The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 19

TRIBULATIONS

It is an important question ... whether a minority of the trustees of a literary institution, formed for the education of your children, shall be encouraged to inculcate the doctrine of resistance to the law, and their example tolerated, in disseminating principles of insubordination and rebellion against government. —William Plumer

When they assembled in executive session on Saturday morning, June 29, I8I6, Governor Plumer and his council faced a monumental task. 1 The reestablishment of the old courts and the creation of a new university left them with the awesome responsibility of appointing seventeen judges, 2 nine university trustees, 3 and twenty-one overseers. 4 Furthermore, there were militia and other civil officers to appoint, a site for the new statehouse to be chosen, construction plans to be made, and a miscellany of minor matters to be settled. It is remarkable that all this was accomplished in less than a week.

The appointments might have taken even less time had not Governor Plumer insisted upon a nonpartisan or bipartisan bench. He proposed that the reconstituted superior court consist of chief justice Jeremiah Mason and puisne justices William Richardson and Samuel Bell. For a Republican governor to place Senator Mason, a veritable titan of Federalism, at the head of the state judiciary, required a degree of nonpartisan courage which his colleagues could neither appreciate nor support. The three Republican councillors adamantly refused even to consider the possibility of Mason's appointment. 5

Richardson and Bell, however, were approved by the council, the former unanimously. This was unexpected good fortune, for while even the Federalists seemed to recognize Richardson's competence, he had only two years previously returned to New Hampshire from a long residence in Massachusetts, and his rapid rise to the forefront of the bar was regarded with jealousy by some of his fellow Republicans. 6 The two Federalist councillors from Cheshire and Grafton counties voted against Samuel Bell on the ground that his disastrous career in banking rendered him odious to citizens who might appear in his court. The Republican councillors supported him, however, and Plumer declared that his elevation to the bench would cause his character to "rise superior to that odium which the zeal & industry of party had excited against him." 7

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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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