February 19, 2009






     The blog category, NOVEL SEGMENTS, will present information and scenes being developed for a historic romance novel to be written in three sections. Numerous actual romances intertwine throughout the segments. One romance replicates Tennyson’s poem, Enoch Arden.
     The writing is historical in that it follows real people in real situations. It’s a novel because conversations must be created and scene material filled in. Characters cannot be interviewed, since the dateline of the story is about 1786 to 1845. However, numerous lines are factual, since they come from actual documents.
The complete tale travels from Boston, Massachusetts to Revolutionary France to the Virginia-Boston Atlantic corridor to Lamoine, Maine, British Guiana, and finally ends in Alencon, France.
     The first few segments being posted recreate a political backdrop of the novel. The romance parts will follow. The first segment was:
A 1786 MEETING IN VERMONT (Novel #1) Visit the category “1790s BACKGROUND at for interesting background information.

     On March 8, 1787, the Ohio Company met at Bracket’s Tavern, Boston, where accounts showed that 250 Ohio Company shares, at $1,000 a share, were sold. This provided them with $250,000 to purchase land in the Ohio section of the Northwest Territory. Three directors—Rufus Putnam, Samuel Parsons and Manasseh Cutler—were appointed to apply to Congress for a private land purchase in the Northwest Territory, and to bargain on its price.  Dr. Cutler was ill, and did not attend.
     “Since the Doctor sold the most shares, over one hundred, and his skills are such that could lead us to success, I think we should appoint him to go to New York and purchase as much land as our money will buy,” Rufus suggested. “Samuel, you could go with him.”
     “It won’t be easy, negotiating for a private purchase of land,” Samuel noted.
 “No, it won’t,” Rufus acknowledged. “But surely Dr. Cutler will agree. How much acreage should we be looking at?”
  A short discussion set the limit at one million acres.
 Rufus’s expectation was correct. Dr. Cutler approved of the actions from the meeting, and agreed to execute his task immediately. However, he believed that a major barrier to the land purchase was its cost set by Congress.
 “The price of $1.00 per acre is pretty high,” he told Samuel. “Why, they are selling the eastern Maine land for half that! Many persons are going there instead of considering the Ohio land, just because of the price. And the land is so much better in Ohio, even though Maine is closer to Boston!”
 “Our biggest hurdle is that Congress is reluctant to sell land to the private sector,” Samuel said. “Perhaps you should speak about this with Nathan Dane.”
 “I’ll write to him,”
 Cutler, having begun bargaining with Congressional members in early July, 1787, discovered that few of them, except for Nathaniel Dane, who was responsible for drafting the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, were interested in settling the Northwest Territory. They viewed it as interfering with their attempts to settle a large, unoccupied territory in their jurisdiction in eastern Maine.
     “What about the land surveys?” Samuel asked. “Even if Congress agrees to sell us the Ohio land, we cannot put settlers on it until an orderly survey is done first.”
   “Rufus suggested two options,” Dr. Cutler replied. “We could let Congress perform the surveys, and pay them a higher price for the land. Or we could do the surveys ourselves.”
   “Which option do you prefer?”
   “I favor doing the surveys ourselves. After all, Congress has a low state of finances, and might take a long time to do the work. If we do the surveys thorugh the Ohio Company, we could get the land for less money. There’s another advantage to our doing our own surveys, too.”
   “What’s that?” Samuel asked.
   “We could settle the land sooner, because we could do the surveys after it is settled. However, even if Congress insists on doing the surveys themselves, I am not willing to offer them more than a half dollar per acre.”
        On July 13, Nathan’s ordinance was drafted, read to Congress, amended and passed (unanimously minus one). The entire process took four days. Nathan had included ideas strongly desired by Dr. Cutler—proposals to prohibit slavery and provisions for educational institutions. He had also included a proposal that specifically authorized the Board of Treasury to contract with any ” person or persons,” plainly contemplating separate contracts, a proposal of utmost importance to the Ohio Company. 
      It was time for Dr. Cutler to act. He knew that the Massachusetts Congressional members could not openly oppose the western movement so popular with their peers, and he had little success negotiating with other Congressional members to vote in favor of the Ohio Company purchasing land in the Northwest Territory. He was discouraged.
“Winthrop, I met with William Duer yesterday,” said The Rev. on July 21. “I must tell you what he proposed!” Samuel was no longer working with Dr. Cutler, who now turned to Winthrop Sargent.
       Colonel William Duer, Secretary of the Board of Treasury (which was responsible for the sale of the land), had contacted him the day before.
     “William told me he that a number of the principal characters in the city wanted to purchase land in Ohio for speculative purposes. They want us to take them in as a sub-company. But they want this done with profound secrecy. I managed to eek two names from William, Andrew Craigie and Henry Knox.” (Craigie, war profiteer, and Knox, Secretary of War)
     “How does he expect you to do this?” Winthrop asked, eyes wide.
     “He offered us generous conditions,” Dr. Cutler stated. “In a nutshell, William and his friends want to purchase land from Congress under the shadow of our company, so that the public will not know anything about their speculation. In return, they will influence Congress to give me the price and conditions of sale that I want.”
     “How much land are they wanting us to purchase for them?”
     “Three and a half million acres.”
     “Wow! We are only seeking one million acres ourselves!” 
     “They say they will help us obtain the votes we need to pass the Ohio Grant. Not only that, they are offering us financial help.”
      “That cannot hurt,” Winthrop said. “We’ve only sold a few shares above one-quarter and it is uncertain that enough shares will be sold (or paid for) by the time we need to make our required payment to the Board of Treasury once the final contract is signed.    
     “Duer said his friends offered to advance us up to $143,000 in securities, without interest, so we can meet that payment. Not only that, he further offered the Ohio Company members, those that we choose, one-half interest in the proposed right of purchase of Scioto land.”
     “Agreeing with this deal will surely guarantee success for both of us,” Winthrop responded.
     “It’s a much bigger deal than we started out to make,” The Rev. said, frowning. “I’d need your help.”
     It was July 24, the day after the articles of the Ohio Company of Associates, requesting to purchase up to one million acres plus the additional acreage requested by the Scioto Associates (provided favorable conditions could be secured) were read to Congress.
     “I received a copy of Resolutions of Congress today,” Dr. Cutler told Winthrop that evening. “It came with a letter from the Board of Treasury asking if I am ready to close a contract on its terms.” 
     “I’m with you,” Sargent said, “but you know only you are empowered to act.”
     “Right. I will tell the Board of Treasury that we need some variations.”
  The next day, Dr. Cutler was cheered by a meeting with a board member, Mr. Osgood, who highly approved of the Ohio Company’s negotiations. Later, he told Winthrop that Osgood thought that their plan was “the best plan ever formed in America. We might depend on accomplishing our purposes in Europe, and that it was a most important part of our plan.” 
     Further encouragement came to Dr. Cutler on July 26, 1787, when he met with Generals St. Arthur Clair and Henry Knox. They took him to visit the Foreign Ministers, including Heer de Heer Van Berckle, Minister Plenipotentiary from the States General of the United Netherlands.
     “He appeared very interested in the settlement of the western lands,” Dr. Cutler told Winthrop. “After our tour, St. Clair assured me that he would work toward Congressional acceptance of the Ohio Company terms. I’m now convinced that we should openly support St. Clair for Northwest Territory governor. It could help smooth the path for our company negotiations.”
  “We need to activate every possible machine in the city now,” Winthrop said, hopefully. “We need to negotiate with the ‘great bodies.’”
   On July 27, Dr. Cutler and Winthrop Sargent had reason to celebrate.
   “It passed,” they cheered. “The Northwest Ordinance was passed today!”
   “This means we obtained the right to purchase nearly 5,000,000 acres of land,” Winthrop voiced. “We gained 1,500,000 acres for our Company. And Duer attained his land for private speculation.”
  “Yes,” Dr. Cutler stated, for the first time having a look of concern. “It  amounts to $3,500,000.” 
     When Cutler reported the results of the Congressional application to the August 29, 1787, general meeting of the Ohio Company, they instructed he and Sargent to complete a contract for 1,500,000 acres on the terms stated. But the contract couldn’t be signed until St. Clair was voted governor of the Northwest Territory on October 5. Once that happened, Dr. Cutler and Winthrop Sargent went to New York to complete the Ohio Company contract. 
     On October 27, Dr. Cutler and Winthrop completed the Board of Treasury contract for the Ohio Company by signing an Indented Agreement on parchment (the papers were lost, and there was only one copy). It included two distinct contracts, one for the Ohio Company, and the other for the Scioto Associates, which Congress officially considered one with the Ohio Company transaction.
     The Ohio Company contract, involved about 1,500,000 acres, with a reduction of one-third for bad tracts, acreage intended for its direct use. It was paid for immediately.      
   The second contract, between the Ohio Company and the Scioto Associates, was preemptive rights, an option only, to purchase an estimated 3,000,000 to 3,500,000 acres, between the Ohio and Scioto Rivers and the 17th Range, at one dollar per acre, subject to a reduction of one-third for bad land, the payments to be made in gold, silver, or United States securities.
  It was called the greatest private contract ever made in America.
  With the signing of the Scioto Associates contract, Cutler and Sargent became associates with William Duer. Both parties were equally interested in the sale of the land, and were to equally share any profit or loss.
  On October 29, Cutler and Sargent, for themselves and associates, “ceded and conveyed,” to Duer and his associates, the right of pre-emption or option of purchase of the Scioto land tract. Thirteen of its thirty-part ownership was held by Duer, while Cutler and Sargent held a second thirteen parts.
 Four parts were to be sold in Europe for joint account. Duer, was placed in charge of the entire sales management and authorized to contract for land sales in Europe, where it was expected that the public debt holders would eagerly and gladly exchange their worthless securities for Scioto Lands, at prices that would yield a handsome profit.  Duer, expected to make an immediate right of pre-emption sale of the entire tract, was empowered to appoint a European agent, and was expected to inform Cutler and Sargent about the progress of the negotiations.
     The Scioto Associates and the Ohio Land Company included many of the most influential officers in Washington’s army. Land investment and speculation were a favorite get-rich-quick scheme of the time.  A list of the investors would read like a political or social directory: George Washington, Patrick Henry, James Wilson, Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, Chancellor Kent, Henry Knox, and James Monroe were among them.
  Formal organization of the Scioto Associates was ever made and was not necessary, since interested parties held land assignments from Cutler, Sargent, or Duer, who seemed to be regarded as cotrustees of this loosely knit group of speculators, with Duer in the lead. Royal Flint and Andrew Craigie were both principles.


A 1786 MEETING IN VERMONT (Novel #1)









CANDIED VIOLETS: Remembering My Mother on Her Birthday



SITE LINKS:    Ligonier Calendar front

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