The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13

FEDERALIST COLLAPSE

Democracy has obtained its long expected triumph in New Hampshire... and [its] success is not owing to snow, rain, hail, or bad roads. It is an incontrovertible fact that the federalists in this State do not compose the majority. —William Plumer.

The political revolution that had brought triumph to the forces of the Democracy on the national scene in 1800 finally achieved an equal victory in New Hampshire in the spring of 1805. 1 The Republicans fought with the boldness of assured victors. The New Hampshire press, which had formerly been devoted exclusively to the service of their enemies, now furnished them with valuable auxiliaries. In 1801 Portsmouth Republicans had acquired control of the state's oldest journal, the New Hampshire Gazette, and had immediately filled its columns with blasts at Federalist judges, lawyers, and clergymen. 2

The next year at Walpole in the overwhelmingly Federalist Connecticut Valley a new democratic journal, The Political Observatory, was established by a gifted minister driven out of Connecticut for political heresy. 3 Bristling with shrewd attacks upon religious intolerance and secret caucuses, this paper featured a full exposure of Governor Gilman's past errors in connection with the state treasury and the Union Bank. 4 Ignoring the fact that John Taylor Gilman's two brothers were off-and-on Republicans, the Observatory begged that this "aristocratic branch of a most powerful and most numerous family may be lopped, and the genius of liberty no longer shaded and stifled by federalism rise eternally to overpower the rank, poisonous, destructive weeds of tyranny and oppression." 5

Against such vigorous thrusts the Federalists offered only a halfhearted defense. The well-oiled machine of the previous summer had succumbed to winter rust and failed to respond to the tentative efforts of its creators. Only young Daniel Webster, among all the Federalists, seemed willing to expend energy in the hopeless cause. Seating himself at his father's table in the old farmhouse at Salisbury during a dull winter's day, he composed a stirring Appeal to the Old Whigs of New Hampshire, which was published anonymously in February. 6 This first production of a budding genius was superior in literary quality but virtually identical with other pamphlets of its kind in argument, evasion, distortion, and rabble‐ rousing. "Do we prefer the enemy of WASHINGTON [Langdon] to his

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The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ninth State - New Hampshire's Formative Years *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter 1 - Revolutionary New Hampshire *
  • Chapter 2 - Constitution Making *
  • Chapter 3 - Peace and Depression *
  • Chapter 4 - Personal Politics *
  • Chapter 5 - A Fragment of Social History *
  • Chapter 6 - In the Federal Union *
  • Chapter 7 - Constitutional Revision *
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise of Parties *
  • Chapter 9 - Federalists and Republicans *
  • Chapter 10 - Federalist Decline *
  • Chapter 11 - The Old Order Yieldeth *
  • Chapter 12 - Democracy Triumphant *
  • Chapter 13 - Federalist Collapse *
  • Chapter 14 - Blockade and Embargo *
  • Chapter 15 - Drifting Toward War *
  • Chapter 16 - In the War with England *
  • Chapter 17 - The Indian Summer of Federalism *
  • Chapter 18 - Peace Abroad: War at Home *
  • Chapter 19 - Tribulations *
  • Chapter 20 - The Demise of Federalism *
  • Chapter 21 - Reform and Freedom *
  • Appendix - Maps and Explanations *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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