Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Washington's Tour Of New England / Continental Securities / Constitutional Convention Of 1791

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Washington's Tour Of New England

From the Revolution on, to the close of the century, the town records are singularly devoid of information concerning the progress of affairs other than ecclesiastical, the annual election of town officers, the care of the public lands, an occasional lawsuit, proprietary meetings and such war measures and public acts as have been already noted. We find enough, however, to be assured that the people of Hampton were keeping pace with the times, while taking sedulous care of all local and private interests.

The most notable public event of 1789 was Washington's tour of New England, in October. Minute accounts are given of his entry into Portsmouth and his four days' stay there, coming by way of Salisbury and Hampton. We know something of his later progress through North Hampton to Exeter; but to the imagination, mainly, it is left to depict his reception here. Loyal and enthusiastic it surely was, though we are only told with certainty, that the people gathered at Toppan's corner to see him pass, and that he bowed pleasantly to right and left. And so the brilliant cavalcade was a vision and a memory, and the loved face of Washington, a benediction.

Once before, he came into the neighborhood, riding on horseback from Cambridge to Hampton Falls sometime during the war, on a personal visit to President Weare. The Weare mansion still stands, unaltered except by time, and the room in which Washington slept is pointed out. It is now owned by the heirs of Zebulun Dow.

Continental Securities

At the adjourned annual town meeting, March 31, 1790, it was voted "that the Committee who were chosen to Dispose of Land belonging to this Town & purchase Continental Securities for the town, be & hereby are fully authorized and Impowered if Congress should fund the Continental Debt, to take out New Securities in Lieu of those now in their hands, or that they may hereafter purchase, and to transact every other matter Relating thereto in such manner as they may think will by most for the interest of the town." Congress did fund the continental debt, and the above vote was carried into effect.

Constitutional Convention Of 1791

In 1791, seven years after the adoption of the state constitution, a convention was called to meet at Concord on the first Wednesday in September, for the purpose of revising it. Col. Christopher Toppan was the delegate from Hampton, one of many able men who composed the convention. In due time, their work was submitted to the people, and the convention then adjourned, to meet again in May, 1792. On the 7th of May, a town meeting was held in Hampton, and a committee of fifteen chosen, to examine the constitution, with the proposed amendments, and report at an adjournment, whether, in their opinion, they ought to be adopted. The committee reported on the 21st of the same month, and the town voted strongly against the amendments.

On the reassembling of the convention, a committee was appointed, to examine the returns, ascertain what amendments had been adopted, and embody them in the constitution, which was again sent out to the people. In this town, it was "put to vote, to see if the town will receive the Constitution with the amendments." Only twenty-five votes were cast, but they were all in the negative. The amended constitution, however, was ratified by a majority of the people, and declared, September 5, 1792.

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