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CONVENTION AT DORSET,

JULY 24, 1776.

(From the manuscript copy of the HON.JAMES H. PHELPS, as published in the Vermont His

torical Society Collections, vol. I.]

WARRANT.

24th June, 1776. These are to warn the several Inhabitants of the N. Hampshire Grants on the West side, and to desire those on the east side the Range of Green Mountains, That they meet their several delegates in General Convention, to be held at the dwelling House of Mr. Cephas Kent, innholder in Dorset, on Wednesday, the twenty-fourth day of July next at 8 o'clock in the forenoon, to act on the following articles, (viz :)—

1st. To choose a Moderator, and secondly a Clerk for said Convention.

30. To receive the report of Capt. Heman Allen from the Continental Congress, he having been previously appointed to transact business in behalf of the inhabitants of said Grants.

4ih. To know the minds of the Convention, relative to their associating with the province of N. Hampshire.

5th In case the last article be objected to : Whether said Convention will agree to an association (not repugnant to that of the Continental Congress) and subscribe thereto, to do duty in conjunction with the Continental Troops (only) as Members of the District of Land which they inhabit.

6th. To see if said Convention will earnestly recommend it to the several Field Officers heretofore nominated on said Grants, to see that their men be forthwith furnished with suitable arms, ammunition and accoutrements, &c., agreeable to a resolve of the honble the Continental Congress.

7th. To see if said Convention will make preparation, and settle with Capt Heman Allen for his expenses and services for the publick.

And sth. to transact any other business that shall be thought necessary and in the power of Sa Convention for the safety of the liberties of the Colonies in General and the N. Hampshire Grants in particular.

JAMES BREAKENRIDGE,
SIMEON HATHAWAY, Committee Appointed.

ELIJAH DEWEY,
Copy examined,

pr Jonas Fay, Clerk.

{ Joseph Bradley.

Rutland, { Joseph Bowker.

DORSET, July 24th, 1776. In consequence of the foregoing Warrant, the following persons, being Delegated, met at this place to transact the business of sd warning, (viz :) Touns' Names. Delegates' Names.

Touons' Names. Delegates' Names. Pownall, Capt. Sam'l Wright. Hines

burgh & Isaac Lawrence. Benning- SSimeon Hathaway,

Monkton,)
Jonas Fay,
ton,
Jno. Burnam, Jr.

Neshobee

[or John Mott. Shafts- | Maj. Jeremiah Clark,

Brandon,] bury, Mr. John Burnam. Sunder

Pitts

Aaron

Parsons,

Jona. Rowley, land,

ford,

Jonathan Fassett.
Col. Wm. Marsh,
Man-

Lt. Martin Powell, chester,

.
Gideon Ormsby.
John Manley,

Clarendon, Thomas Braten.
Dorset,

Abr'm Underhill. No. Wal- , Matthew Lyon,
Reuben Harmon,

lingford, Abr’m Jackson. Rupert,

Tin S Eben'r Allen,
Capt. Wm. ,

mouth, Stephen Royce.
Maj. Roger .

Danbee, { Cantia Micah Veal, [Vail,] Daniel Culver, Wells, Ogden Mallory.

Towns- Capt. Samuel Fletcher, Poult Nehemiah Howe,

hend, Josiah Fish.? { ney,

Middle

. , Castle- Ephraim Buel, ton, Jesse Belknap.

Bridport, Samuel Benton. Hubber

Sudbury, John Gage. {Benja. Hitchcock. ton,

Addison, Col. John Strong.
Williston, Col. Thos. Chittenden.

Cornwall, James Bentley.
Jerico, Brown Chamberlain. Burling-
Colchester, Ira Allen.

ton,

Stamford, Thomas Morgan. Voted, Unanimously, that the above persons be admitted as legal members of this Convention.

Copy examined.

pr Jonas Fay, Clerk.

{

Pawlet

, {Ganito W.m, Fitch

{Lemuel Bradley.

PROCEEDED—(VIZ.) Chose Capt. Joseph

Bowker, Chairman. Chose Doct. Jonas Fay, Clerk. After which on a motion being made and agreed to hy the Huuse the Clerk proceeded to read the following Address, Remonstrance and Petition of the Inhabitants of the N. Hampshire Grants to the honorable the

1 See note on p. 22, post.

* Messrs. Fletcher and Fish were the first Delegates in General Convention from eastern Vermont.

Continental Congress, which was exhibited to that board by Capt. Heman Allen in the latter part of the month of April, or in the beginning of the month of May, A. D. 1776, (viz.) To the Honorable John Hancock, Esq'r., President of the honorable the

Continental Congress, &c., &c., now assembled at Philadelphia :

“The Humble Address, Remonstrance and Petition of that part of America being situated south of Canada line, West of Connecticut River, North of the Massachusetts Bay, and East of a twenty mile line from Hudson's River, commonly called and known by the name of the N. Hampshire Grants,--Humbly Sheweth,

“ That your honor's Petitioners being fully sensible and duly affected with the very alarming situation in which the united colonies are involved, by means of a designing Ministry, who have flagrantly used, and are still using their utmost efforts to bring the inhabitants of this very extensive continent of America, into a base and servile subjection to Arbitrary Power ; Contrary to all the most sacred ties of Obligation by Covenant, and the well known Constitution by which the British Empire ought to be governed ; your Petitioners, not to be prolix or waste Time, when the whole Continent are in so disagreeable situation, would however beg leave to Remonstrate in as short terms as possible the very peculiar situation in which your petitioners have for a series of years been exercised, and are still struggling under.

Perhaps your honors, or at least some of you, are not unacquainted, that at the conclusion of the last War, the above described premises, which your petitioners now inhabit, was deemed and reputed to be in the province of New-Hampshire, and consequently within the jurisdiction of the same. Whereupon applications were freely made to Benning Wentworth, Esq., the then Governor of the province of N. Hampshire, who, with the advice of his council, did grant under the Great Seal of said province to your honors' Petitioners a large number of Townships of the contents of six miles square each, in consequence of which a great number of your petitioners, who were men of considerable substance, disposed of their interests in their native places, and with their numerous families proceeded many of them two hundred miles, encountering many Dangers, Fatigues and great Hardships to inhabit a desolate Wilderness, which has now become a well-settled frontier to three Governments. This was not all our Trouble, for soon after_the commencement of those Settlements, the Monopolizing Land Traders of New-York, being apprised that the province of New Hampshire had granted the said Lands, and that settlements were actually making, did present a petition (as we have often heard and verily believe) in your Petitioners' names, praying that his Majesty would annex the said lands granted by the authority of N. Hampshire to N. York on account of its local and other circumstances for the benefit of the inhabitants.

“Your petitioners not being apprized of the intrigue (in this case) were mute, therefore as no objection was made why the prayer of the petition should not be granted, his Majesty was pleased with the advice of his Council on the 20th day of July, A. D. 1764, to grant the same, immediately after which the Land Traders of N. York Petitioned the then Governor of that Province for grants of Land, some part of which had been previously granted to your petitioners by the Governor and Council of N. Hampshire. The dispute then became serious, and your Petitioners then petitioned his Majesty for Relief in the Premises. His Majesty was pleased to appoint a Committee, who reported to his Majesty in the premises, and his Majesty was pleased to pass an order in the following words (viz.):

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At a Court at Saint James's the 24th day of July, 1767.

66. PRESENT :
“The King's Most Excellent Majesty.
The Archbishop of Canterbury. Earl of Shelburn.
Lord Chancellor.

Viscount Falmouth.
Duke of Queensborough.

Viscount Barrington.
Duke of Ancarter.

Viscount Clark.
Lord Chamberlain.

Bishop of London.
Earl of Litchfield.

Mr. Sec’y Conway.
Earl of Bristol.

Thora's Stanley, Esq. * * His Majesty taking the said Report into consideration was pleased with the advice of his Privy Council to approve thereof and doth hereby strictly charge, require and command, that the Governor or Commanderin-Chief of his Majesty's Province of New York for the time being, do not upon pain of his Majesty's highest displeasure presume to make any grant whatsoever of any part of the Land described in said Report until his Majesty's further pleasure shall be known concerning the same.

6. WILLIAM SHARPE. “6 A true Copy, Attest, Gow. BANYAR, Depty Secoy.!** The many intervening and unhappy disputes which since have happened between those Land Traders of New York and your Petitioners would take up too much time under the present situation of Public Affairs to recite, as Capt. Heman Allen and Doct'r Jonas Fay who we have appointed to present this to your honors will be furnished therewith should they find your honors' admittance, and such particulars be thought necessary. Let it suflice here only to mention that the oppressions from those overgrown land Traders were so grievous that your Petitioners were again induced, at a great expense, to petition his Majesty ; in consequence of which a Committee was appointed and made a report in favor of your Petitioners, which is too prolix to be inserted here.

“We are called on this moment by the Committee of Safety for the County of Albany to suppress a dangerous insurrection in Tryon County. Upwards of ninety soldiers were on their march within twelve hours after receiving the news, all inhabitants of one town inhabited by your petitioners, and all furnished with arins, ammunition, accoutrements, provisions, &c. Again we are alarmed by express from General Wooster commanding at Montreal, with the disagreeable news of the unfortunate attack on Quebec, (unfortunate indeed to lose so brave a commander.) requiring our immediate assistance by Troops; in consequence of which a considerable number immediately marched for Que

* Dec. 24, 1786, John Munro [of Shaftsbury] wrote to James Duane that he had been to England to get compensation for loss of his property ; that in Sept. 1785 the commissioners awarded him a pitiful sum, having made large deductions from his claim; and he declared that we discoyered that the deduction was owing to the New Hampshire claims covering the most part of my property.Thus the important fact appears, that, eighteen years after the above order of the king in council, and when the controversy between Vermont and New York was fully understood, the validity of the New Hampshire Grants was affirmed by the British board which had jurisdiction of land 'titles in America.-E. Allen Mss., pp. 415-419; Early History of Vermont, p. 466.

66

hec, and more are daily following their example. Yet while we your Petitioners are thus earnestly engaged, we beg leave to say that we are entirely willing to do all in our Power in the General Cause, under the Continental Congress, and have been ever since the Ticonderoga, &c., in which your petitioners were principally active, under the conmand of Col. Ethan Allen, but are not willing to put ourselves under the honorable provincial Congress of New York in such manner as might in future be detrimental to our private property ; as the oath to be administered to those, who are, or shall be entrusted with cominissions from said Congress, and the Association, agreed upon by the same authority, together with some particular restrictions and orders for regulating the Militia of said province, if conformed to by the inhabitants of the said N. Hampshire Grants, will (as we apprehend) be detrimental to your petitioners, in the determination of the dispute now subsisting between your said Petitioners and certain claimants under said province of New York. And that your Petitioners' ardent desires of exerting themselves in the present struggle for freedom may not be restrained,

· HILAND HALL has vividly stated the urgency of the demand upon the Green Mountain Boys in this emergency, and the promptitude and vigor of their response :

By the sudden death of Montgomery, the command in Canada devolved on Gen. Wooster. He had been left at Montreal in charge of the troops at that place and its vicinity, and he immediately made every effort to obtain reinforcements from the colonies. On the 6th of Jan. 1776, he wrote to Col. Warner for aid in the most pressing terms. The following are extracts from his letter. After giving a general account of the misfortune at Quebec, he says : “I have not time to give you all the particulars, but this much will show you that in consequence of this defeat our present prospect in this country is rendered very dubious, and unless we can be quickly re-enforced, perhaps they may be fatal, not only to us who are stationed here, but also to the colonies in general; as in my opinion the safety of the colonies, especially the frontiers, very greatly, depends upon keeping possession of this country. I have sent an express to Gen. Schuyler, General Washington and the Congress, but you know how far they have to go, and that it is very uncertain how long it will be before we can have relief from them. You, sir, and the valiant Green Mountain corps, are in our neighborhood. You all have arms, and I am confident ever stand ready to lend a helping hand to your brethren in distress, therefore let me beg you to raise as many men as you can, and somehow get into the country and stay with us till we can have relief from the colonies. You will see that proper officers are appointed under you, and both officers and privates will have the same pay as the continental troops. It will be well for your men to set out as soon as they can be collected. It is not so much matter whether together or not, but let them be sent on by tens, twenties, thirties, forties or fifties, as fast as they can be collected. It will have a good effect upon the Canadians to see succor coming on. You will be good enough to send copies of this letter or such parts of it as you think proper to the people below you. I can but hope the people will make a push to get into this country, and I am confident I shall see you here with your men in a very short time." Gen. Wooster was not disappointed. He did see Warner in Canada “in a very short time.” Their promptness and alacrity on this alarming occasion elicited the notice and approval of both Washington and Schuyler.-Early History, pp. 219, 220.

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