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BRAYTON, Wm. Reports (1815 1819), 240 pp. Middlebury, 1821.

CHIPMAN, D. Reports (1789 1825), vol. I, and part I of vol. II. Middlebury, 1824.

CHIPMAN, Nathaniel. Reports (1789-91) and Dissertations. 296 pp. 16. Rutland. 1793.

TYLER, 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 (1856-62).

WASHBURN'S Digest of the State Reports was published at Woodstock , vol. I, in 1846, vol. II, in 1852.

 

A 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.

 

 

LIBRARIES.

 

[Measures 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.

There 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.]

 

 

 

 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

 

 

ETHAN ALLEN AND FAMILY.

 

 

Compiled chiefly from papers in the collection of our venerable antiquarian friend, HENRY STEVENS, Esq., of Burlington. Ed.

 

The Allen Family an unpublished lecture, delivered at Burlington, by Rev. Zadoc Thompson, March 16, 1852.

 

Ladies 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

 

 

 

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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:"

"Ethan 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.

Soon 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-

* Note 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.

 

 

 

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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, Mass.

Heman 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.

Levi 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 in Burlington. He made

* See papers of Levi Allen in this chapter. Ed.

 

 

 

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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.*

Ira Allen, . . . [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 man, . . . 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 in Canada by which a large army were kept inactive on our northern frontier the last three years of the revolution," . . . . and "the first treasurer of Vermont."

This 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.]

 

Ethan 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.

It 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.

About 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.

 

 

 

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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.*

Kemp asked an explanation, but Allen only answered that if he would accompany him to Bennington the 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 the wilderness.

"The 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."

While 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‑

* See Bennington, page 148.

** 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

 

 

 

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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 discretion.

"There 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."

From 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.

This 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.

 

 

 

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cannons were fired in tokens of gladness, and there was a general scene of rejoicing and hilarity."*

In 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.

Ethan 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:

 

"Allen escaped from British jails,

His tushes broke by biting nails.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

See him on green hills north afar,

Glow like some self-enkindled star.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Behold him move, ye staunch divines.

His tall brow bristling through the pines,

Like some old sachem from his den

He treads once more the haunts of men." Ed.

 

 

 

 

BURLINGTON. 567

 

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.*

He 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.

Ethan 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 itself.

"I 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.

"Mention 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:

 

Farewell, my friends, this fleeting world adieu,

My residence no longer is with you,

My children I commend to Heaven's care,

And humbly raise my hopes above despair:

And conscious of a virtuous transient strife,

Anticipate the joys of the next life;

Yet such celestial and ecstatic bliss

Is but in part conferred on us in this.

Confiding in the power of God most high,

His wisdom, goodness, and infinity,

Displayed, securely I resign my breath

To the cold unrelenting stroke of death;

Trusting that God, who gave me life before

Will still preserve me, in a state much more

Exalted mentally beyond decay,

In the blest regions of eternal day.

 

"From 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."

But 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 Philadelphia 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.

"Allen 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:

 

"Let all the heathen writers join,

To form one perfect book,

Great God, if once compared with thine,

How mean their writings look."

 

"Allen 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-

 

 

 

BURLINGTON. 569

 

Allen 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:

 

"This appendix is to be published whenever it can without infringing upon my present or future living.

(signed) "ETHAN ALLEN."

 

The 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 to read,

 

"Let all the heathen writers join

To form one perfect book

 

(pointing to Allen's work as he read, and then to the word of God beside),

 

Great God, when once compared with thine

How mean their writings look."

 

It is said Allen snatched his book, with an oath, from the table, and the preacher proceeded without further interference to fulfill his appointment.

There 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):

 

"THE INFIDEL AND HIS DAUGHTER.

 

"Suggested 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:

 

"'The damps of death are coming fast.

My father, o'er my brow;

The past with all its scenes has fled,

And I must turn me now

To that dim future which in vain

My eyes seek to descry;

Tell me, my father, in this hour,

In whose belief to die.

 

"'In thine? I've watched thy scornful smile,

And heard thy withering tone,

Whene'er the Christian's humble hope

Was placed above thine own;

I've heard thee speak of coming death

Without a shade of gloom,

And laugh at all the childish fears

That cluster round the tomb?

 

" 'Or is it in my mother's faith?

How fondly do I trace

Through many a weary year long past

That calm and saintly face!

How often do I call to mind,

Now she's beneath the sod,

The place, the hour, in which she drew

My early thoughts to God!

 

"Twas then she took this sacred book,

And from its burning page

Read how its truths support the soul

In faith and failing age,

And bade me in its precepts live,

And by its precepts die,

That I might share a home of love,

In worlds beyond the sky.

 

" 'My father, shall I look above,

Amid this gathering gloom,

To him whose promises of love

Extend beyond the tomb?

Or curse the Being who hath blessed

This checkered heart of mine!

Must I embrace my mother's faith,

Or die, my sire, in thine?

 

" 'The frown upon that warrior-brow

Passed like a cloud away,

And tears coursed down the rugged cheek,

That flowed not till that day,

`Not, not in mine,' with choking voice,

The skeptic made reply

`But in thy mother's holy faith,

My 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 his growth.

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 of Vermont.

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‑

 

 

 

BURLINGTON. 571

 

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.

Ethan 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.

She 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.

Heber 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. 24th, 1787.

ZADOCK THOMPSON.

 

Monument.

 

[From the Papers of the Hon. Hiland Hall.]

 

In 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 4 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:

(West 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.

(South 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."

A 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

 

[From a poem by Mary Minton of Hyde Park.]

 

"Upon Winooski's pleasant shore

Brave Allen sleeps . . . .

And there beneath the murmuring pine

Is freedom's consecrated shrine.

And every patriot heart will swell

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As bending o'er that lowly grave

He pays his homage to the brave,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Then let it be our earnest aim

To cherish every noble name;

That ages yet to come may read

Each worthy name, each valiant deed,

And know with what a fearless hand

Our fathers struck for life and land.

Their names are many; but among

That matchless crowd, that fearless throng

There's one that shines for us alone,

Whose deathless glory is our own.

His memory then should ever be

Dear to our hearts as liberty;

And while our country has a name

Let us preserve our Allen's fame."

 

A 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.

 

Levi Allen's Letters, &c.

 

Many papers, the diary, letters, &c., of Levi Allen, are still preserved in the collec-

 

 

 

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:

"Levi 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.)

 

Marriage Certificate.

 

"New Milford, July 29th, 1779.

These 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."

 

Levi Allen's Challenge to Major Edward Jessup.

 

"No. 4 Bridge Row, near Rawleigh.

Sir: 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,

LEVI ALLEN.

Monday, Aug. 12th, 1789, 11 o'clock A. M. Major Jessup."

 

Major Jessup's Reply.

 

"No. 11 Rawleigh street, Aug. 12, 1789,

One o'clock. P. M.

Sir: 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,

Levi Allen

EDWARD JESSUP."

 

[Whereupon Allen issued the following:]

 

"Mayor 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.

LEVI ALLEN.

Bridge Row, Aug. 15, 1789."

 

[From Letters to Ira Allen.]

 

"London, Aug. 20, 1779.

[Upon hearing Vermont had joined the Federal Union.]

I 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 . . . . .

I beg you will seriously consider this matter, as it is of infinite importance to Vermont, and our family in particular."

 

"London, June 25, 1789.

I can 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 . . . . .

 

 

 

BURLINGTON. 573

 

I 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. . . .

The 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. . . . . . . . .

As I 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. . . . . . . . . .

If 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.

To all the survivors of the Allen family, if any:

I 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."]

"No answer to bunch of letters and passage scribbling, six other previous letters by packets." (And threatens or hints at self destruction by pistols, &c.)

 

(To his wife.)

"Nov. 29, 1790.

"Every thing has succeeded to my most sanguine expectations. [He lives in Savannah and traffics his own commerce.]

 

" Quebec, 30th, 1792.

After 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 few days."

(A complete letter.)

"Dear Nancy, if you are well and the child is well all is well.

LEVI ALLEN.

 

Poetry.

 

[When in jail it appears by his diary that he frequently attempted poetizing, to wit: written while in jail at Quebec.]

 

"BY A LAY POET IN LIMBO."

 

When worldly pelf my poor old purse forsook,

The world all awry cast a scornful look,

Reverse the scene, with flush of guilders roll

Who's then so mad to say that man's a fool.

 

FASHION.

 

Bewitching fashion with what power

Despotic dost thou rule,

To the submissive bend each hour

The saint, the sage, the fool.

Obedient to thy potent sway

The great, the best are found,

By thee are governed every day

The circling year around.

As thou dost fancy guided near

They'r void of mental force,

Attentive to thy compass steer

Through life their changeful course.

But oh! how oft by thee misled,

On quick sands do they run,

And rocks behold exciting dread

Behold but can not shun.

Signed, LEVI ALLEN."

 

[The 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, bitter toryism.]

 

THE THREE BROTHERS.

 

ETHAN.

 

Old Ethan once said over a full bowl of grog,

Though I believe not in Jesus, I hold to a God,

 

 

 

574 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

There is also a Devil you will see him one day

In a whirlwind of fire take Levi away.

 

IRA.

Says Ira to Ethan it plain doth appear,

That you are inclined to banter and jeer,

I think for myself and I freely declare

Our Levi's too stout for the prince of the air,

If ever you see them engaged in affray,

'Tis our Levi who'll take the Devil away.

 

LEVI.

Says Levi, your speeches make it perfectly clear,

That you both seem inclined to banter and jeer,

Though through all the world my name stands enrolled

For tricks, sly and crafty, ingenious and bold,

There is one consolation which none can deny

That there's one greater rogue in this world than I.

 

ETHAN AND IRA.

"Whose that?" (they both cry with equal surprise.)

 

LEVI.

'Tis Ira, 'tis Ira, I yield him the prise.