Norwich Vermont Proposed Union with New Hampshire
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In this chapter are recorded the proceedings looking towards a union of the towns of Newbury, Moretown, Norwich and Hartford with the State of New Hampshire after the failure of the Second Vermont Union with New Hampshire towns in 1782. The facts here subjoined are from New Hampshire State Papers.
In pursuance of votes passed and instructions given by the towns of Newbury, Moretown, Norwich and Hartford, lying on the New Hampshire Grants, so called, west of Connecticut River, proposing to take some measures to be informed of the honorable General Court of New Hampshire, whether a union of the territory aforesaid can be effected with the State of New Hampshire, in consequence of their claim over the same, on terms honorable and mutually beneficial, and appointing Committees from those several towns to meet at Thetford, in order further to consult on the subject and gain information therein in such way and manner as may appear most advisable; The said Committees being convened in consequence of the votes and instructions afore-said, after mature deliberation came to the following
“Resolved, that it evidently appears to be the wish and desire of the towns above named, as by their votes and instructions is expressed, and also by good information it appears to be the desire of several other towns who have not had opportunity to be represented at this time, that the territory aforesaid, or part thereof, should be united with the State of N. H. and be under its jurisdiction, provided it can be done on terms honorable and mutually advantageous; and that we therefore think it our duty to enquire of the S d Gen. Court of N. H. whether, agreeably to their claim aforesaid, the Territory or Grants above mentioned, or part thereof, may on such terms be united with and become part of S d State: and that we imagine such an union mij be formed to the general benefit, well being and interest of the whole.
“Resolved, that if the Hon. Gen. Court of N. H. are disposed or desirous to extend jurisdiction over the territory aforesaid, or a part thereof, they be earnestly requested to signify their disposition there-for to the several towns in their said claims as soon as conveniently may be, and also manifest their ideas respecting judicial and others proceedings under the authority of Vt. (cases now pending in courts &c.); and if a seasonable adjustment of these last mentioned and other necessary matters can take place, we have full reason to believe and assert, that the greater part of the inhabitants in Sd territory would readily acknowledge the authority of N. H. Expecting doubtless at the same time, that some direction or assistance will be afforded in guarding the frontiers.
“Resolved, that the following Memorial be transmitted to and laid before the Hon. Gen. Court of N. H. together with these Resolutions, and that Abel Curtis, Esq., be appointed Agent to wait on that honorable Court with the same. And that Sd Agent be desired and empowered to make and receive such further proposals, agreeable to the tenor hereof, as may then be judged beneficial and expedient.
“To the Hon. General Court of New Hampshire, to be convened at Concord in and for Sd State, on the Second Tuesday in June next, the Committees aforesaid, in the name and behalf of the Towns above named, beg leave to represent:
“(1) That the Grantees and occupants of the greater part of the lands in the territory aforesaid were possessed of titles from the governor of N. H., and were in expectation of continuing under the jurisdiction of that Government.
“That the people in Sd territory were very unexpectedly and disagreeably involved in difficulties and calamities by being annexed to N. Y. by the royal edict in the year 1764: out of which they ever were desirous and endeavored to extricate themselves: but without success until after the memorable American Revolution, when for their mutual benefit and protection against the efforts of internal and external foes they were impelled by necessity to form into a separate jurisdiction.
That necessity and necessity only induced the inhabitants of the Towns above mentioned and many others to unite and continue under the new Government [Vermont], being unjustly deprived of that jurisdiction and protection from N. H. which they had a right to expect and enjoy.
“And while they have esteemed the Congress of the U. S. to be the guardians of the rights of a numerous and free people, and have been ready to stand forth in the defense of and support of the cause of America, they have for a long while looked to them for a settlement of our unhappy disputes; but hitherto to no purpose.
“That while on the one hand we view with keenest anxiety a negotiation on foot with the British [in Canada] greatly to the detriment of the public cause, and tending to our final ruin without a speedy remedy, which we are not at present in a capacity to obtain or afford, on the other hand we may view our rights violated in the most flagrant manner and our liberties trampled upon by a number, without rebuke or remorse.
“And therefore, unless a number of men be raised or afforded for the defense of these frontiers, we must view their situation to be indeed very distressed and unhappy.
“That although we do not wish to involve ourselves under greater disadvantages to obtain relief from our present troubles, we think it our duty nevertheless to inquire whether the jurisdiction of N. H. may not be as real as its claim, and whether the territory aforesaid may not be speedily united with and become a part of that State, on such principles as may be honorable, mutually beneficial and advantageous to the whole. Being persuaded that the Sd territory on account of its fertility, &c, may greatly add to the wealth and resources of New Hampshire.
“The Committee aforesaid therefore beg that your honors would take the several matters hereinbefore suggested into your wise consideration, and rest assured you will pursue such measures thereupon as will eventually prove for the best good of N. H. and the territory aforesaid, whose interests ought doubtless to be inseparable.
“Signed by order and in behalf of the Committees aforesaid, this 31st day of May, A. D. 1782, and in the sixth year of American Independence,
“Bildad Andros, Chairman,”
The above Resolutions and Memorial bear unmistakable internal evidence that they came from the pen of Abel Curtis.
The movement of these four towns was deemed of sufficient importance to occasion Governor Chittenden of Vermont to dispatch Col. Ira Allen to Concord to counteract the influence of Mr. Curtis with the General Court of New Hampshire.