The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17

THE INDIAN SUMMER
OF FEDERALISM

We believe that this war, so fertile in calamities and so threatening in its consequences, has been waged with the worst possible views, and carried on in the worst possible manner; forming a union of wickedness and weakness which defies, for a parallel, the annals of the world. —Resolution in the Massachusetts legislature, February 1814

The Federalists who returned to the seats of power in June 1813 were convinced that their losses of 1812 had only been temporary aberrations. 1 Their defeat of a strong governor and recovery of control in the legislature convinced them that they were the true exponents of public opinion in their opposition to "Mr. Madison's War." The Federalists in the lower house elected Thomas W Thompson their speaker and, with their majority in the convention of the two houses, chose a Federalist councillor from Grafton County and thus gained a 3-2 majority in that body. "At this moment the bells are ringing & cannon firing, in demonstration of the people's joy," wrote Ezekiel Webster triumphantly to his brother in Congress. 2

Bell ringing was quickly succeeded in the legislature by more decided means of celebration. Governor and legislators first denounced "the war in which our beloved country is unhappily involved with Great Britain; the consequences of which cannot be foreseen; the necessity of which we have never been able to discover." 3 They then implemented their policy of noncooperation in the national war effort by deciding not to raise a state tax for the year. 4 Having thus disposed of national issues, they turned with relish to the business of remodeling the state judiciary.

Here the New Hampshire Federalists faced very much the same situation that had confronted Jefferson and his national administration in I80I—triumphs at the polls which gave them executive and legislative control of the government, but had no effect on the opposition's entrenchment in the judicial establishment. Like Jefferson, they regarded this state of things as unfair, but they had even more reason to complain about the quality of the courts in possession of the enemy. Justice had been delayed interminably not only by the ineffectiveness of the common pleas courts but also by the absences of Evans and the ignorance of Claggett in the superior court. Former governor Plumer's apprehensions

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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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