Gambar halaman

had become very anxious to have Vermont admitted to the Union to increase the representation of the North in Congress. Such New York men as General Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay had long favored the claim of Vermont to independence, notwithstanding the obstinate resistance of Governor Clinton against such claim; and it was fast becoming apparent that the public sentiment of New York was in favor of reconciliation with that State also. Alexander Hamilton emphatically and repeatedly declared that the independence of Vermont had already become a fixed fact and that it would be worse than useless to try to overthrow it. He had for some time been in correspondence with Nathaniel Chipman, an able Vermont jurist, who was as anxious as he to bring about an adjustment of the difficulty between the two States.

The only point of controversy now existing seemed to be that concerning lands that had been previously granted by the New York government and regranted under the authority of the State of Vermont. The New York claimants were constantly complaining that they were not allowed to take possession of their property.

Commissioners were now appointed by the legislatures of both States with powers to settle all matters of controversy between them. After two or three meetings, the matter was amicably adjusted by Vermont's agreeing to pay New York the sum of $30,000 as a compensation for lands claimed by New York citizens, New York declaring her consent to the admission of Vermont into the Union, and agreeing also that upon such admission, that government would relinquish all claims over territory in the State of Vermont. Thus was terminated a controversy which had been carried on with great spirit and bitterness for twenty-six years.

New York makes Restitution to the Disaffected.—The $30,000 was divided among seventy-six claimants; and, although it did not give them a high price for their lands, was, probably, in general, satisfactory.

But these claimants were not the only ones who demanded restitution of the New York government. About three years before this time, some of the people in southeastern Vermont, who had suffered confiscation of personal property and lands because of their resistance to Vermont authority, petitioned the Legislature of New York to make compensation to them for losses which they had suffered. They declared that they had ever been faithful in their allegiance to that State, relying upon Congress and the New York government for protection, in both of which powers they had been disappointed.

In response to their petition, the New York Legislature, in 1786, appropriated to the sufferers a township eight miles square on the Susquehanna River, since known as the town of Bainbridge. This was divided among more than a hundred claimants; and many of the disaffected now removed to that place, while others remained in Vermont and were thereafter peaceable and quiet citizens.

Admitted into the Union.—As soon as a reconciliation had been effected with New York, the Legislature of Vermont called a convention to meet at Bennington in January, 1791, to consider the desirability of joining the Federal Union.

Among the delegates were such men as Governor Chittenden, Nathaniel Chipman, Moses Robinson, Stephen R. Bradley, Ira Allen, Ebenezer Allen, and others of equal

practical good sense and stern integrity. Many of the members of the convention doubted the expediency of joining the Union at all, and others were for postponing the decision ; but there were still others who felt that this was the time when such union could be accomplished without opposition and without difficulty, and that any delay would be very unwise. That accomplished scholar, Nathaniel Chipman, was one of the last. In a magnificent speech he gave his reasons for recommending such a course, emphasizing Vermont's insignificance as a separate State, showing in strong light the many ways in which she would be bettered and strengthened by the union, and her probable fate, should war again arise between the United States and Great Britain.

Such argument as his prevailed ; and, after a three days' debate, the convention unanimously resolved to make application to Congress for admission into the Union, Hon. Nathaniel Chipman and Lewis Morris were missioned to go to Philadelphia and negotiate for its admission. The remainder of the story is soon told. The very next month an act was passed in Congress, without debate and without a dissenting voice, declaring that “on the 4th day of March, 1791, the said state, by the name and style of the state of Vermont, shall be received and admitted into the Union, as a new and entire member of the United States of America.”

By this act the republic of the Green Mountains, which had had an existence of fourteen years, was at an end. it Vermont lost her peculiar and separate character, thereafter resembling in her leading features other individual States. Thereafter she was to stand with her motto of “Freedom and Unity” among the sisterhood of common



wealths on equal terms, with like interests, and in enjoyment of the same blessings and privileges.

It is to be regretted that neither Ethan Allen nor Seth Warner was permitted to see Vermont's admission into the Union ; for death claimed Waruer six years, and Allen two years before its consummation.

Vermont's Representation in Congress.-As no actual enumeration of the inhabitants had then taken place, the new State was instructed by Congress to choose two representatives to the national body until such enumeration should be effected. It was then the rule to allow each State one representative for every 30,000 inhabitants; and, when the census was taken, Vermont was found to have over eighty thousand, and thus was able to retain her two representatives. In 1806 the number had been increased to four, and in 1812 to six. This number she retained for several years but never has had a greater one.

In common with other States she was entitled to two seats in the Senate, and to represent her in that body Moses Robinson and Stephen Row Bradley were chosen.



The Legislature.--During the thirteen years of Vermont's existence as a republic, her Legislature met on an average twice a year, and in the year 1781 four times. Before her admission into the Union she had established the rule of meeting once a year; and this was the practise for many years afterward, except occasionally when some. thing arose which called for immediate legislation, in which case an extra session was called.

The Legislature convened in October and the business of legislation was usually completed in three or four weeks' time. Most of the legislators went to and from the General Assembly on horseback, though it was not unusual for these dignified lawmakers to make the way on foot instead.

The work of the Legislature consisted in the granting of new townships, the levying of taxes, the making of necessary laws, the granting of petitions, and the like.

Avery's Gores. --Besides the granting of townships a number of tracts of land in different parts of the State were also granted under the name of gores. A number of these were, in 1791, granted to Samuel Avery, bearing the name of Avery's Gores; but most of these, as well as others, have since been annexed to neighboring town. ships.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »