"Thursday last witnessed the birth of a new State and ushered MAINE into the Union," announced an article in Portland's Eastern Argus on March 21, 1820. "The day was noticed, as far as we have heard from the various towns by every demonstration of joy and heart-felt congratulation, becoming the occasion ... May the day, which has so auspiciously commenced our political existence as a State, long be remembered with complacent feelings, and every annual return bring with it, by the many blessings it may produce, additional inducement for its celebration."
As Maine’s Bicentennial approaches, institutions, scholars, students and residents are once again looking to examine the events that culminated in Maine’s statehood. To support these efforts, we have gathered from our collections items that we hope will be of particular relevance and will provide a variety of perspectives on sensitive topics related to political, economic, social, business, and ethical issues related to boundaries and land use that remain pressing in discussions in the state today.
In an effort to make these primary texts as accessible as possible, in addition to PDF format, we have made selected publications available in ePUB format. We hope this allows readers to optimize their research experience using personal reader technology. Please feel free to provide feedback regarding the availability of these ePUB documents.
Those interested in this topic will also want to watch the Maine Bicentennial 2019-20 page developed by our colleagues at the UMaine Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center.
For more information about this digital collection and other items available in the Special Collections Department of Fogler Library, contact us at 207.581.1686 or um.library.spc @ maine.edu.
Samuel Lewis, William Barker, and Mathew Carey
The Province of Maine, from the best Authorities by Samuel Lewis, 1794. W. Barker, sculp. [Scale of] American Miles 69 1/2 to a Degree. Engraved for Carey's American Edition of Guthrie's Geography improved.
Black and white, foldout map of northern Massachusetts showing the New Hampshire border and identifies the "Line between the United States and the British Possessions by Treaty 1785" including Quebec and Nova Scotia. Map size: 36 x 24 cm. Scale 1:1,520,640. Engraved by W. Barker. Map is in stable condition but shows folds and creases.
To the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled, at Boston, January, 1803 : humbly represent, the subscribers, inhabitants of the town of Pittston in the District of Maine
Town of Pittston and David Cobb
Broadside signed by residents of Pittston, Maine, arguing for the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts and suggesting that the legislature authorize a convention of delegates from all towns in the district “to declare the sense of their constituents, to frame a constitution ... and to do and transact all things ... necessary to the ... establishment of a separate and independent state.”
Map of the Country which was the Scene of Operations of the Northern Army ; Including the Wilderness through which General Arnold Marched to Attack
Black and white map of the country which was the scene of operations of the Northern Army; including the wilderness through which General Arnold marched to attack Quebec. Engraved for the Life of Washington. Plate VI from: Atlas to accompany John Marshall's The life of George Washington. Philadelphia, 1804-07. Though this map depicts the route of the Kennebec River and landscape through which Benedict Arnold lead a force of the Continental Army, it does not mark the 350 mile trail to Quebec. The 1,100 man force was reduced to 600 sick and starving men by the time Arnold reached Saint Lawrence at Pointe-Levi. Scale: 1:1,394,000. Map size: 27 x 23 cm. Map is in good and stable condition though considerably yellowed.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Committee of both Houses to whom were referred the Petitions concerning the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts
General Court of Massachusetts
The Committee of both Houses, to whom were referred the Petitions concerning the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts Proper, and forming the same into a separate and Independent State, and also sundry memorials against that measure, beg leave respectfully to report that they have considered the subject committed to them, with that deliberation which so momentous a question deserves. A question, whether this great Commonwealth shall be divided, and the connexion [sic] which has so long, and so happily existed, shall be forever dissolved. They are sensible that nothing should be done to hasten an event, so important and lasting in its consequences. On the contrary, they would gladly strengthen and promote a union, which has, hitherto, been productive of so much good. This is not a question which concerns the District of Maine alone, but the whole Commonwealth. The Legislature of Massachusetts are called on to consent to relinquish their jurisdiction over one third of her citizens, and the largest portion of her 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 may regret the present application.
Shall the Legislature be required to give its consent to the separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts proper and to the erection of said District into a separate state. — Mass. Resolves.
Printed by Request.
Massachusetts Election! : First Monday in April next ; American Nomination, Major-General Henry Dearborn for Governor, Hon. William King for Lieut. Governor
Henry Dearborn and William King
Pamphlet promoting Henry Dearborn and William King as running mates in the 1817 Massachusetts gubernatorial election. The pamphlet includes a “Sketch of the Life of Major General Henry Dearborn from 1775 to 1812” primarily documenting his military service.
Major General Henry Dearborn (1751 – 1829) was an American soldier and statesman. During the American Revolution, Dearborn served under Benedict Arnold in the expedition to Quebec, of which his journal provides an important record. In later life his criticism of General Israel Putnam’s performance at the Battle of Bunker Hill caused a major controversy. Dearborn served in the U.S House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1793-1797.
William King (1768 – 1852) was a merchant, shipbuilder, real estate investor, and statesman from Bath, Maine. King served as a Major General in the War of 1812. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1795 – 1799) and the state Senate (1807 – 1811; 1816 – 1820). He was a proponent of Maine statehood and served as the state's first Governor (1820 – 1821).
Maine Constitutional Convention
The Maine Constitution was unanimously approved by the 210 delegates to the Maine Constitutional Convention in October 1819. On February 25, 1820, the General Court passed a follow-up measure officially accepting the fact of Maine’s imminent statehood.
Thanksgiving. A Discourse Delivered at Hallowell, on the Day of the Annual Thanksgiving in Massachusetts
The present age is ... distinguished for its advancements in literature and science. Laudable zeal is manifested, and successful efforts made, in every department of knowledge. The lovers of science have pushed their researches beyond the limits of former ages. Progress has been made in philology, in chymical [sic] and biblical knowledge, and in attainments in general literature. It is an object to which the public mind turns with a favorable aspect. Some nations, within the present age, have, in this respect, almost entirely changed their character; emerging from comparative barbarism to a state of refinement in science, from lethargy and inactivity to zeal for the diffusion of knowledge. And our own country, though not yet first in literary eminence among the kingdoms of the world, is assuming a rank, to which heretofore she could not put in a claim. Her universities, and colleges, and minor institutions of science, are receiving an increase of public favor and public benefactions ; and they, in their turn, are remunerating the public, by refining her enjoyments and throwing a lustre on her reputation.
Descendant of Miles Standish
The agreement for the sale of the Commonwealth’s Lands in the State of Maine, will be submitted to the Legislature for their ratification or rejection the present session. Permit one, who never owned a foot of land in Maine, and who has no possible interest, except for the good of posterity, in the decision, to offer a few remarks upon the expediency of ratifying that bargain.
Joseph P. Fessenden
I DEEM it proper to state to the public some of my reasons for consenting to the publication of the following Sermon. A copy of it for the press, was requested by a number of gentlemen, members of the Congregational Society in Arundel, who disbelieve the doctrine of election, or consider, if it be revealed in the Bible, that it ought not to be preached ; in as much as it is irreconcilable with mans [sic] free agency, and beyond the comprehension of any finite capacity. I am credibly informed some have asserted, that the Sermon contains palpable contradictions, and, on this account, they should like to see it in print. Others have said that it inculcates sentiments which are new, not found in the writings, either of Watts, Edwards, or Hopkins. I have therefore concluded to give it to the public with all its novelty and contradictions, and leave them to form what opinion concerning it they please.
— JOSEPH P. FESSENDEN.
The Following Extract of the Charge of the Hon. Chief Justice Mellen, Delivered on the Late Circuit, is Communicated to the Public at the Request of the Grand Juries, for the Counties of York, Cumberland, and Oxford
Extract of the charge issued by Honorable Chief Justice Prentiss Mellen to the first grand jury seated in Maine followed the establishment of statehood. Chief Justice Mellen of Portland, was appointed to the court by Maine's first Governor, William King. His service began July 1, 1820 and concluded October 11, 1834.
“It is believed that a charge of this nature, from the Court to a Grand Jury, is calculated to make good impressions : to diffuse in no small degree a knowledge of our criminal code, enacted for the prevention and punishment of offences : to give information to the citizens, with regard to their obligations to the government, and to each other: and to increase their respect for those principles and laws which ought to govern the conduct of all : especially, if at the same time, they perceive the tribunals of Justice anxiously endeavoring to give them their aid, and sanction by a calm, impartial and unwearied discharge of their duty.”
A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury of the Circuit Court of the United States, at its First Session in Portland for the Judicial District of Maine
The printed transcript of Judge Joseph Story’s address to the first Grand Jury to serve Maine’s federal circuit court in Portland. Story states: “The circumstances, under which I address you at the present moment are perhaps without a parallel in the annals of the other quarters of the world. This District has just been admitted into the union as a free, sovereign and independent state, possessing in common with all the others an equality of national rights and honors, and protected by an excellent constitution framed, by its own deliberations, upon principles of justice and equity.” The address goes on to provide contemporary definitions of the crimes of piracy, murder, and slavery.
The Memorial of the Merchants of the Town of Bath, in the State of Maine presented to Congress by Congressman Mark L. Hill, of Massachusetts, in opposition to an increase of the tariff of duties on imports, by way of protection to the manufacturing interests of the country.
Albion K. Parris
January 1823 State of the State address by Albion Keith Parris, Maine's 5th Governor (1822-1827), to the state Legislature:
“IN entering upon the duties of the several stations to which we have been respectively elected, we cannot be unmindful of our dependence upon that source of wisdom, to which all men, more especially those entrusted with the exercise of important political powers, should look for direction and support. To that Being we have abundant reason to be grateful, which the transactions of this occasion cannot fail of bringing distinctly to our consideration. Our State has been blessed with the enjoyment of more than common health ; our populous towns have been preserved from that distressing sickness with which several of the cities of other States have been severely afflicted ;— the honest industry of the people, in their various employments, has been rewarded with success ;—the restrictions upon one of the important branches of our commerce have been removed ; our fisheries have been unusually prosperous ;—our farms have produced their common abundance ; and our citizens exhibit generally, the appearance of contentment and prosperity.”
Parris was born in Hebron, Maine in 1788, the son of Samuel, who served as an officer during the American Revolution and was among the first settlers of Hebron. Parris held a number of political offices during his career as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party.
Hand-tinted, 1824 map of Maine by Fielding Lucas of Baltimore. Map depicts nine Maine counties. Names of bodies of water in the region identified in 2018 as the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, are labeled with English interpretations of Algonquin place names. Map provides a scale of miles per inch and a compass rosette indicating north. No scale given. Map size: 30 x 25 cm
Medical Deception and Imposition Upon the Public : Discovered, Detected and Exposed, Designed for the Use of all to Whom it May Come or Concern
Dissertation by Joseph Fernald of Portland, Maine, debunking a patent medicine being peddled by “a certain medical man by the name of Druerd, alias Werd,” as “Allum-water” (potassium aluminum sulfate). Potassium alum, an astringent, may be used in pickling, leather tanning, and water purification. In the late 20th Century, large crystals of Alum were marketed as “deodorant rocks.”
Map exhibiting the principal original grants & sales of lands in the State of Maine by Moses Greenleaf. Engraved by W. Chapin, N.Y. for Greenleaf's survey of Maine. From Atlas accompanying Greenleaf's map and statistical survey of Maine. Plate V. Shows landowners and acreages.
Hand-colored map of Maine following statehood. Map Size: 78 x 58 cm Scale: 1:570,240. Map estimates, "the quantity of undivided land north of the Monument line" is 6,305,000 acres. Map is in fragile condition showing tears and separations along creases and folds.
The key to roman numeral references and explanations of properties deliniated on the map includes:
I Grants by the Crown and Lords Prioprietors prior to the year 1692.
II Lands derived principally from Indian deeds considered as valid.
III Crown and proprietors grants and Indian deeds intermixed.
IV Grants by the Province of Massachusetts from Charter of 1692 to the close of revolution.
V Conditional grants by the Province, chiefly confirmed since the revolution.
VI Claims under Indian deeds and other titles new compromised
L Townships partly or wholly sold by Lottery in the year 1878.
B Townships sold to William Bingham, excepting lands previously sold by Lottery.
M Lands assigned to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since the separation.
Townships and Tracts with no mark except their distinguishing number are lands assigned to the State of Maine since the separation.
The upper figures in each township are their respective distinguishing numbers: The lower figures are the number of acres sold in each, excepting the Lottery townships, in which the figures show only the number of acres sold by Lottery. The figures in the tracts marked with Roman numerlas show the number of acres in each tract respectively, as far as can be assertained from the inventories of towns returned to the Legislature in 1820.
Townships and large tracts sold & granted since the year 1783 are distinguished by the names of the principal original Grantees, under the number or designation of the township, or name of the town or plantation.
Map of the Inhabited Part of the State of Maine : Exhibiting the Progress of its Settlement since the Year 1778, the Representative Districts since the Year 1820, and the Population and Valuation of Taxable Property in Each District at the Year 1820
Map of the inhabited part of the state of Maine : exhibiting the progress of its settlement since the year 1778, the Representative Districts since the year 1820, and the population and valuation of taxable property in each district at the year 1820 by Moses Greenleaf. Engraved by William Chapin, N.Y., for Greenleaf's survey of Maine 1828. Published by Shirley & Hyde, Portland, 1829. From Atlas accompanying Greenleaf's map and statistical survey of Maine "Plate VI." Also shows center of taxable property and population for 1778, 1790 and 1820 with geographical center of state, etc.
Hand-colored map of Maine following statehood. Map Size: 48 x 57 cm Scale: 1:560,000. Map includes a scale of miles. Map is in fragile condition showing tears and separations along creases and folds. Sheet includes text notations for population and value of taxable property not represented within the map.
Map sections are designated by color and line patterns. The key to line patterns includes the following information:
The irregular curved line [illustrated example of a line of open circles and dashes] beginning at Freyburgh and terminating at Machias, describes the Northern limits of the settlements at the commencement of the revolution, except a few detached settlements higher up the Kennebeck and Androscoggin.
The line [illustrated example of crosses and solid dots] beginning at Gilead and terminating in No. 7 above Baring, describes the Northern limit of the settlements in the year 1800.
The line [illustrated example of connected crosses and dashes] beginning above Andover and terminating above No. 7, on the Schoodiac describes the Northern limit of the settlements in the year 1820, except the few at Houlton and New Limerick, and the settlement at Madawaska.
The strait [sic] and rectangular lines [illustration of dotted, lightening-shaped line] Northward of the settlements, describe the Northern limit of all the lands taxed for the support of Government, except the plantation of Houlton.
The strait [sic] lines [illustration of a solid, straight line] including one or more towns, are the limits of the respective Representative Districts, except where towns not adjoining each other are united to form a District.
The figures in each District exhibit the population and valuation of that District in the year 1820; — the upper figures being the number of inhabitants and the lower figures the value, in Dollars, of the total real and personal estates subject by law to taxation.
Black and white by William Willis in 1831, depicting Falmouth Neck (present day Portland) as it appeared prior to the October 18, 1775 bombardment by the British Navy under the command of Captain Henry Mowat (1734-1798). Willis includes the caption: "All the buildings within the Dotted line were destroyed except a few within the perfect line." British ships depicted in the etching include the 16-gun HMS Canceau[sic], the 20-gun Cat, the bomb sloop HMS Spitfire, and the HMS Symmetry labeled "store vessel." The unlabeled ship may be the 12-gun schooner HMS Halifax. Mowat was under orders from Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves to "lay waste burn and destroy such Sea Port towns as are accessible to His Majesty's ships..." Map provides a scale of rods and a compass arrow indicating north. Scale: 1:1,238 Map size: 41 x 60 cm. Map is stable but fragile and shows evidence of foxing and repairs from previous tears.
Henry Schenck Tanner
Hand-colored map of Maine by H. S. Tanner from Tanner's Universal Atlas, p. 5. Caption includes "Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1833 by H. S. Tanner in the Clerks Office of the Eastern District Pennsylvania." Scale: 1:3,168,000. Map size: 36 x 28 cm. Scale of miles appears at the bottom of the page. Map includes an accounting of county populations in the years of 1820 and 1830. Map includes a key for roads.