previous next

Green Mountain boys.

Some of the settlers who had received grants of land from Governor Wentworth, of New [173] Hampshire, had crossed the Green Mountains and occupied lands on the shores of Lake Champlain. Emigration flowed over the mountains rapidly after the close of the French and Indian War (q. v.), and the present State of Vermont was largely covered by Wentworth's grants. The authorities of New York now proceeded to assert their claims to this territory under the charter given to the Duke of York. Acting-Governor Colden issued a proclamation to that effect, Dec. 28, 1763, to which Wentworth replied by a counter-proclamation. Then the matter, on Colden's application, was laid before the King in council. A royal order was issued, March 13, 1764, which declared the Connecticut River to be the eastern boundary of New York. The settlers did not suppose this decision would affect the titles to their lands, and they had no care about political jurisdiction. Land speculators caused the New York authorities to assert further claims that were unjust and impolitic. On the decision of able legal authority, they asserted the right of property in the soil, and orders were issued for the survey and sale of farms on the “Grants” in the possession of actual settlers, who had bought, paid for, and improved them. The settlers, disposed to be quiet, loyal subjects of New York, were converted into rebellious foes, determined and defiant.

A new and powerful opposition to the claims of New York was created, composed of the sinews and muskets and determined wills of the people of the “Grants,” backed by New Hampshire, and, indeed, by all New England. New York had left them no alternative but the degrading one of leaving or repurchasing their possessions. The governor and council of New York summoned the people of the “Grants” to appear before them at Albany, with their deeds and other evidences of possession, within three months, failing in which it was declared that the claims of all delinquents would be rejected. No attention was paid to the summons. Meanwhile speculators had been purchasing from New York large tracts of these estates, and were preparing to take possession. The settlers sent an agent to England to lay their case before the King. He came back in 1767 with an order for the governor of New York to abstain from issuing any more patents for lands eastward of Lake Champlain. The order was not ex post facto, and the New York patentees proceeded to take possession of their purchased lands. The settlers aroused for resistance, led by a brave and determined commander from Connecticut, Ethan Allen (q. v.). The men under his command called themselves the “Green Mountain boys” ; and for some years the New Hampshire Grants formed a theatre where all the elements of civil war, excepting actual carnage, were in active exercise. In 1774 Governor Tryon, of New York, issued a proclamation, ordering Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, and other leaders of the Green Mountain Boys, to surrender themselves within thirty days, or be subjected to the penalty of death. These leaders retorted by offering a reward for the arrest of the attorney-general of New York. The war for independence soon broke out and suspended the controversy. In that war the Green Mountain Boys took a conspicuous part.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Wentworth (3)
Cadwallader Colden (2)
Seth Warner (1)
William Tryon (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1774 AD (1)
1767 AD (1)
March 13th, 1764 AD (1)
December 28th, 1763 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: