over the people to her During these transactions, New York own interest. But while a vast majority resolved to see what could be effected by of the people of Vermont yielded a wil. adopting a more lenient policy towards ling obedience to her authority, and were the people of Vermont. Accordingly on ready to make almost any sacrifice to sus
* This letter may be seen in Slade's Stato Papers, * For these Acts, see Slade's Vt. State Papers, page 172
ADHERENTS OF N, Y. PUNISHED.
RESOLUTIONS OF CONGRESS. REMONSTRANCE OF YT. tain her independence and government, made by the resolution of the 20th of there were some among her citizens August, 1781, their proceedings were full whose submission was reluctant, and who of censure and threatening against Verwere ready to embrace any favorable op-mont, for having exercised authority over portunity to renounce their allegiance persons, who professed allegiance to the and support the claims of New York. state of New York, in violation of the
As the continental troops had been with resolutions of Congress,* passed on the drawn from the northern frontier, and 24th of September, 1779, and on the 2d as Vermont was exposed to invasion by of June, 1780. Among other things they the enemy from Canada, she found it ne- resolved, that Vermont be required to cessary to order a draft of militia for the make full restitution to the persons conpurpose of defence. Those citizens of demned to banishment or confiscation of Vermont, who were disaffected toward property, and that they be not molested the government, résolved to take this op- on their return to said district. They portunity to resist its authority. They close by resolving, “that the United States were encouraged in this measure by the will take effectual measures to enforce a governor of New York, who gave com- compliance with the aforesaid resolutions, missions to sundry persons in the south- in case the same shaij be disobeyed by eastern part of the county of Windham, the people of the said district.” and had recommended the organization of The faith of the people of Vermont in a military force for the purpose of oppos- the wisdom and integrity of Congress, ing Vermont, and enforcing the laws of weakened by several of their former acts, New York. Vermont became alarmed at was by the foregoing nearly destroyed, these proceedings, and, having employed and with it the reverence and respect of lenient measures in vain, ordered out the the people for that body. The governor militia to suppress them. The leaders in and council of Vermont, on the 9th day of the rebellion were taken, five of the most January, 1783, returned a spirited reobnoxious of whom were banished from monstrance to the above resolutions, in the state, and others fined or otherwise which Congress was reminded of their punished.
solemn engagement to the state of VerDisappointed in their attempts to resist mont, in the resolution of the 20th of the authority of Vermont, the insurgents August, and which, after the fullest comapplied to the government of New York, pliance on the part of said state with the under which they pretended to have act requirement of Congress, Congress had ed, for support and remuneration for their refused or neglected to fulfil. Congress sacrifices and losses in consequence of were told, that, by their own articles of their rebellion. But the desired support confederation, they had no right to inter New York was not able to afford. Vermont meddle with the internal policy of any of feared not her power, and therefore her the United States; and least of all with promises and her threatenings were alike that of Vermont, from which she had redisregarded. A remonstrance was then ceived no delegated authority whatever. forwarded to Congress setting forth that It asserted that Vermont had as much Vermont had proceeded to exercise juris. authority to prescribe measures to Condiction over the persons and property of gress, as Congress had to revoke the lesundry persons, who professed themselves gal decisions of Vermont in the case of to be subject to the state of New York. the criminals already mentioned. This remonstrance was seconded by a let- The remonstrance went on to assert ter from the governor of New York, and that Vermont had had an independent juon the 14th day of November, 1782, the risdiction since the royal decision in 1764, committee in Congress to whom the sub- and they did not intend to be resolved out ject was referred, reported “ That the of it by the influence, which their old admeasures complained of were probably versary, New York, possessed in Conoccasioned by the state of New York hav- gress ;-that Vermont had no controversy ing given commissions both civil and mil- with the United States, as a whole ; but itary to persons residing in Vermont.” that she was at all times, ready and able, They also recommended, that said com- to vindicate her rights and liberties against missions be revoked, and that Vermont the usurpations of New York. It declares should make satisfaction to the persons, that Congress has been so mutable in who had been banished, or who had sus- their resolutions respecting Vermont, that tained damages. But Congress refused to adopt the resolution recommended. * These Resolutions may be found in Slado's State
On the 5th of December, Congress Papers, page 177. again took up the matter, but instead of
+ This able document, which is alike distinguishfulfilling their engagement to Vermont may bo found in Slade's state Papers, page 178-185. REMONŠTRANCE OF THE ASSEMBLY.
ed for force of reasuning, and severity of rebuke,
ETHAN ALLEN'S PROCLAMATION.
it is impossible to know on what grounds | itants of this town were friendly to New to find them. At one time they guarantee York and were therefore denominated. a part of her lands to New Hampshire “ Yorkers ;” and at their town meetings and New York, still leaving a place for it was usually a part of their business to the existence of Vermont though much appoint “a committee to defend the town diminished in extent. At another time against the pretended state of Vermont.” they are controlling the internal govern. In several of the neighboring towns, ment of Vermont. And again, at another particularly in Brattleborough, the disaftime prescribing terms of confederation, fected towards the government of Verwith the United States, and when these mont were considerably numerous, and are complied with on the part of Vermont, there was in these towns an organized Congress will not ratify the union. After opposition to the government of the state, giving a full reply to all the topics con. and conventions of delegates from them tained in the resolutions of Congress, the occasionally assembled for the purpose of remonstrance concludes with a request to adopting an uniform plan of resistance be immediately admitted into the union, throughout the whole. The measures of and with an assurance that she will not the government, most vigorously opposed, recede from her compliance with the res- were the collection of taxes and the draftolution of the 20th of August, 1780. ing of men for the defence of the state ;
The assembly met at Windsor, on the and it was a customary part of their busi13th of February, 1783, and on the 26th, a ness at their town meetings in Guilford, remonstrance, like the preceding, spirited while the Yorkers were a majority, to apand decisive, was forwarded by that body point a special “committee to forbid the to Congress. It announced in the plain-constable acting." And to secure a maest terms that Congress had no business jority at their town meetings, the new state to intermeddle in the internal affairs of people were frequently excluded from the Vermont, and that Vermont was fully polls by an armed force, collected from determined to maintain her independence the neighboring towns. and jurisdiction within her own limits. It appears that in Guilford and some of She, therefore continued, unawed by the the other towns, the two parties had each threatenings of Congress, to enforce the a town organization of their own, and that, decisions of her courts of justice, and in in some cases, there were two sets of the administration of the affairs of govo town officers, one professing allegiance ernment, and Congress, as it appears, to Vermont, and the other to New
York.. did not judge it prudent to attempt, by Between these, and their partizans on force, to carry into effect her resolutions each side, there were frequent skirmishes, of the 5th of December, 1783.
some of which were not terminated without the shedding of blood. During the years 1783 and 1784, the enmity of the
parties was carried to an alarming extent. SECTION III.
Social order was at an end; physicians Disturbances in Vermont growing out of were not allowed to visit the sick without
the controversy with New York, and the a pass from the several committees. Handgeneral embarrassments occasioned by minds of the people. Relatives and neigh
bills from various quarters inflamed the the Revolution.
bors were arrayed against each other. The The disturbances in the county of Wind-laws of Vermont were disregarded by the ham, to which we alluded in the preceding partisans of New York, and her executive section, perhaps deserve a more particular officers were openly resisted. notice than was there given. At the first In this state of things, in the summer organization of the government of Ver of 1783, General Ethan Allen was directinont in 1778, there were many people in ed to call out the militia for enforcing the the southeastern part of the state, who laws of Vermont, and for suppressing inwere in favor of New York, and of course surrection and disturbances in the county opposed to the independence of Vermont. of Windham. Allen proceeded from BenThese persons embraced every opportu- nington at the head of 100 Green Mounnity to embarrass the newly organized tain Boys, and on his arrival at Guilford, government, and at several times resisted he issued the following proclamation, conthe authority of Vermont by force. The cluding it with an oath : "1, Ethan Allen, centre of this opposition seems to have declare that unless the people of Guilford been at Guilford, at that time the most peaceably submit to the authority of Verpopulous town in the state, numbering mont, the town shall be made as desolate nearly 3000 souls. During most of the as were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” revolutionary war a majority of the inhab- The Yorkers having fired upon Allen and