New Hampshire State Papers

 

 

 

EARLY STATE PAPERS

 

OF

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

 

INCLUDING THE JOURNALS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND RECORDS OF THE PRESIDENT AND COUNCIL, FROM JUNE, 1787, TO JUNE, 1790,

 

WITH AN APPENDIX

 

CONTAINING BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF MEN WHO SUSTAINED IMPORTANT RELATIONS TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT DURING THAT PERIOD, TAKEN FROM THE MANUSCRIPT BIOGRAPHIES OF GOVERNOR WILLIAM PLUMER; ALSO CORRESPONDENCE AND ACTS OF THE LEGISLATURE PERTAINING TO THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION AND THE RELATIONS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

 

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VOLUME XXI.

 

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ALBERT STILLMAN BATCHELLOR,

EDITOR,

 

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CONCORD:

IRA C. EVANS, PUBLIC PRINTER.

1892.

 

 

 

 

JOINT RESOLUTION relating to the preservation and publication of portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire.

 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

That His Excellency the Governor be hereby authorized and empowered, with the advice and consent of the Council, to employ some suitable person and fix his comュpensation, to be paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to collect, arrange, transcribe, and superintend the publication of such portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire as the Governor may deem proper; and that eight hundred copies of each volume of the same be printed by the state printer, and distributed as follows: namely, one copy to each city and town in the State, one copy to such of the public libraries of this state as the Governor may designate, fifty copies to the New Hampshire Hisュtorical Society, and the remainder placed in the custody of the state librarian, who is hereby authorized to exchange the same for similar publications by other states.

Approved August 4, 1881.

 

 

 

 

PREFACE.

 

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This volume is a continuation of the Journals of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the Records of the President and Council, on the plan outlined in the preface to Vol. XX. These three political years exhibit the workings of the state government in the midst of the experiment undertaken by the adoption of the constitution of 1784. At the same time, moreover, the relations of the state with other states and the Federal union had been radュically changed by the adoption of the Federal constitution, and that epoch is included in the period covered by this volume. The student of constitutional history will find in these pages the official account of all the proceedings of the General Court touching the election of delegates, provision for a convention to consider the proposed Federal constitution, and the assumption of the various privileges and duties of statehood under the new compact. The journal of the convention which ratified the proposed Federal conュstitution has been published in Vol. X of this series, and illustraュtive notes and citations on the subject are given in the appendix to Vol. XX.

The extensive jurisdiction assumed and exercised by the General Court in the treatment of matters now regarded as of strictly judicial cognizance, or assigned to the courts of law and equity from considerations of convenience and public policy, is amply disclosed in these records of legislative proceedings. The Genュeral Court often undertook to reverse and vacate judgments of the courts of law by entertaining petitions for new trials, and exercisュing judicial functions in other ways, and they may be regarded, in a measure, as an indication of a lack of confidence in the courts or as the passing vestiges of that legislative supervision long

 

 

 

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exercised over the courts, as well as over the executive department. It was practically unlimited by the constitution of 1776, and not effectually controlled by that of 1784. Actual experience in the workings of government at this period brought the attention of ,the people to the faults to be remedied, and compelled an early attempt to obviate some of the more conspicuous defects in the organic law. Measures to this end were formulated soon after the adjustment of the state's new relations to the Federal union.

Thus while the practice and usages of legislation for a long time invited or tolerated the presentation of a multitude of private matters as subjects of action, and much of the record is occupied by that class of business, it should not be assumed that serious and far-reaching measures of general concern were a less important feature of .the legislation of that day. The currency, the public debt, inter-state affairs, the revision of the laws, the ever-present Masonian controversy, and the spirit of rebellion which was rife in 1787, were among the subjects of administration and legislation which demanded the highest order of statesmanship, and which give the official narrative a peculiar interest and value.

Many of the public. men of the Revolutionary period were now enjoying a distinction acquired in earlier civil and military service. It was to be expected that such services would entitle them to the rewards of office in times of peace. Age and natural partiality to the traditions and methods acquired from earlier conditions, made these men conservative. Aggressive measures of reform would most readily emanate from another element. Other and younger men were also becoming participants in the affairs of government. They had no undue reverence for the old order of things, civil or ecclesiastical. Some of them attained the highest places in public life, and won enduring fame as statesmen and jurists.

William Plumer first appeared in the General Court as a representative in 1785, and Jeremiah Smith in 1788. Both passed through a legislative tutelage which equipped them for more disュtinguished, but perhaps no more useful efforts, in the national Congress. They were both leaders at the outset. They became

 

 

 

 

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the foremost advocates of constitutional reform, and so effectually did they teach the lessons gathered from their own familiarity with the workings of the new government, that they are justly credited with the principal responsibility for the important amendments to the constitution which were, soon after their advent into public life, secured through the convention of 1791 and 1792. The Life of Plumer, chapters 2 and 3, the Life of Smith, chapter 3, and the Life of John Sullivan, pages 199 to 244, may be read with especial advantage in connection with an examination of the records here given. Other authorities which have reference to men and measures of the same period are cited in notes accompaュnying the text.

The selections from Governor Plumer's books of biography, which will be found in the appendix, are published with a two-fold purpose to call the attention of the public to that remarkable product of Mr. Plumer's well directed industry, which is contained in five manuscript volumes now in the custody of the New Hampshire Historical Society ; and to give those who might be disposed to pursue such lines of investigation an introduction to the principal actors in the affairs of the period under review, as they are pictured by a competent and critical contemporary.

The Record of the President and Council was never before printed. In ascertaining the practical construction of the constitution as given by the members of this body, many of whom were members of the convention which formulated the instrument, this part of the work will, it is hoped, be found especially useful. The re-examination of the respective rights and duties of the Governor and the Council, which recent events in several states have occasioned, is facilitated and made practicable so far as the archives of this state are required, to an extent not before possible.

The correspondence and legislative acts relating to New Hampshire and the Federal constitution, as gathered from various sources, are added for preservation and convenient reference.

The arrangement of the records in the body of this volume is the same as that adopted in Vol. XX. Similar official tables, marginal notes, and indexes have also been prepared. The next

 

 

 

 

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volume will be a continuation of the legislative journals and executive records to the close of the period which began with the constitution of 1784 and ended with the commencement of the first political year under the same constitution as amended in 1791-92. The further prosecution of the work in that direction is not at present contemplated.

Courtesies have been most cordially extended by the officials designated in former notes, and increased obligations incurred. The renewal of our acknowledgments of those favors is a duty and a pleasure.

THE EDITOR.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS,

 

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State Officers, 1787-88 1-5

Journal of the Senate, June Session, 1787 7-33

Journal of the House, June Session, 1787 35-87

Members of the House, 1787-88 37-39

Journal of the Senate, September Session, 1787 89-106

Journal of the House, September Session, 1787 107-143

Journal of the Senate, December Session, 1787 145-154

Journal of the House, December Session, 1787 155-169

Journal of the Senate, January Session, 1788 171-194

Journal of the House, January Session, 1788 195-232

Records of President and Council, 1787-88 233-250

State Officers, 1788-89 255-259

Journal of the Senate, June Session, 1788 261-286

Journal of the House, June Session, 1788 287-331

Members of the House, 1788-89 289-293

Journal of the Senate, November Session, 1788 333-344

Journal of the House, November Session, 1788 345-362

Journal of the Senate, December Session, 1788 363-414

Journal of the House, December Session, 1788 415-516

Records of President and Council, 1788-89 517-543

State Officers, 1789-90 545-549

Journal of the Senate, June Session, 1789 555-577

Journal of the House, June Session, 1789 579-627

Members of the House, 1789-90 581-585

Journal of the Senate, December Session, 1789 629-665

Journal of the House, December Session, 1789 667-737

Records of President and Council, 1789-90 739-775

Biographical Sketches 779-830

Correspondence Relative to Federal Constitution 831-866

Acts pertaining to Federal Relations 867-88o