With Vermont the Revolutionary contest possessed a double interest,
and while she lent her aid to redress national grievances, she also maintained
a spirited contest on her own account, resolving to secure her independence
from New York. The territory treated of in this work, however, has none
of the romantic stories and traditions of this period that grace the annals
of localities earlier settled. The people of the New Hampshire Grants,
as may well be supposed, entered with an especially hearty zeal into this
contest. Their schooling had been such as to render them an exceedingly
undesirable foe to meet, as a large portion of the settlers had served
in the French and Indian war, and during the twelve or fifteen years that
had intervened had been almost continuously at strife with New York, and
entertained a feeling of deadly hatred against King George and the British
Parliament. It is not strange, then, that the "Green Mountain Boys" were
soon both feared and respected by their adversaries.
Washington county took no part in this struggle, as the war ended
about the time the first settlement was made within its territory.
The names of the Revolutionary soldiers and the part each took in
the common cause, who resided here afterward, we have mentioned, so far
as known to us, in their respective town sketches.
The surrender of Cornwallis, at Yorktown, October y, 1781, virtually
put an end to all these troubles, and the "Green Mountain Boys" were soon
again enjoying the privileges of peace.
settler in the territory now included in Washington county was Thomas Mead,
from Massachusetts, in the spring of 1783.]
The yoke of the mother country having been thrown off, the American
colonies rapidly advanced in material prosperity and wealth. Vermont expanded
into a free and independent state, and was finally received into the sisterhood
of the Union, March 4, 1791. In the meantime the French nation, led by
Napoleon Bonaparte, had arrived at the zenith of military glory, and was
giving England great cause for fear and trembling. England, in turn, seeming
to forget that her American offspring had arrived at maturity and was able
to protect its own institutions, continued her acts of tyranny. Looking
upon herself as mistress of the ocean, during her wars with Napoleon, she
utterly disregarded the rights of the United States as a neutral nation.
Her cruisers would stop and search American vessels, and seize such able-bodied
seamen as were needed, on the pretext that they were British subjects.
An American frigate, not in a condition to resist, having been subjected
to this indignity, almost within sight of an American port, after receiving
several broadsides for denying the right of such search, the President
issued a proclamation ordering all British ships of war to quit the waters
of the United States. Congress also laid an embargo on American vessels,
detaining them at home, but afterwards substituted a non-intercourse act,
prohibiting trade with Great Britain. All intercourse between this state
and the people of Canada was prohibited, without a permit from the governor,
under a penalty of $1,000 fine and imprisonment at hard labor in the state
penitentiary for a term of seven years.
Notwithstanding all this, England persisted in her offensive course.
All hopes of obtaining concessions on the impressment question from her
were at length abandoned. George II., who was still on the throne, had
become insane, and the men who had managed affairs were as short-sighted
as his advisors had been forty years before, whose folly had provoked the
Revolution. Longer submission to their arrogant claims was deemed unworthy
of a free nation, and war was therefore formally declared by the United
States, June 18, 1812.
Vermont, thinking that the difficulties of the times required its
sentiments to be known by the other states, adopted the following resolution:
This resolution Washington county sustained to the letter. Suffice
it to say, two years the storm of war raged, after which, the victorious
soldiers again returned to their quiet and peaceable avocations.
pledge ourselves to each other to our government, that with our individual
exertions, our examples and influence, we will support our government and
country in the present contest, and rely on the Great Arbiter of events
for a favorable result."
Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899,
and Published by Hamilton Child,
By William Adams.
Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
N. Y.; April, 1889.
by Karima Allison, 2003