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pression which was established in his own state, in this respect, may be quoted from a reply of one of the branches of the legislature, several years after he had been in the of fice of governor. "We have long beheld," said the senate, in 1802, with approbation, the decision and frankness with which your excellency has publicly advocated those political sentiments which, it is our belief, naturally result from an informed mind and an upright heart." Moral and political firmness constituted a remarkable trait in his character; and ample evi. dence of it was exhibited in the course of his public life.
When the present constitution of New-Hampshire, establishing the office and title of governor, which had been laid aside in the revolution, went into operation, in 1793, Mr. Gilman was nominated, and solicited to become the first candidate; but he was averse to the office; and, having publicly and positively declined, President Bartlett was accordingly elected the first year; but the latter having served one term, and feeling his constitution to be failing, was unwilling to continue in the office, and, with many other respectable persons, urged Mr. Gilman to consent to serve as his successor. Many considerations were employ. ed to overcome Mr. Gilman's reluctance to undertake the duties of the station, which arose, in a great degree, from diffidence of his abili. ties to discharge them in a manner honourable to the state; and, yield. ing to the opinions of others, rather than the inclination of his own, he was chosen governor in 1794, by nearly four fifths of the votes.
The new constitution of New.
Hampshire had given to the gover. nor a negative on the acts of the legislature. This power had not been applied by Governor Bartlett, Governor Gilman, in the course of the first session after he was chosen, which continued but seventeen days, returned three bills. The question being taken on one of these, which he returned as repug. nant to a provision in the constitu tion, whether it should pass not. withstanding, there was bu: a single vote in the affirmative; and that, as stated by the individual who gave it, in the common expression, "to take off the curse." At the ensuing election for governor in 1795, out of between nine and ten thousand votes, Governor Gilman received all but a hundred. In the winter session of that year he returned with objections a bill in relation to non-residents. This circumstance gave occasion to the most pointed marks of dissatisfaction from many of the members; and pains were taken, without success, to diminish the votes in his favour at the next election. The following year a fresh bill was oftered on the same subject, free from the objections of the governor. This was admitted to be improved, and adopted. On several other occasions also, he exercised this constitutional faculty, viz.: to check the facility of granting new trials prac. tised by the legislature; to protect the rights of property against empirical or improvident legislation; to preserve the fundamental and established principles of law; to prevent the infringemeut of public engagements, or measures impairing the obligation of contracts; and to secure an equal freedom of religious rights and liberties.
The measures of the federal government to preserve the peace and prosperity of the country, and to prevent it from becoming in. volved in the conflicts of Europe, began at this period to excite a sympathetic sensation and action in several parts of the union. The negotiation of the treaty with Great Britain, by Mr. Jay, received the unanimous approbation of the larger branch of the legislature of New. Hampshire, corresponding to the sentiments of the governor on that subject, in 1795. Governor Gil. man was a constant and firm supporter of the policy of Washington, and the cardinal principles of impartial neutrality between foreign powers, enjoined and exemplified in the acts of his administration. Governor Gilman had been chosen an elector of president, in 1792, and, being again appointed, in 1796, joined in the suffrage given by New-Hampshire on that occa. sion. In seconding the system of defence adopted by the general government in the seaboard, Go. vernor Gilman called the attention of the legislature to the security of the harbour of Portsmouth, always a subject of importance in a naval point of view, and an object of his particular concern, as chief magistrate of the state.
The efficient organization of the militia, and its establishment on a respectable footing, as constituting the real bulwark of public security, received a corresponding portion of his care and encouragement. He was invariable and unremitting in his endeavours to sustain, and strengthen the judicial author ty, by enjoining adequate and honourable compensation. The honourable The honourable Jeremiah Smith was appointed
chief justice, and the honourable Jeremiah Mason, Attorney General of the state. The reform of the criminal code, and the establishment of a penitentiary, were brought before the legislature by his recommendation, at the con clusion of his first and longest term of service. This was finished in the year 1805. But little comparative division of opinion existed in the political sentiments of this state, during the administration of the second president of the United States. An address was voted by both branches of the legislature, approving the administration of President Adams, without requiring any other act on the part of the governor, than to communicate it, which was done in respectful com pliance with their request. On the election of Mr. Jefferson, Governor Gilman communicated his sentiments to his political friends in congress, and held a corresponding language in his official communications, advising them to contribute the same support to government, which they had been in the habit of doing. When called upon, however, by the form of a resolution adopted by the two branches of the legislature, the last year of his first term of office, (1804,) requiring his concurrencc in a general expression of approbation of Mr. Jefferson's adminis tration, Govenor Gilman declined uniting in the act, though it is said that he would have had no hesitation in conveying their sentiments, in the same manner he had done those of their predecessors, in. reIt deserves lation to Mr. Adams. to be remembered, that in the tone, and temper of the customary replies from both branches of the legisla
ture, in which were political majorities, organized by the choice of Nicholas Gilman, president of the senate, and John Langdon, speaker of the house, with a council also opposite to himself, there was the most respectful courtesy and moderation. In the succeeding year, Mr. Lang. don was elected governor. Mr. Gilman attended, and assisted in the induction, and was, with much urbanity on the part of Governor Langdon, invited to keep him coin. pany throughout the ceremonial. From this period, Mr. Gilman was absent from public life, though not indifferent to public affairs, or unconcerned in there right administration. His name was again placed at the head of the list of electors of President, which was chosen in 1812; and he served one year, as a representative of the town of Exeter, in the legisla
In 1813, Mr. Gilman was recalled, by the suffrages of the state, to the office of governor. A re-organization of the judiciary took place that year; Jeremiah Smith was appointed chief justice, and Arthur Livermore, and Caleb Ellis, associate justices of the supreme court. The construction of this court, possessing substantially the same powers with its prede. cessor, was similar to the scheme which had been established for several years, in Massachusetts, in the separation of terms for law questions, from those for jury trials. Some obstruction occurred to the administration of justice by this court, in consequence of the refusal of some of the sheriffs to recognise its authority, and part of the justices of the former court continued for a short time to claim
and exercise their offices. An extra session of the legislature was required, to correct these irregularities; and the new system continued to be administered with success, and acquired the character of an acknowledged improvement, during the remainder of Governor Gilman's term of office; after which the law was repealed, and the court re-constructed on the original plan.
Although Governor Gilman's known opinions had been unfavourable to the declaration of war, no reproach applied to the patriotism of his admistration, of indifference to the defence of the state and country, or of disregard to the constitutional measures of the federal authorities. To the union of good judgment and good fortune, exhibited in the successful consequences of the arrangements, civil and military, which he adopted and executed at this period, the applauding voice of public sentiment, expressed at the end of the war by the legislature, and the solid condition of the state treasury, unimpaired by the expenditure demanded for the occasion, bore ample testimony.
A considerable alarm had arisen for the safety of Portsmouth, and the public property in the harbour and vicinity of that place, in 1813. At this important naval station, there was a large frigate lying in the harbour; one of the largest ships of the line was on the stocks, nearly completed for launching; besides a considerable quantity of public stores belonging to the United States. The presence of these costly constructions and collected materials for deposite or defence, in the future emergencies of the
war, with the knowledge possessed by the enemy of their military destination, was rather considered as increasing than diminishing the danger of that portion of the state. Commodore Hull had been ordered there, by the national government, the latter part of the year 1813; and in the following March, he call ed the attention of Governor Gil. man to the defenceless situation of the harbour of Portsmouth; communicating his serious apprehensions of the operations of the enemy, who had appointed one of their most active commanders to that station, against the town and country. In April, a further representation was made by Commodore Hull to Governor Gilman, stating, that from the information he had received, he had no doubt that Portsmouth would be attacked, and that the destruction of the 74 and other vessels, would be their object; and that neither the fortifications, nor the force stationed there, were adequate, in his opinion, to the defence. The same month a town, meeting was held in Portsmouth, which manifested a great anxiety on account of the exposed and endangered condition of the place, and made a request of the governor, for a further military force to be detached, for the defence of the town and harbour, in addition to the guards already stationed by his predecessor, Governor Plum. mer, to keep watch at Little Harbour and other places. This was followed, by a further application from Commodore Hull, in May, stating that he had received such information as he relied on, that an immediate attack on Portsmouth was intended by the enemy; and that if militia were ever wanting
for the defence of any place, they were then wanting for the defence of Portsmouth.
To these earnest representations, prompt and personal atten. tion was immediately paid by Governor Gilman. On the receipt of the last from Commodore Hull, accompanied by a despatch from Major General Storer, enclosing the letter of advice which Commo. dore Hull had received relative to the intended attack on Portsmouth, he adjourned the council, then in session at Concord, with their consent, and immediately repaired to Exeter, to attend to the subject of these communications. He first addressed a request to General Cushing, who had visited the scene of alarm, for a detachment of Uni. ted States troops, then stationed at Concord; which General Cushing not being able to comply with, Go. vernor Gilman, on the 20th of May, ordered an immediate detachment of eight companies for a service of sixty days, unless soonér discharged, for the protection of Portsmouth. Of this measure, together with the pressing occasion presented by the importunate instances of the inhabitants, and Commodore Hull, he immediately advised the secretary of war; ac. quainting him also with the deficiency of force existing in the United States forts in the harbour, and suggesting the expediency of an immediate re-enforcement of United States troops. Orders were also issued for a number of militia companies, to be marched within five days to Portsmouth. The militia troops thus detached, were also authorized by him to march with their own consent to any points of defence, without the
jurisdictional limits of the state, which might be judged advisable for the safety of the town and har. bour of Portsmouth. Comfortable accommodations were provided for them; the requisite supplies of am. munition and equipments were procured; proper arrangements were directed, through the commissary department, for provisioning the detached troops; and his active and immediate attention as commander-in-chief, was bestowed upon the duties and details of the service, which belonged to him, and in concert with the United States naval commander.
The legislature assembled in June, and, approving what had been done by the governor, made an ap. propriation of fifty thousand dol. lars toward defraying the expenses, necessary for the defence of the state, and passed the requisite votes to carry the arrangements into execution. Two companies of United States troops being ordered to reinforce the garrison, and these, with the seamen under Commodore Hull, and a company of seafencibles, authorized by the secretrary at war, to be raised for the further defence of the sea coast of New-Hampshire, being considered by General Armstrong, able, with the artillerists, to make a good defence against the only mode of attack in his view to be apprehended, the principal portion of the militia detached in May was dismiss. ed, and the residue retained for a limited service, to expire in July. Before the expiration of this period of service, however, a request was received from Major General Dearborn, by Governor Gilman, for a specific detachment of militia to be placed in the service of the Uni
ted States, for the purpose of aug. menting the military force in the harbour of Portsmouth for the term of three months, which was complied with by Governor Gilman in an order of July 25th, recommend. ing voluntary engagement as preferable, but requiring absolute obe. dience to the requisition.
At the approach of autumn, the alarm, which had prevailed in Ports. mouth, was revived with additional strength by the recent incursions of the enemy upon the sea coast, and the sudden and successful march upon Washington. A new request was received from General Dear. born for a further military force; a committee was appointed by the town of Portsmouth, composed of Jeremiah Mason, Daniel Webster, and Jno. F. Parrot, with others; and this committee addressed an appli. cation to Governor Gilman, to as. sume the command of the militia detached and assembling by his authority at that place; stating their impression of the imminent danger which threatened the place, and expressing their confidence that his presence would facilitate the speedy organization of the force, and give a greater efficiency to the measures of defence. Detachments were made from a number of regi. ments in pursuance of the applica. tion from General Dearborn, and ordered to march immediately to Portsmouth; and the whole militia of the state were holden to be in readiness to march at a moment's warning. An appeal was made with confidence to the patriotism and exertions of the citizens for the protection and defence of the country, in the general orders issued on the occasion, and answered by the spirit of the state, with a zeal and