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Letter from Thomas Chittenden to Richard Henry Lee
Chittenden, Thomas, 1730-1797
April 26, 1784
Volume 17, Pages 136-138

HON. THOMAS CHITTENDEN TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

State of Vermont,
Arlington, April 26, 1784.

Sir:

With that respect for Congress which the Citizens of this State have ever maintained, I beg leave to transmit to your Excellency the sentiments of the Council of this State, on the late proceedings of the Senate and Assembly of the State of New York, respecting this State, that your Excellency may lay the same before Congress. On the 21st of October 1779, the Legislature of the State of New York passed a special Law impowering Congress to hear and determine the controversy between that State and this, not upon the principles of confederation but according to equity and on the 7th and 21st of August 1781 Congress proposed preliminaries of a settlement of the said controversy, to this State, which was accepted and fully complied with by the Legislature of this State at their Session in Feb. 1782.

The Legislature of the State of New York in the November preceding had very spiritedly remonstrated against the preliminary settlement

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of Congress aforesaid, an extract from which remonstrance is as follows:
“Resolved that in case of any attempts of Congress to carry into execution their said acts of the 7th and 21st of August, this Legislature with all due deference to Congress, are bound in duty to their constituents to declare the same an assumption of power in the face of the said act of submission of this State, and against the clear letter and spirit of the second, third, ninth and eleventh articles of confederation and a manifold infringement of the same, & do therefore hereby solemnly protest against the same.”

But of late it appears the Senate and the Assembly of the State of New York are again urging Congress to decide their controversy, with this State. It seems they are willing Congress should settle their dispute as they have a mind; but not otherwise.

It appears from the late journals of the Senate of the State of New York “That the Delegates be further instructed to press Congress for a decision in the long protracted controversy, respecting the right of this State to the District commonly called the New Hampshire grants.” And further “But 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 disnnion which may ensue can be imputable to this Legislature.” As to the bloody proposition the Council of this State have only to remark that Vermont does not wish to enter into a War with the State of New 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 two contending States settle their own controversy. As to the allegations of the State of New York against the conduct of this State in bringing a few malecontents to justice, and obedience to Government, whom they had inspired with Sedition, I have only to observe, that this matter has been managed by the wisdom of the Legislature of this State, who consider themselves herein amenable to no earthly tribunal.

Before I conclude this Letter I beg leave to remind your Excellency that, it appears to the council of this State, improper that the States of New York and New Hampshire, who are competitors for the jurisdiction thereof, should vote in Congress on any motion which respects Vermont And also contrary to an express resolution of Congress of the 24th Sept. 1779, in the following words “And that

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neither of the said States shall vote on any question relative to the decision thereof” that is, relative to the independence of Vermont, although it appears from the journals of Congress, that these claiming States have ever since, voted on all matters in which the interest of this State has been concerned.

Sir, I conclude this Letter with the satisfaction of reminding Congress that, this State is Still desirous of a confederation with the United States.

I have the honor, &c.,
THOMAS CHITTENDEN.
His Excellency
The President of Congress.