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miles to see him with no other company than a brother ten years of age. She had left two children, the older but four years of age, in the house alone. Not being able to gain admission to the fort till morning, she was obliged to remain over night. Anxiously returning to her home the next day she was much relieved find both her little ones elder, with spirit akin to that of her mother, having bravely assumed the protection and care of the younger.
STATE GOVERNMENT-FIRST GOVERNOR-RETURN OF
Vermont's Condition for the next Five Years.--The year 1777 practically ended the war, as far as Vermont was concerned ; for, after that time, the Green Mountain Boys were not brought into active service. Early in the year 1778 the regular troops stationed at Albany were ordered to the south, thus leaving the inhabitants of Vermont to their own protection. For five years, or till the end of the war, the inhabitants of the northern and western frontiers were constantly menaced by hostile Indians, who, instigated by the British in Canada, often invaded the Green Mountain State for the purpose of plunder, killing or carrying into captivity her inhabitants. Neither was there any protection against the British army in Canada. For these reasons it was not safe for the inhabitants of the State to lay down their arms; and so military organizations were kept up and constantly strengthened, and the frontier protected on the north and west by forts from which scouting parties were sent out to watch the movements of the enemy and report if danger were apprehended. These circumstances greatly retarded the establishment of townships to the north, especially along the French and Indian road, which was much frequented by the enemy.
But Vermont, if not actually engaged in fighting the British, was by no means at peace.
Her internal govern
ment, her relations to the neighboring States, to Congress, and to the British forces in Canada, for the next five years, will now be considered.
State Government Organized.—On the first Tuesday in March, 1778, the first election of State officers, under the constitution, was held. On the twelfth of the same month the Legislature convened in the Old Constitution House at Windsor ; and this first meeting of the General Assembly was indeed a memorable one.
After organizing, the votes for Governor were counted, and it was found that Thomas Chittenden had been chosen by a large majority. As no one had obtained a majority of the votes for Lieutenant-Governor or Treasurer, Colonel Joseph Marsh, of Hartford, was chosen by the Legislature for the former office, and Ira Allen for the latter.
At this session the State was divided into two counties: Cumberland, east; and Bennington, west of the moun. tains. Each county had two shires. Those of Bennington were Bennington and Rutland ; and those of Cumberland, Westminster and Newbury.
At this meeting also, sixteen towns east of Connecticut River applied for admission into the new State ; with what result we shall learn later on.
One of the most important measures considered was that in relation to the disposition of the Tory lands. As has been previously stated, the Council of Safety had the year before seized and sold the personal property of such as had gone over to the enemy; they had also leased some of their farms for a limited time, but had as yet made no further disposal of them. It was now voted that it should be left to the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor and Council to effect their sale, the proceeds to be paid into the treasury of the State. It is said that the estates of 162 persons residing on the west side of the mountains were ordered to be confiscated and sold. It may be well to add here that the income derived from this source was sufficient for some time to cover the greater portion of the State expenses. After continuing in session for two weeks, the Legislature adjourned to meet at Bennington the following June.
The Constitution. The constitution, as adopted in the July convention of 1777, consisted of three parts; namely, the preamble, a declaration of rights, and the plan of government. The preamble gave the reasons for Vermont's declaring herself an independent State, but this did not long remain a part of the constitution. The declaration of rights, as its name indicates, was a statement of the just rights of the inhabitants of the State. The plan of government was a statement of the laws themselves, and consisted of forty-three parts. To these have since been added amendments. Throughout, the instrument breathed of the spirit of freedom, and was in tone moral, liberal, and manly.
The constitution declared that the government of the State should be vested in a Governor (or Lieutenant-Governor), a Council of twelve members, and an Assembly of representatives. It also provided that courts of justice should be maintained in every county in the State, and that a council of censors, thirteen in number, should be chosen every seven years, their term of office to last one year.
Duties of Departments.— The entire legislative power was vested in a single house, the House of Representatives, instead of a House and Senate as at the present time. The
representatives were chosen by ballot annually, each town being entitled to one representative, and towns having more than eighty taxable inhabitants to two. afterward the rule of the present day, one representative and no more for each town, was established.
The executive authority was vested in a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and twelve Councilors, elected also annually by the freemen of the State. They could advise but had not the vetoing power. However, they often proved a strong check upon hasty and unwise legislation ; for all bills passed by the House had to be laid before the Governor and Council for approval before they could become laws; and that body might, if they wished, propose amendments, and had also the power, if it did not meet their approval, to order a bill to be left over till the next session of the Legislature. Such bills must then be printed and circulated before the people; and, if the people did not approve of them, it was their right to send representatives to the next Assembly who should carry out their wishes. In case of an emergency, temporary acts might be passed without delay. Bills could originate in the Council as well as in the House of Representatives ; and, in case there was a disagreement, the measure was discussed in a joint assembly, on which occasion the Governor presided. But when it came to voting on the measure, that privilege was accorded to the House alone.
The framers of the constitution, realizing that the plan of government which they had adopted would not be sufficient to meet the needs of the people when their cons ditions should change, as they must in future years, made provision to have the constitution examined and revised avery seven years. They provided that a council of censors