Observations on State Territorial
May 1st. 1782.
The two great objects which predominate in the politics of Congress at
this juncture are I. Vermont. II. Western territory.
I The independence of Vermont and its admission into the Confederacy are
patronised by the Eastern States (N. Hamshire excepted) 1. from ancient
prejudice agst. N York: 2. the interest which Citizens of those States have in
lands granted by Vermont. 3. but principally from the accession of weight they
will derive from it in Congress. N. Hamshire having gained its main object by
the exclusion of its territory East of Connecticut River from the claims of
Vermont, is already indifferent to its independence, and will probably soon
combine with other Eastern States in its favor.
The same patronage is yielded to the pretensions of Vermont by
Pennsylvania & Maryland with the sole view of reinforcing the opposition to
claims of Western territory, particularly those of Virginia, and by N. Jersey
& Delaware with the additional view of strengthening the interest of the
little States. Both of these considerations operate also on Rhode Island in
addition to those above mentioned.
The independence of Vermont and its admission into the Union are opposed
by N. York for reasons obvious & well known.
The like opposition is made by Virginia, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, and
Georgia. The grounds of this opposition are: 1. an habitual jealosy of a
predominance of Eastern Interests. 2. the opposition expected from Vermont to
Western claims. 3. the inexpediency of admitting so unimportant a State, to an
equal vote in deciding on peace & all the other grand interests of the
Union now depending. 4. the influence of the example on a premature
dismemberment of other States. These considerations influence the four States
last mentioned in different degrees. The 2. & 3. to say nothing of the 4.
ought to be decisive with Virginia.
II The territorial claims, particularly those of Virginia are opposed by
Rhode Island, N. Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware & Maryland. Rhode Island is
influenced in her opposition by 1. a lucrative desire of sharing in the vacant
territory as a fund of revenue. 2. by the envy & jealousy naturally excited
by superior resources & importance. N. J. Penna: Delaware, Maryland, are
influenced partly by the same considerations; but principally by the intrigues
of their Citizens who are interested in the claims of land Companies. The
decisive influence of this last consideration is manifest from the peculiar,
and persivering opposition made agst. Virginia within whose limits those claims
The Western claims, or rather a final settlement of them, are also
thwarted by Massachussetts and Connecticut. This object with them is chiefly
subservient to that of Vermont, as the latter is with Pennsylvania &
Maryland to the former. The general policy and interests of these two States
are opposed to the admission of Vermont into the Union, and if the case of the
Western territory were once removed, they would instantly divide from the
Eastern States in the case of Vermont. Of this Massachussetts & Connecticut
are not insensible, and therefore find their advantage in keeping the
territorial Controversy pending. Connecticut may likewise conceive some analogy
between her claim to the Western Country & that of Virginia, and that the
acceptance of the cession of the latter, would influence her sentiments in the
controversy between the former & Pennsylvania.
The Western claims are espoused by Virga. N & S. Carolinas, Georgia
& N. York, all of these States being interested therein. S. Carolina is the
least so. The claim of N. York is very extensive, but her title very flimsy.
She urges it more with the hope of obtaining some advantage, or credit, by its
cession, than of ever maintaining it. If this Cession should be accepted, and
the affair of Vermont terminated, as these are the only ties which unite her
with the Southern States, she will immediately connect her policy with that of
the Eastern States; as far at least, as the remains of former prejudices will