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610 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
exercise. General Gage, though he favored the occupation of New York, "regarded the evacuation of Boston as a measure of too much danger, and difficulty, and importance," to be taken without the sanction of government. Having determined to winter his army in the latter place, he, in the last of September, 1775, "commenced preparations to quarter it in the houses of the inhabitants." "In consequence of this determination, it was necessary to remove the furniture from the buildings that would be required." This business was entrusted to Crean Brush, who was armed with a commission vesting him with authority to receive and protect such personal property as should be entrusted to his care.*
The issue of this commission was one of the last official acts of General Gage in Boston. Already had he received orders to repair to England. In obedience to these orders he sailed on the 10th of October, and on the same day General Howe suc‑
* The following is a copy of the commission referred to in the text:
"By His Excellency The Honorable Thomas Gage, Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over His Majesty's Province of Massachusetts Bay, and Vice-Admiral of the same, General and Commander-in-Chief of all His Majesty's Forces in North America, &c., &c., &c.
"To CREAN BRUSH, Esquire:—
"Whereas, there are large quantities of Goods, Wares, and Merchandize, Chattles and Effects of considerable value left in the Town of Boston by Persons who have thought proper to depart therefrom, which are lodged in dwelling Houses, and in Shops and Storehouses adjoining to or making part of Dwelling Houses:
"And Whereas, there is great reason to apprehend, and the Inhabitants have expressed some fears concerning the safety of such goods, especially as great part of the Houses will necessarily be Occupied by His Majesty's Troops and the followers of the Army, as Barracks during the Winter Season; To quiet the fears of the Inhabitants, and more especially to take all due care for the preservation of such Goods, Wares, and Merchandize: I have thought fit and do hereby Authorize and appoint you the said Crean Brush to take and receive into your Care, all such Goods, Chattles, and Effects as may be voluntarily delivered into your Charge by the owners of such Goods, or the Person or Persons whose care they may be left in, on your giving Receipts for the same; and you are to take all due care thereof, and to deliver said Goods, when called upon, to those to whom you shall have given Receipts for the same. For all which Services you are to Receive Ten Shillings Sterling per Day. Given under my Hand and Seal at Head-Quarters in Boston the First day of October, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Five, in the Fifteenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King; Defender of the Faith, and so forth.
"By his Excellency's Command,
MEMORIAL TO GOVERNOR GAGE. 611
ceeded him in the command of the troops. Meantime, Brush, although busied among the
— "parritch-pats and auld saut-backets"
which the good wives of Boston had left behind them, still found time to evince his loyalty in other ways. He, in common with the army of General Howe, felt secure in his present position, and was almost certain of the ultimate success of the British forces. Owing in part to this confidence, and in part to a desire of reducing the inhabitants of the New Hampshire Grants to submission, in which district he owned several thousand acres of land, he drew up a memorial in which he offered his services to raise a body of men to be employed in the service of the King. This memorial was found among his papers, when a few months later he was taken prisoner. It was addressed to General Gage. The intention of its author, doubtless, was to transmit it to England, trusting to Gage's influence with the Ministry for a favorable answer to the propositions therein advanced. The supposition that it ever reached the eyes of him for whom it was intended is baseless. As to the memorialist, the designs by which he had hoped to advance the interests of the Crown, and gratify his own avarice and ambition, were defeated by a change in his own circumstances which was as humiliating as it was unexpected.*
* For the purpose of showing the loyalty of Mr. Brush's disposition, a copy of the memorial is here annexed:—
"To His Excellency The Honorable Thomas Gage, Lieutenant-General of His Majesty's Forces, &c., &c., &c.
"The memorial of Crean Brush of the
Province of New York, Esquire,
"Most Respectfully sheweth—
"That your Memorialist hath in several Civil Departments zealously exerted himself in supporting the Constitution and Authority of Parliament over all His Majesty's Dominions, but the unwearied assiduity of an artful, ambitious Confederacy having prevailed, and the People pursuing the Arbitrary Dictates of such Confederates — having shook off their allegiance to the best of Kings, and their Obedience to Lawful Authority, with Ingratitude unparalleled burst forth into open Rebellion, making their final Appeal to Arms and rest their Fate on the decision of the Sword alone, whereby every Bond of Society is Dissolved, and all Persons precluded from supporting His Majesty's Government in a Civil Capacity.
"Your Memorialist, therefore, to Manifest his Zeal for His Majesty's Person and Government, in the present Exigence, begs leave to propose to your Excellency that he will forthwith, upon being duly authorized, raise a Body of Volunteers,
612 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
By the 5th of February, 1776, Mr. Brush had received into his custody a large amount of goods, wares, and merchandize. General Howe, although he had resolved to evacuate Boston, was determined to wait "until he had additional transports and sufficient provisions for a long voyage and also, until a favor‑
consisting of not less than three Hundred effective Men, exclusive of Officers, One Hundred and fifty of whom to be formed into an Independent Company under his Command, and the residue to be disposed of at the pleasure of the Commander-in-Chief, the whole to serve in Conjunction with His Majesty's other Forces, during the continuance of the present Rebellion, upon the same pay, and Royal Bounty, as granted to the new rais'd Royal Fencible American Regiment, and this Proposal your Memorialist flatters himself with a certainty of effecting from his Connections and Friends among the well-disposed Inhabitants. And after the Subduction of the Main Body of Rebel Force, your Memorialist would further humbly propose, that an establishment of three Hundred Men, including such of the three Hundred Men so to be raised by him as may then remain, exclusive of Officers, might be formed into one Body under his Command to occupy proper Posts on Connecticut River, and open a Line of communication from thence Westward towards Lake Champlain, to continue on that Station so long as the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces shall judge expedient, and then to be Reduced. And your Memorialist's intimate Knowledge of that Frontier enables him to assure your Excellency that such an Establishment in that Country (far remote as it is from the Seat and Aid of Government) will become absolutely necessary for the purpose of reducing to Obedience, and bringing to Justice, a dangerous Gang of Lawless Banditti, who, without the least pretext of Title, have, by Violence, possessed themselves of a large Tract of Interior Territory, between Connecticut River on the East, and the Waters of Hudson's River and Lake Champlain on the West, in open defiance of Government, holding themselves ameniable to no Law, but confiding in their own strength, have for many Years committed the most unheard of Cruelties, and spread Terror and Destruction around them, without Fear of Punishment or possibility of Control, as well as to form a proper Defence (in conjunction with the well-disposed Inhabitants) against such discomfited Rebels as fleeing from the Main Body of His Majesty's Forces, will have no other Refuge to seek than this Interior defenceless Country, and who, forming themselves into Armed Bands, will Associate with the Needy and Dissolute, and without Remorse, destroy all distinction of Property founded on Law, or Subject it to their depredation. The Restoration and Protection of Courts of Justice, and of the Civil Magistrate in the due Execution of his Office, on which is dependant the whole Security and Happiness of the Subject, forms the great ultimate end of the proposed arrangement.
"Your Memorialist therefore Humbly Prays your Excellency will take the Premises into Consideration, and if the Measure proposed is favored with your Approbation that you will be pleased to lay the same before His Majesty's Ministers of State with your Excellency's opinion thereon.
" And Your Memorialist will Pray.
"Boston, 10th January, 1776."
Frothingham's Siege of Boston, pp. 246, 247, 249, 294, 295. MSS. entitled "Revolution Messages," etc., which include a number of papers relative to Brush, in office Sec. State Mass., 1775-1783, pp. 297-319.
REMOVAL OF PROPERTY FROM BOSTON. 613
able season should arrive." Under these circumstances, Mr. Brush, anxious to be directed as to the disposal of the property in his possession, made application to General Howe, to Brigadier-General James Robertson, to the Quarter-Master General, and to the Adjutant-General for advice. Robertson alone deigned to attend to the subject. At his request, Mr. Brush engaged Charles Blasquet, Richard Hill, John Hill, and David Cunningham, "under high wages," to devote "their whole time and attention" to the business of packing and casing the goods he had collected, and of conveying them on board the brigantine Elizabeth, then lying in the harbor at Clark's wharf. This vessel belonged to Richard Hart of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and had been purchased as a transport.* In the confusion incident to the situation of the town, carts and boats could be procured only with the greatest difficulty. Mr. Brush and his aids were, on this account, compelled to ship their goods by such conveyances as chance afforded, and as the brigantine was at that time in the charge of three persons only, two of whom were boys, and all inexperienced, the packages, which were but poorly put together, were worse bestowed.
At this juncture, Cyrus Baldwin, a Boston merchant who had left town through fear of the British, and had retired to Woburn, wrote to William Jackson and his brother who still remained in Boston, begging them to receive from him a power of attorney, and take the charge of his effects. With this request they complied, and soon after received from him through his clerk, Mr. Shaw, the keys of his store. At the same time, Shaw removed to the store of the Jacksons a portion of his employer's goods for safer keeping. As it became more and more apparent that the British would be compelled to evacuate Boston earlier than they had intended, their conduct became more and more insolent. Early in the month of March, a number of Tories who had taken possession of the house of one Mr. Marsh, which adjoined Baldwin's, came out by the scuttle and broke open Baldwin's house through the roof. This act was performed in the dead of night. On the following morning William Jackson, having received information of what had happened, went to Baldwin's house, and upon examination discovered that, although some damage had been done, yet that several packages of goods which had been stored there, were untouched. He then remonstrated with
* "This vessel was purchased by William Jackson at the Brazen Head." Edes's Boston Gazette, Monday, April 8, 1776. Connecticut Courant, April 15, 1776.
614 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
those who had been guilty of this burglary, on the "iniquity of such doings," but without much effect. On the 9th of March, which was Saturday, as he was approaching his storehouse, he found Mr. Brush and a number of his attendants in front of Baldwin's place of business, the next to his own. Brush immediately demanded of him the keys of Baldwin's storehouse; declared that he had authority to seize his and other people's goods; pronounced Baldwin a rebel; and vowed to break the doors through in case peaceable entrance was not given. Being unable without aid to make a successful resistance, Jackson repaired in haste to General Howe. Meeting one of his aids-de-camp, he informed him of his situation, and in view of the power of attorney which he held from Baldwin, asked to be defended in his rights. An orderly sergeant was thereupon deputed to return with him, with a verbal order that Mr. Brush should not molest Baldwin's goods. The sergeant delivered a wrong message, and commanded Brush not to disturb the property of Jackson. Jackson corrected the mistake, but Brush refused to receive the correction unless it was made in writing and by the proper authority. On going the second time to head-quarters, Jackson was unable to see either of the aids-de-camp. On his return Mr. Brush and his men broke open Baldwin's storehouse, and having obtained conveyances, removed the greater part of its contents to the brigantine Elizabeth.
Not satisfied with the power with which he had been vested, Mr. Brush obtained from General Howe, on the 10th of March, private instructions to seize those goods," which, if retained by the rebels, would enable them to carry on the war, and "put them on board the Minerva ship, or the brigantine Elizabeth." In accordance with these private instructions, General Howe, on the same day, which was Sunday, issued a proclamation which, having been printed in the form of a handbill, was posted in the most conspicuous places in Boston, ordering the removal of "linen and woollen goods" from the place, and declaring that any person who should secrete or retain articles of this description would be treated as "a favourer of rebels."*
* The private instructions, which, with the exception of General Howe's signature, were in Mr. Brush's hand-writing, were as follows:—
"Sir, — I am informed there are large Quantities of Goods in the Town of Boston, which, if in possession of the Rebells, would enable them to Carry on War. And Whereas, I have given Notice to all Loyal Inhabitants to remove such Goods from hence, and that all who do not remove them, or deliver them to your Care, will
WHOLESALE PLUNDER. 615
No sooner was this proclamation issued, than Mr. Brush began his work of plunder. Regardless of the sacred character of the day, he broke into the shops of Samuel Austin, John Scollay, John Rowe, John Barrett and Sons, Captain Dashwood, and Captain Partridge, whence he removed goods to the value of several thousands of pounds sterling. From the shop of the Jacksons he also took about twenty-five packages of goods, but these were treated with more care, for they were guarded by James Jackson as far as the wharf whence they were shipped.*
Nor did he confine himself to linens and woollens, the articles which had been declared contraband. his was an indiscri‑
be considered as abettors of Rebells. You are hereby Authorized and Required to take into your Possession all such Goods as answer this description, and to give Certificates to the Owners that you have received them for their use, and will deliver them to the Owners' Order, unavoidable Accidents excepted. And you are to make enquiry, if any such Goods be secreted or left in Stores, and you are to Seize all such and put them on Board the Minerva, Ship, or Brigantine Elizabeth.
"Given under my hand at Head Quarters,
"Boston, this tenth Day of March, 1776.
"To CREAN BRUSH, Esquire."
The following is a copy of the proclamation of General Howe, which, in the form of a handbill, was posted in the town of Boston:—
"By His Excellency
"Major General, &c. &c. &c.
"As Linnen and Woolen Goods are Articles much wanted by the Rebels, and would aid and assist them in their Rebellion, the Commander-in-Chief expects that all good Subjects will use their utmost Endeavors to have all such Articles convey'd from this Place: Any who have not Opportunity to convey their Goods under their own Care, may deliver them on Board the Minerva at Hubbard's Wharf, to Crean Brush, Esq.; mark'd with their Names, who will give a Certificate of the Delivery, and will oblige himself to return them to the Owners, all unavoidable Accidents excepted.
"If after this Notice any Person secretes or Keeps in his Possession such Articles, he will be treated as a Favourer of Rebels.
"Boston, March 10th, 1776."
MSS. in office Sec. State Mass. Frothingham's Siege of Boston, pp. 306, 307.
* Some idea of the manner in which the plundering of the town of Boston was conducted, may be gained by a perusal of the annexed inventory, drawn by James Jackson, "of sundry packages taken by Crean Brush out of Mr. Cyrus Baldwin's store, March 10, 1776."
"7 Trunks, 9 Boxes, 9 Casks, 1 Counter, 11 Bales, 1 Bag Pepper, 1 Bag Allspice, 1 Cask Indigo, 3 Quires small and 1 Quire large Press papers, Sundry Loose Ones, 1 Black Walnut Desk, 1 Writing Desk, 1 Pewter Dish, 1 Small organ in the chamber, 4 Chairs, 1 Pewter Dish."
616 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
minate robbery, and everything portable on which he could lay his hands, if of value, was tumbled with the utmost confusion into the hold of the brigantine Elizabeth. On the next day he renewed his depredations with vigor. "Shops were stripped by him of all their goods, though the owners were in town." Dwelling houses were plundered of their contents, and what could not be carried off was destroyed. Mr. Brush afterwards bore witness to his activity in these words:— "I solemnly aver, that from the 5th to the 13th of March, my own assiduity was so great that I did not in any one night allow myself more than two hours sleep." For four days, commencing on the day on which the last proclamation was dated, the destruction of private property in Boston was immense. Those engaged in these scenes cared but little for the order which declared that the soldiers who should be "caught plundering" should be "hanged on the spot," and were not hindered in their lawless work by the rain which fell, during the greater part of the time.*
On the 12th of March, John Hill, one of Mr. Brush's assistants, wrote to Brigadier-General Robertson for assistance. He stated that his employer and others had laded the Elizabeth with "a valuable cargo of rebels' goods;" that one Captain Wheaton had assumed the command, but was incapable of fulfilling his trust; that he had crowded her with twenty passengers, "besides seven negroes," among whom there was not one person who could superintend her navigation; that there were neither provisions nor water on board that the passengers were in confusion, and the cargo in chaos. He further declared that should the vessel put to sea in her present state, she would undoubtedly be lost, and begged in behalf of Mr. Brush, that she might be provided with a fit master, and four competent seamen, and that all "superfluous persons" might be removed from her. On the same day, William and James Jackson proceeded to Brigadier-General Robertson's quarters, for the purpose of obtaining from Mr. Brush through him, a receipt for the goods of Baldwin. Samuel Austin and John Scollay, two of the selectmen of Boston, and Captains Partridge and Dashwood were already there, endeavoring to obtain information concerning their property. Mr. Brush produced manifests of the goods of these gentlemen, and even furnished them with receipts, but of the effects of Baldwin he could give no account.
* Gordon's Hist, of the War, ii. 42-44. Frothingham's Siege of Boston, pp. 307, 308.
OUTRAGES BY THE BRITISH. 617
Some conversation then ensued relative to Mr. Brush's conduct, when Robertson, in order probably to put an end to the complaints which had arisen on account of the recklessness with which Mr. Brush had conducted the seizure of the "rebels" goods, gave orders that the Elizabeth should fall down the harbor. It had been expected that Boston would be evacuated on the 15th, but owing to an easterly breeze which rendered exit from the harbor unsafe, the departure of the troops was delayed. The next day was spent by the soldiers in "defacing furniture, damaging goods, and breaking open stores." On Sunday, March the 17th, the embarkation commenced at an early hour, and before night the fleet was harbored in Nantasket Road. Mr. Brush left in the Elizabeth, and was accompanied by William Jackson, who had determined to remain with his property, to protect it, if he should be able.
The situation of the Elizabeth was unpromising in the extreme. The packages which had been thrown in indiscriminately were broken open, and the goods were lying loose in the hold from one end of the vessel to the other. Wheaton, the temporary captain, and Mr. Brush were continually differing, each pretending to the command, and no care had been taken to lay in a store of provisions. As soon as General Howe arrived at Nantasket, Jackson, who was still there, wrote to him, informing him of the service he, as "a subject," had done "in the detection and discovery of persons concerned in fraudulently taking away the property of divers merchants," and asked to be appointed to take the charge of the cargo on board the Elizabeth, then "under the care of Mr. Brush." By the advice of Major Sheriff, Jackson repaired to the ship of Admiral Shuldham in King Road, on board of which General Howe had his head-quarters. He was there met by Captain Balfour, Howe's aid-de-camp, who begged him to return to the brigantine, and promised that he would soon follow. Not long after, Brigadier-General Robertson and Major Grant, the commandant of the 55th regiment, visited the Elizabeth, with a party of men, in place of Balfour. To them Jackson made known the situation of affairs, and informed them that the goods of several persons which had been taken, were not to be found on the brigantine. By their aid a search was instituted, and the lost property, among which was that of Mr. Baldwin, was discovered "on board a ship called the Peggy." Jackson thereupon agreed to attend to the preservation of the cargo of the Elizabeth, and a couple
618 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
of men were sent to assist him in its stowage. Large quantities of goods were afterwards removed from the Peggy to the Elizabeth, but the property which was hidden under the wheat and flour, which formed a part of the cargo of the former vessel, was not then discovered.
On Thursday, the 21st of March, Admiral Shuldham of the British fleet, ordered Peter Ramsay, a midshipman on the Chatham, to take the captaincy of the Elizabeth. With him were sent sailors, together with a sergeant and twelve privates of the 4th, or King's Own, Regiment, that the vessel might be both navigated and defended. For a few days following, the crew were busily engaged in taking in provisions, and in making the necessary preparations for the voyage. Arrangements having been completed, and a number of women and children having been taken on board as passengers, the Elizabeth set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia, between the hours of three and four, on the afternoon of Friday, the 29th of March, under convoy of the British ship-of-war the Niger. On Tuesday, the 2d of April, Commodore John Manly in the Hancock, coming up with the brigantine, which had in the mean time parted from her convoy, fired a broadside at her. This was returned by a volley of small arms from the sergeant's party on board the Elizabeth. At this juncture Capt. Daniel Waters in the Lee, and Capt. John Ayres in the Lynch, joined the Commodore. Escape was now impossible. Between the hours of four and five in the afternoon the Elizabeth struck her colors. Captain Ramsay and all on board were made prisoners, and the brigantine was floated into Piscataqua river in New Hampshire.
The most important prisoners were on Thursday, the 11th of April, brought before the Council of Massachusetts, then in session at Watertown, and examined. Mr. Brush did not deny the charges which were adduced against him, and even acknowledged that he took some articles which were not "woollens or linens;" but "this," said he, "was owing to the owners themselves, who would not inform me which packages contained them." The statements made by Captain Ramsay were strictly true. William Jackson declared that he had taken passage in the Elizabeth in order to protect his own and Mr. Baldwin's property, and that he had never been acquainted with Mr. Brush till he met him at General Howe's quarters. Another prisoner, one Edward Keighley, stated that he was a passenger
ARREST OF BRUSH AND OTHERS. 619
in the Elizabeth when she was taken, and that he had on board of her a quantity of goods, which it was his design to carry to Halifax and "make the best of." He also asserted that there were five persons on the Elizabeth who had been imprisoned on account of the share they had taken in plundering the town of Boston, and in secreting the booty in the hold of the Peggy.
On the day following this examination, the "major part of the Council" directed the keeper of the jail at Boston to take into his custody, Crean Brush, William Jackson, Peter Ramsay, Edward Keighley, and Richard Newton, "lately taken in their flight from Boston, in attempting to carry away from thence, under the protection of the British fleet, large quantities of goods, wares, and merchandizes, the rightful property of the inhabitants" of the town of Boston. The first three prisoners were ordered to be placed "each in an apartment by himself;" were denied the use of pen, ink, and paper, and candles; and were not permitted to converse with any person unless in the presence of the jailer. Mr. Brush was not only subjected to these restrictions, but was also handcuffed. Among the papers of Brush was found an unfinished letter, which was published in Edes's Boston Gazette a few days after its author had been imprisoned, in order, as was stated by the editor in his prefatory remarks, "that the good people of these colonies may see the unwearied attempts of our implacable enemies to enslave them."*
* This letter was without date or address, and was in these words :—
"SIR: The movement of the troops from Boston to Canada is the only measure which assures success in the reduction of America to due obedience, which, I trust, sir, you will remember to have been an observation of mine to you in February, 1765. From the frontiers of that Province, the troops can, with great facility, possess the interior fertile country, which forms the great object of Rebel resources, and, by throwing the disaffected inhabitants in crowds upon an already exhausted and almost barren sea-coast, and keeping them confined there, they must be reduced by famine without a blow, provided a proper fleet is stationed on the coast of the Atlantick, to harass them on that quarter, and prevent foreign succours. The rivers, lakes, and streams, connected with, and contiguous to, the River St. Lawrence, must be the channels through which this desirable object is to be accomplished — the River Kennebeck, whose source is near that of the River Chaudiere, emptying into the St. Lawrence River, a few miles above Quebeck; the Sago River, which separates the Province of New Hampshire from the Province of Maine; the River Merrimack, rising about latitude 43°; the River Connecticut, whose source is in about latitude 46°, near the Lake De St. Francois, in the River St. Lawrence; Hudson's, Susquehannah, Delaware, and Ohio Rivers, with the lakes forming these rivers and streams issuing into them. For on the banks of these lakes, rivers, and streams, are the fertile lands; and the whole settlements in the interior parts are chiefly formed on them. You will be pleased, sir, to excuse the liberty I have already taken, and indulge me until I lay before
620 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
A memorial was also found among his papers, addressed to Brigadier-General James Robertson. In this, he gave a partial account of his doings in Boston, and blamed those of the rebels who had found fault with his ruffianism. Referring to these unreasonable grumblers, he said:— "Your memorialist begs leave to assure your Honor, that he is fully able to prove that his conduct towards them was governed with politeness and moderation. True it is, that when attempts were made to engage his attention in tedious dissertations on Magna Charta and the rights of British subjects, with intent to retard him in the execution of his office, he did interrupt such harangues, and with an irony which inflamed their resentment, complimented them on their eloquence, which had in town meetings been so successful as to throw all America into confusion." But he further asserted that remarks like these were always accompanied by the declaration, that he "was upon business" which he was "determined to execute without interruption." In another memorial intended for General Howe, which seemed to be a companion-piece to the above, he employed a similar style in his remarks. In one instance only did he turn aside from the justification of his own acts, in order to commend to favor the four men and their families, who "neglected their own concerns to serve government," when he procured their assistance in breaking open the shops of Boston.
you the method I would pursue in taking possession of any capital river; which, if it furnishes a hint which may facilitate the operations on any others, I should esteem myself very happy. The plan I would lay down relates only to the River Connecticut — an object of the greatest consequence, as it forms the granary of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut. And I request you may believe, that what I advance is not founded on mere speculative knowledge, founded on maps, but from the actual experience of many years traversing that river, from its mouth to latitude 45°, where I had an opportunity of thoroughly inspecting its falls. On supposition, therefore, that the body of Regulars on this expedition consists of one thousand five hundred men, the like number of Canadians, and one hundred Indians, with arms and ammunition, and six small field-pieces, the whole to proceed together from Quebeck to Lake De St. Francois, with about one hundred and fifty horses, or more, if possible, and birch canoes sufficient to carry such provisions and light baggage as may be necessary: the distance from the Lake De St. Francois to the source of Connecticut River may be about six days' march; and in this the whole difficulty consists. However, the Canadians, who are good axe-men, covered by an advanced party and Indian guides, might cut out such fallen timber as may lay across the path, and fill up such gulleys with logs and earth as would otherwise obstruct the march of the artillery. Immediately on entering the settled townships on Connecticut River, a printed paper, to the purport or effect following, might be distributed." — Edes's Boston Gazette, April 15, 1776.
DISCHARGE AND RE-ARREST OF JOHN HILL. 621
One of these four men, John Hill, had been taken when the Elizabeth was captured. On his examination, as no evidence was adduced against him, he was dismissed. It was afterwards ascertained, in the words of the Council of Massachusetts, that when he was first made prisoner, he had on board the brigantine, in his possession, "chests, trunks, and packages of goods and merchandize, to the value of £300 sterling, supposed to have been stolen from the distressed inhabitants of the town of Boston;" and that he had been "an assistant to Crean Brush in his late unwarrantable and high-handed thefts and robberies." For these reasons, the Council, on the 25th of April, issued an order for his re-arrest. Having been taken at Marblehead, he was sent by the committee of correspondence of that town to Boston. On the 30th of April, he was again brought before the Council, and, having been examined by Benjamin Chadbourn, Mr. Cushing, and Mr. Sullivan, he was sent to "Boston Jail," there to be confined as a prisoner until he should appear before the seven justices of the peace of the county of Suffolk, "appointed to try associators and abettors of the ministerial army." After remaining in prison for a month, Hill, on the 4th of June, petitioned for his release, alleging as reasons the dying condition of his wife, and the starving state of his mother and daughter. His request was probably granted, for it is well known that cruelty was not a characteristic of the conduct of the Americans in the war of the revolution.
In a letter to the Council of Massachusetts, dated the 10th of June, William Jackson, another of the prisoners, asserted that he had not been "in any shape concerned with Brush," and agreed to prove his words by an appeal to that individual. In consequence of this letter, Jackson was again brought before the Council, on the 13th, and was re-examined. At the close of the interview, he drew up a detailed account of the part he had taken in the scenes which had been lately enacted in Boston, in which he represented himself as a succorer of those who had suffered by the vindictiveness of Mr. Brush. In proof of his innocence, he presented six certificates from Boston gentlemen. Two of these were signed by John Scollay and Samuel Austin. On the 13th of July following, he was still in jail, subject to the restrictions which had been placed upon him three months previous. When the subject of the capture of the Elizabeth was discussed in Congress, a few
622 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
months later, the conduct of William Jackson and of his brother James was spoken of without reprobation, and in such a manner as would lead to the conclusion that the former was not at that time in confinement.
The cargo of the Elizabeth, though varied in its character, was very valuable. Its worth was stated by William Jackson at £20,000 sterling, and the Boston newspapers raised these figures to £35,000 sterling. Regarding the vessel and its lading as a lawful prize, the captors expected their full quota of the net proceeds. On the other hand, the owners of the brigantine and her cargo laid claim to their respective property. Joshua Wentworth, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, appeared in behalf of the captors, and John Lowell, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, for the claimants. The latter gentleman obtained from the office of the secretary of Massachusetts, the papers which had been taken from Brush, in order that he might prove by them the ownership of the vessel and cargo. Samuel Austin, John Rowe, Capt. S. Partridge, Capt. Samuel Dashwood, and John Scollay, the merchants whose stores had been most thoroughly plundered, presented a petition to Congress on the 21st of May, desiring that particular attention might be given to their situation. Wentworth, meantime, fully aware of the peculiar difficulties of the case he had undertaken, wrote to Stephen Moylan for advice. On the 21st of August, Wentworth, in behalf "as well of the United States of America, as of John Manly, Daniel Waters, and John Ayres, commanders; and the officers, marines, and mariners, of the three armed vessels, Hancock, Lee, and Lynch," exhibited a libel before Joshua Brackett, judge of the court maritime of New Hampshire, "against the brigantine Elizabeth, commanded by Peter Ramsay; and her cargo; and Richard Hart, of Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, owner of the said brigantine; and William Jackson and others, of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts-Bay, owners of sundry goods and merchandize on board of her." The merits of the case having been set forth by counsel, the judge decided that the brigantine and so much of her cargo as was claimed, should be restored to the respective claimants, and that the claimants should recover their legal costs of court.
From this sentence, Wentworth appealed to Congress. His appeal was read on the 12th of September, and on the 30th of the same month, the Boston sufferers petitioned Congress to
CONFINED IN BOSTON JAIL. 623
hear and determine the appeal. The subject was committed to the consideration of Robert Treat Paine, Samuel Huntington, Thomas Stone, George Wythe, and Richard Smith, with full powers to hear and determine. On the 14th of October, they gave in their report to Congress, which was agreed to. By it, they declared that the Elizabeth, "not being an armed or a transport vessel employed in the present war against the United States, nor carrying provisions, or other necessaries, to the British army or navy, within any of the United colonies," could not be forfeited. But they further decided, that the owners of the brigantine and cargo — who, probably, "would have lost their whole property," had not Manly and his colleagues interfered — ought to make a reasonable satisfaction to the re-captors. On these grounds, the sentence of the court was found erroneous, and was ordered to be "reversed and annulled." In place of it, the court maritime was directed to restore the Elizabeth and such parts of her cargo as had been previously claimed, to the respective claimants, upon their paying to the United States and the re-captors, one twelfth part of the value claimed. As to the rest of the cargo, it was decided that it should be sold, and that the proceeds, "after deducting the like proportion and for the same uses," should be retained for the persons who should hereafter prove their right to the same. Liberty was also given to the appellants, to recover against the claimants, their costs as well in the court maritime as in the prosecution of their appeal at Philadelphia; and in this shape the cause was sent back, that the sentence of Congress might be carried into execution. By a resolution which followed the adoption of this report, Congress, as an act of charity, released that part of the twelfth, which, in lieu of salvage, had been adjudged to the United States, and restored it to the owners of the goods with which the Elizabeth had been freighted.*
Meantime Brush remained a close prisoner in the jail at Boston. His habits, it is stated, were not at this period of the most temperate nature, and there is a tradition that he would often beguile his leisure hours by an undue indulgence in strong liquors. In the month of January, 1777, his wife arrived at Boston, and there remained during the rest of that
* MS. Revolution Council Papers, in office Sec. State Mass., 1775, 1776, i. 316, 341; 1776, ii. 53, 54, 78-95. American Archives, Fourth Series, vol. v. cols. 177, 934, 1068, 1294, 1299, 1701; vol. vi. col. 681. Connecticut Courant, April 29th, 1776. Journals Am. Congress, 348, 471, 502, 507, 515—517.
624 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
year. By a paragraph in the New York Gazette of August 25th, 1777, chronicling the arrival in that city of Michael Nailer, previously a prisoner at Boston, it appears that Brush had been lately tried on three indictments found against him by the grand jury of Massachusetts, on account of his participation in the plundering of Boston, and had been "honorably acquitted." Whether this statement was true or false, one thing is certain, that his acquittal did not procure his release. This was effected in a manner far different. On Wednesday, the 5th of November following, Mrs. Brush, as was her custom, visited her husband in his cell, and remained with him several hours. The time for locking up the prisoners for the night having come, she was requested to terminate her visit. As the turnkey stood at the door, waiting for her appearance, a tall figure in woman's garb passed out of the cell, walked with deliberation to the outer door, and disappeared in the darkness. The turnkey threw the bolt forward to its place, little imagining, as was the case, that Mr. Brush had escaped in his wife's clothing, and reported all the prisoners secure for the night. On the next morning, when he shoved up the slide which closed the loophole through which food was passed, no response was given to his summons, and no hand appeared to take the proffered breakfast. Having called several times, Mrs. Brush, who was the sole occupant of the cell, at length replied, "I am not Mr. Brush's keeper," but refused to give any information concerning her husband.
Immediately on escaping, Mr. Brush set out for New York, having been furnished by his wife with the means of accomplishing the journey, and with a horse, which he found tied at a place she had designated. On Sunday, the 16th of November, he reached the place of his destination, and the arrival of the man who for "upwards of nineteen months" had been "a prisoner in Boston Gaol," was duly noticed in the next day's gazette.* Mr. Brush now directed his efforts to the recovery of his property, and especially of his lands on the New Hampshire Grants. Owing to his previous acts and character, and to the hatred towards Tories, which the condition of New York at that time did not tend to lessen, he made but little progress in his endeavors, and became dispirited. Nor did he succeed any better in an attempt which he made to obtain from the
* New York Gazette, Monday, November 17th, 1777.
commander of the British forces in that city redress for the injuries he had received, and compensation for the losses he had sustained on behalf of the King. Goaded by the scorpion whips of remorse; too proud to strive to redeem the errors of his past life by living honorably in the future; unable to endure, longer,
— "the whips and scorns of time,
— the law's delay,
The insolence of office;"
making but little account of the dread responsibility incurred by him who cares not that the Everlasting has fixed
"His canon 'gainst self-slaughter;"
he chose to exchange the miseries of the present for the uncertainties of eternity, and to rush uncalled into the presence of his Maker. On a cold morning in the following spring, he stood alone in his chamber, the shadow of black years behind him, and the gloomier darkness of an impenetrable future before. There was little in the room to cheer a soul like his. The fire had died on the hearth, and the white ashes and the half-consumed brand were fit emblems of the seared heart which was sepulchred in his bosom. The frost had gathered on the soiled and weather-stained windows, and the light which struggled through them seemed to have lost its strength in the effort and left nothing but its dimness as the evidence of its presence. The answer which but a few hours before the British commander had made him, when he spoke of his sufferings — the answer, "Your conduct merited them, and more," was still sounding in his ears. A report, as of fire-arms, drew the attention of curious people to the building whence the noise proceeded. Mr. Brush was found upon the floor — weltering in blood — a pistol in his hand — a bullet-hole in his head — his brains besmearing the walls of the apartment — dead.*
* A traditional account of this occurrence is, that he cut his throat with a razor in a lawyer's office which he was accustomed to frequent, while the lawyer had gone out to get some fuel for the purpose of making a fire. In a Boston paper of that time is recorded the following paragraph, which supports the statement of the text:—
"From New York, we learn that the notorious CREAN BRUSH (who was some Time since released from Confinement in this Town) after his Arrival in that
626 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
A few months previous to this occurrence, his wife had asked leave of the Council of Massachusetts to go to Rhode Island. On the 7th of January, 1778, her request was granted. Liberty was given her to proceed to Providence, and thence, provided Major. General Spencer "should indulge her with a flag," to Newport. At the same time the commissary of prisoners was directed to see that she carried with her no papers or letters detrimental to the United States.
By the will of Mr. Brush, which was dated "in Boston Gaol," the "Eighteenth Day of October in the year of our Lord, 1777, and in the eighteenth year of his Majesty's Reign," his whole property, after the payment of his debts, was given to his wife during her widowhood. In case of her re-marriage, she was to receive one-third of the estate, and the remaining two-thirds were to be divided equally between his daughter, Elizabeth Martha, and his step-daughter, Frances. On the death of Mrs. Brush, her share was to descend to the first named daughter. Provision was made for other contingencies, and in the event of the death of his wife and daughters, his whole estate was to be divided between his "sister Rebecca, the wife of the Reverend Doctor Clarke of the county of Down in the Kingdom of Ireland," and his cousins John Brush, merchant and planter, of the island of Tobago, and Richard Brush, merchant, of the island of Madeira. Of this will, his wife was nominated executrix, and his friends Goldsbrow Banyar, John Church, and Simeon Olcott, executors. It was proved before Cary Ludlow, the surrogate of the city and county of New York, on the 14th of April, 1778, and at the same time, Mrs. Brush qualified as executrix. Mr. Brush owned, it is supposed, about 25,000 acres of land in the province of New York proper, and a little less than that amount on the New Hampshire Grants, but his heirs were able to obtain possession only of a very small portion of this part of his estate.*
In accordance with the advice of Ira Allen, the Council of Safety of Vermont appointed commissioners of sequestration
LOYAL City, applied to the Commander there, for a Consideration of the Insults and, as he told the Story, the many Losses &c. he met while here, when he received for Answer 'Your Conduct merited them, and more,' which so enraged him that he retired to his Chamber, where, with a Pistol, he besmeared the Room with his Brains." — The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, Thursday, Nay 21, 1778.
* Will of Crean Brush.
DISPOSAL OF BRUSH'S ESTATE. 627
on the 28th of July, 1777, and gave them power "to seize all lands, tenements, goods and chattels of any person or persons" in the state who had "repaired to the enemy," and to apply the revenue arising from the sale of the personal and the leasing of the real property, to the maintenance of the state. Interpreting this order with a meaning of which it was in no way susceptible, private individuals seized upon the doomed property, and appropriated it to their own use. As an instance of this easy method of transfer, it will be sufficient to refer to the conduct of Leonard Spaulding, of Dummerston, who, on the 4th of February, 1778, by virtue of the order of confiscation, took possession of "Timothy Lovell's wood-farm" in Rockingham, the "Governor's meadow" at Westminster, and two lots and a barn in the latter place, the property of Crean Brush. On the 30th of March, 1778, he also seized upon the "Dawes place" in Putney, which had formerly belonged to Mr. Brush.*
Owing to the confusion incident to the war, and to the formation of Vermont as a separate government, much of the revenue arising from the estates of Tories found other channels than those which led to the treasury of the state. But with the partial restoration of order, the abuses which had obtained in this particular were not unheeded. By an order of the Council, dated June 17th, 1778, the estate of Crean Brush was taken from the hands of the commissioners of sequestration, and was given in charge to Nathaniel Robinson and others, with authority to lease it, and pay the proceeds to the state. By another order, emanating from the same authority, dated June 18th, 1778, Paul Spooner was appointed a commissioner to receive from "John Church, Esqr., of Charlestown and the widow Mary Bellows of Walpole," "divers books and other effects, formerly the property of Crean Brush and others, now with the enemies of the United States of America," and to "make due returns of his doings" at the next session of the General Assembly, to be holden at Windsor on the second Thursday of the following October. For the purpose of protecting the state from the influence of its foes, an act was passed by the General Assembly in February, 1779, forbidding the return of all inimical persons, under the penalty of being "whipped on the naked back, not more than forty nor less than twenty stripes." Any
* Vt. Council Records.
628 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
one who should continue in the state a month, or who should again return after a first conviction, was to suffer death, and the crime of harboring an enemy was made punishable by a fine of £500. In a list accompanying this act, containing the names of one hundred and twenty-eight persons, to whom its provisions were especially applicable, the name of Crean Brush, of Westminster, although he had been dead already a year, was included.*
It is impossible, at this distance of time, to ascertain the names of those who became the owners, by purchase, seizure, or otherwise, of the property of this unfortunate loyalist. The following data may not, however, prove uninteresting to persons residing in those localities where the old method of designating lands is understood. Of the real estate of Crean Brush situated in Westminster, and comprising, among other items, five thousand or six thousand acres of land, Stephen B. Bradley purchased of Thomas Chandler, commissioner, house lot number 58, on the 10th of September, 1779. The General Assembly quit-claimed to William Crook, by a resolution dated October 22d, 1779, "all right and title to a certain mill place," comprising about two acres in lot number 8 of the fifth range. William Hyde bought, on the 20th of June, 1780, lot number 6 in the fifth range of one hundred acre lots. Lot number 2 in the fourth range, containing one hundred acres, was purchased by Nathan Fisk on the 24th of June, 1780. William Crook bought of Thomas Chandler, on the 3d of October, 1780, lots numbers 9 and 10 in the third range of eighty acre lots. The library and furniture of Mr. Brush were scattered among the households of the neighborhood in which he resided. Books, bearing on their fly leaves his name, in the round, full autograph, which he had acquired while serving in the office of the deputy secretary of the province of New York, are still to be found in some of the houses which border the Connecticut, and the old clock, whose strokes fell on the ear of the jovial Tory, at midnight oftener than at morning, is still preserved, and continues to mark with accuracy the fleeting hours, as it has done for the last hundred years.†
After her second bereavement, it is not known how long Mrs. Brush remained a widow. In 1783 she was the wife of
* Vermont Council Records. Vt. Laws, February, 1779, p. 72. Slade's Vt. State Papers, pp. 355, 356.
† Various MS. Memoranda in office Sec. State N. Y.
MRS. BRUSH. 629
Patrick Wall,* and, with her husband, resided in New York city. They afterwards removed to Westminster, at which place she spent the remainder of her life. In the will of Crean Brush, his step-daughter, Frances, is referred to as the wife of Captain Buchanan. On the marriage of her mother with Patrick Wall, one-third of the estate of her step-father came into her possession, by virtue of the will, whose main provisions have been already cited. When Mrs. Wall came to reside at Westminster, Mrs. Buchanan, then a widow, accompanied her. She was a dashing woman, and early attracted the attention of the quiet town's-people, to whom a bearing as imperious as that which she exhibited was wholly new. During some one of his frequent visits to Westminster, Gen. Ethan Allen, at that time a widower, formed an acquaintance with Mrs. Buchanan, which subsequently ripened into a warm, but, for a time, singularly inter‑
* Though a tailor by occupation, Patrick Wall was a man of education, kind in disposition, courteous in manners, and, as John Kelly declared of him, one who knew "a good deal of the world." He was an Irishman by birth, but at the time of the revolution, was practising his craft in Boston. His situation during a portion of that period may be inferred from the annexed petition:—
"To the Honorable the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay.
"The Petition of Patrick Wall of Boston, Taylor, Humbly sheweth
"That your Petitioner is in very great distress, as he cannot find business sufficient to support himself and family, and having already exhausted his whole substance for his subsistence hitherto, hath the melancholy prospect of an approaching winter, wherein he must inevitably suffer the utmost hardships from his incapacity to procure the common necessaries of life.
"That your Petitioner in addition to the calamities which threaten him with extreme poverty and distress, hath many months been afflicted with violent pains in his limbs and for want of proper exercise finds himself falling into a dropsical habit of body.
"That in order to avoid the gloomy prospect with which he is surrounded, your petitioner, as the only means which promises relief, is willing and desirous of taking a passage for New York, being advised that the voyage thither would tend towards his finding means of getting a passage home to his native country, and laying his bones amongst those of his fathers.
"Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays that your Honours in tender consideration of the premises, may be favourably pleased to pass an order permitting your Petitioner to depart with his family for New York in the next cartel bound to that place.
"Boston, 29 Sept'r, 1777."
His request was granted by an order of the Council, and the commissary of prisoners was directed to examine all the letters, papers, etc., which he and his family might desire to take with them. Subsequent events proved that he did not long entertain the idea of "laying his bones amongst those of his fathers." After his marriage with the widow Brush, his worldly prospects assumed a more cheerful aspect. At her death, he married Elizabeth Erwin, of Westminster, on the 7th of January, 1812.
630 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
mittent friendship. Pleased with the originality of his views and conversation; flattered at her own ability to arrest the attention of a man whom all feared, but whom few loved; and imagining that she should find more sympathy in the companionship of his strong, active nature, than in the society of those by whom she was surrounded, Mrs. Buchanan found herself, on some occasions, irresistibly attracted towards him. At other times, his rough manners would render him equally repulsive to her. Aware of the feelings with which she regarded the General, and hoping to induce her to effect an alliance with a man whose boundless ambition was at all times apparent, save when overshadowed by passions as violent as they were unrebuked, John Norton, the tavern keeper at Westminster, and a man of considerable note, said to her one day, in a familiar manner, "Fanny, if you marry General Allen, you will be the queen of a new state!" "Yes," she replied, turning upon him a look which accorded well with her words, "if I should marry the devil, I would be the queen of hell!"
The character of Mrs. Buchanan must not, however, be judged by an expression extorted in a moment of passion. By one who knew her well, she is said to have been a fascinating woman; endowed with an ease of manner, which she had acquired from intercourse with the polite society of that day, in which she had been brought up; possessed of a refined taste and many accomplishments; and, on most occasions, soft and gentle in her ways and speech. The aversion with which she occasionally regarded General Allen, disappeared, at length, in the stronger admiration which she entertained for him, and she consented to become his wife. The circumstances attendant upon their marriage, which occurred previous to the year 1784, were novel, and fully characteristic of the man who cared but little either for "forms of government" or for the social customs of life.
Soon after the removal of General Stephen R. Bradley to Westminster, he erected a convenient dwelling for himself and family on the flat, north of the spot where the old Court-house formerly stood. During the sessions of the Supreme court, the judges usually boarded with him. At this period, Mrs. Wall and her daughter Mrs. Buchanan, occupied rooms in the house, and General Allen was a frequent visitor. One morning, while General Bradley and the judges were at breakfast, General Allen, with his sleigh, horses, and driver, appeared at the gate, and, on coming into the room, was invited to partake. He an‑
MARRIAGE OF ETHAN ALLEN. 631
swered, that he had breakfasted at Norton's, and would, while they were engaged, step into Mrs. Wall's apartments and see the ladies. Entering without ceremony, he found Mrs. Buchanan in a morning-gown, standing on a chair, and arranging some articles on the upper shelves of a china closet. After recognizing her informal visitor, Mrs. Buchanan raised up a cracked decanter, and calling General Allen's attention to it, accompanied the exhibition with a playful remark. The General laughed at the sally, and after some little chat, said to her, "If we are to be married, now is the time, for I am on my way to Arlington." "Very well," she replied, descending from the chair, "but give me time to put on my Joseph."
Meanwhile, the judges and their host, having finished their breakfast, were smoking their long pipes. While thus engaged the couple came in, and General Allen, walking up to his old friend Chief Justice Moses Robinson, addressed him as follows:— "Judge Robinson, this young woman and myself have concluded to marry each other, and to have you perform the ceremony." "When ?" said the Judge, somewhat surprised. "Now!" replied Allen. "For myself," he continued, "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 opinions of mankind seems to require it, you will proceed." "General," said the Judge, "this is an important matter, and have you given it a serious consideration?" "Certainly," replied Allen, "but," glancing at Mrs. Buchanan, "I do not think it requires much consideration." The ceremony then proceeded, until the Judge inquired of Ethan whether he promised to live with Frances "agreeable to the law of God." "Stop! stop!" cried Allen at this point. Then pausing, and looking out of the window, the pantheist exclaimed, "The law of God as written in the great book of Nature? Yes! Go on!" The Judge continued, and when he had finished, the trunk and guitar-case of Mrs. Allen were placed in the sleigh, the parties took their leave and were at once driven off to the General's home. Thus did the step-daughter of Crean Brush become the wife of the man for whose apprehension Governor Tryon, at the instigation of Brush, had on the 9th of March, 1774, offered a reward of £100. The children by this marriage were Frances, Hannibal, and Ethan. General Allen died on the 12th of February 1789, and his widow subsequently became the wife of Dr. Jabez Penniman of Burlington.