Thomas Chittenden to George Washington, 16 June 1792

From Thomas Chittenden


The unprovoked insult lately offered to this, and the united government by the commanding officer of a british Garrison within the jurisdiction of the united States; is so flagrant a breach of the Laws of Nations, and the late treaty with great Britain; that I feel myself under obligations to give you the earliest information of it. I have inclosed you sundry affidavits, to which I refer you for the particulars. Inclosed also is a copy of my Letter to the Governor of Canada of the 16th instant.1 As soon as I receive an answer I shall without loss of time, communicate it to you, together with such other circumstances as may hereafter come to my knowledge.2 I am with the greatest respect your Excellencys very humble servant

Thoms Chittenden

ALS (retained copy), Vt. Chittenden noted at the bottom of the manuscript page that this was a “True copy from the Original.” His docket reads: “Copy of my Letter to the president of the U. States. June 16th 1792.”

  1. Thomas Chittenden (1730–1797), who had served as governor of Vermont since 1778, with the exception of the 1789–90 term, agreed in May 1792 to the organization of a town government at Alburg, a few miles away from the disputed post of Pointe-au-Fer, N.Y., and just south of the Canadian border. As the British had for some time before the spring of 1792 claimed jurisdiction over Alburg and had prevented Vermont from effectively controlling the area, the stage was set for conflict. In early June, British soldiers stopped a Vermont deputy sheriff and two justices of the peace from carrying out their duties in Alburg, an act which ignited the crisis. For Chittenden’s letter to acting Gov. Alured Clarke (c.1745–1832) of Lower Canada of 16 June, see Walton, Vermont Records, 4:458–59. For the enclosed affidavits, see ibid., 465–70.
  2. Governor Chittenden next wrote GW on 16 July 1792. For more information about this diplomatic imbroglio, see Thomas Jefferson to GW, 5 July, n.1, 6 July, n.1, and GW to Jefferson, 7 July, n.2.

The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008.