900 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY HARRY MILLER.
Williston, a town situated in the center of Chittenden County, was chartered by Gov. Wentworth, June 7th, 1763, and according to the original charter, was bounded north by Winooski river, which separates it from Essex and Jericho, east by Bolton, south by Huntington and Hinesburgh, west by Burlington, which line at that time was about one mile west of the village of Williston. It was called Williston is honor of Samuel
Willis one of the grantees. The settlement of this town
was commenced in May, 1774, by Thomas Chittenden and Gen. Jonathan Spafford,
who came on together, and located on the river, taking up large tracts of excellent
land adjoining each other. In the spring of 1776 they were joined by Elihu
Allen, Abijah Pratt, and John Chamberlin. These families had but just arrived
when the enemy advanced from
Williston was settled mostly by men from
Hon. LEMUEL BOTTOM was among the most substantial and enterprising of these early settlers. Coming into the town in 1786 he at once became a leader and for many years enjoyed the entire confidence of the community, and held many of the most important county and town offices. He died in 1815.
Col. ISAAC McNIEL was another early and prominent
inhabitant. He came to this town from
JONATHAN SPAFFORD (who has already been named as one of
the earliest settlers) was a man of great energy and enterprise, well qualified
to lead the life of a pioneer and to assist in laying the foundation of a
prosperous settlement. He lived in Williston many years, enjoying the highest
respect of all the inhabitants, and finally died, at an advanced age, in the
SOLOMON MILLER was also one of the earliest settlers. He
was born in
BY RUSSELL S. TAFT, ESQ., OF
In the early history of the country, Williston was one of the most important places in this section of the state; it was the residence of Thomas Chittenden who for some 18 years was the governor of the state; and being more rapidly settled than some of the adjoining towns, was, for a long time, the center of a large business, and numbered among its citizens a large number of the leading and prominent men in the county. At the census in 1791, there were 471 inhabitants in town, Charlotte being the only town in the county more populous, which was probably caused by the nearer location of Char-
* A native of Williston.
lotte to the southern settlements, in this state and
Williston was represented in the convention at
Some noted instances of longevity have existed in this town. Thompson's History gives the following: Susannah Hart died 1830, aged 104; Susannah Wells died about 1811, aged 104; Mrs. Rachel Man, aged 96; Mr. Zacariah Hart, below referred to, aged 103; Capt. John Munson died in Williston, about 1864, aged 94.
Williston is one of the best agricultural towns in the state, containing no mountains within its borders, it is beautifully diversified with "hill, plain, and valley," with large tracts of level, and comparatively no waste land. A great variety of soil exists, from the lightest sand to the stiffest clay: no grain, which can be grown in this northern region, but finds its congenial home here; the pastures upon the hills are not excelled in their verdancy and freshness; and the intervals along the banks of the Winooski, and the upland meadows, are unrivaled.
The forest trees most common in this town are the maple,
beech, birch, pine, and hemlock; while almost all those mentioned in the list
of trees given by Prof. Thompson in his history of
EARLY SETTLERS—JONATHAN HART
was one of the early settlers in the westerly part of the present town, then the east part of Burlington; he purchased the right which belonged under the charter to Thomas Van Wyck, of Oyster Bay, Long Island, on the 29th day of September, 1789.
brother of Jonathan, purchased of him a part of the same land, on the first day of March, 1790; and lived in town until the time of his death, which happened on the 26th day of March, 1852, at the very advanced age of 103 years. He resided in the north-west corner of the town, near Hubbell's Falls.
one of the earlier inhabitants, settled in the south-west
part of the town, purchasing of Ira Allen lots Nos. 69 and 71, in the fall of
1790, and resided in town until the time of his death, which occurred about the
year 1840. He came into this state originally from Hoosac, and lived in
Ferrisburg before he moved to Williston. During the winters, in his earlier
life, he passed much of his time in hunting in this state and in the
was another of the "oldest inhabitants,"
settling upon the hill south of the "French place," and lived until
quite an old man, dying about the year 1851. He made a purchase of
came into town quite early and purchased 500 acres of the best land in town, of Ira Allen.
a brother of Isaac, came originally from
WILLIAM HENRY FRENCH,
son of Jeremiah French, was born on the 4th of May, 1813, in Williston, and resided there—with the exception of a few years while he held the office of judge of probate—until his death, living at the time of his decease upon his farm which descended to him from his father, and upon which he was born.
During his whole life he was an influential and prominent citizen. He was called upon by his fellow-citizens to fill almost all the various offices of importance and trust in his native town. He represented Williston in the legislature in the year 1838. He was instrumental in the formation of the third or liberty party, and was its candidate for member of the 28th Congress, running against Hon. Geo. P. Marsh. In 1844 and 1845 there were no elections made in Williston for town representative. In 1846 the liberty party, having become quite respectable in
numbers, nominated and elected Mr. French—he being at that time one of the twelve members of the legislature belonging to that party, and the only one from Chittenden county. He was reelected a member in 1847, and in the following year he was elected by the legislature judge of probate for the district of Chittenden. In the year 1852 he was elected by the people judge of probate, and received at their hands eight successive reelections. In the capacity of judge he became widely known to the people of his county, and wherever his acquaintance extended he was extremely popular; the fact that in all elections where he was a candidate he ran ahead of his associates on the ticket, is sufficient evidence of his popularity. He was a genial, whole-souled man generous even to a fault; taking a deep interest in public affairs, and ever alive to the sufferings and wants of the poor and needy; to no one could the poor better apply for relief in their hour of distress than to him, and many a fugitive and wanderer—seeking an escape to Canada, from the "land of the free," by means of the underground railroad—has found food and shelter and a conveyance to speed him on his way at the Judge's house. He was a member of the Masonic order and a prominent Knight Templar, having held the office of Grand Captain General in the Commandery of the state. He was a severe sufferer, during the latter part of his life, from asthma and rheumatism. He died the 29th of May, 1866, aged 53 years and 25 days.
The First Universalist Society in Williston was organized at a meeting held on the 18th day of February, A. D. 1844, at the townhall, having for its objects, as stated in its constitution, "The purpose of sustaining the preaching of the Gospel, and promoting the cause of truth, righteousness, humanity, liberty and charity;" objects indeed worthy the efforts of any organization.
The number of members at first was 51, and from the time of its organization the society has maintained a vigorous existence, subject to the changes peculiar to such bodies. It has always been, and is now, composed of a large share of the liberal-minded and substantial people of the town. The society worshiped at first in the town hall, but in 1859 they built a very neat and commodious brick house of worship near the center of the village, on the south side of the main street, next east of the Methodist chapel, which was dedicated in 1860.
Rev. Eli Ballou was the first pastor, and since the termination of his connection with the society it has enjoyed the labors of the following clergymen: Revs. John Gregory, Alson Scott, Hiram P. Cutting, Hervey Elkins, Joseph Sargent and John J. Lewis.
Joseph Sargent, while engaged as pastor, was appointed Chaplain of the 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Militia, and died while in service. The following notice of him is taken from the Universalist Register:
"Rev. JOSEPH SARGENT, Chaplain 13th Regt. V. V. M., died of typhoid fever, at Camp Carusi, near Occoquan, Va., April 20, 1863, aged 46 years.
He was born in Warner, N. H. Nothing is known by us of his early life. He prepared for the ministry with Rev. S. A. Davis, and preached first in Sullivan or Cheshire County, in his native state. His first settlement in Vermont, his adopted state, was at Barnard, where he preached two or three years. Thence he moved to Barre, where he was constantly employed eight years. By his untiring efforts, the society was enabled to build the subbtaatiad church edifice in which it now worships, the erection of which in a favorable locality probably saved the society from decay. While in Barre, Mr. Sargent took a leading part in many of the social enterprises of the place, laboring for the cause of education, being chiefly instrumental in forming a town Library Association, and twice representing the place in the lower branch of the state legislature. He was next engaged as state Missionary, one year, in which capacity he was very successful. He then removed to Plainfield, and took charge of the Universalist Society in that town two years. Desiring better opportunities to educate his children, he moved to Williston, where, after two years service as pastor of the Universalist societies in Williston and Essex, he was chosen, in the autumn of 1862, Chaplain of the 13th Regt., V. V. M. Having a kind, sympathetic heart, and great facility in ministering to the sick, with an inexhaustible fund of mirth, he was very useful to the soldiers, who loved him with passionate fondness. He left a wife and four children,—one of whom, the oldest, a young lady of great worth, has since joined him in the better life. Devoted friends, wherever he was known, cherish his memory with deep affection."
Rev. John J. Lewis, the present pastor, is a man of great worth and promise, a graduate of Tufts College, Mass., and under his pastorate the society is enjoying a prosperous life.
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CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH IN WILLISTON.
BY REV. J. W. HOUGH, PASTOR.
The town which gave to Vermont her first Governor early made provision for its own religious culture. In 1788 measures were taken to "hire a minister;" in 1789 meetings were "holden in the house of Nathan Allen, the one-half, and in the house of Mr. Walston or in Mr. Anger's barn, the other half;" and, in 1790, it was "voted to build a meeting-house to accommodate the whole town." The division of the religious society, consequent upon the change of the town boundaries, delayed the execution of this purpose for some years; and though it was voted, in 1793, "to draw logs to the mill this winter for boards for a meeting-house," and in 1795 the site was chosen "on a knoll southerly of Dr. Winslow's barn," the building was not commenced till 1796. It was 50 by 57 feet, and built in the style of "ye olden time," with galleries upon three sides, square pews, and a lofty pulpit standing upon a single shaft.
The preaching of the gospel had been enjoyed as yet only during brief periods. In 1791 we find the curt record, "Voted to discontinue Mr. Abiel Jones as minister in this place." Mr. Bradley was "hired on probation" in 1782. Mr. Hutchinson "preached two Sabbaths" in the winter of 1794.
The church Was organized Jan. 23d, 1800, with 16 members. Rev. Aaron C. Collins was installed as its first pastor January 29th, of the same year. His settlement was effected upon the following somewhat singular conditions: "We are unanimously of opinion that Rev. Mr. Collins ought to receive $300 annually, as a salary, for 16 years and a half; and after the expiration of said 16 years and a half $333,33 annually so long as he shall continue our minister; but if the said Mr. Collins shall be dismissed, otherwise than by death, at any time before the expiration of the said 16 years and a half, he is to pay, or cause to be paid, to the society, in neat cattle or grain, within one year from his dismission, ten pounds for each year in which he has not served said society the term of 16 years and a half. And the said Mr. Collins is to receive his salary in the following manner, to wit: $50 in cash, $100 in wheat and the remainder in beef, pork, or grain, to be paid in the month of December, annually."
Mr. Collins was dismissed "otherwise than by death" May 4, 1804. In 1813 the church was reorganized, as the only means of eliminating certain heresies which had crept in. Rev. James Johnson became its pastor in 1818, followed by Rev. Josiah Goodhue* in 1824; Rev. Mr. Hurlbut, in 1834; Rev. Simeon Parmelee, in 1838; Rev. Luther G. Bingham, in 1843; Rev. A. D. Barber, in 1852.
The present edifice, erected in 1832, was rebuilt in 1860, and the present pastor installed August 15th, of the same year. The whole number of members since the reorganization, in 1813 has been 447; the present number is 84.
BY J. S. CILLEY, A. M.
In the fall of 1828, Rev. Peter Chase, at that time pastor of the Baptist Church in Williston, purchased a site upon which he soon after erected a building to be used for a High School, or Academy. Upon the completion of the building, Mr. Chase opened a school for the young of both sexes, which was conducted by him for some length of time, with a very good degree of success. The school though not large was yet sustained with considerable interest by the people of the town and vicinity. Mr. Chase was succeeded both as teacher and pastor by Rev. William Arthur, a very acceptable and efficient teacher. Rev. Josiah Goodhue, then pastor of the Congregational Church, a good teacher and a very excellent man, succeeded Mr. Arthur. Homer Benson, then preparing for the ministry, was the successor of Mr. Goodhue, and he, in turn, gave place to Augustus Gould, afterwards a lawyer, Leonard Whitney a native of Williston, and since then a minister of the gospel, succeeded Mr. Gould; Mr. Bates, now a minister in New Hampshire, succeeded Mr. Whitney, and was the last teacher in the building erected by Mr. Chase.
The building was purchased by the Baptist Church, and used for a meeting-house.
This school, under the direction of the several teachers named, was attended with a good degree of efficiency and success. Its
* The historian of the town of Shoreham, who died at Whitewater, Wis., in the spring of 1863.—Ed.
loss, and the need of greater facilities for the education of their children than the schools of the town then afforded, were felt by the people, and they soon began to devise a plan for building a new Academy. In 1841, contributions being made for this purpose, a substantial building of brick was erected near the site of the old Academy. The house completed, Mr. Emerson Hamilton was engaged as principal, and under his instruction the school was eminently prosperous. Mr, Hamilton made teaching his profession, and after faithful and efficient service in this school, he took charge of a public school in Oswego, New York, where he still remains.
E. R. Lyman, now a minister, was the successor of Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Lyman was a very successful teacher, and under his direction the school was still prosperous.
Upon the retirement of Mr. Lyman, Patrick H. Sanford, at present a successful lawyer in Illinois, became the principal. For two or three years Mr. Sanford conducted the school with very great success. Under his charge the school was larger perhaps than ever before, the number of students being at times as high as 120.
After Mr. Sanford, the school was taught by Messrs. Bow, Corbin, Lamb, Perry, Rev. H. P. Cutting, and others. Most, if not all of these teachers were competent and faithful, but each being connected with the school for short periods of time only, it did not prosper constantly as before.
Desiring greater permanency in the school, and laboring to secure it, the people nobly and generously contributed for the improvement of the school building, and during the summer of 1858 they expended in enlarging, repairing, and furnishing it, the sum of $1500. The Academy is now large, pleasant, and very convenient. September 1st, 1858, the school was again opened under the direction of J. S. Cilley, as principal, in whose charge it still remains. Since that time it has been very well and steadily sustained, the number of students per term being on an average about 100.
Williston Academy has always afforded ample facilities for the acquisition of a sound, thorough, academic education, and many have gone forth from it to hold honorable positions in business, and to take high standing in College.
This Academy has no fund, and depends entirely for its support upon the tuition paid by the pupil.
Its life in the past has been sustained by the energy and labor of teachers, and the generosity of patrons, and so only will it live in the future.
HIS LIFE AND TIMES.
Written for the Vermont Historical Magazine, at the special request of the Editor, in 1862 or '63, and read before the Lyceum at Winooski Falls, Dec. 14, 1866.
BY HON. DAVID READ.
It is always interesting to look into the early history of a people, and note their progress as they strive to establish social order and civil authority among themselves. The multiform plans and numerous incidents that attend the movements of independent thinkers and co-workers, while giving life and power to new states and new forms of government, furnish a rich theme for study and speculation. The transition from a disorganized and irresponsible state to a fixed condition of civil polity and law, is always attended with discordant men and measures. And during such a transition new theories and new characters, adapted to the occasion, seem to spring into existence from unknown and unsuspected sources. The peculiar condition of the early settlers of Vermont; the wrongs they suffered in connection with the disputed title and enjoyment of their lands; their persistent defence of their possessions; their recognition of no sovereign power or authority over them; their limited numbers and disordered state, without any laws or rules of action, all contributed, at an early day, in our little commonwealth, to make heroes and statesmen of ordinary men, and to initiate the growth and development of the most perfect system of republican liberty and equality in this wide world. Strife and agitation, heroic daring, sober and sharp diplomacy, far-sighted plans, war and bloodshed, contentions and summary measures, all came in to illustrate the diversity of character possessed by these brave and patriotic founders of our state. The names and memories of those men are held, I trust, in sacred regard by us; honest, humble and rude statesmen as they were, our state independence and government was the work of their hands—a work having for its end the most
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perfect liberty, equality and justice. Among those men none stood higher in the love and confidence of his cotemporaries than Thomas Chittenden. He was selected as the first Governor of the state, which office he held for twenty successive years, save one; and, in truth, was the fixed star that guided us on our way from helpless anarchy to order and independence. A notice of his life and services is the purpose of this article.
THOMAS CHITTENDEN was born at East Guilford, Conn., Jan. 6. 1730. His father was a snug farmer, and Thomas found, when a boy, but little leisure time for study or amusement. He was educated to habits of industry and economy, and had but little to do with the artificial forms of society. A common school education completed his early advantages; and, indeed, the little time he had to spare from labor was not de- voted to books and study so much as to his favorite athletic sports, which he highly enjoyed with his juvenile associates. And it is not doubted but those tests of nerve and strength had their utility in fitting him for the bold pioneer life and public duties of a later day. At the age of eighteen, when boys are apt to make new discoveries and enter upon wild and fascinating schemes, he began to feel that his yearly round of toil and labor on the farm was getting irksome, and should be changed to some employment more agreeable to his taste and of higher promise in its results. Thereupon, he determined to try his luck at sea, where he could have a fair opportunity to experiment with fortune, test the novelty, and, in his immagination, enjoy the charms and bounties of a sailor's life.
He found a merchant vessel about to sail from New London to the West Indies, on which he enlisted as a common sailor. At that time France and Great Britain were at war; but Thomas, having then given but little attention to international affairs, was moved more by the new and bright prospects before him than by any apprehension of danger from a public enemy. They sailed along the stormy coast of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, and passed the Bahama Channel; but, before they reached their port of destination, a French man-of-war picked them up, appropriated as much of the cargo as they wanted, and destroyed the vessel. In the mean time, to dispossess themselves of the trouble of taking care of the crew, they landed them upon one of the West India Islands, and left them there to shift for themselves—pennyless and destitute of every thing but the clothes on their backs.
Thus it turned out that the young adventurer's first essay, in his fancied career of happier days and times, was brought to a sudden and disastrous termination. He found himself in a strange land with no living soul to give him aid or comfort but his equally helpless comrades. Under this state of affairs, he soon began to undergo sort of mental discipline that turned his thoughts with suspicion upon his golden plans, and caused him to put less confidence in this world's promises. He endured many privations and sufferings while upon the island, and at length found an opportunity to work his passage home, fully satisfied with seafaring life, and content to resume his labors on the farm.
In October, 1749, then less than twenty, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Meigs—a person of congenial education and habits, of a robust constitution and strong mind, and a heart ever overflowing with kindness and good humor. Through her whole life, even while her husband held the most dignified and responsible office in the state, she paid but little regard to the distinctions of wealth or caste, and treated all that were well disposed, as entitled to the same rights and attentions. Indeed, she was a fitting mother for democratic Vermont.*
They settled in Salisbury, a new town in northwestern Connecticut, where they resided twenty-four years, and Thomas Chittenden, from his practical sound sense and sterling qualities, soon became a leading man in the town; he was more or less engaged in town business, represented the town six years in the Connecticut legislature, was colonel of militia, and held divers minor offices. He steadily pursued his farming business for an employment, was prosperous, and accumulated a handsome property. While he
* In illustration of her character, it may be noted, that a party of gentlemen and ladies one day made a formal call at the Governor's, at Arlington. ????? was announced to the company and at the same time, by the tin born, to the workmen in the field; and as they approached the table together, it was modestly asked, by one of the lady guests, whether the servants usually came to the same table with the family. Mrs. Chittenden at once saw the bearing of the inquiry and replied, "They do; but I have been telling the Governor, as they did the work, we ought to give them the first table and take the second ourselves."
resided in Salisbury the process of granting new townships in western Vermont, by the Governor of New Hampshire, had been in progress. In the mean time the long protracted wars between France and Great Britain, contending for the dominion of this continent, had been brought to a final issue, resulting in the cession of the Canadas to the British crown; the restoration of the bordering country, covering Vermont, to a state of peace and safety; and the removal of all present danger from the occupation and raids of a babarous enemy.
This opened the territory of Vermont for settlement, and, invited by the fertility of her soil and the prospective value of her lands, a rush of emigration from the old New England States followed; and the valley of lake Champlain—which for more than a century had formed the middle space and field of contention between two powerful nations—was now released from its blockade, and flung open to the free ingress of enterprise and civilization. Col. Chittenden fully appreciated these advantages; and, joining with one of his neighbors in Salisbury, Col. Jon. Spafford, they purchased a tract of land on Onion river (containing several thousand acres) in the township of Williston, and in May, 1774, after dividing their lands, they removed their families on to them.
Col. Chittenden had made no preparation for the shelter of his family; and as a temporary protection, until the log-house could be built, flung up a shanty covered wtth bark and spread with hemlock boughs. But they plied themselves faithfully to the building of the log-house, and in a few days were securely tenanted in one of those delectable abodes of comfort and freedom—having a family of ten children beside their workmen.
They had four sons and six daughters. The sons were Noah, Martin, Giles, and Truman. Noah was a farmer and lived in Jericho, on the intervals opposite the residence of his father. He was first sheriff of the county of Chittenden, which place he held for several years; judge of the county court; judge of probate; town representative, and councillor.
Martin graduated at Yale College, made farming his profession, and settled in Jericho near his brother Noah, as indicated by the two large brick dwellings still standing. He was several years town representative, clerk of the court, judge of the county court, member of the corporation of the University of Vermont, ten years member of Congress, and two years Governor of the state.
Giles was a farmer, and took up his residence upon the interval on the Williston side of the river, below his father's. He was town representative and colonel of militia; but thought less of office than he did of doing a favor to a friend or neighbor and indulging himself in acts of generosity and kindness.
Truman, the youngest of the sons was also a farmer, and settled on the farm west of and adjoining his father. He was justice of the peace thirty years, judge of probate eleven years, judge of the County Court seven years, state councillor for twelve years, and twenty-six years a member of the corporation of the University of Vermont. He represented the town four years, and was ever employed in some public duties.
His principles always aimed at truth and justice, and his example was a public blessing. He possessed a sound judgment and quick, penetrating mind, and sometimes indulged in wit and sarcasm.*
The eldest daughter, Mabel, married Thomas Barney of Williston, a highly respectable citizen and farmer.
The second daughter, Betsey, married James Hill of Charlotte, also a farmer of wealth and respectability.
The third, Hannah, married Col. Isaac Clark of Castleton, a man who was fond of military life, and distinguished on many occasions, especially during the war of 1812, for his heroism and bravery; for his astonishing skill in the use of the rifle, he went by the popular name of "Old Rifle." He was a man of uncommon perseverance and energy, and his name is identified with the history of this state, and the last war with England.
The fourth, Beulah, married Elijah Galusha of Arlington, who died in about two years—she afterwards married Matthew
* One time, when Martin was spending vacation at home, the other boys, feeling that they did rather more than their share of the work, got him out in the morning to help do the chores. They were trying to learn a young calf to drink. Martin got perplexed, at the operation, and broke out, "What shall we do with the paltry fool?" "I can't tell," says Truman, "unless we send him to College." "Send him to College?" says Martin, "I should want a smarter calf than that?" "Just the one, rejoins Truman, "he should be sent and made to know as much as others."
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Lyon, the young Irish adventurer, who forsook home, and became indentured to pay his passage to America. He was Secretary to the Governor and Council, and 16 years a member of the state legislature; judge of Rutland County Court, and in 1796 elected a member of Congress, and re-elected in Feb. 1799—he removed to Kentucky in 1801, and was one year a representative in the Kentucky legislature, and six years a representative to Congress from that state. He was appointed Indian agent by the U. S. Government in Arkansas, and was elected the first delegate to Congress from that territory; but before taking his seat, died on the Arkansas river, near little Rock.*
The fifth daughter, Mary, married Jonas Galusha of Shaftsbury. He represented the town seven years; Sheriff of Bennington county one year; twelve years state councilor; judge of Bennington County Court, judge of the Supreme Court, said nine years governor of this state. He held the office of governor from 1809 to 1819 inclusive, except two intervening years (1813-14) held by Martin Chittenden—they were opposed in politics, and rival candidates for governor.
The sixth daughter, Electa, married Jacob Spafford of Richmond, son of Gen. Jon. Spofford above mentioned, a farmer.
None of the ten children of Gov. Chittenden are now living; but there is a numerous progeny of the highest respectability, scattered over this and several other states, some of whom hold important places of public trust. In looking over the above memoranda of his own children, one cannot fail to be struck with the numerous instances of honor and trust conferred upon the family. Indeed an enduring popularity seems to attach to himself and his posterity; and we may venture to say, that no single family in Vermont has ever received a greater share of public confidence, or been more worthy of it.
When Col. Chittenden removed into Vermont, nearly the whole country from Connecticut River to Lake Champlain, was a dense wilderness, and the question of state sovereignty and jurisdiction over this territory, which for a long time had been agitated between New York and New Hampshire, still remained unsettled. While the country was used only as a barrier between the English and French settlements, and rarely trod but by the wild beast and the savage, the old charters of the Crown were scarcely worth looking up, and for more than two hundred years lay undisturbed upon their dusty shelves. But when peace covered the land, and the richness and value of the country became known, both New York and New Hampshire began to hunt up their motheaten titles. The charter of King James I. to the "Great Council of Plymouth," of eight degrees of latitude, extending from Virginia to the Gulph of St. Lawrence, and westward from sea to sea; and the sub-grants of the Plymouth company to Mason of a part of New Hampshire, and to the colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, and the commission of King George II.—one hundred and twenty-one years after—to Benning Wentworth, authorizing him to make grants of townships, between Mason's line and a prolonged line north from the N. W. corner of Massachusetts, was relied upon by New Hampshire, as evidence of her title to the soil, and right of jurisdiction over it.
On the other hand, New York claimed title under the royal grant of King Charles II. to his brother Duke of York, of all the lands between Connecticut river and Delaware Bay, and under a decision of the king (Geo. III.) made in 1764, just one hundred years after the above grant to the Duke of York, establishing the west side of Connecticut river as the eastern boundary of New York. Which decision was resisted by New Hampshire, as well as by a majority of the settlers, upon the grants, as having been obtained by fraudulent practices and representations on the part of New York. Moreover, the grantees, and even the king himself, regarded the decision as settling the jurisdiction merely between the two States, without effecting in any way the title to the lands. Under this view of the case, no one felt a disposition to disturb the matter; and if New York had been wise, we should now doubtless have formed a part of that state. But the king, as well as all parties concerned, was taken by surprise, when he learned that the New York speculators claimed from his decision the absolute fee simple of the soil; and had began to harass the grantees under New Hampshire, with writs of eject‑
* See article on Chittenden County, p. 456.
ment, returnable before their judicial dependents at Albany.
The New York claimants recovered in all eases of course, issued their writs of possession, and sought to drive the innocent grantees, who had once bought and paid for their lands, from the use and occupation of them—lands they entered upon in good faith, and on which they had made their improvements, erected their buildings and established their homes. Under these circumstances, as they had no chance of obtaining either justice or equity, before the courts at Albany, much less from the hands of the grasping speculators who controlled those courts, they resolved to defend their premises against every attempt on the part of New York, to dispossess them—by the force of arms if needs be. And here commenced the Beach Seal and Catamount War.
When Col. Chittenden removed into the disputed territory, this war had been in progress, in overt acts of aggression and defence about seven years: and the spirited defence, and many amusing incidents, that took place in the course of that time, would be out of place if repeated here. Suffice it to say, during that period, the protection of the territory and rights of the grantees were managed by the Allens, the Fays, Robinsons, Warners, Baker, and Cochran. They were the active spirits, and the law-making, law-deciding, and law-executing power of the time. They did it all their own way—repulsed all interference with the possessions of the grantees—resisted outside courts, lawyeas, and sheriffs—passed resolutions of contempt upon New York statutes, judgments and proclamations—broke up surveys, justice courts, county courts and posses, acting under the authority of New York—instituted a "judgment-seat of their own, to try offenders—and used the Beach Seal and other ingenious modes of punishment, upon such as they caught and found guilty of disloyalty to their cause.
As might be expected, these proceedings did not satisfy the demands of the New York claimants, or tend to an immediate settlement of the controversy. It was during this stormy time, that Col. Chittenden removed into Williston, and identified himself with the Green Mountain Boys, and the fortune that awaited them. The whole population of the territory at that time, consisted of about sixteen hundred families. Great Britain and her colonies had not yet come to blows; and the time when such an event would happen, if ever, was not calculated. Indeed, they were not aware how soon and sudden the war of the Revolution was to fall upon them, and become the absorbing theme, overshadowing every other consideration whether of a public or private nature. As yet, however, the grantees, unconcious of the near approach of the great contest for national independence and freedom, had their armor on, to defend themselves against the aggressions and laws of New York.
At this period Gov. Tryon. attempted a negotiation with the grantees; which, however, was suddenly broken off by the encroachment of New York Surveyors, and measures of retaliation, in the destruction of property, and breaking up of a New York settlement, on Otter Creek. More incensed than ever, the New York legislature, as if made mad for their own destruction, passed the unwise and diabolical act of March 9th, 1774,—more disgraceful and tyrannical, than any act that ever found its way upon the statutes of a civilized people. This increased the excitement of the grantees; and Ethan Allen, as their recognized leader, came out with a document, ridiculing and denouncing the acts of the New York legislature, and challenging them to come on and try titles force by force—thus ending all hope of reconciliation.
But the storm that was gathering in the west, and just ready to enter upon the work of violence and bloodshed, was hushed by the uprising of another in the east of greater magnitude and more sublime threatenings. The scepter of Old England flashed above the clouds, and threatened annihilation to her rebellious colonies—and indeed the storm burst upon them, as suddenly as it was unexpected. Without means or preparation to meet so formidable a foe, the colonies could do but little more than stand to the rights they demanded, and let the tempest come. Yet so strong was the pressure of public feeling against the oppressive acts of the home government, especially among the liberty-loving people of New England, that the courts and officers of the Crown were held in contempt—culminating in the first outbreak and blood of the revolution, on the breaking
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up of the royal court at Westminster in our own state; and let it be noted, that this was done by men whom New York had declared as outlaws and felons without benefit of clergy.
Col. Chittenden, who had just entered upon his new home, and who was in the future to take so prominent a part in these two formidable contests, was not unmindful of passing events. In addition to their bearing upon the questions of national independence and state sovereignty, and the future condition of the country and people, his home and property were at stake. If New York maintained the ground she assumed, the title to his large landed estate would be abrogated. If England should succeed in putting down the revolution, the property of such as rebelled against her would be liable to confiscation—and to avoid these perils, two great victories must be achieved; one over a powerful state, and the other over an empire.
The stirring events of the spring of 1775 which so directly followed the massacre, and the breaking up of the royal court at Westminster passed rapidly along, one after another. The battles of Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill; the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and the organization of the army, and siege of Boston, all took place within a few weeks of each other, while he was getting his new farm into a condition to support his family. His location was rich and beautiful, and he labored with a full heart, cheered on by the charming scenery which surrounded him. It was secluded and wild as nature could make it, but was a paradise of wooded hills and valleys, shady trees and vines, planted by a hand more skillful than the hand of man. But war was now upon his borders, and the sly savage lurked in the dark corners of the forest around him—spying out his movements, and seeking opportunity to kill and plunder.
There were at this time about 40 families, all told, on the river and lake shore; and a small block-house in Jericho, on the opposite side of the river below Col. Chittenden's, had been flung up and garrisoned; but as our troop fell back from Canada in the spring of '76, they became alarmed at their situation, and the garrison abandonded the fortiflcation, leaving the defenceless inhabitants without any protection,* and the only alternative they had was to flee from their homes and take shelter among their friends at the south. Col. Chittenden, wife and ten children went on foot by marked trees to Castleton, carrying their provisions and other effects upon two horses, except their heavy articles of iron-ware, which they sunk in the duck pond before leaving. He resided at Arlington, mostly, until his return to Williston in 1787.
When Col. Chittenden first came onto the grants he was well known as a sound and able man, and was at once looked up to as a sort of father in the land, He had not long resided here before the subject of making the grants a free and independent state began to be discussed. He was strongly in favor of this measure, as the only practicable mode, in his opinion, of quieting the titles and settling the contested question of jurisdiction, between New York and New Hampshire, over the territory. And the first notice we find of his being called to any public duty, after he came here, he was elected, in 1776, a delegate to the Convention at Dorset, to consider the propriety of this important measure. As yet the people of the grants had not attempted to exercise self-government in any organized form, and their previous history throughout shows them in no other condition than one approximating to anarchy; having no other authority than that exercised by tribunals, chiefs and military leaders, acclaimed into place, and when disliked, acclaimed out again.
By a unanimous vote of the Convention, it was resolved "to take suitable measures, as soon as may be, to declare the New Hampshire grants a free and separate District." And a committee—consisting of Thos. Chittenden, chairman, Ira Allen and others—laid before the Convention the first governmental covenant or compact ever acted upon by a Convention of the people of this state, which was unanimously adopted and signed by the members of the Convention.† And at the adjourned meeting of the same Convention, holden at Westminister on the 15th of January following, a new and separate state was voted, and a committee was appointed, of which Col. Chittenden was one, to present to the Convention the form of a
* See No. V. of this work, pp. 46 and 463.
† State papers, p. 67.
Declaration of Independence; and the next morning they made their report, proclaiming to the world the existence of a new, separate and independent state, under the name of "New Connecticut alias Vermont," which report was unanimously accepted by the Convention. At the close of the Convention the committee addressed a communication to Congress, stating the doings of the Convention, and asking that Vermont "be admitted to the Union, and that delegates therefrom take their seats in the Continental Congress." Which petition and proffered representation Congress were not wise enough to accept.
Although a long and bitter controversy, both with New York and New Hampshire, awaited the new state before she was admitted into the Union, yet a starting point was now initiated, from which the people could proceed to build the superstructure of a government among themselves, and they lost no time in proceeding to establish the organic law of the state; and the most democratic, free and enlightened constitution of any state in the Union, was the result. The sagacity and profound statesmanship of the men who performed this work, excited the admiration of all the states, New York excepted. Among these men Thomas Chittenden stood preeminent. He was also a leading member of the Convention that adopted the first Constitution at Windsor, July 2, 1777. His power of discrimination seemed to be intuitive, and when the draft of the Constitution was reported to the Convention, his peculiar mode of criticising its provisions and judging of their effect upon the liberty and happiness of the people, the great object in view, attracted the attention and confidence of the members. His sound judgment and common sense mode of weighing subjects that came before him, were equivalent to much learning and experience, and no one in the Convention could penetrate deeper into the practical workings of conventional law, than he. The ability and patriotism he had shown in this, as well as the previous conventions, secured to him the confidence, in a high degree, both of the people and members; and when the Convention was so suddenly brought to a close by the approach of Burgoyne up the lake, and the evacuation of Ticonderoga, in the few moments they had to spare (during the storm of the elements that kept them in the house), after passing in turn the several sections of the Constitution, a Council of Safety was organized, to conduct the functions of the new government, and he was appointed chairman of that body.
The Constitution was yet regarded as an unfinished thing, not having been satisfactorily revised nor submitted to the people for their ratification;* and it became necessary to form a provisional government to meet the emergency—and it must be done without an hour's delay. It was therefore proposed to appoint a Council of Safety, invested with all the powers of government, both civil and military; and this extraordinary body was at once created—its powers were unlimited and absolute; in fact, the urgency of the occasion obliged the Convention, at once, to fling into the hands of a few men the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the state, and entrust them with the life, liberty and property of every individual in it.†
The Council of Safety held its first meeting at Manchester, July 15, 1777, and their first movement was to send dispatches to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for aid to make a stand against the common enemy; which resulted in bringing Gen. Stark and a command of about 800 men to join the Vermont troops, preparatory to the battle of Bennington.‡ The Council, in the mean time, went to work in earnest to raise and equip men from the grants to aid in the impending crisis. For some days the subject was discussed with deep anxiety, and no mode could be hit upon to raise the means necessary, nor the men without the means. Meanwhile one of the members of Council,§ discouraged at the prospect, and moved either by fear or treachery, abandoned the Council in open day, picked up a few followers, and fled to the enemy's camp. It was a dark hour—the scouts and savage allies of Burgoyne were scouring the territory, laying waste the defenceless frontier, and robbing the peaceful inhabitants. There was no public treasury, no time for taxation, no credit to borrow, and the whole population, and in fact most of the members present were poor.
* Which was in fact never done.
† The adjournment of the Convention and the battle of Hubbardton took place the same day.
‡ Council of Safety consisted of Thos. Chittenden, President; Ira Allen, Secretary; Jonas Fay, Stephen Fay, Moses Robinson, Sam. Robinson, Matthew, Lyon, Benj. Carpenter, Nathan Clark, Gideon Olin, Thos. Rowley, Paul Spooner, Jacob Bailey and Abel Spencer.
§ Abel Spencer, of Clarendon.
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After a long and tiresome debate and intense thought upon the subject, the members of the Council sunk down into silence and despair. At length the president, unwilling to give up, rose from his seat, and with a strong and earnest voice is reported to have addressed the Council as follows:* "We have sent a dispatch requesting aid of New Hampshire. But how can we expect they will do any thing till we do something for ourselves—till they know whether they will find among us more friends to feed and assist than enemies to impede them? And I submit to you, gentlemen, whether it is not now high time to act to some purpose. If we can't vote taxes, we can contribute towards raising a military force, if you will agree to raise one. Instead of being disheartened by the traitor Spencer, who has perhaps providentially left us before we had settled. on any plan of operations which he could report to the enemy, let us show him and the world, that the rest of us can be men! I have ten head of cattle which, by way of example, I will give for the emergency. But am I more patriotic than the rest of you here and hundreds of others in the settlement? My wife has a valuable gold necklace; hint to her to-day that it is needed, and my word for it, to-morrow will find it in the treasury of freedom. But is my wife more spirited than yours and others? Gentlemen, I wait your propositions." This appeal was near enough related in its tone to the immortal harangue of Brutus on the death of Cæsar to be cousin germain to it, at least, and it had its effect upon those who listened to it.
Ira Allen found a way during his sleepless hours of the night, and in the morning proposed a commission of sequestration, "invested with authority to seize the goods and chattels of all persons who had, or should join the common enemy, sell them at public vendue, and the proceeds paid to a treasurer, to be appointed by the council."†
The proposition was at once adopted, commissioners of sequestration were appointed, and men dispatched in every direction to seize tory property. In fifteen days a regiment was raised, placed under the command of the brave Col. Herrick, the first to attack the entrenchments of the enemy at Bennington. By this force, the victory at Bennington was secured.
No chain of events during the revolution damaged the enemy more, or resulted more gloriously to our arms, than those that directly followed the proceedings of the Council of Safety. Not only the battle of Bennington was won, but the army of Burgoyne fell as a consequence; and Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, and the whole northern frontier, was evacuated by the enemy, and re-occupied by our troops; while the British vessels upon the lake, and a large amount of artillery and military stores, fell into our hands.
The part taken by the Vermonters in the defeat of Burgoyne's campaign, together with their bold and heroic stand in declaring their independence, and entering upon the work of establishing a Constitution and State Government of their own, all in progress at the same time, together with the marked ability of her leaders and the heroism and success of her troops, gained a prestige to the state, that secured her independence forever.
The Council of Safety summoned the constitutional convention to meet again (24th of Dec. 1777) and complete their work. They met and revised the constitution, fixed the day of general election under it, and the meeting of the general assembly. Indeed, nothing could more clearly express the disinterested patriotism of the Council of Safety, than their acts. Instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary powers they held, to usurp the government of the state, or promote private and selfish ends, they were true to their trust, and labored in the moat faithful manner to serve the people of the state and the cause of the Union. They were obliged to decide all cases that came before them, whether civil or military, as no proper legislative or judicial body had ever existed in the state. In short, they were appointed for the very purpose of exercising dictatorial powers. They imposed fines on some; banished others from the state; confiscated lands, as well as personal property; decided all matters in controversy between parties, whether on contract, trespass, title to lands, or otherwise; settled the estates of deceased persons, and even granted bills of divorce. But these arbitrary assumptions of power were of small
* See address of Dan'l P. Thompson, read before the Vt. Hist. Society in October, 1850, p. 14.
† This was the first example of the kind in the Revolution. Ira Allen originated the measure, and it was followed by Congress.
account, compared with their general supervision over the military and political movements in the state.
The general election under the new constitution soon however took place (March 3, 1778), and representatives and a governor and other state officers, for the first time in the history of the state were chosen; and for the first time the legislature met at Windsor, March 12, 1778. On counting the votes for governor it was found that Thomas Chittenden was elected by a large majority of the people—and other state officers having been duly elected and qualified, Vermont, as a state, had an organized, live, and working government of her own; and the business of putting the machinery of government into practical operation, at once engaged the attention of the legislature.
The state was divided into counties, military and probate districts; courts were established; judges, sheriffs, and military officers appointed; county and town elections provided for; and laws passed—some of them quaintly enough, "as they stood in the Connecticut Law Books."
But the most important of their acts was the adoption of the Common Law of England as the law of this state.
It will be noticed that Gov. Chittenden's first election was to complete the year from March to October—the 2d Tuesday of the latter month having been the time fixed in the constitution, for the annual meeting of the legislature. On counting the votes at the October session it appeared that he was again elected Governor by a large majority; to which office he was afterwards annually re-elected to October, 1797, except one year.
While the organization of the state government was in progress, Gov. Chittenden, by means of his new position as chief magistrate, was called upon in a great measure to direct the policy of Vermont, in her relations with New York and New Hampshire. The breach between this state and New York, especially, was made wider and deeper by the bold measures taken in opposition to her authority. She began to look upon the subject with deeper solicitude than before, and now sought to obtain by fair promises, what her tyrannical course of legislation had failed to accomplish. Gov. Clinton came out with a proclamation (Feb. 23, 1778) just previous to Gov. Chittenden's first election, informing the settlers that they had labored under many grievances from the unwise policy of New York, especially in passing the obnoxious Act of the 9th of June, 1774; "which grievances (says he) in some measure extenuate their offences, and which ought to be redressed." Whereupon he proposed to the settlers, under the protest, however, "that New York intended to maintain her supremacy over them," to make overtures to them to induce their voluntary submission to the authority of that state. He pledged the public faith of New York to comply with his overtures, assured "protection" to all who were loyal to the state, and "compulsive obedience" to such as refused allegiance.
The above proclamation required no official answer from Gov. Chittenden—but under the co-operation of himself and council, Ethan Allen was made the lion of the occasion to get up a semi-official reply to Gov. Clinton.
In the meantime a new complication in the affairs of the state presented itself—the townships on the east side of Connecticut river proposed to separate from New Hampshire, and unite with Vermont. The proposition was so inviting, that it met, at first, with great favor among our people—but the policy of allowing such a measure to be entertained, at that particular crisis in our affairs, was quite another matter. Its adoption would dismember New Hampshire; and the other states, and Congress especially, where our petition for admission into the Union was lying—would see in it a grasping disposition; and the agitation of the subject would not fail to produce local dissensions among ourselves. The subject, however, came before our legislature, and they, to fling off the responsibility, submitted the proposition to the decision of the people. A majority of the people voted for the annexation—some in view of enlarging the state by the addition of so desirable a section of country; others, to bring the literary institutions at Hanover into our midst and make it the capital of the new state; while the people on the west side of the mountain, especially near the Lake border, opposed the measure as adverse to the interests, both public and private, of this section of the state. But the legislature at their adjourned session in June, 1778, in pursuance of the
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vote of the people, admitted said towns; of which the government of New Hampshire was duly notified.
We were now virtually an independent republic standing upon our own platform of nationality, and at war with New York on one side, and New Hampshire on the other, with a powerful foreign enemy hanging upon our northern border, with her savage allies. New Hampshire, as might be expected, at once entered upon measures to raise a military force to reclaim her revolted territory. Thus the little state of Vermont, with a population, all told, less than the present county of Chittenden, had three wars on hand, with her own people not wholly free from domestic strife. Governor Chittenden, who, as yet, had not held the office of chief magistrate but little more than three months, felt the weight of his responsibility—for on him, in a very great measure, rested the duty of delivering the state from the imminent prospect of the loss of all she had gained. He had been prudent, yet at heart opposed to the policy of acceding to the wishes of the revolted towns in New Hampshire. Indeed the very existence of Vermont seemed to hang upon a change of the popular sentiment at home, as to the admission of those townships, and the diversion of the storm that threatened her from without. President Weare of New Hampshire addressed a communication to Governor Chittenden, complaining of the course taken by Vermont, expressing his fears that it would lead to anarchy and armed opposition, and besought him and the people of the grants, "for the sake of their future peace and tranquility, to relinquish every connection, as a political body, with the towns on the east side of Connecticut river." Congress, also, under the complaints of the New York and New Hampshire members, had the subject before them, and threatened to interpose their power and authority in the matter.
Gov. Chittenden convened his council, and they concluded to send Ethan Allen to Philadelphia, to learn the views of Congress on the subject, and exert his influence against any immediate action by that body. Allen returned in Oct. while the legislature was in session, and made his report to the Governor and council, and general assembly, that he had the assurance of Congress that they would suspend action on the subject, until he could return and represent their views; and gave it as his opinion, "except this state recede from such union, immediately, the whole power of the confederacy of the United States of America will join to annihilate the state of Vermont, and to vindicate the state of New Hampshire, and to maintain, inviolate. the articles of confederation, which guarantee to each state their privileges and immunities." Such, says he, were the views of Congress—"upon which I stake my honor."
The perilous condition of the state—the danger of losing the government they had erected—the growing disaffection of Congress—the threatening aspect of the common enemy—and the advantage they had flung into the hands of New York to renew her complaints, were now seen by the people; and they felt as anxious to remedy those evils as they had been in producing them. The result was, the next legislature, with their instructions from the people in their pockets, resolved that the said union be dissolved, and made totally void.
The quiet influence of Gov. Chittenden had been exerted to produce this result—and he at once sent Ira Allen to lay before the President and council of New Hampshire the proceedings of the legislature, and to negotiate a final settlement of the controversy with that state. But the end had not yet come. Massachusetts, anticipating a collapse of the government of Vermont, renewed her claim; and New Hampshire was not now content with the mere restoration of the sixteen towns, but insisted upon her old claim of jurisdiction over the whole state.
New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts now all fell upon Vermont, to crush out her government and divide her garments between them; and a convention was called at Brattleborough, in the interest of those states, and a military association formed in Cumberland county, to overturn her government.
Such were the multiplied difficulties, and overshadowing events, which Gov. Chittenden had to contend with during the first fourteen months of his administration. The stakes had been lost and won again; but now a blow was aimed at the very existence of the state, with greater deliberation and concert than ever before. The first move of the governor and council was to direct Ethan
Allen to raise a military force, and put down the movements in Cumberland county. At this particular time, moreover, the people of Vermont were suffering severely from destitution and quasi famine, produced by the perversion of labor to the defence of the country. And in numerous cases where crops were put into the ground, they found no harvesters. At this state of affairs, in Cumberland county, Gov. Clinton became alarmed, and wrote a pressing letter to Congress, urging them to interpose in the matter and prevent the effusion of blood. But while the entreaty of Gov. Clinton was under the consideration of Congress, Ethan Allen marched with his men into that county, captured Col. Patterson, (the appointed leader of the New York insurrectionists) and several of his officers. On this result of the purpose of the conspirators to overthrow the government of Vermont. Gov. Clinton renewed his appeal to Congress to interpose their authority. Congress thereupon appointed five commissioners to repair to Vermont, and inquire into the reasons why the people refused to become citizens of the states that claimed jurisdiction over them; and to take every prudent measure to settle the controversy— but the commission wholly failed in its object.
The commission submitted to Gov. Chittenden a series of interrogatories, with a view of eliciting from him the facts in relation to the controversy; and the answer of the Governor showed the deceit practiced by New York, particularly in the overtures held out in Gov. Clinton's proclamation. He points out a blind clause in the proclamation, sweeping away near all the lands of the grantees of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay, and making the proclamation in fact what he called it, "a mere shadow, without the substance." He, moreover, showed, by his answer, that the people of Vermont would never voluntarily return to the jurisdiction of New York (titles or no titles), but were willing to submit the whole controversy to the decision of Congress.
Congress then came out with a series of resolutions declaring that the officers arrested by Ethan Allen ought to be immediately liberated; that the internal peace of the United States was endangered; that it was the duty of Vermont to refrain from exercising power over the friends of New York and New Hampshire, and evidently looking to a restoration of Vermont to the government of New York. These resolutions were sent by express, by John Jay, President of Congress, to Gov. Chittenden, and by him laid before the legislature, then in session in Manchester. The first thing done by the legislature was (Oct. 15th) to appoint a joint committee from the house and council, consisting of Ethan Allen and others, to form a plan of defence against the neighboring states; and, meanwhile, appointed a delegation to Congress to vindicate the right of Vermont to independence, and agree upon. articles of union with the United States.
Previous to this, however (Aug. 5), Gov. Chittenden had addressed a lengthy communication to Congress,* in justification of Vermont for the course she had taken. On the subject of Gov .Clinton's complaints, especially his hints at coercive measures, as issuing orders to the militia of New York to hold themselves in readiness, he says: "I have issued like orders to the militia of this state; and notwithstanding I am sensible that the assistance of every power which has and continues to operate for the happiness of these independent states, ought to be exerted wholly for their defence and security, yet the free born citizens of this state can never so far degrade the dignity of human nature, or relinquish any part of that glorious spirit of patriotism which has hitherto distinguished them, in every conflict with the unrelenting and long-continued tyranny of designing men, as to tamely submit to his (Gov. Clinton's) mandate, or even to be intimidated by a challenge from him." In the mean time the delegates sent from Vermont, to negotiate terms of reconciliation and admission into the Union, were allowed no hearing, and took their leave of Congress and returned to their homes.
The very existence of Vermont, at this critical period, depended upon the firmness and wisdom of her statesmen; and, as events proved, they were adequate to the task. On the 10th of December, the governor and council published "An appeal to the candid and impartial world,"† taking the ground that they could not submit to the arbitrament of Congress things too sacred to be submitted to arbitration; that Congress had no right
* See Henry Stevens' papers, marked "Letters, 1779."
† Drawn up by Hon. Stephen R. Bradley.
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to interfere with the internal policy of Vermont, as the state existed independent of the other states, and not accountable to them "for liberty, the gift of the beneficent Creator;" and—not being represented in Congress—the is not bound by resolutions passed without her knowledge and consent; nor had Congress the right to assume to herself "power to judge and determine in the case;" and—after having spent so much blood and treasure in the national defence—"they should not now give up every thing worth fighting for * * to the arbitrament and determination of any man, or body of men, under heaven."
After this notable appeal, Congress came out with a new set of resolutions, reiterating her former policy, and aiming at the distribution of Vermont among the states that claimed her—but postponed the consideration of the subject for the present. Governor Chittenden accidentally received a copy of the above resolutions, and taking the advice of his council addressed the President of Congress in a lengthy communication, denying the right of Congress to interfere with the liberty and independence of Vermont, and repudiating the idea of being divided up among the other states, as downtrodden Poland had been divided between Russia, Hungary, and Prussia—that the posterity of the valiant and brave people of Vermont world not call them blessed, "if they should tamely surrender any part of it"—that it was highly probable Vermont, by her indefatigable exertions, had protected the northern part of New York from the ravages of the common enemy, while the representatives of that state were seeking her destruction—and in the course of his communication makes the following significant allusions "The people of Vermont are, if necessitated to it, at liberty to offer, or accept terms of cessation of hostilities with Great Britain, without the approbation of any other man or body of men: for, on proviso that neither Congress, nor the legislatures of those states they represent, will support Vermont in her independence, she has not the most distant motive to continue hostilities with Great Britain, and maintain an important frontier for the benefit of the United States; and for no other reward than the ungrateful one of being enslaved by them." * * "Considering the claim of Great Britain to make laws to bind the colonists, without their consent, to be an abridgement of the natural rights of mankind, the resolves of Congress are equally arbitrary; and they furnish equal motives to the citizens of Vermont to resist the one as the other." * * " Those resolves serve only to raise the expiring hopes and expectations, and to revive a languishing flame of a few tories and schismatics, in this state, who have never been instrumental in promoting the common cause of America." This communication, which was written with great force and ability, closed by renewing the offer of Vermont to become a member of the Union; and it made a very sensible impression upon Congress.
Ira Allen, who was a member of the Council, and Stephen R. Bradley, were again selected to go to Philadelphia, as delegates to Congress to attend upon the deliberations of that body; and were commissioned by Gov. Chittenden under the broad seal of the "State of Vermont" They were not, however, allowed seats in that body, and Congress having put off the further consideration of the subject indefinitely they remonstrated against the course pursued, and closed by saying, "If the matter be thus pursued, we stand ready to appeal to God and the world, and Congress must be accountable for the consequences"—and having sent in their remonstrance to Congress, left for their homes.
Under these protracted trials, Vermont, baffled in all her attempts to gain a fair (not exparte) adjudication of the controvesry, changed her policy, and resolved, if she must fight, to enlarge her boundaries to the size of a respectable state, and enhance her population and power. And now by the action and assent of nearly the whole people of the district of territory, lying between the Mason line in New Hampshire, and the Hudson river, and extending north to the Province line, they united under the government of Vermont, and were received into union by the concurrent action of the governor, Council, and General Assembly of the State. This measure united all parties; and the malcontents, even, in Cumberland and Gloucester counties, came into it; an act of amnesty was passed, and all judgments, fines, forfeitures, and penalties, remitted against such as had professed to be the subjects of New York.
The territory now united under the government of Vermont embraced a most desirable country, and was of sufficient extent to form a powerful state. It covered both shores of Lake Champlain, and commanded the key of all military and warlike movements, on the part of Great Britain, into the United States by way of the St. Lawrence; while the rich valley of the Connecticut and for fifty miles beyond, with its literary institutions, came into the new state. The boldness of the measure excited the admiration of all, and added greater dignity and importance to the position occupied by Gov. Chittenden, as chief magistrate of the state. It had a beneficial effect in more ways than one. It not only produced union and strength at home, but struck terror into New York and New Hampshire, and made the public enemy far more pliable in their negotiations with the leaders of Vermont, under the belief that this new acquisition to her territory would add just so much more to the British crown, and open to their occupancy and use the entire valley of Lake Champlain, for striking at the heart of the confederacy and guarding her Canadian provinces.
Gov. Chittenden, though not the most active man,* nevertheless—from the position he occupied as governor of the state—stood at the head of that little, and I feel justified in adding, patriotic band of secret negotiators, on the part of Vermont, who had two great objects in view—an acknowledgement of the independence of the state by Congress and the protection of the frontier by holding the enemy in check.† It was a perilous experiment, but they succeeded in accomplishing both purposes. Congress, under the influence of the more important states of New York and New Hampshire, had uniformly turned the cold shoulder to Vermont and not permitted her even to share in the deliberations of that body, when the subjects that involved her vital interests were under consideration. The people of Vermont felt that this was an ungrateful return for the blood and treasure they had expended; they had not forgotten the battles they had fought and patriotic efforts they had made, in defending the country against the common enemy; and they had good reason for adopting any measures to ensure their independence, and protect themselves against the calamities of foreign invasion.
The secret negotiations, however, were not initiated by Vermont; indeed, she only sought to turn to her advantage—as well as to the advantage of the whole country—a movement and correspondence commenced on the part of the British generals—first indicated in a letter from Col. Beverly Robinson to Ethan Allen—by which they aimed to profit by the contest going on between Vermont, on the one part, and New York, New Hampshire and Congress, on the other. "Gen. Allen immediately communicated the contents of the letter to Gov. Chittenden, and some confidential persons, who agreed in opinion that it was best not to return an answer." After waiting ten months, Col. Robinson wrote again; and to this, also, it was arranged that Allen should make no reply, but send both letters to Congress, asserting the right of Vermont to independence, avowing his loyalty to the Union, and maintaining that the state had the "right to agree on terms of a cessation of hostilities with Great Britain, provided the United States persisted in rejecting her application for union with them." About a month after this,** Gov. Chittenden appointed Ira Allen "to settle a cartel with the British in Canada for an exchange of prisoners, and also to procure an armistice between Vermont and the British"††—who at this time had ten thousand troops in Canada, and the frontier was powerless against them, and wholly dependent upon their mercy.
This matter was now fairly introduced to Congress in the form desired, and a most able and shrewd agent selected to manage the affair with the British officers. Only eight persons at this time were in the secret,‡ and all agreed that an armistice was necessary to save the state from destruction by her enemies, both foreign and domestic—"and this was fixed upon at every hazard," May 1, 1781, Col. Allen set out for the Isle aux Noix, and Maj. Dundas, commandant of the post, kindly received him. A cartel was settled for the exchange of prisoners and the papers,
* This was Ira Allen.
† The depredations of the enemy, the fall previous in the burning and massacre at Royalton, and other raids, will be recollected.
** April, 1781.
†† See Ira Allen's History of Vermont; also Biography of Ira Allen, ante page of this work.
‡ Thomas Chittenden, Moses Robinson, Sam'l Safford, Ethan Allen, Ira Allen, Tim. Brownson, John Fassett, and Jos. Fay.
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executed; but nothing in relation to the armistice was reduced to writing. Indeed, Capt. Sherwood and one other (Geo. Smith, Esq.), were the only persons on the island who were entrusted with this part of the business by Gen. Haldimand, the British commander in chief, who had his headquarters at Quebec. A correspondence was opened with Gen. Haldimand, messengers sent back and forth, and the army, in the mean time, remained inactive. Gen. Haldimand sent his adjutant general, Maj. Lunno, to the Isle aux Noix, and he and Col. Allen—seeking a retired spot on the island—talked up the business of the district of Vermont becoming a British colony. Col. Allen objected to putting anything in writing himself, but consented that Major Lunno might jot down his views for transmission to Gen. Haldimand. This was all the bond that was executed on the subject by Col. Allen, and in return he received "a verbal agreement that hostilities should cease between the British and those under the jurisdiction of Vermont, until after the session of her legislature (to meet in June following), and longer, if prospects were satisfactory." After a talk of 17 days Col. Allen returned and made report to the governor and council, as to the cartel, and to the governor and his secret associates as to the armistice.
The legislature met at Bennington in June, having a representation from her newly acquired territory both on the east and west— and also a large representation of spies sent by Congress and other states to watch the movements of Vermont and her leaders; and from Canada, to see whether Col. Allen would prove faithful to the British interests, and entitle Vermont to a further suspension of hostilities. The subject of Col. Allen's mission to Canada, in due time, came up before the joint assembly, and Gov. Chittenden being called upon rose from his seat and stated to the assembly, "that in consequence of the application of several persons, who had friends that were prisoners of war in Canada, he had by the advice of the Council appointed Col. Ira Allen to go to the Isle aux Noix to settle a cartel for the exchange of prisoners in behalf of the state. That Col. Allen, with difficulty, had completed the business; that if the grand committee wished for further particulars respecting the mission and conduct of Col. Allen, he was then present, and could best inform them; to whom he referred them."
Col. Allen rose, and observed to the committee, that he had received an appointment and commission from the Governor and Council, to go and settle a cartel with the British in Canada, for an exchange of prisoners; that he had very happily succeeded in his mission; but not expecting to be called on, had left the commission and all the papers at home, and if desired would produce the writings for the inspection of the committee the next day.* The next day he read his papers and properly explained them; "and, on the whole, it appeared, that the British had shown great generosity in the business." Col. Allen mentioned "that he had discovered among the British officers a fervent wish for peace—and that the English government was as tired of the war as the United States—and concluded with a desire, if any member of the committee or auditor in the gallery, wished to ask any further questions, he was ready to answer them." All were satisfied—the spies from Congress complimented Allen, "for his open and candid conduct"—and those from Canada went home equally satisfied. "Is it not curious," says Allen, "to see opposite parties perfectly satisfied with one statement, and each believing what they wished to believes and thereby deceiving themselves!" The matter passed off quietly—the prisoners were exchanged according to arrangements, and the armistice (as yet a secret) continued, and the correspondence kept up with the enemy.
During the above correspondence, however, several incidents occurred, which came near letting out the secret and exposing Gov. Chittenden and his confidential friends to public violence. So strong was the intensity of popular feeling at this time, against the tories, and every sentiment that favored British interests, a disclosure of what had been said and done with the enemy would have been held as downright treason; and no argument or evidence would have satisfied the public mind on the subject. And the personal safety of the managers of the affair, as well as the safety and independence of the state, would have found a common grave—and the escape, both of the state and her leaders, from this result, was almost miraculous.
* He then resided in Sunderland.
A letter from Lord George Germain to Sir Henry Clinton,* had been intercepted by the French, taken to Paris, and there fell into the hands of Dr. Franklin, who sent it to Congress—and Congress ordered it to be printed. It spoke of "the return of the people of Vermont to their allegiance, as an event of the utmost importance to the king and his affairs; and if the French and Washington really intended an irruption into Canada, may be considered as opposing an insurmountable bar to the attempt, &c." This letter had the effect to set Congress thinking what they should do to keep Vermont in the traces; but presented nothing tangible as to what she had done.
Soon after this (September, '81,) Ira Allen and Joseph Fay met the British commissioners—in pursuance of a previous arrangement—in secret conclave at Skeenesboro (Whitehall), "to perfect their negotiations and renew the armistice." The form of government for Vermont, after she should become a British colony, was talked up, and this was all acceded to. The governor was to be appointed by the king, and the legislature by the people. The British commissioners then proposed to arrest some of the leading whigs in the state who were most violent against the English government This was a hard nut for Allen and Fay to crack, and at the same time satisfy the commissioners of their fidelity to the interests of the crown. But this they got along with by saying it was contrary to the spirit of the armistice, and that every movement of that sort would be likely to excite "a spirit that must be conciliated before a completion of the object wished for." The British commissioners thereupon gave this point up and left it to the discretion of Vermont. They then insisted that Vermont should declare itself a British colony, and proposed that she raise two regiments of men to be officered by certain men in the state, with a brigadier commanding, muster them into the British service and join them in an expedition to Albany. This was a harder nut still; but they told the British commissioners that there were many strong whigs in the state, mixed up with ties of relationship and various other interests, and to change the disposition and temper of such men was the work of time, and they required indulgence and moderation and the blessings of repose under the armistice. This and other ingenious arguments got over this demand; but the commissioners then insisted that Gen. Haldimand should issue his proclamation, offering to confirm Vermont as a colony of the crown; that an army should come up the lake and distribute them, and measures be taken for the common defense. This was agreed to, rather than have the armistice broken, and they separated on terms of friendship, with the secret boxed up and the armistice prolonged.
The next month Gen. St. Leger, in command of the British forces, came up the lake and made his headquarters at Ticonderoga; Gen. Roger Enos then being in command of the Vermont troops at Castleton, by Gov. Chittenden, was entrusted with the secret of the armistice. It was on this occasion that Sergeant Tupper was killed by one of St. Leger's scouts.** Gen. St. Leger decently buried the body, sent his clothes to Gen. Enos, with an open letter to Gov. Chittenden in writing making an apology for killing him—"his picket not knowing the situation." As the letter was not sealed, its contents became known among the officers and men. Gen. Enos and Cols. Fletcher and Walbridge wrote at once to Gov. Chittenden, who was attending upon the legislature, then in session at Charlestown, and sent by express.† The bearer of these letters—not being in the secret—detailed the Castleton news about Sergeant Tupper, and directly the whole legislature were awake to the subject. The letters were delivered to the governor, and crowds thronged around him to hear the news. The governor opened one of them, but finding it contained private as well as public intelligence, read it to himself; and—during some high words that took place just at that moment, between Ira Allen and Maj. Runnels, of New Hampshire—"some change of letters," says Allen, "took place between the governor and Messrs. Brownson and Fassett, who were in the secret and sat next to the governor."‡ This altercation between Allen and Runnels took the attention of the crowd from the letters.
Gov. Chittenden lost no time in assembling
* Dated Feb. 7, 1781. See Stevens' Papers
** See biographical notices of Roger Enos and Ira Allen, Colchester, p.770 of this work.
† Simeon Hathaway, the man sent.
‡ See Ira Allen's History of Vermont.
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the board of war at his room, all of whom were in the secret and happened to be present. And the only alternative that presented itself to pacify the legislature and the crowd, and save the state and its managers from imminent ruin, was to make out a new set of letters from Gen. Enos and Cols. Fletcher and Walbridge, and have them read in the council and assembly as the originals—which was done—they were then returned to the governor. These letters were a copy of the originals, except that portion of them relating to the negotiations, which was left out. The board of war, on assembling, at once sent for Nathaniel Chipman, as counsel, and let him into the secret; and it is said that he advised the course taken and prepared the bogus letters which were read. At this critical hour, providentially,—as treason was snuffed and the excitement intense,—the news of the fall of Lord Cornwallis was received, and presented, in the general joy, a new and redeeming aspect in the whole affair; and private jealousies and public complaints were at once absorbed, in the mutual overflow of heart and glee of patriotic expression, indulged in by all.
Col. Allen and Maj. Fay immediately sent a communication, by a private messenger, to the British commissioners at Ticonderoga, where he arrived the next morning. Allen and Fay in their letter adroitly referred to the former negotiations, mentioned the news of the capture of Cornwallis, and the effect and change it had produced upon the people, and under these circumstances, "thought it improper to publish the proposed proclamation" of Gen. Haldimand. About an hour after the arrival of this message at Ticonderoga, an express also arrived from the south to St. Leger, containing the news of the disaster of Cornwallis; and, before night, old Ti was evacuated and the army of ten thousand British soldiers—which had been held in a state of comparative inactivity for more than a year—were sailing down the lake, for the last time, on their way to Canada. After such momentous effects and happy results, the secret negotiations were closed forever.
As Gov. Chittenden was the ostensible head of this system of operations, it may not be improper to look for a moment at their propriety. Some have felt that there was an impropriety in the course pursued, even with a public enemy. That they were deceived there is no doubt; for all the evidence is against the idea that the governor and his confidential associates were sincere in their parley with the British authorities. They well understood, moreover, that they could not hand the state over to the enemy, if they would. And they were in fact the chosen leaders of the whig or patriotic party in the state, embracing probably nine-tenths of its population. Were these persons, then, justifiable in the policy they carried out, by deceiving the enemy, keeping their own people in doubt and ignorance of their doings, and threatening the general government with revolt?
This matter as explained by Gov. Chittenden himself—in a communication to Gen. Washington, after the crisis had passed over at Charlestown, detailing to him the real objects of the secret negotiation on the part of Vermont*—is the best apology, perhaps, that can be offered on the subject. He flings himself upon the confidence of Gen. Washington, makes avowal of the patriotism of the people of Vermont and their unequivocal attachment to the common cause, and regrets the aspersions cast against her "by her numerous and potent adversaries." He showed how the state was situated; that it formed the frontier of New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, who had used every art to divide her citizens, prejudice Congress against her, overturn her government and divide her territory among them, while her northern and western frontier were open to the easy access of a powerful and lawless enemy. That repeated applications made to Congress, for admission into the Union and insuring her protection, had been rejected; and resolutions passed, exparte, to embarrass and strike at the very existence of the state. Indeed, every article of defense, "even to pix-axes and spades," had been ordered by Congress out of the state; and New York had evacuated Skeensboro for the avowed purpose of exposing the state to the ravages of the common enemy. That the British officers, well knowing these things, made overtures that Vermont become a British colony, under the protection of the crown; that the communications received from them, by the advice of himself and council, were sent to Congress, in the hope that they would induce
* Dated at Arlington, Nov. 14, 1781. See Henry Stevens' papers, marked "Letters, 1781."
that body to admit Vermont into the Union, but without effect. That, in the fall of 1780, the prowess of the militia of the state, and the truce, including northern New York, saved Albany and Schenectady from falling a sacrifice to the enemy in that campaign. That, in the winter of '81, finding the enemy 7000 strong, he addressed circular letters to New York, and the New England States, "and also to your Excellency," stating the extreme circumstances of the state, and imploring their aid and alliance; as it was out of the power of the state to lay in military stores and support a body of men sufficient to defend the frontier. But to those letters no manner of answer was ever returned. That it appeared to him that the state was devoted to destruction from the sword of the enemy; and it seemed unjust that it should be thus forsaken, "as her citizens struck the first offensive blow against British usurpation, by putting the continent in possession of Ticonderoga, and more than 200 pieces of cannon, with Crown Point, St. Johns and all Lake Champlain."
That the approaching campaign of 1781—defenceless and powerless as they were—looked gloomy to the citizens of Vermont, "and being thus drove to desperation by the injustice of those who should have been her friends, was obliged to adopt policy in the room of power." That Ira Allen's mission to Canada procured the exchange of prisoners, and other matters were entertained, that might serve the interests of the state, in its extreme critical situation, and not be injurious to the United States in its consequences. "That the plan succeeded,—the frontiers of this state were not invaded, and Lord George Germain's letter wrought upon Congress, and procured that from them, which the public virtue of this people could not." That last month, the enemy appeared in force at Ticonderoga, but were manœuvered out of their expedition; and they have returned into winter quarters in Canada—"that it may be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "I will put my hook in their nose, and turn them back by the way which they came, and they shall not come into this city (alias Vermont) saith the Lord."
The crisis of the Revolution having now passed, and Vermont having been substantially relieved from her entertainments with the enemy, and the all-absorbing topic of protecting her frontiers, her attention was again turned to the subject of recognition as an independent state and admission to the Union. Congress had already laid aside a portion of her armor and taken one step forward with the olive branch in her hand. She had passed resolutions inviting the delegates from Vermont to meet a committee of Congress to confer upon the subject; but made it an indispensable preliminary to admission, that she surrender to New Hampshire the territory east of Connecticut river, and to New York, west of a prolonged line from the north-west corner of Massachusetts; asserting at the same time that those sections clearly came within the mutual guarantee of territory contained in the articles of confederation between the original states. Both New York and New Hampshire, however, persisted in their original claims to the grants, and protested against any acts of Congress looking to a recognition.
As we take a view of public affairs at this hour, we find the attitude assumed by the hitherto insignificant state of Vermont, and the importance to which her policy had been magnified, had now become the topic of public attention and general alarm. The horrors of civil war growing out of the matter, stared the whole nation in the face; and the bright hopes that followed the overthrow of British power, in the capture of Lord Cornwallis, began to wane, under the fears of an intestine war that would upset all that had been gained. The eastern and western unions, taking a large portion of territory as well as population from the states of New York and New Hampshire, made Vermont a powerful adversary, and weakened her enemies; and the bursting of a shell, or the crack of a musket, producing the effusion of blood between these hostile states, would have been felt throughout the whole confederacy. And at this time the people of Vermont, over her entire expansion, were most firmly attached to their new state organization.
The fear entertained was, that the controversy betwen these states would endanger the cause of American liberty and independence; and every patriotic heart felt, that no other political consideration should interpose to prevent the consummation of so great a purpose. But the able and wily statesmen of Vermont, though as patriotic as any, yet
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counted upon these fears as their best ally in securing the liberty and independence of their own state : and they felt so deeply the wrongs they had suffered and the ignominy they had endured, saying nothing of the work they had done and the burthens they had borne in the common cause, that they justified themselves in persisting in their demand of recognition, without regard to consequences. This intensity on the part of the people terrified the nation, high and low; and from the indomitable prowess of her hardy sons, they looked upon Vermont as if she were an impregnable fortress, securely and triumphantly seated among her Green Mountain barriers. Even Gen. Stark, the hero of Bennington, and friend of Vermont, who was not apt to be alarmed at trifles, got a little excited on the subject, and expressed his fears of the result in a letter to Gen. Washington.*
But Washington, who was always cool, even under the most trying circumstances, sat like Jupiter among the clouds and directed the storm. No one felt the danger more than he, however; and his great solicitude for the cause he had cherished and fought for so long, prompted him to earnestly desire, at this state of public affairs, a peaceful solution of the controversy. He wrote to Gov. Chittenden† a long, high-toned and respectful letter, and among other things, expressed his ardent wish "to see the peace and union of his country preserved, and the just rights of the people of every part of it fully and firmly established." He considered the point of recognition substantially settled by Congress under their resolves of Aug. 7th and 21st "Provided the new state is confined to certain described bounds." "It appears, therefore, to me," says he, "that the dispute of boundary is the only one that exists, and, that being removed, all further difficulties would be removed also, and the matter terminated to the satisfaction of all parties." He argued that Vermont had nothing to do but to return to her old limits, "and obtain an acknowledgment of independence and sovereignty" under the resolutions of Congress. "I persuade myself," says he, "you will see and acquiesce in the reason, the justice, and, indeed, the necessity, of such a decision—the point now in dispute is of the utmost political importance to the future union and peace of this great country."
He adds: "As you unbosomed yourself to me (as to the negotiations) I thought I had the greater right of speaking my sentiments openly and candidly to you. I have done so, and if they should produce the effects which I most sincerely wish, that of an honorable and amicable adjustment of a matter which, if carried to hostile lengths, may destroy the future happiness of my country, I shall have attained my end, while the enemy will be defeated of theirs."
This communication of Gen. Washington had an evident effect upon the policy of Vermont. At the approaching session of the legislature (in February) Gov. Chittenden laid it before that body, and after discussing the subject in a calm and deliberate manner, they passed a resolution** complying with the resolution of Congress of the 21st of August, and relinquishing all claims to jurisdiction beyond the bounds prescribed by I Congress—(which substantially forms the present outlines of the state). Thus to secure the admission of Vermont into the confederacy and escape the dangers of civil war, the east and west unions were given up, greatly to the disappointment and dissatisfaction of the people of those sections, who were devotedly attached to the purpose of forming a part of the Green Mountain state. This separation was unwillingly made by the legislative body and people of Vermont; but the patriotism of the members, the safety of the country at large, and full confidence in the pledges of Congress for admission into the Union, with the arguments and earnest entreaty of the father of his country resting upon them, they could hardly do less. But this separation would probably never have taken place had the legislature and people of Vermont been aware that Congress stood ready to violate her pledges and betray them. As the matter stood, they of course put their trust in the promises of Congress; and Gov. Chittenden wrote to Gen. Washington congratulating him on the prospect of a speedy termination of the whole controversy. And the legislature sent on delegates to Congress to make a definitive close of the matter,
* December 27, 1781.
† January 1, 1782.
** Feb. 22, 1782.
in pursuance of the resolutions they had adopted.
The proceedings of the legislature were laid before Congress, and referred to a committee of that body who reported Vermont had fully complied with the resolutions of Congress, "and that the conditional promise of recognition and admission is thereby become absolute and necessary to be performed;" and proposed a resolution declaring Vermont a free, sovereign and independent state. When this report was read, Congress—not merely blind to the vital interests of the country, but guilty of the most high-handed treachery and breach of confidence—indefinitely postponed the subject. Upon this, the delegates took their leave, and immediately left for home.
Thus it was that Vermont, by the treachery of Congress, lost a large portion of her territory and numerical strength, and was left without the aid of the general government to defend her frontier against the common enemy. And now, after a struggle of so many years, attended with such strange and trying vicissitudes, and when all rejoiced in the hope and prospect of a final termination of the long-protracted struggle, "all was struck to earth again;" and Vermont stood in the same situation, as to her external relations, as she had for years and years before. But, notwithstanding, she lost, not her patriotism and still held fast to the national cause.
The blow which Congress had thus deceitfully inflicted upon Vermont, was regarded by New York as fatal; and that her hopes and expectations for independence were now terminated forever. And in her great solicitude for the welfare of her rebellious children the legislature of New York (April 14, 1752) passed two several acts, one "for pardoning certain offenders," and the other "for quieting the minds of her inhabitants in the north-eastern section of her state." And guaranteeing to the people of Vermont all their lands, whether held under grants from New Hampshire, or from the authority of their own legislature; provided they return to their allegiance to the government of New York—thus taking compassion on their belligerent children and inviting them to return, as did the prodigal son, take shelter under the paternal roof and be comforted.
But the treacherous proceedings of Congress, brought about in a great measure under the influence of New York, produced a spirit of opposition and hatred in the people of Vermont deeper seated than ever; and the extreme kindness now proffered by New York was treated with the contempt it deserved. It was, moreover, believed by the people of Vermont, that the resolution of the 21st of August was held out by Congress as a bait to the legislature of the state, to entice them into measures which would reduce her strength and bring her to a condition of easy subjugation. And the purpose of maintaining the independence of the state, according to the boundaries thus deceptively held out by Congress, against all opposition, come from whatever source it might, became the fixed determination of the people of Vermont. And they quietly moved on, from month to month, strengthening and perfecting their own government.
But this state of affairs, for any great length of time, was not satisfactory to New York. The withdrawal of the continental troops left the northern frontier exposed, and it became necessary for the government of Vermont to make a draft of militia to defend her northern border; and this occasion was seized upon by New York to resist the draft, and again to oppose the authority of Vermont; and the south-easterly townships of the state were again "encouraged in their opposition by the governor of New York." Civil and military commissions were issued by New York to sundry persons, and a military organization effected, to enforce the laws of that state upon the citizens of Vermont,—Gov. Chittenden, as in the spring of 1779, sent a military force to put down the insurrection, under the command of Ethan Allen, who arrested the New York sheriff and other leaders of the insurgents, and committed them to prison. Some were fined, others banished not to return on pain of death, and their property confiscated.*
Upon this, Congress (Dec. 5) took up the subject and passed resolutions requiring Vermont to make full and ample restitution of property, to all such as had been deprived of it; that the persons banished be not molested on their return to their habitations, and that the United States take effectual measures to enforce said resolutions. Moreover, "that a
* See Charles Phelps' letter to Congress, Oct. 10, 1782, Stevens' papers, "Letters 1782."
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copy of the foregoing resolutions be transmitted to Thomas Chittenden, Esq., of Bennington, in the district aforesaid, to be communicated to the people thereof."
These unauthorised and insulting resolutions of Congress, were replied to by Gov. Chittenden with great force and severity, and cutting sarcasm. His letter was addressed to the President of Congress,* wherein he acknowledges the receipt of the resolutions of Congress of the 5th December, and reminds that body of their solemn resolutions to admit Vermont into the Union, on the performance of certain indispensable preliminaries; and confiding in the faith and honor of Congress, the legislature of Vermont had been induced to comply with the indispensable preliminaries required of them.— That the conditions required by Congress having been fulfilled by Vermont, became a fixed compact between the two governments, and that Congress had no power, either by the terms of former resolutions or the passing of subsequent ones, to abrogate that compact, without the consent of the state. "If, on the other hand, such solemn agreements are nothing, all faith, trust, or confidence, in the transactions of public bodies, is at an end." That these, in fact, were Congress' own principles; and in addition to this, he denied the right of Congress to controll the internal police of this or any other state.— He presumed "that Congress did not pretend to unlimited power, or to any other, than what had been delegated to them from the United States," under the articles of confederation.
"That this State, on revolutionary principles, has as good a right to independence as Congress;" and has an equal right to order Congress to receive and make restitution to criminals, that Congress has to order her.
He says, moreover, that the people of Vermont cannot submit to be resolved out of their independence "by the undue influence which the state of New York—their old adversary— has in Congress." That Vermont "will remain independent of New York, notwithstanding their artifice and power, while she has no controversy with the United States;" and he proceeds to advise Congress to leave the controversy to be settled by New York and Vermont, rather than embroil the confederacy with it; and closes by "soliciting a federal union with the United States, agreeable to the preliminary arrangement, which the committee of Congress have said has become absolute and necessary, on their part, to be performed, and from which this state will not recede."
Such were the sentiments of that high-toned, bold and sarcastic communication of Gov. Chittenden to the President of Congress.— Its arguments were not easily answered; its bitter irony and fearless chastisement of Congress for their deceit and breach of honor to Vermont, assumes the appearance of the same deliberation and power, that a high-minded father has over his refractory children. His letter evidently had its effect upon Congress, for it followed that no restitution of property or return of banished offenders took place. Congress made no attempt to enforce her resolutions of Dec. 5th, and Vermont went steady on her course, and conducted her internal affairs in her own way.
But the legislature and people of Vermont were not aware, at this time, that an event had already taken place that gave a new aspect to public affairs, and so far as Vermont was concerned, completely turned the table as to her interest and policy. The preliminary articles of peace between the United States and Great Britain, had been signed at Paris (Jan. 20, 1783), more than a month before, and this interesting result of the revolution soon became known, and produced general joy in the land. The 45th parallel of north latitude was fixed upon by the treaty as the northern boundary of the United States, between Connecticut river and the St. Lawrence. This separated Vermont, from the British possessions in Canada, and the hope which had lingered in the minds of the British authorities of holding dominion over her, was now extinguished forever; and Vermont was relieved at once of any further thought or trouble in protecting her frontiers against the public enemy.
At this time, having fully established her own state government, she was defacto enjoying the advantages of an independent sovereignty, owing allegiance to no other power; and she began to feel content to enjoy the blessings of nationality, without the aid or interposition of Congress. The heavy expenses of the war had left the United States in circumstances of great embarrass-.
* Dated at Bennington, Jan. 9;1783.
went, and it was beyond the power of the government to remedy the difficulty, or satisfy the people; but more especially the army, which remained unpaid. The power of Congress under the old confederation was a mere rope of sand, and they were unable to adopt any financial measures, which did not subject them to the opposition and contempt of the individual states; especially such as grew restless under their burthens. But the course taken by Congress in relation to Vermont, denying her right of representation, and refusing to acknowledge her existence as a state, kept her free from the burthen of the national debt, and had a strong tendency to invite immigration into the state; and the policy of immediate admission into the Union, was now changed into a general purpose to avoid it as long as possible—it being then acknowledged that the people of Vermont were in a less embarrassed situation, and more prosperous, than the people of any other state.
In the above views Gov. Chittenden, though looking for ultimate recognition, fully concurred; and the matter of admission into the Union was for a time at rest. In fact, the question did rest until called into life again, by other interests and parties than those of Vermont. But New York was bound to make one more effort to reclaim to her jurisdiction and sovereignty, what she was pleased to call "the pretended State of Vermont." The spirit of opposition to the authority of the state had not been wholly extinguished in the southern towns of Windham county, and New York sought to rake open the embers, and try her hand once more, in exciting hostility to the authority of the state. About this time the New York legislature passed (as the case ended) this laughable resolve: "That if she must recur to force, for the preservation of her lawful authority, the impartial world will pronounce that none of the bloodshed, disorder, or disunion, which may ensue, can be imputable to this legislature."
Moved once more by the support tendered by New York, a large number of the inhabitants of Guilford, Brattleboro, and some adjacent towns, held their meetings and conventions as loyal subjects of that state, appointed their town officers—several towns having two sets,—and contending with loyal citizens of Vermont in various ways; even to frequent collisions. Indeed the opposition to the authority of Vermont became so strongly fermented, that there was neither peace, safety, or social rights, and privileges, allowed to the new-state people of those towns. In this demonstration of open hostility to the government of the state, Gov. Chittenden for the third time ordered Ethan Allen to call out a portion of the militia, to enforce the laws. Allen marched from Bennington with 100 men, crossed the mountain, and made a descent upon Guilford. He took up his position in the midst of the insurgents, and the first move he made, issued a proclamation to them as follows: "I, Ethan Allen, declare, that unless the people of Guilford peaceably submit to the authority of Vermont, the town shall be made as desolate as were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah." Upon this the "Yorkers" fixed upon Allen, and without waiting for much ceremony, he fell upon them, and all were taken prisoners or dispersed.
After this affair Gov. Chittenden, in a communication to the President of Congress (April 26, 1784), observes:* "As to the bloody propositions of New York, the authorities of this state have only to remark, that Vermont does not wish to enter into a war with the state of Now York; but that she will act on the defensive, and expect that Congress and the twelve states will observe a strict neutrality, and let the contending states settle their own controversy." During the winter of 1784, divers skirmishes took place at Brattleboro and Guilford, in which several persons were wounded, and one "Yorker" killed—and, before the close of that year, the insurgents either submitted to the authority of Vermont and took the oath of allegiance, or left the state. Thus closed all attempts on the part of New York, to extend her authority over Vermont, by armed opposition to her laws.
The troubles of Vermont, growing out of her external relations, being now substantially terminated, her public men and people naturally turned their attention to the things, that more directly concerned the internal affairs of the state. The rubbish of a long and inveterate controversy, now the smoke of the conflict had passed away, had to be gathered up, and like faithful mariners,
* Stevens' papers, "Letters, 1783."
926 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
after a storm at sea, the latitude and longitude of the ship must be taken. Although the condition of the state was far more tolerable than most of the states in the confederacy, as witnessed by the rebellion in Massachusetts and other states, yet the neglect of private affairs, in the protracted struggle against her enemies, left her without a treasury, and her people comparatively poor and embarrassed. The pressure of creditors, which is always hardest when debtors are least able to pay, produced endless suits for the collection of debts; and the result was that lawyers, courts and sheriffs, being the operating machinery by which this course of litigation was carried forward, became odious in the eyes of the people, and they held conventions execrating these functionaries in the severest terms. In the mean time an election of governor and state officers was at hand, and violent parties were formed.
Gov. Chittenden took special pains to pacify the people and keep up a due observance of law and order. He issued an address to them in a calm and dignified tone, presenting the causes of the distress, divers measures for relief, and the assurance that a better state of things would soon come. His address was well calculated to meet the sentiment of the farmers and laboring classes; but had little tending to allay the ferment which had arisen between them and the traders, lawyers and sheriffs. Indeed, so indignant were they that they came out against the governor in a series of articles, in reply to his address, couched in the most vindictive and reproachful language. At that particular crisis some measure of relief was demanded to meet the public distress—credit was extended, suits brought and costs multiplied; property could not be sold even on execution, as no one had money to buy; that relic of barbarism, imprisonment for debt (though now happily abolished), was the end of almost every execution; and the prisons were filled with debtors, mere debtors, men and women, grey headed, young and middle aged, honest and hard working, expiating the crime of poverty in close confinement, as felons now expiate their crimes in state prison. No wonder that the sensibilities of the oppressed and suffering class were alive to the subject, and that mobs began to collect and threaten the further execution of the laws.
During the progress of this election many amusing articles appeared pro and con in the Vermont Gazette, printed at Bennington, which had adopted for its motto the following liberal couplet:
"With generous freedom for our constant guide,
We scorn control and print for every side."
The contest was really one between debtor and creditor, and by a natural transition tended to array the general mass of the people against the courts, traders, lawyers and sheriffs, who mainly composed the creditors. This furnished a happy occasion for the poet laureate of the day* to indulge in a few Hudibrastic lines. In allusion to the times, he says:
"By hardy creditors oppressed,
Who of our ruin make a jest,
While to assist them in their plans,
The law has furnished numerous clans
Of judges, justices and lawyers,
Relentless as their vile employers;
Sheriffs and deputies by scores,
That still are thundering at our doors;
And if we dare not give them battle,
Seize on our hogs, and sheep, and cattle,
And to our creditors transfer them,
Who, with themselves and lawyers, share them.
Is not the Scripture full of phrases,
That speak aloud all poor men's praises?
Declaring them God's chosen ones,
To whom the earth of right belongs?
Forbidding all t' oppress their debtors,
Whom God esteems so much their betters?
Is't not declared damnation waits
All creditors of great estates?
That they'll be saved less easily
Than camel pierces needle's eye?
Their good, far more than ours, we seek,
To make them humble, poor and meek,
That they may share those heavenly mansions,
To which they now have no pretensions."†
But even in that time of bitterness and trial, a creditor of the more kind-hearted and feeling sort would here and there be found, as will appear from the following dun,‡ published in the same paper:
"Sim. Harmon, Jr., late made known
He'd long out-standing debts in town,
And beg'd his old acquaintance all,
As they pass'd by his house to call,
And just to look over old affairs
He fear'd had slipt their minds for years.
Nor did he call like greedy dog
But told them he had still some grog,
Which he was willing to bestow,
Whether they paid him off or no."
* Tom. Rowley.
† See Vermont Gazette, Aug. 21, 1786, in H. Stevens' Papers.
‡ Nov. l6, 1786.
Suffice it to say the Governor was re-elected, but the times remained stormy. His advice to observe law and order, keep the peace, and maintain a spirit of kindness and forbearance towards each other, did not meet the approval of some hot-headed restless spirits, and those especially in the counties of Rutland and Windsor, collected in a riotous manner and attempted to overawe and break up the courts; but the courts were sustained by a large majority of the people of the better class, who took the field, armed and equipped, to defend the constituted authorities. They chose to work out a redress of grievances in some other way, than by mob-law and brute force.
This manly state of public sentiment, in connection with the relief produced by the acts of the legislature, especially the act making specific articles of property a lawful tender* as recommended by Gov. Chittenden, had a tendency to empty the prisons and check litigation.
During these troubles, which were more trying and difficult to contend with than open hostilities with an external foe, his attention was chiefly directed to the work of holding the popular mind to a continuous and sacred observance of the laws. These were established by the people, in spite of the pressure of the bordering states, and of Congress; and the pride of the little republic, after having so triumphantly declared her independence, would not allow her to descend to the humiliation of nullifying her own laws, and returning to the state of anarchy which preceded them. But the pressure of the times was so great that it was a most laborious and difficult matter to hold things steady with a people so long accustomed to act without restraint, against the authorities of New York; and that class, who are always impatient of restraint, in every government however well regulated, would even then have broken down the magistrates and lawful authority of the state, had it not been for the steady course pursued by the chief magistrate and his patriotic supporters. He was not however so bigoted an observer of the construction or technicalities of written law, as to make sacrifice of the clear public interest, in order to conform to their letter. He believed and acted on the principle of a higher law than any that could be indited by man—the law of necessity and self-preservation.
With these liberal views he was ready to adopt such measures from time to time, as the obvious necessities of the people demanded, without the strictest adherence to written rules; guided by his peculiar foresight and knowledge of practical means and ends. Thus the acts for quieting the titles to lands, and securing settlers in the possession of them, were also the result of his contrivance and recommendation. These measures were adopted because they were regarded as absolutely necessary to hold the government together; and although beyond the letter of any authority,** they were nevertheless the proper application of means for self-preservation. Without those acts not only the personal liberty, but the rights and property of the inhahitants, must have been sacrificed, and the effect upon the existence of the new state government may readily be seen. His policy, however, was not carried through, without opposition,—his views were not radical enough to meet the wishes of the destructives, nor technical enough to satisfy the ideas of the sticklers of close interpretation; and this hydra-headed opposition kept on fomenting against him. In the mean time another element of discord came in, growing out of our relations with France, and the discussions that arose on the adoption of the constitution of the United States, on which the old federal and democratic parties were formed. Under the pressure of these sources of agitation, the old patriarchal head of Vermont, who had secured her existence as a state, was flung overboard (1789) by a selfish and ungrateful faction. There being no choice by the people, Moses Robinson was elected in joint assembly by the legislature. His political opponents, however, even on this occasion, professed great attachment to the old Governor; and to cover up their sins appointed a committee to prepare an address of thanks to him, for his past services. They did so, asking him to accept "all that a noble and generous mind can give, or wish to receive—their gratitude and warmest thanks;" adding, "and it is our earnest wish, that in your advanced age and retirement from the arduous task of pub‑
* An act, if not justified by the constitution, was by a higher law—the law of necessity.
** Though not so regarded at the time.
928 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
lic life, you may enjoy all the blessings of domestic ease." Notwithstanding their crocodile tears, and the regrets they suffered at his retirement "from the arduous task of public life," he was the next seven years in succession, re-elected by the people to the office of Governor—a compliment without a parallel; and a rebuke as severe to his flatterers as it was amusing to his friends.
In the mean time the controversy with New York, though hushed forever, remained unclosed. Vermont kept on in the quiet enjoyment of her local institutions and improvements, and Congress began to see that the high ground taken by Gov. Chittenden had the better of the argument, and that they, under the confederation, had no legitimate power over him or the state he represented. This was one ground why the statesmen of that day sought to adopt a Federal Constitution and form a more perfect union—looking to the settlement of the controversy with New York, and the admission of Vermont, that she in future might be identified in her rights and obligations with the other states, and share with them the national burdens. And when the United States Constitution was adopted, Congress turned upon its heel, and now took special pains to conciliate Vermont, and induce her to enter the copartnership of states, adopt the federal Constitution* and take her share in the fortunes of the great Republic. New York also now took high and honorable ground; the boundaries of Vermont were defined, her independence recognized, and the difficulties of her admission into the Union removed—leaving her people in the full enjoyment of their lands in fee, without hindrance from New York claimants; and on February 18th, 1791, she was admitted into the Union by Act of Congress, without a dissenting vote. Thus this comedy of land claimants, which had been acted upon the stage for twenty-six years, exhibiting all manner of social, civil and belligerent phases, culminated in the birth of a new state—the firstborn child of this great and glorious Union.
This was the crowning event of Gov. Chittenden's life. The great struggle was over, and our gallant little state, seated among these green hills and mountains, under the guidance of her sagacious and patriotic leaders, rose from a mere backwoods settlement, driven to acts of vigilance and desperation by the persecution and hostility of inveterate foes, to the high position of an independent state of the American Union—the first star ever annexed to the old thirteen stars and stripes—and no loyal chronicler as yet can say that she has ever, whether in the council chamber or on the battlefield, dishonored that illustrious national banner.
After the admission of Vermont into the Union, and during the remaining six years of Gov. Chittenden's administration, nothing of signal importance characterized his political movements or history. The state now occupied a position wholly new to her people, who had attained the end and secured the rights they had so long contended for; they were now established in the repose of freedom and independence, and undisturbed peace. The whole heart and soul of Gov. Chittenden had been devoted to the accomplishment of the very condition now occupied by her; and it is no disparagement to others to say that no man in the state had done as much as he to attain this end. His disinterested motives and long public services had endeared him to the people, and they regarded him as their political father. So great, indeed, was his influence that demagogues did not venture to assail him; and every species of political intrigue and corruption was held in check under the influence and power of his example.
Under his wise administration the new state was rapidly settled by an enterprising and intelligent immigration, mostly from the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut; and energetic measures were pursued for her moral and intellectual advancement, as well as in the improvement of her civil policy and laws. The work of establishing schools, academies, and a state university; and of revising the laws and digesting a code, engrossed the attention of the legislature and people. And no one felt a deeper responsibility, and took a more lively, interest in these highly important measures than Gov. Chittenden. It will thus be seen that he was fitted both for peaceful and stormy times, which problem was fully solved by the fact that his popularity and influence increas‑
* The Constitution of the United States was ratified by a Convention of the people of Vermont, Thomas Chittenden president, Jan. 6th, 1791, by a vote of 105 to 4.
ed from year to year. until his public duties and life were brought to a close together.* The domestic habits of Gov. Chittenden were of the most simple and unaffected kind. While Governor of the state, he occupied his rude log house at Williston for some years, before he felt it necessary to erect a better. Agriculture was his favorite occupation, and his farm was never neglected for want of his personal charge and supervision. His visitors, who occasionally called to pay their respects to the Governor, as often found him in the field with his laborers as in his sitting-room; and were received with the same cordiality in the one place as in the other.† Indeed his absolute aversion to all empty outside forms and trappings directed him always in the plain, unostentatious path of utility. That to him was worth nothing which had not an intrinsic value, or might not be made instrumental in producing some permanent good. The blandishments of dress, and the silly, precise formula of etiquette had no charms for his philosophy; but, on the other hand, he regarded them as the certain evidences of human weakness, and beneath the dignity of an honest heart and sound head. He was a careful observer of men and things; in fact, this was the great lesson of his education; which a long and peculiar experience and a wide intercourse with persons of all ranks, civil, military, plebian and noble had taught him. This experience, combined with a sort of intuitive power, fitted him for almost any emergency of the times, and he ever seemed to be in preparation to decide upon any difficult question, or enter upon any new or untried measure, without hesitation or doubt. Ethan Allen said of him:— "That he was the only man he ever knew who was sure to be right in all, even the most difficult and complex cases, and yet could not tell or seem to know why it was so." The secret was, his mind, heart and judgment, all centered upon one point; and that point was justice.
HON. HORACE ALLEN.
[From Mr. Milliken's Vermont Record.]
My last classmate died in Potsdam, N. Y., May 25, 1866—Hon. Horace Allen, aged seventy-seven. He was a native of Williston, Vt. I had known him fifty-seven years. He was a member of the class of 1812 in U. V. M. In 1809 and '10 Ira H. Allen was a member, but he, with more than half the class, left before graduation. Ira H. Allen has lately departed. So strong was the resemblance of Horace and Ira 57 years ago, a stranger would probably thought them brothers. In age they differed but little, in stature and build they were much alike—their weight about 140 lbs. each, and I may add, in character each was irreproachable.
Of Ira I have known but little for more than 50 years, but with Horace I have corresponded, visited him several times, the last time not long since. Of his standing in P. I am well informed. For about forty years he was a pillar in the Presbyterian Church. It is further remarkable that these two young Allens lived to an advanced age; sustained similar stations in life, and died near the same time, with Hon. prefixed to each name. Were I to indulge my feelings in respectful remembrance of the above, my youthful companions, especially of Horace, my beloved chum, I fear the Record would exclude me for my prolixity. The memory of departed friends, like the music of carol, is sweet, but mournful to the soul. T.
REV. MYRON WINSLOW, D. D., LL. D.
BY REV. PLINY H. WHITE, OF COVENTRY.
[From the Congregational Quarterly.]
This eminent missionary died at the Cape of Good Hope, on his way from India to America, October 22, 1864, aged seventy-four years, ten months, and eleven days.
He was born in Williston, Vt., December 11, 1789, the son of Nathaniel and Anna (Kellogg) Winslow, and the elder brother of the late Rev. Gordon Winslow, D. D., and Rev. Hubbard Winslow, D. D. His ancestry is traceable back to Kenelm Winslow, of whom English history makes mention in the sixteenth century and whose grandson was one of the Mayflower Pilgrims. The two Governors Winslow, of Massachusetts, were of the same stock.
He intended to be a merchant, and at the age of fourteen entered a store as clerk, where he continued till he was twenty-one years old, and then established himself in business in Norwich, Ct. Here he was successfully employed for two years. In the mean time the serious impressions of which he had been the subject from childhood greatly deepened, and resulted at length in his hopeful conversion. From that time he felt a strong conviction that he ought to preach the gospel, and to preach it to the unevangelized nations. In the very letter in which he announced to his parents his conversion, he also announced his intention to abandon
* He resigned the office of Governor a few weeks before his death, on account of his sickness, and died Aug. 25th, 1791.
† He was sometimes fond of a good joke, and his position was not in the way of enjoying it. As proof of this, a genteel stranger one day rode up, and seeing a man splitting wood at the door, asked him to be so kind as to hold his horse a few minutes; while he stepped in to see the Governor. His request was very cheerfully and promptly complied with. But what was the gentleman's surprise and chagrin, after a series of polite bows at the door and inquiries after the Governor, to learn that the servant who held his horse by the bit was the veritable dignitary himself!
930 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
the profitable business in which he was engaged, and give himself to the service of Christ among the heathen. Having had a thorough academical education, he was able, after a year and a half of preparation, some of it being made while he was still prosecuting his mercantile business, to enter a junior at Middlebury College in 1813. He was graduated in 1815.
In January, 1816, he entered Andover Theological Seminary, and was there graduated in 1818. During the last vacation of his junior year, and the two vacations of his senior year, he traveled in New England as agent of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and was very successful in collecting funds. He was ordained as a missionary in the Tabernacle Church, Salem, Mass., November 4, 1818, together with Pliny Fisk and others. Rev. Moses Stuart, D. D., preached the sermon. He embarked at Boston, June 8, 1819, on brig Indus, bound for Calcutta, where he arrived after a voyage of about five months. Thence he proceeded to Ceylon, which he reached December 14, 1819, and took up his residence at Oodooville, July 4, 1820. There he labored sixteen years, and then was transferred to Madras, arriving there August 18, 1836. His biography during his residence in India would be no less nor other than the history of the missions there. He was the life and soul of them, and no man has done better service than he to the cause of religion and letters in that country. He founded the Madras mission, was the general secretary and financial agent of that and other, missions, was President of the Madras College and head of all the native schools, and had the care of a native Church of several hundred members. At the time of his death he was the oldest missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, having been in the service nearly forty-six years.
His literary labors were numerous, and some of them of the very highest importance. During his senior year in the Seminary and in the following autumn he wrote a duodecimo volume of four hundred and thirty-two pages, entitled "A History of Missions, or History of the principal attempt to propagate Christianity among the Heathen." This was published at Andover by Flagg and Gould in 1819, and was very serviceable in enlightening the public mind on the subject of which it treated. His next volume was a memoir of his first wife, Mrs. Harriet L. Winslow, which is one of the standard volumes of the American Tract Society. His "Hints on Missions," published by M. W. Dodd, New York, in 1856, was written on his passage from India to America in 1855, as a sort of digest of his experiences and observations during a missionary life of thirty-seven years. Several of his occasional sermons and addresses were published in pamphlet. He furnished a very large amount of correspondence for the Missionary Herald, the New York Observer, and other periodicals.
But the crowning literary labors of his life were the translation of the Bible into Tamil, and the preparation of a Tamil-English Lexicon. The full title of the last named work is, "A Comprehensive Tamil and English Dictionary of High and Low Tamil." It is a work of prodigious labor and great value, and occupied a large share of his time for more than twenty years. It extends to nearly a thousand quarto pages, and contains more than sixty-seven thousand Tamil words, being thirty thousand five hundred and fifty-one more words than can be found in any other dictionary of that language. So "comprehensive" is it, that it includes the astronomical, astrological, mythological, botanical, scientific, and official terms, together with the names of authors, heroes, and gods. It is thus a perfect thesaurus of Tamil learning, conducting him who uses it, not only into the language, but into the literature of the language, and giving him a knowledge of the philosophy, the religion. the superstitions, and the customs of the Hindoos. For this noble contribution to Oriental literature, Dr. Winslow received the highest encomiums from the press of India and England, and from literary and official sources.
He received the degree of A. M., from Yale, in 1818; D. D., from Harvard, in 1858; and LL. D., from Middlebury, in 1854.
He married (1), January 19, 1819, Harriet W. Lathrop, daughter of Charles Lathrop, of Norwich, Ct. By her he had six children—Charles Lathrop, born January 12, 1821, died May 24, 1832 (a child of uncommon promise, a memoir of whom was published by the American Tract Society); Harriet Maria, born February 28, 1822, died November 27, 1825; Joanna, born Feb. 5, 1825 (adopted and reared by Peletiah Perit, Esq., of New York, and married, 1st, Rev. Mr. Clark; 2d, George S. King, of Florida, now a Major-General in the Confederate Army); George Morton, born May 12, 1827, died August 15, 1828; Harriet Lathrop, born April 19, 1829, died September 1, 1861 (married Rev. John W. Dulles); Eliza Coit, born January 4, 1831, died August 11, 1861 (adopted by Marshal O. Roberts, of New York, and married Henry M. Leavitt.) Mrs. Winslow died January 14, 1833, and he married (2), April 23, 1835, Mrs. Catherine (Waterbury) Carman, a sister of Rev. J. B. Waterbury, D. D., of New York, and by her had one child, Catherine Waterbury, born February 2, 1837, died September 29, 1837. She died September 23, 1837, and a memoir of her, by her brother, was published soon after. He married (3), September 2, 1838, Annie Spiers, of Madras, a grand-daughter of Lord Dundas, of England, and by her had Charles, born June 5, 1839; Myron, Jr., born August 28, 1840; Archibald Spiers, born June 10, 1843, died August 10, 1848. She died June 20, 1843, and he married (4), March 12, 1845, Mrs, Mary W. (Billings) Dwight, widow of Rev. R. O. Dwight. She died April 20, 1852; and he married (5), May 20, 1857, Ellen Augusta Reed, of Boston.
MILITARY CHAPTER. 931
[CONFIRM FROM MGR 719.]
A list of names of persons who volunteered into the service of the United States, since
the outbreak of the pueteut vat, front the
town of Charlotte :
Cassius F. Newell,* Job Potter, Joseph Gravel, John Coleman, Henry Wilder, Truman C. Naramore, Geo. W. Spear, John Quinlin, Michael Quinlin, James Davis, James H. Abel, Joseph Kehoe, Michael Kehoe, Archibald Fool, Daniel Scofield, Clark S. Parks, Abner Fonda, John Bissett, R. W. Barton, Mitchel Macy, John Daniels, Chas. Daniels, Frank Guyett, John Laflam. Geo. D. Sherman, John Franklin, Henry Ruff, Alford Burnham.
The above volunteers enlisted for three years, or during the war ; the following for
Milo A. Williams, 2d Lieutenant; James Washburn, Heman Hyde, Alonzo E. Root, Gideon D. Prindle, Gilbert J. Barton, Wm. P. Barton, William N. Lincoln, Joseph Guillett, Joseph Bissett, Myron Williams, Henry Drum, Samuel S. Page. Horace Delomater, Geo. A. Clark, Benj. H. Taggart, Hiram Bishop, Frank R. Hill.
D. L. SrE,s,u, Selectman. Charlotte, Nov. 29, 1862.
First Rigiment, 3 months men.
Co. H.† —James M. Read, Franklin Austin, U. P. Allen (also in 5th Regt.)
John Lanegan, Captain ; E. P. Whitcher, John Baraby (also in 6th Regt.), James Gafney (groom to Colonel).
Co. B.—Amos Hopkins.
Co. K.— William Bowker, George Killam, Geo. Rice, Joshua O. Service, Wolfred Tatro, Edward Laffean.
Fifth Regiment. Adoniram N. Austin, Quartermaster.
Co. I— Heman P Allen Ii. W
Joseph Fountain, Wallace W. Holmes, John Kelley, Charles Myers, Josephas H. Thatcher, Alexander Scott.
Co. K—Porter Herring, Charles Urie..
Co. 1.— John Baraby (also in 23 Regt.), Josiah Dupany, George E. Smith, James E. McEwen also in 13th Regt.), Wyllys B. Jourdan, James Henry, George N. Monger.
Co. K.—William Church (died of his wounds), John Kelley.
Co. A.—John Kavino, George M. Henry, James Gainey (also in 2d Regt.)
Co. B.—Joseph Baraby (also in 13th Regt.) Co. L—Josepa Henry, — McHenry.
Thirteenth Regiment, 9 months men.
Co, D.—John Bushman, A. J. Beeman, Willie Blakeley, Joseph Baraby (also in 8th Regt,), Joe. Croto, Wm. Crosby, Josiah Carey, W. T. Calvert, Julius Densmore, Geo. Fenwick,Wesley Forest, Edward Freeman, Udney Farnsworth, Seth Giffin, John A. Greenough, John Greenwood, Samuel Hand, Thomas
Hodgkineon, Dien Johnsou, John Johnson,
John Kelley, Francis Laveler, Geo. W. Lee, John Lyon, James E. McEwen, William McIntyre, William Marsh, George Myers, William D. Munson, Captain ; J ames Morrison, Joseph Minor, Henry M. Avoy, Robert Powers, Richard Powers, Joseph Rhone, John Rolfe, 2d Lieutenant ; William Sheridan, M. P. Sculler, Royal Sheridan, George Stevens, Joseph Travasee, Erasmus Tyler, M. W. Thompson, Harry H. Talcott, W. A.
Whoeler, Goorge Wright, Milcu Wilson.
First Battery of Artillery.
Morris M. Goodwin, Aiken Brooks, Joseph Brooke, Henry Dunoan, Adolphus Grccn, Edwin Greenleaf, Andrew Shiba, Henry Their, Peter Villemaire, John Walsworth, Marous Wright.
Seymour F. Norton, Edward Dupeau, Adrian G. Nay, Benj. Rowe.
L. B. Platt, Colonel; resigned.
Co. A.—F. A. Platt, Captain, resigned; Ellis B. Edwards, let Lieutenant ;* Andrew Shiott, Samuel Allen, John Benjamin, Chas. Devino (died of sickness), Edwin Fisk, Lester Green, Argalus Harmon, Homer Hawley, 'Tames Kellcy, Wyllys Lyman, Pliney Moffat, Ichabod Mattocks, John Upham, Christie Gordon, William Devano.
Co. L.—William A. Pcrry, Abraham Bur‑
lette, Eben. Lord, Albert Bass, Robert Pollinger, Hosea B. Nash, Josiah A. Fobes, Arabant E. robes, Horace N. Irish, Charles F. Woodward, Lewis Strong, George L. McBride, George S. Brownell, Andrew A. Smith, Calvin A. Irish, Homer C. Irish, Rufus D. Thompsen, Leonard E. Blatcherly, George H. Duncan, William S. Greenleaf, Joseph Burnor, Timotby Keefe, Michael Haley, James O'Daniel.
.New folk Co. of Zowavca.-.7-John Ants.
Twelfth U. S. infa*try.—John Frazer.
• The companies and reorients uot returued. t Called the "Burlington Light Guard."
*Z. B. Edwards Is also returned from. Richmond. his math.° town; but when he enlisted he reaided in Colchester.