560 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Wm. Reports (1815 — 1819), 240 pp. Middlebury, 1821.
D. Reports (1789 — 1825), vol. I, and part I of vol. II. Middlebury, 1824.
Nathaniel. Reports (1789-91) and Dissertations. 296 pp. 16°. Rutland. 1793.
Royall. Reports (1801 — 1803), in 2 2 vols. New York, 1809, 1810.
VERMONT Reports. Vols. I — IX, reported by the Judges; X and XI
(in parts), by G. P. Shaw; XI (last part), XIV, by Wm. W. Weston; XV, by Wm.
Slade, Jr.; XVI — XVIII, by P. T. Washburn; XXIV by John F. Deane; XXVII —
XXIX, by Charles L. Williams; XXX — XXXIII, by William G Shaw, the present
reporter. The first four vols. were published in St. Albans (1829 — 33); the
next four in Middlebury (1834-7); vols. IX — XV, in Burlington
(1837 — 44); XVI — XXIII, in Woodstock (1845 —
52); XXIV — XXVI, in Brattleboro' (1853 — 5);
and the remaining volumes in Rutland
Digest of the State Reports was published at Woodstock , vol. I, in 1846, vol. II, in
condensed edition of the Supreme Court Reports of the State, that should
contain (in 10 vols.) every case reported from 1789 to 1856, was projected by
Mr. Chauncey Goodrich, and the approval of the legislature obtained (in 1856).
Judge Redfield was appointed by the state to edit the series, and had already
bestowed considerable labor on the earlier portion of the work, the first
volume being ready for the press, when, in consequence of the death of the
publisher, and the repeal by the legislature (in 1858) of the act authorizing
the publication, the enterprize was abandoned. By reason of the small editions
published of the earlier volumes, it is now exceedingly difficult and almost
impossible to procure complete sets of the reports. The little volume of N.
Chipman is so rare as to be esteemed a curiosity, and it is a piece of sheer
good fortune, if at any price one can procure either Brayton's or Aiken's
Reports, or the first nine volumes, the sixth excepted, of the numbered series.
were taken for establishing a public library in Burlington
early as 1802 — for notice of the Ingersol library, see Ecclesiastical
Department, and Historic Sermon, by Rev. Mr. Young, the late pastor of the
Unitarian church and society in Burlington.
are also several private libraries in the county, especially worthy of notice.
That of Hon. Geo. P. Marsh merits first mention, as in some respects probably
the most valuable private library in the United States. There is no library
to our knowledge elsewhere in Vermont
to compare with it. In many things it far excels the State library and those of
the colleges, and is eminently worthy of extended notice. Moreover, Prof. J.
Torrey, Hon. David Reed and several other residents of Burlington have handsome and choice
libraries. For notice of the historical nuggets and antiquarian stores of Henry
Stevens, see No. 3, p. 282 of this work. — Ed.]
ALLEN AND FAMILY.
chiefly from papers in the collection of our venerable antiquarian friend,
HENRY STEVENS, Esq., of Burlington.
Allen Family — an unpublished lecture, delivered at Burlington, by Rev. Zadoc Thompson, March 16,
and Gentlemen: During the last few weeks you have had an opportunity of seeing
and admiring the first heroic statue ever erected in Vermont. The subject of that statue is a
name familiar to you all. There is no Vermonter who has not heard of the name
and the fame of Ethan Allen. And, there are, perhaps, few who have not
formed in their own minds an ideal of his personal appearance. And, I venture
to say, that all who have long and carefully examined his statue, will admit
that the artist, Mr. Kinney, our respected townsman, has embodied and presented
to the eye the ideal in a most masterly manner. And, while they remember Ethan
Allen as the first of heroes, they will regard this his statue, as alike
honorable to him and to the mind which conceived and the hand which fashioned
it. The subject and the author of this statue are both Vermonters; and they are
both an honor to our state. The one is now beyond the reach of our personal
attentions, the other is with us, and I trust he will receive from us, that
honor and that patronage too, which he so justly merits. I hope in this
case at least, the well known saying of poor Richard, that Honor buys no
meat in the market, will not be forgotten, and that it will also be
remembered that in this world creative genius must be nourished and supported
by corporeal as well as intellectual sustenance. The exhibition of Mr. Kinney's
statue of Ethan
Allen* has led me to think that some reminiscences of him
and of the Allen family might be acceptable at the present time. I have
therefore thrown together in a desultory manner, a few of the materials which I
happen to have on hand, which relate to these subjects. Whenever we know or
hear of a man who has distinguished himself any considerably in the affairs of
the world, we are always anxious to gain some information concerning his
origin, his family, and particularly in regard to his childhood and youth; and
to learn whether these shadowed forth those peculiar traits which were the
characteristics of his maturer years. And hence, the first subjects which we
expect to have presented to us in his biography are these of his parentage, his
birth and his childhood. But upon none of these subjects do we find anything
satisfactory in the published biographies or memoirs of Ethan Allen. They all
agree that he was born somewhere in Connecticut;
but none of them seem to have had any reliable information, either with regard
to the place or the time of his birth. Indeed, they furnish scarcely any
knowledge of him previous to his making himself conspicuous in the celebrated
controversy between New York and the New Hampshire grants.
And at that time he was about 30 years old, and as he died at the age of 52,
near three-fifths of his life is a blank in all the histories and memoirs of
it. For myself I should like exceedingly to see a minute history of Ethan
Allen. The history of the last 20 years of his life is all interwoven with the
history of Vermont,
and is as familiar to the people as household words. And the characteristics
which were so conspicuously manifested through this period, warrant the
conclusion, that there must have been something marked and peculiar in his
character previous to his entering upon his public career. But the associates
of his childhood and youth, have, with him, all gone to their graves. And
however desirable it might be to trace minutely his early history, it is
doubtless already too late to obtain the material needful for a full and
satisfactory biography of him. Still I believe that something might yet be done
to supply this deficiency by suitable efforts. I have no doubt that many
interesting and important facts and incidents in the early history of Ethan
Allen, might yet be rescued from oblivion. A few of these which have never yet
appeared in print I am happy in having it in my power to supply. Having
instituted a careful inquiry with regard to the time and place of his birth, I
succeeded several years ago in obtaining from the town clerk of Litchfield in
the state of Connecticut, a certified copy of records in the town clerk's
office in that town, from which I derive the following facts, viz.: That Joseph
Allen, father of Ethan Allen, resided in that town in 1728, with his mother,
Mercy Allen, who was then a widow; that on the 11th day of March, 1736, he as married
to Mary Baker by the Rev. Anthony Stoddard of Woodbury. Succeeding these facts
in the records of the town of Litchfield,
we have the following statement, "verbatim et literatim:"
Allen ye son of Joseph Allen and Mary his wife was born January ye 10th,
1737." Litchfield, Cornwall, Salisbury, Roxbury and, I
think, Woodbury have all been honored as the birthplace of Ethan Allen. But the
records of the town of Litchfield
which I have cited, make it certain that he was born there. Joseph Allen, the
father of Ethan, removed with his family to Cornwall, Ct.,
about the year 1740, and in that town were most of his children born, and there
he died on the 4th of April, 1755.
after Joseph Allen's death, Heman, his second son, engaged in mercantile
business in Salisbury,
and after that period his house became the home of the family. Joseph Allen had
six sons, of whom Ethan was the oldest. Their names were as follows in the
order of their birth: Ethan, Heman, Heber, Levi, Zimri and Ira. He also had two
daughters, Lydia and Lucy.**
Lydia married a Mr. Finch
and lived and died in Goshen,
Ct., Lucy married a Dr. Be-
from Hon. D. Read: Mr. Kinney spent some time in Burlington, in perfecting the work and
exhibiting his statue of Ethan Allen. The statue was examined by several aged
people, who had personally known Allen, and all pronounced it an excellent
likeness of him. It was the first essay of Mr. Kinney, of the kind, and was regarded
as a fine work of art, for a first production. Mr. Kinney, before the
commencement of his work on this statue, gave his attention to the cutting of cameos,
in which he is said to have excelled, and gained the reputation of a genius, in
this branch of sculpture. While in Burlington he
gave some attention to this kind of work, and exhibited some specimens of it at
the fair of the Mechanics' Association in Worcester,
Mass., for which he received a
silver medal, as a reward of his genius. The committee, in their report on that
occasion, remarked, that "three cameos from the ready hand of B. H.
Kinney, sculptor, of Burlington, Vt., likenesses of John G. Saxe, Esq., R. G.
Cole, Esq., cashier of the Bank of Burlington, and A. L. Catlin, Esq., collector
of the port of Burlington, which the artist has transferred to the shell with
such superior skill as to command a general expression of admiration, in which
your committee gladly join; they show a progress of the artist of which he may
be justly proud." — Ed.
Children of Joseph and Mary Allen: Ethan, b. Jan. 10, 1737-8; Heman, b. Oct.
15, 1740; Lydia, b. April 6, 1741; Heber, b, Oct, 4, 1743; Levi, b. Jan. 16,
1745; Lucy, b. April 2, 1747; Zimri, b. Dec. 10, 1748; Ira, b.——, 1751. From
Genealogical papers of G. F. Houghton, Esq. — Ed.
562 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
bee, and lived and died in Sheffield, Mass.
Heber and Zimri, unlike their brothers, never rendered themselves conspicious
in connection with political affairs. Heber died many years ago in Poultney, Vt.
He had two sons, Heber and Heman. Heber went into the western country and I
know nothing further of his history. Heman, the late Hon. Heman Allen of
Highgate, after the death of his father, was adopted into the family of his
uncle Ira. Zimri died at Sheffield,
Allen, the second son of Joseph Allen, was, as already remarked, a respectable
merchant in Salisbury, Ct. He is represented to have been a man of more than
ordinary natural abilities and of sound judgment, but cool and deliberate, free
from the eccentricities and that impetuosity which characterised the character
of several of his brothers. He never settled permanently in Vermont,
but being engaged with his brothers in Vermont,
in land speculations, he spent considerable time here about the period of the
organization of our government, and was one of the delegates from Rutland, to the convention which met at Westminster
on the 15th of January, 1777, and declared the independence of Vermont. He afterwards
went back to Salisbury,
where he died, leaving a widow and one daughter, Lucinda, who afterwards became
the wife of Moses Catlin, Esq., for many years and at the time of his death a
respected inhabitant of this town. After the death of Heman Allen, his widow
married a Mr. Wadhams, and resided in Goshen, Ct. And Mrs. Guy Catlin who died in Burlington a few years since much respected,
was her daughter by her second marriage.
Allen, the fourth son of Joseph Allen, if he was not the most remarkable, he
was certainly the most eccentric of the six brothers; and as his history is
much less generally known, I will here allude to a few of the incidents of his
life. A faithful biography of him would exhibit romance in real life as fully,
perhaps, as that of any individual who ever lived. It was my good fortune some
years ago to get possession of the greater part of the letters, journals and
MSS. left by Levi Allen; among which were about thirty letters from Ira Allen,
several from Ethan and many other prominent individuals, besides numerous
copies which he had preserved of his own letters. From these and other MSS., I
gathered the following facts; He was born in Cornwall, Ct.,
Jan. 16, 1745, and by his own acknowledgment was a very obstinate and wayward
youth. When he grew up, he, like his brothers, engaged in land speculations in Vermont, but did not
come here to reside. At the commencement of the Revolution, while his brothers
engaged with ardor in the cause of liberty and independence, he espoused the
cause of the enemy, or in other words was a tory, and was advertised as such in
the Connecticut Courant, and other newspapers, and was declared to be a
man who was dangerous to the country. Being detected in supplying the British
ships which lay at Long Island, with provisions, he was arrested and confined
as a prisoner in the jail at New
London. At about this time, at the instigation and on
the complaint of his brothers Ethan and Ira, his large landed estate in Vermont was advertised
for sale, agreeably to the confiscation act of this state. After lying in jail
6 months and 3 days, he obtained his enlargement, but by what means it was
effected, I have not been able to ascertain. He was, however, no sooner at
liberty than he sent to his brother Ethan a formal challenge to single combat
with pistols. I do not find that Ethan took any notice of this challenge, but I
find Levi, in one of his letters, long afterwards, apologizing for him by
saying, "I have no doubt he would have fought me, but all his friends
jointly put in their arguments that Levi was only mad through long
confinement, &c." Soon after Levi obtained his liberty he joined the
British forces in South Carolina,
and remained with the army till the close of the war in 1783. After the peace
which established the independence of the United
States, Levi Allen returned to the north, and being
abused as he thought, in attempting to collect some small debts in New England,
he swore that he would not reside in the United States. He accordingly
proceeded to Canada, where
he purchased a house, and in 1789, after a residence of 4 years in Canada, he went to England on some commercial
speculation, where he spent the most of three years. While there he took
offence at something said of him by a Maj. Edward Jessup, and challenged him to
fight a duel. Jessup declined the challenge, whereupon Allen, in a note
proclaimed him to the world as a coward. I have in my possession a copy of the
challenge and Jessup's reply in the original.* After Levi Allen returned from
England he had no permanent resting place, but called himself a citizen of the
world. And notwithstanding his oath to the contrary, resided for the most part
papers of Levi Allen in this chapter. — Ed.
several journeys to Pennsylvania,
where he had placed his daughter for education in the Bethlehem School,
and to the Southern states to attend to his land speculations. In the fall of
1801, he died in Burlington
and was, if I have been rightly informed, the first person ever buried in the
village graveyard. Whether there is any stone there which bears his name and
marks the spot where he lies I cannot say. I once searched, but searched in
vain to find one.*
. . [the diplomatist and manager
in civil affairs, . .
. the great and most successful
speculator of the brothers, . .
. who, "with his brothers,
at one time claimed nearly all the lands for 50 miles along Lake
Champlain," . .
. who probably did more toward
the settlement and interests of this part of the country than any other
. . and by whose "unwearied efforts and
profuse generosity the Vermont University was located in Burlington," .
. . "generally the secretary of that well
nigh omnipotent body," the "Council of Safety," .
. . "who recommended to the council the
confiscation of tory property to support the military forces of the
state," . . . "the chief negotiator with the British
by which a large army were kept inactive on our northern frontier the last
three years of the revolution,"
. . .
. and "the first treasurer
biography briefly sketched by Thompson we thus eliminate here, as we have a
biography of Ira Allen prepared for the town of Colchester in which such notice
more properly belongs, and which will not only embody all contained in this
lecture, but many additional facts of interest in relation to this remarkable
man. Hence we will but add in this connection, "Ira H. Allen of Irasburgh,
the son of Ira Allen, is the only survivor of the second generation from Joseph
Allen, father of the six brothers," and return to Ethan Allen, who is the
principal subject of this chapter as well as of this lecture. — Ed.]
Allen, as before stated, was born in Litchfield,
Ct., on the 10th of Jan. 1737.
With regard to the advantages of education which he enjoyed in his childhood,
very little is now known; but it is quite certain they were very limited. I was
assured by his daughter, the late Mrs. Hitchcock, who died in Burlington only a few years ago, that his
whole attendance at school did not exceed three months.
has been reported that in his youth he fitted for college, but was denied
admission on account of his well known infidel opinions. But I have never found
any substantial corroborations of this statement; and since it is totally
inconsistent with what Allen has said of himself, I believe it to be wholly
unfounded. In his Oracle of Reason, page 426, he says: "I do not
understand Latin or Greek, or Hebrew." And in his introduction to that
work, he represents that his knowledge of grammar and language has been
acquired by his practice of scribbling. But notwithstanding these statements, I
think it not at all improbable that he at one time contemplated getting a
college education, and that he dabbled a little in Latin. I was told by the
late Mr. Jehial Johns, who died in Huntington in 1840, aged 85 years, and who
knew Ethan Allen in Connecticut, that he was very certain that Allen spent some
time studying with the Rev. Mr. Lee of Salisbury, with the view of fitting
himself for college; and the occasional occurrences of Latin phrases in his
writings strongly corroborate this opinion. Mr. Johns also informed me that Allen
was about that time on very intimate terms with that noted infidel and
historical writer Dr. Thomas Young, and that from him he derived his own
infidel notions, and the principal arguments by which he defended them. But, as
already remarked, very few of the incidents of Ethan Allen's youth have been
preserved and handed down to our time. But from what is known of him during
that period, as well as from all traditions, it would appear that he was
generally regarded as a bold, spirited and somewhat reckless young man,
possessing unusual energy and independence of character; and that then, among
the associates of his own age, he put himself forward, and was tacitly
acknowledged as leader, a distinction to which he thought himself entitled at
all periods of his life. It would appear that personal subordination on his own
part, never once entered into his thoughts. Much less did he feel any want of
confidence in his own ability to plan, and execute too, any enterprise which
was within the sphere of human achievement.
the year 1762, Ethan Allen was
From J. N. Pomeroy, Esq., of Burlington,
we have the additional particulars: Levi Allen was in jail for debt at the time
of his death. Under that interpretation of the law which claimed that the
removal of the body of the debtor, dead or alive, transferred the debt, after
his death, the village grave yard was surveyed and "laid out," before
his burial, that he might be interred within the limits or the jail. Thus all
question is removed as to his being the first person buried therein. No stone
ever marked his grave. — Ed.
564 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
married to Miss Mary Bronson, of Woodbury,
Ct. He resided with his family, first at Salisbury, and afterwards at Sheffield, Mass.
He came to Vermont (then the New
Hampshire grants) about the year 1766, leaving his family at Sheffield, and from that time he regarded this state as
his home. At the time Ethan Allen came to the New
Hampshire grants, the controversy between the settlers and the
claimants under New York had already
commenced, and several actions had been brought in the courts at Albany, for the ejectment of the settlers under New Hampshire titles.
Allen immediately espoused the cause of the settlers, and undertook their
defense before the legal tribunals. He proceeded to New Hampshire where he procured the
necessary documents. He then went to Connecticut,
and engaged the services of Mr. Ingersoll, an eminent lawyer, and with these he
appeared before the court at Albany.
But it was of no avail. The causes had all been prejudged without regard to
evidence, law or justice, and judgment was rendered in all cases against the
defendants. Allen and his lawyer retired from the court, which was proceeding
to annihilate the New Hampshire titles, to the lands of their employers; but
they were waited on in the evening by Mr. Kemp, the king's attorney, and
several lawyers and land speculators, who told Allen to go home and advise the
settlers to make the best terms they could with their new landlords, signifying
to him that might often prevails against right. Allen coolly replied, that
the gods of the valleys were not the gods of the hills.*
asked an explanation, but Allen only answered that if he would accompany him to
meaning of the phrase should be made clear. On Allen's return to Bennington, a
convention of the settlers was called, their grievances discussed, and,
although the whole number who had assembled, did not exceed 100 men, they
formally resolved that they would defend their rights by force against
the arbitrary proceedings of the colony of New York, since law and ,justice
were denied them. And when the civil officers of New York came to the grants, to carry into
effect the decisions of their courts, they met with a determined opposition on
the part of the settlers, and were not permitted to discharge their duties. The
leading settlers were consequently indicted as rioters, and the New York sheriffs were
sent to apprehend them. But these officers, as the writers of that period quaintly
observe, were seized by the people and severely chastised with the twigs of
time will not allow me to go into particulars in relation to the controversy
between the first settlers of Vermont, and the
colony of New York,
in which Ethan Allen acted so conspicious a part. Nor is it necessary, since
these particulars are fully detailed in the published histories of the state,
and are probably familiar to most of those present. I would, however, here
remark, that throughout the whole of that celebrated controversy Ethan Allen
was acknowledged, everywhere, by friends and foes, to be the head and leader,
the master spirit of the opposition to New
York. He was, at all times, the resort and the
confidence of the Green
Mountain boys, and the terror
and dismay of the Yorkers. So great was their estimate of his power and
influence, that the authorities of New York at first attempted to bribe him
over to their interests, but failing in that, when they afterwards offered
rewards for the apprehension of the ringleaders of the opposition on the
grants, the reward offered for Allen was £150, while only £50 was offered for
either of the others."
Ethan Allen was defending the rights of the settlers on the New Hampshire
grants, as their acknowledged champion, he was not indifferent to the conduct
of the mother country towards her American colonies; and after the bloody
affair at Lexington, he felt himself called upon to engage in the cause of
liberty and right on a larger scale. In accordance, therefore, with a request
from Connecticut, he undertook to surprise and
capture the fortress of Ticonderoga. Having
collected 230 Green
Mountain boys, he arrived
with 180 of them at the lake, in Shoreham, opposite the fort, on the evening of
the 9th of May, 1775. It was with great difficulty that boats could be procured
to cross the lake, and, with all their diligence, only 83 men had been able to
cross over, and land near the fort, before daylight the next morning. As any
farther delay would inevitably defeat their object, Allen placed himself at the
head of these, inspired them with confidence by one of his laconic speeches,**
and then led them through a wicket-gate into the fort. The garrison (except the
sentries, who were too much fright‑
Friends and fellow soldiers, you have for a number of years past been a scourge
and terror to arbitrary power. Your valor has been famed abroad, and
acknowledged, as appears by the advice and orders to me from the general
assembly of Connecticut,
to surprise and take the garrison now before us. I now propose to advance
before you, and in person conduct you through the wicket gate; for we must this
morning either quit our pretensions to
ened to give the alarm) were in a profound sleep, from
which they were first awakened by three hearty cheers from the Green Mountain
boys, who were drawn up in regular order within the fort. Allen having
ascertained the lodging place of the commander Capt. De Laplace, commanded him,
in a stentorian voice, to come forth instantly and surrender the fort, or he
would sacrifice the whole garrison. De Laplace soon appeared at the door, with
his pants in his hand, and inquired by what authority the surrender was
demanded? "I demand it," says Allen, "in the name of the Great
Jehovah and the Continental Congress." These were authorities which, with
Allen's sword over his head, Laplace did not
think it prudent to dispute. He therefore surrendered the garrison at
seems to be some difference of opinion with regard to the part taken by the
noted Benedict Arnold in the capture of Ticonderoga.
Dr. Williams and Ira Allen, in their histories of Vermont, both state that
Arnold, with the commission of colonel from the board of war in Massachusetts,
arrived at Castleton before Allen left there with his Green Mountain boys, and
endeavored, without success, to supplant him in the command of the expedition;
and that the attempt was repeated on the morning of the 10th of May, just
before they entered the fort; but that the troops decided that Allen should
continue chief in command, and that Arnold might be second, with the privilege
of entering the fort at Allen's left hand. On the other hand Nathan Beeman, who
was Allen's guide to the fort, asserts in the most positive terms, that Arnold did not accompany the expedition, was not present
at the surrender of the fort, and that he did not arrive at Ticonderoga
till some days after its capture. And this statement of Mr. Beeman was
confirmed by the late Mrs. Hitchcock, in a conversation I had with her on the
subject several years ago. Allen, in his narrative, makes no mention of Arnold, till after the capture of Ticonderoga."
the time of the capture of the garrison at Ticonderoga,
Ethan Allen considered himself enlisted in the cause of American freedom. And,
although he held no commission from congress, he lent his willing services to
Gens. Schuyler and Montgomery, who were ordered to advance into Canada in the
fall of 1775, and by whom he was entrusted with the command of certain
detachments of the army, and sent forward for the purpose of ascertaining the
feelings of the French settlers, and of engaging them, if possible, in the
American cause. In one of these excursions between Longeueil and La Prairie, he
met Maj. Brown, with about 200 men, and it was agreed between them, that they
would attempt the capture of Montreal.
Brown was to cross the river during the night, a little above the city, with
his 200 men, and Allen, with 110 men, was to land a little below the city, and
in the morning at a concerted signal, to assure each other that both parties
were in readiness, they were to rush in on opposite sides, and take possession
of the city. With a few canoes and much labor, Allen succeeded in getting his
men over in the course of the night, and in choosing his position. Here he
waited, with much impatience, for a signal from Brown, that he had passed over
and was ready for an advance upon the city, but he waited in vain. Brown,
actuated either by cowardice or jealousy, did not pass over. Allen's position
and numbers soon became known in the city, and all the forces that could be
mustered, were sent out to assault them, and an obstinate battle ensued. Allen,
deserted by most of his Canadians, overwhelmed by numbers, and unable to
retreat, was at length obliged to surrender at discretion.
event took place on the 25th of September, 1775, and for the space of 2 years
and 8 months, Allen was a prisoner in the hands of the British. He was loaded
with irons and sent to England, and was treated with the greatest cruelty and
indignity, but in all situations, whether chained down in the hold of the
vessel, or walking upon the deck, whether confined in the filthy and gloomy
prison on shore, or abroad on his parole, he was, in all places, Ethan Allen,
and no one else. A full account of his doings and sayings and sufferings,
during his captivity, was published by him soon after his return. His narrative
has since been reprinted several times, and is probably familiar to you all.
Ethan Allen was exchanged for Lieut. John Campbell, on the 6th of May, 1778.
After waiting upon Gen. Washington at Valley
Forge, he returned to Vermont,
where he, unexpectedly, but to the great joy of his friends, arrived on the
31st of May. The news of his arrival was spread through the country. The Green Mountain
boys flocked around him, and gave him a hearty welcome,
valor, or possess ourselves of this fortress in a few
moments; and, inasmuch as it is a desperate attempt, which none but the bravest
of men dare undertake, I do not urge it
on any contrary to his will. You that will undertake voluntarily, poise your firelocks."
From the Narrative of Allen. — Ed.
566 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
cannons were fired in tokens of gladness, and there was a
general scene of rejoicing and hilarity."*
reward for Allen's services and sufferings in the cause of his country,
congress confered upon him the rank and emoluments of lieutenant colonel in the
service of the United States;
but he never after his captivity joined the continental army. But he engaged
warmly in support of the government of Vermont
which had been organized during his absence, against the machinations of New York. And also in
carrying on the negotiations with the British in Canada by which the operations of a
powerful British army were three years paralyzed and rendered innoxious. He was
made brigadier general of the state militia, and in 1783, at the requisition of
the civil authority led over 100 Green
Mountain boys for the purpose of
subjecting the disorganizing Yorkers in Guilford
in the south eastern part of Windham county to
the authority of Vermont.
It was on that occasion that he put forth the following characteristic
proclamation: "I, Ethan Allen, declare that unless the people of Guilford peaceably submit to the authority of Vermont the town shall be made as desolate as Sodom and Gomoriah." .
. . .
His family remained at Sheffield till
1777. They removed into the state the latter year while Ethan was in captivity
and took up their residence in Sunderland, which was the home of the family
till it removed to Burlington
in 1787. Ethan Allen came to Burlington
in the spring of that year, with the view of devoting himself to farming,
having selected for his residence the beautiful tract of intervale north of our
village, now generally known as the Van Ness farm. He removed his family there
in the course of the summer, and that was their home till the time of his
death, which took place in less than 2 years from the time he came to Burlington. I have
several letters written by him and Ira Allen during that period, by which it
appears that on account of a partial failure of the crops and the great ingress
of settlers into this part of the country, there was a distressing scarcity of
food, both for man and beast. Col. Ebenezer Allen (who commanded a company of
rangers during the Revolution, and who rendered himself famous by many daring
exploits), was at this time settled on the south end of South Hero, at the
place now called Allen's point. He and Ethan were on terms of intimacy, and hay
being scarce in the winter of 1789, and Ethan's supply being short, Ebenezer
told him, that if he would come over to the island with his team and make him a
visit, he would furnish him with a load of hay on his return. Accordingly on
the 10th of Feb., 1789, Ethan, with his sleigh and span of horses, and his man
for driver, crossed over on the ice to the island. Col. Ebenezer Allen invited
in some of his neighbors, who were old acquaintances of Ethan, and the
afternoon and evening were past very agreeably in recalling past incidents and
telling stories. Ethan had intended to return in the evening, and the hay was
loaded and in readiness, but on account of the urgency of Col. Ebenezer, he
remained till nearly morning when he got upon the load of hay and his black man
drove towards his home in Burlington.
The negro called to him several times on the way and received no answer, but
did not suspect that anything unusual was the matter till he arrived at Ethan's
residence on the intervale. He then went to his master and found him dead, or
as some say in a fit, in which he soon died. Ira Allen in a letter to Levi
(then in London), says, in relation to this event: "I arrived at
Burlington on the 11th of February, and was surprised with the solemn news of
the death of Gen. Allen, who departed this life that day in a fit of apoplexy.
On the 10th his remains were interred with the honors of war. His military
friends from Bennington
and parts adjacent attended and the procession was truly solemn and
numerous." He was buried in the grave yard at Winooski falls.
Allen was twice married. By his first wife he had five children, one son and
four daughters, all of whom were born, I think, before the family came to Vermont. The names of
these children were Lorain,
Joseph, Lucy, Mary Ann, and Permelia. Joseph died at Sheffield,
while his father was in captivity, being 11 years old. Lorain died un‑
"Three cannons were fired that evening, and the next morning Col. Herrick
gave orders and fourteen more were discharged" welcoming him to
Bennington; "thirteen for the United States and one for young
Vermont," A sarcastic poem (written, we are told, by Dr. Lemuel Hopkins
and published in Dr. E. H. Smith's Collection of American Poetry,
Litchfield, 1794), appeared at the time in a Connecticut paper, in the
following lines, of which our old hero stalks out so Ethan like, we well nigh
forget the bitterness of the attempt, and are disposed to consider it rather a
happy illustration or the head and hero of the "Bennington mob" at
home once again:
escaped from British jails,
tushes broke by biting nails.
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
him on green hills north afar,
like some self-enkindled star.
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
him move, ye staunch divines.
tall brow bristling through the pines,
some old sachem from his den
treads once more the haunts of men." — Ed.
married, Lucy married the Hon. S. Hitchcock, and Parmelia
married Eleazer W. Keyes, Esq., and these both resided and died at Burlington. Ethan's first
wife died in Sunderland, in the early part of
1783, and was an excellent and pious woman. One of Ethan's few attempts to
write poetry were some lines on the death of his wife, published in the Bennington
Gazette, July 10th, 1783.*
married his second wife in 1784. This marriage is thus pompously announced in
the Vermont Gazette, for Feb. 21st of that year: "Married at Westminster, on the 9th
of Feb., the Honorable General Ethan Allen, to the amiable Mrs. Lydia Buchanan,
a lady possessing, in an eminent degree, every graceful qualification requisite
to render the hymenial bonds felicitous." There appears to have been a
slight mistake in this announcement. The lady's name was not Lydia but
Fanny. By his second marriage he had 3 children, Ethan A., Hannibal and one
daughter Fanny. Fanny, after she was grown up to womanhood entered a nunnery in
Canada, where she died.†
Hannibal and Ethan A. Allen both held offices in the United States army. Hannibal died several years ago at Norfolk
in Virginia, and his widow was not long since
residing in the state of Michigan.
Ethan A. Allen died in Norfolk county, Va., Jan. 6th, 1845. He
left one son, Ethan A. Allen, who now resides in the city of New York. After the death of Gen. Ethan Allen
his widow became the wife of the late Hon. Jabez Penniman of Colchester
and died in that town a little more than 20 years ago.
Allen prided himself no less on account of his skill as a thinker and writer
than as a leader and warrior. Notwithstanding the deficiency of his education,
he was in the practice of writing from his very childhood, and his writings
everywhere exhibit that same self confidence, which was so obvious in all his
acts. There is a remarkable boldness and assurance of right in both, and this
boldness appeared not only in his manner and style but in the very handwriting
have here one of his letters, which is a fair specimen of his style and
penmanship. It is a copy, in his own handwriting, of a letter addressed by him
to the governor of Canada,
about the time he came to Burlington.
is made in this letter, you will perceive, of his book on theology. This work
was none other than that generally known as Ethan Allen's Bible. As this
was the most remarkable, and most considerable of his works, it being an octavo
volume of 477 pages. I will say a few words respecting it. Most of his other
writings were political, relating generally to the controversy with New York, and were
published and circulated in pamphlet form. These are all re-
Monumental inscription for the tomb of Mary Allen of Sunderland,
wife of Gen. Allen. Said to have been written by him:
my friends, this fleeting world adieu,
residence no longer is with you,
I commend to Heaven's care,
humbly raise my hopes above despair:
conscious of a virtuous transient strife,
the joys of the next life;
such celestial and ecstatic bliss
but in part conferred on us in this.
in the power of God most high,
wisdom, goodness, and infinity,
securely I resign my breath
the cold unrelenting stroke of death;
that God, who gave me life before
still preserve me, in a state much more
mentally — beyond decay,
the blest regions of eternal day.
this poetry we might infer that Mars was no great favorite of the muses."
Fanny Allen died in the Hotel Diem in Montreal,
of which convent she had been an inmate for some years. We have the following
description from a lady whose mother was personally acquainted with Miss Allen,
and saw her frequently after she had taken the veil: "Fanny was the
youngest daughter of Gen. Ethan Allen, and inherited much of the energy and
decision of his character, controlled by womanly gentleness. In person she was
rather above than below the medium height, and of uncommon beauty in form and
feature. Her complexion was fair, her eyes dark blue with a singular depth and
calmness of expression, while the dignity and ease or her manners gave quiet
evidence to the refinement and loveliness of her character. In the qualities
which adorn the domestic and social circle she was unsurpassed. The
circumstance of her conversion to the Catholic faith, at a time when very little
was known of that religion in Vermont was regarded as a most remarkable one,
and created great excitement in her family, in general society where she was
widely known, and peculiarly fitted to shine, and, indeed, as far as the name
of her distinguished father was known. This excitement was of course greatly
increased when her solemn determination to take the veil was disclosed. Every
possible opposition was made by her family and friends without moving her
decision for a moment. In the hope of diverting her attention to other
subjects, or awakening her Interest in the frivolities of the world, and thus
averting an event which was deemed so great a calamity or at least of delaying
its accomplishment, she was introduced during several seasons among fashionable
circles of our cities where she attracted universal admiration. She quietly
acquiesced and cheerfully complied with the desires of her mother and
step-father in these matters, but it was all of no avail, and they were at
length prevailed upon to consent to her following a vocation which had
superseded all worldly interests in her heart. For a long time after she took
the step which had become the great object of her life, the convent was
constantly besieged with people from different parts of the United States, who
were visiting Montreal for business or pleasure and could not leave the city
without seeing the 'lovely American nun,' the first one whom their country had
given to such a life and the daughter of so prominent and popular a leader of
the 'Green Mountain boys.' These constant calls, however, became fatiguing and
annoying to her, and the mother superior at length consented to deny her
attendance upon them and permit her to retire to the seclusion which she
devoutly desired," There is also an interesting sketch of her Catholic
conversion and convent life in a French work that we have seen, Vie de Mille
Mance, par Rev. M. Faillon. — Ed.
568 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
ferred to and described in our published histories of Vermont."
of the history of this greater work, his book on theology, even his biographers
seem to be entirely ignorant. From information derived from various sources,
but principally from the late Mr. Jehial Johns of Huntington, already
mentioned, I am enabled to make the following statements which I am inclined to
regard as substantially true: At the time of Ethan Allen's youth there were in
Litchfield co., Ct., and in Dutchess co., N. Y., which lies adjacent, a number
of professed infidels, among whom a Dr. Thomas Young was prominent, both on
account of his education and abilities, and also on account of his daring
profaneness, amounting sometimes to blasphemy, for which he was once
prosecuted, convicted and punished. Young was living on what was called the
Oblong in Dutchess co., and very near the line of Connecticut. At the time Pres't Edwards
proposed his famous theological questions, Young engaged in their discussion,
and boldly espoused the infidel side, and argued in opposition to the necessity
of a Divine Revelation. Ethan Allen had previous to this time been on very
intimate terms with Young, had spent much time at his house, and fully imbibed
all of his infidel notions. Allen, therefore, entered at once upon this
discussion, supporting the same views with Young, and spending a large share of
his time in writing. Mrs. Wadhams, whom I have already mentioned, and in whose
family he resided, informed me some years ago, that Ethan Allen spent one
summer at her house employed nearly the whole time in writing. She did not know
what he was writing about, but she recollected that once when she called him to
dinner he said that he was very sorry she had called so soon, for "he had
got clear up into the upper regions." It seemed at this time, to be
generally understood that he and Young were engaged in company, in the
preparation of a work in support of infidel principles, and that there was an
agreement between them that the one who outlived the other should publish it.
When Ethan Allen came to Vermont
his MSS. were left in possession of Young. Young engaged, soon after this, very
warmly in the cause of the American colonies, and became distinguished as a
political writer. He spent some time in Albany
and after that a while in Boston, and at the
time of the commencement of the Revolution removed with his family to Philadelphia. From
Philadelphia, he wrote, in April, 1777, his celebrated letter to the people of
Vermont, advising them to form forthwith a state government, for God,
said he, had fairly put it in their power to help themselves. He died in
the latter part of that year, and his family returned to their residence in
Dutchess county, N. Y. On Allen's return to Vermont,
after his exile in the spring of 1778, he called upon Young's family, procured
his own and Young's MSS. and took them with him to Vermont. These, as he had leisure he
rewrote, altered and arranged them in the form of a book with this title, Reason
the only Oracle of Man, or a Compendious System of Natural Religion. The
preface of this work is dated July 2, 1782, and it was published at Bennington
in 1784, by Anthony Haswell, the father of our respectable townsman N. B.
Haswell, Esq. But a few copies of this work were bound at first, and while the
bulk of the edition was remaining in Mr. Haswell's office in sheets, the office
and its contents were consumed by fire, and Mr. Haswell, I think, to the hour
of his death, regarded this calamity as a judgment upon him, for being
concerned in publishing an infidel work, and as an interposition of Divine Providence
to prevent its circulation. In consequence of this destruction of the sheets,
copies of the original edition are exceedingly rare.
prided himself very much upon this his great work on theology, and would
not patiently brook anything said to its disparagement. A clergyman, in the
course of his religious services, at which Allen was present, once read Dr.
Watts' version of the 119th Psalm, beginning thus:
all the heathen writers join,
form one perfect book,
God, if once compared with thine,
mean their writings look."
hearing this, and supposing the relation made with reference to himself, is
said to have been very indignant, and to have left the house in rage."*
Illustrative of the difference often met by the historian in the narration of
the same anecdote, we give another current version of the above: Allen, who
prided himself upon his hospitality, kept an open door for the clergy visiting
his neighborhood — professedly on his
wife's account (his first wife being a religious woman, see page 135), but
apparently as much from his predilection for argument and pride of his talent
in theological debate — at one time, a Methodist preacher, says our narrator,
came on a missionary tour into the place, who proposed to hold a meeting at the
house of Ethan; Allen readily assented and notice was sent, around. However, as
the people began to gather, the old hero's love of controversy and of fun began
to awaken, and he assured the minister very positively that if he preached in his
house it must be out of his bible — no definite answer was given
to the proposition — the time for the opening of the meeting had arrived —
Allen defiantly laid his Ora-
took much pains to circulate his Oracle among the literati of America, and in
foreign countries. He sent copies not only to the learned men of England but to
several literary and scientific societies. In a letter to the Hon. St. Johns, a
copy of which I have in my possession, he says: "I transmit to you my
Theological Book, styled Oracles of Reason, which you will please to lay
before the Academy
of Arts and Science of
Paris, by whose sentence I expect to stand or fall." Allen,
although he never renounced his infidelity, changed his views, somewhat, after
the publication of his Oracles, and towards the close of his life he spent much
time in preparing an elaborate appendix to it. This appendix, in his own
handwriting, is now in the possession of Udney H. Penniman, Esq., of Colchester, a son of Ethan Allen's widow, after her
marriage to Dr. Penniman. On the cover of this MSS. is written as follows:
appendix is to be published whenever it can without infringing upon my present
or future living.
substance of Allen's theology may be expressed in few words. It consisted in a
belief in the existence of a Supreme Creator and Governor of the Universe; in a
belief that man would be rewarded or punished in a future state, in accordance
with his doings in this life; that reason is a sufficient guide for man, and
that a revelation is unnecessary; and, being unnecessary, has never been made,
and is not to be expected. Whether the Oracles of Reason was the sole
production of Ethan Allen, or the joint production of him and Dr. Young, may
never, perhaps, be certainly known. I am very confident, however, that no
person who is familiar with Allen's other writings, can read the Oracles of
Reason without suspicion that some other person beside himself was
concerned in its composition. With
regard to the general character of Ethan Allen, the conspicuous and commendable
traits upon which his fame rests, were his unwavering patriotism, his love of
freedom, his wisdom, boldness, courage, energy, perseverance, his aptitude to
command, his ability to inspire those under him with respect and confidence,
his high sense of honor, and probity, and justice, his generosity, and
kindness, and sympathy in the afflictions and sufferings of others. Opposed to
these good qualities were his self-sufficiency, his personal vanity, his
occasional rashness, and his sometimes harsh and vulgar language. All of these
characteristic traits might be abundantly proved by well known facts and
authentic anecdotes, but
cle of Reason on
the stand. The preacher without remark took out a Testament and Watts' hymns from his side pocket; the Testament laid by
the side of Allen's bible; he opened the hymn-book, and commenced significantly
all the heathen writers join
form one perfect book —
to Allen's work as he read, and then to the word of God beside),
God, when once compared with thine
mean their writings look."
said Allen snatched his book, with an oath, from the table, and the preacher
proceeded without further interference to fulfill his appointment.
is also another very general anecdote bearing upon the theology of Allen,
embodied in the following verses, clipped from a nameless fragment of an old
newspaper (see also page 135):
INFIDEL AND HIS DAUGHTER.
by reading a recent newspaper paragraph describing the scene between the brave
old Ethan Allen and his daughter, on the eve of her death, when she asked the
stern infidel in whose faith he would have her to die, his or her mother's:
damps of death are coming fast.
father, o'er my brow;
past with all its scenes has fled,
must turn me now
that dim future which in vain
eyes seek to descry;
me, my father, in this hour,
whose belief to die.
thine? I've watched thy scornful smile,
heard thy withering tone,
the Christian's humble hope
placed above thine own;
heard thee speak of coming death
a shade of gloom,
laugh at all the childish fears
cluster round the tomb?
'Or is it in my mother's faith?
fondly do I trace
many a weary year long past
calm and saintly face!
often do I call to mind,
she's beneath the sod,
place, the hour, in which she drew
early thoughts to God!
then she took this sacred book,
from its burning page
how its truths support the soul
faith and failing age,
me in its precepts live,
by its precepts die,
I might share a home of love,
worlds beyond the sky.
'My father, shall I look above,
this gathering gloom,
him whose promises of love
beyond the tomb?
curse the Being who hath blessed
checkered heart of mine!
I embrace my mother's faith,
die, my sire, in thine?
'The frown upon that warrior-brow
like a cloud away,
tears coursed down the rugged cheek,
flowed not till that day,
not in mine,' with choking voice,
skeptic made reply —
in thy mother's holy faith,
daughter may'st thou die?' " — Ed.]
570 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
time will not allow it here. Many have formed the opinion
that Ethan Allen was a barbarian, a well nigh savage, that he was cruel and
revengeful, and, as a warrior, delighted in the massacre and destruction of his
enemies; but such opinions are entirely erroneous. Instead of being cruel, he
was a man of remarkably susceptible and tender feelings, and instead of seeking
the lives of his enemies who fell into his power, I am not aware of any proof
that he ever took the life of a human being with his own hand. And I recollect
but one instance in which he lent his services to procure the condemnation and
execution of a criminal, and that was in the case of David Redding, the
notorious Tory, who was executed at Bennington,
in 1778. Redding
was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung on the 6th of June. Before
that day arrived, it was found that the trial was illegal, the verdict having
been rendered by a jury of only six persons, instead of twelve, as required by
the common law. He was therefore reprieved till the 11th, to give time for the
correction of this informality. The people being ignorant of these proceedings,
assembled on the 6th, in great numbers, and being much disappointed in not
seeing Bedding executed, they became very disorderly and noisy. To quiet the
tumult, Allen mounted a stump, commanded attention, and after explaining the
reasons of the reprieve, told them all to return peaceably to their homes, and
come again on the 11th, assuring them with an oath, "that they should then
see a man hung, for if Redding was not hung he would be hung himself." At
the appointed time the people were gratified with Redding's execution. Ethan Allen, like all
human beings, had his good and bad qualities, his virtues and his vices, and
these were all exhibited in him in bold relief, like the objects in a picture
which is well wrought and true to nature. The lights and shades, the beauties
and deformities of his character stand out with remarkable prominence and
distinctness, and it is necessary to consider all these in connection, in order
to form a true estimate of the man. Those who look only at his generosity, his
honesty, his bravery, and his unconquerable love of freedom, will be disposed
to regard him as a paragon of great and godlike qualities; while others who
look chiefly at his self-confidence, his personal vanity and his often profane
and vulgar language, will regard him as the personification of vice and
meanness. Allen's character as a whole, was not unlike that of our native
mountain forest scenery. It was wild and uncultivated, and at the same time
exhibits very much of the sublime and beautiful. We find in it very much to
approve and admire, and not a little to condemn and despise. We are at one time
surprised and astonished at his heroism and magnanimity, and at another,
disgusted and made ashamed by his profanity and vulgarity. Or he may be
compared to the stately oak, growing in all its luxuriance and majesty, in the
midst of our native forests, and whose form was never made symmetrical by the
judicious application of the pruning knife, whose asperities were never removed
by the hand of cultivation; the roughness and extravagance of his character,
were only the natural excrescences which resulted from the uncommon vigor of
Vermont is indebted for her independence and the establishment of
her government mainly to three individuals; these were Ethan and Ira Allen and
Thos. Chittenden. Thos. Chittenden was her chief magistrate, Ira Allen her
diplomatist, and Ethan Allen her military chieftain. Each of these deserves
honorable commemoration by the state, especially the first and last.
As Washington was the father of his country so was Thomas
Chittenden the fiddler of Vermont, and as Washington was a terror to the enemies of American
Independence so was Ethan Allen a terror to the enemies of Vermont. The names of these men we cherish
in grateful remembrance, and may we not hope yet to see their statues occupy
their appropriate nitches in our State House at Montpelier? These statues lie buried in their
perfection in our native marble, and the exhibition which we have witnessed
proves that we have a native artist who is abundantly able to disinter them and
present them to the admiring gate in all the classic elegance of Grecian art.
In Ethan Allen Vermont claims a hero — in Mr. Kinney a sculptor, and in her
quarries a statuary marble, each of which is unequalled in its kind in any
other state in the Union. And may we net, hope
soon to see a noble hero's statue in marble of which we may claim to ourselves
all the honor — the prototype, the artist and the material being all productions
Notes. — By a memorandum in the copy of the Oracles of
Reason in Ethan Allen's handwriting it would appear that Ethan Allen was
born Jan. 21st, 1739; Fanny, his second wife, Apr. 4th, 1760; married Feb.
16th, 1784. Children: Fanny Allen born Nov. 18th, 1784; Ethan Voltaire born
Feb. 3d, 1786; Hanni‑
bal born Nov. 24th, 1787. The difference between the ages
of Ethan Allen and his second wife at the time of their marriage was 23 years —
he being 47, she 24. At the time of his death she was 29. She spent most of
three years after his death with her mother at Westminster.
Allen's third daughter by his first wife was Mary Ann. She died in Burlington about 2 years
after the death of her father. When Ethan Allen lived on the Van Ness farm,
horse teams were hardly known in this part of the country. Mrs. Forbes says
there were 3 or 4 families near the lake shore, where Burlington village now is, and the settlement
was called the Bay. When Ethan and his lady visited these families in the
winter they used to ride on an ox sled, and it was with an ox sled that Ethan
went over to Col. Ebenezer Allen's on the island for hay.
says that Ethan was alive, but in a fit, when the black man with the team
arrived at home, and that he died at his house. Mrs. Stephen Law remembers her
father was sent for and tried to bleed him, but without success, and he
remained insensible till he died. Mr. L. practised extracting teeth and blood
letting occasionally. The funeral was attended at Ira's in Colchester, and guns
were fired over the grave, on the Burlington
side of the river.
Allen died in Poultney. He had 5 children, Heber, Sarah, Joseph, Lucy and
Heman. Heber taught school in Milton,
Ga., &c., and went west.
Sarah married a Mr. Everts, and settled in Georgia. Lucy married Orange Smith,
and lived awhile in Swanton. After Heber's death, his widow kept house for Ira,
till her death in about 1788. She was buried at the Falls. She says:
"Ethan Allen was a man of remarkably tender feelings. The block house
built by Ira Allen and Remember Baker was south west of Ira's log house, and
nearer the river." Ethan's family came to Burlington
about July, and lived at the Bay, at Mr. Collins' till after the birth of Hannibal, which was Nov.
[From the Papers of the Hon. Hiland Hall.]
November, 1855, the legislature of the state passed an act providing for the
erection of a monument over his grave at Burlington,
which has been completed in compliance with the act. It consists of a Tuscan
column of granite, 42 feet in height and 4½ feet diameter at its base, with a
pedestal 6 feet square, in which are inserted 4 plates of white marble, having
the following inscriptions, to wit:
side) — Vermont to ETHAN ALLEN | born
in Litchfield, Ct.,
10th January, 1737, o. s. | died in Burlington,
Vt., 12th Feby., 1789 | and
buried near the site of this monument.
side) — The leader of the Green Mountain Boys | in the surprise and capture of
| TYCONDEROGA | which he demanded "in the name of | the Great Jehovah and
the Continental Congress."
pamphlet — the Ceremonies of the Erection of the Monument, has been published;
Hon. F. E. Woodbridge delivered the oration, which eloquent tribute was re-read
by request at the last meeting of the State Historical Society, Feb. 16, 1863.
The Grave of Allen
a poem by Mary Minton of Hyde Park.]
Winooski's pleasant shore
Allen sleeps . .
there beneath the murmuring pine
freedom's consecrated shrine.
every patriot heart will swell
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . . .
bending o'er that lowly grave
pays his homage to the brave,
. . .
. . . .
. . . . . .
let it be our earnest aim
cherish every noble name;
ages yet to come may read
worthy name, each valiant deed,
know with what a fearless hand
fathers struck for life and land.
names are many; but among
matchless crowd, that fearless throng
one that shines for us alone,
deathless glory is our own.
memory then should ever be
to our hearts as liberty;
while our country has a name
us preserve our Allen's fame."
poem — in tribute to Ethan Allen, and
somewhat descriptive of Burlington, was delivered some 4 or 5 years since, by
Rev. C. L. Goodell, a graduate of the Vermont University (see Poets and
Poetry of Vermont, p. 132). The engine that pants up through the rail road
gorges of our mountains daily, bears his name, and it is the war-cry of the Green Mountain
boys of the Federal army as they meet the mad hosts of rebeldom today.
Allen's Letters, &c.
papers, the diary, letters, &c., of Levi Allen, are still preserved in the
572 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
tions of the Vermont Historical Society, and among the
papers of Mr. Stevens. We make the following brief notations from the latter:
Allen and Heman Allen were in partnership in trade, at Salisbury,
Litchfield county, Ct.,
and dissolved Feb. 3, 1772." (See Connecticut
Courant, April 7, 1772.)
"New Milford, July
may certify that Mr. Levi Allen, merchant, belonging to the state of New York, is married with Mrs. Anne Allen, belonging to
the state of Connecticut.
Dr. NATHL. TAYLOR."
Allen's Challenge to Major Edward Jessup.
"No. 4 Bridge Row, near Rawleigh.
The private unmannerly attacks you have repeatedly made on my character,
without the least provocation, which have accidentally come to my knowledge,
couched in hints and terms apparently evasive of law, reduce me to the
disagreeable necessity, in vindication of my honor as a private gentleman, as
well as that of the public character I have the honor to act in, on behalf of
Vermont, to call you to the field. Accordingly I shall expect you to meet me
to-morrow morning, the 13th inst., at six of the clock, in the King's new road,
leading from Pamlico to Chelsea, about 50 rods from the first entrance into
said road, with a case of pistols, and your second. A green field on the right
hand will afford ample room.
Sir, your humble servant,
Aug. 12th, 1789, 11 o'clock A. M. Major Jessup."
Rawleigh street, Aug. 12, 1789,
o'clock. P. M.
I have this moment received your note dated No. 7, Bridge Row, August 12th,
1789, 11 o'clock, A. M., which I understand was left at my lodgings, in my
absence, by a person unknown, signed Levi Allen, setting forth that I have made
secret, unmanly and repeated attacks on your character, which you say have
accidentally come to your knowledge, and that you are under the necessity, in
vindication of your honor as a private gentleman, as well as that of the public
character you have the honor to act in, on behalf of Vermont, to call me to the
field, and accordingly expect me to meet you with a case of pistols, my second,
&c. In answer to this extraordinary letter, I can only say that I know very
little of yourself, less of your acting in a public character in behalf of
Vermont. But if you mean to act like a gentleman, I expect you will let me know
who are your informers, and what it is I am accused of saying prejudicial to
your character, and if they are gentlemen, I have no doubt but I shall convince
them that they or you are mistaken, which must be done before I can satisfy any
man or men in any other way. Sir, your humble servant,
[Whereupon Allen issued the following:]
Edward Jessup having taken a liberty with my character, in consequence of which
I sent him a challenge on the 12th inst., to give me the satisfaction of a
gentleman; he thought proper to send me an evasive answer, did not meet me on
the morning of the 13th, agreeably to appointment I made with him, though I
expected him, and attended for that purpose; a circumstance that does not much
conduce to the honor of Major Jessup.
Row, Aug. 15, 1789."
Letters to Ira Allen.]
"London, Aug. 20, 1779.
[Upon hearing Vermont had joined the Federal Union.]
have lately been inquired of by the Secretary of State and some others in high
office, respecting the town of Albany, and you may depend on holding every foot
of land south of 45° N. lat., and assurance that every favor of congress will
be granted Vermont. I hope in the name of common sense you have not, and in the
name of —— you will not join congress. Gov. Chittenden, yourself, our deceased
brother, Gens. Keys, Erme, Pearl, Clark, Col. Lyon, Spafford, Hitchcock,
Ebenezer Allen, Coit, &c., all being fully determined to the contrary when
I left you . .
. . .
you will seriously consider this matter, as it is of infinite importance to
Vermont, and our family in particular."
"London, June 25, 1789.
get an act of parliament for cutting a canal from St. Johns in the most
convenient place, and am pretty certain government will lend eight or ten
thousand pounds to forward the business. Whether the business was ever done or
not, it is immaterial, this I know, if I had the money I could make my fortune,
or rather make our fortune, and the game too, and repay the money .
. . . .
want you to get an act of the general assembly, or from the governor in
council, under the seal of the state, printed and fairly made out, proposing to
cut said canal, and appointing me their agent, fully authorized to apply for an
act of parliament, . . . obtaining license, full leave, liberty and
assistance to cut the same. The word assistance being inserted, I can make it answer
my purposes here, perhaps, and the Vermonters not know what I intend. You can
cook the matter with the Secretary.
. . .
canal can and will be cut. But after getting the grant and money, if the
business should be put off one year to prepare, provision, &c., that the
same may be done to better advantage, in the meantime the matter of trade going
on with energy and force, will carry all before it like a torrent of mighty,
rushing waters, that by the second year we can cut canals or anything else we
please. . .
. . .
. . .
have before hinted, settle all matters with Col. Lyon, and make free with Gen.
Clark. Talk about a Vermont company in trade. Be thick with the governor and
his son on the subject of trade. . .
. . . .
. . .
matters should work so bad nothing can he done with the public, send me a power
of attorney to contract for you, and in your name, and git eight, ten or more
to sign the same, with the governor's name as a signer, acknowledged before the
secretary of state, under the seal of Vermont. You know how, but let, the whole
be bona fide ipso facto, if possible, but at any rate let me have
something of the kind well done, for I have no idea of leaving England till
something is actually done, and I really believe shall send you this season a
cargo of salt and something handsome as to goods to suit the state. If I can
get a good assortment shall come along with them, even if I return by the same
ship, and bring Nancy along with me.
London, Sunday, 2d August, 1789.
all the survivors of the Allen family, if any:
have not received a silable written or verbal line since I left you, the public
papers announce the death of Ethan Allen. The expense of a single letter would
be one shilling only, and no danger of being opened here. It is impossible to
form any conjecture about such unpardonable omissions, not only ones' feelings
are sensibly touched thro' anxiety, but must appear ridiculous to the
discerning part here. . .
. . [Whereupon he waxes very wroth at the
"silence of Nancy and Ira."]
answer to bunch of letters and passage scribbling, six other previous letters
by packets." (And threatens or hints at self destruction by pistols,
"Nov. 29, 1790.
thing has succeeded to my most sanguine expectations. [He lives in Savannah and
traffics his own commerce.]
" Quebec, 30th, 1792.
crossing the Atlantic four times, twice loading a ship of 300 tons, working
myself into the good graces of first character of Gt. Britain, getting annual
money, &c., &c. I expect a dram of comfort or a dram of aquafortis in a
(A complete letter.)
Nancy, if you are well and the child is well all is well.
in jail it appears by his diary that he frequently attempted poetizing, to wit:
written while in jail at Quebec.]
A LAY POET IN LIMBO."
worldly pelf my poor old purse forsook,
world all awry cast a scornful look,
the scene, with flush of guilders roll
then so mad to say that man's a fool.
fashion with what power
dost thou rule,
the submissive bend each hour
saint, the sage, the fool.
to thy potent sway
great, the best are found,
thee are governed every day
circling year around.
thou dost fancy guided near
void of mental force,
to thy compass steer
life their changeful course.
oh! how oft by thee misled,
quick sands do they run,
rocks behold exciting dread
but can not shun.
following doggerel is also credited to him, and said to have been written while
smarting under the loss of his landed property, which he attributed to Ira.
Albeit, his property was confiscated on account of his active, undisguisable,
Ethan once said over a full bowl of grog,
I believe not in Jesus, I hold to a God,
574 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
is also a Devil — you will see him one day
whirlwind of fire take Levi away.
Ira to Ethan it plain doth appear,
you are inclined to banter and jeer,
think for myself and I freely declare
Levi's too stout for the prince of the air,
ever you see them engaged in affray,
our Levi who'll take the Devil away.
Levi, your speeches make it perfectly clear,
you both seem inclined to banter and jeer,
through all the world my name stands enrolled
tricks, sly and crafty, ingenious and bold,
is one consolation which none can deny
there's one greater rogue in this world than I.
that?" (they both cry with equal surprise.)
Ira, 'tis Ira, I yield him the prise.