670 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
his own expressions, he "got into a very good way of business, so as to get considerable of moneys and other things, and handsomely to support himself, and was under no restraint at all." Yielding to the solicitations of his brother, and encouraged by Colonel Stoddard and Mr. Williams, he returned home in the year 1714, and two years later was placed in the pay of government. Thus did he obtain a livelihood until the year 1722, when he was employed by the province of Massachusetts Bay to perform journeys to Canada, Albany, and other distant places. Of his more specific duties there still remain a few data, which, it is reasonable to suppose, may be regarded as reliable. In 1722, he commanded a company of ten men at Northfield. It also appears by a memorandum dated the 26th of July, in the same year, that he was a lieutenant under Samuel Barnard, and acted also as an interpreter. He was captain of a company at Deerfield in 1723, and of another at Suffield, Connecticut, from November, 1723, to May, 1724. On the 9th of November, 1723, he was ordered to scout on the northern frontier of Hampshire county. His skill in Indian signals, and modes of ambush and warfare, enabled him to meet the savage foe on terms almost equal. In obedience to a command dated the 22d of May, 1724, Colonel Kellogg, as he was then designated, attended an Indian conference at Albany, in company with Colonel Stoddard. In the same year he sent out several scouting parties, of whose routes and doings he preserved a journal, which he afterwards sent to Lieut.-Gov. William Dummer. As a specimen of documents of this kind, it is here inserted:—
"May it please your Honour.
"These wait upon your Honour, to present my humble Duty to you, and acquaint you with my proceedings. Pursuant to your order, I have sent out several scouts, an account of wc here present your Honour with.
"The first on November 30, wc went on ye west side of Connecticut River, and crossing ye West River went up to ye Great Falls and returned, making no discovery of any Enemy.
"The next scout went up ye West River 6 miles, and then crossed ye wood up to ye Great Falls, and returned, making no discovery of any new signs of an enemy.
"The next scout, I sent out west from Northfield about 12 miles and from thence northward, crossing West River thro ye
UNIQUE DOCUMENT. 671
woods; then steering east, they came to ye Canoo place about 16 or 17 miles above Northfield.
"The next scout I sent out northwest, about 6 miles, and then they steered north until they crossed West River, and so thro ye woods to ye Great Meadow below ye Great Falls, then they crossed Connecticut River and came down on ye East side untill they came to Northfield without any new Discovery, this Meadow being about 32 miles from Northfield.
"The next scout I sent up ye West River Mountain, and there to Lodge on ye top and view Evening and Morning for smoaks, and from thence, up to ye mountain at ye Great Falls and there also to Lodge on ye top and view morning and evening for smoaks but these making no discovery, returned.
"The next scout, I sent up ye West River 5 miles and then north till they came upon Sextons River, 6 miles from ye mouth of it, wc empties it self at ye foot of ye Great Falls, and then they came down till they came to ye mouth of it, and so returned, but made no discovery of any enemy.
"I have here given your Honour a true account of the several scouts I have sent out, and I should have sent out many more, but ye great difficulty of high water and unfavorable weather, and very slippery going and snow, has prevented any greater proceedings therein."
Finding that these employments, though necessary and laborious, scarcely afforded him the means of living, he petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts, on the 4th of January, 1727, for "some reward or assistance." In answer to his prayer, a grant was made him of two hundred acres of the unappropriated lands in the county of Hampshire. In the same year, Fort Dummer was converted into a garrisoned trading-house, and the charge of it was given to Captain Kellogg. Here he remained as commander and truck-master, until the year 1740. But these employments did not hinder him from engaging in others. He was appointed on the 19th of October, 1733, with Timothy Dwight and William Chandler, to lay out the townships at Pequoiag, and on Ashuelot river in New Hampshire. In the year 1736, he received a warrant to act as interpreter for the Bay province to the Indian nations, which warrant was confirmed by a more specific commission, dated in 1740. From this time until the year 1749, he received pay from the Fort Dummer establishment as interpreter, amid,
672 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
according to his own candid statement, "acted as such with great fidelity, and to the acceptance, as he hopes, of the government." He was present at the Indian conference held at the fort, on the 5th and 6th of October, 1737, and bore an important part in the transactions of that occasion. From 1749 until 1753, he was variously occupied, but, as it appears from a petition dated on the 30th of May, in the latter year, had not at that time received pay for his services during the four years preceding. He was also employed for fifteen months as an interpreter in the school which was established by the Rev. John Sergeant and Ephraim Williams, Esqr., at Stockbridge, for the education of Indian youths. In the year 1754, he was present at the celebrated Albany treaty, "which was attended. by a greater number of respectable personages, from the several provinces and colonies, than had met upon any similar occasion."
His services in behalf of government do not seem to have met with the reward they merited, and a petition presented by him to the General Court, on the 29th of May, 1755, shows that the arrearages for which he had asked two years before, had not yet been paid him. In the year 1756, though broken in health, and at the age of sixty-six, he was persuaded by General Shirley to accompany him as an interpreter to Oswego. The fatigue incident to the undertaking proved too great for his enfeebled constitution, and he died before the completion of the journey, and was buried at Schenectady. "He was the best interpreter in his day that New England had," observes the Rev. Gideon Hawley, "and was employed upon every occasion." It is supposed he was born in Suffield, Connecticut.
Martin Kellogg Jr., the brother of Joseph, well known by the name of Captain Kellogg, and who was captured at the burning of Deerfield and taken to Canada, escaped from, Montreal in company with three others, in May or June, 1705, and returned home. In the month of August, 1708, while on a scouting expedition to White river, in the present state of Vermont, he was again taken prisoner by the Indians, but succeeded in discharging his gun and wounding one of his enemies in the thigh before his capture. He was a second time conveyed to Canada, and during his life was compelled on several occasions to make involuntary journeys of a similar nature, to that province. He was remarkable for his courage and bodily strength, and many stories were related of his feats and exploits in early
SAMUEL KNIGHT. 673
life. Like his brother, he was employed in the mission school at Stockbridge, where it is believed his labors were acceptable. He lived at Newington, near Farmington, in Connecticut, where it is supposed he died, about the year 1758. It is not known at what time Joanna, one of the sisters of Joseph and Martin, returned home. The other sister, Rebecca, who was about three years old at the time of her capture, resided among the Caughnawagas in Canada, until she was a maiden grown. On her return, she became the wife of Benjamin Ashley. In the year 1753, when Mr. — afterwards the Rev. — Gideon Hawley, of Marshpee, was employed with others, to visit the Indians at Onohoghgwage or Oquago, now the town of Windsor, in Broome county, New York, she accompanied the mission, and was regarded as "a very good sort of woman, and an extraordinary interpreter in the Iroquois language." She resided at Onohoghgwage until the time of her death, which took place in August, 1757, and was buried at that place. She was much lamented by the Indians. Her Indian name was Wausaunia.*
OCCUPIED a position of great influence and high respectability among the lawyers who practised at the bar of Cumberland county prior to the Revolution. His commission as an attorney-at-law in "his Majesty's courts of record" in that county, was dated the 23d of June, 1772. The only appointment which he held under the province of New York, was that of commissioner to administer oaths of office. This he received on the 18th of February, 1774. He was present at the affray which occurred at Westminster on the 13th of March, 1775. At the inquest which was held on the body of William French, who was shot on that occasion, he, with four others, was declared guilty of his death. The conduct of Mr. Knight imme‑
* Journals Gen. Court Mass. Bay, passim. MSS. in office Sec. State Mass. Mass. Hist. Coll., iv. 57; x. 143. Biog. Mem. of Rev. John Williams, pp. 84, 118. Hist. West. Mass., i. 158. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 1033-1046. Hoyt's Indian Wars, pp. 195, 199.
674 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
diately after this event, is described in a foot-note to that most entertaining tale, by the Hon. Daniel P. Thompson, entitled "The Rangers; or the Tory's Daughter." The facts narrated in this foot-note rest on the authority of "an aged and distinguished early settler" of Vermont, and, are given in his own words:— "I have heard Judge Samuel Knight describe the trepidation that seized a portion of the community, when, after the massacre, and on the rising of the surrounding country, they came to learn the excited state of the populace. He related how he and another member of the bar (Stearns, I think, who was afterwards attorney-secretary of Nova Scotia) hurried down to the river, and finding there a boat (such as was used in those times for carrying seines or nets at the shad and salmon fishing-grounds, which were frequent on both sides, the river, below the Great Falls), they paddled themselves across, and lay all day under a log in the pine forest opposite the town; and when night came, went to Parson Fessenden's, at Walpole, and obtained a horse; so that, by riding and tying, they got out of the country till the storm blew over, when Knight returned to Brattleborough."
From Westminster, Knight went to Boston, and thence to the city of New York, where he arrived on the 29th of March. On his return to Brattleborough in the course of the following summer, he resumed his professional duties, but does not appear to have taken any very active part in the struggle between Great Britain and the colonies. When Vermont was declared a separate and independent state, he strenuously favored the jurisdiction of New York on the "Grants," and strove to effect a reconciliation between the contending parties. In the supply bill passed by the Legislature of New York on the 4th of November, 1778, £60 were voted to him as a reimbursement of his "expences in attending upon the Legislature, on the business of quieting the disorders prevailing in the north-eastern parts of this state." Satisfied, at length, that New York would never be able to maintain her claim to the "Grants," he became an open supporter of the government of Vermont. He afterwards removed to Guilford, and in the year 1781 was appointed a justice of the peace. Owing to the discontent of some of the citizens of that portion of the state, who believed him to be infected not only with sentiments favorable to New York, but with Tory principles, he was suspended from office by the Council on the 12th of April of the same year. He was rein‑
LUKE KNOWLTON. 675
stated on the 25th of October following. He occupied the position of first judge of Windham county during the years 1786, 1794, 1795, and 1801, and presided as chief justice in the Supreme court of the state from 1789 to 1793. In his "Descriptive Sketch of Vermont," Dr. John A. Graham observes of Judge Knight:— "He was bred to the law; is a gentleman of great abilities; and has rendered many essential services to his fellow-citizens, but, I am sorry to add, they have by no means been recompensed as they ought to be. To Mr. Knight that celebrated line of Pope may truly be applied,
" 'An honest man's the noblest work of God.' "*
LUKE KNOWLTON was born in Shrewsbury, Worcester county, Massachusetts, and was married to Sarah Holland, who bore him three sons and four daughters. He removed to Newfane in the year 1772, where he lived until the time of his death, which occurred on the 12th of December, 1810, at the age of seventy-three years. The third charter of the township of Newfane was granted by the government of New York on the 11th of May, 1772, to Walter Franklin and twenty others, most of whom were inhabitants of New York city. On the day following, the charter was conveyed to Luke Knowlton and John Taylor, of Worcester county, Massachusetts. The town was organized on the 17th of May, 1774, and on that occasion Knowlton was chosen town-clerk, and held that post for sixteen years. He was town representative in the General Assembly of Vermont in the years 1784, 1788, and 1789; a member of the Council from 1790 to 1800, inclusive; a member of the constitutional convention in 1793; and a judge of the court of Windham county from 1787 to 1793.
In his "Letters from Vermont," John Andrew Graham refers to Mr. Knowlton in a very complimentary manner, in connection with a few remarks relative to Newfane. "This town," the writer observes, "owes its consequence in a great
* The Rangers, i. 92, 93. N. Y. Gazette, Monday, April 10th, 1775. Graham's Letters, pp. 109, 110. Laws of N. Y., 1777-1783, Holt's ed., p. 47. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 1022.
676 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
measure to Mr. Luke Knowlton, a leading character, and a man of great ambition and enterprise, of few words, but possessed of the keenest perception, and an almost intuitive knowledge of human nature, of which he is a perfect judge. This gentleman, owing to the particular method in which he has transacted business, has obtained the appellation of Saint Luke. Young Mr. Knowlton is a practitioner at the bar. He is modest, ingenuous, and master of abilities that give a fair promise of his becoming a most valuable citizen. Saint Luke is the owner of much the best and most elegant buildings in the place." Calvin Knowlton, the young man referred to in this extract, and a son of Luke Knowlton, graduated at Dartmouth College in 1788, and was educated in the law. He adorned his profession by his learning and ability, and his worth was acknowledged by all who knew him. He died on the 20th of January, 1800, aged thirty-nine years.
On the 12th of September, 1780, Luke Knowlton was furnished by Gov. George Clinton with an introductory letter to the New York delegates in Congress, and soon after visited Philadelphia for the purpose of urging upon Congress the necessity of settling the controversy between New York and Vermont. The result of his mission has been stated in another place.* Previous to the year 1784, Mr. Knowlton gave in his adherence to the government of Vermont, and became a citizen of that state. In the division of the $30,000 which New York received from Vermont, on the accession of the latter state to the Union, Mr. Knowlton received $249.53, on account of the losses he had sustained, by being obliged to give up lands which he had held under a New York title.
It is much to be regretted that so little is known of the life of a man of the ability of Luke Knowlton. The Hon. Paul. H. Knowlton, who resides at the village of Knowlton, in the township of Broome, C. E., and is a member of the Legislative Council of Canada, possesses no records of family biography relating to his enterprising and intelligent grandfather.†
* See ante, pp. 381, 382.
† Thompson's Vt., Part III. p. 126. Graham's Descriptive Sketch of Vt., 1797, p. 103. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 1024.
An account of the conduct of Luke Knowlton during the time in which the British in Canada were. endeavoring to obtain possession of Vermont, and of the suspicions which this conduct excited, is given in the sketch of the life of SAMUEL WELLS.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF JOSEPH LORD. 677
OF Putney, by commissions dated the 16th of July, 1766, was appointed second judge of the Inferior court of Common Pleas, and a justice of the peace for Cumberland county. These commissions were renewed on two subsequent occasions, and he was continued in office until the commencement of the Revolution. He was also appointed by a writ of dedimus potestatem, a commissioner to "swear all officers" chosen in that county, and held the office until the 14th of April, 1772. Respecting his abilities, there are no means of deciding; but of his uprightness and candor, as a man and as a judicial officer, there can be no doubt. A few months previous to the time for appointing judges in the year 1772, Mr. Lord was desirous of withdrawing from the service of the province. In his letter to Governor Tryon, dated the 29th of January, he declared his reasons for wishing to retire, in these words:— "I, being now arrived at the sixty-eighth year of my age, and attended with the infirmities common to advancing years, such as great deafness, loss of memory, dimness of sight, and at times, a paralytic tremor in my hands, &c., which disqualifies me for the full, free, and perfect discharge of the offices of second judge of the Inferior court of Common Pleas, and justice of the peace, which I have sustained in the county for several years last past — and having a desire to retire from public business and spend the remainder of my days in a calm retirement therefrom, and concern myself in nothing else, but doing good to my numerous family and neighbors, and praying for the KING, your Excellency, and all others the King's officers, and prepare for a glorious IMMORTALITY — therefore humbly entreat your Excellency to appoint some other person to said offices in my room and stead."
Having been informed that his colleague had tendered his resignation, Judge Chandler wrote to Governor Tryon, begging him to continue Judge Lord in office in the next commission, and suggesting the propriety of rewarding him for his past services — especially for his efforts in quelling a disturbance in which the inhabitants of Windsor had been engaged — by granting to him some of the "unappropriated lands" in the province,
678 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
which the late Gov. Benning Wentworth had conveyed to himself, the title to which, by a subsequent resolve of the present Governor and the Council of New Hampshire, had been declared void. Previous to this time, the court had been constituted with three judges. A fourth was added in the next commission, and Judge Lord was continued, but with the understanding that he was to take only "as little share of the burden of the office" upon himself as should be agreeable to him. "His Excellency," wrote Governor Tryon, in a letter dated the 3d of April, 1772, "desirous of retaining in office the most respectable persons in the county, could not think of appointing any person in your stead." The little that is known of this worthy magistrate is so favorable, that a natural regret arises at the absence of the data which might supply the details of his life, character, and services.*
THE prominency of the part borne by this individual in the affray at Westminster, has given his name a notoriety. Of the man himself little is known. William Paterson is said to have been of Irish and Scotch descent, and is supposed to have been born in Ireland. Following in the train of his friend, Crean Brush, he removed to Westminster in the year 1772 or 1773, and in October of the latter year received from the Council of Appointment of the province of New York the shrievalty of Cumberland county, which office he held until the authority of Great Britain ceased to be recognized on the "Grants." Of the manner in which he conducted at the "Westminster Massacre," an account has already been given.† In his history of the "American Loyalists," Mr. Sabine, in closing a sketch of the events of March 13th, observes of Paterson:— "That he was very much in fault, in the transactions which connect his name with the sad deeds here briefly considered, hardly admits of a
* Doc. fist. N. Y., iv. 757-759, 765, 766
† See ante, p. 218.
CHARLES PHELPS. 679
doubt, and appears as well from the statements of the Loyalists, as from the report of the Whig committee." After suffering imprisonment in the Court-house at Westminster, until Sunday, the 19th of March, he, with several of his friends, was placed in charge of a body of the Whigs, who guarded him to Northampton, where he was again placed in confinement. How long he remained at Northampton does not appear, but he did not obtain a final discharge until the 22d of November following. It would be pleasant, could we tear aside the veil of oblivion which shrouds his history in obscurity, or explore the recesses in which are buried those little data, which, were they all gathered, would reveal more fully the transactions of his life. But the veil appears impenetrable to mortal eyes, and the very locality of the recesses we would explore is yet to be determined.
SON of Nathaniel Phelps, was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the 15th of August, 1717, and was educated in the profession of the law. He married Dorothy, a daughter of Hezekiah Root, of the same place, on the 24th of April, 1740, and afterwards removed to Hadley, where he resided for many years. In the charter of Marlborough, which town was the third on the New Hampshire Grants granted by Gov. Benning Wentworth, his name appears as one of the original grantees. This charter, which was dated the 29th of April, 1751, was renewed on the 21st of September, 1761, and again renewed on the 17th of April, 1764. On the last occasion, power was given to Charles Phelps to call town meetings, and the name of New Marlborough was substituted for that of Marlborough. But the prefix, although used by the Phelps family for a time, was never received with favor. In the year 1764, Mr. Phelps, with his family, removed to Marlborough, for the purpose of commencing a settlement on the lands which he held from New Hampshire. On learning that the King, by an Order in Council dated the 20th of July, 1764, had established "the
680 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
western banks of the river Connecticut" as the eastern boundary line of New York, he applied to the Governor of that province, on the 15th of October, 1765, for a charter confirmatory of the charter of Marlborough, and renewed his application in October of the following year. It does not appear that his request was favorably answered. Notwithstanding this failure to secure the title of his lands, he was convinced that the New Hampshire Grants were now within the jurisdiction of New York, and henceforth became a subject of that province. Residing on the "Grants" at a time anterior to the establishment of any of the forms of government within its bounds, and having been instrumental in obtaining the patent for Cumberland county, he grew up, as it were, with this first division of the disputed territory, labored for its benefit, and finally received as his reward the lion's share in the bitter fruits of its overthrow. After suffering by fine, imprisonment, confiscation of property, and banishment from Vermont, on account of his devotion to New York, he at length took the oath of allegiance to the former state. His feelings, however, underwent but little change, and until the day of his death, he retained the strongest antipathy against the government which had been the means of destroying his own happiness, and rendering his household the abode of sorrow and insanity.
His eccentricities, which at first were neither many nor strongly marked, were not regarded with that leniency which would have tended to make them less the objects of notice. On this account, and by reason of the sufferings which his attachment to New York induced, his peculiarities increased with age. Between the years 1770 and 1772, at the expense of the proprietors of the town of Marlborough, he built a kind of log barn near his dwelling, to which he gave the name of a meeting-house, but it was never used as such, except by his own family. The causes which led to his dismissal, and that of his son Timothy, from the church, are not known. At the bar, Mr. Phelps is said to have been intolerable, by reason of the length of his pleadings. The four hours allowed him by the court would often bring him to the threshold only of his argument, and he was frequently obliged to stop without touching upon the merits of the case.
When, in the year 1775, the people residing on the eastern side of the Green Mountains evinced their hatred of oppression by their acts at Westminster on the 13th of March, Mr. Phelps
EFFORTS TO ANNEX VERMONT TO MASSACHUSETTS. 681
approved of the course then pursued, and, inasmuch as revolt from British domination, and opposition to New York exactions, were at that time deemed identical in spirit, since the latter was the result of the former, he exerted his influence in resisting the encroachments of despotism, and in endeavoring to establish a new order of things. But when New York had thrown off her allegiance to Great Britain, and had entered into the war of the Revolution with a spirit as determined as that displayed by her sister colonies, he acknowledged her jurisdiction, and uniting with the majority of the inhabitants on the "Grants," offered his services for the good of the thirteen colonies, as a citizen of New York. For nearly two years, sentiments like these respecting the authority and jurisdiction of New York prevailed on the "Grants," and he is a bold and an uninformed man who would dare to assert that, previous to the year 1777, or even during the first half of that year, the people were in favor of a separate state.
On one occasion, Mr. Phelps, with a singularity of behavior not easily to be accounted for, was engaged in a scheme to effect the annexation of Vermont to Massachusetts. Of the truth of this statement, the evidence is as follows. In a deposition made by Phineas Freeman, at Marlborough, on the 19th of January, 1783, the deponent testified that in the latter part of June, 1779, Charles Phelps set out from that town with the avowed object of going to Bennington, for the purpose of consulting with a committee of Congress who were to meet there, and presenting to them the claims of New York to the disputed territory of the "Grants." The deponent also stated, that in a conversation which he held with Mr. Phelps previous to his departure, Mr. Phelps declared that "he did not act out of good will to the state of New York, but to throw the people of Vermont into confusion that his ultimate design was to procure the territory of Vermont to be annexed to the Bay state that he looked upon the authority of New York as composed of as corrupt a set of men as were out of hell; that he abhorred them as much as he did any set of men on earth; that he would as soon come under the Infernal Prince as under the state of New York; and would as soon put manure in his pocket as a commission from New York."
But this episode in the history of his attachment to New York did not long continue. When, in the summer of 1779, the friends of New York in Cumberland county determined to
682 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
petition the Legislature of that state for relief from the numerous inconveniences by which they were surrounded, he was chosen to bear their memorial to Kingston. Thence he was deputed by the Legislature to carry the same document to Philadelphia. Of the manner in which he occupied the five weeks which he spent in that city, some opinion may be formed from a letter written on the 7th of October, 1779, by John Jay to George Clinton, and entrusted to Phelps as he was about to leave Philadelphia on his return. That the craftiness and volubility which characterized him as a lawyer, should have been apparent at this seeming crisis, is not at all remarkable. "You will receive this by Mr. Phelps," wrote Jay, "of whose fidelity to New York, I have a good opinion, tho' I cannot approve of all his manœuvres to serve the state on this occasion. He appears neither to want talents or zeal, but the latter is not always according to knowledge, and the former carries him sometimes into finesse. One of the New Hampshire delegates told me that Phelps, in order to engage him against Vermont, endeavored to persuade him that New Hampshire had a right to a number of townships in it; and he further told me, that on comparing notes with the Massachusetts delegates, he found that Phelps had been playing the same game with them. This story he told me in the presence of some of the Massachusetts delegates, who smiled and were silent. I have never said anything of this to Phelps, because it could have answered no good purpose, and I mention it to you, as a circumstance which marks the man. He has, however, by talking on the subject with everybody, done good. In my opinion, his expenses should be paid without hesitation, and he should be so treated as to go home in perfect good humour with the Legislature, for whom he now professes great regard and esteem, and I believe he is sincere in his attachment. Men of his turn and talk are always useful, when properly directed. It is safely done [in his case] by encouraging the good opinion he sustains of his own importance."
In one of the letters which Mr. Phelps wrote while in Philadelphia, he detailed to Governor Clinton the arguments which he was in the habit of employing, in his attempts at proselytism among the members of Congress. Among other statements which he made was the following:— "I endeavor," he wrote, "to induce them to believe the truth that if Congress don't immediately interpose, there will be a great effusion of blood
STRENUOUS OPPOSITION TO VERMONT. 683
as soon as I return home; and that if it should be so, all the world will know at whose door it will be charged by all America." To his efforts, however, was due the passage of certain resolutions, the effect of which it was generally expected would be to bring the controversy to an end. Though this result was not effected, yet it cannot be doubted that, at the time, the influence of Mr. Phelps as an old-fashioned lobby-member, was greater than that of any of the other agents who were interested in the management of this question. That he fully estimated the value of his own services, appears from the application which he afterwards made to the Legislature of New York for additional pay. If the state would "give even a common scavenger as much as his pocket expense," he argued that he certainly deserved well for conducting "matters of such great weight, delicacy, and consequence," with so much skill and perseverance. His petition was read in the Assembly on the 14th of February, 1780. A few days later, the committee to whom it was referred reported contrary to its prayer, and the Assembly refused to grant the extra allowance. Notwithstanding this disappointment, Mr. Phelps still remained faithful to New York. In a letter to Governor Clinton, dated the 1st of September, 1780, he asked for advice with reference to the course he should pursue towards his neighbors who differed from him in opinion. He even went so far as to propose the expediency of taking four or five of them prisoners, and confining them at Kingston, in order to be avenged upon "the vile Vermonters" for the sufferings they had inflicted upon the Yorkers. Referring to the influences which had been exerted against the new state, he declared that he and his sons had "done more to overturn" it, than all the people residing in that vicinity. Alluding to the manner in which his services had been received, he stated that twenty thousand dollars would not make good the losses he had suffered.
Continuing in this manner a strenuous opposition to Vermont, despite the privations which it incurred — suffering often from the punishments which generally followed disobedience to the laws — engaging not unfrequently in personal conflicts with the sheriff or his deputies — Mr. Phelps, although he might have yielded the contest with honor, since New York was unable to support her authority in Vermont, persevered in the course he had chosen, with a determination to pursue it even to the end. In the month of June, 1782, he received from New York the
684 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
appointment of justice of the court of Oyer and Terminer and General Jail Delivery, and of justice of the peace and of the quorum, for Cumberland county. At the same time, he was commissioned to swear all officers, both civil and military, who should serve in that county. James Clay and Hilkiah Grout were appointed his colleagues in the latter position, but up to the 10th of July following, according to his own declaration, they had refused to administer to him the oaths of office, on account of the fear in which they stood of the indignation of the majority of the people. With the honors of these new appointments clustering thick upon him, Mr. Phelps imagined himself almost invincible to any power which his opponents might employ against him. But the revelations of the month of September, 1782, at which time Timothy Church, Timothy Phelps, Henry Evans, and William Shattuck, were deprived of their property, and banished from the state for treason, and when Charles Phelps escaped a like punishment by flight — the revelations of that month, even if the lessons of previous years had been of no avail, should have taught the "violent Yorker," that the time had come when the minority should yield to the majority — when factious opposition, backed by the authority of Grotius and Vattel, should cease — when the law of nations should give way before the "Great Jehovah" doctrine of Ethan Allen, and the principles of right succumb to the force which could render, not only the town of Guilford, but every other place within the limits of Vermont inhabited by a Yorker, as "desolate as Sodom and Gomorrah." Such, however, was far from being the immediate results effected by the decree of 1782.
Having obtained an appointment as agent for his fellow-sufferers in Cumberland county, Mr. Phelps set out for Poughkeepsie, just in time to escape the seizure and punishment to which a number of the most prominent supporters of the jurisdiction of New York were subjected, in the month of September, 1782. Having reached Poughkeepsie, he visited Governor Clinton, and, after remaining in that town a few weeks, disclosed to his Excellency his intention of proceeding to Philadelphia. Convinced that his presence would be of but little use at the seat of government, the Governor endeavored to dissuade him from going. But his arguments were of no avail, and Phelps started on the journey, without letters, however, for the Governor had refused to write by him, lest the New York delegates should suppose that he favored the mission. On the evening
GREAT DESTITUTION. 685
of the 8th of October, he had "the satisfaction" of being heard for "two or three hours, with very little interruption," before the committee of Congress, to whom the subject of the controversy had been referred. It was at this period, and probably during this visit, that he prepared and presented for the "consideration of Congress and the impartial world" a "state paper," entitled "Vermonters Unmasked," in which he called the attention of all the states to the danger to which they were exposed, if the "audacious precedent" of dismembering states should be established, in consequence of the act of usurpation of which Vermont had been guilty, in depriving both New York and New Hampshire of a portion of their lawful and acknowledged territory. Many other points were largely discussed in this production, and the whole argument was supported by copious extracts from Grotius, Puffendorf, Vattel, and other civilians.
But while thus engaged, his destitution was so great at one period, that fears were expressed lest he should starve or freeze, before measures could be taken for his relief. Soon after his arrival in Philadelphia, James Duane, then a delegate from New York, wrote to Governor Clinton in these words:— "Mr. Phelps has arrived, and I believe his eloquence will be well employed. He has opportunities. His singularity draws attention, and he overflows in the plenitude of his communicative powers. He is, however, terribly distressed; without cloaths fit for the season; without money or credit to pay for his board; and leaning on the scanty support which the exhausted purses of your delegates can afford. What is to be done for him?" To the inconveniences which he bore, and to the manner in which he was supported while at Philadelphia, reference is made in the letters of the New York delegates to Governor Clinton, in words few but graphic. "As Mr. Phelps brought no letter," wrote Ezra L'Hommedieu, on the 23d of October, "we concluded he did not come by the Governor's approbation. However, I believe he has been of some service, though some trouble to us; and having no money, he depends much on charity at present. I conclude we shall be obliged to advance money to get him out of town, though he will not go till he knows the determination of Congress." On the 5th of November, the same gentleman, in another communication, said:— "Mr. Phelps has been fortunate in getting most of his living for nothing. The President's steward is an acquaintance of his, and Mr. Hanson gave him a general invitation to come and eat with Mr. Philips. He cannot, however,
686 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
get out of town without an advance of money, which I shall likely be obliged to make."
Under the sanction of Governor Clinton, William Shattuck and Henry Evans, two of the banished Yorkers, had gone to Philadelphia, and there were now three persons in that city instead of one, depending for support on the New York delegation. "What will be done for the sustenance of the deputies now here," wrote James Duane, on the 15th of November, "I know not. On a consultation with Mr. Roosevelt, it is agreed to borrow for them one hundred dollars, and draw on the state. If this plan fails, it is more than probable they will lose their liberty, as they have already done their property, for it is out of my power to aid them." Two days later, another communication from Mr. Duane contained these words:— "The distress of Phelps having been brought to a crisis, we had no choice but to borrow for his and his unfortunate companions' support. This we did not venture on, till after a consultation with Mr. Roosevelt, and his promise to support us, and his opinion that our conduct must be approved. Mr. Wadsworth, on the first intimation, advanced one hundred dollars on our bills on your Excellency, which will, we hope, be sufficient to relieve these unhappy people, whose visit has given us infinite trouble and uneasiness." In a letter written on the 18th of November, Mr. L'Hommedieu, referring to the loan that had been effected, said:— "It will be necessary that Mr. Phelps have some of this money to enable him to leave town, which I believe will be in a few days." But Mr. Phelps could not be induced to depart until the decision of Congress should be made known. On the 5th of December, this consummation of his wishes was attained. On that day, Congress, by a resolution, ordered the inhabitants of the New Hampshire Grants "claiming to be an independent state" to make "full and ample restitution" to all who had suffered by their proceedings since the 1st day of the preceding September, and announced their determination to "enforce a compliance" with this command. Four days later, Mr. Phelps set out from Philadelphia with dispatches to Governor Clinton. He reached Marlborough early in January, 1783, but to his sorrow found that as little attention was paid to the resolves of Congress, as had been paid to the edicts of New York.
About this period, and at the age of sixty-five, he married a second time, his first wife having died in the year 1777. During the year 1783, he did not dare to remain regularly at
CONFISCATION OF HIS PROPERTY. 687
home, for fear of his foes. In the latter part of the year, having become especially obnoxious, the decision of the court, rendered in September, 1782, which had never been executed against him, was revived, and on the 4th of January, 1784, he was thrown into the jail at Westminster, and was soon after removed to Bennington, that he might be more securely guarded. Here he was kept until the 28th of February following, when he was released by an act of the Legislature. A few days after his enlargement, a committee to whom the subject had been referred, recommended the adoption of a bill directing the sale, at public vendue, of so much of the estate of Charles Phelps as should amount to £70, for the purpose of defraying the costs of his prosecution. A bill to this effect was brought in, but was laid over until the next session of the Legislature, and was never again revived. An unsuccessful attempt was also made at the session in February, 1784, by Joseph Tucker and sixteen others, who had been engaged in a skirmish with the Yorkers, and had been partially defeated, to obtain reimbursement out of the property of Mr. Phelps, for the pecuniary. losses they had incurred in their unfortunate undertaking.
Although, in these two instances, Mr. Phelps was treated with a leniency, which, judging from the previous conduct of the government of Vermont towards him, could hardly have been expected, yet his possessions were not, on this account, deemed less the property of the state. To Micah Townsend and Nathaniel Chipman had been entrusted the duty of revising the laws of Vermont. On the 6th of March, 1784, they presented to the General Assembly a statement of the terms on which they would accept of their appointment. Among other provisions, they required an order from the Assembly, directing Col. S. R. Bradley to deliver to them "such books of Charles Phelps, Esq.," as would assist them in their deliberations. They also asked to be paid for their services out of Mr. Phelps's library, the choice of books being left with them, and the appraisement of the books being made by persons acquainted with their value. If the library should be insufficient to satisfy their demand, or should be restored to Mr. Phelps by the state, or redeemed by him, they agreed to receive their compensation in hard money. These proposals were received with favor, and were immediately embodied in the form of resolutions, and adopted. In October, 1784, Mr. Phelps — wearied by the an‑
688 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.
noyances to which he was constantly subjected on account of his adherence to New York, satisfied that further resistance was useless, and unwilling to strive longer in a contest, the fruits of which were bitterness only — petitioned the General Assembly of Vermont for a full pardon, and a reversion of the sentence by which his estate had been declared confiscate. In their report upon his petition, the committee took occasion to allude favorably to the efforts he had made in behalf of American independence, and recommended an affirmative answer to his prayer. In consequence of this counsel, a bill, entitled "An Act pardoning Charles Phelps, Esq., of Marlborough, in the county of Windham, and restoring to him all his estate, real and personal," became a law of the state, on the 26th of October, 1784.
Protected by the government which he had so long opposed, Mr. Phelps now endeavored to regain possession of his property by every legal and proper means. It was for the purpose of assisting him in procuring a weapon, which had been taken from him at a time when it was feared he would use it in opposing the officers of Vermont, that Governor Chittenden addressed to Maj. Josiah Boyden a letter, of which the following is an exact copy:—
"Arlington, 30th of Dec'r. 1784.
"Sir. — In persuance to an act of Assembly, past Last october, ordering that all the property of Charles Phelps, Which had been Taken from him on account of his opposing the athority of this State and Not disposed of for the Benefit of the State, Should be returned to him on Sartain Conditions, Which Conditions has been Complyed With on his Part, you are therefore directed to Deliver to the s'd Charles Phelps His Sword, if you have the Same in your Hands, and the Same has not been Sold or disposed of by athority, for the Benefit of this State.
"I am S'r your H'bl Serv't,
" Maj'r Boyden."
Busied in striving to restore his estate, and in searching for facts, constructing arguments, and preparing documents to induce Congress to make good their resolutions of the 5th of December, 1782, he passed the remainder of his days. He died in April, 1789, in the seventy-third year of his age. Though,
WILLIAM AND NATHANIEL PHELPS. 689
by oath, a citizen of Vermont, he never could divest himself of his antipathy against that state; and in spirit remained even unto the end firmly attached to the government and jurisdiction of New York.
Of the genealogy of the Phelps family the following particulars have been preserved. The name was anciently spelled Phyllyppes, but has been always pronounced Phelps. After the time of Edward VI. the superfluous letters were dropped. The family has been established for a number of centuries in the county of Stafford, England. John Phelps, who dwelt upon the Nether Tyne in England, the son of Francis Phelps, who died in the reign of Edward VI., left with other issue at his decease in 1641, Anthony, WILLIAM, and John. This family opposed the high-church and prerogative party of Strafford and Archbishop Laud. John Phelps became private secretary to Oliver Cromwell, and in the print which has been preserved of the trial of Charles I., is represented as serving in the capacity of clerk of the court on that occasion.*
WILLIAM PHELPS, was one of the first settlers of Dorchester, Massachusetts, about the year 1630. Thence he removed to Windsor, Connecticut, in the latter part of the year 1635, and was one of the "principal planters" of that town. He is included by Trumbull, in his History of Connecticut, in the list of prominent men "who undertook this great work of settling Connecticut," and is designated by the same authority as one of "the civil and religious fathers of the colony." The session of the first court convened in Connecticut, was held at Newtown, on the 26th of April, 1636. Of this court William Phelps was a judge. He was a man of large influence, was much employed in public business, held the position of a magistrate, and was honored by the title of Mr., a distinction which but few at that day enjoyed. He died on the 14th of July, 1672. The death of his wife occurred on the 30th of August, 1689. He left five sons, William, Samuel, NATHANIEL, Joseph, Timothy, and one daughter, Mary. Three of these children were born in England, one in Dorchester, and the two youngest — Timothy and Mary — in Windsor.
NATHANIEL PHELPs, son of William, was born in England; removed to this country with his father; married Elizabeth Copley,† a young widow, on the 17th of September, 1650;
* Pictorial Hist. England, Harper's ed., 1849, iii. 377.
† A descendant of the family of this Elizabeth Copley became Lord High‑