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by 89 towns, 114 were in favor of separation and only 13 opposed. Both these numbers were subsequently increased by later returns. A great number of towns voted to petition the General Court in their corporate capacity. The opposition was successful in only a few cases. The petitions began to pour into the State House on May 27, 1819, only a day or two after the meeting of the General Court. No less than 94 such petitions were received by the Senate from the House of Representatives on the 31st.
The committee to which the subject was referred consisted of Josiah Quincy of Suffolk, William King of Lincoln, William Moody of York, Jonathan H. Lyman of Hampshire, Leverett Saltonstall of Essex, and Benjamin Gorham of Suffolk, on the part of the Senate; and Messrs. Lewis of Gorham, Greenleaf of Quincy, Lawrence of Groton, Reddington of Vassalborough, Moseley of Newburyport, Peabody of Boston, Leland of Roxbury, and Ames of Bath, on the part of the House. It will be seen that two of the six senators, and three of the eight representatives, were taken from the Maine delegation.
A strong impression was made upon the community by the evident preponderance of the separation sentiment. On the 1st of June the “ Daily Advertiser” remarked that the division of the State was the most important subject to be considered at that session ; that the disproportion between the number of petitioners and that of remonstrants “ leaves little doubt that a very large proportion of the people of Maine are now in favor of separation"; and that it was impossible for the legislature “ to shut their eyes to these indications of the disposition of the people of Maine, or to refuse taking all proper measures for indulging them.”
Mr. Quincy brought in to the Senate the report of the committee on June 9. Although he was the reporter, it is quite evident, from his subsequent course, that he neither wrote the report nor assented to it. The report is a simple, moderate statement, — we may say an inevitable conclusion from the circumstances as they existed. The committee was .convinced that nothing should be done by the legislature to hasten separation. On the contrary, they would gladly strengthen and promote the union that existed. The Commonwealth was called upon to relinquish one-third of its citizens and more than a half of its territory. “But your committee have not been deterred by these considerations from listening to the prayer of the petitioners, and from recommending such measures as they deem just and expedient, however they regret the present application.” They refer to the opinion, “now almost universal,” that the separation must take place at a day not far distant. They found that there were 130 petitions for separation and only 5 against it. “ They believe that to reject so many petitions, so far from having a tendency to allay the desire for a separation, would excite agitation and discontent." They regarded the present time as peculiarly favorable for ascertaining the real wishes of the people of Maine, as the situation was altogether tranquil and peaceful, and believed that there would never be a better time for submitting the matter to a test.
The bill reported followed in general the lines of the act of 1816. The terms on which the consent of Massachusetts was to be given were slightly changed — the separationists in Maine declared that they were more favorable to the proposed new State than those in the earlier act; the opponents asserted vehemently that they were even less favorable than those that had been rejected. In point of fact there were modifications in both directions, but not important either way. The process by which the new State was to come into being was nevertheless greatly changed. A general vote was to be taken on the fourth Monday in July (26th), on the question whether it was expedient that Maine should become a separate and independent State. The votes were to be returned to the Secretary of the Commonwealth and counted by the Governor and Council, “and if the number of votes for the measure shall exceed the number of votes against it by fifteen hundred, then and not otherwise the people shall be deemed to have expressed their consent and agreement" to the separation. Then the governor was to proclaim the result, and thereupon an election was to take place on the third Monday in September (21st) of delegates to a convention to meet in Portland on the second Monday in October (12tlı), to adopt a name for the new State and to form a constitution. This having been done, the convention was to submit the constitution to popular vote, and if it were
adopted by a majority of the people, it was to come into effect, Congress concurring, on the 15th of March, 1820. If the constitution should be rejected, the constitution of Massachusetts, so far as it was applicable, would become the constitution of Maine, until changed in due form, but the name chosen for the State was to stand in any event. Provision was made for the continuance in office of those who then occupied the offices until the legislature of Maine ordered otherwise, and for the holding of courts. The laws of Massachusetts were to be the laws of Maine until amended or repealed. The president of the convention was to act as governor until a governor should be chosen.
The Senate began the consideration of the measure on June 11, when Mr. Quincy moved to recommit it to the committee with instructions to report a bill providing for a vote of all the people of the Commonwealth on the question “Is it expedient that the District of Maine should become a separate and independent state?” He supported this motion in a speech which is summarized in the “ Daily Advertiser.” It was directed wholly to the constitutional question whether it was competent for the legislature to give its consent to the division of the State. He was supported in his argument by Mr. Bannister of Essex. The speakers on the other side were Senators Moody of York, King of Lincoln, and Gorham of Suffolk. The motion was rejected, 12 to 21. In the affirmative were three Esses and three Worcester Senators, and one cach from Suffolk, Middlesex, Plymouth, Hampshire, Norfolk, and Berkshire. The debate was continued through the 12th and 11th (Monday). Amendments were proposed and rejected to require a two-thirds vote of the people of Maine in favor of separation, and a majority of 2,500 instead of 1,500. When the question came on passing the bill to be engrossed, Mr. Quincy made a speech over two hours in length against the bill, which the Daily Advertiser" characterized as "able, clear, and forcible," and Mr. Saltonstall one equally long in favor of the bill, which the same authority provounced to be “ingenious and eloquent.” The bill was then passed by 26 votes to 11. 1ll the nine senators from Maine were present and voted yes, but the bill had an ample majority without their votes. Politi. cally, the “ Advertiser” says that the minority consisted of three Republicans and eight Federalists. Four senators who had supported Mr. Quincy's amendment to take a vote of all the people, voted for the passage of the bill.
The House of Representatives began the consideration of the bill on the 16th. Mr. Rand of Boston proposed Mr. Quincy's amendment, but it was rejected, 83 to 168. On this vote, it is astonishing to record, there were 132 votes from Maine and only 119 from Massachusetts proper. The numbers were :
On the next day, after a long debate, the bill was passed by a vote of 193 to 59. As the total number of votes given on the passage of the bill differed by one only from that on the amendment, it is probable that on this occasion also the Maine vote was the larger. But as the Maine opponents stood firm to the end, the majority of Massachusetts members in favor of the bill was greatly increased. Governor Brooks approved the act on June 19.
If public sentiment in Massachusetts had been indifferent or mildly favorable to a division of the State prior to the final act and during the consideration of the bill by the legislature, it was aroused against it when opposition was too late. From the middle of June until the day in July when the vote was taken, the newspapers of Boston contained many communicatious and editorial articles on the subject. It was universally recognized that the decision rested entirely with the people of Maine, and there was no attempt at or suggestion of bullying · them. But they were appealed to strongly to remember the glories of the State which had been won by them in common with the citizens of Massachusetts proper, were assured of the good will of their old fellow citizens, were told that they had no real grievances, and were warned against taking a leap in the dark. Coi
Correspondents of the several newspapers argued against the constitutionality of the act consenting to the separation. There were also communications reproaching the members of the legislature for their easy surrender to the petitioners from Maine; and others lamenting the pitiable state into which the Commonwealth was about to fall and the low
rank which it was about to assume among the States of the Union. Almost all the references to the coming separation were of this character. So far as can be judged from them, the general feeling was one of regret at a decision which it had become too late to reverse.
It would be difficult to summarize intelligibly the several utterances in the newspapers, which were most of them long and wordy; still more difficult, without occupying too much space, to give quotations from them.
In Maine the separationists entered upon their brief campaign with the certainty of approaching victory. Their opponents showed more vigor than confidence, but they struggled bravely to the end. The Portland “Gazette" was, as before, the leader of the opposition, and its last issue before the vote was given was devoted almost entirely to the subject, in broad columns and display type. Squibs, anecdotes, arguments, appeals, covered its pages. Among serious and sound arguments were some silly suggestions, as that Massachusetts wished to get rid of Maine, that the District was increasing in population so greatly that Boston was afraid that Maine would soon be in control, and that therefore it was for the interest of Maine to go slowly.
It was evident, as soon as the earliest returns were received, that separation was triumphant. Every county in the District gave a majority in favor of independence, ranging from 63 in Hancock to 3,309 in Kennebec. The proclamation of Governor Brooks announced the numbers as 17,091 in favor, and 7,132 opposed, - a majority of almost ten thousand, and much more than the two-thirds which had been proposed in a hostile amendment. The governor called upon the people to elect delegates on the third Monday in September to meet in convention at Portland on the second Monday in October.
1 For example :
Separation must go," said a wag to his fellow,