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Title: Ethan Allen - The Robin Hood of Vermont
Author: Hall, Henry Foljambe
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ethan Allen - The Robin Hood of Vermont" ***

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  The Robin Hood of Vermont


  [Illustration: RUINS OF TICONDEROGA]


  COPYRIGHT, 1892,


At the time of the death of Mr. Henry Hall, in 1889, the manuscript
for this volume consisted of finished fragments and many notes. It
was left in the hands of his daughters to complete. The purpose of
the author was to make a fuller life of Allen than has been written,
and singling him from that cluster of sturdy patriots in the New
Hampshire Grants, to make plain the vivid personality of a Vermont
hero to the younger generations. Mr. Hall's well-known habit of
accuracy and painstaking investigation must be the guaranty that this
"Life" is worthy of a place among the volumes of the history of our



  AN ACCOUNT OF ALLEN'S FAMILY,                                      1






  AND THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS,                                     32


  BRUSH.--PHILIP SKENE,                                             46




  CAPTURE OF TICONDEROGA,                                           73




  CANADA, AND TO THE CANADIANS.--JOHN BROWN,                        89


  CAPTURE.--WARNER'S REPORT,                                        98


  PARLIAMENT,                                                      110






  HALDIMAND CORRESPONDENCE,                                        162




  LEVI.--ALLEN IN COURT,                                           183


  MARRIAGE,                                                        191






Ethan Allen is the Robin Hood of Vermont. As Robin Hood's life was
an Anglo-Saxon protest against Norman despotism, so Allen's life was
a protest against domestic robbery and foreign tyranny. As Sherwood
Forest was the rendezvous of the gallant and chivalrous Robin Hood,
so the Green Mountains were the home of the dauntless and high-minded
Ethan Allen. As Robin Hood, in Scott's "Ivanhoe," so does Allen,
in Thompson's "Green Mountain Boys," win our admiration. Although
never a citizen of the United States, he is one of the heroes of
the state and the nation; one of those whose names the people will
not willingly let die. History and tradition, song and story,
sculpture, engraving, and photography alike blazon his memory from
ocean to ocean. The librarian of the great library at Worcester,
Massachusetts, told Colonel Higginson that the book most read was
Daniel P. Thompson's "Green Mountain Boys." Already one centennial
celebration of the capture of Ticonderoga has been celebrated. Who
can tell how many future anniversaries of that capture our nation
will live to see! Another reason for refreshing our memories with
the history of Allen is the bitterness with which he is attacked.
He has been accused of ignorance, weakness of mind, cowardice,
infidelity, and atheism. Among his assailants have been the president
of a college, a clergyman, editors, contributors to magazines and
newspapers, and even a local historian among a variety of writers of
greater or less prominence. If Vermont is careful of her own fame,
well does it become the people to know whether Ethan Allen was a hero
or a humbug.

Arnold calls history the vast Mississippi of falsehood. The untruths
that have been published about Allen during the last hundred and
fifteen years might not fill and overflow the Ohio branch of such
a Mississippi, but they would make a lively rivulet run until
it was dammed by its own silt. The late Benjamin Disraeli, Lord
Beaconsfield, fought a duel with Daniel O'Connell, because O'Connell
declared it to be his belief that Disraeli was a lineal descendant
of the impenitent thief on the Cross. Perhaps the libellers of Allen
are descended from the Yorkers whom he stamped so ignominiously with
the beech seal. The fierce light of publicity perhaps never beat upon
a throne more sharply than for more than a hundred years it has beat
upon Ethan Allen. His patriotism, courage, religious belief, and
general character have been travestied and caricatured until now the
real man has to be dug up from heaps of untruthful rubbish, as the
peerless Apollo Belvidere was dug in the days of Columbus from the
ruins of classic Antium.

Discrepancies exist even in regard to his age. On the stone tablet
over his grave his age is given as fifty years. Thompson said his
age was fifty-two. At the unveiling of his statue, he was called
thirty-eight years old when Ticonderoga was taken. These three
statements are erroneous, and, strange to say, Burlington is
responsible for them all, Burlington, the Athens of Vermont, the
town wherein rest his ashes, the town wherein most of the last two
years of his life were passed, and the town that has done most to
honor his memory.

However humiliating it may be to state pride, it is probable that the
Allens, centuries ago, were no more respectable than the ancestors
of Queen Victoria and the oldest British peers. The different ways
of spelling the name, Alleyn, Alain, Allein, and Allen, seem to
indicate a Norman origin. George Allen, professor in the University
of Pennsylvania, says that Alain had command of the rear of William
the Conqueror's army at the battle of Hastings in 1066.

Joseph Allen, the father of Ethan, comes to the surface of history
about the year 1720, one year after the death of Addison and the
first publication of "Robinson Crusoe," in the town of Coventry, in
Eastern Connecticut, twenty miles east of Hartford. When he first
appears to us he is a minor and an orphan. His widowed mother, Mercy,
has several children, one of them of age. Their first recorded act is
emigration fifty miles westward to Litchfield, famous for its scenery
and ancient elms, located between the Naugatuck and the Shepaug
rivers, on the Green and Taconic mountain ranges; famous also as the
place where the first American ladies' seminary was located, and
most famous of all for its renowned law-school, begun over a century
ago by Judge Tapping Reeve and continued by Judge James Gould. Chief
Justice John Pierpoint and United States Senator S. S. Phelps were
among its notable pupils. The widow, Mercy Allen, died in Litchfield,
February 5, 1728. Her son Joseph bought one-third of her real estate.
Within five years he sold two tracts, of 100 acres each, and fourteen
years after his mother's death he sold the residue as wild land. On
March 11, 1737, Joseph Allen was married to Mary Baker, daughter of
John Baker, of Woodbury, sister of Remember Baker, who was father
of the Remember Baker that came to Vermont. Thus Ethan Allen and
Remember Baker were cousins.

Ethan Allen was born January 10, 1737, and died February 21, 1789,
and consequently he has been said to have been fifty-two years, one
month and two days old. In fact, he was fifty-one years, one month
and two days old. The year 1737 terminated March 24. Had it closed
December 31, Allen would have been born in 1738. The first day of the
year was March 25 until 1752 in England and her colonies. In 1751 the
British Parliament changed New Year's Day from March 25 to January
1. The year 1751 had no January, no February, and only seven days of
March. Allen was thirteen years old in 1750, and was fourteen years
old in 1752.

The year 1738 gave birth to three honest men--Ethan Allen, George
III., and Benjamin West. In 1738 George Washington was six years
old, John Adams three years old, John Stark ten years old, Israel
Putnam twenty years old. Seth Warner and Jefferson were born five
years later. In that year no claim had ever been made to Vermont
by New York or New Hampshire. No one had ever questioned the right
of Massachusetts to the English part of Vermont. New Hampshire was
bounded on the west by the Merrimac. Colden, the surveyor-general
of New York, in an official report bounded New York on the east by
Connecticut and Massachusetts, on the north by Lake Ontario and
Canada; Canada occupying Crown Point and Chimney Point.

If by waving a magician's wand the English-American colonies on
the Atlantic slope, as they existed in 1738, could pass before us,
wherein would the tableau differ from that of to-day? West of the
Alleghanies there were the Indians and the French. On the north were
50,000 prosperous French, farmers chiefly along the valley of the St.
Lawrence from Montreal to Quebec. On the east, Acadie, including Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, and a part of Maine, was Scotch. Florida was
Spanish. From Georgia to Maine were 1,500,000 English-Americans and
400,000 African-Americans. The colony of New York had a population
of 60,100. New Hampshire, consisting of a few thousand settlers,
was located north and east of the Merrimac, and had a legislature
of its own, but no governor. Massachusetts, with its charters from
James I. and Charles I., claimed the country to the Pacific Ocean,
and exercised ownership between the Merrimac and Connecticut and
west of the Connecticut, without a breath of opposition from any
mortal. Massachusetts had sold land as her own which she found to be
in Connecticut, and she paid that state for it by granting her many
thousand acres in three of the southeastern townships of Vermont.
She built and sustained a fort in Brattleboro', kept a garrison there
with a salaried chaplain, salaried resident Indian commissioner, and
she established a store supplied with provisions, groceries, and
goods suitable for trade with frontiersmen and the Indians of Canada.
Bartering was actively carried on along the Connecticut River, Black
River, Otter Creek, and Lake Champlain. In 1737 a solemn ratification
of the old treaty occurred there; speeches were made, presents given,
and the healths of George II. and Governor Belcher, of Massachusetts,
were duly drunk. There was no Anglo-Saxon settlement in Vermont
outside of Brattleboro'. In Pownal were a few families of Dutch
squatters. The Indian village of St. Francis, midway between Montreal
and Quebec, peopled partly by New England refugees from King Philip's
war of 1676, exercised supreme control over northeastern Vermont.

In all the land were only three colleges: Harvard, one hundred and
two years old, Yale, thirty-seven, and William and Mary, forty-five.

Ethan Allen had five brothers, Heman, Heber, Levi, Zimri, and Ira,
and two sisters, Lydia and Lucy. Of all our early heroes, few glide
before us with a statelier step or more beneficent mien than Heman
Allen, the oldest brother of Ethan. Born in Cornwall, Connecticut,
October 15, 1740, dying in Salisbury, Connecticut, May 18, 1778, his
life of thirty-seven and a half years was like that of the Chevalier
Bayard, without fear and without reproach. A man of affairs, a
merchant and a soldier, a politician and a land-owner, a diplomat and
a statesman, he was capable, intelligent, honest, earnest, and true.
But fifteen years old when his father died, he was early engaged in
trade at Salisbury. His home became the home of his widowed mother
and her large family. Salisbury was his home and probably his legal
residence, although he represented Rutland and Colchester in the
Vermont Conventions, and was sent to Congress by Dorset.

Heber was the first town clerk of Poultney.

Ira was able, shrewd, and gentlemanly; a land surveyor and
speculator, a lieutenant in Warner's regiment, a member of all the
conventions of 1776 and 1777, of the Councils of Safety and of
the State Council; state treasurer, surveyor-general, author of a
"History of Vermont", and of various official papers and political
pamphlets. In 1796 he bought, in France, twenty-four brass cannon
and twenty thousand muskets, ostensibly for the Vermont militia,
which were seized by the English. After a lawsuit of seven or eight
years he regained them, but the expense beggared him. He died in
Philadelphia, January 7, 1814, aged sixty-three years.

Levi Allen joined in the expedition to capture Ticonderoga, became
Tory, and was complained of by his brother Ethan as follows:

  ARLINGTON, 9 January, 1779.

  To the Hon. the Court of Confiscation, comes Col. Ethan Allen,
  in the name of the freemen of the state, and complaint makes
  that Levi Allen, late of Salisbury in Connecticut, is of Tory
  principles and holds in fee sundry tracts and parcels of land
  in this State. The said Levi, has been detected in endeavoring
  to supply the enemy on Long Island; and in attempting to
  circulate counterfeit continental money, and is guilty of holding
  treasonable correspondence with the enemy under cover of doing
  favors to me when a prisoner at New York and Long Island; and in
  talking and using influence in favor of the enemy, associating
  with inimical persons to this country, and with them monopolizing
  the necessaries of life; in endeavoring to lessen the credit
  of the continental currency, and in particular hath exerted
  himself in the most fallacious manner to injure the property and
  character of some of the most zealous friends to the independence
  of the U. S. and of this State likewise: all which inimical
  conduct is against the peace and dignity of the freemen of this
  State. I therefore pray the Hon. Court to take the matter under
  their consideration and make confiscation of the estate of said
  Levi before mentioned, according to the laws and customs of this
  State, in such case made and provided.


Levi died while in jail, for debt, at Burlington, Vermont, in 1801.

Zimri lived and died in Sheffield.

Lydia married a Mr. Finch, and lived and died in Goshen, Connecticut.

Lucy married a Dr. Beebee, and lived and died in Sheffield.



The life of Allen may be divided into four periods: the first
thirty-one years before he came to Vermont (1738-1769), the six years
in Vermont before his captivity (1769-1775), the two years and eight
months of captivity (1775-1778), and the eleven years in Vermont
after his captivity (1778-1789).

When he was two years old the family moved into Cornwall. There
his brothers and sisters were born, there his father died, there
Ethan lived until he was twenty-four years old. When seventeen he
was fitting for college with the Rev. Mr. Lee, of Salisbury. His
father's death put an end to his studies. This was in 1755, when the
French and Indian war was raging along Lakes George and Champlain, a
war which lasted until Allen's twenty-third year. Some of the early
settlers of Vermont, Samuel Robinson, Joseph Bowker, and others,
took part in this war. Not so Allen. There is no intimation that
he hungered for a soldier's life in his youth. His usual means of
earning a livelihood for himself and his widowed mother's family is
supposed to have been agriculture.

William Cothrens, in his "History of Ancient Woodbury," tells us
that in January, 1762, Allen, with three others, entered into the
iron business in Salisbury, Connecticut, and built a furnace. In
June of that year he returned to Roxbury, and married Mary Brownson,
a maiden five years older than himself. The marriage fee was four
shillings, or sixty-seven cents. By this wife he had five children:
one son, who died at the age of eleven, while Ethan was a captive,
and four daughters. Two died unmarried; one married Eleazer W. Keyes,
of Burlington; the other married the Hon. Samuel Hitchcock, of
Burlington, and was the mother of General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, U.
S. A.

Allen resided with his family first at Salisbury and afterward at
Sheffield, the southwest corner town of Massachusetts. For six miles
the boundary line of the two states is the boundary line of the two
towns. In these towns the families of Ethan Allen and his brothers
and sisters lived many years. Two years after moving to Salisbury
he bought two and a half acres, or one-sixteenth part of a tract of
land on Mine Hill, an elevation of 350 feet in Roxbury, containing,
it is said, the most remarkable deposit of spathic iron ore in the
United States. Immense sums of money were expended in vain attempts
to work it as a silver mine. Two years after Allen began his Vermont
life he still owned land in Judea Society, a part of the present town
of Washington. The details and financial results of these business
undertakings are not furnished us. They indicate enterprise, if
nothing more. Carrying on a farm, casting iron ware, and working a
mine, not military affairs, seem to have been the avenues wherein
Allen developed his executive ability during his early manhood.

What were his educational facilities, his social privileges, and
his religious views during this formative period of his life? Ira
Allen, in 1795, writes to Dr. S. Williams, the early historian of
Vermont, that when his father, Joseph Allen, died, his brother Ethan
was preparing for college, and that the death of his father obliged
Ethan to discontinue his classical studies. Mr. Jehial Johns, of
Huntington, told the Rev. Zadock Thompson that he knew Ethan Allen in
Connecticut, and was very certain that Allen spent some time studying
with the Rev. Mr. Lee, of Salisbury, with the view of fitting himself
for college. The widow of Judge Samuel Hitchcock, of Burlington,
told Mr. Thompson that Ethan's attendance at school did not exceed
three months. Ira Allen writes General Haldimand in July, 1781, that
his brother Ethan has resigned his Brigadier-Generalship in the
Vermont militia, and "returned to his old studies, philosophy." To
what period in Ethan's life does the phrase "old studies" refer? It
could not be his life after the captivity, during his five years'
collisions with the Yorkers, but the period we are now considering.
Heman Allen's widow, when Mrs. Wadhams, told Zadock Thompson that one
summer when he was residing in her house he passed almost all the
time in writing. She did not know what was the subject of his study,
but on one occasion she called him to dinner, and he said he was very
sorry she had called him so soon, for he had "got clear up into the
upper regions." Allen himself says:

  In my youth I was much disposed to contemplation, and at my
  commencement in manhood I committed to manuscript such sentiments
  or arguments as appeared most consonant to reason, lest through
  the debility of memory, my improvement should have been less
  gradual. This method of scribbling I practised for many years,
  from which I experienced great advantages in the progression
  of learning and knowledge; the more so as I was deficient in
  education and had to acquire the knowledge of grammar and
  language, as well as the art of reasoning, principally from a
  studious application to it; which after all, I am sensible, lays
  me under disadvantages, particularly in matters of composition;
  however, to remedy this defect I have substituted the most
  unwearied pains.... Ever since I arrived at the state of manhood
  and acquainted myself with the general history of mankind, I have
  felt a sincere passion for liberty. The history of nations doomed
  to perpetual slavery in consequence of yielding up to tyrants
  their natural-born liberties, I read with a sort of philosophical

In Allen's youth great revivals were inaugurated, organized, and
continued mainly by the preaching of Whitefield, who roused and
electrified audiences of several thousands, as men have rarely been
moved since the days of Peter the Hermit. Even Franklin, Bolingbroke,
and Chesterfield were fascinated by him. As for Allen, baptized
in his infancy, in the days when no Sabbath-school blessed the
race, when the Westminster Catechism and Watts' Hymns were in use
throughout New England (Isaac Watts died when Allen was eleven years
old), living in and near northwest Connecticut in as democratic and
religious community as the world had ever seen, reading none of
the books of the Deists, he was fond of discussion and delighted
in writing out his arguments. Having been brought up an Armenian
Christian, in contradistinction to a Calvinistic Christian, his
views in early manhood began to change. One picture of this gradual
evolution he gives us in the following description:

  The doctrine of imputation according to the Christian scheme
  consists of two parts. First, of imputation of the apostasy of
  Adam and Eve to their posterity, commonly called original sin;
  and secondly, of the imputation of the merits or righteousness
  of Christ, who in Scripture is called the second Adam to mankind
  or to the elect. This is a concise definition of the doctrine,
  and which will undoubtedly be admitted to be a just one by every
  denomination of men who are acquainted with Christianity, whether
  they adhere to it or not.

  I therefore proceed to illustrate and explain the doctrine by
  transcribing a short but very pertinent conversation which in
  the early days of my manhood I had with a Calvinistic divine; but
  previously remark that I was educated in what are commonly called
  the Armenian principles; and among other tenets to reject the
  doctrine of original sin; this was the point at issue between the
  clergyman and me. In my turn I opposed the doctrine of original
  sin with philosophical reasonings, and as I thought had confuted
  the doctrine. The Reverend gentleman heard me through patiently:
  and with candor replied:

  "Your metaphysical reasonings are not to the purpose, inasmuch
  as you are a Christian and hope and expect to be saved by the
  imputed righteousness of Christ to you; for you may as well be
  imputedly sinful as imputedly righteous. Nay," said he, "if you
  hold to the doctrine of satisfaction and atonement by Christ,
  by so doing you presuppose the doctrine of apostasy or original
  sin to be in fact true;" for, said he, "if mankind were not in
  a ruined and condemned state by nature, there could have been
  no need of a Redeemer; but each individual of them would have
  been accountable to his Creator and Judge, upon the basis of
  his own moral agency. Further observing that upon philosophical
  principles it was difficult to account for the doctrine of
  original sin, or of original righteousness; yet as they were
  plain, fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith we ought to
  assent to the truth of them; and that from the divine authority
  of revelation. Notwithstanding," said he, "if you will give me
  a philosophical explanation of original imputed righteousness,
  which you profess to believe and expect salvation by, then I will
  return you a philosophical explanation of original sin; for it
  is plain," said he, "that your objections lie with equal weight
  against original imputed righteousness, as against original
  imputed sin."

  Upon which I had the candor to acknowledge to the worthy
  ecclesiastic, that upon the Christian plan I perceived the
  argument had clearly terminated against me. For at that time
  I dared not to distrust the infallibility of revelation; much
  more to dispute it. However, this conversation was uppermost
  in my mind for several months after; and after many painful
  searches and researches after the truth, respecting the doctrine
  of imputation, resolved at all events to abide the decision of
  rational argument in the premises; and on a full examination of
  both parts of the doctrine, rejected the whole; for on a fair
  scrutiny, I found that I must concede to it entirely or not at
  all; or else believe inconsistently as the clergyman had argued.

He relates also a change from his juvenile views of biblical history:

  When I was a boy, by one means or other, I had conceived a very
  bad opinion of Pharaoh; he seemed to me to be a cruel, despotic
  prince; he would not give the Israelites straw, but nevertheless,
  demanded of them the full tale of brick; for a time he opposed
  God Almighty; but was at last luckily drowned in the Red Sea; at
  which event, with other good Christians, I rejoiced, and even
  exulted at the overthrow of the base and wicked tyrant. But after
  a few years of maturity and examination of the history of that
  monarch given by Moses, with the before recited remarks of the
  apostle, I conceived a more favorable opinion of him; inasmuch as
  we are told that God raised him up and hardened his heart, and
  predestinated his reign, his wickedness, and his overthrow.

In 1782 he says:

  In the circle of my acquaintance (which has not been small), I
  have generally been denominated a Deist, the reality of which I
  never disputed; being conscious I am no Christian, except mere
  infant baptism makes me one; and as to being a Deist, I know not,
  strictly speaking, whether I am one or not, for I have never read
  their writings.

We are told that Allen in his early life was very intimate with
Dr. Thomas Young, the man who supplied the state with its name,
"Vermont," in April, 1777, and who so strongly encouraged it to
assert its independence. One of the most noted characteristics of
Ethan, his fondness for the society of able men, is illustrated in
his association with Young.

Dr. Young, who was a distinguished citizen of Philadelphia, was on
most of the Whig committees in Boston, before the Revolution, with
James Otis, Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, and others. He and Adams
addressed the great public meeting on the day "when Boston harbor was
black with unexpected tea." He was a neighbor of Allen, living in the
Oblong, in Dutchess County, while Allen lived in Salisbury. Afterward
he lived in Albany, and died in Philadelphia in the third year of
Allen's captivity. He was influential in causing Vermont to adopt the
constitution of Pennsylvania.

The Oblong, Salisbury and vicinity, abounded in free thinkers. Young
and Allen opposed President Edwards' famous theological tenets, the
latter spending much time in Young's house, and it was generally
understood that they were preparing for publication a book in support
of sceptical principles; the two agreeing that the one that outlived
the other should publish it. Allen, on going to Vermont, left his
manuscripts with Young, and on his release from captivity after
Young's death obtained from the latter's family, who had gone back to
Dutchess County, both his own and Young's manuscripts, and these were
the originals of his "Oracles of Reason."



Allen came to Vermont, probably, in 1769, a year memorable for the
founding of Dartmouth College and for the birth of four of earth's
renowned men: two soldiers, Wellington and Napoleon; two scholars,
Cuvier and Humboldt.

In the early history of Vermont, one of its prominent judges
speculated extensively in Green Mountain wild lands. The aggregate
result of these speculations was disastrous. Attending a session of
the legislature, the judge was called upon by a committee for his
advice in reference to suitable penalties for some crime. He replied,
advising for the first offence a fine; for the second, imprisonment;
and if the criminal should prove such a hardened offender, such a
veteran in vice as to be guilty the third time, he recommended that
the scoundrel should be compelled to receive a deed of a mile square
of wild Vermont lands. Speculation in wild lands is a feature of
pioneer society. Vermont was once the agricultural Eldorado of New
England. Emigration first rolled northward. Since that time a certain
star, erroneously supposed to belong to Bishop Berkeley, has been
travelling westward.

In 1749 Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, issued a
patent of a township, six miles square, near the northwest angle of
Massachusetts and corresponding with its line northward, and in this
township of Bennington the Allens bought lands and made their home.
This grant caused a remonstrance from the governor and council of New
York. Similar remonstrances had been made in the cases of Connecticut
and Massachusetts, each of whom claimed that their territory extended
to the Connecticut River. But that question had been settled in
the former cases between New York and New England by agreeing upon
a line from the southwest corner of Connecticut northerly to Lake
Champlain as the boundary between the provinces. Wentworth urged in
justification of his course that the boundary line was well known,
and that New Hampshire had the same right as the other colonies of
New England, and he persevered in his own course. In 1754 fourteen
new townships had been granted, when the French war broke out and the
settlers were deterred from occupying their lands by the incursions
of the French and Indians on the frontier and the uncertainty of
the termination of the contest; but when Canada was reduced by the
English and peace concluded, there was a new rush for the possession
of the fertile lands by the hardy and adventurous sons of the old
New England colonies. In four years Governor Wentworth granted one
hundred and thirty-eight townships, and the territory included was
called the New Hampshire Grants. Then began in bitter earnest the
long controversy between New York and New Hampshire for the ownership
of all the territory now known as Vermont.

In order to make clear the circumstances of the time when Ethan
Allen came to the front, it is necessary to explain something of the
origin of the strife. The New York claim was founded on a charter
given by Charles II. to his brother, the Duke of York, in 1664, for
the country lying between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. But
that charter had long been considered as practically a nullity, for
when the Duke of York succeeded to the throne of England, it all
became public property subject to the king's divisions; and there
are strong reasons for believing that the mention of the Connecticut
was merely a formality, not intended as a definite boundary, and
that the design was to take in the whole of the New Netherlands. The
geography of the country was little known, and the wording of the
charter was ambiguous and vague. Allen at once espoused the cause of
the settlers. But for him the State of Vermont would probably have
never existed. But for Allen, Albany, not Montpelier, might have been
the capital of Vermont. Allen's most illustrious achievement for the
benefit of the nation was the capture of Ticonderoga. His great work
for Vermont was successful resistance to the Yorkers.

Before entering upon this period of litigation, one of the stories of
Allen, illustrating his honesty, may fitly find a place. Having given
a note which he was unable to pay when it became due, he was sued.
Allen employed a lawyer to attend to his case and postpone payment.
But the lawyer could not prevent the rendering a judgment against
Allen at the first term of court, unless he filed a plea alleging
some real or fictitious ground of defence. Accordingly, quite
innocently he put in the usual plea denying that Allen signed the
note. The effect of this was to continue the case to the next term
of court, exactly what Allen wanted; but Allen was present and was
indignant that he should be made to appear to sanction a falsehood.
He rose in court and vehemently denounced his lawyer, telling him
that he did not employ him to tell a lie; he did sign that note; he
wanted to pay it; he only wanted time!

It was in June, 1770, that Allen first became prominent in Vermont
public affairs. Then it was that the lawsuits brought by Yorkers
for Vermont lands were tried before the Supreme Court at Albany.
Robert R. Livingston was the presiding judge; Kempe and Duane,
attorneys for plaintiffs; Silvester, of Albany, and Jared Ingersoll,
of New Haven, attorneys for defendants. Ethan Allen was active in
preparing the defence. But of what avail was defence when the court
was virtually an adverse party to the suit? Not only did Duane claim
50,000 acres of Vermont lands, but, to the disgrace of English
jurisprudence, Livingston, the presiding judge, was interested
directly or indirectly in 30,000 acres. The farce was soon played
out; the court refused to hear the New Hampshire charter read; one
trial was sufficient; the plaintiffs won all the cases. Duane and
others called on Allen and reminded him that "might makes right,"
advising him to go home and counsel compromise. Allen observed: "The
gods of the valleys are not the gods of the hills!" Duane asked for
an explanation, and Allen replied: "If you will come to Bennington
the meaning shall be made clear to you."

Allen went home and no compromise was thought of. The great seal
of New Hampshire being disregarded, the "Beech Seal" was invented
as a substitute. A military organization was formed with several
companies, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, and others as captains, and
Ethan Allen as colonel.

In July, 1771, on the farm of James Breakenridge, in Bennington,
the State of Vermont was born. Ten Eyck, the sheriff, with 300 men,
including mayor, aldermen, lawyers, and others, issued forth from
Albany, as did De Soto to capture Florida, as Don Quixote essayed
to conquer the windmills. Breakenridge's family were wisely absent.
In his house were eighteen armed men provided with a red flag to run
up the chimney as a signal for aid. The house was barricaded and
provided with loop-holes. On the woody ridge north were 100 armed
men, their heads and the muzzles of their guns barely visible amid
the foliage. To the southeast, in plain sight, was a smaller body
of men within gunshot of the house. Six or seven guarded the bridge
half a mile to the west. Mayor Cuyler and a few others were allowed
to cross the bridge and a parley ensued. The mayor returned to the
bridge, and in half an hour the sheriff was notified that possession
would be kept at all hazards. He ordered the posse to advance, and a
small portion reluctantly complied. Another parley followed, while
lawyer Yates expounded New York law and the Vermonters justified
their position. The sheriff seized an axe, and going toward the door,
threatened to break it open. In an instant an array of guns was aimed
at him; he stopped, retired to the bridge, and ordered the posse to
advance five miles into Bennington. But the Yorkers stampeded for
home, and the bubble burst. The "star that never sets" had begun to
glimmer upon the horizon.

In the winter of 1771-72 Governor Tryon, of New York, issued
proclamations heavy with ponderous logic and shotted with offers of
money for the arrest of Allen and others. To the arguments Allen
replied through a newspaper, the Connecticut _Courant_, of Hartford.
To the premium for his arrest he returned a Roland for an Oliver in
the following placard:

  £25 Reward.--Whereas James Duane and John Kempe, of New York,
  have by their menaces and threats greatly disturbed the public
  peace and repose of the honest peasants of Bennington and the
  settlements to the northward, which are now and ever have been
  in the peace of God and the King, and are patriotic and liege
  subjects of Geo. the 3d. Any person that will apprehend those
  common disturbers, viz: James Duane and John Kempe, and bring
  them to Landlord Fay's, at Bennington, shall have £15 reward for
  James Duane and £10 reward for John Kempe, paid by


  Dated Poultney,
  Feb. 5, 1772.

Duane and Kempe were prominent lawyers of New York, and also
prominent as advocates of New York's claim to Vermont lands.
Duane was the son-in-law of Robert Livingston and Kempe was
attorney-general. The idea of their being kidnapped for exhibition
at a log tavern in the wilderness was slightly grotesque. But this
did not satisfy Allen. He would fain visit the enemy in one of his

Albany was emphatically a Dutch city, for it was two centuries old
before it had 10,000 inhabitants. In 1772 it might have had half
that number. While the country was flooded with proclamations for
his arrest, Allen rode alone into the city. Slowly passing through
the streets to the principal hotel he dismounted, entered the
bar-room, and called for a bowl of punch. The news circulated; the
Dutch rallied; the crowd centred at the hotel; the officers of the
court, the valiant sheriff, Ten Eyck, and the attorney-general were
present. Allen raised the punch-bowl, bowed courteously to the crowd,
swallowed the beverage, returned to the street, remounted his horse,
rose in his stirrups and shouted "Hurrah for the Green Mountains!"
and then leisurely rode away unharmed and unmolested. The incident
illustrates Allen's shrewd courage, and sustains Governor Hall's
theory that the people of New York sympathized more with the Green
Mountain Boys than with their own land-gambling officers.

At the Green Mountain tavern in Bennington was a sign-post, with a
sign twenty-five feet from the ground. Over the sign was the stuffed
skin of a catamount with large teeth grinning toward New York. A
Dutchman of Arlington who had been active against the Green Mountain
Boys was punished by being tied in an arm-chair, hoisted to this
sign, and there suspended for two hours, to the amusement of the
juvenile population and the quiet gratification of their seniors.



During the six years preceding the Revolution, Allen was the most
prominent leader of the Green Mountain Boys in all matters of peace,
and also in political writing. When the Manchester Convention,
October 21, 1772, sent James Breakenridge, of Bennington, and Jehiel
Hawley, of Arlington, as delegates to England, perhaps Allen could
not be spared, for if any New York document needed answering Allen
answered it; if any handbill, proclamation or counter-statement, or
political or legal argument was to be written, Allen wrote it; if
New England was to be informed of the Yorkers' rascalities, Allen
sent the information to the Connecticut _Courant_ and Portsmouth
_Gazette_, Vermont having no newspaper. Rarely was force or threat
used or a rough joke played on a Yorker, but Allen was first in the
fray. In Bennington County Allen with others told a Yorker that they
had "that morning resolved to offer a burnt sacrifice to the gods of
the woods in burning the logs of his house." They did burn the logs
and the rafters, and told him to go and complain to his "scoundrel

Of all the towns of Western Vermont, Clarendon had been most noted
for its Tories and its Yorkers. Settled as early as 1768, its
settlers founded their claims to land titles on grants from three
different powers: Colonel Lydius, New York, and New Hampshire. The
New York patent of Socialborough, covering Rutland and Pittsford
substantially, was dated April 3, 1771, and issued by Governor
Dunmore. The New York patent of Durham, dated January 7, 1772, issued
by Governor Tryon, covered Clarendon. Both were in direct violation
of the royal order in council, July, 1767, and therefore illegal and
void. The new county of Charlotte, created March 12, 1772, extended
from Canada into Arlington and Sunderland and west of Lake George
and Lake Champlain. Benjamin Spencer, of Durham, was a justice and
judge of the new county; Jacob Marsh, of Socialborough, a justice;
and Simeon Jenny, who lived near Chippenhook, coroner. These three
officers were zealous New York partisans. The Green Mountain Boys in
council passed resolutions to the effect that no citizen should do
any official act under New York authority; that all persons holding
Vermont lands should hold them under New Hampshire laws, and if
necessary force should be used to enforce these resolves.

In the early part of the fall of 1773, a large force of Green
Mountain Boys, under Ethan Allen and other leaders, visited Clarendon
and requested the Yorkers to comply with these resolutions, informing
them if this were not done within a reasonable time the persons of
the Durhamites would suffer. Justice Spencer absconded. No violence
was used except on one poor innocent dog of the name of Tryon, and
Governor Tryon was so odious that the dog was cut in pieces without
benefit of clergy. This display of force and the threats that were
very freely used, it was hoped, would be enough to secure submission,
but the justices still issued writs against the New Hampshire
settlers; other New York officials acted, and all were loud in
advocating the New York title.

A second visit to Durham was made. Saturday, November 20, at 11 P.M.,
Ethan Allen, Remember Baker, and twenty to thirty others surrounded
Spencer's house, took him prisoner, and carried him two miles to
the house of one Green, where he was kept under a guard of four men
until Monday morning, and then taken "to the house of Joseph Smith,
of Durham, innkeeper." He was asked where he preferred to be tried;
he replied that he was not guilty of any crime, but if he must be
tried, he should choose his own door as the place of trial. The Green
Mountain Boys had now increased in number to about one hundred and
thirty, armed with guns, cutlasses, and other weapons. The people
of Clarendon, Rutland, and Pittsford hearing of the trial, gathered
to witness the proceedings. A rural lawsuit still has a wonderful
fascination for a rural populace. Allen addressed the crowd, telling
them that he, with Remember Baker, Seth Warner, and Robert Cochran,
had been appointed to inspect and set things in order; that "Durham
had become a hornets' nest" which must be broken up. A "judgment
seat" was erected; Allen, Warner, Baker, and Cochran took seats
thereon as judges, and Spencer was ordered to stand before this
tribunal, take off his hat, and listen to the accusations. Allen
accused him of joining with New York land jobbers against New
Hampshire grantees and issuing a warrant as a justice. Warner accused
him of accepting a New York commission as a magistrate, of acting
under it, of writing a letter hostile to New Hampshire, of selling
land bought of a New York grantee, and of trying to induce people
to submit to New York. He was found guilty, his house declared a
nuisance, and the sentence was pronounced that his house be burnt,
and that he promise not to act again as a New York justice. Spencer
declared that if his house were burned, his store of dry-goods and
all his property would be destroyed and his wife and children would
be great sufferers. Thereupon the sentence was reconsidered. Warner
suggested that his house be not destroyed, but that the roof be taken
off and put on again, provided Spencer should acknowledge that it
was put on under a New Hampshire title and should purchase a New
Hampshire title. The judges so decided. Spencer promised compliance,
and "with great shouting" the roof was taken off and replaced, and
this pioneer dry-goods store of 1773 was preserved.

At another time twenty or thirty of Allen's party visit the house
of Coroner Jenny. The house was deserted; Jenny had fled, and they
burned the house to the ground. The other Durhamites were visited and
threatened, and they agreed to purchase New Hampshire titles. Some
of the party returning from Clarendon met Jacob Marsh in Arlington,
on his way from New York to Rutland. They seized him and put him on
trial. Warner and Baker were the accusers. Baker wished to apply
the "beech seal," but the judges declined. Warner read the sentence
that he should encourage New Hampshire settlers, discourage New York
settlers, and not act as a New York justice, "upon pain of having his
house burnt and reduced to ashes and his person punished at their
pleasure." He was then dismissed with the following certificate:

  Arlington, Nov. 25, A.D. 1773. These may sertify that Jacob Marsh
  haith been examined, and had a fare trial, so that our mob shall
  not meadel farther with him as long as he behaves.

  Sertified by us as his judges, to wit,


On reaching home, Marsh found that the roof of his house had been
publicly taken off by the Green Mountain Boys.

Spencer in his letter to Duane, April 11, 1772, wrote: "One Ethan
Allen hath brought from Connecticut twelve or fifteen of the most
blackguard fellows he can get, double-armed, in order to protect
him." This same Spencer, after acting as a Whig and one of the
Council of Safety, deserted to Burgoyne in 1777, and died a few weeks
after at Ticonderoga.

Benjamin Hough, of Clarendon, was a troublesome New York justice. His
neighbors seized him and carried him thirty miles south in a sleigh.
After three days, January 30, 1775, he was tried in Sunderland before
Allen and others. His punishment was two hundred lashes on the naked
back while he was tied to a tree. Allen and Warner signed a written
certificate as a burlesque passport for Hough to New York, "he
behaving as becometh."

At this time the following open letters from the Green Mountain Boys
were published:

  An epistle to the inhabitants of Clarendon: From Mr. Francis
  Madison of your town, I understand Oliver Colvin of your town
  has acted the infamous part by locating part of the farm of
  said Madison. This sort of trick I was partly apprised of, when
  I wrote the late letter to Messrs. Spencer and Marsh. I abhor
  to put a staff into the hands of Colvin or any other rascal to
  defraud your letter. The Hampshire title must, nay shall, be
  had for such settlers as are in quest of it, at a reasonable
  rate, nor shall any villain by a sudden purchase impose on the
  old settlers. I advise said Colvin to be flogged for the abuse
  aforesaid, unless he immediately retracts and reforms, and if
  there be further difficulties among you, I advise that you employ
  Capt. Warner as an arbitrator in your affairs. I am certain he
  will do all parties justice. Such candor you need in your present
  situation, for I assure you, it is not the design of our mobs
  to betray you into the hands of villainous purchasers. None but
  blockheads would purchase your farms, and they must be treated
  as such. If this letter does not settle this dispute, you had
  better hire Captain Warner to come simply and assist you in the
  settlement of your affairs. My business is such that I cannot
  attend to your matters in person, but desire you would inform me,
  by writing or otherwise relative thereto. Captain Baker joins
  with the foregoing, and does me the honor to subscribe his name
  with me. We are, gentlemen, your friends to serve.


_To Mr. Benjamin Spencer and Mr. Amos Marsh, and the people of
Clarendon in general_:

  GENTLEMEN:--On my return from what you called the mob, I was
  concerned for your welfare, fearing that the force of our
  arms would urge you to purchase the New Hampshire title at an
  unreasonable rate, tho' at the same time I know not but after
  the force is withdrawn, you will want a third army. However, on
  proviso, you incline to purchase the title aforesaid, it is my
  opinion, that you in justice ought to have it at a reasonable
  rate, as new lands were valued at the time you purchased them.
  This, with sundry other arguments in your behalf, I laid before
  Captain Jehiel Hawley and other respectable gentlemen of that
  place (Arlington) and by their advice and concurrence, I write
  you this friendly epistle unto which they subscribe their names
  with me, that we are disposed to assist you in purchasing
  reasonably as aforesaid; and on condition Colonel Willard, or any
  other person demand an exorbitant price for your lands we scorn
  it, and will assist you in mobbing such avaricious persons, for
  we mean to use force against oppression, and that only. Be it in
  New York, Willard, or any person, it is injurious to the rights
  of the district.

  From yours to serve.


The convention had decreed that no officer from New York should
attempt to take any person out of its territory, on penalty of a
severe punishment, and it forbade any surveyor to run lines through
the lands or inspect them with that purpose. This edict enlarged
the powers of the military commanders, and it was their duty to
search out such offenders. The Committees of Safety which were
chosen were entrusted with powers for regulating local affairs,
and the conventions of delegates representing the people, which
assembled from time to time, adopted measures tending to harmony and
concentration of effort.

May 19, 1772 (the year in which occurred Poland's first
dismemberment), Governor Tryon wrote to Bennington and vicinity,
inviting the citizens to send delegates to him and explain the causes
of their opposition to New York rule. Could anything be fairer or
more politic and wise? He promised safety to any and all sent,
except four of their leaders, Allen, Warner, Cochran, and Sevil, and
suggested sending their pastor, J. Dewey, and Mr. Fay. Dewey answered
on June 5:

  We, his Majesty's leal and loyal subjects of the Province of New
  York.... First, we hold fee of our land by grants of George
  II., and George III., the lands reputed then in New Hampshire.
  Since 1764, New York has granted the same land as though the fee
  of the land and property was altered with jurisdiction, which
  we suppose was not.... Suits of law for our lands rejecting our
  proof of title, refusing time to get our evidence are the grounds
  of our discontent.... Breaking houses for possession of them
  and their owners, firing on these people and wounding innocent
  women and children.... We must closely adhere to the maintaining
  our property with a due submission to Your Excellency's
  jurisdiction.... We pray and beseech Your Excellency would assist
  to quiet us in our possessions, till his Majesty in his royal
  wisdom shall be graciously pleased to settle the controversy.

Allen, not being allowed to go to New York, wrote to Tryon in
conjunction with Warner, Baker, and Cochran, stating the case as

  No consideration whatever, shall induce us to remit in the least
  of our loyalty and gratitude to our most Gracious Sovereign, and
  reasonably to you; yet no tyranny shall deter us from asserting
  and vindicating our rights and privileges as Englishmen. We
  expect an answer to our humble petition, delivered you soon after
  you became Governor, but in vain. We assent to your jurisdiction,
  because it is the King's will, and always have, except where
  perverse use would deprive us of our property and country. We
  desire and petition to be reannexed to New Hampshire. That is not
  the principal cause we object to, but we think change made by
  fraud, unconstitutional exercise of it. The New York patentees
  got judgments, took out writs, and actually dispossessed several
  by order of law, of their houses and farms and necessaries.
  These families spent their fortunes in bringing wilderness into
  fruitful fields, gardens and orchards. Over fifteen hundred
  families ejected, if five and one-quarter persons are allowed
  to each family.... The writs of ejectment come thicker and
  faster.... Nobody can be supposed under law if law does not
  protect.... Since our misfortune of being annexed to New York,
  law is a tool to cheat us.... Fatigued in settling a wilderness
  country.... As our cause is before the King, we do not expect
  you to determine it.... If we don't oppose Sheriff, he takes
  our houses and farms. If we do, we are indicted rioters. If our
  friends help us, they are indicted rioters. As to refugees,
  self-preservation necessitated our treating some of them roughly.
  Ebenezer Cowle and Jonathan Wheat, of Shaftsbury, fled to New
  York, because of their own guilt, they not being hurt nor
  threatened. John Munro, Esq., and ruffians, assaulting Baker at
  daybreak, March 22, was a notorious riot, cutting, wounding and
  maiming Mr. Baker, his wife and children. As Baker is alive he
  has no cause of complaint. Later he (Munro) assaulted Warner
  who, with a dull cutlass, struck him on the head to the ground.
  As laws are made by our enemies, we could not bring Munro to
  justice otherwise than by mimicing him, and treating him as he
  did Baker, and so forth. Bliss Willoughby, feigning business,
  went to Baker's house and reported to Munro, thus instigating
  and planning the attack.... The alteration of jurisdiction in
  1764 could not affect private property.... The transferring
  or alienation of property is a sacred prerogative of the true
  owner. Kings and Governors cannot intermeddle therewith.... We
  have a petition lying before his Majesty and Council for redress
  of our grievances for several years past. In Moore's time, the
  King forbid New York to patent any lands before granted by New
  Hampshire. This a supercedeas of Common Law. King notifying New
  York he takes cognizance and will settle and forbids New York to
  meddle: common sense teaches a common law, judgment after that,
  if it prevailed, would be subversive of royal authority. So all
  officers coming to dispossess are violaters of law. Right and
  wrong are externally the same. We are not opposing you and your
  Government, but a party chiefly attorneys. We hear you applied to
  assembly for armed force to subdue us in vain. We choose Captain
  Stephen Fay and Mr. Jonas Fay, to treat with you in person. We
  entreat your aid to quiet us in our farms till the King decides

The embassy was successful. The council advised that all legal
processes against Vermont should cease. If Bennington was happy in
May over the invitation, Bennington was jubilant in August over the
kindly advice. The air rang with shouts; the health of governor and
council was drunk and cannon and small-arms were heard everywhere. No
part of New York colony was happier or more devotedly British. Two
years had passed since the New York Supreme Court had adjudged all
the Vermont legal documents null and void: one year had passed since
New York had sent a sheriff and posse with hundreds of citizens to
force Vermont farmers from their farms, but both of these affairs
occurred under Governor Clinton. Now perhaps, the Vermonters thought,
the new governor was going to act fairly: there would be no more
fights; no more watching and guarding against midnight attacks; no
more need of fire-arms; and wives and babes would be safe. There
would be no more kidnapping of Green Mountain Boys and hurrying them
away to Albany jail; no more foreign surveying of the lands they
tilled and loved.



But "best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley." While these
negotiations were pending, New Yorkers were quietly doing the
necessary work for stealing more Vermont lands. Cockburn, the Scotch
New York surveyor, was surveying land along Otter Creek. The Green
Mountain Boys heard of it, rallied, and overtook him near Vergennes,
and found Colonel Reid's Scotchmen enjoying mills and farms. For
three years these foreigners had been there. In 1769, with no legal
title, they had found, seized, and enjoyed the land, with a mill.
Vermonters had then rallied and dispossessed these dispossessors, but
a second raid of Reid's men redispossessed them. In the summer of
1772, Vermont, seizing Cockburn, turned out Reid's tenants, broke up
mill-stones and threw them over the falls, razed houses, and burned

The Scotch story is as follows: John Cameron made affidavit that
he and some other families from Scotland arrived at New York in
the latter part of June, and a few days afterward agreed with
Lieutenant-Colonel Reid to settle as tenants on his lands on Otter
Creek, in Charlotte County. Reid went with them to Otter Creek, some
miles east from Crown Point, and was at considerable expense in
transporting them, their wives, children, and baggage. The day after
their arrival at Otter Creek they were viewing the land, where they
saw a crop of Indian corn, wheat, and garden stuff, and a stack of
hay and two New England men. Reid paid these two men $15 for their
crops, the men agreeing to leave until the king's pleasure should
be known. Reid made over these crops to his new tenants, gave them
possession of the land in presence of two justices of the peace
of Charlotte County, and bought some provisions and cows for his
tenants. On or about the 11th of August, armed men from different
parts of the country came and turned James Henderson and others
out of their homes, burnt the houses to the ground, and for two
days pastured fifty horses which they had brought with them in a
field of corn which Reid had bought. They also burnt a large stack
of hay, purchased by Reid. The next day the rioters, headed by
their captains, Allen, Baker, and Warner, came to Cameron's house,
destroyed the new grist-mill, built by Reid (Baker insisting upon
it), broke the mill-stones in pieces and threw them down a precipice
into the river. The rioters then turned out Cameron's wife and two
small children, and burnt the house, having in the two days burnt
five houses, two corn shades, and one stack of hay. When Cameron,
much incensed, asked by what authority of law they committed such
violences, Baker replied that they lived out of the bounds of law,
and holding up his gun said that was his law. He further declared
that they were resolved never to allow any persons claiming under New
York to settle in that part of the province, but if Cameron would
join them, they would give him lands for nothing. This offer Cameron
rejected. While the rioters were destroying his house and mill on
the Crown Point (west) side of Otter Creek, he heard six men ordered
to go with arms and stand as sentinels on a rising ground toward
Crown Point, to prevent any surprise from the troops in the garrison
there. Having destroyed Cameron's house and the mill, the rioters
recrossed the river. Cameron reports that he saw among the rioters
Joshua Hide, who had agreed in writing with Reid not to return, and
had received payment for his crop. Hide was very active in advising
the destruction of Cameron's house and the mill.

Cameron stayed about three weeks at Otter Creek, after the rioters
dispersed, hoping to hear from Reid, and hoping also that New York
would protect him and his fellow-settlers, but having no house, and
being exposed to the night air, the fever and ague soon compelled
him to retire. Some of his companions went before, the rest were
to follow. What became of his wife and children he does not state.
Cameron stayed one night at the house of a Mr. Irwin, on the east
shore of the lake, five miles north of Crown Point. Irwin, an elderly
man, holding a New Hampshire title, told Cameron that Reid had a
narrow escape, for Baker with eight men had laid in wait for him a
whole day, near the mouth of Otter Creek, determined to murder him,
and the men in the boat with him, on their way back to Crown Point,
so that none might remain to tell tales. Fortunately Reid had left
the day before. Irwin disapproved of such bloody intentions, and
said if his land was confirmed to a Yorker, he would either buy the
Yorker's title or move off.

James Henderson, settler under Colonel Reid, deposed that on
Wednesday, August 11, he and three others of Colonel Reid's settlers
were at work at their hay in the meadow, when twenty men, armed
with guns, swords, and pistols, surprised them. They inquired if
Henderson and his companions lived in the house some time before
occupied by Joshua Hide. They replied no, the men who lived in that
house were about their business. The rioters then told Henderson and
his companions that they must go along with them (as they could not
understand the women), and marched them prisoners, guarded before and
behind like criminals, to the house, where they joined the rest of
the mob, in number about one hundred or more, all armed as before,
and who, as Henderson was told by the women, had let their horses
loose in the corn and wheat that Reid had bought for his settlers.
The mob desired the things to be taken out of the house, and then
set the house on fire. Ethan Allen, the ringleader or captain,
then ordered part of his gang to go with Henderson to his own house
(formerly built and occupied by Captain Gray) in order to prepare it
for the same fate. Henderson and his wife earnestly requested the mob
to spare their house for a few days, in order to save their effects
and protect their children from the inclemency of the weather,
until they could have an opportunity of removing themselves to some
safe place; but Captain Allen, coming up from the fore-mentioned
house, told them that his business required haste; for he and his
gang were determined not to leave a house belonging to Colonel Reid
standing. Then the mob set fire to and entirely consumed Henderson's
house. Henderson took out his memorandum book and desired to know
their ringleader's or captain's name. The captain answered: "Who
gave you authority to ask for my name?" Henderson replied that as
he took him to be the ringleader of the mob, and as he had in such
a riotous and unlawful manner dispossessed him, he had a right to
ask his name, that he might represent him to Colonel Reid, who had
put him, Henderson, in peaceable possession of the premises as his
just property. Allen answered, he wished they had caught Colonel
Reid; they would have whipped him severely; that his name was Ethan
Allen, captain of that mob, and that his authority was his own arms,
pointing to his gun; that he and his companions were a lawless mob,
their law being mob law. Henderson replied that the law was made for
lawless and riotous people, and that he must know it was death by
the law to ringleaders of rioters and lawless mobs. Allen answered
that he had run these woods in the same manner these seven years
past [this would carry it back to the year 1766, when Zadoc Thompson
says Allen's family was living in Sheffield] and never was caught
yet; and he told Henderson that if any of Colonel Reid's settlers
offered hereafter to build any house and keep possession, the Green
Mountain Boys, as they call themselves, would burn their houses and
whip them into the bargain. The mob then burnt the house formerly
built and occupied by Lewis Stewart, and remained that night about
Leonard's house. The next day, about seven A.M., August 12, Henderson
went to Leonard's house. The mob were all drawn up, consulting about
destroying the mill. Those who were in favor of it were ordered
to follow Captain Allen. In the mean time Baker and his gang came
to the opposite side of the river and fired their guns. They were
brought over at once, and while they were taking some refreshment,
Allen's party marched to the mill, but did not break up any part of
it until Allen joined them. The two mobs having joined (by their own
account one hundred and fifty in number), with axes, crow-bars, and
handspikes tore the mill to pieces, broke the mill-stones and threw
them into the creek. Baker came out of the mill with the bolt-cloth
in his hands. With his sword he cut it in pieces and distributed it
among the mob to wear in their hats like cockades, as trophies of the
victory. Henderson told Baker he was about very disagreeable work.
Baker replied it was so, but he had a commission for so doing, and
showed Henderson where his thumb had been cut off, which he called
his commission.

Angus McBean, settler under Colonel Reid, deposed that between seven
and eight A.M., Thursday, August 12 last, he met a part of the New
England mob about Leonard's house, sixty men or thereabouts, he
supposed, armed with guns, swords, and pistols. One of them asked
Angus if he were one of Colonel Reid's new settlers, and having been
told he was, asked him what he intended to do. McBean replied he
intended to build himself a house and keep possession of the land. He
was then asked if he intended to keep possession for Colonel Reid.
He replied yes, as long as he could. Soon after their chief leader,
Allen, came and asked him if he was the man that said he would keep
possession for Colonel Reid. McBean said yes. Allen then damned his
soul, but he would have him, McBean, tied to a tree and skinned
alive, if he ever attempted such a thing. Allen and several of the
mob said, if they could but catch Colonel Reid, they would cut his
head off. Joshua Hide, one of the persons of whom Colonel Reid bought
the crop, advised the mob to tear down or burn the houses of Donald
McIntosh and John Burdan, as they both had been assisting Colonel
Reid. Soon after several guns were fired on the other side of the
creek. Some of the mob said that was Captain Baker and his party
coming to see the sport. Soon Baker and his party joined the mob, and
all went to tear down the grist-mill. McBean thought Baker was one
of the first that entered the mill.

However strong our indignation at the New York usurpations, we cannot
read of the violent ejectment of families without a feeling of
repugnance to such a method. Turn to the vivid and romantic account
of Colonel Reid's settlement in "The Tory's Daughter," and remember
that in civil strife the innocent must often suffer. The Green
Mountain Boys' immunity from the penalty of the law for their riotous
acts shows not only their adroitness, but suggests half-heartedness
in their pursuit. Laws not supported by public sentiment are rarely

John Munroe wrote to Duane during the Clarendon proceedings:

  The rioters have a great many friends in the county of Albany,
  and particularly in the city of Albany, which encourages them
  in their wickedness, at the same time hold offices under the
  Government, and pretend to be much against them, but at heart I
  know them to be otherwise, for the rioters have often told me,
  that be it known to me, that they had more friends in Albany than
  I had, which I believe to be true.

Hugh Munro lived near the west line of Shaftsbury. He took Surveyor
Campbell to survey land in Rupert for him. He was seized by Cochran,
who said he was a son of Robin Hood, and beaten. Ira Allen says
Munro fainted from whipping by bush twigs. Munro had not a savory
reputation with the Vermonters. After Tryon's offer of a reward for
the arrest of Allen, Baker, and Cochran, he, with ten or twelve other
men, had seized Baker, who lived ten or twelve miles from him, a mile
east of Arlington. After a march of sixteen miles, they were met by
ten Bennington men, who arrested Munro and Constable Stevens, the
rest of the party fleeing. Later Warner and one man rode to Munro's
and asked for Baker's gun. Munro refused, and seizing Warner's bridle
ordered the constable to arrest Warner, who drew his cutlass and
felled Munro to the ground. For this act of Warner's, Poultney voted
him one hundred acres of land April 4, 1773.

In 1774 Allen published a pamphlet of over two hundred pages, in
which he rehearsed many historical facts tending to show that
previous to the royal order of 1764, New York had no claim to extend
easterly to the Connecticut River. He portrayed in strong light the
oppressive conduct of New York toward the settlers. This pamphlet
also contained the answer of himself and of his associates to the Act
of Outlawry of March, 1774. Another man was busy this year drawing up
reports of the trouble in Vermont.

Crean Brush, the first Vermont lawyer, was a colonel, a native of
Dublin. In 1762 he came to New York and became assistant secretary
of the colony; in 1771-74 he practised law in Westminster, Vt. He
claimed thousands of Vermont acres under New York titles, and became
county clerk, surrogate, and provincial member of Congress. He was
in Boston jail nineteen months for plundering Boston whigs, and
finally escaped in his wife's dress. The British commander in New
York told him his conduct merited more punishment. A Yorker, always
fighting the Green Mountain Boys; a tory, always fighting the whigs;
with fair culture and talent, he became a sot, and, at the age of
fifty-three, in 1778, he blew his brains out, in New York City. He
left a step-daughter who became the second wife of Ethan Allen.

On February 5, 1774, Brush reported to the New York Legislature
resolutions to the effect "that riotousness exists in part of
Charlotte County and northeast Albany County, calling for redress;
that a Bennington mob has terrorized officers, rescued debtors,
assumed military command and judicial power, burned houses, beat
citizens, expelled thousands, stopped the administration of justice;
that anti-rioters are in danger in person and property and need
protection. Wherefore the Governor is petitioned to offer fifty
pounds reward for the apprehension and lodgment in Albany jail of
Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochran, Peleg
Sunderland, Silvanus Brown, James Breakenridge, and John Smith,
either or any of them." It was ordered that Brush and Colonel Ten
Eyck report a bill for the suppression of riotous and disorderly
proceedings. Captain Delaney and Mr. Walton were appointed to present
the address and resolutions to the governor.

A committee met March 1, 1774, at Eliakim Weller's house in
Manchester, adjourning to the third Wednesday at Captain Jehial
Hawley's in Arlington. Nathan Clark was chairman of the committee
and Jonas Clark clerk. The _New York Mercury_, No. 1,163, with
the foregoing report in it, was produced and read. Seven of the
committee were chosen to examine it and prepare a report, which was
adopted and ordered published in the public papers. They speak of
their misfortune in being annexed to New York, and hope that the
king will adopt the report of the Board of Trade, made December 3,
1772. In consequence, hundreds of settled families, many of them
comparatively wealthy, resolved to defend the outlawed men. All were
ready at a minute's warning. They resolved to act on the defensive
only, and to encourage the execution of law in civil cases and in
real criminal cases. They advised the General Assembly to wait for
the king's decision. The committee declared that they were all loyal
to their political father; but that as they bought of the first
governor appointed by the king, on the faith of the crown, they will
maintain those grants; that New York has acted contrary to the spirit
of the good laws of Great Britain. This declaration was certified by
the chairman and clerk, at Bennington, April 14, 1774.

It was in 1774 that a new plan was formed for escaping from the
government of New York; a plan that startles us by its audacity and
its comprehensiveness. This was to establish a new royal colony
extending from the Connecticut to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence,
from forty-five degrees of north latitude to Massachusetts and the
Mohawk River. The plan was formed by Allen and other Vermonters.
At that time Colonel Philip Skene, a retired British officer, was
living at Whitehall on a large patent of land. To him the Vermonters
communicated the project. Whitehall was to be the capital and Skene
the governor of the projected colony. Skene, at his own expense, went
to London, and was appointed governor of Ticonderoga and Crown Point,
but the course of public events prevented the completion of this



On March 29, 1775, John Brown, a Massachusetts lawyer, wrote from
Montreal to Boston:

  The people on the New Hampshire Grants have engaged to seize the
  fort at Ticonderoga as soon as possible, should hostilities be
  committed by the king's troops.

The most minute account of the preparations to capture Ticonderoga is
furnished by the diary for April, 1775, of Edward Mott, of Preston,
Conn., a captain in Colonel S. H. Parson's regiment. He had been
at the camp of the American army beleaguering Boston; took charge
of the expedition to seize Ticonderoga; reported its success to
Governor Trumbull at Hartford; was sent by Trumbull to Congress at
Philadelphia with the news; resumed the command of his company at
Ticonderoga in May; was with the Northern army during the campaign;
was at the taking of Chambly and St. Johns; and became a major in
Colonel Gray's regiment next year.

  PRESTON, Friday, April 28, 1775.

  Set out for Hartford, where I arrived the same day. Saw
  Christopher Leffingwell, who inquired of me about the situation
  of the people at Boston. When I had given him an account, he
  asked me how they could be relieved and where I thought we could
  get artillery and stores. I told him I knew not unless we went
  and took possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, which I
  thought might be done by surprise with a small number of men.
  Mr. Leffingwell left me and in a short time came to me again,
  and brought with him Samuel H. Parsons and Silas Deane, Esqrs.
  When he asked me if I would undertake in such an expedition as
  we had talked of before, I told him I would. They told me they
  wished I had been there one day sooner; that they had been on
  such a plan; and that they had sent off Messrs. Noah Phelps and
  Bernard Romans, whom they had supplied with £300 in cash from the
  treasury, and ordered them to draw for more if they should need;
  that said Phelps and Romans had gone by the way of Salisbury,
  where they would make a stop. They expected a small number of men
  would join them, and if I would go after them they would give
  me an order or letter to them to join with them and to have my
  voice with them in conducting the affair and in laying out the
  money; and also that I might take five or six men with me. On
  which I took with me Mr. Jeremiah Halsey, Mr. Epaphras Bull, Mr.
  Wm. Nichols, Mr. Elijah Babcock, and John Bigelow joined me;
  and Saturday, the 29th of April, in the afternoon, we set out
  on said expedition. Mr. Babcock tired his horse. We got another
  horse of Esq. Humphrey in Norfolk, and that day arrived at
  Salisbury; tarried all night, and the next day, having augmented
  our company to the number of sixteen in the whole, we concluded
  it was not best to add any more, as we meant to keep our business
  a secret and ride through the country unarmed till we came to
  the New Settlements on the Grants. We arrived at Mr. Dewey's in
  Sheffield, and there we sent off Mr. Jer. Halsey and Capt. John
  Stevens to go to Albany, in order to discover the temper of the
  people in that place, and to return and inform us as soon as

  That night (Monday the 1st of May) we arrived at Col. Easton's
  in Pittsfield, where we fell in company with John Brown, Esq.,
  who had been at Canada and Ticonderoga about a month before; on
  which we concluded to make known our business to Col. Easton and
  said Brown and to take their advice on the same. I was advised by
  Messrs. Deane, Leffingwell, and Parsons not to raise our men till
  we came to the New Hampshire Grants, lest we should be discovered
  by having too long a march through the country. But when we
  advised with the said Easton and Brown they advised us that, as
  there was a great scarcity of provisions in the Grants, and as
  the people were generally poor, it would be difficult to get a
  sufficient number of men there; therefore we had better raise a
  number of men sooner. Said Easton and Brown concluded to go with
  us, and Easton said he would assist me in raising some men in
  his regiment. We then concluded for me to go with Col. Easton to
  Jericho and Williamstown to raise men, and the rest of us to go
  forward to Bennington and see if they could purchase provisions

  We raised twenty-four men in Jericho and fifteen in Williamstown;
  got them equipped ready to march. Then Col. Easton and I set
  out for Bennington. That evening we met with an express for
  our people informing us that they had seen a man directly from
  Ticonderoga and he informed them that they were re-enforced at
  Ticonderoga, and were repairing the garrison, and were every way
  on their guard; therefore it was best for us to dismiss the men
  we had raised and proceed no further, as we should not succeed.
  I asked who the man was, where he belonged, and where he was
  going, but could get no account; on which I ordered that the men
  should not be dismissed, but that we should proceed. The next day
  I arrived at Bennington. There overtook our people, all but Mr.
  Noah Phelps and Mr. Heacock, who were gone forward to reconnoitre
  the fort: and Mr. Halsey and Mr. Stevens had not got back from

The following account of expenses incurred on this expedition
is amusing, pitiful, and interesting, as evidence of the small
beginnings of the Revolution, and as compared with the machinery of
transportation and the wealth of the nation in its Civil War:

  Account of Captain Edward Mott for his expenses going to
  Ticonderoga and afterwards against the Colony of Connecticut:

                                                 £   s. d.
  April 26th.--To expenses from Preston
  to Hartford                                    0   5  0

  Expenses at Hartford while consulting
  what plan to take, or where it
  would be best to raise the men                 0  15  0

  April 30th.--To expenses of six men at
  New Hartford on our way to New
  Hampshire Grants to raise men
  ($3)                                           0  18  0

  May 1st.--To expenses at Norfolk
  ($2.50)                                        0  15  0

  To expenses at Shaftsbury                      0   7  8

  To expenses in Jericho while raising
  men                                            1   0  5

  To expenses of marching men from
  Jericho to Williamstown                        1   4  0

  May 1st.--To expenses at Allentown             0   6  8

  To expenses at Massachusetts                   2   4  6

  "     "     "  Newport                         0  16  0

  "     "     "  Pawlet                          1   3  3

  "     "     "  Castleton                       1   6  0

  To cash to a teamster for carting
  provisions                                     0   6  0

  To cash to Captain Noah Phelps £1
  and to Elijah Babcock £6                       7   0  0

  To cash to Colonel Ethan Allen's
  wife                                           3   0  0

  To a horse cost me £20 in cash
  ($66.66), which I wore out in
  riding to raise the men and going
  to Ticonderoga, so that I was
  obliged to leave her and get another
  horse to ride back to Hartford                 20  0  0

  To my expenses from Ticonderoga
  back to Hartford after we had
  taken the fort                                  2  0  0

  To my time or wages while going on
  said service, and going from Hartford
  to Philadelphia to report to
  Congress by Governor Trumbull's
  orders, being between thirty and
  forty days, much of the time day
  and night                                      20  0  0

The 3d of May, 1775, is an eventful day. Four scenes interest
us. At Albany there is hesitation. Halsey and Stevens have been
there to obtain permission for the Ticonderoga expedition. The
Albany committee-men are alarmed, for the proposition seems to be
hazardous. What will the New York Congress think of it? Will the next
Continental Congress, to meet seven days hence, approve of it? The
committee write to the New York Congress for instructions, suggesting
that if New York goes in for the invasion it will plunge northern New
York into all the horrors of war.

A second scene is at Cambridge. The Committee of Safety, without
waiting for permission from New York, decided to act. They issue a
commission to Arnold without consulting the Massachusetts Congress,
and authorize him to raise four hundred men in western Massachusetts
and near colonies for the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point;
they give him money and authority to seize and send military stores
to Massachusetts. We can imagine Arnold quickly in the saddle, for
the enterprise suits his genius.

Benedict Arnold was now thirty-five years old; educated in the
common schools, apprenticed as a druggist, fond of mischief, cruel,
irritable, reckless of his reputation, ambitious and uncontrollable.
As a boy he loved to maim young birds, placed broken glass where
school-children would cut their feet, and enticed them with presents
and then rushed out and horsewhipped them. He would cling to the arms
of a large water-wheel at the grist-mill and thus pass beneath and
above the water. When sixteen years of age he enlisted as a soldier,
was released; enlisted again, was at Ticonderoga and other frontier
forts; deserted; served out his apprenticeship, became a druggist and
general merchant in New Haven; shipped horses, cattle, and provisions
to the West Indies, commanded his own vessels, fought a duel with a
Frenchman in the West Indies, became a bankrupt, and was suspected of
dishonesty. Fertile in resource, he resumed business with energy but
with the same obliquity of moral purpose.

With sixty volunteers, a few of them Yale students, marching from
New Haven to Cambridge, he had an interview with Colonel Samuel H.
Parsons near Hartford the 27th of April, and told him about the
cannon and ammunition at Ticonderoga and the defenceless condition
of that fort. Such was the man who endeavored to wrest the command of
the expedition from Allen.

But the grandest scene of all on that 3d of May is the assemblage
in Bennington, perhaps in the old Catamount Tavern of Stephen Fay.
Allen, Warner, Robinson, Dr. Jonas Fay, Joseph Fay, Breakenridge are
there with fifteen Connecticut men and thirty-nine Massachusetts men.
Easton's Massachusetts men outnumber Warner's recruits, and Warner
ranks third instead of second. No one dreams of any one but Allen for
the leader. Easton is also complimented by being made chairman of the
council. Allen with his usual energy takes the initiative and leaves
the party to raise more men. He has been gone but a short time when
Benedict Arnold arrives on horseback with one attendant at the hamlet
and camp of Castleton. He sees Nott and other officers. They frankly
communicate to him all their plans, and are in turn astounded by
Arnold's claiming the right to take command of their whole force. He
shows them his commission from the Committee of Safety in Cambridge,
Mass. This paper gave authority to enlist men, but no more power
over these men than any other American volunteers. Arnold's temper
brooked no opposition. There is almost a mutiny among the men. They
would go home, abandon the whole expedition which had so enkindled
their enthusiasm, rather than be subject to Arnold. Whether this
was owing to his domineering temper as exhibited before them, to
his reputation in Connecticut as an unprincipled man, or entirely
to their regard for their own officers and aversion to others, we
can only conjecture. Tuesday morning this wrangling is resumed.
Again the soldiers threaten to club their guns and go home. When
told that they should be paid the same, although Arnold did command
them, they would "damn" their pay. But Arnold suddenly started to
leave this company and overtake Allen. The soldiers, knowing Allen's
good-nature, as suddenly leave Castleton and follow Arnold to prevent
his overpersuading Allen to yield to his arrogance.

When this stampede occurred, Nott and Phelps with Herrick were with
the thirty men on the march to Skenesborough. They left the Remington
camp at Castleton, and had gone nearly to Hydeville. The stampede
left all the provisions at Castleton, so that Nott and Phelps were
obliged to return to Castleton, gather up the provisions, and follow
the main party to Ticonderoga. They arrived in Shoreham too late to
take part in the capture, but crossed the lake with Warner. This
incident deprives us of the benefit of Nott's journal account of the
capture itself, a loss to be deplored. Some time Tuesday, somewhere
between Castleton and the lake, Allen and Arnold met, and the scene
occurred which has been so often and so well told in romance and

Within three weeks after the world-renowned 19th of April, 1775,
Ethan stood in Castleton with an old friend by his side, Gershom
Beach, of Rutland, a whig blacksmith, intelligent, capable, and true.
Besides some sixty Massachusetts and Connecticut allies, Allen is
surrounded by from one to two hundred Green Mountain Boys. More men
were wanted, and Beach was selected from the willing and eager crowd
to go, like Roderick Dhu's messenger with the Cross of Fire, o'er
hill and dale, across brook and swamp, from Castleton to Rutland,
Pittsford, Brandon, Middlebury, and Shoreham. The distance was sixty
miles, the time allowed twenty-four hours, the rallying-point a
ravine at Hand's Point, Shoreham. Paul Revere rode on a good steed,
over good roads, on a moonlight night, in a few hours. Gershom Beach
went on foot, crossed Otter Creek twice, forded West Creek, East
Creek, Furnace Brook, Neshobe River, Leicester River, Middlebury
River, and walked through forests choked with underbrush, but at the
end of the day allotted the men were warned and were hastening to the
rendezvous. Then and not till then Beach threw himself on the ground
and gave himself up to well-earned sleep. Let us give this hero his
full meed of praise. After a few hours' rest he followed the men whom
he had aroused and joined Allen.



In the gray of the morning, Wednesday, May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen
with eighty-three Green Mountain Boys crossed the lake. He frankly
told his followers of the danger, but every gun was poised to dare
that danger. Soon three huzzas rang out on the parade-ground of the
sleeping fort. The English captain, De Laplace, not knowing that
his nation had an enemy on this continent, asked innocently by what
authority his surrender was demanded. Need I repeat the answer? No
words in the language are more familiar than Allen's reply. The
British colors were trailed before a power that had no national flag
for more than two years afterward. A few hours later, that same day,
the second session of the Continental Congress began at Philadelphia,
the members all unaware and soon in part disapproving of this exploit
of Allen's. The graphic account by the hero's own, pen is more
life-like than that of any historian:

  The first systematical and bloody attempt at Lexington to enslave
  America thoroughly electrified my mind, and fully determined
  me to take part with my country. And while I was wishing for
  an opportunity to signalize myself in its behalf, directions
  were privately sent to me from the then colony of Connecticut
  to raise the Green Mountain Boys, and if possible with them to
  surprise and take the fortress of Ticonderoga. This enterprise
  I cheerfully undertook; and after first guarding all the passes
  that led thither, to cut off all intelligence between the
  garrison and the country, made a forced march from Bennington and
  arrived at the lake opposite to Ticonderoga on the evening of the
  ninth day of May, 1775, with two hundred and thirty valiant Green
  Mountain Boys.

  It was with the utmost difficulty that I procured boats to cross
  the lake. However, I landed eighty-three men near the garrison,
  and sent the boats back for the rear guard, commanded by Col.
  Seth Warner, but the day began to dawn and I found myself under
  a necessity to attack the fort before the rear could cross the
  lake, and, as it was viewed hazardous, I harangued the officers
  and soldiers in the following manner:

  "Friends and fellow-soldiers, you have for a number of years past
  been a scourge and terror to arbitrary power. Your valor has been
  famed abroad and acknowledged, as appears by the advice and
  orders to me from the General Assembly of Connecticut to surprise
  and take the garrison now before us. I now propose to advance
  before you, and in person conduct you through the wicket-gate;
  for we must this morning either quit our pretensions to valor or
  possess ourselves of this fortress in a few minutes; and inasmuch
  as it is a desperate attempt which none but the bravest of men
  dare undertake, I do not urge it on any contrary to his will. You
  that will undertake voluntarily, poise your firelocks."

  The men being at this time drawn up in three ranks, each
  poised his firelock. I ordered them to face to the right, and
  at the head of the centre file marched them immediately to
  the wicket-gate aforesaid, where I found a sentry posted who
  instantly snapped his fusee at me. I ran immediately toward him,
  and he retreated through the covered way into the parade within
  the garrison, gave a halloo, and ran under a bomb-proof. My party
  who followed me into the fort I formed on the parade in such a
  manner as to face the two barracks, which faced each other. The
  garrison being asleep, except the sentries, we gave three huzzas,
  which greatly surprised them. One of the sentries made a pass at
  one of my officers with a charge bayonet, and slightly wounded
  him. My first thought was to kill him with my sword, but in an
  instant I altered the design and fury of the blow to a slight cut
  on the side of the head; upon which he dropped his gun and asked
  quarter, which I readily granted him, and demanded of him the
  place where the commanding officer kept.

  He showed me a pair of stairs in front of the barrack, on the
  west part of the garrison, which led up to a second story in
  said barrack, to which I immediately repaired, and ordered the
  commander, Captain De la Place, to come forth instantly, or I
  would sacrifice the whole garrison; at which the captain came
  immediately to the door with his breeches in his hand, when I
  ordered him to deliver me the fort instantly; he asked me by
  what authority I demanded it; I answered him, In the name of the
  great Jehovah and the Continental Congress. The authority of
  the Congress being very little known at that time, he began to
  speak again, but I interrupted him, and with my drawn sword over
  his head again demanded an immediate surrender of the garrison:
  with which he then complied and ordered his men to be forthwith
  paraded without arms, as he had given up the garrison.

  In the mean time some of my officers had given orders, and in
  consequence thereof sundry of the barrack doors were beaten
  down, and about one-third of the garrison imprisoned, which
  consisted of the said commander, a Lieut. Feltham, a conducter of
  artillery, a gunner, two sergeants, and forty-four rank and file:
  about one hundred pieces of cannon, one thirteen-inch mortar, and
  a number of swords.

  This surprise was carried into execution in the gray of the
  morning of the tenth day of May, 1775. The sun seemed to rise
  that morning with a superior lustre: and Ticonderoga and its
  dependencies smiled on its conquerors, who tossed about the
  flowing bowl, and wished success to Congress, and the liberty and
  freedom of America. Happy it was for me at that time, that the
  then future pages of the book of fate, which afterwards unfolded
  a miserable scene of two years and eight months' imprisonment,
  were hid from my view. But to return to my narrative. Col.
  Warner, with the rear guard, crossed the lake and joined me
  early in the morning, whom I sent off without loss of time with
  about one hundred men to take possession of Crown Point, which
  was garrisoned with a sergeant and twelve men; which he took
  possession of the same day, as also of upwards of one hundred
  pieces of cannon.

The soldierly qualities exhibited by Allen in the expedition seem to
have been, first, reticence or concealment of purpose from the enemy;
second, power of commanding enthusiastic obedience from his men;
third, adaptation of means to object; fourth, alacrity; and, fifth,
courage. Success gave a brilliant _éclat_ to this effort, which time
has only served to render more brilliant.

The following letters written by Allen furnish us with additional
information which makes the whole affair stand out vividly for
nineteenth-century readers:

  TICONDEROGA, May 11th, 1775.

  _To the Massachusetts Congress._

  GENTLEMEN:--I have to inform you with pleasure unfelt before,
  that on break of day of the 10th of May, 1775, by the order of
  the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut, I took the
  fortress of Ticonderoga by storm. The soldiery was composed of
  about one hundred Green Mountain Boys and near fifty veteran
  soldiers from the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. The latter
  was under the command of Col. James Easton, who behaved with
  great zeal and fortitude not only in council, but in the assault.
  The soldiery behaved with such resistless fury, that they so
  terrified the King's Troops that they durst not fire on their
  assailants, and our soldiery was agreeably disappointed. The
  soldiery behaved with uncommon rancour when they leaped into
  the Fort: and it must be confessed that the Colonel has greatly
  contributed to the taking of that Fortress, as well as John
  Brown, Esq. Attorney at Law, who was also an able counsellor, and
  was personally in the attack. I expect the Colonies will maintain
  this Fort. As to the cannon and warlike stores, I hope they may
  serve the cause of liberty instead of tyranny, and I humbly
  implore your assistance in immediately assisting the Government
  of Connecticut in establishing a garrison in the reduced
  premises. Col. Easton will inform you at large.

  From, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,


  TICONDEROGA, May 12th, 1775.

  _To the Honorable Congress of the Province of the
  Massachusetts Bay or Council of War._

  HONORABLE SIRS:--I make you a present of a major, a captain,
  and two lieutenants in the regular establishment for George the
  Third. I hope they may serve as ransomes for some of our friends
  at Boston, and particularly for Captain Brown of Rhode Island.
  A party of men under the command of Capt. Herrick has took
  possession of Skenesborough, imprisoned Major Skene, and seized
  a schooner of his. I expect in ten days time to have it rigged,
  manned, and armed with six or eight pieces of cannon, which, with
  the boats in our possession, I purpose to make an attack on the
  armed sloop of George the Third which is now cruising on Lake
  Champlain, and is about twice as big as the schooner. I hope in
  a short time to be authorized to acquaint your Honor that Lake
  Champlain and the fortifications thereon are subjected to the
  Colonies. The enterprise has been approbated by the officers and
  soldiery of the Green Mountain Boys, nor do I hesitate as to
  the success. I expect lives must be lost in the attack, as the
  commander of George's sloop is a man of courage, etc. I conclude
  Capt. Warner is by this time in possession of Crown Point, the
  ordnance, stores, etc. I conclude Governor Carleton will exert
  himself to oppose us, and command the Lake, etc. Messrs. Hickok,
  Halsey and Nichols have the charge of conducting the officers to
  Hartford. These gentlemen have been very assiduous and active
  in the late expedition. I depend upon your Honor's aid and
  assistance in a situation so contiguous to Canada. I subscribe
  myself your Honor's ever faithful, most obedient and humble

  _At present Commander of Ticonderoga_.

  To the Honorable Jonathan Trumbull, Esq., Capt. General and
  Governor of the Colony of Connecticut.



The Continental Congress, affected by sinister influences, favored
the removal of the stores and cannon of Ticonderoga to the south end
of Lake George. Allen wrote to Congress a vigorous remonstrance.
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut protested, and the
project was abandoned. On May 29th, 1775, from Crown Point, Allen
addressed the Continental Congress as follows:

  An abstract of the action of Congress has just come to hand: and
  though it approves of the taking the fortress on Lake Champlain
  and the artillery, etc., I am, nevertheless, much surprised that
  your Honors should recommend it to us to remove the artillery
  to the south end of Lake George, and there to make a stand; the
  consequences of which must ruin the frontier settlements, which
  are extended at least one hundred miles to the northward from
  that place. Probably your Honors were not informed of those
  settlements, which consist of several thousand families who are
  seated on that tract of country called the New Hampshire Grants.
  Those inhabitants, by making those valuable acquisitions for the
  Colonies, have incensed Governor Carleton and all the ministerial
  party in Canada against them; and provided they should, after
  all their good service in behalf of their country, be neglected
  and left exposed, they will be of all men the most consummately

  If the King's troops be again in possession of Ticonderoga and
  Crown Point and command the Lake, the Indians and Canadians will
  be much more inclined to join with them and make incursions into
  the heart of our country. But the Colonies are now in possession
  and actual command of the Lake, having taken the armed sloop from
  George the Third, which was cruising in the Lake, also seized a
  schooner belonging to Major Skene at South Bay, and have armed
  and manned them both.... The Canadians (all except the noblesse)
  and also the Indians appear at present to be very friendly to us;
  and it is my humble opinion that the more vigorous the Colonies
  push the war against the King's troops in Canada, the more
  friends we shall find in that country. Provided I had but 500 men
  with me at St. John's (18th May) when we took the King's sloop, I
  would have advanced to Montreal. Nothing strengthens our friends
  in Canada equal to our prosperity in taking the sovereignty of
  Lake Champlain, and should the Colonies forthwith send an army
  of two or three thousand men and attack Montreal, we should have
  little to fear from the Canadians or Indians, and should easily
  make a conquest of that place, and set up the standard of liberty
  in the extensive province of Quebec, whose limit was enlarged
  purely to subvert the liberties of America. Striking such a
  blow would intimidate the Tory party in Canada, the same as the
  commencement of the war at Boston intimidated the Tories in the
  Colonies. They are a set of gentlemen that will not be converted
  by reason, but are easily wrought upon by fear.

  By a council of war held on board the sloop the 27th instant,
  it was agreed to advance to the Point Aufere with the sloop and
  schooner, and a number of armed boats well manned, and there make
  a stand, act on the defensive, and by all means command the Lake
  and defend the frontiers. Point Aufere is about six miles this
  side of forty-five degrees north latitude, but if the wisdom of
  the Continental Congress should view the proposed invasion of the
  King's troops in Canada as premature or impolitic, nevertheless,
  I humbly conceive, when your Honors come to the knowledge
  of the before-mentioned facts, you will at least establish
  some advantageous situation toward the northerly part of Lake
  Champlain, as a frontier, instead of the south promontory of
  Lake George. Commanding the northerly part of the Lake, puts it
  in our power to work our policy with the Canadians and Indians.
  We have made considerable proficiency this way already. Sundry
  tribes have been to visit us, and have returned to their tribes
  to use their influence in our favor. We have just sent Capt.
  Abraham Ninham, a Stockbridge Indian, as our embassador of peace
  to the several tribes of Indians in Canada. He was accompanied
  by Mr. Winthrop Hoit, who has been a prisoner with the Indians
  and understands their tongue. I do not imagine, provided we
  command Lake Champlain, there will be any need of a war with the
  Canadians or Indians.

On June 2, 1775, Allen addressed the New York Provincial Congress:

  The pork forwarded to subsist the army, by your Honors'
  direction, evinces your approbation of the procedure; and as it
  was a private expedition, and common fame reports that there are
  a number of overgrown Tories in the province, your Honors will
  the readier excuse me in not first taking your advice in the
  matter, but the enterprises might have been prevented by their
  treachery. It is here reported that some of them have been lately
  savingly converted, and that others have lost their influence. If
  in those achievements there be anything honorary, the subjects
  of your government, viz., the New Hampshire settlers, are justly
  entitled to a large share, as they had a great majority of
  numbers of the soldiery as well as the command in making those
  acquisitions, and as your Honors justify and approve the same.

  I desire and expect your Honors have, or soon will lay before
  the Grand Continental Congress, the great disadvantage it must
  inevitably be to the Colonies to evacuate Lake Champlain,
  and give up to the enemies of our country those invaluable
  acquisitions, the key of either Canada or our country, according
  as which party holds the same in possession and makes a proper
  improvement of it. The key is ours as yet, and provided the
  Colonies would suddenly push an army of two or three thousand men
  into Canada, they might make a conquest of all that would oppose
  them in the extensive province of Quebec, except a reinforcement
  from England should prevent it. Such a diversion would weaken
  General Gage or insure us of Canada.

  I wish to God America would at this critical juncture exert
  herself agreeable to the indignity offered her by a tyrannical
  ministry. She might rise on eagle's wings, and mount up to glory,
  freedom, and immortal honor if she did but know and exert her
  strength. Fame is now hovering over her head. A vast continent
  must now sink to slavery, poverty, horror, and bondage, or rise
  to unconquerable freedom, immense wealth, inexpressible felicity,
  and immortal fame.

  I will lay my life on it, with fifteen hundred men and a proper
  train of artillery I will take Montreal. Provided I could be thus
  furnished and if an army could command the field, it would be
  no insuperable difficulty to take Quebec. This object should be
  pursued, though it should take ten thousand men to accomplish
  the end proposed; for England cannot spare but a certain number
  of her troops, anyway, she has but a small number that are
  disciplined [this was months before the Hessians and other
  mercenaries were hired], and it is as long as it is broad the
  more that are sent to Quebec, the less they can send to Boston,
  or any other part of the continent.

  Our friends in Canada can never help us until we first help them,
  except in a passive or inactive manner. There are now about
  seven hundred regular troops in Canada. I have lately had sundry
  conferences with the Indians; they are very friendly. Capt.
  Abraham Ninham, a Stockbridge Indian, and Mr. Winthrop Hoit, who
  has sundry years lived with the Caughnawgoes in the capacity of a
  prisoner and was made an adopted son to a motherly squaw of that
  tribe, have both been gone ten days to treat with the Indians
  as our embassadors of peace and friendship. I expect in a few
  weeks to hear from them. By them I sent a friendly letter to the
  Indians which Mr. Hoit can explain to them in Indian. The thing
  that so unites the Indians to us is our taking the sovereignty
  of Lake Champlain. They have wit enough to make a good bargain,
  and stand by the strongest side. Much the same may be said of the

  It may be thought that to push an army into Canada would be too
  premature and imprudent. If so, I propose to make a stand at the
  Isle-aux-Noix which the French fortified by intrenchment the last
  war, and greatly fatigued our large army to take it. It is about
  fifteen miles this side St. John's. Our only having it in our
  power thus to make incursions into Canada, might probably be the
  very reason why it would be unnecessary to do so, even if the
  Canadians should prove more refractory than I think for.

  Lastly, with submission I would propose to your Honors to raise
  a small regiment of Rangers, which I could easily do, and that
  mostly in the counties of Albany and Charlotte, provided your
  Honors should think it expedient to grant commissions and thus
  regulate and put the same under pay. Probably your Honors may
  think this an impertinent proposal: it is truly the first favor
  I ever asked of the Government, and if it be granted, I shall be
  zealously ambitious to conduct for the best good of my country
  and the honor of the Government.

On June 9th Allen addressed the Massachusetts Congress:

  These armed vessels are at present abundantly sufficient to
  command the Lake. The making these acquisitions has greatly
  attached the Canadians, and more especially the Indians, to
  our interest. They have no personal prejudice or controversy
  with the United Colonies, but act upon political principles,
  and consequently are inclined to fall in with the strongest
  side. At present ours has the appearance of it; as there are at
  present but seven hundred regular troops in all the different
  parts of Canada. Add to this the consideration of the imperious
  and haughty conduct of the troops, which has much alienated
  the affections of both the Canadians and Indians from them.
  Probably there may soon be more troops from England sent there,
  but at present you may rely on it that Canada is in a weak and
  helpless condition. Two or three thousand men, conducted by
  intrepid commanders, would at this juncture make a conquest of
  the ministerial party in Canada with such additional numbers
  as may be supposed to vie with the reinforcements that may be
  sent from England. Such a plan would make a diversion in favor
  of the Massachusetts Bay, who have been too much burdened with
  the calamity that should be more general, as all partake of the
  salutary effects of their valor and merit in the defence of
  the liberties of America. I hope, gentlemen, you will use your
  influence in forwarding men, provisions, and every article for
  the army that may be thought necessary. Blankets, provisions, and
  powder are scarce.



The letters to the Indians and Canadians to which Allen has referred
show still more clearly the vigorous policy and the adroitness which
Allen displayed in the preparations for the invasion of Canada. He
wrote to the Montreal merchants:

  ST. JOHN'S, May 18th.

  _To Mr. James Morrison and the Merchants that are
  friendly to the Cause of Liberty in Montreal._

  GENTLEMEN:--I have the pleasure to acquaint you that Lakes George
  and Champlain, with the fortresses, artillery, etc., particularly
  the armed sloop of George the Third, with all water carriages of
  these lakes, are now in possession of the Colonies. I expect the
  English merchants, as well as all virtuous disposed gentlemen,
  will be in the interest of the Colonies. The advanced guard of
  the army is now at St. John's, and desire immediately to have
  a personal intercourse with you. Your immediate assistance as
  to provisions, ammunition, and spirituous liquors is wanted and
  forthwith expected, not as a donation, for I am empowered by the
  Colonies to purchase the same; and I desire you would forthwith
  and without further notice prepare for the use of the army those
  articles to the amount of five hundred pounds, and deliver
  the same to me at St. John's, or at least a part of it almost
  instantaneously, as the soldiers press on faster than provisions.

  I need not inform you that my directions from the Colonies are,
  not to contend with or any way injure or molest the Canadians or
  Indians; but, on the other hand, treat them with the greatest
  friendship and kindness. You will be pleased to communicate the
  same to them, and some of you immediately visit me at this place,
  while others are active in delivering the provisions.

On May 24, 1775, Allen addressed a letter to the Indians of Canada:


  By advice of council of the officers, I recommend our trusty
  and well-beloved friend and brother, Capt. Abraham Ninham of
  Stockbridge, as our embassador of peace to our good brother
  Indians of the four tribes, viz., the Hocnaurigoes, the
  Surgaches, the Canesadaugaus and the Saint Fransawas.

  Loving brothers and friends, I have to inform you that George the
  Third, King of England, has made war with the English Colonies
  in America, who have ever until now been his good subjects, and
  sent his army and killed some of your good friends and brothers
  at Boston, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. Then your
  good brothers in that Province, and in all the Colonies of
  English America, made war with King George and have begun to kill
  the men of his army, and have taken Ticonderoga and Crown Point
  from him, and all the artillery, and also a great sloop which was
  at St. Johns, and all the boats in the lake, and have raised and
  are raising two great armies; one is destined for Boston, and
  the other for the fortresses and department of Lake Champlain,
  to fight the King's troops that oppose the Colonies from Canada;
  and as King George's soldiers killed our brothers and friends in
  a time of peace, I hope, as Indians are good and honest men, you
  will not fight for King George against your friends in America,
  as they have done you no wrong, and desire to live with you as
  brothers. You know it is good for my warriors and Indians too, to
  kill the Regulars, because they first began to kill our brothers
  in this country without cause.

  I was always a friend to Indians and have hunted with them many
  times, and know how to shoot and ambush like Indians, and am a
  great hunter. I want to have your warriors come and see me, and
  help me fight the King's Regular troops. You know they stand
  all along close together rank and file, and my men fight so
  as Indians do, and I want your warriors to join with me and
  my warriors like brothers and ambush the Regulars: if you will
  I will give you money, blankets, tomahawks, knives, paint, and
  anything there is in the army, just like brothers; and I will go
  with you into the woods to scout, and my men and your men will
  sleep together and eat and drink together, and fight Regulars
  because they first killed our brothers and will fight against us;
  therefore I want our brother Indians to help us fight, for I know
  Indians are good warriors and can fight well in the bush.

  Ye know my warriors must fight, but if you, our brother Indians,
  do not fight on either side, we will still be friends and
  brothers; and you may come and hunt in our woods, and come with
  your canoes in the lake, and let us have venison at our forts on
  the lake, and have rum, bread, and what you want, and be like
  brothers. I have sent our friend Winthrop Hoit to treat with you
  on our behalf in friendship. You know him, for he has lived with
  you, and is your adopted son, and is a good man; Captain Ninham
  of Stockbridge and he will tell you about the whole matter more
  than I can write. I hope your warriors will come and see me. So I
  bid all my brother Indians farewell.

  _Colonel of the Green Mountain Boys_.

Two days after the date of this letter Allen sent a copy of it to the
Assembly of Connecticut, saying: "I thought it advisable that the
Honorable Assembly should be informed of all our politicks."

Allen shows great shrewdness in adapting his letters to what he
considers the aboriginal mind. Addressing the Indians constantly as
brothers he appeals to their love of bush-fighting, and as regards
the question of barter, to their love of rum. By his reiteration he
recognizes the childish immaturity of the Indian. Far differently he
addresses the Canadians, to whose reason he appeals and whose sense
of justice he compliments:


  _Countrymen and Friends, the French people of Canada,

  FRIENDS AND FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN:--You are undoubtedly more or less
  acquainted with the unnatural and unhappy controversy subsisting
  between Great Britain and her Colonies, the particulars of
  which in this letter we do not expatiate upon, but refer your
  considerations of the justice and equitableness thereof on the
  part of the Colonies, to the former knowledge that you have of
  this matter. We need only observe that the inhabitants of the
  Colonies view the controversy on their part to be justifiable in
  the sight of God, and all unprejudiced and honest men that have
  or may have opportunity and ability to examine into the merits of
  it. Upon this principle those inhabitants determine to vindicate
  their cause, and maintain their natural and constitutional rights
  and liberties at the expense of their lives and fortunes, but
  have not the least disposition to injure, molest, or in any way
  deprive our fellow-subjects, the Canadians, of their liberty or
  property. Nor have they any design to urge war against them; and
  from all intimations that the inhabitants of the said Colonies
  have received from the Canadians, it has appeared that they were
  alike disposed for friendship and neutrality, and not at all
  disposed to take part with the King's troops in the present civil
  war against the Colonies.

  We were, nevertheless, surprised to hear that a number of about
  thirty Canadians attacked our reconnoitring party consisting of
  four men, fired on them, and pursued them, and obliged them to
  return the fire. This is the account of the party that has since
  arrived at headquarters. We desire to know of any gentlemen
  Canadians the facts of the case, as one story is good until
  another is told. Our general order to the soldiery was, that they
  should not, on pain of death, molest or kill any of your people.
  But if it shall appear, upon examination, that our reconnoitring
  party commenced hostilities against your people, they shall
  suffer agreeable to the sentence of a court-martial; for our
  special orders from the Colonies are to befriend and protect
  you if need be; so that if you desire their friendship you
  are invited to embrace it, for nothing can be more undesirable
  to your friends in the Colonies, than a war with their
  fellow-subjects the Canadians, or with the Indians.

  Hostilities have already begun; to fight with the King's troops
  has become a necessary and incumbent duty; the Colonies cannot
  avoid it. But pray, is it necessary that the Canadians and the
  inhabitants of the English Colonies should butcher one another?
  God forbid! There is no controversy subsisting between you and
  them. Pray let old England and the Colonies fight it out, and
  you, Canadians, stand by and see what an arm of flesh can do.
  We conclude, Saint Luke, Captain McCoy, and other evil-minded
  persons whose interest and inclination is that the Canadians and
  the people of these Colonies should cut one another's throats,
  have inveigled some of the baser sort of your people to attack
  our said reconnoitring party.

Allen signed this letter as "At present the Principal Commander of
the Army."

A copy of it was sent to Mr. Walker at Montreal by Mr. Jeffere.
Another copy was sent to the New York Provincial Congress.

John Brown, a young lawyer of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was the
cause of Ethan Allen's long, terrible captivity. That alone justifies
our curiosity to know all about him. In March, before the war, he
made an eventful trip to Montreal, going along our borders, crossing
the lakes, visiting Bennington, engaging two pilots, contracting
with the foremost men there, spending days investigating the status
of affairs in Canada as to the coming struggle. Reporting to his
employers, Samuel Adams and Dr. Joseph Warren, he says that after
stopping about a fortnight at Albany he was fourteen days journeying
to St. John's, undergoing inconceivable hardships; the lake very
high, the country for twenty miles each side under water; the ice
breaking loose for miles; two days frozen in to an island; "we were
glad to foot it on land;" "there is no prospect of Canada sending
delegates to the Continental Congress." He speaks of his pilot, Peleg
Sunderland, as "an old Indian hunter acquainted with the St. Francis
Indians and their language." The other pilot was a captive many years
ago among the Caughnawaga Indians. This last was Winthrop Hoit, of
Bennington. These two men were famous for their familiarity with
Indian ways and speech, as well as for general prowess, and their
exploits in "beech-sealing" the Yorkers. Several days Sunderland and
Hoit were among the Caughnawagas, studying their manifestations
of feeling toward the colonists. Brown gave letters to Thomas
Walker and Blake, and pamphlets to four curés in La Prairie. He was
kindly received by the local committee, who told him about Canadian
politics, that Governor Carleton was no great politician, a man of
sour, morose temper, and so forth. Brown wrote Adams and Warren he
should not go to Quebec, "as a number of their committee are here,"
but "I shall tarry here some time." "I have established a channel of
correspondence through the New Hampshire Grants which may be depended
on." "One thing I must mention, to be kept as a profound secret.
The fort at Ticonderoga must be seized as soon as possible should
hostilities be committed by the King's troops. _The people on New
Hampshire Grants have engaged to do this business._" This letter was
dated three weeks before the Lexington and Concord fights electrified
the continent.



On July 27th committees of towns met at Dorset to choose a
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, and thus of those Green Mountain
Boys for whose organization Allen had been so active and efficient
with both the Continental and New York Congresses. Seth Warner
received forty-one of the forty-six votes cast. Deep was Allen's
chagrin and mortification, as appears in the following letter to
Governor Trumbull:

  TICONDEROGA, August 3, 1775.

  HONORED SIR:--General Schuyler exerts his utmost in building
  boats and making preparations for the army to advance, as I
  suppose, to St. John's, etc. We have an insufficient store of
  provisions for such an undertaking, though the projection is
  now universally approved. Provisions are hurrying forward, but
  not so fast as I could hope for. General Wooster's corps has
  not arrived. I fear there is some treachery among the New York
  Tory party relative to forwarding the expedition, though I am
  confident that the General is faithful. No troops from New York,
  except some officers, have arrived, though it is given out that
  they will soon be here. The General tells me he does not want
  any more troops till more provisions come to hand, which he is
  hurrying; and ordered the troops under General Wooster, part to
  be billeted in the mean while at Albany and part to mend the road
  from there to Lake George.

  It is indeed an arduous work to furnish an army to prosecute an
  enterprise. In the interim, I am apprehensive, the enemy are
  forming one against us; witness the sailing of the transports
  and two men of war from Boston, as it is supposed for Quebeck.
  Probably, it appears that the King's Troops are discouraged
  of making incursions into the Province of the Massachusetts
  Bay. Likely they will send part of their force to overawe the
  Canadians, and inveigle the Indians into their interest. I
  fear the Colonies have been too slow in their resolutions and
  preparations relative to this department; but hope they may still

  Notwithstanding my zeal and success in my country's cause, the
  old farmers on the New Hampshire Grants (who do not incline
  to go to war) have met in a committee meeting, and in their
  nomination of officers for the regiment of Green Mountain Boys
  (who are quickly to be raised) have wholly omitted me; but as
  the commissions will come from the Continental Congress, I hope
  they will remember me, as I desire to remain in the service, and
  remain your Honor's most obedient and humble servant,


  To the Hon. Jona. Trumbull, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut.

  N. B.--General Schuyler will transmit to your Honors a copy of
  the affidavits of two intelligent friends, who have just arrived
  from Canada. I apprehend that what they have delivered is truth.
  I find myself in the favor of the officers of the Army and the
  young Green Mountain Boys. How the old men came to reject me I
  cannot conceive, inasmuch as I saved them from the encroachments
  of New York.

  E. A.

This Jonathan Trumbull, be it remembered, was the original "Brother

Allen's first connection with the campaign in Canada is explained in
his own narrative:

  Early in the fall of the year, the little army under the command
  of the Generals Schuyler and Montgomery were ordered to advance
  into Canada. I was at Ticonderoga when this order arrived; and
  the General, with most of the field officers, requested me to
  attend them in the expedition; and though at that time I had no
  commission from Congress, yet they engaged me, that I should be
  considered as an officer, the same as though I had a commission;
  and should, as occasion might require, command certain
  detachments of the army. This I considered as an honorable offer,
  and did not hesitate to comply with it.

September 8, 1775, from St. Therese, James Livingston wrote to
General Schuyler:

  Your manifestos came to hand, and despatched them off to the
  different Parishes with all possible care and expedition. The
  Canadians are all friends, and a spirit of freedom seems to reign
  amongst them. Colonel Allen, Major Brown and myself set off this
  morning with a party of Canadians with intention to go to your
  army; but hearing of a party of Indians waiting for us the same
  side of the river, we thought it most prudent to retire in order,
  if possible, to raise a more considerable party of men. We shall
  drop down the River Chambly, as far as my house, where a number
  of Canadians are waiting for us.

September 10, 1775, at Isle-aux-Noix, General Schuyler in his orders
to Colonel Ritzemd, who was going into Canada with five hundred men,

  Colonel Allen and Major Brown have orders to request that
  provisions may be brought to you, which must be punctually paid
  for, for which purpose I have furnished you with the sum of £318
  1s. 10d. in gold.

September 15, 1775, at Isle-aux-Noix, General Schuyler received from
James Livingston a report in which he says:

  Yesterday morning, I sent a party each side of the river, Colonel
  Allen at their head, to take the vessels at Sorel, by surprise
  if possible. Numbers of people flock to them, and make no doubt
  they will carry their point. I have cut off the communication
  from Montreal to Chambly. We have nothing to fear here at present
  but a few seigneurs in the country endeavoring to raise forces. I
  hope Colonel Allen's presence will put a stop to it.

September 8, 1775, at Isle-aux-Noix, Schuyler writes Hancock:

  I hope to hear in a day or two from Colonel Allen and Major
  Brown, who went to deliver my declaration.

This refers to Schuyler's address to the inhabitants of Canada, dated
Isle-aux-Noix, September 5, 1775.

From Isle-aux-Noix, September 14, 1775, Ethan Allen reports to
General Schuyler:

  Set out from Isle-aux-Noix on the 8th instant; arrived at
  Chambly; found the Canadians in that vicinity friendly. They
  guarded me under arms night and day, escorted me through the
  woods as I desired, and showed me every courtesy I could wish
  for. The news of my being in this place excited many captains
  of the Militia and respectable gentlemen of the Canadians to
  visit and converse with me, as I gave out I was sent by General
  Schuyler to manifest his friendly intentions toward them, and
  delivered the General's written manifesto to them to the same
  purpose. I likewise sent a messenger to the chiefs of the
  Caughnawaga Indians, demanding the cause why sundry of the
  Indians had taken up arms against the United Colonies; they had
  sent two of their chiefs to me, who plead that it was contrary
  to the will and orders of their chiefs. The King's troops gave
  them rum and inveigled them to fight against General Schuyler;
  that they had sent their runners and ordered them to depart from
  St. John's, averring their friendship to the Colonies. Meanwhile
  the Sachems held a General Council, sent two of their Captains
  and some beads and a wampum belt as a lasting testimony of their
  friendship, and that they would not take up arms on either side.
  These tokens of friendship were delivered to me, agreeable to
  their ceremony, in a solemn manner, in the presence of a large
  auditory of Canadians, who approved of the league and manifested
  friendship to the Colonies, and testified their good-will on
  account of the advance of the army into Canada. Their fears (as
  they said) were, that our army was too weak to protect them
  against the severity of the English Government, as a defeat
  on our part would expose our friends in Canada to it. In this
  dilemma our friends expressed anxiety of mind. It furthermore
  appeared to me that many of the Canadians were watching the
  scale of power, whose attraction attracted them. In fine, our
  friends in Canada earnestly urged that General Schuyler should
  immediately environ St. John's, and that they would assist in
  cutting off the communication between St. John's and Chambly, and
  between these forts and Montreal. They furthermore assured me
  that they would help our army to provisions, etc., and that if
  our army did not make a conquest of the King's garrisons, they
  would be exposed to the resentment of the English Government,
  which they dreaded, and consequently the attempt of the army into
  Canada would be to them the greatest evil. They further told me
  that some of the inhabitants, that were in their hearts friendly
  to us, would, to extricate themselves, take up arms in favor of
  the Crown; and therefore, that it was of the last importance to
  them, as well as to us, that the army immediately attack St.
  John's; which would cause them to take up arms in our favor.
  Governor Carleton threatens the Canadians with fire and sword,
  except they assist him against the Colonies, and the seigneurs
  urge them to it. They have withstood Carleton and them, and
  keep under arms throughout most of their Parishes, and are now
  anxiously watching the scale of power. This is the situation of
  affairs in Canada, according to my most painful discovery. Given
  under my hand, upon honor, this 14th day of September, 1775.


  To his Excellency General Schuyler.

With one more letter from Allen (to General Montgomery) we will close
his correspondence on the invasion of Canada, which he so strongly
urged, so shrewdly planned, and yet which failed from lack of the
co-operation of others:

  ST. TOURS, September 20, 1775.

  EXCELLENT SIR:--I am now in the Parish of St. Tours, four leagues
  to the south; have two hundred and fifty Canadians under arms;
  as I march they gather fast. These are the objects of taking the
  vessels in Sorel and General Carleton. These objects I pass by to
  assist the army besieging St. John's. If this place be taken the
  country is ours; if we miscarry in this, all other achievements
  will profit but little. I am fearful our army may be too sickly,
  and that the siege may be hard; therefore choose to assist in
  conquering St. John's, which, of consequence, conquers the whole.
  You may rely on it that I shall join you in about three days,
  with three hundred or more Canadian volunteers. I could raise one
  or two thousand in a week's time, but will first visit the army
  with a less number, and if necessary will go again recruiting.
  Those that used to be enemies to our cause come cap in hand to
  me, and I swear by the Lord I can raise three times the number
  of our army in Canada, provided you continue the siege; all
  depends on that. It is the advice of the officers with me, that
  I speedily repair to the army. God grant you wisdom, fortitude
  and every accomplishment of a victorious general; the eyes of all
  America, nay, of Europe, are or will be on the economy of this
  army, and the consequences attending it. I am your most obedient
  humble servant,


  P.S.--I have purchased six hogsheads of rum, and sent a
  sergeant with a small party to deliver it at headquarters. Mr.
  Livingston, and others under him, will provide what fresh beef
  you need; as to bread and flour, I am forwarding what I can.
  You may rely on my utmost attention to this object, as well as
  raising auxiliaries. I know the ground is swampy and bad for
  raising batteries, but pray let no object of obstructions be
  insurmountable. The glory of a victory, which will be attended
  with such important consequences, will crown all our fatigue,
  risks, and labors; to fail of victory will be an eternal
  disgrace; but to obtain it will elevate us on the wings of fame.

  Yours, etc.,


On September 17th, three and a half months after Allen urged the
invasion of Canada, Montgomery began the siege of St. John's. Two or
three days later Warner arrived with his regiment of Green Mountain
Boys. Arnold, not behind in energy and daring, captured a British

On September 24th Allen, with about eighty men, chiefly Canadians,
met Major John Brown, with about two hundred Americans and Canadians,
and Brown proposed to attack Montreal. It was agreed that Brown
should cross the St. Lawrence that night above the city, while Allen
crossed it below. Allen added about thirty English-Americans to his
force and crossed. The cause of Brown's failure to meet him has never
been explained. Several hundred English-Canadians and Indians with
forty regular soldiers attacked Allen, and for two hours he bravely
and skilfully fought a force several times larger than his own. Most
of Allen's Canadian allies deserted him, and with thirty of his
men he was finally captured, loaded with irons, and transported to

Thus, within five months, Allen, who had never before seen a battle
or an army, who had never been trained as a soldier, becomes famous
by the capture of Ticonderoga; is influential in preventing the
abandonment of Ticonderoga; is foremost in the institution of a
regiment of Green Mountain Boys; is rejected by that regiment as its
commanding officer; is successful in raising the Canadians; urges
Congress to invade Canada; fails from lack of support in his attack
on Montreal; in five short months, fame, defeat, and bitter captivity.

Warner's announcement to Montgomery is as follows:

  LA PRAIRIE, September 27, 1775.

  May it please your Honor, I have the disagreeable news to
  write you that Colonel Allen hath met a defeat by a stronger
  force which sallied out of the town of Montreal after he had
  crossed the river about a mile below the town. I have no certain
  knowledge as yet whether he is killed, taken, or fled; but his
  defeat hath put the French people into great consternation. They
  are much concerned for fear of a company coming over against us.
  Furthermore the Indian chiefs were at Montreal at the time of
  Allen's battle, and there were a number of Caughnawaga Indians
  in the battle against Allen, and the people are very fearful of
  the Indians. There were six in here last night, I suppose sent
  as spies. I asked the Indians concerning their appearing against
  us in every battle; their answer to me was, that Carleton made
  them drunk and drove them to it; but they said they would do so
  no more. I should think it proper to keep a party at Longueil,
  and my party is not big enough to divide. If I must tarry here,
  I should be glad of my regiment, for my party is made up with
  different companies in different regiments, and my regulation is
  not as good as I could wish, for subordination to your orders is
  my pleasure. I am, sir, with submission, your humble servant,


  To General Montgomery.

  This moment arrived from Colonel Allen's defeat, Captain Duggan
  with the following intelligence: Colonel Allen is absolutely
  taken captive to Montreal with a few more, and about two or three
  killed, and about as many wounded. The living are not all come
  in. Something of a slaughter made among the King's troops. From
  yours to serve,


Schuyler, Montgomery, and Livingston, in letters written after
the defeat, comment on Allen's imprudence in making the attack
single-handed, but no mention is made of Brown, with whose force
Allen expected to be re-enforced, and with whose help the tide of
battle might have been turned and Canada's future might have been
entirely changed.



The story of Allen's captivity is best told in his own vivid
narrative as follows:

  On the morning of the 24th day of September I set out with my
  guard of about eighty men, from Longueuil, to go to Laprairie,
  from whence I determined to go to General Montgomery's camp; I
  had not advanced two miles before I met with Major Brown, who has
  since been advanced to the rank of a colonel, who desired me to
  halt, saying that he had something of importance to communicate
  to me and my confidants; upon which I halted the party and went
  into a house, and took a private room with him and several of
  my associates, where Colonel Brown proposed that, provided I
  would return to Longueuil and procure some canoes, so as to
  cross the river St. Lawrence a little north of Montreal, he
  would cross it a little to the south of the town, with near two
  hundred men, as he had boats sufficient, and that we could make
  ourselves masters of Montreal. This plan was readily approved by
  me and those in council, and in consequence of which I returned
  to Longueuil, collected a few canoes, and added about thirty
  English-Americans to my party and crossed the river in the night
  of the 24th, agreeably to the proposed plan.

  My whole party at this time consisted of about one hundred and
  ten men, near eighty of whom were Canadians. We were most of
  the night crossing the river, as we had so few canoes that they
  had to pass and repass three times to carry my party across.
  Soon after daybreak, I set a guard between me and the town, with
  special orders to let no person pass or repass them, another
  guard on the other end of the road with like directions; in the
  mean time, I reconnoitred the best ground to make a defence,
  expecting Colonel Brown's party was landed on the other side of
  the town, he having the day before agreed to give three huzzas
  with his men early in the morning, which signal I was to return,
  that we might each know that both parties were landed; but the
  sun by this time being nearly two hours high, and the sign
  failing, I began to conclude myself to be in a præmunire, and
  would have crossed the river back again, but I knew the enemy
  would have discovered such an attempt; and as there could not
  more than one-third part of my troops cross at a time, the other
  two-thirds would of course fall into their hands. This I could
  not reconcile to my own feelings as a man, much less as an
  officer; I therefore concluded to maintain the ground if possible
  and all to fare alike. In consequence of this resolution, I
  dispatched two messengers, one to Laprairie to Colonel Brown, and
  the other to L'Assomption, a French settlement, to Mr. Walker who
  was in our interest, requesting their speedy assistance, giving
  them at the same time to understand my critical situation. In
  the mean time, sundry persons came to my guards pretending to
  be friends, but were by them taken prisoners and brought to me.
  These I ordered to confinement until their friendship could be
  further confirmed; for I was jealous they were spies, as they
  proved to be afterward. One of the principal of them making his
  escape, exposed the weakness of my party, which was the final
  cause of my misfortune; for I have been since informed that Mr.
  Walker, agreeably to my desire, exerted himself, and had raised a
  considerable number of men for my assistance, which brought him
  into difficulty afterward, but upon hearing of my misfortune he
  disbanded them again.

  The town of Montreal was in a great tumult. General Carleton
  and the royal party made every preparation to go on board their
  vessels of force, as I was afterward informed, but the spy
  escaped from my guard to the town occasioned an alteration in
  their policy and emboldened General Carleton to send the force
  which had there collected out against me. I had previously
  chosen my ground, but when I saw the number of the enemy as
  they sallied out of the town I perceived it would be a day of
  trouble, if not of rebuke; but I had no chance to flee, as
  Montreal was situated on an island and the St. Lawrence cut off
  my communication to General Montgomery's camp. I encouraged
  my soldiers to bravely defend themselves, that we should soon
  have help, and that we should be able to keep the ground if no
  more. This and much more I affirmed with the greatest seeming
  assurance, and which in reality I thought to be in some degree

  The enemy consisted of not more than forty regular troops,
  together with a mixed multitude, chiefly Canadians, with a number
  of English who lived in town, and some Indians; in all to the
  number of five hundred.

  The reader will notice that most of my party were Canadians;
  indeed, it was a motley parcel of soldiery which composed both
  parties. However, the enemy began to attack from wood-piles,
  ditches, buildings, and such like places, at a considerable
  distance, and I returned the fire from a situation more than
  equally advantageous. The attack began between two and three
  o'clock in the afternoon, just before which I ordered a volunteer
  by the name of Richard Young, with a detachment of nine men as
  a flank guard, which, under the cover of the bank of the river,
  could not only annoy the enemy, but at the same time serve as a
  flank guard to the left of the main body.

  The fire continued for some time on both sides; and I was
  confident that such a remote method of attack could not carry
  the ground, provided it should be continued till night; but near
  half the body of the enemy began to flank round to my right, upon
  which I ordered a volunteer by the name of John Dugan, who had
  lived many years in Canada and understood the French language, to
  detach about fifty Canadians, and post himself at an advantageous
  ditch which was on my right, to prevent my being surrounded.
  He advanced with the detachment, but instead of occupying the
  post made his escape, as did likewise Mr. Young upon the left,
  with their detachments. I soon perceived that the enemy was in
  possession of the ground which Dugan should have occupied. At
  this time I had but about forty-five men with me, some of whom
  were wounded; the enemy kept closing round me, nor was it in
  my power to prevent it; by which means my situation, which was
  advantageous in the first part of the attack, ceased to be so in
  the last; and being entirely surrounded with such vast, unequal
  numbers, I ordered a retreat, but found that those of the enemy
  who were of the country, and their Indians, could run as fast
  as my men, though the regulars could not. Thus I retreated near
  a mile, and some of the enemy with the savages kept flanking
  me, and others crowded hard in the rear. In fine, I expected
  in a very short time to try the world of spirits; for I was
  apprehensive that no quarter would be given to me, and therefore
  had determined to sell my life as dear as I could. One of the
  enemy's officers boldly pressing in the rear, discharged his
  fusee at me; the ball whistled near me, as did many others that
  day. I returned the salute and missed him, as running had put
  us both out of breath; for I concluded we were not frightened.
  I then saluted him with my tongue in a harsh manner, and told
  him that inasmuch as his numbers were so far superior to mine,
  I would surrender provided I could be treated with honor and be
  assured of a good quarter for myself and the men who were with
  me; and he answered I should; another officer, coming up directly
  after, confirmed the treaty; upon which I agreed to surrender
  with my party, which then consisted of thirty-one effective men
  and seven wounded. I ordered them to ground their arms, which
  they did.

  The officer I capitulated with then directed me and my party to
  advance toward him, which was done; I handed him my sword, and
  in half a minute after a savage, part of whose head was shaved,
  being almost naked and painted, with feathers intermixed with the
  hair of the other side of his head, came running to me with an
  incredible swiftness; he seemed to advance with more than mortal
  speed; as he approached near me, his hellish visage was beyond
  all description; snakes' eyes appear innocent in comparison to
  his; his features distorted, malice, death, murder, and the wrath
  of devils and damned spirits are the emblems of his countenance,
  and in less than twelve feet of me, presented his firelock; at
  the instant of his present, I twitched the officer to whom I
  gave my sword between me and the savage; but he flew round with
  great fury, trying to single me out to shoot me without killing
  the officer, but by this time I was nearly as nimble as he,
  keeping the officer in such a position that his danger was my
  defence; but in less than half a minute, I was attacked by just
  such another imp of hell. Then I made the officer fly around with
  incredible velocity for a few seconds of time, when I perceived
  a Canadian who had lost one eye, as appeared afterward, taking
  my part against the savages; and in an instant an Irishman
  came to my assistance with a fixed bayonet, and drove away the
  fiends, swearing by ---- he would kill them. This tragic scene
  composed my mind. The escaping from so awful a death made even
  imprisonment happy; the more so as my conquerors on the field
  treated me with great civility and politeness.

  The regular officers said that they were very happy to see
  Colonel Allen. I answered them that I should rather choose to
  have seen them at General Montgomery's camp. The gentlemen
  replied that they gave full credit to what I said, and as I
  walked to the town, which was, as I should guess, more than two
  miles, a British officer walking at my right hand and one of
  the French noblesse at my left; the latter of which, in the
  action, had his eyebrow carried away by a glancing shot, but was
  nevertheless very merry and facetious, and no abuse was offered
  me till I came to the barrack yard at Montreal, where I met
  General Prescott, who asked me my name, which I told him; he then
  asked me whether I was that Colonel Allen who took Ticonderoga.
  I told him that I was the very man; then he shook his cane over
  my head, calling me many hard names, among which he frequently
  used the word rebel, and put himself in a great rage. I told him
  he would do well not to cane me, for I was not accustomed to it,
  and shook my fist at him, telling him that was the beetle of
  mortality for him if he offered to strike; upon which Captain
  M'Cloud of the British, pulled him by the skirt and whispered
  to him, as he afterward told me, to this import, that it was
  inconsistent with his honor to strike a prisoner. He then ordered
  a sergeant's command with fixed bayonets to come forward and kill
  thirteen Canadians who were included in the treaty aforesaid.

  It cut me to the heart to see the Canadians in so hard a case, in
  consequence of their having been true to me; they were wringing
  their hands, saying their prayers, as I concluded, and expected
  immediate death. I therefore stepped between the executioners and
  the Canadians, opened my clothes, and told General Prescott to
  thrust his bayonet into my breast, for I was the sole cause of
  the Canadians taking up arms.

  The guard in the mean time, rolling their eyeballs from the
  General to me, as though impatiently waiting his dread command
  to sheath their bayonets in my heart; I could however, plainly
  discern, that he was in a suspense and quandary about the matter;
  this gave me additional hopes of succeeding; for my design was
  not to die, but to save the Canadians by a finesse. The general
  stood a minute, when he made the following reply: "I will not
  execute you now, but you shall grace a halter at Tyburn, ----

  I remember I disdained his mentioning such a place; I was,
  notwithstanding, a little pleased with the expression, as it
  significantly conveyed to me the idea of postponing the present
  appearance of death; besides, his sentence was by no means final
  as to "gracing a halter," although I had anxiety about it after
  I landed in England, as the reader will find in the course of
  this history. General Prescott then ordered one of his officers
  to take me on board the _Gaspee_ schooner of war and confine me,
  hands and feet, in irons, which was done the same afternoon I was

  The action continued an hour and three-quarters by the watch, and
  I know not to this day how many of my men were killed, though I
  am certain there were but few. If I remember right, seven were
  wounded; one of them, Wm. Stewart by name, was wounded by a
  savage with a tomahawk after he was taken prisoner and disarmed,
  but was rescued by some of the generous enemy, and so far
  recovered of his wounds that he afterward went with the other
  prisoners to England.

  Of the enemy, were killed a Major Carden, who had been wounded in
  eleven different battles, and an eminent merchant, Patterson, of
  Montreal, and some others, but I never knew their whole loss, as
  their accounts were different. I am apprehensive that it is rare
  that so much ammunition was expended and so little execution done
  by it; though such of my party as stood the ground, behaved with
  great fortitude--much exceeding that of the enemy--but were not
  the best of marksmen, and, I am apprehensive, were all killed or
  taken; the wounded were all put into the hospital at Montreal,
  and those that were not were put on board of different vessels in
  the river and shackled together by pairs, viz., two men fastened
  together by one handcuff being closely fixed to one wrist of
  each of them, and treated with the greatest severity, nay, as

  I now come to the description of the irons which were put on
  me. The handcuff was of common size and form, but my leg irons
  I should imagine would weigh thirty pounds; the bar was eight
  feet long and very substantial; the shackles which encompassed
  my ankles were very tight. I was told by the officer who put
  them on that it was the king's plate, and I heard other of their
  officers say that it would weigh forty weight. The irons were
  so close upon my ankles, that I could not lay down in any other
  manner than on my back. I was put into the lowest and most
  wretched part of the vessel, where I got the favor of a chest
  to sit on; the same answered for my bed at night; and having
  procured some little blocks of the guard, who day and night, with
  fixed bayonets watched over me, to lie under each end of the
  large bar of my leg irons, to preserve my ankles from galling
  while I sat on the chest or lay back on the same, though most
  of the time, night and day, I sat on it; but at length having a
  desire to lie down on my side, which the closeness of my irons
  forbid, I desired the captain to loosen them for that purpose,
  but was denied the favor. The captain's name was Royal, who did
  not seem to be an ill-natured man, but oftentimes said that his
  express orders were to treat me with such severity, which was
  disagreeable to his own feelings; nor did he ever insult me,
  though many others who came on board did. One of the officers, by
  the name of Bradley, was very generous to me; he would often send
  me victuals from his own table; nor did a day fail, but he sent
  me a good drink of grog.

  The reader is now invited back to the time I was put into irons.
  I requested the privilege to write to General Prescott, which was
  granted. I reminded him of the kind and generous manner of my
  treatment of the prisoners I took at Ticonderoga; the injustice
  and ungentlemanlike usage I had met with from him, and demanded
  better usage, but received no answer from him. I soon after
  wrote to General Carleton, which met the same success. In the
  mean while, many of those who were permitted to see me were very

  I was confined in the manner I have related, on board the
  _Gaspee_ schooner, about six weeks, during which time I was
  obliged to throw out plenty of extravagant language, which
  answered certain purposes, at that time, better than to grace a

  To give an instance: upon being insulted, in a fit of anger, I
  twisted off a nail with my teeth, which I took to be a ten-penny
  nail; it went through the mortise of the band of my handcuff,
  and at the same time I swaggered over those who abused me,
  particularly a Doctor Dace, who told me that I was outlawed by
  New York, and deserved death for several years past; was at last
  fully ripened for the halter, and in a fair way to obtain it.
  When I challenged him, he excused himself, in consequence, as
  he said, of my being a criminal; but I flung such a flood of
  language at him that it shocked him and the spectators, for my
  anger was very great. I heard one say, "Him! he can eat iron!"
  After that, a small padlock was fixed to the handcuff instead
  of the nail, and as they were mean-spirited in their treatment
  to me, so it appeared to me that they were equally timorous and

  I was after sent with the prisoners taken with me to an armed
  vessel in the river, which lay off against Quebec under the
  command of Captain M'Cloud of the British, who treated me in a
  very generous and obliging manner, and according to my rank; in
  about twenty-four hours I bid him farewell with regret, but my
  good fortune still continued. The name of the captain of the
  vessel I was put on board was Littlejohn, who with his officers
  behaved in a polite, generous, and friendly manner. I lived with
  them in the cabin and fared on the best, my irons being taken
  off, contrary to the order he had received from the commanding
  officer, but Captain Littlejohn swore that a brave man should not
  be used as a rascal on board his ship.

  That I found myself in possession of happiness once more, and the
  evils I had lately suffered gave me an uncommon relish for it.

  Captain Littlejohn used to go to Quebec almost every day in order
  to pay his respects to certain gentlemen and ladies; being there
  on a certain day, he happened to meet with some disagreeable
  treatment as he imagined, from a Lieutenant of a man-of-war and
  one word brought on another, until the Lieutenant challenged him
  to a duel on the plains of Abraham. Captain Littlejohn was a
  gentleman, who entertained a high sense of honor, and could do no
  less than accept the challenge.

  At nine o'clock the next morning they were to fight. The captain
  returned in the evening, and acquainted his lieutenant and me
  with the affair. His lieutenant was a high-blooded Scotchman,
  as well as himself, who replied to his captain that he should
  not want for a second. With this I interrupted him and gave the
  captain to understand that since an opportunity had presented, I
  would be glad to testify my gratitude to him by acting the part
  of a faithful second; on which he gave me his hand, and said that
  he wanted no better man. Says he, I am a king's officer, and you
  a prisoner under my care; you must therefore go with me to the
  place appointed in disguise, and added further: "You must engage
  me, upon the honor of a gentleman, that whether I die or live,
  or whatever happens, provided you live, that you will return to
  my lieutenant on board this ship." All this I solemnly engaged
  him. The combatants were to discharge each a pocket pistol, and
  then to fall on with their iron-hilted muckle whangers, and one
  of that sort was allotted for me; but some British officers, who
  interposed early in the morning, settled the controversy without

  Now having enjoyed eight or nine days' happiness from the polite
  and generous treatment of Captain Littlejohn and his officers,
  I was obliged to bid them farewell, parting with them in as
  friendly a manner as we had lived together, which, to the best
  of my memory, was the eleventh of November; when a detachment of
  General Arnold's little army appeared on Point Levi, opposite
  Quebec, who had performed an extraordinary march through a
  wilderness country with design to have surprised the capital of
  Canada; I was then taken on board a vessel called the _Adamant_,
  together with the prisoners taken with me, and put under the
  power of an English merchant from London, whose name was Brook
  Watson; a man of malicious and cruel disposition, and who was
  probably excited, in the exercise of his malevolence, by a junto
  of tories who sailed with him to England; among whom were Colonel
  Guy Johnson, Colonel Closs, and their attendants and associates,
  to the number of about thirty.

  All the ship's crew, Colonel Closs in his personal behavior
  excepted, behaved toward the prisoners with that spirit of
  bitterness which is the peculiar characteristic of tories when
  they have the friends of America in their power, measuring their
  loyalty to the English king by the barbarity, fraud and deceit
  which they exercised toward the whigs.

  A small place in the vessel, inclosed with white-oak plank,
  was assigned for the prisoners, and for me among the rest. I
  should imagine that it was not more than twenty feet one way,
  and twenty-two the other. Into this place we were all, to the
  number of thirty-four, thrust and handcuffed, two prisoners more
  being added to our number, and were provided with two excrement
  tubs; in this circumference we were obliged to eat and perform
  the offices of evacuation during the voyage to England, and
  were insulted by every blackguard sailor and tory on board, in
  the cruellest manner; but what is the most surprising thing
  is, that not one of us died in the passage. When I was first
  ordered to go into the filthy inclosure, through a small sort
  of door, I positively refused, and endeavored to reason the
  before-named Brook Watson out of a conduct so derogatory to
  every sentiment of honor and humanity, but all to no purpose,
  my men being forced in the den already; and the rascal who had
  the charge of the prisoners commanded me to go immediately in
  among the rest. He further added, that the place was good enough
  for a rebel; that it was impertinent for a capital offender
  to talk of honor or humanity; that anything short of a halter
  was too good for me, and that would be my portion soon after I
  landed in England, for which purpose only I was sent thither.
  About the same time a lieutenant among the tories insulted me
  in a grievous manner, saying I ought to have been executed for
  my rebellion against New York, and spit in my face, upon which,
  though I was in handcuffs, I sprang at him with both hands and
  knocked him partly down, but he scrambled along into the cabin,
  and I after him; there he got under the protection of some men
  with fixed bayonets, who were ordered to make ready to drive
  me into the place aforementioned. I challenged him to fight,
  notwithstanding the impediments that were on my hands, and had
  the exalted pleasure to see the rascal tremble for fear; his name
  I have forgot, but Watson ordered his guard to get me into the
  place with the other prisoners, dead or alive; and I had almost
  as lieve died as do it, standing it out till they environed me
  round with bayonets, and brutish, prejudiced, abandoned wretches
  they were, from whom I could expect nothing but wounds or death;
  however, I told them that they were good honest fellows, that I
  could not blame them; that I was only in dispute with a calico
  merchant, who knew not how to behave toward a gentleman of
  the military establishment. This was spoken rather to appease
  them for my own preservation, as well as to treat Watson with
  contempt; but still I found they were determined to force me
  into the wretched circumstances, which their prejudiced and
  depraved minds had prepared for me; therefore, rather than die I
  submitted to their indignities, being drove with bayonets into
  the filthy dungeon with the other prisoners, where we were denied
  fresh water, except a small allowance, which was very inadequate
  to our wants; and in consequence of the stench of the place,
  each of us was soon followed with a diarrhœa and fever, which
  occasioned intolerable thirst. When we asked for water, we were,
  most commonly, instead of obtaining it, insulted and derided;
  and to add to all the horrors of the place, it was so dark that
  we could not see each other, and were overspread with body-lice.
  We had, notwithstanding these severities, full allowance of salt
  provisions, and a gill of rum per day; the latter of which was of
  the utmost service to us, and, probably, was the means of saving
  several of our lives. About forty days we existed in this manner,
  when the land's end of England was discovered from the mast head;
  soon after which, the prisoners were taken from their gloomy
  abode, being permitted to see the light of the sun, and breathe
  fresh air, which to us was very refreshing. The day following we
  landed at Falmouth.

  A few days before I was taken prisoner I shifted my clothes, by
  which I happened to be taken in a Canadian dress, viz., a short
  fawn-skin jacket, double breasted, an undervest and breeches of
  sagathy, worsted stockings, a decent pair of shoes, two plain
  shirts, and a red worsted cap; this was all the clothing I had,
  in which I made my appearance in England.

  When the prisoners were landed, multitudes of the citizens of
  Falmouth, excited by curiosity, crowded to see us, which was
  equally gratifying to us. I saw numbers on the house tops and the
  rising adjacent grounds were covered with them, of both sexes.
  The throng was so great, that the king's officers were obliged to
  draw their swords, and force a passage to Pendennis castle, which
  was near a mile from the town, where we were closely confined, in
  consequence of orders from General Carleton, who then commanded
  in Canada.



  The rascally Brook Watson then set out for London in great haste,
  expecting the reward of his zeal; but the ministry received him,
  as I have been since informed, rather coolly; but the minority in
  parliament took advantage, arguing that the opposition of America
  to Great Britain was not a rebellion. If it is, say they, why do
  you not execute Colonel Allen according to law? but the majority
  argued that I ought to be executed, and that the opposition
  was really a rebellion, but that policy obliged them not to do
  it, inasmuch as the congress had then most prisoners in their
  power; so that my being sent to England, for the purpose of being
  executed, and necessity restraining them, was rather a foil on
  their laws and authority, and they consequently disapproved of my
  being sent thither. But I had never heard the least hint of those
  debates in parliament, or of the working of their policy, until
  some time after I left England.

  Consequently the reader will readily conceive I was anxious
  about my preservation, knowing that I was in the power of a
  haughty and cruel nation considered as such. Therefore, the first
  proposition which I determined in my own mind was, that humanity
  and moral suasion would not be consulted in the determining of my
  fate; and those that daily came in great numbers out of curiosity
  to see me, both gentle and simple, united in this, that I would
  be hanged. A gentleman from America, by the name of Temple, and
  who was friendly to me, just whispered to me in the ear, and told
  me that bets were laid in London, that I would be executed; he
  likewise privately gave me a guinea, but durst say but little to

  However, agreeably to my first negative proposition, that
  moral virtue would not influence my destiny, I had recourse to
  stratagem, which I was in hopes would move in the circle of
  their policy. I requested of the commander of the castle, the
  privilege of writing to congress, who, after consulting with an
  officer that lived in town, of a superior rank, permitted me to
  write. I wrote in the fore part of the letter, a short narrative
  of my ill-treatment; but withal let them know that, though I
  was treated as a criminal in England, and continued in irons,
  together with those taken with me, yet it was, in consequence
  of the orders which the commander of the castle received from
  General Carleton, and therefore desired congress to desist from
  matters of retaliation, until they should know the result of
  the government in England respecting their treatment toward me,
  and the prisoners with me, and govern themselves accordingly,
  with a particular request that, if retaliation should be found
  necessary, it might be exercised not according to the smallness
  of my character in America, but in proportion to the importance
  of the cause for which I suffered. This is, according to my
  present recollection, the substance of the letter inscribed: "To
  the illustrious Continental Congress." This letter was written
  with the view that it should be sent to the ministry at London,
  rather than to congress, with a design to intimidate the haughty
  English government, and screen my neck from the halter.

  The next day the officer, from whom I obtained license to write,
  came to see me and frowned on me on account of the impudence
  of the letter, as he phrased it, and further added, "Do you
  think that we are fools in England, and would send your letter
  to congress, with instructions to retaliate on our own people?
  I have sent your letter to Lord North." This gave me inward
  satisfaction, though I carefully concealed it with a pretended
  resentment, for I found that I had come Yankee over him, and that
  the letter had gone to the identical person I designed it for.
  Nor do I know to this day, but that it had the desired effect,
  though I have not heard anything of the letter since.

  My personal treatment by Lieutenant Hamilton, who commanded
  the castle, was very generous. He sent me every day a fine
  breakfast and dinner from his own table, and a bottle of good
  wine. Another aged gentleman, whose name I cannot recollect,
  sent me a good supper. But there was no distinction between me
  and the privates; we all lodged in a sort of Dutch bunks, in one
  common apartment, and were allowed straw. The privates were well
  supplied with provisions, and with me, took effectual measures to
  rid themselves of lice.

  I could not but feel, inwardly, extremely anxious for my fate.
  This I, however, concealed from the prisoners, as well as from
  the enemy, who were perpetually shaking the halter at me. I
  nevertheless treated them with scorn and contempt; and having
  sent my letter to the ministry, could conceive of nothing more
  in my power but to keep up my spirits, behave in a daring,
  soldier-like manner, that I might exhibit a good sample of
  American fortitude. Such a conduct, I judged, would have a
  more probable tendency to my preservation than concession and
  timidity. This, therefore, was my deportment: and I had lastly
  determined in my mind, that if a cruel death must inevitably
  be my portion, I would face it undaunted; and though I greatly
  rejoice that I returned to my country and friends, and to see the
  power and pride of Great Britain humbled, yet I am confident I
  could then have died without the least appearance of dismay.

  I now clearly recollect that my mind was so resolved that I would
  not have trembled or shown the least fear, as I was sensible
  that it could not alter my fate, nor do more than reproach my
  memory, make my last act despicable to my enemies, and eclipse
  the other actions of my life. For I reasoned thus, that nothing
  was more common than for men to die with their friends around
  them, weeping and lamenting over them, but not able to help them,
  which was in reality not different in the consequence of it from
  such a death as I was apprehensive of; and as death was the
  natural consequence of animal life to which the laws of nature
  subject mankind, to be timorous and uneasy as to the event and
  manner of it was inconsistent with the character of a philosopher
  and soldier. The cause I was engaged in I ever viewed worthy
  hazarding my life for, nor was I, in the most critical moments
  of trouble, sorry that I engaged in it; and as to the world of
  spirits, though I knew nothing of the mode or manner of it, I
  expected nevertheless, when I should arrive at such a world, that
  I should be as well treated as other gentlemen of my merit.

  Among the great numbers of people who came to the castle to see
  the prisoners, some gentlemen told me that they had come fifty
  miles on purpose to see me, and desired to ask me a number of
  questions, and to make free with me in conversation. I gave for
  answer that I chose freedom in every sense of the word. Then one
  of them asked me what my occupation in life had been. I answered
  him, that in my younger days I had studied divinity but was a
  conjuror by profession. He replied that I conjured wrong at
  the time I was taken; and I was obliged to own that I mistook
  a figure at that time, but that I had conjured them out of
  Ticonderoga. This was a place of great notoriety in England, so
  that the joke seemed to go in my favor.

  It was a common thing for me to be taken out of close
  confinement, into a spacious green in the castle, or rather
  parade, where numbers of gentlemen and ladies were ready to see
  and hear me. I often entertained such audiences with harangues on
  the impracticability of Great Britain's conquering the colonies
  of America. At one of these times I asked a gentleman for a bowl
  of punch, and he ordered his servant to bring it, which he did,
  and offered it to me, but I refused to take it from the hand of
  his servant; he then gave it to me with his own hand, refusing
  to drink with me in consequence of my being a state criminal.
  However, I took the punch and drank it all down at one draught,
  and handed the gentleman the bowl; this made the spectators as
  well as myself merry.

  I expatiated on American freedom. This gained the resentment of
  a young beardless gentleman of the company, who gave himself
  very great airs, and replied that he knew the Americans very
  well, and was certain they could not bear the smell of powder.
  I replied that I accepted it as a challenge, and was ready to
  convince him on the spot that an American could bear the smell
  of powder; at which he answered that he should not put himself
  on a par with me. I then demanded him to treat the character
  of the Americans with due respect. He answered that I was an
  Irishman; but I assured him that I was a full-blooded Yankee, and
  in fine bantered him so much, that he left me in possession of
  the ground, and the laugh went against him. Two clergymen came to
  see me, and inasmuch as they behaved with civility, I returned
  them the same. We discoursed on several parts of moral philosophy
  and Christianity; and they seemed to be surprised that I should
  be acquainted with such topics, or that I should understand a
  syllogism or regular mode of argumentation. I am apprehensive
  my Canadian dress contributed not a little to the surprise and
  excitement of curiosity: to see a gentleman in England regularly
  dressed and well behaved would be no sight at all; but such a
  rebel as they were pleased to call me, it is probable, was never
  before seen in England.

  The prisoners were landed at Falmouth a few days before
  Christmas, and ordered on board of the _Solebay_ frigate, Captain
  Symonds, on the eighth day of January, 1776, when our hand
  irons were taken off. This remove was in consequence, as I have
  been since informed, of a writ of habeas corpus, which had been
  procured by some gentlemen in England, in order to obtain me my

  The _Solebay_, with sundry other men-of-war and about forty
  transports, rendezvoused at the cove of Cork, in Ireland, to take
  in provisions and water.

  When we were first brought on board, Captain Symonds ordered all
  the prisoners and most of the hands on board to go on the deck,
  and caused to be read in their hearing a certain code of laws or
  rules for the regulation and ordering of their behavior; and then
  in a sovereign manner, ordered the prisoners, me in particular,
  off the deck and never to come on it again: for, said he, this
  is a place for gentlemen to walk. So I went off, an officer
  following me, who told me he would show me the place allotted to
  me, and took me down to the cabin tier, saying to me this is your

  Prior to this I had taken cold, by which I was in an ill state
  of health, and did not say much to the officer; but stayed there
  that night, consulted my policy, and I found I was in an evil
  case: that a captain of a man-of-war was more arbitrary than a
  king, as he could view his territory with a look of his eye, and
  a movement of his finger commanded obedience. I felt myself more
  desponding than I had done at any time before; for I concluded it
  to be a government scheme, to do that clandestinely which policy
  forbid to be done under sanction of any public justice and law.

  However, two days after, I shaved and cleansed myself as well as
  I could, and went on deck. The captain spoke to me in a great
  rage, and said: "Did I not order you not to come on deck?" I
  answered him, that at the same time he said, "that it was the
  place for gentlemen to walk; that I was Colonel Allen, but had
  not been properly introduced to him." He replied, "---- ----
  you, sir, be careful not to walk the same side of the deck
  that I do." This gave me encouragement, and ever after that I
  walked in the manner he had directed, except when he, at certain
  times afterward, had ordered me off in a passion, and I then
  would directly afterward go on again, telling him to command
  his slaves; that I was a gentleman and had a right to walk the
  deck; yet when he expressly ordered me off I obeyed, not out of
  obedience to him, but to set an example to the ship's crew, who
  ought to obey him.

  To walk to the windward side of the deck is, according to custom,
  the prerogative of the captain of the man-of-war, though he,
  sometimes, nay commonly, walks with his lieutenants, when no
  strangers are by. When a captain from some other man-of-war comes
  on board, the captains walk to the windward side, and the other
  gentlemen to the leeward.

  It was but a few nights I lodged in the cabin tier before I
  gained an acquaintance with the master of arms; his name was
  Gillegan, an Irishman, who was a generous and well-disposed man,
  and in a friendly manner made me an offer of living with him in a
  little berth, which was allotted him between decks, and inclosed
  in canvas; his preferment on board was about equal to that of
  a sergeant in a regiment. I was comparatively happy in the
  acceptance of his clemency, and lived with him in friendship till
  the frigate anchored in the harbor of Cape Fear, North Carolina,
  in America.

  Nothing of material consequence happened till the fleet
  rendezvoused at the cove of Cork, except a violent storm which
  brought old hardy sailors to their prayers. It was soon rumored
  in Cork that I was on board the _Solebay_, with a number of
  prisoners from America, upon which Messrs. Clark & Hays,
  merchants in company, and a number of other benevolently disposed
  gentlemen, contributed largely to the relief and support of the
  prisoners, who were thirty-four in number, and in very needy
  circumstances. A suit of clothes from head to foot, including
  an overcoat or surtout, and two shirts were bestowed upon each
  of them. My suit I received in superfine broadcloth, sufficient
  for two jackets and two pairs of breeches, overplus of a suit
  throughout, eight fine Holland shirts and socks ready made, with
  a number of pairs of silk and worsted hose, two pairs of shoes,
  two beaver hats, one of which was sent me, richly laced with
  gold, by James Bonwell. The Irish gentlemen furthermore made a
  large gratuity of wines of the best sort, spirits, gin, loaf and
  brown sugar, tea and chocolate, with a large round of pickled
  beef, and a number of fat turkies, with many other articles,
  for my sea stores, too tedious to mention here. To the privates
  they bestowed on each man two pounds of tea and six pounds of
  brown sugar. These articles were received on board at a time
  when the captain and first lieutenant were gone on shore,
  by the permission of the second lieutenant, a handsome young
  gentleman, who was then under twenty-one years of age; his name
  was Douglass, son of Admiral Douglass, as I was informed.

  As this munificence was so unexpected and plentiful, I may
  add needful, it impressed on my mind the highest sense of
  gratitude toward my benefactors; for I was not only supplied
  with the necessaries and conveniences of life, but with the
  grandeurs and superfluities of it. Mr. Hays, one of the donators
  before-mentioned, came on board and behaved in the most obliging
  manner, telling me that he hoped my troubles were past, for that
  the gentlemen of Cork determined to make my sea stores equal
  to that of the captain of the _Solebay_; he made an offer of
  live-stock and wherewith to support them; but I knew this would
  be denied. And to crown all, did send me by another person fifty
  guineas, but I could not reconcile receiving the whole to my
  own feelings, as it might have the appearance of avarice, and
  therefore received but seven guineas only, and am confident, not
  only from the exercises of the present well-timed generosity, but
  from a large acquaintance with gentlemen of this nation, that as
  a people they excel in liberality and bravery.

  Two days after the receipt of the aforesaid donations, Captain
  Symonds came on board full of envy toward the prisoners, and
  swore by all that is good that the damned American rebels should
  not be feasted at this rate by the damned rebels of Ireland;
  he therefore took away all my liquors before-mentioned, except
  some of the wine which was secreted, and a two-gallon jug of
  old spirits which was reserved for me per favor of Lieutenant
  Douglass. The taking of my liquors was abominable in his sight.
  He therefore spoke in my behalf, till the captain was angry with
  him, and in consequence proceeded and took away all the tea and
  sugar which had been given to the prisoners, and confiscated it
  to the use of the ship's crew. Our clothing was not taken away,
  but the privates were forced to do duty on board. Soon after this
  there came a boat to the side of the ship and Captain Symonds
  asked a gentleman in it, in my hearing, what his business was,
  who answered that he was sent to deliver some sea stores to
  Colonel Allen, which, if I remember right, he said were sent from
  Dublin; but the captain damned him heartily, ordering him away
  from the ship, and would not suffer him to deliver the stores. I
  was furthermore informed that the gentlemen in Cork requested of
  Captain Symonds that I might be allowed to come into the city,
  and that they would be responsible I should return to the frigate
  at a given time, which was denied them.

  We sailed from England on the 8th day of January, and from the
  cove of Cork on the 12th day of February. Just before we sailed,
  the prisoners with me were divided and put on board three
  different ships of war. This gave me some uneasiness, for they
  were to a man zealous in the cause of liberty, and behaved with
  a becoming fortitude in the various scenes of their captivity;
  but those who were distributed on board other ships of war were
  much better used than those who tarried with me, as appeared
  afterward. When the fleet, consisting of about forty-five sail,
  including five men-of-war, sailed from the cove with a fresh
  breeze, the appearance was beautiful, abstracted from the unjust
  and bloody designs they had in view. We had not sailed many days
  before a mighty storm arose, which lasted near twenty-four hours
  without intermission. The wind blew with relentless fury, and
  no man could remain on deck, except he was lashed fast, for the
  waves rolled over the deck by turns, with a forcible rapidity,
  and every soul on board was anxious for the preservation of
  the ship, alias their lives. In this storm the _Thunder-bomb_
  man-of-war sprang a leak, and was afterward floated to some part
  of the coast of England, and the crew saved. We were then said to
  be in the Bay of Biscay. After the storm abated, I could plainly
  discern the prisoners were better used for some considerable time.

  Nothing of consequence happened after this, till we sailed to
  the island of Madeira, except a certain favor I had received of
  Captain Symonds, in consequence of an application I made to him
  for the privilege of his tailor to make me a suit of clothes
  of the cloth bestowed on me in Ireland, which he generously
  granted. I could then walk the deck with a seeming better grace.
  When we had reached Madeira and anchored, sundry gentlemen with
  the captain went on shore, who, I conclude, gave the rumor that I
  was in the frigate, upon which I soon found that Irish generosity
  was again excited; for a gentleman of that nation sent his clerk
  on board to know of me if I could accept a sea store from him,
  particularly wine. This matter I made known to the generous
  Lieutenant Douglass, who readily granted me the favor, provided
  the articles could be brought on board during the time of his
  command; adding that it would be a pleasure to him to serve me,
  notwithstanding the opposition he met with before. So I directed
  the gentleman's clerk to inform him that I was greatly in need
  of so signal a charity, and desired the young gentleman to make
  the utmost dispatch, which he did; but in the mean time Captain
  Symonds and his officers came on board, and immediately made
  ready for sailing; the wind at the same time being fair, set sail
  when the young gentleman was in fair sight with the aforesaid

  The reader will doubtless recollect the seven guineas I received
  at the cove of Cork. These enabled me to purchase of the purser
  what I wanted, had not the captain strictly forbidden it, though
  I made sundry applications to him for that purpose; but his
  answer to me, when I was sick, was, that it was no matter how
  soon I was dead, and that he was no ways anxious to preserve
  the lives of rebels, but wished them all dead; and indeed that
  was the language of most of the ship's crew. I expostulated
  not only with the captain, but with other gentlemen on board,
  on the unreasonableness of such usage; inferring that inasmuch
  as the government in England did not proceed against me as a
  capital offender, they should not; for that they were by no means
  empowered by any authority, either civil or military, to do so;
  for the English government had acquitted me by sending me back
  a prisoner of war to America, and that they should treat me as
  such. I further drew an inference of impolicy on them, provided
  they should by hard usage destroy my life; inasmuch as I might,
  if living, redeem one of their officers; but the captain replied
  that he needed no directions of mine how to treat a rebel; that
  the British would conquer the American rebels, hang the Congress
  and such as promoted the rebellion, me in particular, and retake
  their own prisoners; so that my life was of no consequence in the
  scale of their policy. I gave him for answer that if they stayed
  till they conquered America before they hanged me, I should die
  of old age, and desired that till such an event took place, he
  would at least allow me to purchase of the purser, for my own
  money, such articles as I greatly needed; but he would not permit
  it, and when I reminded him of the generous and civil usage that
  their prisoners in captivity in America met with, he said that
  it was not owing to their goodness, but to their timidity; for,
  said he, they expect to be conquered, and therefore dare not
  misuse our prisoners; and in fact this was the language of the
  British officers till Burgoyne was taken; happy event! and not
  only of the officers but the whole British army. I appeal to
  all my brother prisoners who have been with the British in the
  southern department for a confirmation of what I have advanced on
  this subject. The surgeon of the _Solebay_, whose name was North,
  was a very humane, obliging man, and took the best care of the
  prisoners who were sick.



  The third day of May we cast anchor in the harbor of Cape Fear,
  in North Carolina, as did Sir Peter Parker's ship, of fifty guns,
  a little back of the bar; for there was not depth of water for
  him to come into the harbor. These two men-of-war, and fourteen
  sail of transports and others, came after, so that most of the
  fleet rendezvoused at Cape Fear for three weeks. The soldiers on
  board the transports were sickly, in consequence of so long a
  passage; add to this the small-pox carried off many of them. They
  landed on the main, and formed a camp; but the riflemen annoyed
  them, and caused them to move to an island in the harbor; but
  such cursing of riflemen I never heard.

  A detachment of regulars was sent up Brunswick River; as they
  landed they were fired on by those marksmen, and they came back
  next day damning the rebels for their unmanly way of fighting,
  and swearing they would give no quarter, for they took sight
  at them, and were behind timber, skulking about. One of the
  detachments said they lost one man; but a negro man who was with
  them, and heard what was said, soon after told me that he helped
  to bury thirty-one of them; this did me some good to find my
  countrymen giving them battle; for I never heard such swaggering
  as among General Clinton's little army, who commanded at that
  time; and I am apt to think there were four thousand men, though
  not two-thirds of them fit for duty. I heard numbers of them
  say that the trees in America should hang well with fruit that
  campaign, for they would give no quarter. This was in the mouths
  of most who I heard speak on the subject, officer as well as
  soldier. I wished at that time my countrymen knew, as well as I
  did, what a murdering and cruel enemy they had to deal with; but
  experience has since taught this country what they are to expect
  at the hands of Britons when in their power.

  The prisoners who had been sent on board different men-of-war
  at the cove of Cork were collected together, and the whole of
  them put on board the _Mercury_ frigate, Captain James Montague,
  except one of the Canadians, who died on the passage from
  Ireland, and Peter Noble, who made his escape from the _Sphynx_
  man-of-war in this harbor, and, by extraordinary swimming, got
  safe home to New England and gave intelligence of the usage of
  his brother prisoners. The _Mercury_ set sail from this port for
  Halifax about the 20th of May, and Sir Peter Parker was about
  to sail with the land forces, under the command of General
  Clinton, for the reduction of Charleston, the capital of South
  Carolina, and when I heard of his defeat in Halifax, it gave me
  inexpressible satisfaction.

  I now found myself under a worse captain than Symonds; for
  Montague was loaded with prejudices against everybody and
  everything that was not stamped with royalty; and being by nature
  underwitted, his wrath was heavier than the others, or at least
  his mind was in no instance liable to be diverted by good sense,
  humor or bravery, of which Symonds was by turns susceptible. A
  Captain Francis Proctor was added to our number of prisoners when
  we were first put on board this ship. This gentleman had formerly
  belonged to the English service. The captain, and in fine, all
  the gentlemen of the ship were very much incensed against him,
  and put him in irons without the least provocation, and he was
  continued in this miserable situation about three months. In this
  passage the prisoners were infected with the scurvy, some more
  and some less, but most of them severely. The ship's crew was to
  a great degree troubled with it, and I concluded it was catching.
  Several of the crew died with it on their passage. I was weak and
  feeble in consequence of so long and cruel a captivity, yet had
  but little of the scurvy.

  The purser was again expressly forbid by the captain to let me
  have anything out of his store; upon which I went upon deck, and
  in the handsomest manner requested the favor of purchasing a few
  necessaries of the purser, which was denied me; he further told
  me, that I should be hanged as soon as I arrived at Halifax. I
  tried to reason the matter with him, but found him proof against
  reason; I also held up his honor to view, and his behavior to
  me and the prisoners in general, as being derogatory to it,
  but found his honor impenetrable. I then endeavored to touch
  his humanity, but found he had none; for his prepossession of
  bigotry to his own party had confirmed him in an opinion that no
  humanity was due to unroyalists, but seemed to think that heaven
  and earth were made merely to gratify the king and his creatures;
  he uttered considerable unintelligible and grovelling ideas, a
  little tinctured with monarchy but stood well to his text of
  hanging me. He afterward forbade his surgeon to administer any
  help to the sick prisoners. I was every night shut down in the
  cable tier with the rest of the prisoners, and we all lived
  miserably while under his power. But I received some generosity
  from several of the midshipmen who in degree alleviated my
  misery; one of their names was Putrass; the names of the others
  I do not recollect; but they were obliged to be private in the
  bestowment of their favor, which was sometimes good wine bitters
  and at others a generous drink of grog.

  Some time in the first week of June, we came to anchor at the
  Hook of New York, where we remained but three days; in which
  time Governor Tryon, Mr. Kemp, the old attorney-general of
  New York, and several other perfidious and overgrown tories
  and land-jobbers, came on board. Tryon viewed me with a stern
  countenance, as I was walking on the leeward side of the deck
  with the midshipmen; and he and his companions were walking with
  the captain and lieutenant on the windward side of the same,
  but never spoke to me, though it is altogether probable that
  he thought of the old quarrel between him, the old government
  of New York, and the Green Mountain Boys. Then they went with
  the captain into the cabin, and the same afternoon returned on
  board a vessel, where at that time they took sanctuary from the
  resentment of their injured country. What passed between the
  officers of the ship and these visitors I know not; but this
  I know, that my treatment from the officers was more severe

  We arrived at Halifax not far from the middle of June, where the
  ship's crew, which was infested with the scurvy, were taken on
  shore and shallow trenches dug, into which they were put, and
  partly covered with earth. Indeed, every proper measure was taken
  for their relief. The prisoners were not permitted any sort of
  medicine, but were put on board a sloop which lay in the harbor,
  near the town of Halifax, surrounded by several men-of-war and
  their tenders, and a guard constantly set over them, night and
  day. The sloop we had wholly to ourselves, except the guard
  who occupied the forecastle; here we were cruelly pinched with
  hunger; it seemed to me that we had not more than one-third of
  the common allowance. We were all seized with violent hunger and
  faintness; we divided our scanty allowance as exact as possible.
  I shared the same fate with the rest, and though they offered me
  more than an even share, I refused to accept it, as it was a time
  of substantial distress, which in my opinion I ought to partake
  equally with the rest, and set an example of virtue and fortitude
  to our little commonwealth.

  I sent letter after letter to Captain Montague, who still had
  the care of us, and also to his lieutenant, whose name I cannot
  call to mind, but could obtain no answer, much less a redress of
  grievances; and to add to the calamity, nearly a dozen of the
  prisoners were dangerously ill of the scurvy. I wrote private
  letters to the doctors, to procure, if possible, some remedy for
  the sick, but in vain. The chief physician came by in a boat,
  so close that the oars touched the sloop that we were in, and
  I uttered my complaint in the genteelest manner to him, but he
  never so much as turned his head, or made me any answer, though
  I continued speaking till he got out of hearing. Our cause then
  became deplorable. Still I kept writing to the captain, till
  he ordered the guards, as they told me, not to bring any more
  letters from me to him. In the mean time an event happened worth
  relating. One of the men, almost dead with the scurvy, lay by
  the side of the sloop, and a canoe of Indians coming by, he
  purchased two quarts of strawberries, and ate them at once, and
  it almost cured him. The money he gave for them was all the money
  he had in the world. After that we tried every way to procure
  more of that fruit, reasoning from analogy that they might have
  the same effect on others infested with the same disease, but
  could obtain none.

  Meanwhile the doctor's mate of the _Mercury_ came privately on
  board the prison sloop and presented me with a large vial of
  smart drops, which proved to be good for the scurvy, though
  vegetables and some other ingredients were requisite for a cure:
  but the drops gave at least a check to the disease. This was
  a well-timed exertion of humanity, but the doctor's name has
  slipped my mind, and in my opinion, it was the means of saving
  the lives of several men.

  The guard which was set over us was by this time touched with
  feelings of compassion; and I finally trusted one of them with
  a letter of complaint to Governor Arbuthnot, of Halifax, which
  he found means to communicate, and which had the desired effect;
  for the governor sent an officer and surgeon on board the prison
  sloop to know the truth of the complaint. The officer's name
  was Russell; he held the rank of lieutenant, and treated me in
  a friendly and polite manner, and was really angry at the cruel
  and unmanly usage the prisoners met with; and with the surgeon
  made a true report of matters to Governor Arbuthnot, who, either
  by his order or influence, took us next day from the prison
  sloop to Halifax jail, where I first became acquainted with the
  now Hon. James Lovel, one of the members of Congress for the
  State of Massachusetts. The sick were taken to the hospital,
  and the Canadians, who were effective, were employed in the
  king's works; and when their countrymen were recovered from the
  scurvy and joined them, they all deserted the king's employ, and
  were not heard of at Halifax as long as the remainder of the
  prisoners continued there, which was till near the middle of
  October. We were on board the prison sloop about six weeks, and
  were landed at Halifax near the middle of August. Several of our
  English-American prisoners, who were cured of the scurvy at the
  hospital, made their escape from thence, and after a long time
  reached their old habitations.

  I had now but thirteen with me of those who were taken in Canada,
  and remained in jail with me at Halifax, who, in addition
  to those that were imprisoned before, made our number about
  thirty-four, who were all locked up in one common large room,
  without regard to rank, education, or any other accomplishment,
  where we continued from the setting to the rising sun; and as
  sundry of them were infected with the jail and other distempers,
  the furniture of this spacious room consisted principally of
  excrement tubs. We petitioned for a removal of the sick into
  the hospitals, but were denied. We remonstrated against the
  ungenerous usage of being confined with the privates, as being
  contrary to the laws and customs of nations, and particularly
  ungrateful in them in consequence of the gentleman-like usage
  which the British imprisoned officers met with in America; and
  thus we wearied ourselves, petitioning and remonstrating, but to
  no purpose at all; for General Massey, who commanded at Halifax,
  was as inflexible as the devil himself, a fine preparative this
  for Mr. Lovel, member of the Continental Congress.

  Lieutenant Russell, whom I have mentioned before, came to visit
  me in prison, and assured me that he had done his utmost to
  procure my parole for enlargement; at which a British captain,
  who was then town-major, expressed compassion for the gentlemen
  confined in the filthy place, and assured me that he had used his
  influence to procure their enlargement; his name was near like
  Ramsey. Among the prisoners there were four in number who had a
  legal claim to a parole, a Mr. Howland, master of a continental
  armed vessel, a Mr. Taylor, his mate, and myself.

  As to the article of provision, we were well served, much
  better than in any part of my captivity; and since it was Mr.
  Lovel's misfortune and mine to be prisoners, and in so wretched
  circumstances, I was happy that we were together as a mutual
  support to each other and to the unfortunate prisoners with
  us. Our first attention was the preservation of ourselves
  and injured little republic; the rest of our time we devoted
  interchangeably to politics and philosophy, as patience was a
  needful exercise in so evil a situation, but contentment mean and

  I had not been in this jail many days, before a worthy and
  charitable woman, by the name of Mrs. Blacden, supplied me with
  a good dinner of fresh meats every day, with garden fruit, and
  sometimes with a bottle of wine; notwithstanding which I had
  not been more than three weeks in this place before I lost my
  appetite to the most delicious food by the jail distemper, as
  also did sundry of the prisoners, particularly Sergeant Moore,
  a man of courage and fidelity. I have several times seen him
  hold the boatswain of the _Solebay_ frigate, when he attempted
  to strike him, and laughed him out of conceit of using him as a

  A doctor visited the sick, and did the best, as I suppose, he
  could for them, to no apparent purpose. I grew weaker and weaker,
  as did the rest. Several of them could not help themselves. At
  last I reasoned in my own mind that raw onion would be good. I
  made use of it, and found immediate relief by it, as did the sick
  in general, particularly Sergeant Moore, whom it recovered almost
  from the shades; though I had met with a little revival, still
  I found the malignant hand of Britain had greatly reduced my
  constitution with stroke upon stroke. Esquire Lovel and myself
  used every argument and entreaty that could be well conceived
  of in order to obtain gentleman-like usage, to no purpose. I
  then wrote General Massey as severe a letter as I possibly could
  with my friend Lovel's assistance. The contents of it was to
  give the British, as a nation, and him as an individual, their
  true character. This roused the rascal, for he could not bear to
  see his and the nation's deformity in that transparent letter,
  which I sent him; he therefore put himself in a great rage about
  it, and showed the letter to a number of British officers,
  particularly to Captain Smith of the _Lark_ frigate, who instead
  of joining with him in disapprobation commended the spirit of it;
  upon which General Massey said to him, do you take the part of a
  rebel against me? Captain Smith answered that he rather spoke his
  sentiments and there was a dissension in opinion between them.
  Some officers took the part of the general and others of the
  captain. This I was informed of by a gentleman who had it from
  Captain Smith.

  In a few days after this, the prisoners were ordered to go on
  board of a man-of-war, which was bound for New York; but two of
  them were not able to go on board, and were left at Halifax;
  one died; and the other recovered. This was about the 12th of
  October, and soon after we had got on board, the captain sent
  for me in particular to come on the quarter deck. I went, not
  knowing that it was Captain Smith or his ship at that time, and
  expected to meet the same rigorous usage I had commonly met with
  and prepared my mind accordingly; but when I came on deck, the
  captain met me with his hand, welcomed me to his ship, invited
  me to dine with him that day, and assured me that I should be
  treated as a gentleman, and that he had given orders that I
  should be treated with respect by the ship's crew. This was so
  unexpected and sudden a transition that it drew tears from my
  eyes which all the ill usage I had before met with was not able
  to produce, nor could I at first hardly speak, but soon recovered
  myself and expressed my gratitude for so unexpected a favor;
  and let him know that I felt anxiety of mind in reflecting that
  his situation and mine was such that it was not probable that
  it would ever be in my power to return the favor. Captain Smith
  replied that he had no reward in view, but only treated me as a
  gentleman ought to be treated; he said this is a mutable world,
  and one gentleman never knows but it may be in his power to
  help another. Soon after I found this to be the same Captain
  Smith who took my part against General Massey; but he never
  mentioned anything of it to me, and I thought it impolite in me
  to interrogate him as to any disputes which might have arisen
  between him and the general on my account, as I was a prisoner,
  and that it was at his option to make free with me on that
  subject if he pleased; and if he did not, I might take it for
  granted that it would be unpleasing for me to query about it,
  though I had a strong propensity to converse with him on that

  I dined with the captain agreeable to his invitation, and
  oftentimes with the lieutenant, in the gun-room, but in general
  ate and drank with my friend Lovel and the other gentlemen who
  were prisoners with me, where I also slept.

  We had a little berth inclosed with canvas, between decks, where
  we enjoyed ourselves very well, in hopes of an exchange; besides,
  our friends at Halifax had a little notice of our departure
  and supplied us with spirituous liquor, and many articles
  of provisions for the cost. Captain Burk, having been taken
  prisoner, was added to our company (he had commanded an American
  armed vessel) and was generously treated by the captain and all
  the officers of the ship, as well as myself. We now had in all
  near thirty prisoners on board, and as we were sailing along the
  coast, if I recollect right, off Rhode Island, Captain Burk, with
  an under-officer of the ship, whose name I do not recollect,
  came to our little berth, proposed to kill Captain Smith and the
  principal officers of the frigate and take it; adding that there
  were thirty-five thousand pounds sterling in the same. Captain
  Burk likewise averred that a strong party out of the ship's crew
  was in the conspiracy, and urged me, and the gentleman that was
  with me, to use our influence with the private prisoners to
  execute the design, and take the ship with the cash into one of
  our own ports.

  Upon which I replied that we had been too well used on board to
  murder the officers; that I could by no means reconcile it to
  my conscience, and that, in fact, it should not be done; and
  while I was yet speaking my friend Lovel confirmed what I had
  said, and farther pointed out the ungratefulness of such an
  act; that it did not fall short of murder, and in fine all the
  gentlemen in the berth opposed Captain Burk and his colleague.
  But they strenuously urged that the conspiracy would be found
  out, and that it would cost them their lives, provided they did
  not execute their design. I then interposed spiritedly and put
  an end to further argument on the subject, and told them that
  they might depend upon it upon my honor that I would faithfully
  guard Captain Smith's life. If they should attempt the assault
  I would assist him, for they desired me to remain neuter, and
  that the same honor that guarded Captain Smith's life would also
  guard theirs; and it was agreed by those present not to reveal
  the conspiracy, to the intent that no man should be put to death,
  in consequence of what had been projected; and Captain Burk, and
  his colleague went to stifle the matter among their associates.
  I could not help calling to mind what Captain Smith said to me,
  when I first came on board: "This is a mutable world, and one
  gentleman never knows but that it may be in his power to help
  another." Captain Smith and his officers still behaved with their
  usual courtesy, and I never heard any more of the conspiracy.

  We arrived before New York, and cast anchor the latter part
  of October, where we remained several days, and where Captain
  Smith informed me that he had recommended me to Admiral Howe
  and General Sir William Howe, as a gentleman of honor and
  veracity, and desired that I might be treated as such. Captain
  Burk was then ordered on board a prison ship in the harbor. I
  took my leave of Captain Smith and, with the other prisoners,
  was sent on board a transport ship which lay in the harbor,
  commanded by Captain Craige, who took me into the cabin with
  him and his lieutenant. I fared as they did, and was in every
  respect well treated, in consequence of directions from Captain
  Smith. In a few weeks after this I had the happiness to part
  with my friend Lovel, for his sake, whom the enemy affected to
  treat as a private; he was a gentleman of merit, and liberally
  educated, but had no commission; they maligned him on account
  of his unshaken attachment to the cause of his country. He was
  exchanged for a Governor Philip Skene of the British. I was
  continued in this ship till the latter part of November, where
  I contracted an acquaintance with a captain of the British; his
  name has slipped my memory. He was what we may call a genteel,
  hearty fellow. I remember an expression of his over a bottle of
  wine, to this import: "That there is a greatness of soul for
  personal friendship to subsist between you and me, as we are upon
  opposite sides, and may at another day be obliged to face each
  other in the field." I am confident that he was as faithful as
  any officer in the British army. At another sitting he offered to
  bet a dozen of wine that Fort Washington would be in the hands
  of the British in three days. I stood the bet, and would, had
  I known that that would have been the case; and the third day
  afterward we heard a heavy cannonade, and that day the fort was
  taken sure enough. Some months after, when I was on parole, he
  called upon me with his usual humor, and mentioned the bet. I
  acknowledged that I had lost it, but he said he did not mean to
  take it, then, as I was a prisoner; that he would another day
  call upon me, when their army came to Bennington. I replied that
  he was quite too generous, as I had fairly lost it; besides, the
  Green Mountain Boys would not suffer them to come to Bennington.
  This was all in good humor. I should have been glad to have seen
  him after the defeat at Bennington, but did not. It was customary
  for a guard to attend the prisoners, which was often changed.
  One was composed of tories from Connecticut, in the vicinity of
  Fairfield and Green Farms. The sergeant's name was Hoit. They
  were very full of their invectives against the country, swaggered
  of their loyalty to their king, and exclaimed bitterly against
  the "cowardly Yankees," as they were pleased to term them, but
  finally contented themselves with saying that when the country
  was overcome they should be well rewarded for their loyalty
  out of the estates of the whigs, which would be confiscated.
  This I found to be the general language of the tories, after I
  arrived from England on the American coast. I heard sundry of
  them relate, that the British generals had engaged them an ample
  reward for their losses, disappointments and expenditures, out of
  the forfeited rebels' estates. This language early taught me what
  to do with tories' estates, as far as my influence can go. For it
  is really a game of hazard between whig and tory. The whigs must
  inevitably have lost all, in consequence of the abilities of the
  tories, and their good friends the British; and it is no more
  than right the tories should run the same risk, in consequence of
  the abilities of the whigs. But of this more will be observed in
  the sequel of this narrative.

  Some of the last days of November the prisoners were landed at
  New York, and I was admitted to parole with the other officers,
  viz.: Proctor, Howland, and Taylor. The privates were put into
  filthy churches in New York, with the distressed prisoners that
  were taken at Fort Washington; and the second night, Sergeant
  Roger Moore, who was bold and enterprising, found means to make
  his escape with every one of the remaining prisoners that were
  taken with him, except three, who were soon after exchanged. So
  that out of thirty-one prisoners, who went with me the round
  exhibited in these sheets, two only died with the enemy, and
  three only were exchanged; one of whom died after he came within
  our lines; all the rest, at different times, made their escape
  from the enemy.

  I now found myself on parole, and restricted to the limits of the
  city of New York, where I soon projected means to live in some
  measure agreeably to my rank, though I was destitute of cash. My
  constitution was almost worn out by such a long and barbarous
  captivity. The enemy gave out that I was crazy, and wholly
  unmanned, but my vitals held sound, nor was I delirious any more
  than I had been from youth up; but my extreme circumstances, at
  certain times, rendered it politic to act in some measure the
  madman; and in consequence of a regular diet and exercise, my
  blood recruited, and my nerves in a great measure recovered their
  former tone, strength and usefulness, in the course of six months.



Allen's narrative in the preceding chapter gives a picture of
himself, of the times, and of the treatment of prisoners by the most
civilized nation on earth. In January, 1777, with other American
officers, he was quartered on Long Island. In August he was sent to
the provost jail in New York. May 3, 1778, he was exchanged for Col.
Alexander Campbell. Thus he was treated as a colonel, although he had
no fixed official rank or title beyond that informally bestowed on
him by Montgomery. He was entertained with gentlemanly courtesy for
two days at General Campbell's headquarters on Staten Island, and
then crossed New Jersey amid the acclamations of the people.

For several days he was the guest of Washington at Valley Forge.
Here, eighteen miles northwest of Philadelphia, where the British
army was revelling in luxury, Washington, with three thousand men
suffering from cold and hunger, was praying to God for guidance in
so sore a strait. Baron Steuben was there fresh from the service
of Frederic the Great, disciplining the raw recruits into veteran
soldiers never again to know defeat. There were Gates, attending a
court-martial, and Putnam and Lafayette. These were among Allen's
red-letter days; courteously entertained by some of the best soldiers
of Europe and America, and the favored guest of Washington, could
Heaven reward him better for his long imprisonment? Here he writes a
letter to Congress which Washington forwards inclosed with his own.
Allen began the journey to his Vermont home in company with Gates,
arriving in Fishkill on May 18, and in Bennington just four weeks
after his release from prison.

We now come to a chapter in Allen's life which the biographer must
enter upon with a mind free from prejudice, and with a strong desire
to assimilate the feelings of the age when our little commonwealth
was in process of formation. About the close of the year 1776, Allen
being a prisoner on parole in New York, a British officer of rank
sent for him to come to his lodgings. He told him that his fidelity,
although in a wrong cause, had recommended him to General Sir William
Howe, who wished to make him the colonel of a regiment of tories. He
proposed that Allen in a few days should go to England, be paid in
gold instead of continental rag money, be introduced to Lord George
Germaine and probably to the king, return to America with Burgoyne,
assist in reducing the country, and receive a large tract of land
in Vermont or Connecticut as he preferred. Allen replied: "If by
fidelity I have recommended myself to General Howe, I shall be loath
by unfaithfulness to lose the general's good opinion; besides, I view
the offer of land to be similar to that which the devil offered our
Saviour, 'to give him all the kingdoms of the world to fall down and
worship him,' when the poor devil had not one foot of land on earth."

Mr. B. F. Stevens, an American resident of London, and an
indefatigable collector of documents relating to early American
history gathered from the British archives, furnishes a letter
written by Alexander C. Wedderburn, solicitor-general, on the morning
of December 27, 1775, to William Eden, under-secretary of state. On
the same day at noon a cabinet meeting was to be held at which was
to be considered the disposition to be made of Ethan Allen and other
prisoners who had reached England five days before. The "Lord S."
referred to is Lord Suffolk, secretary of state, and the "Attorney"
is Lord Edward Therlow, attorney-general:

  DEAR EDEN:--I shall certainly attend Lord S. at 12 o'clock. My
  idea of the Business does not differ much from the Attorney's.
  My thoughts have been employed upon it ever since I saw you, and
  I am persuaded some unlucky incident must arise if Allen and his
  People are kept here. It must be understood that Government does
  not mean to execute them, the Prosecution will be remiss and the
  Disposition of some People to thwart it very active. I would
  therefore send them back, but I think something more might be
  done than merely to return them as Prisoners to America. Allen,
  by Kay's [William Kay, secret service agent at Montreal] account,
  took up arms because he was dispossessed of Lands he had settled
  between Hampshire and New York, in consequence of an order of
  Council settling the boundary of these two provinces, and had
  balanced for some time whether to have recourse to ye Rebels or
  to Mr. Carleton [governor-general of the Province of Quebec].
  The doubt of being well received by the latter determined him to
  join the former, and Kay adds that he is a bold, active fellow. I
  would then send to him a Person of Confidence with this Proposal:
  that his case had been favorably represented to Government;
  that the injury he had suffered was some Alleviation for his
  crime, and that it arose from an Abuse of an order of Council
  which was never meant to dispossess the Settlers in the Lands in
  debate between ye two provinces. If he has a mind to return to
  his duty He may not only have his pardon from Gen. Howe but a
  Company of Rangers, and in the event if He behaves well His lands
  restored on these terms, he and his men shall be sent back to
  Boston at liberty; if he does not accept them he and they must
  be disposed of as the Law directs. If he should behave well it
  is an Acquisition. If not there is still an Advantage in finding
  a decent reason for not immediately proceeding against him as a
  Rebel. Some of the People who came over in the Ship with him, or
  perhaps Kay himself, might easily settle this bargain if it is
  set about directly.

  Yours ever,      A. C. W.

A correspondent of the Burlington _Free Press_, January 7, 1887, adds
this comment:

  That it was agreed to in the cabinet appears in the fact that
  on the very 27th December, 1775, Lord George Germaine of the
  admiralty ordered that Allen and his associates be returned to
  General Howe in Boston. Howe evacuated Boston March 16, 1776,
  went to Halifax, and thence to New York. Allen followed him round
  and was ultimately a prisoner on parole until the 6th of May,
  1778, when he was exchanged for Col. Archibald Campbell. While he
  was on parole the "Person of Confidence" was found to make the
  proposal suggested by Wedderburn, and Allen mentions this in the
  narrative of his captivity.

Who was the British officer of high rank whom Howe employed to buy up
Allen we do not know, but the American whom Clinton employed we do
know: Beverly Robinson, a Virginian, made wealthy by marriage with
Susanna Phillipse, sister of Mary Phillipse, for whom Washington had
an attachment. He was the son of a lieutenant-governor, and an early
associate of Washington. In 1780 occurred this third attempt to buy
Allen. Robinson was the man selected to make the proposition. Ethan
Allen was the man selected to be bribed: not Governor Chittenden;
not the soldiers Roger Enos or Seth Warner; not the diplomat, the
treasurer, the financier of the State, Ira Allen; not the young
lawyers Nathaniel Chipman or S. R. Bradley; but the man who had been
tempted in England and tempted in New York, the man whose loyalty
had not been shaken by the endurance of British brutality for two and
one-half years. The time to hope for success would seem to have been
December, 1775, on English soil, when he had reasonable grounds to
fear being hung for treason, or in New York, in 1777, when Washington
had been driven out of Long Island, out of New York City, and chased
across New Jersey. This time chosen was in 1780, when Congress had
alienated Vermont by ignoring her claims to federation, and had
treated her with such contempt that there was almost no hope of her
joining the United States.

Long Island knew of Ethan's temptation before he did. The air was
full of it. The contents of Robinson's letter were known to the
tories before Allen received it. The letter written in February was
delivered in July. Washington heard in July that Allen was in New
York selling himself to the British. Schuyler had spies everywhere.
They reported Allen in Canada. General James Clinton suspected
Allen. The correspondence and flag for cartel smelt of treason.
Washington had tried to effect an exchange of prisoners, and failed.
His letter to Haldimand was unanswered. Gooch had applied, in July,
to Washington, and Allen wrote to Washington at the request of the
governor. Washington replied he could not prefer Warner's men to
those who had been prisoners longer, but here the correspondence

In the _Magazine of American History_, published in New York,
January, 1887, is an article entitled "A Curious Chapter in Vermont's
History," dated Ottawa, Canada, November, 1886, signed J. L. Payne,
in which the writer says there are hundreds of manuscripts in the
Canadian archives which prove that Vermont narrowly escaped becoming
a British province. The chief evidence that he furnishes is extracts
from the letters of Capt. Justus Sherwood, commissioner for General
Haldimand, Governor of Canada. These letters indicate that on October
26, 1780, Sherwood left Miller Bay with five privates, a flag,
drum, and fife. On October 28th he is at Herrick's Camp, a Vermont
frontier post of three hundred men. He is blindfolded and taken to
Colonel Herrick's room. He tells Herrick that he is sent by Major
Carleton to negotiate a cartel for the exchange of prisoners, and
that he had dispatches from Governor Haldimand and Major Carleton
to Governor Chittenden and Governor Allen. Next Sherwood is at
Allen's headquarters in Castleton, and Allen having promised absolute
secrecy, Sherwood informs him that:

  General Haldimand was no stranger to their disputes with the
  other States respecting jurisdiction, and that his excellency was
  perfectly well informed of all that had lately passed between
  congress and Vermont, and of the fixed intentions of congress
  never to consent to Vermont's being a separate State. General
  Haldimand felt that in this congress was only duping them, and
  waited for a favorable opportunity to crush them; and therefore
  it was proper for them to cast off the congressional yoke and
  resume their former allegiance to the king of Great Britain, by
  doing which they would secure to themselves those privileges they
  had so long contended for with New York.

Allen is reported by Sherwood as replying that he was attached to the
interests of Vermont, and that nothing but the continued tyranny of
Congress could drive him from allegiance to the United States; but
"Should he have any proposals to make to General Haldimand hereafter,
they would be nearly as follows: He will expect to command his own
forces. Vermont must be a government separate from and independent
of any other Province in America; must chose their own officers and
civil representatives; be entitled to all the privileges of the other
states offered by the King's commissioners, and the New Hampshire
Grants as chartered by Benning Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire,
must be confirmed free from any patents or claims from New York
or other Provinces. He desires me to inform His Excellency that a
revolution of this nature must be the work of time.... If, however,
Congress should grant Vermont a seat in that Assembly as a separate
State, then this negotiation to be at an end and be kept secret on
both sides."

On May 7, 1781, Ira Allen visited Canada, and concerning a conference
with him Captain Sherwood reports to the governor:

  He says matters are not yet ripe. Governor Chittenden, General
  Allen and the major part of the leading men are anxious to bring
  about a neutrality, and are fully convinced that Congress never
  intends to confirm them as a separate State; but they dare not at
  this time make any separate agreement with Great Britain until
  the populace are better modelled for the purpose.

A few days later Captain Sherwood reports to the governor:

  Those suspicious circumstances, with the great opinion Allen
  [referring to Col. Ira Allen] seems to entertain of the mighty
  power and consequence of Vermont, induce me to think they
  flatter themselves with the belief that, if Britain should
  invade them, the neighboring colonies rather than lose them as
  a frontier would protect them, and, on the other hand, should
  congress invade them, they could easily be admitted to a union
  with Britain at the latest hour, which they would at the last
  extremity choose as the least of two evils; for Allen says
  they hate congress like the devil, and have not yet a very
  good opinion of Britain. Sometimes I am inclined, from Allen's
  discourse, to hope and almost believe that they are endeavoring
  to prepare for a reunion. To this I suppose I am somewhat
  inclined by my anxious desire that it may be so.

Upon Col. Ira Allen's return to Vermont, Captain Sherwood reports:

  I believe Allen has gone with a full determination to do his
  utmost for a reunion, and I believe he will be seconded by
  Governor Chittenden, his brother Ethan Allen and a few others,
  all acting from interest, without any principle of loyalty.



The conduct of Congress in asking New York, Massachusetts, and New
Hampshire to empower it to settle Vermont, without allowing her to
act as a party but allowing her to look on, dallying and postponing
the measure indefinitely, indicated New York's control of Congress,
and, as might have been expected, Vermont's prowess and pluck would
not submit to organic annihilation without a fight. The British,
under advice from home, might easily strive to take advantage of the
bitter feelings engendered. Congress was struggling with the question
of the ownership of western lands. Virginia and New York claimed
almost all, the former by virtue of Clarke's conquests and the latter
by purchase of the Iroquois, both shadowy, attenuated claims. The
smaller States wanted Vermont in the Union to vote against these
claims. Ethan Allen's letters, showing the turmoil of feeling in
Vermont, as well as his own patriotism, have often been quoted.

To Colonel Webster he wrote:

  SIR:--Last evening I received a flag from Major Carleton
  commanding the British forces at Crown Point, with proposals from
  General Haldimand, commander-in-chief in Canada, for settling a
  cartel for the exchange of prisoners. Major Carleton has pledged
  his faith that no hostilities shall be committed on any posts or
  scouts within the limits of this state during the negotiation.
  Lest your state [New York] should suffer an incursion in the
  interim of time, I have this day dispatched a flag to Major
  Carleton, requesting that he extend cessation of hostilities on
  the northern parts and frontiers of New York. You will therefore
  conduct your affairs as to scouts, &c., only on the defensive
  until you hear further from me.

  I am, &c.,      ETHAN ALLEN.

  To Colonel Webster. To be communicated to Colonel
  Williams and the posts on your frontier.

He also wrote to Colonel Webster:

  RUPERT, about break of day
  of the 31st October, 1780.

  SIR:--Maj. Ebenezer Allen who commands at Pittsford has sent an
  express to me at this place, informing me that one of his scouts
  at 1 or 2 o'clock P.M. on the 29th instant, from Chimney Point,
  discovered four or five ships and gun-boats and batteaux, the
  lake covered and black, all making sail to Ticonderoga, skiffs
  flying to and from the vessels to the batteaux giving orders,
  and the foregoing quoted from the letter verbatim. But I cannot
  imagine that Major Carleton will violate his truce. I have sent
  Major Clarke with a flag to Major Carleton, particularly to
  confirm the truce on my part, and likewise to intercede in behalf
  of the frontiers of New York. What the motion of the British may
  be, or their design, I know not. You must judge for yourself. I
  send out scouts to further discover the object of the enemy. Maj.
  [Ebenezer] Allen thinks they have a design against your state.

  From your humble servant,


He wrote to the president of Congress:

  SUNDERLAND, 9 March, 1781.

  SIR:--Inclosed I transmit your excellency two letters which I
  received under the signature thereto annexed, that they may
  be laid before congress. Shall make no comments on them, but
  submit the disposal of them to their consideration. They are the
  identical and only letters I ever received from him, and to which
  I have never returned any manner of answer, nor have I ever had
  the least personal acquaintance with him, directly or indirectly.
  The letter of the 2d February, 1781, I received a few days afore
  with a duplicate of the other, which I received the latter part
  of July last past, in the high road in Arlington, which I laid
  before Governor Chittenden and a number of other principal
  gentlemen of the state (within ten minutes after I received
  it) for advice; the result, after mature deliberation, and
  considering the extreme circumstances of the state, was to take
  no further notice of the matter. The reasons of such a procedure
  are very obvious to people of this state, when they consider that
  congress has previously claimed an exclusive right of arbitrating
  on the existence of Vermont as a separate government. New York,
  New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay at the same time claiming
  this territory, either in whole or in part, and exerting their
  influence to make schisms among the citizens, thereby in a
  considerable degree weakening this government and exposing its
  inhabitants to the incursions of the British troops and their
  savage allies from the province of Quebec. It seems that those
  governments, regardless of Vermont's contiguous situation to
  Canada, do not consider that their northern frontiers have been
  secured by her, nor of the merit of this state in a long and
  hazardous war, but have flattered themselves with the expectation
  that this state could not fail (their help) to be desolated by a
  foreign enemy, and that their exorbitant claims and avaricious
  designs may at some future period take place in this district of
  country. Notwithstanding those complicated embarrassments, and
  I might add discouragements, Vermont during the last campaign
  defended her frontiers, and at the close of it opened a truce
  with General Haldimand (who commands the British troops in
  Canada) in order to settle a cartel for the mutual exchange of
  prisoners, which continued near four weeks in the same situation,
  during which time Vermont secured the northern frontiers of
  her own, and that of the state of New York in consequence of
  my including the latter in the truce, although that government
  could have but little claim to my protection. I am confident that
  congress will not dispute my sincere attachment to the cause of
  my country, though I do not hesitate to say I am fully grounded
  in opinion that Vermont has indubitable right to agree on terms
  of cessation of hostilities with Great Britain, provided the
  United States persist in rejecting her application for a union
  with them, for Vermont of all people would be the most miserable
  were she obliged to defend the independence of United States
  and they at the same time claiming full liberty to overturn and
  ruin the independence of Vermont. I am persuaded when congress
  considers the circumstances of this state, they will be more
  surprised that I have transmitted them the inclosed letters than
  that I have kept them in custody so long, for I am as resolutely
  determined to defend the independence of Vermont, as congress
  are that of the United States, and, rather than fail, will retire
  with hardy Green Mountain Boys into the desolate caverns of the
  mountains and wage war with human nature at large.

  (Signed)      ETHAN ALLEN.

  His Excellency Samuel Huntingdon, Esq., Pres. of Congress.

Allen wrote to General Schuyler:

  BENNINGTON, May 15, 1781.

  A flag which I sent last fall to the British commanding officer
  at Crown Point, and which was there detained near one month,
  on their return gave me to understand that they [the British],
  at several different times, threatened to captivate your own
  person: said that it had been in their power to take some of
  your family the last campaign [during Carleton's invasion in
  October, 1780, probably], but that they had an eye to yourself. I
  must confess that such conversation before my flag seems rather
  flummery than real premeditated design. However, that there was
  such conversation I do not dispute, which you will make such
  improvement of as you see fit. I shall conclude with assuring
  your honor, that notwithstanding the late reports, or rather
  surmises of my corresponding with the enemy to the prejudice of
  the United States, it is wholly without foundation.

  I am, sir, with due respect, your honor's obedient and humble


  To General Schuyler.

The following letter, believed by some people to have been written by
Allen to General Haldimand, June 16, 1782, though unsigned, contains
what is considered by his traducers damning evidence:

  SIR:--I have to acquaint your excellency that I had a long
  conference with ... [a British agent] last night. He tells me
  that through the channel of A [Sherwood] he had to request me in
  your name to repair to the shipping on Lake Champlain, to hold a
  personal conference with his [your] excellency. But as the bearer
  is now going to get out of my house to repair to his excellency,
  and would have set out yesterday had not the intelligence of
  the arrival of ... postponed it until to-day. I thought it
  expedient to wait your excellency reconsidering the matter,
  after discussing the peculiar situation of both the external and
  internal policy of this state with the gentleman who will deliver
  this to you, and shall have, by the time your excellency has been
  acquainted with the state of the facts now existing, time to
  bring about a further and more extended connection in favor of
  the British interest which is now working at the general assembly
  at Windsor, near the Connecticut River. The last refusal of
  congress to admit this state into union has done more to awaken
  the common people to a sense of that interest and resentment
  of their conduct than all which they had done before. By their
  own account, they declare that Vermont does not and shall not
  belong to their confederacy. The consequence is, that they may
  fight their own battles. It is liberty which they say they are
  after, but will not extend it to Vermont. Therefore Vermont does
  not belong either to the confederacy or the controversy, but are
  a neutral republic. All the frontier towns are firm with these
  gentlemen in the present administration of government, and, to
  speak within bounds, they have a clear majority of the rank and
  file in their favor. I am, etc.

  N. B.--If it should be your excellency's pleasure, after having
  conversed with the gentleman who will deliver these lines, that
  I should wait on your excellency at any part of Lake Champlain,
  I will do it, except I should find that it would hazard my life
  too much. There is a majority in congress, and a number of the
  principal officers of the continental army continually planning
  against me. I shall do everything in my power to render this
  state a British province.

Ira Allen, that shrewd politician, says of the letter:

  This we consider a political proceeding to prevent the British
  forces from invading this State.

Our reasons for believing Ethan Allen always a patriot are:

First. His known faithfulness to the American cause in every case.

Second. His hatred of the British and contemptuous rejection of
their proffers of honor and emoluments when in their power and in no
personal danger if he accepted them.

Third. His natural obstinacy in clinging to a cause he had espoused.

Fourth. The repeated efforts of the Vermont government, in which
Allen was engaged, to induce Congress to admit it to the Union
continued during the negotiation.

Fifth. At Allen's request the truce offered by the British included
New York's eastern frontier, and Vermont promptly responded to all
calls upon her for help.

Sixth. There is reason to believe that General Washington was
informed by General Allen, in advance of the Haldimand negotiations,
of their purpose.

The state's peculiar frontier, threatened by Canada, unsupported by
the other states, disturbed by internal dissensions, unable to defend
herself by force, made it necessary to use strategy. No authority
was given the commissioners by the executive or by the legislature
to treat of anything but an exchange of prisoners. There is no
record that I can find that an effort was made at any time to induce
Vermonters at large to consider the subject of a British union.
Indeed, Governor Chittenden, in 1793, giving a list of those in the
secret, mentions only eight, although Ira Allen said, in 1781, that
more were added.

It seems to me that Allen shows in this correspondence the talent of
a diplomat, a talent which our state needed in its formative period
to supplement the audacity of the hardy Green Mountain Boys. There
could be no question of disloyalty to the United States, because
Vermont had never belonged to them. He was intensely loyal to his own
state, for whose welfare he strove, and if Congress still refused to
admit her to the Union, there was no other resource than to ally her
with Great Britain in self-defence.



When Allen bade adieu to Washington at Valley Forge, he rode on
horseback to Fishkill with General Gates and suite, arriving at that
place on the 18th of May, 1778, the very day his brother Heman died
at Salisbury. The six or eight days occupied by the trip across New
Jersey seems to have been one of unalloyed enjoyment to the hero of
Ticonderoga. He tells us that Gates treated him with the generosity
of a lord and the freedom of a boon companion. That this intercourse
impressed Gates favorably with Allen his correspondence with General
Stark later demonstrates. On Sunday evening, the 31st of May, Allen
arrived at Bennington. The town being orthodox and Congregationalist,
Sunday is observed with Puritanic severity, but he finds the people
too jubilant for religious solemnity. The old iron six-pound cannon
from Fort Hoosac is brought out and fired in honor of the new state
of Vermont.

What changes have taken place during his three years' absence! His
only son is dead; his wife and four daughters are in Sunderland; two
brothers have become state officers. Levi Allen, one of the foremost
Green Mountain Boys in 1775, has now become a tory. Burgoyne has
swept along the western borders and has been captured. Allen's old
followers, under Seth Warner, have won renown at Quebec, Montreal,
Hubbardston, Bennington, Saratoga, and Ticonderoga. The constitution
has been formed and the state government organized. A legislature has
been elected, held one session, and adjourned to meet again this week.

One of the great spectacles of the Anglo-Saxon civilization had
been appointed for this time and place. A criminal, David Redding,
convicted of treason, was to be executed. Upon a petition for
rehearing on the ground that he had been convicted by a jury of only
six men, the governor had reprieved Redding until Thursday, the 11th.
The news of the reprieve, noised through the town, called together a
disappointed and angry crowd, in the midst of which Allen appeared,
mounted a stump, and cried: "Attention, the whole!" He then expressed
his sympathy with the people, explained the illegality of the trial,
and told them to go home and return in a week, and they "shall see
a man hung; if not Redding, I will be," and the appeased crowd
peaceably dispersed. In the next trial Allen was appointed state's
attorney to prosecute Redding, who was condemned.

Soon Allen's attention is called to the controversy between New York
and Vermont. In the preceding February, after the constitution was
adopted, before the government was inaugurated, Governor Clinton, of
New York, issued a proclamation ostentatious with apparent clemency
and generosity. Ethan Allen was selected as the proper man to expose
the pompous fraud. Clinton began by saying that the disaffection
existing in Vermont was partially justified by the atrocious acts
of the British government while New York was a colony, the act of
outlawry which sentenced Allen and others to death without trial, the
fees and unjust preference in grants to servants of the crown over
honest settlers, and he offered to discharge all claims under the
outlawry act, to reduce the New York quit-rents to the New Hampshire
rate, to make the fees of patents reasonable, and to confirm all
grants made by New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Allen replied, in a pamphlet, that the British act of outlawry had
been dead by its own provision two and a half years, no thanks to
Clinton; that most of the grants of New Hampshire and Massachusetts
had been covered by New York patents, and that, as a matter of law,
it was impossible for New York to cancel her former patents and
confirm the New Hampshire grants, and he cited the opinion of the
lords of trade to that effect.

But Vermont was in a dangerous position in reference to New
Hampshire. A portion of that state had seceded and united with
Vermont. The two states had fought side by side, but now New
Hampshire had become unfriendly and remained so for years. The
governor and council, perplexed with the difficulty, appointed Allen
an agent to visit Congress and ask for advice. This is his first
embassy from Vermont to Congress. He reported that "unless the union
with New Hampshire towns is dissolved the nation will annihilate

His second embassy was with Jonas Fay, in 1779, to inform Congress of
the progress of affairs in Vermont.

His third embassy was in 1780, when he was chosen by the legislature
as the chairman of a very able and eminent committee, Stephen R.
Bradley, Moses Robinson, Paul Spooner, and Jonas Fay, to act as
counsel for Vermont before Congress against the ablest men of New
York and New Hampshire.

In 1779 he was sent to the Massachusetts court with a letter from the
governor asking for a statement of Massachusetts' claim to Vermont.
The reply was that Massachusetts claimed west from the Merrimac, and
three miles further north, to the Pacific. This included part of

It is noteworthy that Allen was elected a member of the legislature
from Arlington while his family lived in Sunderland, and he
called Bennington his "usual home." It is notable, also, that the
constitution required every member of the legislature to take an
oath that he believed in the divine inspiration of the Bible and
professed the Protestant religion, an oath which Allen refused to
take, and yet was allowed to act as a member.

It was in 1778 that Allen complained to the court of confiscation
that his brother Levi had become a tory; had passed counterfeit
Continental money; that under pretence of helping him while a
prisoner on Long Island, he had been detected in supplying the
British with provisions. He stated that Levi owned real estate in
Vermont and prayed that that estate might be confiscated to the
public treasury. For this act Levi afterward challenged Ethan to a
duel, but Ethan took no notice of the challenge.

In the spring of 1779 the Yorkers in Windham County wrote to Governor
Clinton that unless New York aided them, "our persons and property
must be at the disposal of Ethan Allen; which is more to be dreaded
than death with all its terrors."

In May the superior court sat at Westminster. Thirty-six Yorkers
were in jail. Their offence consisted in rescuing two cows from an
officer who had seized them because their owners had refused to do
military duty on the frontier or to pay for substitutes. Ethan Allen
was there by order of Governor Chittenden, with one hundred Green
Mountain Boys, to aid the court. Three prisoners were discharged
for want of evidence, three more because they were minors. Allen,
hearing of this, entered the court-room in his military dress, large
three-cornered hat profusely ornamented with gold lace, and a large
sword swinging by his side. Breathless with haste, he bowed to Chief
Justice Robinson and began attacking the attorneys. Robinson told
him the court would gladly listen to him as a citizen, but not as a
military man in a military dress. Allen threw his hat on the table
and unbuckled his sword, exclaiming: "For forms of government let
fools contest; whate'er is best administered is best." Observing
the judges whispering together, he said: "I said that fools might
contest, not your honors, not your honors." To the state's attorney,
Noah Smith, he said: "I would have the young gentleman know that
with my logic and reasoning from the eternal fitness of things, I
can upset his Blackstones, his whitestones, his gravestones, and his
brimstones." Then he continued:

  Fifty miles I have come through the woods with my brave men
  to support the civil with the military arm, to quell any
  disturbances should they arise, and to aid the sheriff and court
  in prosecuting these Yorkers, the enemies of our noble State. I
  see, however, that some of them, by the quirks of this artful
  lawyer, Bradley, are escaping from the punishment they so richly
  deserve, and I find also, that this little Noah Smith is far from
  understanding his business, since he at one moment moves for a
  prosecution and in the next wishes to withdraw it. Let me warn
  your honors to be on your guard lest these delinquents should
  slip through your fingers and thus escape the rewards so justly
  due their crimes.

Allen then put on his hat, buckled on his sword, and departed with
great dignity.



In 1782 the rebellious York element in Windham County again called
Ethan to the field. In Guilford forty-six men ambushed and fired on
Allen's party in the evening. Allen, knowing the terror of his name,
entering Guilford on foot, uttered this proclamation: "I, Ethan
Allen, do declare that I will give no quarter to the man, woman, or
child who shall oppose me, and unless the inhabitants of Guilford
peacefully submit to the authority of Vermont, I swear that I will
lay it as desolate as Sodom and Gomorrah by God."

In 1784 Allen published a book entitled "Reason, the Only Oracle
of Man: or, A Compendious System of Natural Religion." In this
book Allen endeavored to prove that the Bible was not inspired,
but he declared it a necessity that a future life of rewards and
punishments follow the good and evil of this life. His idea of the
Deity is expressed in these words:

  The knowledge of the being, perfections, creation and providence
  of God and the immortality of our souls is the foundation of our

This book contained 487 pages. Fifteen hundred copies were issued,
but most of them were destroyed by the burning of the printing
office. Allen wrote to a friend:

  In this book you read my very soul, for I have not concealed
  my opinion. I expect that the clergy and their devotees will
  proclaim war with me in the name of the Lord.

Sometimes Allen is too profane to be repeated, sometimes too
frivolous for sacred subjects. Speaking of his prospects of being
hung in England, he said:

  As to the world of spirits, though I know nothing of the mode or
  manner of it, I expected nevertheless, when I should arrive at
  such a world, that I should be as well treated as other gentlemen
  of my merit.

Among the pleasant friends that Allen formed at this time was John
Stark. The hero of Ticonderoga had never met the hero of Bennington.
Three weeks after Allen's arrival in Bennington, Stark wrote to
him proposing an interview at Albany, where he was stationed as
brigadier-general in command of the northern department. He also
wrote to General Gates:

  I should be very glad to have Colonel Ethan Allen command in the
  grants, as he is a very suitable man to deal with tories and such
  like villains.

Four days later Gates wrote Stark:

  I now inclose two letters, one to Colonel Ethan Allen and
  one to Colonel Bedel ... it may not be amiss to take Colonel
  Allen's opinion on the subject, with whom I wish you to open a

Another pleasant episode in Allen's life was his association with
St. John de Crèvecœur, who was the French consul in New York for ten
years following the revolution. Sieur Crèvecœur married an American
Quakeress, bought a farm which he cleared, wrote a book in English
called "Letters from an American Farmer," and three volumes in French
about upper Pennsylvania and New York. He wrote to Ethan Allen
proposing to have the Vermont state seal engraved in silver by the
king's best engravers, asked for maps of the state, suggested naming
some towns after French statesmen who had befriended America. (St.
Johnsbury was named for Crèvecœur.) He asked Allen for copies of his
"Oracles of Reason" and also for some seeds.

Instances multiply showing the prominence of Ethan Allen in the new
state. During Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts, before attempting to
seize the United States arsenal at Springfield, he sent two of his
principal officers to Ethan Allen offering to him the command of the
Massachusetts insurgents, representing one-third of the population
of that state. Allen rejected the offer with contempt and ordered
the messengers to leave the state. He also wrote to the governor of
Massachusetts and Colonel Benjamin Simmons, of western Massachusetts,
informing them of the efforts made in Vermont by malcontents from
that state, and that Vermont was exerting herself vigorously to
prevent the evil consequences of the insurgents' action, and
promising the most cordial co-operation in the future.

The incidents of Allen's life and his writings are not published
in any one volume, but are scattered through ill-bound primers, are
found in fiction, in addresses, and in huge double-column tomes which
are not accessible to the people.

The story of his second marriage gives a vivid picture of the
rough-and-ready audacious soldier. On the 9th of February, 1784, the
judges of the supreme court were at breakfast with lawyer Stephen R.
Bradley, of Westminster, when General Allen, in a sleigh with a span
of dashing black horses and a colored driver, drove up to the house.
Passing through the breakfast-room, he found in the next room the
spirited young widow of twenty-four summers, Mrs. Frances Buchanan,
who was living in the house with her mother, Mrs. Wall. Dressed in
her morning gown, Mrs. Buchanan was standing on a chair arranging
china and glass on some upper shelves. She amused her visitor with
some witticism about the broken decanter in her hands; a brief chat
ensued, then Allen said: "Fanny, if we are ever to be married, now is
the time, for I am on my way to Arlington."

"Very well," she replied; "give me time to put on my josie."

The couple passed into a third room, where the judges were smoking,
and Allen said:

"Judge Robinson, this young woman and myself have concluded to marry
each other, and to have you perform the ceremony."


"Now! For myself I have no great opinion of such formality, and from
what I can discover she thinks as little of it as I do. But as a
decent respect for the opinion of mankind seems to require it, you
will proceed."

"General, this is an important matter, and have you given it serious

"Certainly; but," here the general glanced proudly at his handsome
and accomplished bride, twenty-two years younger than himself,
perhaps also conscious of his own mature, stalwart symmetry, "I do
not think it requires much consideration in this particular case."

"Do you promise to live with Frances agreeably to the law of God?"

"Stop! stop!" cried Allen, looking out of the window. "Yes, according
to the law of God as written in the great book of Nature. Go on! go
on! my team is at the door."

Soon the bride's guitar and trunk were in the sleigh and the bells
jingled merrily as they dashed westward.

Before his second marriage John Norton, a tavern-keeper of
Westminster, said:

"Fanny, if you marry General Allen you will be the queen of a new

"Yes," she replied, "and if I should marry the devil I would be queen
of hell."

The children of the second marriage were three: one daughter who died
in a nunnery in Montreal, and two sons who became officers in the
United States Army and died at Norfolk, Va. Ethan Allen, of New York,
is a grandson of the second wife.



In 1787 Allen moved to Burlington, where, for the last two years
of his life, he devoted himself to farming. Through a partial
failure of the crops in 1789, Allen found himself short of hay in
the winter. Col. Ebenezer Allen, who lived in South Hero, an island
near Burlington, offered to supply Ethan what he needed if he would
come for it. Accordingly, with a team and man, Ethan crossed the
ice on the 10th of February. Col. Ebenezer Allen had invited some
neighbors, who were old friends and acquaintances, to meet his guest,
and the afternoon and evening were spent in telling stories. Ethan
was persuaded to stay over night and the next morning started for
home with his load of hay. During the journey his negro spoke to him
several times but received no reply. On reaching home he discovered
that his master was unconscious. He was carried into his house and
died from apoplexy in a few hours.

To estimate properly Allen's force of character and large mind, we
should appreciate the crude civilization of the early pioneer days of
Vermont, when self-culture could only be procured by great qualities.
The population was about five thousand, chiefly on the east side
of the mountains. The bulk of the people lived in log houses with
earthen floors, and with windows made of oiled paper, isinglass, raw
hides, or sometimes 6 x 8 panes of glass. Smaller log houses were
used to protect domestic animals from wolves and bears, as well as
from the inclemency of the weather. It was the life of the frontier
in the wilderness, when the struggle for bare sustenance left little
time for the acquirement of knowledge, much less of accomplishments.

Allen is not the best representative man of his time, but his
experience was so startling, his character so piquant, that a sketch
of him better photographs Vermont before her admission to the Union
than that of any other man. As a statesman he was infinitely inferior
to Chipman or Bradley; as a soldier, Seth Warner, although six
years younger, was his superior; Ira Allen was more capable and more
accomplished; Governor Chittenden was more discreet in the management
of state affairs. As a captive, absent from the state from 1775 to
1778, Allen had nothing to do with the adoption of the constitution
or the first organization of our state government; as a member
of the legislature he won no reputation. He lacked the scholarly
culture and polished suavity of the highest type of gentleman; he
was sometimes horribly profane. He delighted in battling with the
religious orthodoxy of New England; he wrote a book to disprove the
authenticity of the Bible; yet he was energetic in his expressions
of veneration for the being and perfection of the Deity, and a firm
believer in the immortality of the soul. Thoroughly familiar with the
history and law of the New York controversy, his telling exposure
of the subtle casuistry of the more learned New York lawyers;
his thorough sympathy with the settlers in all their trials and
amusements; his geniality, sociability, and aptness in story-telling;
his detestation of all dishonesty and meanness; his burning zeal
for American freedom; his adroit success, his bitter sufferings,
even his one unlucky rashness in attacking Montreal when deserted
by the very man who had induced him to undertake it; his numerous
writings--all combine to make him the most popular of our state

Washington's masterly knowledge of human nature gives value to
his brief portrait of Allen. Immediately on being released from
captivity, Allen visited Washington at Valley Forge. Washington wrote
to Congress in regard to Allen.

  His fortitude and firmness seem to have placed him out of the
  reach of misfortune. There is an original something about him
  that commands admiration, and his long captivity and sufferings
  have only served to increase, if possible, his enthusiastic zeal.
  He appears very desirous of rendering his services to the states
  and of being employed, and at the same time he does not discover
  any ambition for high rank.

Senator Edmunds says of Allen: "Ethan Allen was a man of gifts rather
than acquirements, although he was not by any means deficient in that
knowledge obtained from reading and from intercourse with men. But it
was the natural force of his character that made him eminent among
the worthiest who founded the republic, and pre-eminent among those
who founded the state of Vermont."

Col. John A. Graham, who knew Allen well the last two or three years
of his life, published a book in England a few years after Allen's
death and therein says: "Ethan Allen was a man of extraordinary
character. He possessed great talents but was deficient in education.
In all his dealings he possessed the strictest sense of honor,
integrity, and uprightness."

The Hon. Daniel P. Thompson attributes to him "wisdom, aptitude to
command, ability to inspire respect and confidence, a high sense of
honor, generosity, and kindness."

Jared Sparks calls him "brave, generous, consistent, true to his
friends, true to his country, seeking at all times to promote the
best interests of mankind."

Governor Hiland Hall says: "He acquired much information by reading
and observation. His knowledge of the political situation of the
state and country was general and accurate. As a writer, he was
ready, clear, and forcible. His style attracted and fixed attention
and inspired confidence in his sincerity and justice."

John Jay speaks of his writings as having "wit, quaintness, and

In financial skill Ethan was inferior to his brother Ira; as a
soldier he lacked the cool judgment of Seth Warner; in administrative
ability he had neither the tact nor success of Governor Chittenden;
as a statesman he was destitute of the learning and ability of
Chipman and Bradley; but as a patriot and friend he was true as a
star. No money, no office, could bribe; no insults, no suffering,
tame him. As a boon companion he was rollicking and popular. Many are
the stories told of his hearty good-will toward all. One instance
will show his power to attach the common people to him: Finding a
woman in Tinmouth dreading to have a painful tooth drawn, in order to
encourage her he sat down and had one of his perfectly sound teeth

In religion, like Horace Greeley, Allen had reverence for the Deity
but none for the Bible. In this he was not alone, for Vermont, in
the later eighteenth century, presented a curious mixture of the
strictest adherence to the letter of the religious law and absolute

The Universalists in 1785 held their first American convention in
Massachusetts. When this doctrine was first introduced into Vermont,
John Norton, the Westminster tavern-keeper, said to Ethan Allen:
"That religion will suit you, will it not, General Allen?"

Allen, who knew Norton to be a secret tory, replied in utter scorn:
"No! no! for there must be a hell in the other world for the
punishment of tories."

President Dwight said: "Many of the influential early Vermonters
were professed infidels or Universalists, or persons of equally
loose principles and morals." Judge Robert R. Livingston wrote Dr.
Franklin: "The bulk of Vermonters are New England Presbyterian
whigs." Daniel Chipman says: "Great numbers of the early settlers
were of the set of New-lights or Separates, who fled from persecution
in the New England States and found religious liberty here."

Before Allen took Ticonderoga, Vermont had eleven Congregational
and four Baptist churches. For a quarter of a century (1783-1807)
towns and parishes could assess taxes for churches and ministers.
At the very threshold of Vermont's existence the laws had a
Puritanic severity. "High-handed blasphemy" was punished with death;
while fines or the stocks were the rewards of profane swearing,
drunkenness, unseasonable night-walking, disturbing Sabbath worship,
travelling Sunday, gaming, horse-racing, confirmed tavern-haunting,
mischievous lying, and even meeting in company Saturday or Sunday
evenings except in religious meetings. "No person shall drive a team
or droves of any kind, or travel on the Lord's day (except it be on
business that concerns the present war, or by some adversity they are
belated and forced to lodge in the woods, wilderness, or highways the
night before)," then only to next shelter. The wife of the Rev. Sam.
Williams was arrested in New Hampshire for travelling on Sunday. No
Jew, Roman Catholic, atheist, or deist could take the oath required
of a member of the legislature; for that oath professed belief
in the Deity, the divine inspiration of both Testaments, and the
Protestant religion. The Rev. Samuel Peters, LL.D., sometimes called
Bishop Peters, tells us the Munchausen story that he baptized into
the Church of England 1,200 adults and children amid the forests of
Vermont. In 1790 Vermont was enough of a diocese to hold a convention
of eight parishes and two rectors.

Bennington was the early nucleus of Vermont colonization. Samuel
Robinson, of that town, had land to sell both in Bennington and the
adjoining town of Shaftsbury. It is said he entertained over night
the new immigrants; if Baptists, he sold them land in Shaftsbury; if
Congregationalists, he sold them land in Bennington.

What visible tokens have we of Vermont's pride in this hero, to whom
she is so much indebted for her existence as a state?

The earliest statue of Ethan Allen was by Benjamin Harris Kinney, a
native of Sunderland. It was modelled in Burlington and exhibited
there in 1852. The Rev. Zadoc Thompson said of it: "All who have long
and carefully examined his statue will admit that the artist, Mr.
Kinney, our respected townsman, has embodied and presented to the eye
the ideal in a most masterly manner." The Hon. David Read says: "The
statue was examined by several aged people who had personally known
Allen, and all pronounce it an excellent likeness of him." Henry de
Puy has an engraving of this statue in his book about Allen in 1853.
This statue has never been purchased from Mr. Kinney, and it is still
in his possession.

The two statues of Allen made for the state are the work of Larkin
G. Mead, a native of Chesterfield, N. H., reared and educated in
Brattleboro. One of them, at the entrance of the state-house in
Montpelier, is of Rutland marble. The other one, in the Capitol at
Washington, is of Italian marble.

The fourth statue was unveiled at Burlington, the 4th of July, 1873.
It was made at Carrara, Italy, after a design by Peter Stephenson, of
Boston. It is 8 ft. 4 in. high, stands on a granite shaft 42 ft. in
height, in Green Mountain Cemetery, on the banks of the Winooski.

  "_Siste viator! Heroa calcas!_"


[1] This letter, like others, is given verbatim, despite
some evident errors of phraseology.


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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.