Page images

count the votes and declare the result of the elections. During this session, a law was enacted requiring licenses for the retailing of wines and foreign distilled spirituous liquors. Grand Isle county was organized, a petition having been received from the five towns included, praying for a separate county organization, because the islands being separated by the waters of Lake Champlain, "the ferries are wide and the winds often so tempestuous that a passage is impossible for several days together," and there were "several other inconveniences." Zaccheus Peaslee, Samuel Hickok and their associates were given the exclusive right to erect a wharf at Burlington Bay.

In 1803, Governor Tichenor was reelected by 2,186 majority over Jonathan Robinson. The Republicans controlled the Council and General Assembly. The Legislature met at Westminster and elected Theophilus Harrington of Clarendon, Speaker. In his inaugural address, Governor Tichenor again pleaded for military equipment, alluding to the militia as follows: "They are respectable for numbers; they are brave; they inherit the spirit of their fathers. To preserve this spirit they must be well armed and equipped. This cannot be effected without legislative aid. Our safety and freedom essentially depend on this class of our fellow citizens. It is our highest interest as a Nation to ingraft the character of the soldier on the citizen, and to cherish that spirit, which gave us independence. It will be a sure and cheap defence."

By vote of the Legislature, the flag of the Vermont militia was declared to be seventeen stripes, alternate

red and white, and seventeen stars in a blue field, with the word Vermont in capital letters above the stripes. and stars. During the session, the Governor and Council refused to concur in a bill incorporating a bank at Windsor. Among the reasons for non-concurrence, as reported by Nathaniel Niles for the committee, were the following: "Because bank bills, being regarded as money, and money, like water, always seeking level, the bills put into circulation within this State must displace nearly the same sum of money now in circulation among us and by driving it into the seaports, facilitate its exportation to foreign countries.



Because by introducing a more extensive credit, the tendency of banks would be to palsy the vigor of industry, and to stupefy the vigilance of economy, the only two honest, general and sure sources of wealth. * Because banks,

by facilitating enterprises, both hazardous and unjustifiable, are natural sources of all that class of vices which arise from the gambling system, and which cannot fail to act as sure and fatal though slow poisons to the republic in which they exist. Because banks have

a violent tendency in their natural operation to draw into the hands of the few a large proportion of the property, at present, fortunately, diffused among the many.


* Because, as banks will credit none but persons of affluence, those who are in the greatest need of help cannot expect to be directly accommodated by them. Because by the establishment government will, in our opinion, go further than could have been contemplated in its original institution."


Col. Joseph Fay died in New York City, on October 26, 1803, of yellow fever. He was secretary of the Council of Safety from September, 1777, to March, 1788, and was associated with Ira Allen in the Haldimand Negotiations. He removed to New York in 1794, where he conducted a mercantile business.

Senator DeWitt Clinton of New York, in October, 1803, proposed an amendment to the Constitution of the United States requiring Presidential Electors to discriminate between candidates for President and Vice President. The proposal grew out of the close contest between Jefferson and Burr, when the election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Senator Bradley of Vermont offered two amendments, one relating to the form of the resolution and the other requiring a majority vote for the election of Vice President, and in the event that such a majority could not be secured, the choice should be left to the Senate. The resolution and amendments were referred to a committee of which Mr. Bradley was a member. On November 24, the proposed amendment being before the Senate, Mr. Bradley declared that he was desirous "that he who is to be set up as a candidate for Vice President should, as at present, be equally respectable (as the President). or that there should be none-that at least he should be the second man in the Nation." He moved to strike out a portion of the amendment. As finally adopted, provision was made that a majority vote of the Electors should be necessary for the choice of a Vice President. This proposal of amendment was considered by the Vermont Legislature at an adjourned session, which con

vened at Windsor, January 29, 1804. Congressman James Elliot sent a letter addressed to the Governor setting forth his reasons for voting against the amendment. The Council, however, unanimously voted in favor of ratification. In the Assembly, Mr. Olin asserted that the amendment was agreed to in Congress by less than the constitutional majority, and, therefore, was not legally before the Legislature. The amendment was ratified, however, notwithstanding Mr. Olin's objection.

Although a new member, and a young man of twentyeight years, Congressman James Elliot appears to have taken a prominent part in the House debates, speaking frequently. He supported the resolution giving authority to carry the Louisiana Treaty into effect and opposed the inquiry into the official conduct of Justice Chase. When Jefferson and his party came into power, the judicial department of the government was largely in the hands of Federalists. One of President Adams' last appointments was that of John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A strong prejudice existed against the courts and various attempts were made to weaken the authority of the Judges. Marshall's powerful opinions, upholding the theory of a strong national government, were particularly offensive to the State Rights school of political thought. Attempts were made to impeach certain Judges, some of whom had been overbearing, indiscreet and offensively partisan. Judge John Pickering, brought to trial before a court of impeachment, is said to have been insane. Senator Stephen R. Bradley was one of three Republican Senators to

absent himself from the Senate Chamber when the vote was taken, which declared the Judge guilty. The next impeachment trial was that of Samuel Chase, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. On the resolution appointing a committee of inquiry, the two Federalist members, from Vermont, William Chamberlain and Martin Chittenden, and James Elliot, Republican, voted in the negative. The only Vermont member to support it was Gideon Olin, a Republican. In the "Memoirs of John Quincy Adams," an incident is related of a group gathered before the blazing logs of the wide fireplace in the Senate Chamber, which included Senators Giles of Virginia, Adams of Massachusetts, Israel Smith of Vermont and John Randolph of Virginia, the Republican leader of the House. The topic of conversation was the approaching trial of Justice Chase, and it is said that Giles and Randolph were attempting “with excessive earnestness" to convince the Vermont Senator that the policy of ousting Judges, attempted by the majority party, was wise and just. Beveridge, relating this incident in his "Life of John Marshall," says that Senator Giles "bore down upon his mild but reluctant fellow partisan from Vermont in a manner dogmatical and peremptory." The trial was an occasion of great solemnity. The name of Senator Bradley was one of the first to be called. In describing the vote on the first article of impeachment, Beveridge says: "When the name of Stephen R. Bradley, Republican Senator from Vermont, was reached, he rose in his place and voted against conviction. The auditors were breathless and the chamber was filled with the atmosphere of suspense.

« PreviousContinue »