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New York Delegates Concern for War Finance: Hudson River and Vermont Residents, July 21, 1778

Letter from New York delegates regarding request of extra money to secure Hudson River and containing resolutions regarding Vermont rebels

Letter from New York delegates regarding request of extra money to secure Hudson River and containing resolutions regarding Vermont rebels

New York State Archives, NYSA_A0142-77_1596
 
Document Description
Letter from New York delegates concerning war financing in Hudson Valley as well as relations with residents of "Vermont," July 21 1779.
 
Transcription
Philadelphia 21st July 1778
Sir,
Just before we left York Town in conjunction with our colleague Mr. Lewis we moved for and obtained from the Concress an advance of 100,000 dollars for the use of the state and for which they are to be accountable. The reasons were as follows. We found by various intelligence laid before Congress that the savages were about making an eruption upon our frontiers and from the probable evacuation of Philadelphia it was not unlikely that the British general would again pursue his favorite object of Hudson’s River. In this situation of affairs it appeared to us that money might be wanting in our treasury and further we were informed that our militia remained unpaid for services formerly done and therefore might not turn out with their usual alacrity. These things we laid before Congress and they surprised at the modest ration of a demand which we venture to say from any other state in similar circumstances would have been at least three times as great instantly made the grant. The adjournment to Philadelphia, the change of political circumstances by the Battle of Monmouth and arrival of the French squadron on both of which incidents we heartily congratulate your Excellency and the want of a safe opportunity have delayed sending forward of the money. We have further to observe to your Excellency that the complaint of our fellow citizens who are unpaid by commissaries, quarter masters and the like, have been laid before Congress but unfortunately the complaint is universal and therefore it is objected that a general remedy is necessary. In this situation we have it in view to obtain a recommendation to the state to liquidate and adjust those accounts in like manner as their own accounts are liquidated and adjusted and this money may be of use in discharging them. Besides this, it is to be further observed that the continent are very considerably indebted to our state and the accounts will be settled with greater ease full than empty handed. Mr. Duer would have gone forward long ago but Mr. Lewis was under the necessity of going to Baltimore to bring up his family, and the state would have been unrepresented if Mr. Duer had left this place. We hope that the arrival of General Schuyler or of Mr. Lewis will soon put it in his power to return to the state. We do ourselves the honor to enclose to your Excellency a report brought in but never yet read upon our Vermont affairs. We think it short of what is necessary and shall therefore urge Congress to such amendments as may render it more equal to the purposes proposed to be answered by it. It is possible sir that our constituents may be led to believe that these hath been a remissness in their delegates in not urging this business with a degree of rapidity which in their opinion would have ill answered the wise purposes of the application. Your last letter on this subject is now before us and we shall do ourselves the honor to present it as soon as the matters necessary to the audience of the French minister shall be adjusted, which is not yet done, so dilatory are the proceedings of our body. The presenting your Excellency’s letter will afford us proper opportunity to call for and urge the report, the amendments to which will be if within our power such as stated on the enclosed paper.
We are etc.
W[ilia]m Duer
Gouv. Morris
His Excellency George Clinton Esq.
Governor etc.
 
The committee to whom was referred the letter from Gov. Clinton of the 7th of April AD 1778 with the proclamation enclosed take leave to report the following resolutions.
Viz.
Resolved that the independent government attempted to be established by the people styling themselves the inhabitants of Vermont cannot derive any countenance or authority from the Congress of the thirteen United States of America.
Resolved that no number or body of people within any part of the United States can be justified in attempting to form and establish any new independent states within any part of these United States without the consent of the state or states in which they are and were included at the time the Congress were at first elected and convened for the safety and defense of these United States and the approbation of Congress.
And it is recommended in the strongest terms to the people aforementioned and all other good people of these United States and any particular state interested or claiming to be interested in the premises to refrain from all acts of violence and coercive measures as they regard the peace and welfare of these states.
The committee who brought in the enclosed report were
Mr. Huntington of Connecticut
Mr. T.B. Smith of Pennsylvania
Mr. Francis Lightfoot [illegible] of Virginia
 
Amendments intended to be proposed to the report
Resolved that no man or body of men can of right on any territory within North American form or establish any state other than those which were called the British colonies, provinces, or plantations in North America without the special consent of that state within which such territory shall lie and the approbation of Congress.
Resolved that Congress do highly reprobate all attempts to set up, form, or establish any new state or government as tending to break the union of the states they represent, produce civil wars and destroy the peace, freedom, and happiness of America.
Resolved that Congress have not given and will not give any countenance or authority to the discontented subjects of the State of New York styling themselves the inhabitants of Vermont but do disapprove of their proceedings.
Resolved that it be most earnestly recommended to the persons aforesaid forthwith to submit peaceably and quietly to the jurisdiction government and authority of the said State of New York and that they represent unto the said government grievances they may labor under.
Resolved that the State of New York be requested to forbear for the present all coercive measures to compel the submission of their discontented subjects and also on a proper representation to redress their grievances under which they labor if any there be.
 
 
Questions
Using the first ten lines, put into your own words what the authors are writing.
 
Why do they say their request is low? (lines 11-20)
 
The last ten lines refer to what issue?
 
Resolution 1 states what?
 
In Resolution 2, who’s authority grants statehood?
 
Amended Resolution 2 is important why?
 
The last 2 Amended Resolutions grant what to NY State?
 
 
Historical Challenges
Research the positions of political groups in NY and Vermont concerning the statehood issue.
 
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
ELA
Write a letter to one of the governors explaining your position on the matter including relevant historical facts.
 
 
 
Resources
De Pauw, Linda. The Eleventh Pillar: New York State and the Federal Constitution (1966).
 
Kennedy, David M., et al. The American Pageant. Houghton Mifflin: NY, 2002.
 
Sherman, Michael. Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont. Barre: Vermont Historical Society, 2004.
 
Spaulding, E. Wilder. His Excellency George Clinton: Critic of the Constitution (1938; 2d ed. 1964).
 
"Vermont." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Gale, 2007. U.S. History In Context. Web.
 
 

Historical Context
The newly gained independence and self determination of the United States brought to the forefront longstanding domestic issues that were destined to divide the emerging nation. One of the situations involved the land dispute between New York and New Hampshire over the territory that would eventually be the first state created under the new constitution.
 
Vermont maintained its mostly independent character throughout the French and Indian War and the Revolution. Powerful political factions such as those backing Ethan Allen and even early settlers in the region viewed themselves as neither part of New York nor New Hampshire. Ultimately Vermonters would become a state in 1791.
 
 
Essential Question
What effects was the Revolution having on domestic policies?