On the 7th of January, 1782,a committee consisting of Gen. Joseph Badger, Rev. William Parsons, Capt. John Moody, Dea. Stephen Dudley, Col. Antipas Gilman, Col. Joseph Badger and Benjamin Woodbridge Dean, was appointed to examine the Constitution formed by the Convention at Concord, and on the 17th the town voted to reject the form of Government recommended by this Constitution. At the annual town meeting, on the 14th of March, it was agreed that Col. Ebenezer Smith should be called upon to sell the two lots voted him by the Proprietors of Gilmanton, to build half the bridge over Winnipissiogee River, above Abraham Folsom's Mills. The Independent of the United States having been now acknowledged by Great Britain, the town on the 24th of June voted not to furnish soldiers for the War. Voted to leave it to Col. Ebenezer Smith and Joseph Roberts to say what the town shall allow the men who hired George Montgomery to serve as a Continental soldier, for the town in the last War. Voted to give to Ezekiel Gilman L6 yearly, during his service in the War for the town. Moses Stevens recovered judgment against the town in the suit pending between them. Voted to accept the Report of Col. Smith, pay his attendance and 8 bowls of toddy! and pay Montgomery what was paid Nehemiah Leavitt.
The following soldiers not mentioned in the preceding lists, were in the service of the town, at the same time during the war; but the period of their service in not defined by any documents now not hand. Their names are Mehemiah Leavitt, Henry Danforth, William Hamblet, James Head, James Horn, George Montgomery, Jonathan Taylor, Jabez James, Joseph Ham, Ammi Choat, John Cotton, Joseph Morrill, Robinson Smith, Benjamin Libbey, and London Daily, a colored man. These make the whole number of men, including officers and soldiers, 125; 3 captains, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Ensigns, 4 Sergeants, and 4 Corporals.
The town of Gilmanton lost 7 men in the Army during the War, among whom was Joses Moulton, who was killed instantly by a ball which pierced through his body, and John Dow, who was wounded and afterward by fording a river, took cold and died. John Taylor, who was with them, narrowly escaped. A ball from the enemy passed through his coat, and grazed his elbow; and by another, the breech oh his gun was shot away. A very liberal spirit was manifested by the town towards the families of the soldiers. Provision was made for their support and comfort in the absence of their husbands, and in the more severe and toilsome campaigns, the town voted the soldiers additional pay.
The expense of the War to the town was great. So rapid was the depreciation on of paper money, that the Continental War tax, made Nov. 8, 1779, was L1119 1s. 0d. In may, 1780, the tax made the War was L27412 14s., and in September, 1781, it was L33249 4s. This caused great distress and embarrassment in the Army, as well as among the people at home. "Four months' pay of a soldier would not buy his family a bushel of wheat, and the pay of a Colonel would not purchase oats for his horse." But they submitted to the distress and privation without murmur, being buoyed up continually by the hope of liberty and independence.
The inhabitants of the town also submitted to the oppressive taxation cheerfully, and, finally, with great unanimity. Although when the Test Act was presented in 1776, thirty-five of the citizens dissented, refusing from conscientious scrupled to sign it, yet none of them refused to be taxed to maintain the struggle foe independence; but in their remonstrance to the Government, in which they assigned the reason of their dissent, they express their willingness to be assessed to aid in bearing the expense of the War. Many of them afterwards caught the Revolutionary spirit, and actually entered the Army.
The following in a copy of the Test Act passed by the American Congress, and presented to the people in every town for their signatures, together with the names of those citizens of Gilmanton, who signed it. The act was adopted by Congress, April 12, 1776, and signed and returned Aug. 28, 1776, certified by Edward Smith and John Sanborn, Selectmen.
Association Test Paper.
"We, the subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage and promise that we will, to the utmost of our power, at the risk of out lives and fortunes, with arms oppose the hostile proceedings of the British Fleets and Armies against the United Colonies." Signed by 115 citizens. Joseph Badger, David Fifield, William Smith, Samuel Fifield, Jacob Kelly, William Sibley, Ebenezer Eastman, Isaac Smith, Daniel Folsom, Joseph Huckins, Jr. John Moody, George Dennett, Ezekiel Hoit, Thomas Flanders, Jacob Tucker, David Bean, John Haines, Peaslee Badger, Joshua Gilman, Peter Gilman, Benjamin Huckins, Joshua Gilman, Joseph Badger, Jr. Samuel Gilman, Israel Farrar, Stephen Bean, Benjamin James, Ephraim Morrill, Jr. Jonathan James, James Huckins, John Parsons, Jonathan Folsom, Noah Dow, Robert Moulton, Samuel Greely, Matthias Sawyer, Joseph Huckins, Daniel Stevens, Robert Glidden, Dudley Young, Nathaniel Kimball, Dudley Hutchinson, Andrew Page, Jonathan Gilman, Jr. Simon Clough, Jotham Gilman, Andrew Glidden, Jesse Lougee, Samuel Hazen, Samuel Osgood, Samuel Avery, John Worth, Jasper Elkins, Solomon Kenneson, Elisha Odlin, Ebenezer Stevens, Samuel Ladd, Eliphalet Gilman, Benjamin W. Dean, John Melcher, Thomas Taylor, Elisha Hutchinson, David Elkins, Abiathar Sanborn, Summersbee Gilman, Lowell Sanborn, David Clough, Jonathan Ross, Edward Gilman, Samuel Clough, Nathaniel Elkins, Samuel Clark, David Avery, Benjamin Weeks, Edward Smith, Daniel Dudley, Ambrose Hinds, Stephen Dudley, John Sanborn, John Dudley, Nathaniel Webster, Benjamin Dow, Edward Fox, Jeremiah Conner, Abner Clough, Antipas Gilman, John Jaffrey, Benjamin Gilman, Elisha Weed, Samuel Brooks, Matthias Weeks, Nehemiah Lougee, Thomas Chattle, Abner Evans, Ephraim Morrill, Daniel Evans, Jonathan Gilman, Jonathan Hutchinson, Joseph Parsons, Jude Bean, William Rand, Jr. John Marsh, Lemuel Rand, Henry Marsh, Ebenezer Page, Josiah Avery, Jeremiah Cogswell, Joseph Osgood, Nathaniel Wilson, Joseph Huckins, Jeremiah Richardson, William Parsons, Isaac Bachelder, John Gilman, Winthrop Gilman, John Buzzell.
Those who dissented from this affirmation, sent to the Government a respectful letter, in which they declare that they cordially approve of the Declaration Of Independence, made on the 4th of July preceding, and that they would consent to be taxed for the support of the American cause; but they had conscientious scruples against defending their country with arms. This letter was signed by the fallowing men, 35 in all, viz:
Samuel Avery, Jonathan Gilman,
Payne Smith, John Shepard,
Daniel Clough, Amos Paine,
John Fox, Isaiah Clough,
Reuben Allen, Edward Locke,
Thomas Mudgett, Abraham Folsom,
Noah Weeks , George Weymouth,
Samuel Weeks, Charles Currier,
Nathaniel Webster, Scribner Mudgett,
Simeon Mudgett, Jonathan Dow,
Gideon Bean, Joseph Avery,
Joshua Bean, Hosea Hatch,
Gilman Lougee, Joseph Clifford,
Gilman Lougee, Jr. Jonathan Bachelder,
Philip Paine, Simeon Bean,
Joseph Morrill, Joseph Young,
David Edgerly, Enoch Bean.
The above is an interesting document, showing not only the spirit of the times, but also who were the tax paying citizens at this date.
Framing of the State Constitution.
The Independence of America being achieved, and the British yoke being thrown off off, it became a subject of supreme importance that a wise and stable form of Government should be adopted. In the work framing a Constitution for the State, the town of Gilmanton took an active part, having a delegate, Hon. Joseph Badger, in the Convention from the commencement to the close of its sessions.
This convention first assembled at Concord in June, 1781. It was organized by choosing the Hon. George Atkinson of Portsmouth, President, and Jonathan M. Sewall of Portsmouth, Secretary. The other leading members were Judge Pickering and Dr. Cutter of Portsmouth, Gen. Folsom of Exeter, Judge Wingate of Stratham, Hon. Timothy Walker of Concord, Hon. Ebenezer Webster of Salisbury, Hon. Joseph Badger, Sen. of Gilmanton, Hon. Ebenezer Smith of Meredith, Wyseman Claggett, Esq. of Litchfield, Hon. Timothy Farrar of New Ipswich, France Blood of Temple, and Daniel Newcomb of Keene. After a session of a few days, and the discussion and adoption of some general principles, the Convention adjourned to meet in September, having appointed a Committee of 7 to prepare the draft of a Constitution.
The Committee consisted of Gen. Peabody, who was chairman, Judge Pickering, J.M. Sewall, Judge Farrar, and the Rev. Mr. Goddard of Swanzey, and 2 others. They appointed a sub-Committee of Judge Pickering to draft the Form of Government, and J.M. Sewall the Bill of Rights.
In the mouth of September, the Convention assembled again, received the report of the Committee, and agreed on a Constitution, which was printed and sent forth with explanations to be accepted or rejected by the towns. It was this Constitution that the town of Gilmanton, on the 11th of January, voted to reject, as did most of the other towns in the state. At the third session of the Convention in January, 1782, it was found that the objections to the first draft were so numerous and various, as to proceedings is lost, but it is believed the business of a few draft was referred to the same committee. At a subsequent session in August, the Committee reported a second draft, which, after discussion and amendment, was printed and again sent out for the approval or rejection by the towns. At this meeting, the Secretary being absent, Gen. Sullivan was appointed Secretary pro tem.
At a meeting on the 2d of Dec., the town of Gilmanton voted to accept the Plan of Government last proposed by the Convention at Concord, with the amendment proposed by the Committee. In the month of December, the Convention held its fifth session, when it appeared that this second draft of the Constitution was very generally approved by the people. But some amendments were still found necessary. The temporary Plan of Government expired by its limitation, but was revived by vote of the people, for one year, until the Constitution should be perfected. They, therefore, adjourned to meet in July, 1783, when sundry alterations and amendments were adopted, and the Constitution again printed and sent out to the people for their final decision. Receiving the approbation of the great majority of the people, the Convention met for the ninth time, in October, 1783. Mr. Atkinson, the President, being absent on account of ill health, Gen. Nathaniel Folsom of Exeter, was chosen President protem., and the Constitution was established by the Convention to take effect on the first Wednesday in July, 1784.
To the pens of Messrs. Pickering and Sewall, the State is indebted for many of the most important articles of the Constitution; but they only embodies the combined wisdom of the whole patient labors the present generation are indebted for that excellent Instrument, which has received the recent approval of a large majority of the voters in the State in their decision in November, 1844, not to revise the Constitution. It went into operation at the proposed time, the government being organized at Concord, accompanied by a religious service called the Election Sermon, which service was annually repeated untill 1831, nearly half a century.
The following is list of the preachers on this Anniversary. A.D. By Whom. Of what place. Text. 1784 Samuel M'Clintock, D.D. Greenland. Jer. xviii.7-10 1785 Jeremy Belknap, D.D. Dover. Ps.cxliv.11-15 1786 Samuel Haven, D.D. Portsmouth. Mat.xxvi.45-47 1787 Joseph Buckminster, D.D. Portsmouth James i.5. 1788 Samuel Langdon, D.D. Hampton Falls. Deut. iv.5-8 1789 Oliver Noble, A.M. Newcastle. 1790 John C. Ogden, A.M. Portsmouth. Neh. v. 19. 1791 Israel Evens, A.M. Concord. Gal. V.1. 1792 William Morrison, A.M. Londonderry. Rom. xiii.3.
1793 No Sermon Preached.
1794 Amos Wood, A.B. Weare. Isaiah, ix.7. 1795 John Smith, D.D. Hanover. *Isaiah, x1vii 8. 1796 Wm. F. Rowland, A.M. Exeter. 2 Sam. xxiii.3. 1797 Stephen Peabody, A.M.Atkinson, Ex. xviii.21. 1798 Robert Gray, A.M. Dover. Gen. xii.2. 1799 Seth Payson, D.D. Rindge. Eccl. ix. 18. 1800 Noah Worcester, D.D. Thornton. Judges, iii.11. 1801 Jacob Burnap, D.D. Merrimack. Ps. 1xxxvii.4-6 1802 Joseph Woodman, A.M. Sanbornton. Hos. vii.9. 1803 Aaron Hall, A.M. Keene. 2 Chr. xii.32. 1804 Nathaniel Porter, D.D. Conway. 1 Chr. xix. 6. 1805 Reed Paige, A.M. Hancock. Rom. xiii.1-5. 1806 James Miltimore, A.M. Stratham. Job, xxix.14. 1807 Nathan Bradstreet, A.M. Chester. Luke, vii. 4-5. 1808 Asa M'Farland, A.M. Concord. 2 Pet. i.19. 1809 Wm.F.Rowland, D.D. Exeter. Gal. v. 14. 1810 Roswell Shurtleff, D.D. Hanover. Rom. xiii.1-5. 1811 Thomas Beede, A.M. Wilton. John, vii.48. 1812 Moses Bradford, A.M. Francestown. 1 Tim. i. 15. 1813 John H. Church, D.D. Pelham. 2 Chr. xv. 2. 1814 Peter Holt, A.M. Epping. Dan. ii. 44. 1815 David Sutherland, A.M. Bath. Rev. i. 7. 1816 Pliny Dickinson, A.M. Walpole. 2 Chr. xxiv.2. 1817 Daniel Merrill, A.M. Nottingham West. Mat.vi.10. 1818 William Allen, D.D. Hanover. Joshua, i. 8. 1819 Nathan Parker, D.D. Portsmouth. John, viii.12. 1820 James B. Howe, A.M. Claremont. John, ix. 29. 1821 Eph'm P. Bradford, A.B. New-Boston. Isa. xxi. 11. 1822 Jonathan French, A.M. N. Hampton. 2 Chr. i. 10. 1823 Daniel Dana, D.D. Londonderry. Prov. xiv. 34. 1824 Bennet Tyler, D.D. Hanover. Gen. xx. 11. 1825 Phinehas Cooke, A.M. Acworth. Mat. xxii. 20. 1826 Ferdinand Ellis, A.M. Exeter. Ps. 1xxxii. 6-7. 1827 Nath'l W. Williams, A.M. Concord. 1828 Nathaniel Bouton, A.M. Concord. 1829 Humphrey Moore, A.M. Milford. 1 Cor. xii. 21. 1830 Jaazaniah Crosby, A.M. Charlestown. 1831 Nathan Lord, D.D. Hanover. 1 Cor. xii. 5 Titles of honorary degrees, such as were conferred after the Preceding discourses were delivered, are added.