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No. VI.

RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION BY THE SEVERAL

STATES.

The Constitution was adopted on the 17th of September, 1787, by the Convention appointed in pursuance of the resolution of the Congress of the Confederation of the 21st of February, 1787, and was ratified by the Conventions of the several States, as follows, viz. :

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By Convention of Delaware, on the 7th December, 1787.

Pennsylvania, 12th December, 1787.
New Jersey,

18th December, 1787.
Georgia,

2d January, 1788. Connecticut,

9th January, 1788. Massachusetts, 6th February, 1788. Maryland,

28th April,

1788. South Carolina, "

23d May,

1788. New Hampshire, 21st June, 1788. Virginia,

26th June,

1788. New York,

26th July, 1788. North Carolina,“ 21st November, 1789. Rhode Island,

29th May,

1790.

66

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N0. VII.

THE SETTLEMENT OF VERMONT.

ALL the British settlements in North America, except Pennsylvania, had encountered the early .hostility either of Indians or the colonies of other European Powers; but the people of Vermont had been involved in civil strife with their brethren of other colonies or States from its first settlement until its admission into the Union. The history of its several controversies is a tangled web, which we shall now endeavor briefly to unravel.

The territory which constitutes the State of Vermont, lying on the western bank of the Connecticut, between New England, New York, and Canada, long remained to those colonies an unsettled frontier. Its first settlement was at Fort Dummer, made by Massachusetts, in 1724. One of those qnestions about boundary, so common at that period, had previously existed between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and the question was finally settled in 1740 by the King in council, who decided the settlement of Fort Dummer to be within the jurisdiction of New Hampshire.

The lands in the vicinity, between the Connecticut and Lake Champlain, being very fertile, soon attracted settlers, who were so encouraged by the Governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, that, in 1749, be there granted a township of six miles square, to which he gave the name of Bennington.

Governor Clinton, of New York, claiming the Connecticut as the eastern boundary of New York, under the charter of Charles the Second to the Duke of York, considered Bennington to be within the jurisdiction of that province. Wentworth, however, justified the grants he had made to the west of the Connecticut, by the examples of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Clinton replied that Connecticut was warranted in the extension of her line by an express agreement with New York, made with the royal sanction; and that Massachusetts, as he presumes, had obtained the lands in her possession by intrusion, and had continued in possession by, the negligence of New York.

THE SETTLEMENT OF VERMONT.

667

The two Governors then agreed to refer the matter to the royal decision; but without waiting for that decision, Wentworth continued to make new grants, and, in the course of four or five years, he granted several similar townships. During the war of 1754, between Great Britain and France, all further grants were suspended; but, after the peace, when Canada became a British province, these settlements were so much encouraged, that, in 1761, the number of these townships amounted to sixty; by the fees for which, and the land reserved to the Governor in each township, Wentworth amassed a large fortune.

Meanwhile, the conflicting claims of New York and New Hampshire were revived with spirit after the peace, and, in 1763 and 1764, they were supported by the proclamations of the respective Governors, when, in July, 1764, the controversy was decided by the King in council in favor of New York. All the grants which had been made by Wentworth, lying to the west of the Connecticut, were thus within the jurisdiction of New York; and the Government of that province, giving to the royal decision a retrospective operation, maintained that the New Hampshire grants were void. It therefore laid off the district into counties, and proceeded to make new grants of the lands. In the alarm and confusion which this measure produced among the New Hampshire grantees, the more timid yielded to the authority of New York, but the greater number resisted; and mobs and riots, sometimes attended with bloodshed, gradually matured into an organized opposition to the course of New York, which the grantees regarded as equally unjust and oppressive. On this occasion, Ethan Allen and Seth Warner took the lead. Deputies were chosen by the grantees to represent their grievances to the British Government. They were favorably heard, and in 1767 the province of New York was prohibited from making any further grant of lands in the disputed territory.

It seems, however, that the grants of these lands was too profitable both to those who made, and those who received them, to be discontinued in obedience to the royal mandate. The courts of New York, moreover, attempted to enforce her grants, and the New Hampshire grantees continued to resist them by open acts of violence. This state of hostility was at its height when the Revolution broke out, and diverted the minds of the disputants to a yet more serious contest. Congress then became the umpire to which both parties looked.

In January, 1776, the New Hampshire grantees met in convention, and prepared a petition to Congress, in which they offered to contribute their full quotas towards the war; but they declared their unwillingpens to be subjected to the Government of New York. The committee

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of Congress to whom the subject was referred recommended to the grantees a submission to New York. This recommendation had no other effect than to excite discontent. The grantees held several other meetings, and in January, 1777, a general convention of the towns on both sides of the Green Mountains met at Westminster, and then declared themselves independent, under the name of “New Connecticut alias Vermont." They drew up a petition to Congress, asking to be admitted into the Union, and appointed Deputies to present and enforce it. In the following July, they formed a constitution for their selfcreated State.

Their application was actively opposed by New York; and in June, Congress passed resolutions unfavorable to the Vermont petitioners, and dismissed their petition.

The State of New Hampshire had hitherto-seemed favorable to the claim of her grantees to a separate independence, but her friendly sentiments now underwent a change. A portion of her inhabitants (sixteen towns) east of the Connecticut were desirous of uniting themselves with those on the west, and petitioned the Assembly of Vermont to receive them. Their application having been favorably received, they announced to New Hampshire that they had withdrawn from its jurisdiction. This attempt was followed by other combinations and projects of division, which threatening danger and embarrassment, the people of Vermont deemed it prudent to separate themselves from their recent associates, the sixteep eastern towns. But the people of New Hampshire, alienated from Vermont by her previous course, applied, in 1780, to Congress to re-annex the whole of Vermont to their State ; and New York made a similar application for herself. Massachusetts now also put' in a claim to a part of Vermont, 80 that there were, at this time, no less than four claims to her lands. Congress was unable to adjust their rival pretensions, but was evidently opposed to her separate sovereignty. The majority of the people, however, firmly asserted her rights, and resenting the supposed ill-treatment of Congress, became indifferent to admission into the Union, saddled as it was with a heavy

public debt.

Some British officers, informed of this change of feeling in Vermont, made overtures, in 1780 and 1781, to Ethan Allen and other leading men in Vermont, to re-unite themselves with Great Britain. Allen returned no answer to these overtures, and finally communicated them to Congress. The course of some of the other Vermonters, purposely of an ambiguous character, afforded to the British agents lively hopes of success. This temporizing policy was subsequently justified by the

THE SETTLEMENT OF VERMONT.

669

feeble condition of Vermont, and its exposure to the power of the British in Canada. The justification seems to have been deemed satisfactory by the people of Vermont.

An apparent vacillation, at this time, in the policy both of that State and' of Congress is plainly referable to the circumstances already mentioned.

After Vermont had terminated her connection with the eastern towns of New Hampshire, finding her claims to independence still thwarted, both by that State and New York, she determined to retaliate their policy, by inviting portions of those States to unite with her; and her efforts met with partial success in both States, aided as they were by British agents, and by all the disaffected : and though Congress had hitherto steadily opposed the independence of Vermont, yet, when they found that British agents were endeavoring to make it a British province, they, in August, 1781, appointed a committee to confer with the people of Vermont on the terms of their admission into the Union. By another resolution, passed a fortnight later, they required Vermont, before her admission, to relinquish all claims to lands or jurisdiction east of the Connecticut.

This last resolution produced, at first, some discontent in Vermont, but was finally assented to, owing, in part, to the seasonable interposition of General Washington; and the Legislature appointed agents to negotiate with Congress the terms of their admission into the Union. But Congress then returned to its former policy, and the proposition, in April, 1782, to admit Vermont, was negatived. Great discontent was produced in Vermont by this vote; but it seems to have been mani. fested by no important measure.

In December of that year, Congress passed a vote of censure on Vermont for extending its jurisdiction over citizens of New York; to which measure of Congress, first the Governor and Council, and subsequently the Legislature of Vermont, responded by a spirited remonstrance.

Though the peace put an end to these bickerings, they had cooled the desire of Vermont to enter the Union. Matters so remained until 1789, when New York, anxious to strengthen the new government, and hoping to be its seat, passed a law by which it assented to the admission of Vermont into the Union, on condition that she would pay to New York thirty thousand dollars, to indemnify her grantees. Vermont acceded to the proposal, and the chief difficulty being now removed, Congress, in 1791, passed a law for admitting Vermont in the Confederacy; and thus, in spite of the united opposition of New York and New Hampshire, of their own intestinal dissensions, and the seduc

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