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the community from a completion of the contemplated work. They will readily occur to Your Excellency and to the enlightened legislature of the state in which you preside.
I have the honor to be with great regard Sir Your Excellency's Most Obedient Servant
Ph: SCHUYLER. His Excellency Governor Chittenden &c. &c.
The foregoing letter was communicated to the General Assembly by the governor, and it was referred to Samuel Hitchcock of Burlington, Daniel Farrand of Newbury, Enoch Woodbridge of Vergennes, Matthew Lyon of Fairhaven, and Elijah Robinson of Weatherstield, to whom Councillors Safford and Marvin were joined. On the 4th of November, this committee reported “ That the Legislature take measures to direct the purchase of twenty shares in the company for the use of the State ; but, it being the last day of the session, the letter and report were referred by the Assembly to the next session. No legislative action occurred until 1796, and it appears from the following letter that the company had suspended the work. Gen. Philip Schuyler to Gov. Chittenden?
ALBANY October 10th 1796. Sir, The board of directors, of the northern inland navigation company, in this state. have determined to re-commence their operations in the ensuing year, and to prosecute, with all possible celerity, the improvements in the internal navigation. Their first object will be, the completion of the canal, and locks at Skensborough [Whitehall,] and to clear wood creek, from the timber which Obstructs the navigation thereof, so as to render it competent, for the passage of boats of ten tons burthen, in the driest seasons;—to cut down such timber standing on Its banks, as may fall into the Creek, and create fresh impediments, & to form a towing path on one of its banks. the expence of these works; that of a canal and locks, to connect the waters of wood creek, with Hudson's river, the improvements in that river, and the other canals, and locks, requisite to form an uninterrupted water communication, between Lake Champlain, and the tide water of Hudson's river, has been estimated at three hundred thousand dollars. This sum, altho'inconsiderable, when placed in competition with the almost invaluable advantages, which must certainly result, from the facility with which the produce of the country, between this and Lake Champlain, and that produced on both sides of the lake, will be brought to market, when the work shall be compleated, is nevertheless, so extensive, as not to be raised, without much embarrassment to many of the original subscribers to the stock of the company. under the conviction of this embarrassment, the Legislature of this state, has not only gratuitously bestowed, twelve thousand five hundred dollars on the company, but as a farther aid, has subscribed two hundred shares, on the part of the people of the state. there are however, still One hundred and twenty-eight shares unsubscribed, of the one thousand, of which the stock of the company is to consist.
As a very considerable portion of the citizens of Vermont will participate in the benefits which will result from the operations of the company, the directors are persuaded, they may with propriety respectfully sollicit the aid of your legislature, and therefore entreat that respecta
? From the original in Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 89.
ble body to Subscribe fifty shares to the stock of the company, on the part of their constituents, and to cause Wood Creek to be cleared in the manner above mentioned.
Should the Legislature be pleased to Subscribe fifty, or any other nunber of shares, permit me to mention, that the present stockholders have already paid fiîty dollars on each share, and that a like sum, would be to be paid on each share, which may be subscribed on the part of your state,--and as It is believed, that the aggregate expence of all the works will not exceed the sum I have stated, only two hundred and fifty dollars more, will be required on each share, by instalments, probably not exceeding fifty dollars in each year, for the five ensuing years, in which time it is expected to compleat the works, -and Should the legislature be farther pleased to cause wood creek to be cleared and cut the timber from Its banks, as abovementioned, It would require the labour of about thirty men, for sixty working days, especially If in the Course of the ensuing Winter, when the Ice in the creek shall be sufficiently strong to Support the weight of trees on It, those trees were cut, and also so much of the timber, already in the Creek, as may project above the Ice, and both cut into such lengths, as that it may with facility float down the Creek, with the spring freshes;
I have taken the liberty to Inclose for your Excellency's information ; and that of the Legislature, the Act of Incorporation, and two Subsequent Acts relative to the Company, and a report of the board of directors, from which will be seen the benefits which have already resulted to the community from the Operations of the Western company. may I entreat you Sir to lay this letter with the papers inclosed, before your legislature, and to sollicit your aid to Obtain the prayer of the directors, -and to advise me of the determination of the legislature on the subject.
I have the Honor to be with great respect your Excellency's Most Obedient Servant
Ph: SCHIUYLER, president
of the directors of the Western Company. His Excellency Thomas Chittenden Esq" &c &c dcl
Oct. 20 1796, this letter, with the accompanying documents, was presented to the Assembly and referred to Messrs. Elijah Dewey of Bennington, Matthew Lyon of Fairhaven, Oliver Gallup of Hartland, Josiah Arms of Brattleborough, Abel Thompson of Ferrisburgh, Daniel Farrand of Newbury, and Elisha Sheldon of Sheldon. Councillors Knoulton and Strong were joined. Oct. 31, the committee submitted the letter in full to the House, with the following report:
To the honorable the General Assembly,--Your committee to whom was referred the consideration of the leiter from the president of the northern inland lock navigation company in the state of New-Yorkwith the accompanying papers, Report, That they have duly considered the matter therein contained, and view it of the utmost importance to the prosperity of this state, to give every encouragement to that very necessary work, they therefore recommend it to the legislature to comply with the requisitions contained in said letter, and in order to raise the necessary sums your committee farther recommend the laying of a tax
· The peculiar excellences and defects of this letter seem to warrant the statement of Elkanah Watson, that “General Schuyler possessed the highest order of talents, but without scholastic attainments."
of two pence on each acre on every town in this state lying on Lake Champlain, of one penny on each acre in the towns in the second tier from the said lake, and one half penny on each acre on the towns in the third tier, with the direction in the act for the monies arising from the profits of such shares to be paid into the treasury of the respective towns so taxed in due proportion, all which is submitted by
LUKE KNOULTON, for Committee. In a postscript to this report, the committee further recommended, in case the House accepted the report, “that the representatives of the towns concerned nominate the persons who are to transact the business, as it is not expected that the state treasurer will be concerned in the matter." After debate, it was resolved to postpone the subject until the next session ; but on the 2d of Nov. Elisha Sheldon of Sheldon introduced a bill entitled “An act enabling all the organized towns in this state to tax themselves for the purposes therein mentioned ;" and Nov. 8th it became a law. The preamble of this act was as follows:
Whereas the legislature of the state of Newyork have established a company in said state, called and known by the name of the President, Directors, and Company of the northern inland lock navigation from the now navigable part of Hudson's river to Lake Champlain ; & have enabled said company to receive and enjoy certain profits which may arise therefrom. And whereas the President of said Company has made application to this legislature to subscribe for fifty shares thereof, -And although it appears to the legislature, that the purchase of said shares, for the purpose of encouraging said undertaking, would be highly beneficial to the state at large, yet as it would be more particularly beneficial to the western and north western parts thereof, the legslature do not think fit to purchase said shares with money taken from the public treasury, but for the purpose of encouraging an undertaking so laudable and beneficial to mankind, the legislature have thought fit to enable such towns as, from a spirit of liberality and enterprize, shall have a wish to become stockholders in said company, to tax themselves for the purpose.
Therefore the act authorized and empowered organized towns to levy a tax not exceeding six per cent. on the grand list, or a land-tax not exceeding three pence per acre payable in money only, for the purpose stated, and went on to provide for the collection of the taxes.! It is not known that this act was in any degree successful, but it is worthy of notice as being the precedent for several acts of recent date, and also of the existing general statute, authorizing towns to aid, by bonds or stock, in the construction of railroads.
While Gen. Schuyler was endeavoring to push on the work of his company in New York, the men of enterprise in the valley of Connecticut river were not idle. By companies chartered by Vermont, and in one instance at least by a lottery, means were raised for clearing the bed of the river, and constructing the necessary canals and locks. Massachusetts and Connecticut co-operated in the work, and finally the river was made available for transportation by flat-boats and rafts, much to the
See Laws of 1796, pp. 42-47.
advantage of the inhabitants of the valley in Vermont and New Hampshire. These improvements were specially advantageous to those engaged in the lumber trade; and the canals still furnish water-power for manufactures of great value. In 1830, a small steam-boat ascended the Connecticut to Wells River Village; in 1831, five additional boats were built and put on the river at different sections between Hartford, Conn., and Wells River Village, and were run about a year; but in 1832 the company failed, and the boats were withdrawn. 1
1 Vermont Historical Magazine, Vol. II, p. 955.
SURVEILLANCE OF THE NORTHERN FRONTIER BY
BRITISH TROOPS-1783 to 1796.
It has already been stated, in Vol. II, pp. 395-6 and 400, that in 1784, British garrisons were maintained at Dutchman's point in North Hero, Vt., one half mile south of Alburgh, at Point au Fer in N. Y., opposite to Alburgh, and also at various points from Ogdensburgh to Michilimackinac, covering the northern frontier of the United States from Vermont to Lake Superior. To these facts is to be added another, that a British armed schooner, with a full complement of sailors, gunners and marines, was stationed at Windmill bay, between Alburgh and Point au Fer, and its commander had supervision of all boats passing through the Lake in any direction, co-operating with the garrisons, which were materially strengthened in 1791.2 Alburgh was chartered to Ira Allen Feb. 23 1781, but had no legally organized government, under any authority, until June 7 1792, when the people, by the direction of Gov. Chittenden, met and organized as a Vermont town.? Down to that date, there was no serious disturbance from the British garrisons in the neighborhood ; and for a year previous, any difficulty with them on account of the act of Congress making Alburgh the port of entry and residence of the collector of the district, had been obviated by Secretary Hamilton, who delayed execution of the act. With the organization of the town, however, interferences were commenced by the British officers, and were continued with much annoyance until late in 1794 ; and a correspondence ensued, in which Gov. Chittenden of Vermont, Lieut. Gov. Clarke of the province of Quebec, Lord Dorchester the Governor General of the Canadas, Geo. Hammond the British minister at Philadelphia, and the U. S. Secretaries of State, Thomas Jefferson and Edmund Randolph, took part.
Before giving such parts of the correspondence as relate to Vermont, showing the assumption of jurisdiction by Vermont over the town of Alburgh, and the difficulties with the British that ensued, it is necessary
See Vermont Journal of June 28 1791. : See atsidavit of Benjamin Marvin, dated Oct. 18 1792, post. Albany Gazette, copied in the Vermont Gazette of Oct. 17 1791.