the physician. In proof of this reads the second preamble, which occurs
near the middle of the enacting sections of the charter : —
■• And whereas it is clearly of importance that a just discrimination shoulc?
be made between such as are duly educated and properly qualified for tlie
duties of their profession, and those who may ignorantly and wickedly admin-
ister medicine whereby the health and lives of many valuable individuals
ma^- be endangered, or perhaps lost to the community. Be it therefore fur-
ther enacted,"' etc.
This admirable charter was signed by "Josiah Bartlett, president," on
February 16, 1791. By its provision he was to call the first meeting of the
society, which he did on the 4th day of May following, at E.xeter. The manu-
script records of that meeting say : "Present — His Excellency Josiah Bart-
lett, Esq., Joshua Brackett, Hall Jackson, Nathaniel Peabody, John Rogers,
Ebenezer Rockwood, William Cogswell, William Parker, jr., Benjamin Page,
and Isaac Thom, members." One will recognize these names as men of
eminence in the earlier history of New Hampshire, whom Josiah Bartlett
chose and received as associates in the profession.
Dr. Bartlett was elected president of the New Hampshire Medical Society
at its first meeting, and held the office for two years and then declined a re-
election. The society passed resolutions thanking him for his inestimable
services, to which he replied with the following letter : —
■ Gentlemen of the New Hampshire Medical Society: —
''The unexpected resolve of thanks presented me by your committee, for
the small services I have been able to afford the Medical Society, I consider
as an instance of the polite attention and regard they mean to pay to such
persons as may in any manner endeavor to promote the public happiness.
" I have long wished that the practice of medicine in the State (upon which
the lives and healths of our fellow citizens depend) might be put under better
regulations than it has been in times past, and have reason to hope that the
incorporation of the New Hampshire Medical Society (if properly attended
to by the fellows) will produce effects greatly beneficial to the community by
encouraging genms and learning in the medical sciences and discouraging
ignorant and bold pretenders from practising an art of which they have no
''That the members of the society maybe useful to themselves and the public,
and enjoy the exalted pleasure of satisfaction that arises from a conscious-
ness that they have contributed to the health and happiness, not only of their
patients, but, by communicating to others the knowledge and cure of disease,
432 HISTOKV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. ['790
to the general happiness of the hmiian race, is tlie ardent wisii. Gentlemen,
of your very humble servant, 'Josi.vii Bartlett.
" Concord, N. H., June 19th, 179.V"
This letter was his last communication to the New Hampshire Medical
Society. He founded it, drew its charter, shaped its by-laws and regulations,
and saw it properly organized upon a basis that guaranteed its perpetuity,
before his lamp went out.'
At the June session of the legislature, 1790, Wilham Plumcr
objected to John S. Sherburne's taking his seat as a member,
on the ground that he was a pensioner of the United States, and
held the office of district attorney under the general govern-
ment. During the discussion Sherburne shed tears, which
so influenced the members that he was allowed to retain his
seat. He had been a preacher and had become a lawyer, and had
lost his leg while in the army. He was a man of talents, gentle-
manly in his manners and insinuating in his address. He was
afterwards elected to Congress, and held for many years the office
of district judge. The State constitution, established three years
later, settled the question thus raised by excluding from both
branches all persons holding any office under the United States.^
The attempt to impeach Judge Woodbury Langdon occu-
pied considerable of the time of this and the ne.xt legis-
lature. After many delays the impeachment was finally dropped,
the judge having resigned his seat on the bench and accepted
an office under the United States. Many believed that the
impeachment proceedings arose from private pique and personal
interest. Jeremiah Smith, a rising young lawyer, this being his
third term, conducted the impeachment for the House.
The legislature, which prided itself very little on its patronage
of literature, appropriated ^50 towards the expenses of Rev. Dr.
Jeremy Belknap's " History of New Hampshire."
The attempt to lay a direct State tax warmly recommended by
the treasurer was defeated after a severe struggle by a single
vote. The argument used against the motion was that the trea-
surer used the funds of the State for his private emolument ;
while the friends of the measure claimed that the public had no
concern in the matter, except to see that his bondsmen were
1790] STATE UNDER FIKST CONSTITUTION. 433
His course on this measure alienated William Plumer from the
leading Exeter politicians, while agreeing with them in general
politics, and made him ultimately a centre of anti-Exeter
Exeter was for many years the political capital of the State.
John Taylor Gilman, Nicholas Oilman, Nathaniel Gilman, Oli-
ver Peabody, Samuel Tenney, Benjamin Abbott, George Sulli-
van, Benjamin Conner, who though less known was a great party
manager, and, later, Jeremiah Smith, possessed an aggregate of
talents and information, and a weight of character and influence,
which could be equalled in no other part of the State. ■'
So little was the general interest felt in politics at this time
that only one in seventeen of the inhabitants of the State took
the trouble to vote.
^The land which now comprises the town of Bartlett was granted
by Governor Wentworth to several persons, among whom were
William Stark and Vera Royce, for services rendered in Canada
during the French and Indian war. Captain Stark divided his
share into lots, giving large tracts to persons who would settle
them. Two brothers by the name of Emery, and a Harriman,
were the first permanent settlers. Settlements had been begun
during this time in most of the locations in the vicinity of the
mountains. In 1777, but a few years succeeding the Emerys,
Daniel Fox, Paul Jilly, and Samuel Willey, from Lee, made a
settlement in what is known as Upper Bartlett, north of those
already located. They commenced their settlement with mis-
fortune as well as hardship. Their horses, dissatisfied with the
grazing along the Saco, started for their former home in Lee.
Hon. John Pendexter removed to the town from Portsmouth
at an early period of its history, settling in the southern part
near the Conway line. Here he resided the remainder of his
life, dying at the advanced age of eighty-three years. He and
his wife came a distance of eighty miles in midwinter, she riding
ujjon an old, feeble horse, with a feather-bed under her, and an
infant child in her arms, he by her side, hauling their household
furniture upon a hand-sled. Nor was it a well-prepared home to
■ William Piume , Jr. = E. A. Philbrick.
HISTOKV OF NEW IlAMrsiIIKE.
whicli they came, — a warm house and well-cultivated lands, —
but a forest and a rude log- cabin.
The town was incorporated in June, 1790, autl named in honor
of Governor ]5artlett.
GIANT STAIRS, BARTLETT.
^Cardigan lifts its silvery head thirty-one hundred feet above
the sea level. At its base stood the dwelling-house and farm-
buildings of Colonel Elisha Payne, lie was horn in 1731, and
reared in the State of Connecticut, and probably graduated at
1790] STATE UNDER FIRST CON'SIITUTION. 435
Vale College. The township of Cardigan was granted in February,
1769. The grantees were Elisha Payne, Isaac Fellows, and
ninety-nine others. The first settlements in the township were
made in 1773, by Payne, Silas Harris, Benjamin Shaw, David
P^ames, and Captain Joseph Kenney. Payne at this time was
forty-two years of age. The town was incorporated by the name
of Orange, in June, 1790. Payne went back into the dense wil-
derness, far beyond the reach of any human habitation, and se-
lected a swell of good, strong land for his farm, near the base of
Payne was a trustee of Dartmouth College from 1784 to 1801,
and was its treasurer in 1779 and 1780. His connection with
tiie college explains the fact, that when the small-pox broke out
at Dartmouth, subsequent to 1780, the afflicted students were
carried to this remote and lonely mountain-seat for treatment.
Payne had removed to East Lebanon, and settled on the shore
of Mascoma Lake, before this occurrence. Several of the stu-
dents died and wei"e buried, but no stone marks the place of
their peaceful rest. The Payne house, from tliis time forward,
was called the Pest House, and was used as such, at a later day,
by the authorities of Orange.
Payne had a son, Elisha Payne, jr., who graduated at Dart-
mouth, and who was a man of character and ability. He was
the first lawyer to open an office in Lebanon. This office was
at East Lebanon, which was then the chief village in that town.
He served in both branches of the legislature of this State, but
died at the early age of about forty-five.
Elisha Payne, senior, was a man of strong mind and great
decision of character. He was the leader, on the east side of
the Connecticut river, in the scheme to dismember New Hamp-
shire and annex a tract, some twenty miles in width, to Vermont.
In July, 1778, he was chosen, under the statutes of Vermont, a
justice of the peace for the town of Cardigan, in a local town-
meeting held that day. He was a member of the " Cornish
Convention" of 1778, and of the " Charlestown Convention"
in 1 78 1. He was representative from Cardigan in the Vermont
legislature, under the first union, in 1778, and was representative
436 JUSTOKY OF XKW HAMPSHIRE. ['790
from Lebanon, under the second union, in April, 1781. In Oc-
tober of the same year he was chosen lieutenant-governor of
Vermont, by the legislature of that State, then in session at
Charlestown, New Hampshire. In this legislature, fifty-seven
towns west of the Connecticut and forty-five towns on the New
Hampshire side of that river were represented.
When the bitter and prolonged strife between the two juris-
dictions, New Hampshire and Vermont, was nearing the crisis,
and Bingham and Gandy of Chesterfield had been arrested by
Vermont officials for resisting the authority of that State, and
thrown into jail at Charlestown, and Colonel Enoch Hale, the
sheriff of Cheshire county, had proceeded under orders from the
president and Council of New Hampshire to release them, and
had been seized and summarily committed to the same jail, and
the militia of New Hampshire had been put on a war footing to
rescue Hale and the other prisoners at Charlestown, Governor
Chittenden of Vermont commissioned Elisha Payne of Leba-
non, the lieutenant-governor, as brigadier-general, and appointed
him to take command of the militia of that State, to call to his
aid Generals Fletcher and Olcott, and such of the field officers
on the east side of the Green Mountains as he thought proper,
and to be prepared to oppose force to force. But bloodshed was
happily averted. The Continental Congress took hostile ground
against the scheme to dismember New Hampshire, and General
Washington put his foot upon it. In this dilemma the authori-
ties of Vermont, for the sake of self-preservation, relinquished
their claim to any part of New Hampshire, and in February,
1782, the second union between the disaffected towns on the
west side of this State and Vermont came to an end.
In addition to the offices already named, Payne held that of
chief justice of the Supreme Court of his cherished State, Ver-
mont, a State then stretching from the head-waters of the Pemi-
gewasset to Lake Champlain.
After a life of adventure, of strange vicissitude, of startling-
success and crushing defeat, Elisha Payne quietly fell asleep in
East Lebanon, at the age of seventy-six years. He was buried
in the impretending cemetery near his place of residence in that
I791] STATE UNDER FIRST CONSTITUTION. 437
village. His wife, a number of his children, and other member.s
of the family, in all seven persons, were iniirned in the same
cemetery lot ; but about a quarter of a century ago, in the late
fall, there came a fearful storm, and the gentle brook whose
course lies along the border of this receptacle for the dead sud-
denly became a rushing torrent, and, breaking from its channel,
swept in among the quiet sleepers and carried away most that
remained of the Payne family. Winter closed in, but the next
spring such bones as had not found a lodgment at the bottonv
of Mascoma Lake, as it is usually called, were gathered up, all
put into one box and redeposited in the earth in another part of
the cemetery, whereon has been erected, by family relatives, a
substantial and appropriate monument. And so ends the story
of a life of stern conflict and romantic incident.
The winter session of 1791 was devoted chiefly to a revision
of the statutes, with a view to anew edition of the laws. Among
the bills introduced was one for the punishment of blasphemy.
The committee reported the old law, in substance, but Mr.
Welman, who had been a preacher, moved as an amendment
that any person " convicted of speaking disrespectfully of any
part of the Bible should have his tongue bored through with a
hot iron." Sherburne seconded this motion in a vehement speech,
declaring that he should be better pleased with death as the pen-
alty for so atrocious an offence. As Sherburne was thought to
be an unbeliever, and was free in his remarks on Scripture and
his ridicule of the clergy, his address was thought an effort to
bring out Plumer on the unpopular side. Fearing the amend-
ment would pass Mr. Plumer did speak against it in his eloquent
and impressive style, and did succeed in defeating it, though not
by a large majority. "Whipping, branding and other mutilations
of the body were punishments then inflicted by the penal codes
of most of the States, and the zeal of a Christian community saw
nothing revolting in their application to the support of religious
truth. " 1
It was during the preceding session that Mr. Phinier, who was
a popular leader in the House, introduced a bill to tax State notcs^
■ Wiliim Pliner, Jr.
438 HISTOKV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. [>79'
a measure combated by the lixeter party, who were largely inter-
" Your JTifluence, " said one of them to him, "may carry the
bill through an ignorant House, as you can carry anything else
there, but it will be rejected by the Senate. " " We shall see,"
was the quiet reply. The bill passed the House and was sent to
the Senate, but was lost. It passed the House a second time,
was enacted by the Senate, and became a law. A member of
the House, not from Exeter, aftei-wards boasted that he had
pocketed the first bill.
At the November session of the legislature at Portsmouth
the most important business was the incorporation of a bank.
The Bank of the United States had recently been established,
and there were only three State banks in the country, — one in
Boston, one in New York, and one in Philadelphia.
At this time the legislature was in the practice of frequently
interfering with the business of the courts, by granting new trials
and prescribing special rules for the trial of a particular action.
A ludicrous instance of the exercise of this sovereign power
occurred in the western part of the State, in a case involving the
ownership of two pigs. The legislature passed an Act to set
aside the finding of the court, but the justice, an old soldier of
the Revolution, convinced by the arguments of Jeremiah Mason
that the legislature had no right to interfere with his ruling,
would not grant a new trial ; and the pig action gained extensive
notoriety and tended to bring such special Acts of the legisla-
ture into ridicule and deserved contempt.^
A convention having been called to revise the constitution of
the State, the elections took place in August, and the conven-
tion met early in September, 1791. The importance of the
object drew together many of the ablest men of the State. The
discussion, not of laws merely, but of constitutional provisions,
and the fundamental principles of government, gave to the de-
bates an interest not often felt in legislative proceedings. The
debates, though long and able, were never published, and the
journal of the convention furnishes but an imperfect account of
I Jeremiah Mason.
1791] STATE UNDKR FIRST CDNSTITUIIOX. 439
what was clone, and still less by whom it was clone. Even the
3'eas and nays are only given in two or three cases. From the
" Life of William Plumer," a member of the convention, one can
obtain some account of the proceedings of the body. Among the
Jiiembers were John Pickering, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Dr.
Samuel Tenney, James MacGregore, Moses Leavitt, Christopher
Toppan, Nathaniel Rogers, General Joseph Cilley, John McClary,
Abial Foster, Timothy Walker, Colonel Nathaniel Head, John
Calfe, Dr. Nathaniel Peabody, John Waldron, Ebenezer Thomp-
.son, Thomas Cogswell, Ebenezer Smith, Zachariah Chandler,
Joshua Atherton, Jeremiah Smith, Major Benjamin Pierce, Major
Caleb Stark, Rev. Jonathan Searls, Daniel Newcomb, John
Duncan, Samuel Livermore, Elisha Payne, Captain Nathaniel
White, Moses Chase, Nahum Parker, Timothy Tilton, and others,
— strong men, having the future best interests of the State con-
stantly in mind.
1 The old constitution was taken up by sections, and its provi-
sions altered or amended, and new clauses added, or old ones
stricken out, at the will of the convention, till the whole had been
revised. This occupied the first ten days of the session. William
Plumer and Jeremiah Smith were the most conspicuous members
of the convention. The former was then a young man, just com-
ing into notice, having been admitted to the practice of law only
four years before, yet there was no one who took so active apart
or who had greater influence in that body. By his industry and
perseverance, his energy and decision, and, above all, by the force
and accuracy of his discriminating mind, he acquired, before the
close of the convention, a weight and authority in that body which
no other man possessed. " He was," said Judge Livermore, "by
all odds the most influential man in the convention ; so much so
that those who disliked the result called it Plumer's constitution,
by way of insinuating that it was the work of one man, and not
the collective wisdom of the whole assembly." The manuscript
volume in the State House which relates to the convention is
mainly in the handwriting of Mr. Plumer and Mr. Smith. Both
of these men were at this time comparatively young, ambitious
440 HISTORY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. ['791
ot distinction, liard workers, prompt in action, and ready and wil-
ling alike with the tongue and the pen. They concurred for the
most part in their general views of policy, though occasionally
differing on questions of minor importance. But in concert or
opposition it was hard to say whether, aside from the strength of
their arguments, the House most admired the broad humor, the
Scotch-Irish drollery and shrewdness of Smith, or the keen re-
tort, the ready resources, and strong practical common sense of
Plumer. Smith being at that time a member of Congress was
present only during the first session of ten days. Plumer was
present to the end and busy from the first. They were at this
time friends, although, placed ultimately at the head of opposite
parties in the State, their friendship was not destined to survive.
Their respect for each other was probably lifelong. The sub-
jects in which Mr. Plumer took the strongest interest were the
provisions on the subject of religion, the organization of the exec-
utive department, the judiciary, and the basis of representation
in the House. Mr. Plumer took the broadest view of religiou.s.
tolerance : his opponents would have subjected all the inhabi-
tants of the State to a town tax for the support of the clergy-
man whom the majority of the voters should select as their pas-
tor. Neither party prevailed, and the provision of the 1784
constitution remained in force. His motion to abolish the reli-
gious test for office holders, who were required by the consti-
tution to be " of the Protestant religion," though at first rejected,
was finally adopted by the convention. It was not accepted by
the people at that time nor subsequently in 1850, although it
remained a dead letter for very many years before it was finally
stricken from the constitution in 1876. Mr. Plumcr's idea was
to divide the State into sixty representative districts, nearly
equal as to population, but this was rejected by a strong
majority. The smaller towns, miniature republics, refused to sur-
render their ancient privileges of representation in the legislative
assemblies. Mr. Plumer advocated the separation of the execu-
tive from the legislative department and the power of veto, and
would have made a plurality of votes alone necessary for a
choice by the people of senators, so that the Senate should not
1792] STATE UNDER FIRST CONSTITUTION. 44I
(.lepeiul upon lIio House for tlie election of any of its members.
The plan for organizing- the judiciary department to secure a more
speedy and less expensive administration of justice, and to reform
"its expense, its injustice, its delays," by lessening the number
of courts and increasing their power, and for extending the jur-
isdiction of justices of the peace to sums not exceeding four
pounds, was rejected by the people, except as to extending the
jurisdiction of justices of the peace. The convention appointed
a committee to reduce the amendments to form, and another
committee to take the whole subject into consideration and re-
port at a future meeting the amendments proper to be submitted
to the people.^
The convention then adjourned to meet in February, 1792.
The committee of ten, two from each county, met frequently.
Peabody, who was chairman, was disposed to perplex and em-
barrass, rather than aid, the business. Atherton acted almost
uniformly with Peabody. Freeman was opposed to all amend-
ments. The infirmities of age made Payne inactive. Page
was able and well disposed, but indolent and inattentive. The
chief labor and responsibility fell on Plumer.' The other mem-
bers of the committee gave him little trouble and no assistance.
He had to control perverseness and rouse indolence, both very
laborious and perplexing. By perseverance he surmounted
every obstacle thrown in his way. The committee agreed upon
amendments which Mr. Plumer reduced to form, and transcribing
the whole constitution, introduced them into their proper places.
On the meeting of the convention, in 1792, the report of the
committee was assailed from various quarters, but Page and
Atherton joined Plumer in its defence, and succeeded after long
debates, continuing for two weeks, in carrying it through, al-
though not without some important modifications. The con-
vention then adjourned, to meet again in May to receive the
answer of the people. On coming together again a committee
was appointed to ascertain what amendments had been adopted
and what rejected, and to harmonize the old and new constitu-
tions. This being done the subject was again submitted to the
' William Plumer, Jr.
442 lUSTOKV o|- Ni:\V IIAMI'SIIIRE. ['79-
peojale ; and the labors 'if the convention vvei'c closed h)- an-
other short session in September. The constitution thus
formed remained in force without alteration until 1876, nor was
there any attempt at change for nearly half a century. Of this
convention Governor Plumer was the last survivor when the
convention of !<S50 met, and he did not live to see it close.'
One clause in tiie constitution of New Hampshire Governor
Plumer always claimed the credit of inserting: "No member
of the General Court shall take fees, be of counsel, or act as
advocate in any cause before either branch of the legislature: and
upon due proof thereof such member shall forfeit his seat in the
■^The first singing ol" whicii we have any record was inainlv congregational,
without instrumental accompaniment, and identical with that style which
prevailed in the early New England church. It was led by a precentor, who
read two lines of the hymn to be sung at a time, then announced the tune,