Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
(?-1899)
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First Pub. Date
1881
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Pub. Date
1899
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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MAINE

II.287.1

MAINE, a state of the American Union. Its soil was claimed, in May, 1605, by Weymouth for Great Britain, and by De Monts for France. English colonization was unsuccessfully attempted at the mouth of the Kennebec, Aug. 18, 1607, and for thirty years French and English settlements were made mainly by individual enterprise. Aug. 10, 1622, Sir Ferdinando Gorges and others received from the Plymouth company a patent for "Laconia," or the "province of Maine," the territory between the Kennebec and the Merrimac, about one-sixth of the modern state, and the grant was confirmed by Charles II., April 3, 1639. The name of Maine was given either from that of the queen's French province, or as equivalent to the main land, as distinguished from the numerous islands off the coast; the latter derivation is much the more probable. Massachusetts (see that state) claimed this part of Maine under her charter, and, as Gorges was an Episcopalian and a royalist, the commonwealth period in England gave Massachusetts fair opportunity to enforce her claim. Commissioners were sent, who testified, Aug. 1, 1652, that they had found the headwaters of the Merrimac in latitude 43° 40' 12'' other commissioners fixed the end of a line, due east of this point, in Casco bay; and other commissioners, late in 1652, were successful in inducing the people to "acknowledge themselves subject to the government of Massachusetts Bay." Jan. 11, 1664, Charles II. ordered Massachusetts to restore the Gorges grant to the heirs, or show cause why not, and for some years the authority of Massachusetts was interrupted. In 1668 it was re-established; and in 1678 Massachusetts purchased the title of the Gorges heirs for £1,250.

II.287.2

—The duke of York's grant of March 12, 1664 (see NEW JERSEY), included also the territory between the St. Croix and the Kennebec; and this part of Maine was governed by his deputies until the Massachusetts charter of 1691 formally transferred both the Gorges' and the duke's grants to that colony. From the beginning of the colony's history the French in Acadia asserted claims indefinitely westward into Maine, which were the occasion of angry and sometimes bloody disputes, and were not disposed of until the treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the French dominion in Acadia.

II.287.3

—After its formal incorporation in 1691, Maine remained a part of Massachusetts for 130 years. A party was formed in the district soon after the close of the revolution, with the object of obtaining a separation, but the movement made no headway until after 1800, when Maine was as steadily democratic as Massachusetts was federalist. The war of 1812 gave a great impetus to the party of separation, for Maine felt the evils of the war severely, and her territory was occupied by the British up to the Kennebec. An act passed by the Massachusetts legislature, June 19, 1819, submitted the question of separation to the people of Maine, who decided in its favor, July 19, by a vote of 17,091 to 7,132. A state constitution was formed by a convention at Portland, Oct. 11-29, 1819, and ratified by popular vote almost unanimously. The state was admitted by act of March 3, 1820 (see COMPROMISES, IV), to take effect March 15. Another act of April 7, 1820, divided the former congressional representation of Massachusetts, giving thirteen representatives to the old and seven to the new state.

II.287.4

—BOUNDARIES. 1. Northeast Boundary. The treaty of 1783, which recognized the United States as a nation, defined the northeast boundary substantially as follows: From the mouth of the river St. Croix, in the bay of Fundy, up the middle of that river to its source; thence due north to the highlands, or watershed, between the rivers of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic systems; thence along the highlands to the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut river; thence to latitude 45° north; and thence due west to the St. Lawrence. Almost every point named was doubtful, except the St. Lawrence river, and the designated parallel of latitude. Massachusetts had always claimed over the highlands to the St. Lawrence, and the claim had been supported by Great Britain as against France; but on the withdrawal of France from Canada the British government had made the highlands the boundary in all its proclamations and instructions to colonial governors After the treaty of peace a British claim grew up that the "highlands" were a line cutting across Maine from Mars hill to the Chaudiere. The United States, by the evidence of contemporary maps, claimed as the highlands the watershed parallel to the St. Lawrence, and the claim was confirmed, after the final settlement, by the marking on the so-called "Jay map" (see Gallalin's memoir, cited below), which was used by the American negotiators in 1782-3, and apparently by the British negotiator also, since his (Oswald's) line was marked upon it and disproved the British claim. The only contemporary evidence for the British claim was an apocryphal map of Dr. Franklin in a Paris library. Commissioners named under the treaty of Nov. 19, 1794, (see JAY'S TREATY), fixed the true St. Croix and its source, as at present, though Oswald's line took the St. John, much further east, as the St. Croix. Efforts were made in 1803, in 1814 (by the treaty of Ghent), in 1827 (by a convention to arbitrate), and through a long series of negotiations from 1830 until 1840, to settle the position of the "highlands" and the true source of the Connecticut river; but the only one which came to any hopeful result was the arbitration of the king of the Netherlands, Jan. 10, 1831, under the convention of 1827, and his award was rejected by both parties. In 1838-9 the territory between New Brunswick and Maine, claimed by both parties, became the scene of a small border war. Maine raised an armed posse, erected forts along the line which she claimed as the true one, and the legislature placed $800,000 at the governor's disposal for the defense of the state; an act of congress, March 3, 1839, authorized the president to resist any attempt of Great Britain to enforce exclusive jurisdiction over the disputed territory; and armed conflict was only averted by the mediation of Gen. Scott, who arranged a truce and a joint occupation by both parties. By this time Great Britain and the United States were both ready to abandon the idea of arbitration, and Lord Ashburton was sent to Washington to arrange a compromise line with Daniel Webster, secretary of state. Commissioners were present from Maine and Massachusetts, and the treaty was concluded Aug. 9, 1842. Besides providing for the suppression of the slave trade and for the extradition of fugitives from justice, it fixed the boundary line to the Rocky mountains; granted free navigation of the St. John river to both nations; confirmed grants of land in the disputed territory to those in possession; allowed to Maine and Massachusetts compensation for territory given up, to be paid by the United States; and altered the northern boundary to its position as understood in 1783, thus giving Rouse's Point to New York, and considerable doubtful territory to New Hampshire.

II.287.5

2. Western Boundary. The western boundary of Gorges' patent was to be the Salmon Falls river to its source, and thence by a "northwestwardly line" sixty miles. Massachusetts claimed that the line should run due northwest; New Hampshire, that it should only deviate slightly from a due north line. In August, 1787, a board of arbitrators from the counselors of New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Nova Scotia decided in favor of New Hampshire, whose eastern boundary was prolonged as at present to the headwaters of the Connecticut.

II.287.6

—CONSTITUTION. Slavery had already been abolished while Maine was a part of Massachusetts. (See ABOLITION, I.) The constitution of 1820, which is still the organic law of the state, therefore made no reference to slavery. It gave the right of suffrage to "male citizens of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or upward"; made the election of governor, senators and representatives annual; fixed the number of the lower house at not more than 200 nor less than 100, to be chosen by towns according to population, no town to have more than seven representatives; fixed the number of the senate at not more than thirty-one nor less than twenty, to be chosen by senatorial districts; provided for a council of seven, and ordered them, with the governor, to examine the returns of legislative elections and summon "such persons as shall appear to be elected by a majority of the votes in each district." Twenty-one amendments have since been made, the following being the most important: fixing the number of the lower house at 151 (1841); forbidding the loaning of the state's credit (1848); granting the suffrage to the volunteer soldiers of the state (1865); authorizing the issue of bounty bonds (1868); directing the formation of corporations by general laws (1876); making the term of the governor and legislature two years, and making the governor eligible by a plurality, instead of a majority (1880-81).

II.287.7

—GOVERNORS. William King, 1820; W. D. Williamson, 1821; Albion K. Parris, 1822-6; Enoch Lincoln, 1827-8; Nathan Cutler, 1829; Jonathan D. Hunton, 1830; Samuel E. Smith, 1831-3; Robert P. Dunlap, 1834-7; Edward Kent, 1838; John Fairfield, 1839; Edward Kent, 1840; John Fairfield, 1841-2, Edward Kavanagh, 1843; Hugh J. Anderson, 1844-6; John W. Dana, 1847-9; John Hubbard, 1850-52; W. G. Crosby, 1853-4; Anson P. Merrill, 1855, Samuel Wells, 1856; Hannibal Hamlin, 1857; Lot M. Morrill, 1858-60; Israel Washburn, Jr., 1861-2; Abner Coburn, 1863; Samuel Corry, 1864-6; J. L Chamberlain, 1867-70; Sydney Perham, 1871-3; Nelson Dingley, Jr., 1874-5; Seldon Connor, 1876-8; Alonzo Garcelon, 1879; Daniel F. Davis, 1880; Harris M. Plaisted, 1881-2.

II.287.8

—POLITICAL HISTORY. The principal reason for the final separation of Maine from Massachusetts was that the district was as generally democratic as the state was federalist. Before the separation the congressmen and local officers of Maine were usually democratic, but the governors and legislatures of the state to which they belonged were federalist. After the separation Maine continued to be a very reliable democratic state until 1854, with the following exceptions. 1. In 1824 and 1828 the electoral vote of the state was given to John Quincy Adams. In 1840 it was cast for Harrison, the whig candidate, but only by a popular majority of 217 out of a total vote of 93,007. In all other presidential elections the democratic candidates had a clear popular majority. 2. In congressional elections the great majority of successful candidates were democratic. The whigs frequently elected two of the representatives, and in 1840 elected four of the eight, and one of the two United States senators. 3. The governors were as steadily democratic with the exception of Gov. Kent (1838 and 1840).

II.287.9

—The only important contest of a purely local nature during this period was upon the enactment of a prohibitory liquor law. A law of this nature, commonly known as "the Maine liquor law," was passed in 1851, and signed by Gov. Hubbard. In 1853 a "search and seizure act" was passed, for the confiscation of liquors. In 1856 this whole system of legislation was repealed, and a license law enacted; but in 1858 the Maine law, in all its parts, was re-enacted, and has since remained in force. An attempt to modify it, in 1879, was lost in the house by a vote of 127 to 17.

II.287.10

—From 1850 there were many signs of party disintegration. The whig vote ceased to grow; the free-soil vote began to develop into larger proportions; and a coalition was gradually formed between the whigs, the free-soilers, and various classes of dissatisfied democrats. In 1852-3 there was no popular majority for governor, and the coalition elected Crosby governor, and William P. Fessenden United States senator. Fessenden was the second anti-democratic senator in the state's history, George Evans (1841-7) having been the first. The election of 1854 resulted in the first great overthrow of the democratic party of the state. The republican party elected the governor, the legislature, and five of the six congressmen, and contested the election of the solitary democratic representative. In the following year the whigs and democrats were reduced to the necessity of forming a coalition against the new republican party, and in this fashion succeeded in keeping control of the legislature and electing the governor, Wells (democrat), there being no popular majority for that office. In 1856 the republicans at last secured complete control of the state: they elected the governor, Hamlin, by a vote of 69,429 to 44,889 for Wells, and 6,659 for Patten (whig), all of the six congressmen, a heavy majority of both houses of the legislature, and the second of the two United States senators.

II.287.11

—From 1856 until 1878 republican success was almost invariable, in all elections, presidential, congressional and state, the only exception being the election of a single democratic congressman in 1862 from the southwest corner of the state. The democrats had usually from one-fifth to one-fourth of the legislature, though in 1866 and 1867 they had but fifteen and thirteen members out of a total of 182. Even the "tidal wave" of 1874-5, which gave the democrats control of so many other states, had no greater effect in Maine than to increase the democratic proportion of the popular vote 5 per cent., and the democratic members of the legislature to 73; and at the succeeding election both these deceptive increases disappeared.

II.287.12

—It was inevitable that such a prolonged and unbroken control by one party should give rise to discontents among its own members. These came to a head in 1878. In the congressional elections of that year the republicans failed to obtain a majority in any one of the five districts. In the three districts to the west of a north and south line through the middle of the state, the republican candidates were elected by a plurality, through the division of the opposition vote between the democratic and "greenback" candidates; in the two eastern districts the "greenback" and democratic voters formally or practically united, and elected their candidates. For governor there was no popular majority, Selden Connor (republican) having 56,554 votes, Garcelon (democrat) 28,218, and Joseph C. Smith (greenback) 41,371. In such case, by the constitution, the lower house of the legislature was to choose two out of the four highest candidates on the popular vote, and from these two the upper house was to select a governor; an arrangement excellently calculated to tempt the formation of a coalition. In this case the lower house, controlled by the democrats and greenbackers, chose Smith and Garcelon, and the republican majority in the upper house selected Garcelon to be governor. In the election of 1879 the three parties nominated the same candidates as in 1878, and the popular vote was substantially the same; but in the complexion of the legislature there was a very important difference. On the face of the returns the republicans had a majority in both branches of the legislature, and would therefore be able to choose a republican governor. By the constitution and laws the governor and council were a preliminary canvassing board, to give original certificates of election to members of the legislature, subject to revision by the two houses after their organization. In a multitude of town elections, irregularities of every description, changes of initials of candidates, and similar errors, were inevitable, and had occurred at every election. After examining carefully the arguments of both sides in 1879-80, one can only come to the conclusion that precedents in abundance for any desired system of canvassing can be found in the annals of the state. In 1879 Gov. Garcelon and his council certainly strained every possible republican precedent to the damage of the republican candidates, and succeeded in making out a "fusion" (democratic and greenback) majority in the lower house, the pivotal point of contest. Jan. 7 1880, Gov. Garcelon's term expired; two days before, he had authorized and directed ex-Gov. Chamberlain, major general of the state militia. to protect the public property until a new governor should qualify; and the state was thus left practically, though temporarily, under military government. The fusion majority of the legislature met and elected officers, Jan. 7, the republicans refusing to take part. Jan. 12 the republican majority, with and without certificates, took possession of the rooms of the two houses; the state supreme court pronounced in their favor; Jan. 16 they elected Davis governor; Gen. Chamberlain gave up his authority to him; the fusion legislature disbanded, and the Maine imbroglio was over. To avoid any such difficulty in future, the constitutional amendment heretofore given, making the governor eligible by a plurality, instead of a majority, was proposed by the legislature and ratified by the people. In 1880 the democrats and greenbackers formally united and nominated Harris M. Plaisted, who was elected in September over Gov. Davis by a plurality, as follows Plaisted, 73,713; Davis, 73,544; scattering, 545. In November the republicans secured the electoral vote of the state, three of the five congressmen, and a majority of both branches of the legislature. The popular vote for presidential electors was 74,039 republican, 65,171 fusion, and 4,408 greenback. The two congressional districts carried by the fusionists were the same districts which they had carried in 1878. The legislature in 1882 is as follows: senate, twenty-two republican, nine fusion; house, eighty-four republican, sixty-seven fusion.

II.287.13

—Among the prominent leaders in state politics have been the following: James G. Blaine, Hannibal Hamlin (see those names); Jonathan Cilley, democratic congressman 1837-8, killed in the Graves-Cilley duel; Nathan Clifford, state attorney general 1834-8, democratic congressman 1839-43, attorney general under Polk 1846-8, and justice of the supreme court 1858-81; George Evans, whig congressman 1829-41, United States senator 1841-7; John Fairfield, democratic congressman 1835-9, governor 1839 and 1841-2, and United States senator 1843-7; William Pitt Fessenden, whig congressman 1841-3, whig and republican United States senator 1854-64 and 1865-9, and secretary of the treasury under Lincoln; Wm. P. Frye, state attorney general 1867-9, republican congressman 1871-7, and United States senator 1877-83, Eugene Hale, republican congressman 1869-79, and United States senator 1881-7; John Holmes, democratic congressman 1817-20, and United States senator 1820-27 and 1829-33; Lot M. Morrill, governor 1858-60, and republican United States senator 1861-77, Albion K. Parris, democratic congressman 1815-18, governor 1822-6, United States senator 1827-8, and state supreme court judge 1828-36; Sydney Perham, republican congressman 1863-9, and governor 1871-3; Thomas B. Reed, state attorney general 1870-72, and republican congressman 1877-85; Israel Washburn, whig and republican congressman 1851-61, and governor 1861-2; and Wm. D. Williamson, governor 1820, and democratic congressman 1821-3.

II.287.14

—See 1 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Sewall's Ancient Dominions of Maine (1857); 1 Hazard's Historical Collections, 45, 442; 1 Coolidge and Mansfield's History of New England; Kohl's East Coast of North America; Willis' Laws, Courts and Lawyers of Maine, History of Portland, and Documentary History of Maine; Sullivan's History of the District of Maine (to 1795); Williamson's History of Maine (to 1820); Varney's Young, People's History of Maine; Whitman and True's Maine in the War; Abbott's History of Maine (to 1875); 19 Appleton's Annual Cyclopædia, 743 (opinion of supreme court in 1880); (NORTHEAST BOUNDARY) Documents relating to the Northeast Boundary (1828); Vose's Northeast Boundary (from 75 North American Review); Northeastern Boundary Arbitration; 13 Benton's Debates of Congress, 679, 754; 14 ib., 103, 143; 5 Webster's Works, 81; 6 ib., 288, 350; Gallatin's Memoir on the Northeastern Boundary, before the N. Y. Hist. Soc., April 15, 1843 (with the Jay map); 8 Stat. at Large, 81 (treaty of Sept. 3, 1783, art. 2), 119 (treaty of Nov. 19, 1794, art. 5), 220 (treaty of Ghent, art. 5), 363 (convention of Sept. 29, 1827), and 572 (treaty of Aug. 9, 1842).

ALEXANDER JOHNSTON.

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