In November 1782 the Preliminary Articles of Peace between Britain and the United States were signed. They specified where the boundaries of the United States were. I have two questions:
(1) Did anybody ever attempt to define the boundaries of the United States before that?
(2) Vermont was included within the boundaries. Some things about this are crystal-clear:
- Vermont was then under a government that denied that Vermont was a part of the United States, after Vermont's petitions to be admitted as the 14th state had been repeatedly denied due to vehement objections from New York.
- New York's government adamantly insisted Vermont was a part of New York (as King George III ruled it was, in an order-in-council on July 20, 1764).
- When Vermont became the 14th state in 1791, its constitution of 1786 continued in effect and the governor and all other officers of the state of Vermont simply continued their terms of office that were already underway. This makes it appear that some at least tacit retroactive recognition to official acts of the state of Vermont before its admission to the Union was at work. Indeed, the act of Congress admitting Vermont to the Union called the already existing entity that had applied for admission "the State of Vermont".
- The New York legislature's act of March 6, 1790, consenting to Vermont's admission, said they were consenting to a new state being formed within the existing boundaries of New York, and that their claim to Vermont would not be renounced unless Congress decided to admit Vermont to the Union. Thus New York was carefully avoiding any retroactive recognition. (However, the following October, when the negotiations on the boundary were concluded (on which New York's consent was contingent) the commissioners of New York proclaiming the successful conclusion of the negotiations referred to "the community actually exercising independent jurisdiction as 'the State of Vermont' ". Thus the commissioners acknowledged that the de-facto situation existed.)
One must surmise that one reason why the American diplomats in Paris felt they had to insist on the inclusion of Vermont within the boundaries of the U.S.A. was that one of the thirteen states claimed Vermont, and the peace negotiations in Paris were no occasion to make decisions about that particular dispute, nor about the boundaries of Vermont. So my question is: What, if anything, was actually said about Vermont during the deliberations and negotiations in Paris?