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Point. This also was taken, with its garrison of twelve men, its military stores, including sixty-one cannon, being in good condition.
Arnold had marched side by side with Allen into the fort, and the two now proceeded in boats up Lake Champlain against St. John's. This place was taken, but they were too weak to hold it, Allen being attacked by a force of two hundred men and driven to his boats, with which he returned to Ticonderoga.
The views of the frontier colonel now expanded, and on the ad of June he wrote a letter to the Provincial Congress of New York, suggesting an invasion of Canada. His views were not accepted, perhaps unfortunately, for at that time the British forces in that province were in no condition to make a vigorous defence. About three months later Congress ordered such an expedition, but then it proved too late and the affair ended in defeat and disaster.
Meanwhile Colonel Allen proceeded to Philadelphia, where he received the thanks of the Continental Congress for his services. When the expedition against Canada was decided upon, he joined its leader, General Schuyler, as a volunteer, and was sent north by him
a secret mission, to learn the opinions of the Canadians.
He was very successful in this mission, found that many of the Canadians and Indians were ready to join him, and soon after was sent north again by General Montgomery, who was now in command of the expedition and was besieging St. John's. In a week's time Allen had gathered a force of two hundred and fifty Canadians, and men came in so fast that he wrote Montgomery that he would join him in three days with five hundred or more. In a week, he said, he could
gather one or two thousand, but he deemed it best not to wait.
His daring and precipitation soon put a disastrous end to his plans and hopes. On his march to St. John's, when opposite Montreal, he met Major Brown, with a small party of men. Brown proposed an attack on that city, saying that it was poorly defended and could easily be taken. Allen joined eagerly in the enterprise, crossed the St. Lawrence by night at a point a little below Montreal with about one hundred men, and waited for the expected signal from Brown, who had agreed to cross with a larger force above.
Brown's signal did not come. It was evident he had not crossed. Allen's canoes were capable of carrying only one-third of his party and retreat was impossible. A much stronger force advanced against him from Montreal, and after nearly two hours of fighting he was obliged to surrender, on promise of honorable terms. All his men had deserted during the fight except thirty-eight, who surrendered with him. Thus, by engaging in a rash and hazardous enterprise Allen's aid to Montgomery was brought to a disastrous termination.
General Prescott, in command at Montreal, treated his prisoner, on learning that he was the man who had taken Ticonderoga, harshly and brutally. He threatened him with hanging, sent him in fetters on board the Gaspee sloop-of-war, and dealt with him and his men as criminals, subjecting them to many indignities. Allen was soon after sent to England, being treated on the voyage in the same harsh manner, and still kept in irons on landing in England. Here Allen was an object of great curiosity, being attired in the picturesque dress of a frontiersman, which seemed very odd and grotesque to the English observers.
We shall briefly tell the story of his imprisonment. After a short stay in England he was sent back and confined in prison ships and jails in Halifax and New York, being harshly treated and heavily ironed most of the time. He was finally paroled and allowed some degree of liberty in the streets of New York. Alexander Graydon, a fellow-captive, has given a graphic picture of him as he appeared at this time.
“His figure was that of a robust, large-framed man, worn down by confinement and hard fare. His style was a singular compound of local barbarism, Scriptural phrases, and oriental wildness. Notwithstanding that Allen might have had something of the insubordinate, lawless, frontier spirit in his composition, he appeared to me to be a man of generosity and honor."
On May 3, 1778, Allen was exchanged, and became a free man once more. He hastened to Washington's camp at Valley Forge, and would have joined the army had not the troubles in Vermont broken out again. The Green Mountain Boys had declared their independence in 1777 and applied for admission to the Confederation on the same terms as the other colonies, but New York strongly opposed this. During the next few years the controversy continued, Congress hesitating to offend New York, and the British commanders, taking advantage of the discontent of the Vermonters, tried to get them to accept the king's authority, promising to make Vermont an independent British province.
In 1782 Allen sent their letters to Congress. From that time Vermont was looked upon as an integral part of the Union, and during the remainder of his life Allen was highly regarded by his fellow Vermonters. He died February 13, 1789.
He was a man of fantastic ideas, one of them being a belief in the transmigration of souls. He asserted that he had once lived on the earth in the form of a white horse. He wrote a work entitled “Reason the only Oracle of Man," the first work ever issued in America formally attacking Christianity. A fire destroyed most of the edition and the volume is now very rare.
NATHANIEL GREENE, THE RESCUER OF
SECOND only to Washington as a soldier of the Revolution was General Nathaniel Greene, who served in Washington's army through nearly the whole war, and was so esteemed by him that he selected Greene to take his place in case anything should happen to himself. All readers of American history are familiar with General Greene's brilliant work in the South, but during the whole war he proved himself a soldier of exceptional ability.
Nathaniel Greene was born in Warwick, Rhode Island, on May 27, 1742, the son of a Quaker of that place, who owned a farm and an iron forge, in which latter Nathaniel worked for years. The boy was ambitious and studious, being so eager for learning that he worked long over-hours to earn money to buy books, and sat up very late at night to study them.
His industry, learning, and native good sense won him the good opinion of every one who knew him, and in 1770 his fellow townsmen elected him to the legislature of Rhode Island. A warm and earnest patriot, he saw that the colonies might at any time take up arms against British oppression and hostilities begin. In such a case his side was fixed and he began to study the art of war, joining the Kentish Guards of Coventry. For this warlike spirit he was expelled from the Society of Friends into which he had been born, but he went on drilling and studying, and when the news of the fight at Lexington reached Rhode