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The History of Augusta
North, James W.
Published by Clapp & North, Augusta
Location of original: Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Massachusetts
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Page 210


210 United States Constitution Adopted. 1787.

the four persons commissioned as Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. Judge Howard died in the following May, and Joseph North was appointed and commissioned in his place. At this time no lawyer resided on the river above Pownalborough. In the following year William Lithgow, Jr., removed to town and opened an office in Fort Western. The first term of the Court of Sessions at Hallowell was held, on the second Tuesday of March of this year, in Col. North's dwelling house.1

   A town meeting was held November 27th "to choose a delegate to give assent to and ratify the constitution for the United States," at which the constitution and accompanying resolves were read, "also the arguments of several writers for and against the constitution." Capt. James Carr was then chosen delegate.2 The convention assembled in Boston the following January, and on the 9th of February a vote adopting the constitution was taken by yeas and nays, resulting in one hundred and eighty-seven yeas and one hundred and sixty-eight nays. The delegation from Maine stood twenty-five yeas to twenty-one nays, and Lincoln county nine yeas to seven nays. The question of adopting the constitution divided the people in Maine and Massachusetts into nearly equal parties. Those in favor of the constitution were called Federalists, and its opponents Anti Federalists, which division continued for several years until amendments of the constitution conciliated its opponents, and sympathy with the French, then in revolution, created new parties, based, however, upon the foundations of the old.

   The opposition to Rev. Isaac Foster which made its appearance at the time of his ordination had increased and strengthened. Meetings were regularly held on the Sabbath at Benjamin Pettingill's or Henry Sewall's house, which were occasionally attended by clergymen from a distance. The difficulty was aggravated and the opposition increased by the institution of legal proceedings which grew out of the indiscretion of the parties. Capt. Sewall had been provoked to the utterance of a charge "that Mr. Foster was a liar and lie could prove it." Thomas Sewall was in some way connected with the charge. They were both summoned in January before Justice North, on a complaint to answer to the State. Capt. Sewall records that he "did not pretend to deny" the charge, but offered evidence of its truth in justification.

       1 Sewall's Diary.
       2 He had 62 votes, Brown Emerson 18, and Capt. H. Sewall 3.
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