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Editor in Chief 





The Publishing Society of Connecticut 



Two Coplet Received 

APR 14 1904 

Copyrlfht Entry 

LASS X- XXo, No. 

r ;' 1^ 2 C^ 


Copyright, 1904, By 
The Publishing Society of Connecticut 

Adi Rights Reserved 



" Brother Jonathan " 





Population, Character and Ancestry of the People of Con- 
necticut — Ecclesiastical Atmosphere contrasted with that of 
other New England Colonies — Mother Country insists on a 
Stricter Enforcement of the Navigation Act — Jonathan 
Trumbull as Chief Justice refuses to issue Writs of Assist- 
ance — The Stamp Act — Secret Debate in the General As- 
sembly — The Book of "Reasons why the British Colonies in 
America should not be charged with Internal Taxes" — Jared 
Ingersoll appointed Stamp Master — Withdrawal of Jonathan 
Trumbull and others from the Governor's Council — Oath to 
enforce the Stamp Act taken by Governor Fitch — Ingersoll 
journeys to Hartford to have General Assembly confirm his 
Ofifice — The Sons of Liberty — The forced Resignation of 
Ingersoll — Putnam's interview with Governor Fitch — Con- 
necticut at the Stamp Act Congress— The Articles of Rev- 
erend Stephen Johnson and others, urging resistance to the 
Stamp Act — Actions taken at Town-Meetings — Election of 
William Pitkin as Governor — Sympathy with Massachusetts 
— The Quaint Political Campaign Ballad of 1769 — Election of 
Jonathan Trumbull as Governor. 



Connecticut prepared — The Lexington Alarm — Second Com- 
pany of Governor's Foot Guards at Cambridge — A Special 
Session of the General Assembly convened — Embassy to 
General Gage — Six Regiments mobilized — First Military 
operation of the American Revolution organized — Result of 
the Embassy to General Gage — Capture of Ticonderoga by a 
Connecticut Expedition — Seth Warner captures Crown Point 
— Benedict Arnold successful at St. Johns — Joseph Trum- 
bull the first Commissary-General for the Continental Army 
— Resignation and Death of Colonel Trumbull — Jeremiah 
Wadsworth Commissary-General 1778-81 — The Provision 




IN 1775 ■ 59-73 

Israel Putnam — His Position in the Battle of Bunker Hill — 
Connecticut furnishes more than Half the Powder used at 
Bunker Hill — The Council of Safety — War-Office at Leb- 
anon — Putnam's Appointment as Major General — Dissatis- 
faction of General Spencer — Attacks upon Putnam's Char- 
acter, caused by Jealousy — Arnold's Expedition to Quebec — 
Battle of Stonington — Troops leave Washington's Army at 
the expiration of their Term of Service — Washington's Ap- 
peal to Governor Trumbull — Their Places promptly filled — 
Connecticut men help to silence Rivington's Press — Captain 
Isaac Sears captures Reverend Samuel Seabury and others. 



Connecticut's Political Position — Financial Affairs — Appor- 
tionment of Continental Money to the Colony by Congress — 
General Assembly at the May Session in 1776, take meas- 
ures to exclude His Majesty's Name from all Legal Writs 
and other documents — Connecticut's Declaration of Inde- 
pendence — Passage of the Declaration of Independence by 
Congress — Connecticut's action on the Matter, before and 
after its Adoption — First and Second Continental Congress 
— Reorganization of the Continental Army — The Connecti- 
cut Regiments — State Troops — Their Services — Alarm List 
— Extracts from Letters of General Washington to Governor 
Trumbull — General Lee's Expedition to New York in Jan- 
uary — Battle of Long Island — Kip's Bay Affair — Knowlton's 
Rangers — Battle of Harlem Heights — Death of Knowlton — 
Nathan Hale. 



Tryon's Raid on Danbury — Burning of the Town — Destruc- 
tion of Stores — Forces under Wooster. .\rnold and Silliman 
gather to oppose the Enemy — Encampment at Bethel — 
Wooster's brilliant attacks— His Death— Fight at Ridgetield 
— Retreat of the Enemy — Colonel John Lamb wounded — 
Tryon's forces gain their Ships with difficulty — Arnold's 



heroism rewarded by Congress — Reprisals — Colonel Meig's 
successful expedition to Sag Harbor — Destruction of Brit- 
ish Stores — Capture of Prisoners — Washington's letter of 
Commendation — Colonel Meigs honored by Congress — Con.- 
necticut's whale-boats a source of terror to British and 
Tories on Long Island. 



Silas Deane's Mission — He secures and forwards Supplies 
from France — His Indiscretions — Unjust treatment by Con- 
gress — Deane Embittered — His letter to Governor Trumbull 
— The Governor's reply — Home Affairs — Connecticut's quota 
in the New Army more than filled — Various Regiments and 
Companies Raised — The Continental Line — Rendezvous of 
the Connecticut Continentals — The Council of Safety 
furnishes supplies to the Army at Valley Forge — Services of 
Connecticut men in the Continental Army to the close of 
the War — The Militia — Their services at the Front. 



Continental Navy — Privateers, State and Continental Vessels 
— Captures and Prize-Money — Connecticut Navy — Two Fri- 
gates built in Connecticut for the Continental Navy — The 
Trumbull fight with the Williamson or Watt — Surrender of 
the Confederacy — List of State Vessels — Privateers fitted out 
— The schooner Spy — Her successful ocean trip to France — 
The Defence and her Engagements — The Oliver Cromwell 
and her Exploits — The privateer Beaver and her brilliant 
Record — Maine Torpedo invented by David Bushnell — "The 
Battle of the Kegs." 



Wyoming Valley — British, Tories and Indians under com- 
mand of Colonel John Butler — Settlers commanded by Col- 
onel Zebulon Butler — Surrender of Forty Fort demanded — 
Unsuccessful attack on Fort Wintermort — Indian Massacre 
— Encampment at Redding — Revolt of Huntington's Brigade 



— The Trouble settled by General Putnam — Tryon's Raid on 
Horseneck — Putnam's Ride — Governor Trumbull's letter to 
Tryon— Tryon's Invasion of New Haven— Burning of Fair- 
field and Norwalk. 



Arnold's Treason — His Service in the British army in the 
South — Conference at Wethersfield — Due de Lazun's Canton- 
ment at Lebanon — Expedition against New London and 
Groton — Their Arrival ofif the Harbor of New London — 
Benedict Arnold in Command — Garrisons at Forts Trum- 
bull and Griswold — Landing of the British Forces — Aban- 
donment of Fort Trumbull — Fort Nonsense — Dwelling 
Houses, Stores and Warehouses reduced to Ashes — Colonel 
Eyre demands the surrender of Fort Griswold — He attacks 
the Fort — The gallant defense of Colonel Ledyard — Das- 
tardly murder of Colonel Ledyard — Massacre of the Garri- 
son — Burning of Groton — Retreat of the Invaders. 



Financial Afifairs — Attempted Regulation of Prices — Devices 
of the Continental Congress — Loan Offices and Lottery 
Schemes — Issue of State Bills of Credit — Indebtedness of the 
United States to Connecticut — Number of Men furnished 
during the War — Custody of Prisoners of War — Doctor 
Benjamin Church — Governor William Franklin of New Jer- 
sey — Newgate Prison at Simsbury — The Provision State — 
Alarming condition of Food Supply — Request from Yale 
College for Flour — Iron Furnace at Salisbury — Middletown 
Lead Mines — Continued Vigilance after the Surrender of 
Cornwallis — Governor Trumbull retires — Matthew Griswold 
elected Governor. 




Israel Putnam — His birth — A Captain in the French and 
Indian War — At Battle of Bunker Hill — His Services in the 



Hudson Highlands and Western Connecticut — His death — 
Benedict Arnold — His birth — Services as a Volunteer at 
Ticonderoga — He proposes an Expedition to Quebec — His 
successful Naval Battle off Plattsburg — Arnold at the Battle 
of Saratoga — Placed in command at Philadelphia — His 
Court-Martial — His Treason — Arnold's death — Ethan Allen 
— Seth Warner — Remember Baker — Colonel James Easton 
— Brilliant Careers of Thomas Knowlton and Nathan Hale — 
The Historical problem Samuel Holden Parsons— Jede- 
diah and Ebenezer Huntington — David Wooster — Return 
Jonathan Meigs — Erastus Wolcott — James Wadsworth — 
John Paterson — Samuel Wyllys — First Commissary-General 
of Continental Army, Joseph Trumbull — Elisha Hinman, 
Connecticut's representative in the United States Navy — At- 
tempt of Ezra Lee to torpedo British War Ships — Last sur- 
vivor of the Washington Life Guard — Lemuel Cook one of 
the last survivors of the Continental Army. 




Roger Sherman a Maker of the Nation — His birth — His 
coming to Connecticut — He becomes a Lawyer and re- 
moves to New Haven— His death — William Williams — Ly- 
man Hall— Waightstill Avery— Birth and Early Life of 
Silas Deane — His Negotiations in France — His troubles 
with Congress — His death in obscurity — Eliphalet Dyer — 
Titus Hosmer and Andrew Adams — Richard Law — Thomas 
Chittendon, Governor of Vermont — William Samuel John- 
son — Oliver Ellsworth. 




Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union— Continental 
Congress grants officers of the Army half pay — Indignation 
of the people against the Society of the Cincinnati— Burke's 
pamphlet — Connecticut's position in reference to the Ar- 
ticles of Confederation — Convention at Middletown — Finan- 
cial question— Retirement of Jonathan Trumbull from Pub- 
lic Affairs— Matthew Griswold elected Governor— His suc- 
cessor Samuel Huntington— Oliver Wolcott becomes Gov- 




State of Pennsylvania Complainant in the Wyoming Case — 
Colonel John Franklin — Board of Commissioners selected to 
arbitrate the matter — Members of the Board — Opening of 
the Court at Trenton — The Verdict — On the promulgation of 
the Trenton Decree, Connecticut withdraws her jurisdiction 
over Westmoreland — Acts of the Susquehanna Company — 
National Troops withdrawn from the Wyoming Valley — For- 
mation of a new State agitated — Pennsylvania attempts to 
Confiscate the Lands — Advantages derived by each State — 
Connecticut claims territory under her Royal Grants — Her 
Final ceding of Territory to the General Government — 
Western Reserve of Connecticut — Area of the Reservation — 
Report of the Committee appointed to estimate damage done 
Private Citizens by British raids — Free Lands deeded to 
reimburse War Sufferers — Disposal of the Lands — Oliver 
Phelps the heaviest Purchaser — Formation of the Connecti- 
cut Land Company — The Reserve converted into a County 

Named Trumbull — Passage of the "Easement Act" — 

Creation of the Connecticut School Fund — Sketch of Oliver 
Phelps — Connecticut people invest in Lands in what is now 
West Virginia and Kentucky. 




A Stronger Compact of Government deemed necessary — 
The Strengthening of the Federal Constitution advocated by 
Hamilton as early as 1780 — Resolutions passed by the New 
York Legislature in 1782, recommending Amendments to the 
Articles of Confederation — National bankruptcy confronts 
Congress — Convention held at Hartford — Powers of Con- 
gress disappearing — Virginia Legislature nominate Dele- 
gates to meet at Annapolis — Delegates from only five States 
present — Congress advocates holding a Convention — Phila- 
delphia selected as the Place of Meeting — Connecticut ap- 
points Commissioners — The Organization of the Conven- 
tion — Virginia's Plan — A National Government established 
— Connecticut's position in the Convention — New Jersey's 
Plan presented — William Samuel Johnson's maiden speech 
in the Convention — Connecticut Delegates opposed to a 
three years term for Representatives — Equal representation 
proposed in the Second branch of the Legislature — The 
"Connecticut Plan" — The threatened Dissolution of the 



Convention — Committee of One Delegate from each State 
— Committee report in favor of "Connecticut's Proposal" — 
Report received with a Storm of Opposition — Victory as- 
sured by the vote of the North Carolina Commissioners — 
Connecticut's great Work accomplished — State Convention 
called to ratify the Constitution — Connecticut the fifth State 
in the Ratification — Vote by Counties. 



Connecticut's first Presidential Electors — Her First Sena- 
tors — Her Delegation to the Lower House of Congress — 
The position of Sherman and Wadsworth on the First Tarifif 
Bill — Financial situation of the New Government — Assump- 
tion of States' debts — Sum apportioned to Connecticut — 
Washington's tour of the New England States — His recep- 
tion at New Haven, Hartford and other Points — His in- 
tended Visit to General Putnam — Washington's homeward 
Journey — Abolishment of Slavery in Connecticut — Her 
Slave Population — The Black Governors — Their Election 



Manufactures checked by the Revolution — Population of the 
State — Aid granted by the Assembly to Early Manufacturers 
— Tin ware one of the earliest Manufacturing industries of 
Berlin — Abel Buell the versatile Mechanical Genius — Eben- 
ezer Chittenden's invention — Establishment of a Woolen 
Factory at Hartford — Silk industries encouraged by the As- 
sembly — The Connecticut Silk Society — First Clocks made 
by Eli Terry — Dr. Kinsley and his Steam Carriage — Manu- 
facture of Fire Arms by Eli Whitney — Connecticut's Manu- 
facturing interests at the close of the Eighteenth Century — 
Organization of State Banks — The applying of Steam to 
Navigation introduced by Jonas Fitch — Doctor Perkins' 
metallic Tractors. 




Organization of Middlesex and Tolland Counties — Incor- 
poration of New Haven, New London, Hartford, Middle- 
town, and Norwich as Cities — Formation of the Supreme 
Court of Errors — Membership of Superior Court increased — 
Barhnamsted, Colebrook and Southington incorporated as 
Towns — Washington invested with Town Privileges — Ches- 
ter and Watcrtown made Towns — East Hartford the first 
Town incorporated after the Revolution — Woodbury erected 
into a Township in 1784 — Four Towns organized in 1785 — 
Eleven new Towns incorporated in 1786 — Formation of the 
Towns of Bethlehem and Southbury — Weston made a Town 
in 1787 — Incorporation of Brookfield and Huntington — 
Sterling and Plymouth become Towns — Wolcott, Trumbull, 
Oxford, and Roxbury incorporated — Civil Divisions of Con- 
necticut at beginning of the Nineteenth Century. 




Nine-tenths of the People of Connecticut Congregation- 
alists — Establishment of the First Baptist Church — The 
Wightmans — Opposers of the Saybrook Platform — Seeds of 
Methodism sown in Connecticut — First Society founded at 
Stratford — Circuits established — Unitarianism Makes its ap- 
pearance in New England — Reverend Stanley Griswold the 
first apostle of Unitarianism — Episcopalians in 1750 — Con- 
secration of Bishop Seabury — Sketch of his life — His Succes- 
sor Bishop Jarvis — Number of Episcopal Parishes in the 
State — The Rogerines — Doctrines of the Sandermanians — 
Establishment of a Society at Danbury— The Osbornites— 
Founder of Hopkinsianism — A Society of Shakers organ- 
ized in Connecticut — Education and Conversion of Ab- 
origines to Christianity — Sketch of Jonathan Edwards — In- 
dian Missionary work of David Brainard — Labor of Samuel 
Kirkland and James Deane among the Indians — Stephen 
Westcott succeeds Jonathan Edwards as Missionary to the 
Stockbridge Indians — Patriarchs of the New England Clergy 
— Joseph Bellamy an early Educator — The Patriotic Minister 
Elizur Goodrich — .'Xuthor of the Book on Mormonism — Tlie 
Sage and Casuist. Reverend John Buckley— Manasseh Cutler 
Lemuel Haynes the First Colored Preacher. 




CENTURY ".295 316 

Art of printing first introduced into Connecticut in i/og — 
Thomas Short the first Printer — Timothy Green the second 
Printer — Beginning of JournaUsm — Publication of the 
■"Connecticut Gazette" — "New London Summary" — Journal- 
ism introduced into Hartford — First Number of the "Connec- 
ticut Courant" — Other Newspaper Ventures — Early Colonial 
Literature — Writings of Thomas Hooker — Roger Wolcott 
the earliest Poet — Treatises of Jonathan Edwards— New In- 
tellectual Era — Connecticut's first Man of Letters — Triad of 
American Poets — Joel Barlow the Cosmopolitan Poet of 
Connecticut—Literary Work of David Humphrey — "The 
Anarchaid" — Doctor Lemuel Hopkins its Projector — "The 
Echo" — Richard Alsop and Theodore Dwight responsible for 
its Production — Elihu H. Smith the Editor of the first collec- 
tion of American Poetry— "The Hartford Wits" — Noah 
Webster the Lexicographer and Philologist — Nathan Da- 
boll's Almanacs and Text Books — Jedediah Morse author 
of the first Geography — John Ledyard the Traveller and 
Explorer — Author of "The Philosopher and Boy" — Ezra 
Stiles' Diaries and Writings — Connecticut Legislature grants 
Copyrights to Authors — Connecticut Academy of Arts and 
Sciences — John Trumbull Connecticut's great Artist. 




Democratic Republicans — Second Electoral College — Jona- 
than Trumbull elected Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives — Oliver Wolcott becomes Secretary of the Treasury — 
Oliver Ellsworth selected for Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court — Third Electoral College — First breach of Decorum 
in American Congress — Troubles with France — Fourth 
Electoral College — Roger Griswold becomes Secretary of 
War — Jonathan Trumbull elected Governor — Population of 
Connecticut in 1800— Stonington the most Populous Town 
— Hartford and New Haven the Chief Centres— Establish- 
ment of Turnpikes — Eartlujuakes, Storms, Droughts, and 
Epidemics — "The Frogs of Windham" — Dark Day of 1780 
— Amusements Multiplied — "Bundling" — Pack Horse and 
Stage Coach relics of the Past — Ancient barbarities con- 



Trumbull. Jonath:in Frontispiece 

Arnold. Benedict Facing p. 178 

Barlow, Joel • Facing p. 306 

Baron De Kalb introducing LaFayette to Silas Deane Facing p. 202 

Edwards, Jonathan Facing p. 288 

Ellsworth. Oliver Fac'"g P- 320 

Hale. Nathan Facing p. 90 

Humphrey. David Facing p. 256 

Huntington, Samuel Facing p. 216 

Johnson. William Samuel Facing p. 242 

Massacre of Wyoming Facing p. 134 

Meigs, Return Jonathan Facing p. 192 

Putnam, Israel Facing p. 62 

Seabury, D. D. Samuel Facing p. 284 

Sherman, Roger Facing p. 80 

Trumbull, John Facing p. 302 

Trumbull. John Facing p. 314 

Wadsworth, Jeremiah Facing p. 56 

Webb, Samuel B Facing p. 112 

Wooster, David • Facing p. 98 




Tb e Coming of the Storm 

IN a reply to the rather inquisitorial questions of the 
Lords of Trade and Plantations, after a delay of 
about fifteen months, Governor Fitch reports, among 
other things, that in 1762, the number of inhab- 
itants of Connecticut "are found to amount to 
141,000 whites and 4,950 blacks, or thereabouts," an 
increase of about 10,788 whites since 1756. Anglo- 
Saxons, with their inbred and inborn love of freedom, 
made practically the sum-total of the white population at 
this time. For just a century these people had been living 
under the liberal charter of 1662, which had granted to them, 
as Rhode Island's charter had granted to the people of that 
colony, autonomy with the sole exception of custom-house ad- 
ministration. At the same time, the ecclesiastical atmosphere 
and control which was the norm of the New England col- 
onies varied so widely that Connecticut was sharply con- 
trasted with Rhode Island, and stood unique as a compromise 
between the religious liberty of that colony and the rigid ec- 
clesiasticism of Massachusetts. This unique ecclesiastical 
position could not fail, the times being ripe, to become an 
equally unique political position. In 1762, the times were 
ripening to bring about this result. 

Among the 141,000 whites reported by Governor F itch to 
the Lords of Trade, the love of the rugged soil from which 
their living was wrung, the habit and love of self-govern- 
ment, the traditional prudence, industry and success of the 
people had become rooted and grounded in their political life. 
Up to this time, their diplomacy and statesmanship had been 
almost exclusively devoted to their internal affairs, although 
they had been ably represented in the Albany Congress of 
1754, and in earlier synods and conventions of the United 
Colonies. But in 1762, the attitude of the home government 


was such that they were soon to join in a common cause with 
the other American colonies of Great Britain. Even joining, 
heart and soul, as Connecticut did in this common cause, 
she had a marked faculty for doing it in her own thorough, 
conservative way. 

It was well known at this time that His Majesty's officers 
of the customs had applied for writs of assistance in Mas- 
sachusetts, which writs Chief Justice Thomas Hutchinson 
had granted against the eloquent appeals of Otis, and in op- 
position to the sentiments of the people. It was also well 
known that the general policy of the home government in- 
volved plans for increased revenue from the American col- 
onies, already impoverished by their large contributions of 
men and money in the late wars. Although we learn of no 
applications for writs of assistance at this time in Connec- 
ticut, the colony, notwithstanding the temperate and diplo- 
matic tone of its official replies to the Lords of Trade, was 
keenly alive to the situation, as may be seen from her posi- 
tion some six years later, when Chief Justice Jonathan 
Trumbull, unlike his Harvard classmate Thomas Hutchin- 
son, refused to issue writs of assistance on the application of 
the officers of the Crown, with which decision the General As- 
sembly declined to interfere. In view of the odious nature 
of these writs, it is quite probable that the Puritan con- 
science was not as sharply pricked by the act of smuggling 
as by some other violations of law which were, from time 
to time, publicly confessed in Connecticut churches; for the 
officers of the customs were appointed by the Crown, and 
were, no doubt, for this reason excluded from close connec- 
tion with the rest of the community, who were free to man- 
age their own affairs through officers and organizations of 
their own choice, 



Tradition tells us that when the news of the proposed 
Stamp Act arrived in 1763, the General Assembly, in a most 
secret, careful manner, appointed three of its ablest disputants 
to argue against the right of Great Britain to tax the col- 
onies, and three equally able disputants to argue in favor of 
this right. The result appears to have been an overwhelming 
defeat for the latter three ; and though the pledge of secrecy 
was doubtless well kept, the facts became known until they 
grew into a long-cherished tradition, which it can hardly 
be expected that documentary evidence will ever support, 
either through official records or private journals or corre- 
spondence. The proceedings accord so well with the way 
of Connecticut in first getting firm convictions and then pro- 
ceeding from the courage of those convictions, that it can 
hardly be dismissed as a myth for lack of evidence. Pre- 
sumptive evidence of its truth certainly appears in the pro- 
ceedings of the General Assembly at its May session in the 
following year. 

One of the earliest resolves in this session appoints Ebe- 
nezer Silliman, George Wyllys, and Jared IngersoU a com- 
mittee to assist the Governor "to collect and set in the most 
advantageous light all such arguments and objections as 
may be justly and reasonably advanced against creating and 
collecting a revenue in America, more particularly in this 
Colony, and especially against effecting the same by Stamp 
Duties, &c." 

In pursuance of this appointment. Governor Fitch and 
his committee presented at the following session a paper 
entitled "Reasons why the British Colonies in America should 
not be charged with Internal Taxes, by Authority of Par- 
liament; humbly offered for consideration, in behalf of the 
Colony of Connecticut." This very able state paper, in pre- 
X 37 


senting the vnews which its title implies, meets all the argu- 
ments against these views in a way to show that both sides 
of the question had been fully discussed, if not in the tra- 
ditional secret debate, certainly in the sessions of the commit- 
tee which drafted the paper. At the time of the adoption 
of this paper by the General Assembly for presentation to 
the British Parliament, Jared Ingersoll, one of the committee 
which assisted Governor Fitch in drafting it, was about to sail 
for England, and was appointed to confer with Richard Jack- 
son, the agent of the Colony, regarding its interests in the im- 
portant matter of taxation. That Ingersoll faithfully per- 
formed this duty there is no doubt, in view of the correspond- 
ence in the matter. It is reported that Lord Grenville, after 
reading the "Book of Reasons," praised the tone in which 
it was written, and admitted that the arguments it contained 
were the best he had seen, but fallacious. It is said also, that 
it is to Ingersoll that we owe the preservation of Colonel 
Barre's famous speech in Parliament in reply to Townshend. 
But neither the impassioned oratory of Barre, nor the temper- 
ate but searching arguments of Connecticut's "Book ol Rea- 
sons," coupled with Governor Fitch's official appeal, could 
avail against the passage of the Stamp Act. This odious 
measure passed the House of Commons on the 2 2d of March 
1765, and it is said to be through Ingersoll's intervention that 
its enforcement was postponed until the following November. 
The idea that its enforcement would be resisted by the col- 
onies appears never to have occurred to the English people. 
Even Benjamin Franklin, who was then in England, shared 
in this view, and advised Ingersoll to accept the office of 
stamp-master for Connecticut, a newly created office under 
appointment by the Crown. For once in his life Franklin 
was mistaken; and Ingersoll, returning to Connecticut late in 


1765 with his commission in his pocket, was also misled by his 
own view of the situation, strengthened by Franklin's equally 
mistaken view. 

Meantime the requirements of the Stamp Act made it 
obligatory on every governor of the American Colonies to 
take an oath to cause "all and every of the clauses [of the 
Act] to be punctually and bona fide observed." The limit of 
time for administering this oath was fast drawing to a close 
when Governor Fitch called his council together for that pur- 
pose. When at last the Issue was reached, and it was pro- 
posed to administer the oath, probably after a heated debate, 
Jonathan Trumbull, Eliphalet Dyer, Hezeklah Huntington, 
Ellsha Sheldon, Matthew Griswold, Shubal Conant, and 
Jabez Huntington — naming them In the order adopted by 
Stuart, Trumbull's biographer — indignantly withdrew from 
the council, refusing to witness the ceremony, which, as Dyer 
insisted, was "contrary to the oath the Governor and Coun- 
cil had before taken to maintain the rights and liberties of 
the people." A minority of the council to the number of four 
remained; and as the oath could be administered by three 
members, the number was sufficient, and the hateful ceremony 
was performed. The political future of Governor Fitch, 
able. Intelligent, and faithful though he was, was fatally 
poisoned by this event. Notwithstanding a carefully pre- 
pared pamphlet which he issued In due season for the next 
election, giving his reasons for his course, he failed to re- 
tain his office, and even a quaint political ballad issued be- 
fore the following election proved of no effect in restoring 
him to office. 

Equally fatal to the political career of Jared Ingersoll was 
his acceptance of the office of stamp-master. Upon his ar- 
rival in New Haven he found the people in a ferment. 


Since we know how a popular catchword applied to the object 
of its wrath can work upon an excited crowd at such a time, 
we may well imagine that the ingenious suggestion that ^n- 
gersoU's initials and those of Judas Iscariot were identical 
caught the ear of the people, and soon brought their wrath 
to a white heat. The all-potent town meeting, the arbiter 
of Connecticut's political convictions, brings its full force to 
bear upon him. On the 17th of September, 1765, he is 
requested, by vote of the town, to resign his office at once. 
We cannot fail to admire his resolute stand, as he tells the 
people that he will apply to the General Assembly for con- 
firmation in his office, and forthwith sets out for Hartford 
for this purpose. Governor Fitch accompanies him on a part 
of his journey, but before reaching Wethersfield, Ingersoll, 
riding alone, finds himself silently accompanied, at first by a 
few men, next by a reinforcement of thirty or so, and at last 
by a force of about five hundred, armed with staves from 
which the bark had been peeled to render them conspicu- 
ous. This force was composed of men of eastern Connecti- 
cut, under the leadership of John Durkee of Norwich. They 
had adopted the name Sons of Liberty, which, singularly 
enough, Ingersoll himself had probably furnished them in 
his report of Colonel Barre's ringing speech in the British 
Parliament. On reaching Wethersfield, a halt was called, 
and Ingersoll was requested then and there to resign his of- 
fice. The parley which ensued shows no small firmness on 
his part; but such was the determined and ominous attitude 
of the Sons of Liberty that he at last signed a paper stating 
that he resigned of his "own free will and accord," remark- 
ing, as he signed it, "the cause is not worth dying for." 

There is no doubt that an unfortunate accident which 
disabled Colonel Israel Putnam at this time was a sore trial 


to this sturdy hero, who was one of the leaders of the Sons 
of Liberty, and upon whom the command of the expedition 
against Ingersoll would probably have devolved. His- sub- 
stitute — if he was a substitute — in this command, Major 
John Durkee, was a man of the same heroic mould as Put- 
nam, having served with him in the French and Indian wars. 
We hear of Durkee, later, at the battles of Long Island, 
Harlem Heights, White Plains, Trenton and Monmouth, 
in Wyoming (see Vol. i ) , and in Sullivan's campaign against 
the Iroquois. 

If Putnam did not have the satisfaction of witnessing In- 
gersoll's resignation, he soon afterwards had an opportunity 
of performing some rather important service in stamping 
out the Stamp Act in Connecticut. His biographer and con- 
temporary, General David Humphreys, reports an interview 
of Putnam's with Governor Fitch which certainly left no 
doubt in the Governor's mind of the results of any attempt 
on his part to enforce this odious measure; for Putnam in- 
sists in this interview that unless the stamped paper which 
may be placed in the governor's hands is locked up in a 
room the key of which shall be given to "us," and if access 
to this room should be refused, the governor's house "will be 
levelled with the dust in five minutes." 

At a special session of the General Assembly held in Sep- 
tember, 1765, Eliphalet Dyer, William Samuel Johnson, 
and David Rowland were appointed commissioners to the 
congress to be held in New York in the following October, 
to adopt petitions of the united colonies for the repeal of the 
Stamp Act. A portion of the instructions given to these com- 
missioners reads thus : 

"In your proceedings, you are to take care that you form 


no such junction with the other Commissioners as will sub- 
ject you to the major vote of the Commissioners present." 

Under these instructions, and with no power to do more 
than to report the action of the Stamp Act Congress, the com- 
missioners were prevented from signing the petitions adopted, 
and thus Connecticut does not appear as a party to them. 
William Samuel Johnson, however, was one of a committee 
at this congress to draw^ up a petition to the King. Upon 
the report of the commissioners, the General Assembly, at 
its session in October, promptly voted to adopt as its own 
the several petitions to the King and to Parliament, and to 
forward these petitions to Richard Jackson, the agent of the 
Colony, with instructions to use them to the best possible 

This rather peculiar action on the part of Connecticut 
forms a striking example of the faculty she had acquired by 
long experience of adopting measures of the kind in her own 
way. Although it appears in this instance like a refinement of 
conservatism, there can be no question as to the effectiveness 
of the method adopted, for the petitions were doubtless 
touched by the royal hand or "spurned by the royal foot" 
at the same time with the originals adopted by the Stamp 
Act Congress. Coming, too, as a repetition of these origin- 
als under the independent action of a colony w^hich had al- 
ready presented a very able petition on its own behalf, this 
way of presentation must have been a gain rather than a 
loss of influence. 

The clergy and the town meeting had already practically 
moulded public opinion. Perhaps no single influence was as 
potent as that of the Reverend Stephen Johnson of Lyme, 
who with the assistance of John McCurdy succeeded in pub- 
lishing under various pseudonyms and anonyms a series of ar- 


tides in the New London Gazette, beginning in September 
1765, which were widely read and reprinted not only in Con- 
necticut, but in other colonies, eloquently urging resistance to 
the Stamp Act. And as far westward in the colony as Stam- 
ford, we find the Reverend Noah Welles preaching to a 
similar effect. 

Of the town meetings, the most notable early record to 
be found is in Norwich on the 7th of April 1765, and reads 
as follows: 

"Whereas a question arose in the mind of the Clerk of this 
town soon after he was chosen, whether or no he might with 
safety proceed in his office on the report of an act of Par- 
liament imposing Stamp papers, &c. Wherefore it is unani- 
mously agreed to a man in a full town meeting and it is 
hereby desired that the clerk proceed in all matters relating 
to his office as usual ; — And the town will save him harmless 
from all damages he may sustain thereby." 

Turning again from the eastern to the western portion of 
the colony, we find the citizens of Litchfield County, in a 
combined town meeting held in February, 1766, resolving 
"That the Stamp Act is unconstitutional, null and void, and 
that business of all kinds go on as usual." In other parts 
of the colony, as in the town of Windham, for example, on 
the 26th of August 1765, Jared Ingersoll was hung and 
burned in effigy, together with others supposed to be of- 
ficially connected with the then proposed enforcement of the 
Stamp Act. 

Instances like these might be multiplied; but it is enough 
to say that Connecticut was thoroughly aroused, and thor- 
oughly alive to the injustice of the measure, which, owing 
to the liberal privileges enjoyed by the people under their 
charter, bore more heavily upon them than upon others more 


accustomed to royal control. Nearly seventy-five years be- 
fore this time Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York, in 
a rather prejudiced report to the home government, had 
stated that the cry, "No taxation without representation" 
was often heard in Connecticut. 

The repeal of the Stamp Act was celebrated by an address 
of thanks to the King, and by a public thanksgiving on the 
23d of May 1766, and for some years afterwards Connec- 
ticut resumed her usual peaceful attitude, but with eyes and 
ears alert for every item of news from her less fortunate 
neighbor, Massachusetts. When the non-importation agree- 
ments were entered into, and the committees of corre- 
spondence organized, no colony performed her promises and 
duties more faithfully than Connecticut. And when the Bos- 
ton Port Bill was enacted, supplies of all kinds were liber- 
ally forwarded for the relief of the people of the nighboring 
colony whom Lord North vainly supposed he could starve 
into submission. 

No plainer indication of the will of the people at this 
time can be found than in the election of William Pitkin 
to succeed Thomas Fitch as governor in 1766. Pitkin and 
his entire council were well known to be opposed not only to 
the Stamp Act itself, but to its enforcement after it became 
a law. At the death of Governor Pitkin in 1769, Jonathan 
Trumbull, whose sentiments had been clearly defined in his 
refusal to witness the administering of the Stamp Act oath, 
was elected to fill the vacancy. He was destined, as we shall 
see, to play an important part in the history of his native 
colony and state through the long period of the Revolu- 
tion and the events which led to it. He was at this time fifty- 
nine years old, and had had an experience of more than 
thirty years in public life, holding at the same time for nearly 


all this period positions as a judge in the County Court and 
the Superior Court. At the time of his election he had failed 
In the large mercantile ventures In which he was engaged; 
and his failure and political views were used by his opponents 
as arguments against his election, apparently with such suc- 
cess that he did not receive, in 1770, a majority of the free- 
men's votes, but he was elected by the General Assembly un- 
der the Act providing for such cases. The quaint political 
campaign ballad of 1769 to which reference has been made, 
after reciting In verse the merits of the various governors 
beginning with Winthrop, closes with the following stanza, 
"Will" meaning Governor Pitkin, "his Purser" meaning Jon- 
athan Trumbull, then candidate for governor, and "Pitch" 
meaning ex-governor Fitch : 

"Now Will is dead, and his Purser broke, 

I know not who'll come next, Sir; 
The Seamen call for old Pitch again ; — 

Affairs are sore perplexed. Sir. 
But the Gunners and some midshippers 

Are making an insurrection. 
And would rather the ship should founder quite 

Than be saved by Pitch's inspection. 


"But this is what I will maintain. 

In spite of Gunners and all. Sir, — 
If Pitch can save the Ship once more, 
' TIs best he overhaul her." 

The "Gunners," no doubt refer to such men as Israel Put- 


nam, John Durkee, and other leaders opposing Fitch, and 
the "Seamen," arc intended to represent his supporters. 

At this time William Samuel Johnson was in England act- 
ing for Connecticut in the then celebrated Mohegan case, 
in which the tribe of Indians which gave the name to the 
case attempted, at the instigation of the Mason family, to 
enforce claims for land of which they alleged that they had 
been unjustly deprived. While this case was, during this 
and the two following years dragging its tedious course 
through the British tribunals, Johnson was, while waiting the 
issue, in faithful attendance at Parliament, and in constant 
correspondence with Governor Trumbull regarding the 
measures discussed and adopted concerning the American 
colonies. Perhaps the most important result of this corre- 
spondence was the repeal by Connecticut of an independent 
colonial import duty which she had, in her own independent 
way, imposed on all foreign goods imported into the colony 
by non-resident merchants. At about this time some hopes 
were entertained that the differences between the colonies and 
the Mother Country would be amicably adjusted, and no 
means were left unused which might attain that end without 
sacrificing the rights of freemen. At the same time the then 
recent reduction of £500,000 in the British land tax was 
something which the intelligent men of this colony did not 
propose to compensate by the payment of the duties im- 
posed by the Townshend Act. Non-importation strictly 
observed, followed; committees of correspondence were 
promptly formed, the Boston tea-party, and the Continental 
Congress followed, and the stupid policy of (ieorge III. and 
his sycophants soon resulted in "the shot heard 'round the 



Commencement of Hostilities 

AT the time of the battle of Lexington no col- 
ony showed a more complete and careful or- 
ganization than Connecticut. For a full year 
before this time the militia had, by direction 
of the General Assembly, perfected its organ- 
ization and discipline. The town meetings, too, had not 
been idle; and a very important part of their business had 
been to collect munitions of war and to hold them ready 
for any emergency. In October 1774, the selectmen of the 
various towns of the colony had been required by the Gen- 
eral Assembly to provide a double quantity of powder, balls 
and flint, and additional training duties were required of the 
militia in the following January. 

Before the echo of the last shot at Concord had died 
away, Israel Bessel was despatched with orders to spread 
the news "quite to Connecticut" that hostilities had begun, 
and all persons were requested "to furnish him with fresh 
horses as they may be needed." The news had reached New 
London and Windham Counties by the 20th, and New 
Haven by the 21st. From thence swift post-riders soon 
carried the tidings to the extreme western part of the col- 
ony, and to New York. The effect appears to have been an 
instantaneous uprising, and the hurrying forward of troops 
to the scene of action. Within eight days of the receipt of 
the news at New Haven, Captain Benedict Arnold, in com- 
mand of the Second Company of Governor's Foot Guards 
to the number of fifty-eight men, had reached Cambridge. 
This company had been chartered by the General Assembly 
on the 2d of March 1775, and has fully maintained its or- 
ganization to this day. The First Company of Governor's 
Foot Guards is the only military organization of longer 
standing, having been chartered in October 1 77 1 . This com- 


pany also enlisted at a later date in a body, as volunteers in 
the Burgoyne campaign of 1777. Having reached Rhine- 
beck on their march to the front, they were met with the news 
-of Burgoyne's surrender; and as their services were not 
needed, they returned home. The despatch of the Second 
Company was hastened by Arnold's summary demand for 
ammunition and supplies, which was at first refused as being 
irregular, but soon granted, upon his evidently sincere and 
emphatic statement that he would take them by force if he 
could get them in no other way. 

In various other portions of Connecticut similar organiza- 
tions or even squads of men hurried forward to the front, 
either by direction of a colonel, a captain, or in some cases 
even a pastor with members of his flock, as in the case of 
the Reverend Nathaniel Eells of Stonington. The number 
of men who marched at this alarm cannot be accurately 
stated; but in the judgment of those best qualified to make 
the estimate, the number was not less than four thousand. 
The population had now grown to 191,392 whites, according 
to the census of 1774. rhe short term of service of the men 
who marched at the Lexington alarm was promptly paid for 
by act of the General Assembly in the following May, al- 
though they had gone to the "relief of people in distress" 
without authority from that body. 

On receipt of the news from Lexington on the 20th of 
April, Governor Trumbull at once called a special session of 
the General Assembly, which convened on the 26th. It was 
a session characteristic of patriotism tempered by the tradi- 
tional conservatism and prudence which we have already 
noted. It opens with an embargo on the removal of pro- 
visions from the colony, followed by the appointment of 
William Samuel Johnson and I^rastus Wolcott to wait upon 


General Gage at Boston, with a letter written by the Gov- 
ernor; and almost in the same breath six regiments are 
mobilized. At the same time, while an embassy is being sent 
to treat with General Gage and persuade him to abandon his 
hostile attitude, a semi-private party, consisting of Samuel 
Wyllys, Jesse Root and Ezekiel Williams of Hartford, Sam- 
uel Bishop, jr., and Adam Babcock of New Haven, Samuel 
Holden Parsons of New London, Silas Deane of Wethers- 
field, William Williams of Lebanon, Charles Webb of Stam- 
ford, Joshua Porter of Salisbury, Thomas Mumford of Gro- 
ton and Christopher Leffingwell of Norwich, are supplied 
with money from the treasury of the colony, on their per- 
sonal notes, with which money they equip the expedition to 
Ticonderoga, under Captain Edward Mott of Preston, Cap- 
tain Noah Phelps of Simsbury and Bernard Romans, a for- 
eigner, then residing in Hartford, who proved somewhat 

Here then we have in this unique little commonwealth, ne- 
gotiations for peace, active preparations for war, and the 
equipment and, as it resulted, the entire responsibility and 
credit for the first offensive military operation of the Ameri- 
can Revolution. 

The result of the embassy to General Gage was peculiar. 
Johnson unwillingly undertook the duty assigned him, and 
later reported privately — for there was no General Assembly 
in session on his return — that he and Mr. Wolcott had, with 
some difficulty, found General Gage, and held an interview 
with him, in which strong hopes of peace and reconciliation 
were held out; but on returning to Charlestown they found 
their horses missing, and found themselves in the hands of 
the sheriff, who haled them before the Provincial Congress of 
Massachusetts, where, after a somewhat searching examin- 


atlon, they were allowed to proceed to their homes. 
The public official action of Massachusetts was more 
conciliatory, consisting, as it did, of a letter to Con- 
necticut deprecating in courteous terms the course pur- 
sued, in the meantime John Adams had paid a visit to 
Connecticut which had strengthened the hands of the peo- 
ple, if they needed strengthening; the embassy to General 
Gage appears to have been forgotten, and its only recorded 
result is the very diplomatic reply of that gentleman, which 
may be read in the Public Records of the Colony of Connec- 
ticut, vol. 14; p. 442, or in P'orce's American Archives, 4th 
ser. vol. 2; p. 482, where may also be found Governor 
Trumbull's letter to which this is a reply. In March of the 
same year. Governor Trumbull had also addressed a letter of 
similar purport to the Earl of Dartmouth, by vote of the 
General Assembly. 

If the peace negotiations thus independently undertaken by 
Connecticut showed no result beyond needless alarm in Mas- 
sachusetts, these negotiations were none the less important 
in crystallizing public opinion, and in establishing a convic- 
tion that the time for a treaty of peace with Great Britain 
could only come at the close of a tierce and long struggle. 
From this time forward we shall see but little, if any further 
mdependent attempts on the part of this little common- 
wealth to conduct the affairs of the war, but we shall see if 
we read events in their true light, how this same sense and 
exercise of individual power contributed to concerted action 
among the original thirteen states. Perhaps no more striking 
instance of this altruistic spirit of harmony in the common 
cause can be found than in the attitude of Connecticut in the 
Susquehanna case. In 1775, we find Governor Trumbull 
writing to our agent in London to refrain from pressing the 


case, and later in the same year writing to the president of 
Congress requesting that measures be taken to put a stop to 
the controversy introduced by Pennsylvania regarding it, in 
the belief that nothing should be allowed to prevent har- 
monious action among the colonies at this critical time. The 
Susquehanna case could wait; but the struggle for liberty 
could not wait. 

The successful surprise and capture of Ticonderoga oc- 
curred on the loth of May 1775. There is less dispute re- 
garding the claim of Connecticut to the full credit for this 
undertaking than in some other affairs of this eventful year; 
but as some Massachusetts historians assert the claims of 
their own state, It Is well to get at the facts. On the 28th 
of April, a self-constituted "committee" composed of Samuel 
Wyllys, Silas Deane, Samuel Holden Parsons, Christopher 
Leffingwell, Thomas Mumford and Adam Babcock, who 
were afterwards joined by others whose names have been al- 
ready stated, secured the first Installment of money from the 
treasury, and despatched Noah Phelps and Bernard Ro- 
mans from Hartford with authority to raise men as near 
the scene of action as possible. Captain Edward Mott fol- 
lowed on the 29th, taking with him Jeremiah Halsey, Epa- 
phras Bull, William Nichols, Elijah Babcock and John Bige- 
low, and arrived at Salisbury on the 30th, joining Phefps 
and Romans, and by a few recruits augmenting the company 
to sixteen. On arrival at Bennington, they proceeded, as 
Mott's diary says, "to raise men as fast as possible." Among 
the men thus raised were Colonel Ethan Allen and about 
one hundred Green Mountain Boys who had had some ex- 
perience In border skirmishing with New York authorities, 
and recognized Allen alone as their leader. On the 8th of 
May the plan of attack was formed, and the command en- 


trusted to Allen, and on the same evening Benedict Arnold 
appeared, exhibiting a commission from the Provincial Con- 
gress of Massachusetts which empowered him to take charge 
of an expedition for the capture of Ticonderoga. This com- 
mand was refused him, not only by the Green Mountain 
Boys, but by the Connecticut men as well, and Arnold at last 
consented to act as a volunteer in the expedition. P'ort Ti- 
conderoga was taken in the early morning of May loth un- 
der the ringing demand of Ethan Allen "in the name of the 
Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," or words to 
that effect, though the first session of the second Continental 
Congress was yet to come. 

Arnold, upon his arrival at Cambridge had so urged upon 
Warren and others the necessity for taking this fort, that a 
commission had been granted him by Massachusetts for that 
purpose, on the 3d of May. He had enlisted no recruits at 
the time of joining the Connecticut expedition and attempting 
to assume command of it. The Provincial Congress of Mas- 
sachusetts on receiving the news of the bloodless victory of 
May loth, promptly requested Connecticut to hold the fort 
"until the advice of the Continental Congress could be had," 
and Colonel Hinman's regiment was soon despatched from 
Connecticut for the purpose. 

Some accounts of this expedition have been written in such 
a way as to lead to the inference, at least, that Ethan Al- 
len and his men had independently planned a similar expedi- 
tion of their own. It is impossible, after a careful search, to 
find evidence sustaining this view. On the other hand, Al- 
len readily accepted a document issued by Edward Mott, 
"chairman of the Committee," stating that 

"Whereas, agreeable to the Power and Authority to us 
given by the Colony of Connecticut, we have appointed you 


to take command of a party of men to reduce and take pos- 
session of the garrison of Ticonderoga and its dependencies, 
and as you are now in possession of the same — You are here- 
by directed to keep the command of said garrison, for the 
use of the American Colonies, till you have further orders 
from the Colony of Connecticut, or from the Continental 

Under this commission, if it may be so called, Allen re- 
ported to Governor Trumbull, and to the Massachusetts 
Congress, which body informed Colonel Arnold that, "as the 
affairs of that expedition began in the Colony of Connecti- 
cut," the General Assembly of that colony had been asked 
to take charge of the captured fort. 

Seth Warner, who, like Allen was a native of Litchfield 
County, Connecticut, was unavoidably detained from shar- 
ing in the honors of the capture of Ticonderoga; but on 
the same day proceeded to Crown Point in command of a 
small company, and had the satisfaction of taking that 
stronghold by surprise. This was not a difficult, though none 
the less an honorable achievement, as the garrison consisted 
of twelve men with a sergeant in command. To Arnold be- 
longs the honor of capturing St. Johns with its simliar gar- 
rison of twelve men under a sergeant. 

Thus the control of the important positions commanding 
Lake Champlain was accomplished, through the instrumen- 
tality of Connecticut, without the loss of a single life, and 
with the result of placing in the control of the Americans 
some three hundred pieces of artillery and a large quantity 
of other much needed military stores. 

During the special session of the General Assembly in 
April, 1775, Captain Joseph Trumbull, eldest son of Gov- 
ernor Trumbull, was appointed Commissary-General for Con- 


nectlcut. It is quite probable that to him is due, as much as 
to any one man, the homely but honorable title of the Provi- 
sion State which Connecticut acquired during the Revolution. 
His appointment by the General Assembly sent him at once 
to the scene of action, where supplies for his troops were 
being purchased and forwarded. The measures taken at this 
time to organize the Connecticut commissariat attracted the 
attention of Washington at once upon his arrival at Cam- 
bridge. His watchful eye and keen military insight recog- 
nized the importance of this department so thoroughly that 
it is best to let him speak for himself in an extract from his 
letter of July lOth to the President of Congress, which reads 
as follows: 

"I esteem it therefore, my duty to represent the inconve- 
nience which must unavoidably ensue from a dependence on a 
number of persons for supplies, and submit it to the consider- 
ation of Congress whether the public service will not be best 
promoted by appointing a Commissary-General for these pur- 
poses. We have a striking instance of the preference of such 
a mode in the Establishment of Connecticut, as their troops 
are extremely well provided under the direction of Mr. 
Trumbull, and he has at different times assisted others with 
various articles. Should my sentiments happily coincide with 
those of your honors on this subject, I beg leave to recom- 
mend Mr. IVumbull as a very proper person for this de- 

The appointment was immediately made by Congress, and 
Colonel Joseph Trumbull commenced a career, the difficulties 
of which neither he nor the great Washington could have 
foreseen. The reconciling of local jealousies; the conflicts of 
authority with subordinate commissaries, some under ap- 
pointment by Congress and others by their own colonics; the 


difficulties of buying supplies without money, all confronted 
the new Commissary-General. And when, in 1777, the Con- 
gress adopted an absurd plan for reorganizing the commis- 
sary department, resulting in the terrible winter at Valley 
Forge, and placing a control in Congress which should have 
been left in the field. Colonel Trumbull indignantly resigned, 
remarking that it should not be said that he would accept a 
sinecure, or that he was the first pensioner of the Revolu- 
tion. He died in the following year, broken down by the per- 
petual strain of cares and fatigues which his faithful service 
had brought upon him, as truly a martyr to the cause of lib- 
erty as the soldier who falls in the forefront of battle. In 
April of this year, 1778, Congress practically reestablished 
the original organization of the commissary department, and 
Jeremiah Wadsworth, another Connecticut man, was ap- 
pointed Commissary-General. We find him commended in 
several letters written by Washington to the President of 
Congress, in 1778 and 1779, and though, in the latter year, 
he thought seriously of resigning, he appears to have re- 
mained in the service through the war. 

It was by no means solely by furnishing men for the ad- 
ministration of the commissary department of the continental 
army that Connecticut gained her title as the Provision State. 
Geographically her situation was such that provisions could 
be drawn from her more safely and with less liability to mil- 
itary interference than from any other source. The rich 
farming lands of the Connecticut valley, and even the more 
rugged, less productive farms of the hill towns and seaboard 
towns furnished rich sources of supply in agricultural prod- 
ucts such as an army needs. The almost uniform loyalty of 
the people to the common cause, and their zeal in the support 
of that cause, rendered them, as a people, liberal contribu- 


tors of supplies, though they were often so liberal contribu- 
tors of men as well that it was, at times, almost literally true 
that only old men, boys and women were left to till the fields 
and raise the crops and live stock which were to support the 
army. The fact that the two Commissaries-General who 
served through the entire war, except for a short interval 
of disorganization in the commissary department, were Con- 
necticut men, gave them peculiar advantages, too, for draw- 
ing upon the ample resources of their State. 



Connecticut's Share in Military Operations in 1775 

OF the Connecticut men of note who responded to 
the Lexington alarm, none can be found who 
reached the scene of action as promptly as 
that dashing old hero and veteran, Israel Put- 
nam. In speaking of him at all, it is diffi- 
cult to untangle the real truth from the mesh of controversy 
and contradictions in which historians have involved his 
career. Beginning with his receipt of the first news of Lex- 
ington, Bancroft informs us that Putnam was, at the time, 
building a stone wall ; but his son, Daniel Putnam, who was 
an eye-witness, informs us that he left his plow in the furrow, 
and set off at once. Here again, one historian tells us that he 
departed for Lebanon, to get directions from Governor 
Trumbull, and another tells us that the Governor gave him 
the first news of the Lexington fight. As we go on In his 
career, these contradictory statements multiply in number and 
Increase In importance, making It a prime necessity for him 
who would do justice to this worthy patriot and hero very 
carefully to weigh and sift the evidence regarding the many 
deeds and exploits of his active and inspiring career. 

Certain It Is that he reached Concord on the 21st of April 
1775, for we find him writing from that town on that date, 
with the Information that six thousand men are expected from 
Connecticut, which number, as we have seen, were promptly 
mobilized. From that time forward, It Is hardly too much 
to say that he seems to have been the life of the undisciplined, 
unorganized army whose headquarters were at Cambridge; 
superintending fortifications, and keeping the raw troops em- 
ployed In various ways, because, as his son says, "experience 
had taught him that raw and undisciplined troops must be 
employed In some way or other, or they would soon become 
vicious and unmanageable." From this, we find him In 


command of the celebrated night raid on Hog Island and 
Noddle's Island. We find him, too, at the meetings of the 
Massachusetts Council of Safety and Council of War, recom- 
mending the fortifying of Bunker Hill, which (jeneral Ward 
and Dr. Warren oppose, but which Colonels Prescott and 
Palmer favor. When it was learned that the British, with 
their constantly arriving reinforcements, intended at once to 
occupy Dorchester Heights and possibly Bunker Hill itselfj 
the Fabian policy of General Ward gave way to the argu- 
ments of Putnam and Prescott, and it was decided that one of 
these two commanding positions should be occupied, fortified, 
and held if possible. Bunker Hill was chosen, and Prescott, 
preceded by Putnam, marched on the night of June i6th 
with one thousand men, and so far carried out his instructions 
that he threw up earthworks during this night on the neigh- 
boring position since known as Breed's Hill. 

In the battle which followed on the next day, Prescott, in 
compliance with orders, bravely held the redoubt on Breed's 
Hill, and Putnam, whose provincial rank made him Pres- 
cott's superior, directed the movements of the forces outside 
of Prescott's works, ordering works to be thrown up on 
Bunker Hill on the morning of the 17th, and directing a 
rough line of defense to guard against flanking movements 
of the enemy. At this line was stationed, among others, Cap- 
tain Thomas Knowlton, with two hundred Connecticut men. 
The breastworks consisted of a rail and stone fence hastily 
stuffed with hay and such other material as could be gathered 
together in the emergency. Putnam's quick eye saw the im- 
portance of this position, which can hardly be overestimated; 
for in the first and second advance of the British, the attack 
on Prescott's redoubt and Putnam's rail fence was simul- 
taneous. In the third antl final advance the attack appears 




)' rir 

/ A u/Tic 

^L 77/ 


to have been directed entirely upon the redoubt, and in the 
glorious defeat, the retreat which followed was bravely and 
successfully protected by the forces at this same rail fence, 
reinforced by three Connecticut companies under Captains 
John Chester, James Clark and William Coit, who had re- 
ceived orders to march from Cambridge in the afternoon, 
and came through Charlestown Neck under a heavy fire 
which caused some other troops to falter and refuse to ad- 
vance. Had it not been for the rail fence and its brave de- 
fenders, the retreat through the narrow pass of Charlestown 
Neck would have ben cut off, and the result of the battle of 
Bunker Hill would have been as disastrous to the Americans 
as to the British. 

But it was not alone in the field movements of the battle 
that Putnam showed his energy and foresight. He seems to 
have been ubiquitous, and always at the point where he was 
most needed — now riding post-haste to Cambridge for rein- 
forcements and supplies, now at the repulse of the first on- 
set, giving that famous order to his men, "Wait till you see 
the whites of their eyes before you fire;" and at last vainly 
attempting, with his tireless energy and spirit, to rally the 
forces for a final stand on Bunker Hill. 

The question. Was Putnam or Prescott In command at 
this battle, has provoked an amount of discussion which bids 
fair to rival In volume the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy. 
General Artemas Ward, who was recognized as the Com- 
mander-in-chief for the time being, was not on the field, and 
Issued no orders for meeting the attack of the enemy. Until 
the arrival of General Joseph Warren on the field, Putnam 
appears to have been the ranking officer, and to have given 
all the general orders, and to have made all the applications 
to General Ward for reinforcements. Upon the authority of 


Putnam's son Daniel the statement is made that Putnam ten- 
dered to Warren the command of the forces, and it is stated 
that Prescott made a similar tender of the command of the 
redoubt, both of which Warren declined, and entered the 
ranks as a volunteer, with the fatal result so well known and 
so deeply deplored. That there is no evidence of orders is- 
sued by Putnam to Prescott during the battle does not alter 
the case, for Prescott had the simple and important duty of 
holding and defending the redoubt, a duty which he dis- 
charged so bravely and thoroughly that any orders even 
from an officer superior in rank, would have been an imper- 
tinence. All honor is due to both Prescott and Putnam for 
their share in this momentous battle; and when such honor 
is compared with the technical military question of official 
position, the technical question sinks into insignificance. 

Another fact which should not be overlooked in the share 
of Connecticut and her popular hero Putnam in the battle of 
Bunker Hill, is this: of the sixty-three half-barrels of pow- 
der which formed the entire supply of the Americans at this 
battle, thirty-six half-barrels, or more than one-half the 
entire quantity had been sent from Connecticut by vote of its 
Council of Safety on the 7th of. June. The record, which 
happens to be in the handwriting of Governor Trumbull, 
states that it was voted by the Council to send fifty "bar- 
rels" of 108 lbs. each, "on application from the General 
Committee of Safety and of Supplies for Massachusetts, and 
on desire of Brigadier General Putnam * * * on the 
present emergency for use of the camp at Cambridge and 

The Council of Safety which voted this supply had been 
appointed by the General Assembly in the May session of this 
year, 1775. It was composed of Matthew Griswold, Eliph- 


alet Dyer, Jabez Huntington, Samuel Huntington, Wil- 
liam Williams, Nathaniel Wales, jr., Jedidiah Elderkin, 
Joshua West and Benjamin Huntington, was designated as 
"a Committee to assist his Honor the Governor when the As- 
sembly is not sitting," and was clothed with powers practi- 
cally the same as those of the Assembly, in military and naval 
affairs. Two of the original members of this council were 
afterwards signers of the Declaration of Independence. The 
council was maintained throughout the entire war, and in the 
**War-office" at Lebanon, now owned, restored and preserved 
by the Connecticut Society of Sons of the American Revo- 
lution, more than eleven hundred meetings of this council 
were held during the Revolution. 

On the 13th of July, 1775, this council had before it the 
delicate task of reconciling Brigadier General Joseph Spencer 
to his appointment by the Continental Congress as the fitth 
of eight officers of the same rank. Spencer, then a man 
of sixty-one, had held a Connecticut commission as first 
Brigadier General, Putnam being second, and David Woos- 
ter, a man of sixty-five, being superior in rank to both, with 
the title of Major General. By the appointment of Con- 
gress, Putnam was advanced above both these officers, hav- 
ing been appointed the fourth of four Majors-General, ow- 
ing to his "successful enterprise at Noddle's Island," the news 
of Bunker Hill not having been received by Congress at the 
time of his appointment. Spencer, on learning of the ap- 
pointment early in July, at once left the army at Cambridge, 
without even reporting to Washington, and presented himself 
before the Council of Safety at Lebanon on the 13th of 
July, when he was with some difficulty persuaded "to return 
to the army and not at present quit the service as he pro- 



It is quite probable that the jealousy occasioned by Put- 
nam's promotion had something to do with the attacks upon 
his character, and the attempts to rob him of his well-earned 
laurels, which attacks and attempts have survived to the pres- 
ent day. 

Upon the surrender of Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and St. 
John's, Arnold had remained at Crown Point with a garri- 
son, for the purpose of holding and defending the captured 
strongholds, and forwarding the supplies which could be 
spared from them, to the American army. During this time, 
as we learn from letters which he afterwards wrote to Con- 
gress, he had carefully investigated the military condition 
of Canada, and the temper of its people. In his undertakings 
up to this time, Arnold had suffered two serious disappoint- 
ments; first by being anticipated by the Connecticut expe- 
dition in the capture of Ticonderoga, and second, by being 
superseded by Colonel Hinman of Connecticut in the com- 
mand of the captured posts, to which event there was added 
the galling feature of a visit from an investigating committee 
from Massachusetts to call him to account for his stewardship 
of the money entrusted to him, and to report on his discharge 
of his duties. Arnold at once indignantly resigned his Mas- 
sachusetts commission; and the general opinion at the time 
was that he had been unjustly, or at least discourteously 

Notwithstanding these rebuffs, his restless spirit, quick in- 
telligence, and patriotism were at once asserted in the pro- 
posal to Congress of an expedition for the capture of the 
strongholds of Canada, with the expectation of winning its 
people o\er to the cause of independence, and thus presenting 
to the British a solid front on the part of the American col- 
onies. The importance of this enterprise, and the necessity 



for speedy action, led to the despatch of an expedition un- 
der command of General Philip Schuyler, by authority of 
Congress, early in July, 1775, the command later devolving 
on General Richard Montgomery, owing to Schuyler's illness. 
This expedition was to proceed by way of Lakes George and 
Champlain, with the capture of Montreal as an objective 
point. Of the Connecticut troops in this expedition we find 
Colonel Benjamin Hinman's regiment, which was then at 
Ticonderoga as a garrison. Colonel David Waterbury's regi- 
ment, which was ordered from New York in a body. General 
David Wooster's regiment, also ordered from New York, 
and Captain Edward Mott's company from General Par- 
sons' regiment. The ranks of these regiments and this 
single company were terribly thinned by sickness during this 

Meanwhile, Arnold had returned to Cambridge and had 
held some conversations with Washington regarding this im- 
portant movement. His familiarity with the situation, and 
his intelligent and enthusiastic view of the campaign, led 
Washington to appoint him to take charge of an expedition 
by an entirely different route from Schuyler's and Montgom- 
ery's, and with a view to join and co-operate with Mont- 
gomery in an attack on Quebec. The Continental Congress 
readily granted to Arnold a colonel's commission for this 
purpose; and on the i8th of September the entire company 
embarked at Newburyport destined for the mouth of the 
Kennebec River, by the line of which river and the Chaudiere 
they were to reach their destination. In this expedition we 
find, among its eleven hundred men, one company from Gen- 
eral Spencer's regiment, under Captain Oliver Hanchett. 
Among the field officers we find Lieutenant-Colonel Roger 
Enos of Windsor; Major Return Jonathan Meigs of Mid- 


dletown, destined to be made a prisoner at Quebec, and later 
to rejoin the army to complete an honorable record of ser- 
vice; Quartermaster Benjamin Catlin of Wetherstield; "Vol- 
unteer" Eleazer Oswald from the Second Company of Gover- 
nor's Foot-guards of v\hich we heard at the Lexington alarm; 
and "Volunteer" Samuel Lockwood of Greenwich, from the 
Third Company of Colonel Waterbury's regiment. 

The story of the long terrible passage and march up the 
Kennebec and down the Chaudiere, the junction with Mont- 
gomery, and the failure of the attack on Quebec when victory 
was almost within their grasp, forms one of the most dra- 
matic pictures of the Revolution. The often expressed wish 
that Arnold might then and there have shared the fate of 
Montgomery, and thus have had his name enshrined among 
the brightest and bravest of heroes of the Revolution, always 
finds its echo as we read of his conduct of this expedition, 
and his share in the storming of Quebec. 

The Connecticut men engaged in this expedition met with 
varying fortunes. Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Enos returned 
with his division before the destination was reached; and 
though severely censured at the time, and still pilloried by 
modern historians, a court-martial over which General John 
Sullivan presided, fully acquitted him of blame. In reply to 
attacks upon his character and conduct, he produced a certifi- 
cate signed by twenty-five field officers, including Brigadier- 
General William Heath, attesting to his good judgment in 
returning, and certifying to his good character and military 
ability. Captain Oliver Hanchett's company was present at 
the storming of Quebec, and thirty-five members of this 
company, including Captain Hanchett, were made prisoners 
at the assault. Major Meigs was also captured, as were 
staff officers Catlin, Oswald, and Lockwood. Lieutenant 



Samuel Cooper, of Captain Hanchett's company, was killed 
in this action. 

On the 30th of August in this year, 1775, an affair occur- 
red on the Connecticut coast which has been dignified by the 
name of the battle of Stonington. Two tenders from the 
British man-of-war Rose appear to have undertaken the cap- 
ture of one or more merchant vessels in Stonington harbor, 
resulting in a passage-at-arms in which four men belonging 
to the tenders were killed, and one wounded. The tenders 
put back to the Rose, then lying off Watch Hill, and upon 
their report, a bombardment of the town was begun. De- 
tachments from American troops in the vicinity were hurried 
to the scene, until they reached, according to contemporary 
reports, the number of eight hundred. The man-of-war Rose 
on the following day departed from the harbor, and Ston- 
ington remained unmolested by the British from this time to 
1 8 14, when a similar bombardment occurred. 

The movements of the British fleet at this time were so 
threatening to the Connecticut coast that Governor Trum- 
bull took it upon himself to retain as a coast guard some 
forces newly levied, advising Washington of this action un- 
der date of September 5th. Under date of the 8th, a letter 
was received by Governor Trumbull from Washington order- 
ing all new levies to be sent at once to Boston, without regard 
to the movements of the British fleet. This order was imme- 
diately complied with, although the relations between Wash- 
ington and Trumbull were strained for a few days owing to 
the fact that Washington appeared to ignore Trumbull's let- 
ter of the 5th, and to issue this order presumptively in the 
way of reproof, to which the governor, after his arduous ex- 
ertions for the common cause, did not take kindly, as appears 
by his reply under date of the 15th. Mutual explanations 



followed, and from this time forw^ard only complete accord 
and increasing confidence appear in the voluminous corres- 
pondence between Washington and Trumbull. 

November, of this year, 1775, was a month of anxiety and 
interest to Connecticut. The anxiety resulted from the fact 
that a number of enlisted men at Cambridge left the camp 
before the arrival of new recruits to fill their places. In a let- 
ter to Governor Trumbull dated December 2d, Washington 
speaks feelingly of this occurrence, from which it appears 
that, upon the representation of the oflficers of several regi- 
ments that their men would undoubtedly stay until other 
forces arrived to take their places, "they were requested and 
ordered to remain, as the time of most of them would not be 
out before the loth [of December], when they would be re- 
lieved." It was requested by Washington that they should 
be punished as deserters. These men denied the charge of 
desertion, claiming that they had completed the term of ser- 
vice for which they enlisted. There can be no doubt that 
this might be true in the case of some of these men, and that 
but a few days of service remained for any of them from the 
date of their enlistment. The Council of Safety, on receiving 
the letter from Washington, pronounced their conduct rep- 
rehensible, and called them deserters, but declined to deal 
with them as such, owing to the critical condition of the 
times, in the formation of a new army, in which, as we shall 
see, Connecticut promptly furnished her quota. 

There is no doubt that the men who thus returned home or 
remained in the army under arrest at the time, received only 
condemnation and ridicule from all quarters. Of those who 
escaped. General Greene wrote that they "met with such an 
unfavorable reception at home that many of them are return- 
ing to camp already." And in reply to General Washing- 



ton's letter Governor Trumbull wrote expressing "grief, sur- 
prise and indignation," referring to the custom of the troops 
in the late war of regarding themselves not holden beyond 
the time of their enlistment. He closes by saying: 

"Your candor and goodness will suggest to your consider- 
ation that the conduct of our troops is not a rule whereby to 
judge of the temper and spirit of our colony." 

Thus ended a disagreeable episode in the military affairs of 
this time. Washington declined to offer any suggestion to 
the General Assembly regarding it, and expressed the utmost 
confidence In the zeal and patriotism of the people. The 
General Assembly afterwards voted. In some Instances, full 
pay to the men who had left the army under the Impression 
that their enlistment had expired. 

An enemy more insidious, and possibly more dangerous to 
the causes of American liberty than the British forces, was 
the Tory press of James RIvington of New York. The ut- 
terances of his New York Gazetteer, as it was then called, 
were very severe upon the patriots or Whigs of the day, and 
found a wide circulation and ready sympathy with the large 
and growing Tory element In the vicinity. Captain Isaac 
Sears, an active, resourceful patriot came to the conclusion 
in November of this year 1775, that the only censorship 
which was applicable to this press was an exterminating 
process; whereupon he gathers a force of Connecticut men, 
who, proceeding to Westchester, capture the Reverend Sam- 
uel Seabury, Judge Jonathan Fowler, and "Lord" Nathaniel 
Underbill on the 2 2d, and, after burning a small British sloop 
at Mamaroneck, proceed on the following day to New York, 
where a force of "seventy-five men on horseback, with fixed 
bayonets," as a contemporary account relates, draw up before 



RIvington's printing office, and seize and carry away his 
types and other materials, thus placing it beyond his power 
to issue the mischievous publications with which he had 
been flooding the country. The Provincial Congress of New 
York, jealous of this so-called invasion of provincial rights, 
insists, in an official letter to Governor Trumbull, that Riv- 
ington's types be returned to "the Chairman of the General 
Committee of the City and County of New York" ; to which 
the governor in decorous and courteous official form replies, 
declining to make it a state affair, and pointing out to his 
correspondents the fact that the ringleader is reported to be 
a New York man, and that "the proper resort for a private 
injury must be to the courts of law, which are the only juris- 
dictions that can take notice of violences of this kind." The 
"General Committee of the City and County of New York" 
had already gravely acted on this suggestion on the day of 
Sears' raid, by passing a resolution requiring him to appear 
to answer to the charge of forcibly entering Rivington's print- 
ing house; but no record can be found that he obeyed the 
summons. For two years from this time Rivington's press 
remained mute, until at length the British occupied New 
York, and he was once more enabled to ply his trade under 
their protection. 

Of the three prisoners taken by Sears on his way to New 
York, Judge Fowler and Lord Underbill signed recanta- 
tions of certain protests they had made against the proceed- 
ings of the Continental Congress; and the Reverend (after- 
wards Bishop) Samuel Seabury, who was not of the recanting 
kind, addressed a long and able memorial to the General As- 
sembly of Connecticut, resulting in his release from custody 
after having been kept for about a month under guard at the 
house of a Mrs. Lyman of New Haven. 



From this time forward Captain Isaac Sears appears to 
have taken up his residence in Connecticut. 



The Year of Independence 

IN this momentous year, 1776, we can see some of the 
advantages which Connecticut possessed from the 
very beginning of the revolutionary struggle. Even 
Rhode Island, with her similar character and form 
of government, was obliged first to suspend, and then 
to depose her Tory Governor, Joseph Wanton, so that it was 
not until November 1775 that she had reached the same po- 
litical position which Connecticut had occupied since the 
days of the Stamp Act. In Massachusetts, something like 
order was brought out of the chaos of the times, by resuming 
in July 1775 a form of government which had been so long 
interrupted by British control; and in New York the Tory 
element rendered it uncertain for a time whether British con- 
trol would prevail or not. In all the other colonies, with 
their varied conditions, difficulties of one kind and another 
had to be overcome. Among these thirteen colonies the only 
one which had a patriot governor was Connecticut; and thus 
the condition to which the Continental Congress was striving 
to bring the colonies existed from the beginning only in this 
commonwealth; a government by the people, administered 
by a governor and council who stood ready at all times to 
assert the rights of the people, and to resist oppression. In 
other colonies valuable time was consumed in adjusting their 
governments to the situation; but this colony was ready from 
the beginning for any emergency which the situation might 
bring about. 

More than a year had now been spent in preparations for 
war and in actual warfare. The drain on the treasury of 
Connecticut, still suffering from the depletion of the French 
war, was severe, and her expenses were out of proportion to 
those of other colonies. During the year from May 1775 to 
June 1776, issues of provincial bills of credit were made to 



the exent of £260,000. The redemption of these bills was 
provided for, however, by laying taxes of from seven to 
eight pence on the pound, at or near the time when the bills 
were issued. It was found that fully £65,000 had been ex- 
pended during the year beyond the share of the colony. In 
connection with General Schuyler's expedition and other mat- 
ters. Application was made to Congress for this amount In 
the then new and attractive continental bills, which applica- 
tion was granted by sending In payment $210,000 at differ- 
ent times, after which continental money was apportioned to 
this colony as to others. By enactment of the General As- 
sembly, this money was made receivable for taxes. An en- 
actment was also made at a later date, which, while it speaks 
well for the patriotism of our legislators, appears, In view of 
the inevitable course of subsequent events, rather more hu- 
morous than otherwise. This was a law making It a penal 
offence to demand or take more than the face value of con- 
tinental money in exchange for coin or bullion, or to make 
any sales of property at a higher price In continental money 
than in money of any other kind. 

The record of the session of the General Assembly in 
December 1775 bears the time-honored Latin heading desig- 
nating the year of the reign of the sovereign of England, and 
the acts of this session were published under the royal arms. 
This was Connecticut's last recognition of British sover- 
eignty. In the May session which followed, these devices are 
conspicuous by their absence; and measures were taken to ex- 
clude His Majesty's name from all legal writs and other doc- 
uments, substituting therefor the name of the Governor and 
Company of the Colony of Connecticut — still a colony for a 
little longer, but no longer Llis Majesty's. 

From these measures to a 4pwnright assertion of inde- 


pendence the step was a short one, if it can even be called a 
step. When, after a long debate, the Continental Congress 
on the 8th of June could only vote to submit the question of 
a declaration of independence to each colony separately, and 
before other colonies even had time to commence their 
wrangles on the subject, we find Connecticut first in instruct- 
ing her delegates. It was in these words that they were in- 
structed, on the 14th of June, 1776: 

"Resolved unanimously by this Assembly: That the Dele- 
gates of this Colony in General Congress be and they are 
hereby instructed to propose to that respectable body, to de- 
clare the United American Colonies Free and Independent 
States, absolved from all allegiance to the King of Great 
Britain, and to give the assent of this Colony to such declara- 
tion when they shall judge it expedient and best, and to what- 
ever measures may be thought proper and necessary by the 
Congress for forming foreign alliances, or any plan of oper- 
ation for necessary and mutual defence." 

Having passed this resolution, the General Assembly im- 
mediately proceeds to pass "An Act for raising two Battal- 
ions to join the Continental Army in Canada," followed by 
"An Act for raising seven Battalions to join the Continental 
Army in New York." 

In connection with these acts, a proclamation is issued by 
Governor Trumbull on the 1 8th of this same June which, by 
no great straining of definition, has been popularly called Con- 
necticut's Declaration of Independence. It is a remarkable 
document, or certainly would be so if issued by a governor of 
this twentieth century; but we may well imagine that to the 
mind of the eighteenth century, the logical sequence of events 
which it recites, beginning with the creation and fall of man, 
and ending with a full exposure of the tyranny of George 



III., was impressive to the last degree. One politically cul- 
minating sentence must be quoted from it: 

"Be exhorted to rise, therefore, to superior Exertions on 
this great Occasion ; and let all that are able and necessary, 
show themselves ready in behalf of their injured and op- 
pressed Country, and come forth to the Help of the Lord 
against the Mighty, and convince the unrelenting Tyrant of 
Britain, that they are resolved to be FREE." 

It is not surprising that, when the news of the passage 
of the Declaration of Independence by Congress reached 
Connecticut, whose General Assembly had already author- 
ized its delegates to promote it, and had endorsed the procla- 
mation just quoted, this news should be calmly received, with- 
out the burning of gunpowder which was needed for more 
serious purposes. The General Assembly had adjourned 
when the news was received, and though the proper treat- 
ment of the subject was discussed in the Council of Safety, 
that body preferred to leave it to the regular October ses- 
sion of the Assembly, when carefully worded resolves were 
recorded, approving the Declaration, and making of Con- 
necticut "a free and independent State," under the same form 
of government which had existed since the issue of the royal 
charter of 1662. No change, except in name, was required 
to make this commonwealth a free state, just as no change 
had been required to adjust her affairs to the situation which 
resulted in declaring independence. 

To the first Continental Congress, Eliphalet Dyer, Silas 
Deane, and Roger Sherman were sent as delegates; and to 
the second Congress the delegates attending were Roger 
Sherman, Oliver Wolcott, and Samuel Huntington, all of 
whom signed the Declaration of Independence. These men 
were not orators, but it must be admitted that they were 


From the painting by Cliappell. 

J'ia-^ ^^ (/n.£^ 



statesmen of a high order. To Roger Sherman is due the 
credit for an important step towards the organization of the 
Treasury Department, against opposition on the part of Ben- 
jamin Harrison, which was overcome by the support of John 
Adams, who seconded Sherman's motion for the appointment 
of a committee on accounts or claims. There is no doubt 
that in the early stages of the experimental legislation of this 
experimental body, the sound practical wisdom of ail these 
Connecticut delegates did good service, even though they 
made no elaborate speeches which have lived in American 
literature. It should be remembered that in 1776, Roger 
Sherman was one of the committee which drafted the Decla- 
ration of Independence. 

The reorganization of the Continental army, which be- 
came necessary as the short enlistments of 1775 expired, was 
speedily accomplished as far as Connecticut's quota was con- 
cerned. Five of the six regiments raised in April 1775 were 
reorganized at once, General Putnam's regiment being 
placed under the command of Colonel Benedict Arnold, and 
General Spencer's regiment under command of Colonel Sam- 
uel Wyllys, the other three remaining as before under com- 
mand of Colonels Jedediah Huntington, Samuel Holden 
Parsons, and Charles Webb. Two additional regiments were 
recruited under Colonels Charles Burrall and Samuel El- 
more, early in 1776, and another in May of the same year, 
under Colonel Andrew Ward, completing the quota of eight 
regiments. Although Arnold was appointed to the com- 
mand of General Putnam's regiment, he never assumed this 
command, being at Quebec at the time. The regiment was 
placed in command of Colonel John Durkee, of Stamp Act 
fame. The five reorganized regiments were present at the 
siege and evacuation of Boston, and were then ordered to 



New York, participating in many of the battles of the follow- 
ing trying campaign. Colonel Andrew Ward's regiment, re- 
cruited in May, joined Washington's forces, and continued 
with him during the retreat through New Jersey, being 
engaged in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The regi- 
ments of Colonels Burrall and Elmore were sent to the 
Northern Department, where the former suffered seriously 
from small-pox. 

These eight regiments which were adopted, or readopted, 
as continental, formed a comparativ^ely small portion of the 
forces which Connecticut placed in the service during this 
eventful year. In addition to these were the two other or- 
ganizations known as the State Troops and the Militia. Of 
the former, we find more or less complete rosters of eighteen 
regiments, and of the latter, a force increased from twenty- 
two to thirty-three regiments during the year. 

The State Troops appear to have been mustered at various 
times to meet various emergencies, for a longer or shorter 
period of service. Three regiments of these troops under 
Colonels Erastus Wolcott, James Wadsworth and John 
Douglass, appear to have filled the gap occasioned by the 
expired enlistments of the men who left the service in No- 
vember. These three regiments vvere in the field before Bos- 
ton from December, 1775, to February, 1776. Two regi- 
ments under Colonels David Waterbury and Andrew Ward 
were sent to New York in January 1776 for a short term of 
service under General Charles Lee, which will be more fully 
explained further on in our narrative. Of the other inde- 
pendent regiments of these State Troops, two, under Col- 
onels Samuel Mott and Heman Swift, served in the North- 
ern Department from June to November of this year; and 
four regiments under Colonels Samuel Whiting, Thaddeus 



Cook, Roger Enos, and John Ely performed a tour of ser- 
vice not clearly defined in the records, but understood to be at 
the western border of Connecticut and in Rhode Island. • The 
remaining State Troops consisted of seven battalions, or reg- 
iments, constituting General James Wadsworth's brigade. 
The Colonels of these regiments were Gold Selleck Silliman, 
Fisher Gay, Comfort Sage, Samuel Selden, William Doug- 
lass, John Chester, and Philip Burr Bradley. This entire 
brigade saw active service at Long Island, through the re- 
treat at New York, and in the engagements which followed 
at Harlem Heights, White Plains and Fort Washington. 

The militia, composed of men of the Alarm List, and oth- 
ers of military age, with certain exemptions, was by no means 
merely a home guard. Of this force twenty-three regiments 
were ordered to New York during the summer of 1776. A 
few of these were at Kip's Bay during the landing of the 
British at that point, and from all these raw recruits many 
entered the regular service later, to give a better account of 
themselves than in this unfortunate affair. 

Of the promptness with which the forces needed in the 
emergencies of the campaign were provided and sent to the 
front, the following extracts from letters of Washington to 
Governor Trumbull bear the best testimony that can be fur- 

On the 1 6th of January, in asking for forces to fill the va- 
cancies occasioned by the short enlistments of Massachusetts 
and New Hampshire troops, Washington closes by saying: 

"The great and constant attention, sir, which you have 
shown upon all occasions, to promote the publick cause, af- 
fords me the strongest assurance that your every exertion and 
interest will be employed to comply with these several requi- 



In a letter, replying to Governor Trumbuirs letter of the 
i8th regarding reinforcements for Canada after the repulse 
at Quebec, he says: 

"The early attention which you and your honorable council 
have paid to this important business, has anticipated my requi- 
sition, and claims, in a particular manner, the thanks of every 
well-wishing American." 

On the loth of June from New York; 

"In this critical conjuncture of affairs, the experience I 
have had of your zeal and readiness to assist the common 
cause, induces me to request the most speedy and early suc- 
cor, that can be obtained from your colony, and that the 
militia may be forwarded, one battalion after another, as 
fast as they can possibly be raised * * *." 

After the arrival of the militia, Washington writes, on the 
loth of August: 

"I think you and your honorable Council of Safety highly 
deserving of the thanks of the States, for the measures you 
have adopted in order to give the most early and speedy suc- 
cor to this army ; give me leave to return you mine in par- 

The foregoing quotations are enough to show the temper 
and efficiency of the State at this time, but many more 
tributes from the great commander could be added if neces- 

An instance of the readiness with which Connecticut met 
the many and urgent calls upon her occurred early in Jan- 
uary, 1776. rhe need of military occupation of the city of 
New York at this time was particularly impressed upon 
Washington, partly from his own view of the situation; but 
in all probability, mainly from the enthusiasm of Captain 
Isaac Sears and from the representations of General Charles 



Lee, in whom there was at this time so much misplaced con- 
fidence. As no troops could be spared from Boston for the 
purpose of occupying and fortifying New York, it was found 
necessary to call upon Connecticut. Upon this call, two regi- 
ments of seven hundred and fifty men each were promptly 
recruited, under Colonels Andrew Ward and David Water- 
bury. They were employed only for a few weeks with 
Lord Stirling's New Jersey regiment, in building fortifi- 
cations on Brooklyn Heights and the river fronts of New 
York. The principal recorded result of the expedition ap- 
pears to be that General Lee was afforded an opportunity to 
indulge in gasconading to an extent which must have satis- 
fied even him for the time being, and that he was enabled 
to pose as a hero by being carried on a litter from Stamford 
to New York while suffering from an attack of gout. His- 
torians of half a century ago and earlier reverently quote a 
threat he is said to have made, that if the British should 
burn a single house in New York in consequence of his 
coming, he would "chain a hundred of their friends by the 
neck, and make that house their funeral pile." 

Since it is an old maxim that we must give even the devil 
his due, it Is but fair to add that the plan of fortifications 
which Lee laid out at this time was practically adopted on 
the arrival of the American army at New York after the 
evacuation of Boston. The movement on New York by the 
British, which Lee and Sears had represented to Washing- 
ton and Governor Trumbull as impending at this time, did 
not, as we know, occur until some seven months later. 

The first move in this game of war which finally took New 
York out of the hands of the Americans was the battle of 
Long Island, a battle particularly important in Connecticut 
history for the reason that General Israel Putnam was the 



officer in command, and that three of our five continental reg- 
ments which were sent to New York from Boston were en- 
gaged in it, as were portions of Wadsworth's brigade of 
State Troops, which had been temporarily consolidated with 
portions of the State Militia. 

Putnam was appointed by Washington to take command 
of the forces at Long Island, almost on the eve of the bat- 
tle. It was doubtless Washington's confidence in Putnam as 
an executive officer which caused him to make this appoint- 
ment, superseding General John Sullivan, who had been 
placed in temporary command during the illness of General 
Nathaniel Greene. At the time when Putnam assumed this 
command, he had at his disposal a force of about five thou- 
sand men, reinforced at the time of the battle to about seven 
thousand. The enemy, from the most reliable accounts, num- 
bered not less than twenty thousand, and had already landed 
three-fourths of this force at Gravesend when Putnam was 
placed in command. It must be remembered that the re- 
sponsibility which devolved upon him at this time was the 
faithful execution of the orders of Washington, who issued 
specific orders to him regarding the impending battle, in 
writing on the 25th, and in person on the 26th, when he 
"continued till evening." 

It is no part of our purpose to enter into a military history 
or criticism of this battle. Some modern historians, in their 
comfortable arm-chairs, under the inspiration of that cheap 
faculty familiarly known as hindsight, believe they could 
have managed the whole affair much better than did Wash- 
ington, and are prone to lay a lion's share of the blame for 
the defeat on the broad but rather overloaded shoulders of 
Putnam. The fact is clearly to be seen, however, that he car- 
ried out Washington's orders with the utmost faithfulness 



and precision. These orders were to contest the advance of 
the British on the wooded heights commanding the passes to 
Brooklyn ; and it was upon these same heights that the bat- 
tle was fought, and that the Americans yielded, after a stub- 
born resistance, to superior numbers. The regiment of Col- 
onel Jedediah Huntington suffered a large loss in this en- 
gagement. General Samuel Holden Parsons, with his regi- 
ment was also in the thick of the fight, as was Colonel Wyl- 
lys with his regiment. 

In the masterly retreat from Brooklyn Heights, and the at- 
tempts which follov/ed to resist the landing of the British at 
New York, we find much service of Connecticut forces. Af- 
ter a delay of more than a fortnight, Howe finally decided to 
make a landing at Kip's Bay — now the foot of Thirty-fourth 
Street. To oppose this landing, a force of raw Connecticut 
recruits under Colonel William Douglas was posted behind 
low breastworks, and upon this force the fire of five British 
frigates was directed, under cover of which fire, Sir Henry 
Clinton's division was landed In eighty-four boats. The 
raw and Inexperienced forces under Douglas retired In some 
confusion, and are unjustly denounced by some historians for 
failing to resist an attack which it is doubtful If veterans 
would have withstood much better. 

The retreat from New York to Harlem now began. We 
find Washington from his headquarters at Harlem, and 
Putnam from his headquarters at the lower part of New 
York, rushing to the scene, unable to rally the forces which 
had been ordered to support Douglas' men ; Putnam riding 
post-haste to his command to conduct the famous retreat, 
which was so fortunately aided by the timely hospitality 
which Mrs. Robert Murray extended to General Howe and 
his staff. 



After the defeat at Long Island, a small body of picked 
men taken from various regiments, was organized for par- 
tisan service under command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas 
Knowlton, which body soon became known as Knowlton's 
Rangers, and was particularly distinguished in an engage- 
ment on the day following the landing of the British at New 
York. It is hardly too much to say that this band is to be 
credited with bringing on the brilliant little action known as 
the battle of Harlem Heights, greatly reviving the spirit of 
the retreating American army by giving them the exhilarat- 
ing sight of redcoats once more flying, with Americans in full 
pursuit. Knowlton, being a Connecticut man had such men 
as Nathan Hale of Coventry, Stephen Brown of Woodstock, 
Thomas Grosvenor of Pomfret, and Thomas U. Fosdick of 
New London among his leading officers, with many other 
Connecticut men in the ranks, or in lower official positions. 
The company consisted of about one hundred and twenty men 
at this time, who, in the early dawn of September i6th, 
moved out to ascertain the position of the enemy; engaged 
in a sharp skirmish with their outposts, but were finally com- 
pelled to retire for a short time before a force nearly four 
times their number. These brave men soon rallied, and with 
reinforcements turned the tide of battle, but with the sad 
result of the death of the brave Knowlton, who fell mortally 
wounded on the field. In general orders of the following 
day, Washington speaks of him as "the gallant and brave 
Colonel Knowlton, who would have been an honor to any 
country." We have already seen him at Bunker Hill, bravely 
posted at the rail fence, and beginning there a record of revo- 
lutionary service which was so brilliant and honorable that 
we feel that such men could ill be spared in these times of 
danger and defeat. To the men who bore him from the 



field, he said, "I do not value my life if we do but get the 
day;" and the last words he uttered were, "Are we driv- 
ing them?" 

If it were possible to find a hero surpassing Knowlton in 
courage and patriotism, that hero would unquestionably be 
Nathan Hale. It is with no intention of drawing compari- 
sons between the young captain of twenty-one and the ma- 
turer colonel of thirty-six that this remark is made. We 
may look, but in vain, for a career which forms a parallel 
to Hale's. While his brave colonel, with the famous rangers, 
was engaged in the brilliant action which closed his career, 
his young captain was engaged in a service equally hazardous 
and fatal, but without the sense of comradeship in danger to 
inspire it, or emulation in achievement to incite it. It was not 
the rash venture of a foolhardy boy which he undertook. His 
story has been so well and so fully told by Professor Henry 
P. Johnston that it is unnecessary to repeat it here except in 
the barest outline. 

Of the movements, position, and designs of the British just 
after the battle of Long Island, it was impossible for Wash- 
ington to get trustworthy informaton, though such informa- 
tion was of vital importance at this crisis. This fact was 
made known among the more trustworthy in the command, 
with a view to finding some suitable man to volunteer as a 
spy, penetrate the enemy's lines in disguise, and obtain the 
needed information. As soon as Hale learned that this ser- 
vice was needed, his sense of patriotic duty was aroused. 
After due consideration and consultation with his friend 
Captain William Hull, who has carefully preserved, in sub- 
stance, Hale's own words in the interview, he volunteers on 
this perilous service. Hull's report of the interview, in which 
he tried to dissuade his friend from the purpose in view, re- 



veals so well Hale's carefully weighed reasons for his de- 
cision, that his words, as Hull reports them, must be quoted 
in full. Knowing the frank, open nature of his friend, and 
his unlitness to undertake a disguise, Hull urges this consid- 
eration, together with the ignominious death resulting from 
almost certain detection. Hale replies: 

"I am fully sensible of the consequences of discovery and 
capture in such a situation. But for a year I have been at- 
tached to the army, and have not rendered any material ser- 
vice while receiving a compensation for which I make no re- 
turn. Yet I am not influenced by the expectation of promo- 
tion or pecuniary reward; 1 wish to be useful, and every 
kind of service, necessary to the public good, becomes hon- 
orable by being necessary. If the exigencies of my country 
demand a peculiar service, its claims to perform that ser- 
vice are imperious." 

To further urgent entreaties to desist from his project, 
Hale only replies, "1 will reflect, and do nothing but what 
duty demands." 

We see plainly enough, in the light of events, that his 
further reflection made no change in his views. To him, the 
known wish of Washington, and the urgent needs of the oc- 
casion, outweighed all other considerations. And among 
these other considerations we may be sure that there were 
none of a personal character. 

Vhe rest of the short but impressive story of Nathan Hale 
is well known, but cannot be too often repeated. Disguised 
as a schoolmaster, which role his experience of nearly two 
years of school teaching had fitted him to assume, he enters 
the British lines, collects probably all the needed informa- 
tion, and with his hazardous mission accomplished, is taken 
prisoner by the British while waiting for a boat to bring him 


From the Statue 



to the American lines. His frank acknowledgment of his er- 
rand seals his fate, and on the 2 2d of September this young 
life is ended by the hangman, and the young patriot, with the 
often quoted words on his lips, — "I only regret that I have 
but one life to give for my country", — is enrolled among 
the heroes and martyrs of the Revolution. As time goes on, 
his name grows dearer, his fame grows brighter, and mon- 
ument after monument marks the grateful tribute of the peo- 
ple to the young hero whose only thought was of his country's 



The First British Invasion 

IN the battle of White Plains, and the actions which fol- 
lowed, Connecticut forces, as we have seen, per- 
formed their full share; as they did at the close, of 
the year 1776, and the opening of the year 1777 at 
the battles of Trenton and Princeton. In these try- 
ing times, we know how the spirit of the Americans was re- 
vived by the master-strokes of that great genius, Washington, 
who snatched victory from defeat under circumstances which 
roused the admiration of such a general as Frederick the 
Great, and caused Cornwallis to confess four years later to 
Washington that the Yorktown campaign was almost sur- 
passed in generalship by the masterly strokes of Trenton and 

With the opening of spring, military diversions appeared 
to be the order of the day. In the hope of weakening our 
resources, and of breaking the patriotic spirit of the people 
of Connecticut, an expedition was placed by Lord Howe in 
command of Governor William Tryon of New York. The 
avowed object of this expedition was the capture or destruc- 
tion of military stores which had been deposited in Danbury, 
a town selected for that purpose in 1776 by the commissioners 
of the Continental Army. Another motive was, no doubt, 
to weaken the main force of our army in New Jersey 
by drawing from it men and arms for the defense of the Con- 
necticut and Rhode Island coasts. It required the will and 
military genius of Washington to refrain from such a course 
later in the year at the urgent request of Connecticut au- 

Tryon's force, consisting of two to four thousand men, 
according to varying contemporary accounts, sailed from 
New York on the 24th of April 1777, in twenty transports 
and six war vessels. They arrived at the mouth of the Sau- 



gatuck river on the 25th, and landed forces, probably to the 
number of about two thousand. The news of their landing 
was carried by swift messengers to Danbury. 1 he British 
marched about five miles to a point on the Danbury road in 
the northern part of Fairfield, where they encamped for the 

Upon the landing of the British, the alarm appears to have 
sped swiftly not only to Danbury but to New Haven. The 
tidings found the Americans rich in officers but sadly im- 
poverished in men. Information of the scarcity of men, car- 
ried by the Tories infesting the western portion of the state, 
was no doubt a strong inducement to Tryon to undertake his 
raid at this time. In New Haven it happened that General 
Benedict Arnold and the veteran general David Wooster 
received the news, and at once led such militia forces as could 
be mustered to Fairfield. Learning there that General Gold 
Sellick Silliman had collected forces at Redding, and was 
marching to Danbury, Wooster joined him on the 26th. It 
was here, at Redding, no doubt, that a plan of operations was 
agreed upon between Wooster, Arnold, and Silliman, whose 
combined forces, hastily gathered at Redding, New Ha- 
ven, and on the march, now reached about seven hundred 
men. This force advanced from Redding to Bethel, where 
it encamped for the night in a heavy rain. 

Meanwhile the British took up their march from Fairfield 
to Danbury, which point they reached without opposition on 
the afternoon of the 26th. The only soldiers at Danbury 
were about fifty continentals and one hundred militiamen, a 
force barely sufficient to form a rear-guard for the Heeing, 
terror-stricken inhabitants. The only opposition which the 
British met at this time was from three young men, named 
Joshua Porter, I^benezer Starr, and Adams; the latter being 



a negro slave, whose name may have been Adam. They 
rashly fired upon the enemy from the house of Captain Ezra 
Starr, and were killed on the spot by the British. The only^ 
prisoners taken at Danbury were a brother of the Joshua Por- 
ter just mentioned, and a man named Barnum. Porter is 
said to have surrendered to superior numbers, after a stout 
resistance, in which he overpowered three of his assailants. 
He was afterwards confined with Barnum in the old Sugar 
House prison, from which he was released, but his companion 
died there from starvation. 

Upon arriving in the principal street of the town the Brit- 
ish opened an indiscriminate fire, which cleared the town of 
inhabitants who had not already fled. 

And now began a wholesale destruction of military stores, 
of which the inventory of the invaders will be given later. 
Among these stores were large quantities of rum, then re- 
garded as an indispensable portion of the rations of the con- 
tinental soldier. To the British soldier of the day, too, the 
only proper method of destroying this article was by drink- 
ing it; and this method appears to have been put in practice 
as soon as the rum was discovered. There was more of it, 
however, than even two thousand British soldiers could 
destroy at once in this way ; and the result was, that though 
the Americans did not have men enough to whip this force of 
British soldiers at just this time, they had rum enough to 
effect this purpose temporarily. Governor Tryon soon found, 
to his dismay, that his command, with only exceptions enough 
to prove the rule, was helplessly drunk. At about the time 
when this discovery fully dawned upon him, the news 
reached him that the American forces were gathering to 
oppose him. And as we find him, in the retrospect of a cen- 
tury and a quarter, with his helplessly drunken force for one 



horn of his dilemma, and the resohite American soldiers 
whose homes he had invaded for the other, no good Ameri- 
can can spare for Tryon one drop of pity, even at this late 
day. The work of the sufficiently soher members of his 
force, aided by their trusted Tory friends, appears now to 
have been the marking of a large cross in whitewash on the 
houses of the tories of Danbury, signifying that these houses 
were to be spared in the coming conflagration. 

At about two o'clock on the morning of Sunday the 27th, 
the work of burning the homes of the patriots of Danbury 
began. Either owing to the need of haste, or the fear of 
burning the houses of the tories, or both, but nineteen dwel- 
lings were burned. The Congregational meeting house, and 
a number of stores and workshops, also perished in the 
flames. According to Sir William Howe's official report, 
printed in the London Gazette of June 7th, 1777, "the vil- 
lage was unavoidably burnt." After which, having reached 
a state of sobriety which admitted of marching, the British 
made a much more hasty retreat than they probably intended 
to make. Instead of retracing their steps through Bethel, 
Redding, and I-'airfield, they adopted a more westerly course, 
apparently in the hope of eluding their pursuers. 

Anticipating this movement, Generals Wooster, Arnold, 
and Silliman divided their forces, detailing about two hun- 
dred men to march to Danbury under Wooster, and harass 
and detain the enemy from the rear; while Arnold and Silli- 
man, with the remaining five hundred men, proceeded by a 
forced march to RidgcHeld, occupying a position suitable for 
opposing the enemy on the front and on both flanks. Bv the 
destruction of a bridge on their march from Danbury, the 
British were somewhat delayed; so that Wooster, possibly 
rcinforcetl In the continentals and militia from Danbury, 



gained on them, and approaching through a wooded coun- 
try, took them completely by surprise at breakfast, capturing 
forty men. Retreating with his prisoners as suddenly as he 
had come, he hung upon the rear of the enemy as they hast- 
ily resumed their march, and at about eleven o'clock made 
another bold attack with his handful of men, about two miles 
north from Ridgefield. While cheering his men, with the 
shout "Come on boys!" he fell, fatally wounded, and was 
carried from the field. Thus bravely fell another Connecti- 
cut hero, a man of sixty-seven, in whom dwelt that love of 
country which forgets age and all other personal considera- 

The British reached Ridgefield at about noon, and began 
a fire of artillery upon Arnold's and Silliman's forces as soon 
as these forces were discernible. As the British approached 
within musket range a fierce fight began, and it is said to 
have been fully an hour before these two thousand disciplined 
British troops were able to force the five hundred Ameri- 
cans to retreat from their position. It was at this time that 
the brave Colonel Abram Gold fell, while refusing to re- 
treat, and attempting to rally his men by his own example. 
He fell, sword in hand, from his horse, mortally wounded, 
in the midst of the enemy. In this engagement the British 
left unburled thirty dead on the field, besides a number whom 
they buried. 

On the following morning their retreat was resumed, and 
it was on this retreat that Tyron more narrowly escaped de- 
feat than in any of his numerous incursions on Connecticut 
soil. The Americans were now gathering from various quar- 
ters. Colonel Lamb's artillery soon appeared with three 
field pieces under Lieutenant Colonel Oswald, joined by part 
of an artillery company from Fairfield on one hand, and 



sixty continentals and three volunteer companies from New 
Haven, on the other hand. Colonel Jedediah Huntington 
with five hundred men attacked the British on the rear, and 
with General Silliman's assistance drove them past the bridge 
which they were intending to cross, near which point they 
were threatened on the flank by Arnold and his men, and 
retreated precipitately to the ford of the Saugatuck river, 
while Silliman held the bridge. After crossing this ford, and 
hastily retreating over the high land on the east bank, with 
the gathering forces in hot pursuit, their position was still 
hazardous, and many fell by the way. At last, panting and 
exhausted, they gained the commanding position of Compo 
Hill, where they hastily mounted some field pieces and se- 
cured the height. Here it was that the brave Colonel John 
Lamb, leaping from his horse, gathered a volunteer force to 
storm the hill; and here, while bravely leading them, he fell, 
severely wounded, so that his men, supposing him to be dead, 
gave up the attack. Forces from the fleet were now landing, 
and with their assistance, and still under a hot fire up to the 
point of embarkation, they at last gained their ships, and 
bade good-bye to Connecticut for the space of two years. 
Even at their landing three days before, they had met some 
determined though unorganized resistance, in which one 
American was killed and several British wounded; and in 
their retreat, as we have seen, they had found that the few 
men left in Connecticut were a match for them. 

rwenty-two of these Connecticut men lie buried in one 
grave on the beach where this action took place. It is his- 
toric ground, hallowed by the blood of patriots, and the 
mo\ement now on foot to erect a suitable monument to their 
memory should meet with a liberal aid from the State and the 



The contemporary account of this fight places the casual- 
ties among the Americans at about sixty killed and wounded; 
and among the British more than double, in addition to twen- 
ty prisoners, probably a part of the forty taken by Wooster. 
Sir William Howe's "Return of the stores, ordnance, pro- 
visions, etc., found at the rebels' stores, and destroyed by the 
king's troops, in Danbury," is as follows: 

"A quantity of ordnance stores, with iron, etc.; 4,000 
barrels of beef and pork; 1,000 barrels of flour; 100 large 
tierces of biscuit; 89 barrels of rice; 120 Puncheons of rum; 
several large stores of wheat, oats, and Indian corn in bulk; 
30 pipes of wine; 100 hogsheads of sugar; 50 ditto of 
molasses; 20 casks of coffee; 15 large casks filled with medi- 
cines of all kinds; 10 barrels of saltpetre; 1,020 tents and 
marquees; a number of iron boilers; a large quantity of hos- 
pital bedding; engineer's, pioneers', and carpenters' tools; a 
printing press complete; tar, tallow, etc.; 5,000 pairs of 
shoes and stockings." 

The casualties of the British in this same official report, 
are twenty-five killed, one hundred and seventeen wounded, 
and twenty-nine missing. 

The report also places the number of Americans killed as 
seven officers and precisely one hundred privates; wounded, 
three officers and precisely two hundred and fifty privates; 
taken, fifty privates. 

Among the Americans killed were. Colonel Abram Gold, 
Lieutenants Ephraim Middlebrook, Samuel Elmore and 
William Thompson; also Dr. David Atwater of New Haven. 
Among the wounded were Colonel John Lamb, Amah Brad- 
ley and Timothy Gorham. The escape of Arnold at Ridge- 
field was, from all accounts, little short of miraculous. When 
the enemy gained the ridge commanding one flank of his po- 



sition, his retreat was necessarily hasty, in the midst of a 
shower of bullets at short range. His horse was killed under 
him, pierced by nine bullets, but Arnold was untouched, 
though he narrowly escaped capture at the time. While he 
was entangled with his dead horse, a soldier approached him, 
calling out, "Surrender! You are my prisoner!" "Not yet," 
said Arnold, as he drew a pistol from his holster and shot 
his would-be captor dead. He then extricated himself from 
his fallen horse, and escaped, under a heavy fire. On the fol- 
lowing day his second horse was wounded. His loss was 
made good by the Continental Congress in the following 
month, when it was voted that a horse, properly caparisoned, 
be presented to him, "in the name of this Congress, as a 
token of their approbation of his gallant conduct in the action 
against the enemy in their late enterprise to Danbury." 

The town records of Danbury were burned in the house of 
the town-clerk, but the probate records escaped destruction. 

Within a month from the time of IVyon's raid, the Amer- 
icans were practically compensated by a successful attack up- 
on a Britsh depository of military stores at Sag Harbor, L. i. 
General Parsons, learning that stores were being collected at 
this place, despatched a force from New Haven in thirteen 
whale-boats, on the 21st of May, under Colonel Return Jon- 
athan Meigs, to attempt the destruction of these stores. This 
force reached Guilford on the same day, and waiting there 
for favorable weather, embarked from Sachem's Head on 
the 23d, under convoy of two armed sloops. An unarmed 
sloop also accompanied them to carry prisoners. Reaching 
Sag Harbor at one o'clock on the morning of the 24th, they 
secured their boats in the woods near the shore. The force, 
according to General Parsons' report, numbered one hundred 
and sixty, "and having made the proper arrangement for at- 



tacking the enemy in five different places, proceeded in the 
greatest order and silence within twenty rods of the enemy, 
when they rushed on, with fixed bayonets, upon the different 
barracks, guards, and quarters of the enemy; while Capt. 
Troop, with a party under his command, at the same time 
took possession of the wharves and vessels lying there." 

The result of this surprise was the burning of all the ves- 
sels at the wharves, to the number of eleven ; the capture of 
ninety prisoners, of whom one-third were seamen and the rest 
mostly tories; the destruction of one hundred tons of hay, a 
large quantity of grain, ten hogsheads of rum, and other 
West India stores. Notwithstanding an incessant fire of 
grape and round shot for about an hour from a British 
schooner of twelve guns lying within a range of one hundred 
and fifty yards, not one of the Americans was killed or 
wounded. Six of the British are reported to have been killed. 
By two o'clock of the afternoon of the same day, Colonel 
Meigs had returned to Guilford, accomplishing in twenty- 
five hours, with his hundred and sixty men, without the loss 
of a man, very nearly the same result, so far as legitimate 
warfare is concerned, which Tryon with his two thousand 
men accomplished in three days, with a heav^y loss. 

Washington, in replying to General Parsons' report of this 
affair, says: 

"And now I shall take occasion not only to give you my 
hearty approbation of your conduct in planning the expedi- 
tion to Long Island, but to return my sincere thanks to 
Colonel Meigs, and all the officers and men engaged in it. 
This enterprise, so fortunate in the execution, will greatly 
distress the enemy in the important and essential article of 
forage, and reflects much honor on those who performed it. 
I shall ever be happy to reward merit when in my power, and 



therefore wish you to inquire for a vacant ensigncy in some 
of the regiments for Sergeant Gennings, to which you will 
promote him, advising me of the same, and the time." 

Washington also highly commended this affair in his gen- 
eral orders, and Congress voted a handsome sword to Col- 
onel Meigs in recognition of this important service. 

Not so successful was an attempt in August of this year, 
1777, to capture a tory garrison which had seized the Presby- 
terian church at Setauket, L. I., and had occupied it for mili- 
tary purposes. General Parsons, with a force of one hundred 
and fifty picked men, advanced upon this garrison on the 14th 
of August, and a surrender being refused by the commanding 
officer, firing began on both sides, and was continued for 
some time, until three British war ships were perceived, ap- 
parently coming to the rescue of the garrison, when Parsons 
prudently withdrew his men. He arrived safely at Black 
Rock, the point from which he had set out, "with a few of 
the enemy's horses, and a quantity of military stores," as we 
learn from Thompson's History of Long Island. 

At this time smaller expeditions of a similar character, 
both regularly and irregularly planned, were undertaken, 
until the sight of a Connecticut whalcboat brought terror and 
dismay to the Long Island tory. 



Services in France and the Home Field 


WHILE the events just described were hap- 
pening in Connecticut, Lafayette was on 
his first voyage to America, and supplies 
from France were reaching this country 
as the result of the mission of a Connecti- 
cut man, whose efforts in the early years of the Revolution 
were of great importance. 

In March 1776 Silas Deane was appointed by Congress a 
commissioner to France — or, as his commission reads, "one 
of the delegates from the Colony of Connecticut, * * * 
appointed to go into France, there to transact such 
business commercial and political as we have committed to 
his Care and Behalf, and by Authority of the Congress of the 
thirteen united Colonies." Pursuing this mission, which was 
certainly a most delicate and important one, he reached Paris 
in the following July, where he remained incognito while 
studying the situation. The result was, that upon gaining an 
audience with the Count de Vergennes, Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, Deane bargained with that brilliant dramatist, mer- 
chant, and politician Pierre Auguste Beaumarchais, to supply, 
through a shadowy mercantile house called Rodrique Hor- 
talez and Company, twenty-eight mortars, two hundred brass 
cannon, clothing for thirty thousand soldiers, and large quan- 
tities of small arms, ammunition, etc. All these, after many 
difficulties in eluding the watchful eye of the British minister, 
and avoiding other complications, were at last safely landed 
from three French ships at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 
early in the year 1777. Much of what appears to be Deane's 
Indiscretion and over-zealousness at this time may be for- 
given him in view of the successful accomplishment of this 
Important part of his mission. And if he did go so far as to 
suggest to the committee of secret correspondence the en- 



gagement of "a great general of the highest character in 
Europe, such for instance as Prince Ferdinand, Marshal 
Broglie" as commander-in-chief of the American army, we 
must remember that it is to Deane that we owe the final ar- 
rangement and agreement with the Marquis de Lafayette. 

The career of Deane, from the days of the Ticonderoga 
expedition of 1775, of which we have found him an active 
promoter, to his death in voluntary exile and in poverty in 
1789, forms one of the saddest stories of the American Revo- 
lution. PVom an ardent patriot, he seems to have been goad- 
ed into something like treason to his country by the narrow 
and prejudiced policy of the Continental Congress of 1777, 
which failed to recognize the beneficial part of his very diffi- 
cult and arduous services, and failed to adjust his accounts, 
leaving his heirs to wait more than half a century for a final 
and partial adjustment, in 1842. That he made mistakes 
there can be no doubt, but that he was strictly honest in his 
financial transactions there is equally no doubt. Notwith- 
standing his unauthorized engagements with many French 
officers whom he induced to come to this country, it is hardly 
too much to say that he gave an impetus to the French alli- 
ance which made the treaty of March 1778 an easier task for 
the three commissioners, Franklin, Deane, and Arthur Lee, 
than it would otherwise have been. There is, of course, no 
doubt that this task would have been accomplished without 
Deane's previous influence, and in spite of Arthur Lee's ob- 
stinacy and vindictive enmity to Deane; still we may allow 
to Deane the credit of paving a portion of the way, and to 
Burgoyne's surrender the credit of paving the rest. 

Of his subsequent career but little can be said in this con- 
nection. The documents in his case fill five volumes of the 
Collections of the New York Historical Society, and occupy 



a large portion of the six volumes of Wharton's Revolution- 
ary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States. From 
all this it appears that he was embittered by the treatment he 
received, after his arduous and difficult labors. He was re- 
called by Congress from France in December 1777. His 
services, beginning with the Ticonderoga expedition, fol- 
lowed by his important work in organizing the navy, and by 
his success in obtaining from France sorely-needed stores and 
munitions of war, were all forgotten ; and a large debt justly 
due him was ignored by Congress, as we have seen. No al- 
lowance was made for the difficulties of his situation in 
France, surrounded as he was by the court intriguers and 
soldiers of fortune of the days of Louis XVI. To a mer- 
curial temperament like Deane's the treatment of Congress 
was maddening; and it is but just to credit him with the con- 
viction that such a Congress as that of 1777 could never car- 
ry the v/ar to a successful issue. And so we find him appar- 
ently pursuing a course to which it is difficult to give a better 
name than treason, as appears by the so-called "intercepted 
letters" published by Rivington in 1781, and by earlier letters 
from George III. to Lord North. Cumulative in this connec- 
tion is also a letter which he addressed to Governor Trumbull 
on the 2ist of October 178 1, before the news of the surren- 
der of Cornwallis had reached England, where Deane then 
was. In this letter he strongly advises peace at any price, and 
expresses the utmost distrust of the French alliance and its 
ultimate results. Governor Trumbull's reply is decidedly 
plain and strong, closing as it does with these words : "I will 
sooner consent to load myself, my constituents, and my pos- 
terity with a debt equal to the whole property of the country 
than to consent to a measure so detestably infamous," refer- 
ring to Deane's proposal of peace at any price. 



We can only leave the subject of Deane's unhappy career 
with the reflection that if he sinned he was sinned against, 
and that there are some mysteries in his later courses which 
have never been cleared up. 

It was during this same year, 1777, that Connecticut was 
called upon to do her full share in the final reorganization of 
the Continental army. As usual, she did her share, and .more, 
and did it promptly. It had now at last dawned upon Con- 
gress that Washington's continued demand for an army 
which it would not be necessary to reorganize once a year or 
oftener was a reasonable demand. In pursuance of this be- 
lief, it was decided to recruit a force for three years, or the 
w^ar. Of the eighty-eight regiments of infantry to be raised 
by the thirteen states, eight regiments were assigned as the 
quota of Cornccticut. Measures were taken by the Genera) 
Assembly, as early as December 1776, to induce men already 
in the ser\ice to remain until their places could be supplied. 
Committees were appointed to go at once to several of the 
posts where troops were stationed, and offer bounties and oth- 
er inducements for re-enlisting men; but the task of these 
committees was a difficult one, as the men were dissatisfied at 
remaining unpaid for more than six months, and some of 
them had been discharged before the committee arrived. By 
the influence of that sterling patriot General Wooster, niost 
of the men under his command were prevailed upon to st.iv. 
To the land bounties and pay voted by Congress for the new 
Troops of the Line to be raised, the State added other boun- 
ties and inducements, though the finances were at so low an 
ebb that the State Treasurer, John Lawrence, was obliged 
to issue urgent orders for the collection of taxes in arrears, 
and urgent appeals for the payment of taxes not yet due. 

The (juota of Connecticut in the ncwiv enlisted troops was 


filled in April 1777, by re-enlistments and recruits; and an 
additional regiment under command of Colonel Samuel B. 
Webb was adopted as Continental at about this time. Of oth- 
er enlistments, Connecticut contributed several companies to 
a regiment recruited at large under Colonel Moses Hazen, 
and about one-half of a Rhode Island regiment. Several 
companies from Connecticut were also in Colonel Seth Warn- 
er's regiment, which was accredited to New Hampshire. In 
addition to this force of infantry, largely in excess of the 
quota, Colonel Elisha Sheldon's regiment of cavalry was a 
Connecticut force, as were four companies of artillery, sever- 
al companies of "Artificers," and a majority of the men in 
the small but important corps of Sappers and Miners, who 
remained in the service, with a creditable record at York- 
town. The Wyoming valley, which was by Connecticut en- 
actment and charter rights a part of the state, should not be 
forgotten as contributing two companies of infantry. 

Summing up the enlistments in the Continental Line from 
the state at this time, we find about ten and a half regiments 
of infantry, where the quota was eight; one of cavalry, five 
companies of artillery, and the two companies from the Wy- 
oming valley. This force, or its equivalent, was kept up dur- 
ing the remainder of the war, being reorganized at White 
Plains into two brigades, and continuing this organization to 
January 178 1; having supplied by recruiting and re-cnlist- 
ment in 1780, the vacancies which were caused by the expira- 
tion of the three years' term of enlistment. 

The rendezvous for the Connecticut Continentals at the 
time of their enlistment was at Peekskill on the Hudson 
River. After the battle of Brandywine, six of these regi- 
ments were ordered to New Jersey, and reached their desti- 
nation in time to engage in the battle of Germantown, and 



the subsequent minor but severe engagements at Fort Mif- 
flin and Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania. They afterwards passed 
the terrible winter at Valley Forge, with death by starvation 
and freezing staring them in the face. To no State can re- 
lief at this time be so fully accredited as to Connecticut. 
Upon the urgent letters of Washington to Governor Trum- 
bull, stating that the army must disband unless relief could 
be sent, the Council of Safety placed in the hands of Colonel 
Henry Champion and Peter Colt the sum of two hundred 
thousand dollars for the purchase of "live beef," to be sent in 
droves to the army at Valley Forge. These droves, with the 
exception of one hundred and thirty head of cattle, which fell 
into the hands of the enemy, were safely delivered in mid- 
winter to the starving army at Valley Forge, having been 
driven some three hundred miles under the personal direc- 
tion of Colonel Henry Champion and his son Epaphroditus. 
The first installment of these cattle was devoured by the army 
in five days. 

The official record of the services of the troops of the 
Connecticut Line is so fully given, both in descriptive text 
and by annotated muster-rolls in the "Record of Connecticut 
men in the Military and Naval Service during the War of 
the Revolution," edited by Professor Henry P. Johnston, 
that it is unnecessary to give more than an outline taken from 
that valuable work. In the battle of Monmouth in June, 
1778, we find General Huntington's brigade engaged after 
the shameful retreat of Charles Lee, and Colonel Durkee of 
Connecticut commanding \'arnum's brigade in the same bat- 
tle. After this, the army moved to White Plains, N. Y., 
where a reorganization was eftected as has been stated. 
Meantime, from the autumn of 1777, the brigade under Gen- 
eral Parsons was the only Connecticut force under Putnam 


From an etchiag by H. B. Hall. 



at Peekskill. After Burgoyne's surrender, Colonel Charles 
Webb's regiment from this brigade was ordered to Pennsyl- 
vania. On the 8th of December, 1777, this regiment engaged 
in a sharp skirmish with the enemy at Whitemarsh. 

In the battle of Rhode Island, Aug. 29, 1778, Colonel 
Samuel B. Webb's regiment under Major Ebenezer Hunting- 
ton was actively engaged, as was Colonel Sherburne's Rhode 
Island regiment, one half of which was composed of Con- 
necticut men. 

For nearly a year from this time no active military oper- 
ations appear to have been within reach of any of the regi- 
ments of the Connecticut Line. They wintered at Redding 
in their native state from November 1778 to May 1779. 
In May they were ordered to the Highlands opposite West 
Point, where they remained until July 10, when Parsons' and 
Huntington's brigades were ordered to the Connecticut coast 
for defense against Tryon's raids, which devastated New Ha- 
ven, Fairfield, Norwalk, and Greenwich, at this time. As 
usual, Tryon did not wait to be attacked, but escaped with his 
fleet. Connecticut contributed a full regiment of light in- 
fantry under Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, which took 
part in the brilliant capture of Stony Point on the 15th of 


In October, the Division, following the movements of the 
enemy, was sent to the vicinity of King's Ferry, below Peeks- 
kill, and afterwards, for the winter of 1779-80, to Morris- 
town, New Jersey, where the unusually severe weather caused 
much suffering. With changes of camp to Springfield and 
Westfield, the Division remained in New Jersey until late 
in the spring of 1780, when it was once more ordered to the 
Highlands, where General Jedediah Huntington took com- 
mand, and commenced recruiting to fill the vacancies caused 



by the expiration of the term of service of the men who had 
enlisted in 1777 for three years. 

The summer was passed uneventfully, and in September 
occurred the treason of Benedict Arnold, upon the discovery 
of which Colonel Meigs' regiment was sent, with others, at 
once to West Point, to meet any movements of the enemy 
which might be made as a result of Arnold's treachery. 

This season the Division went into winter quarters in 
the Highlands, at a point near Robinson's Farm, which they 
christened "Connecticut Village." In June 178 i they were 
ordered to Peekskill, and in July to Dobbs' Ferry, to co- 
operate in the beginning of that great movement which had 
its crowning victory in the surrender of Cornwallis at York- 
town. It so happened, however, that Washington took with 
him from this encampment at Dobbs' Ferry only a portion 
of the Continental Army. Ten of the thirty-six companies 
of Connecticut men in the new formation of 1781 were with 
Lafayette, though these ten companies served in newly formed 
regiments under Colonels Gimat, Scammell, and Alexander 
Hamilton, none of whom were Connecticut men. These com- 
panies saw service in Lafayette's brilliant Virginia campaign, 
and in the subsequent siege of Yorktown. 

Besides Connecticut's active ser\ice in the Continental 
Army, which has been thus briefly outlined, the militia of the 
state, which was constantly kept up to its quota, performed 
similar service from 1777 to 178 1. Within the borders of 
the state we have seen them engaged in the defense of Dan- 
bury, and we shall find them also engaged in home defense at 
New Haven, P'airfield, and Norwalk, in 1779, and notably 
in the Groton massacre of September 1781, not to mention 
various coast guard duties and alarm services. Outside of 
their own State, they continued, as in 1776, to reinforce and 



co-operate with the Continentals. Early in 1777, three 
regiments of militia from General Erastus Wolcott's bri- 
gade were sent to Peekskill to fill the gap occasioned by the 
delay in the arrival of new recruits, and remained for about 
two months. In the northern army, Colonels Jonathan Lati- 
mer and Thaddeus Cook each commanded a regiment of 
Connecticut militia which saw active service in the battles 
of Bemis' Heights and Saratoga, and suffered more losses in 
the first of these battles than any other two regiments, win- 
ning high commendations from the commanding officer. In 
this same campaign, too, three hundred volunteers from the 
militia, upon the call of General Oliver Wolcott; went to the 
front, arriving in time for the battle of Saratoga. Co-operat- 
ing in this same campaign. General Gold Selleck Silliman's 
brigade reinforced Putnam on the Hudson in October, 1777. 

Colonel Obadiah Johnson's regiment appears on duty in 
Rhode Island during January and February of 1778; and 
at the time of the battle of Rhode Island in August, 1778, we 
find two regiments of Connecticut militia in the service under 
Colonels Samuel Chapman and Samuel McClellan. Dur- 
ing the same month. Colonel Roger Enos' regiment is found 
on the Hudson. 

It is, perhaps, enough to say of the military service that 
Connecticut's quota was constantly filled, either by regu- 
larly enlisted forces in the Continental Line, or by forces 
drawn from the State Militia to fill temporary vacancies in 
the regular quota, or to meet emergencies which, at certain 
times, could be more promptly met by sending detachments 
from the militia. With the exception of service in the ex- 
treme South, to which, as it happens, no Connecticut troops 
were assigned, we find them in active service in various fields 


and campaigns throughout the entire war, and always ac- 
quitting themselves well. 



Naval Affairs in Connecticut 

OF the share of Connecticut In the navy of the 
Revolution, it is impossible to speak as. ac- 
curately as of the military service. From the 
nature of the case, the Continental Navy was 
not, and could not be, as thoroughly organ- 
ized as the Continental Army; and for that reason, if for no 
other, the records of naval service are incomplete, confusing, 
and sometimes contradictory. A newly born nation like our 
United States of 1777 was able, from its own internal re- 
sources, as we have seen, to organize an army which could, 
under the leadership of Washington, achieve and carry to a 
successful issue the great military campaigns of the Revolu- 
tion. The importance of such a home navy as we were able 
to equip has never been fully appreciated. And in the equip- 
ment of this home navy, the share of Connecticut is only 
mentioned very casually by historians. The contributions 
of the state to this branch of the service may be rather rough- 
ly divided into three classes: — the privateers, the State ves- 
sels, and the vessels of the Continental Navy. 

The captures made indiscriminately by Connecticut ves- 
sels of all these three classes in the year 1777 amounted in 
value, according to the estimate of Isaac W. Stuart, to not 
less than £200,000 sterling, or about $1,000,000. The dis- 
tribution of prize-money to the officers and crews was very 
liberal, being one-half the net value of the captured vessels 
and cargoes. None the less, however, did these prizes con- 
tribute to the resources of the State; for both vessels and 
cargoes were bought whenever it was possible by the State. 
It sometimes happened to be necessary, however, to bring the 
prizes into the harbors of other states, in which case they 
were usually sold where they lay to avoid the risk of re-cap- 
ture, the proceeds, however, forming a contribution to the 



common cause. The services of privateers, State vessels, and 
Continental vessels appear to have been quite similar. Mer- 
chant vessels of the enemy were of course the legitimate prey 
of all classes, and in the capture of such prizes our cruisers 
were constantly encountering British privateers and ships of 
the line. Often, too, transports with armed convoys of the 
enemy were encountered, and many prisoners taken. 

The Connecticut Navy, especially in the early days of the 
war, was a motley fleet, composed of boats and shipping of 
all classes and rigs from whaleboats to frigates, recruited and 
collected from the merchant marine, from prizes taken from 
the enemy, and from such vessels as could be built in the 
times when the resources of the State were strained to the ut- 
most to supply the needs of the army. It must be remembered 
however, that the industry of shipbuilding was one in which 
the people had engaged quite extensively in colonial times, 
and that many of our men were followers of the sea by in- 
heritance and by choice. No doubt, in the building of ships 
they found themselves much hampered by the lack of iron 
work, rigging, and armaments which had formerly been sup- 
plied by the mother country. But early in the war, we find 
the iron works of Benjamin Williams and Ebenezer Backus 
supplying a part of this deficiency, the foundry at Salisbury 
making cannons and balls for the armaments of the vessels 
then building, and Jam^^ Tilley manufacturing cordage. 

In 1777, two frigates were built in Connecticut for the 
Continental Navy. One of these, a ship or frigate of twenty- 
eight guns, was built at Chatham on the Connecticut River, 
and was called the Trumbull. This vessel was manned most- 
ly by New London sailors, and was commanded by Dudley 
Saltonstall of New London. The other Continental \essel, 
the Confederacy, had an armament of thirty-six guns, and 



was built on the Thames River at Brewster's Neck, a few 
miles below Norwich. Captain Seth Harding, formerly of 
the State naval service, was placed in command. 

Neither of these vessels can be said to be, according to 
nautical parlance, "lucky." The Trumbull, in June 1780, en- 
gaged the British ship Williamson, or Watt, of thirty-six guns, 
in a fight lasting nearly three hours, which proved to be one of 
the bloodiest and fiercest sea-fights of the war. The Trum- 
bull was dismasted, and would have been an easy prey for her 
antagonist, had not she also been so disabled that she was 
obliged to withdraw, with a loss of ninety-two men in killed 
and wounded, the loss of the Trumbull being thirty-nine men. 
This ship was afterwards forced to surrender to two British 
men-of-war, the Iris and the General Monk, which vessels 
overtook her in a disabled condition, after a storm. 

Even less fortunate was the larger Connecticut-built ves- 
sel, the Confederacy. On her first cruise, her masts were lost, 
one by one, and she put in at Martinque with six feet of 
water in the hold. After being refitted, the first ship of the 
enemy which the Confederacy encountered was a seventy-four 
ship of the line, accompanied by a frigate, to which vastly 
superior force she was obliged to surrender. 

Of the vessels built or bought and fitted out by direction 
of the General Assembly or Council of Safety, and placed 
in commission under direction of the State, the following im- 
perfect but carefully revised list will give some indications : 

America, brig, Captain John Mott. 

Crane, row galley. Captain Jehiel Tinker, built at East 
Haddam in 1777. 

Defence, ship. Captain Seth Harding, Captain Samuel 
Smedley, built at Essex in 1776 ; lengthened and ship-rigged, 



Dolphin, sloop (prize), Captain Robert Niles, 1777. 

Fanny, sloop. Captain Whittlesey, 1777. 

Guilford, sloop (prize). Captain William Nott, name 
changed from "Mars." 

Guinea Man, ship (prize), , captured, 


Hancock, ship (prize), Manly, formerly brig 


Minerva, brig. Captain Giles Hall, chartered by State; 
afterwards privateer. 

Nancy, brig (prize), , on record, 1777. 

New Defence, row galley. Captain Samuel Barker, built 
at Branford, 1779. 

Old Defence, brig. Captain Daniel Deshon, Captain Wil- 
liam Coit, built at Saybrook, 1776. Largest state vessel. 

Oliver Cromwell, ship. Captain Seth Harding, Captain 
Timothy Parker. 

Putnam, ship. Captain Thomas Allen. Continental? 

Resistance, brig, Captain Samuel Chew. 

Schuyler, schooner. Captain Hawley. 

Shark, row galley. Captain Theodore Stanton, built at 
Norwich, 1776. 

Spy, schooner. Captain Robert Niles, formerly Britannia, 
bought, 1776. 

Whiting, row galley. Captain John McCleave, built at 
New Haven, 1776. 

Of the privateers fitted out in Connecticut, Admiral George 
F. Emmons compiled a list, revised by Mr. Thomas S. Col- 
lier, making a total of 202 vessels, carrying 1,609 guns and 
7,754 men. I'his list is confessedly imperfect, as it contains 
among other inaccuracies the Schooner Spy, which by the 
official record was the Schooner Britannia, bought by the 



State and renamed. The list also contains the galleys Crane 
and Shark, which were built by the State. Doubtless, too, 
the inaccuracies of the recording landsmen of the day gave 
us for one vessel several of the same name, called sometimes 
a ship, sometimes a sloop, or by any other designating class 
name which would answer the recorder's purpose. Thus we 
have three Chathams, a ship, a boat, and a sloop; two 
Eagles, a schooner and a sloop ; and the Continental frigate 
Governor Trumbull appears in the list as a privateer under 
command of Captain Dudley Saltonstall. 

It is impossible within the present limits to trace the 
cruises and exploits of our State vessels and privateers. A 
few typical or leading instances must suffice. 

Among the State vessels, one of the smallest was the lit- 
tle Schooner Spy, of about fifty tons burden. The name was 
probably given to this vessel to signify the service she was 
expected to perform, by coasting along the Long Island shore 
and elsewhere, detecting illicit trade with the enemy, mak- 
ing such captures and gaining such information as chance 
might throw in her way. One of the former appears to 
have been the Sloop Dolphin, of eighty tons, which vessel 
was placed for a time in command of Captain Robert Niles, 
her captor. Captain Niles was restored to the Spy during the 
following year for a very important service, the carrying to 
Paris of an officially confirmed copy of the treaty of aUiance 
with France. Of the six vessels undertaking this service, she 
was the only one which escaped capture, possibly for the rea- 
son that it seemed impossible to the enemy that so small a 
vessel would cross the Atlantic as an American war-vessel. 
In the records of the Council of Safety for July 1779, we 

"Cap. Niles came in having arrived home last Saturday 


after having been twice captured &:c. — gave an account of his 
voyage &c. — arrived at Paris in 27 days after he sailed, 
which was beginning June, 1778, and delivered his mail to 
Dr. Franklin, containing the ratification by Congress of the 
Treaty with France, being the first account he had received 
of that event, which was greatly satisfactory to him and the 
French ministry and nation in general &c." 

It appears from this and other records that the Spy, hav- 
ing fulfilled her mission, was captured by the British; as a 
newspaper item of April 15, 1779, mentions the arrival from 
New York of "Mr. Mortimer, late mate of the Schooner 
Spy," having come from England as a seaman, and having 
escaped upon his arri\al in New York. The voyage of the 
Spy across the Atlantic was remarkably short for so small 
a vessel, being reported as twenty-one days from Stonington 
to Brest. 

More fortunate than the two Continental frigates built in 
Connecticut were the two State ships Defence and Oliver 
Cromwell, also built in the State. Within a month from the 
beginning of her first cruise, the Defence under Captain Seth 
Harding captured three transports, with three hundred and 
thirty-two officers and men of General Frazier's regiment of 
Highlanders. Two of these transports, an armed ship and 
an armed brig, were captured in one engagement on the 17th 
of June, 1776, at Nantasket, their capture forming a fitting 
celebration of the first anniversary of Bunker Hill. The 
other transport was captured on the following day. The 
loss of the enemy in these engagements Is reported as eighteen 
killetl, and many wounded. Nine men of the Defence were 
wounded, but none killed. The ship was so badly damaged 
in the engagement, however, that she was obliged to put in at 
New London to refit. 



During the following September, the Defence captured the 
ship John of two hundred tons, with a valuable cargo of 
sugar, rum, and cotton ; also the ship then or afterwards 
called the Guineaman, which will be found in the list as pre- 
sumably in the service of the State after her capture. In Jan- 
uary 1777, during the illness of Captain Harding, Lieutenant 
Samuel Smedley was placed in command of the Defence, 
and captured during his cruise the snow Swift, the schooner 
Anna, and the bark Lydia. He also captured in the follow- 
ing April a "West Indiaman" called the Grog. In the fol- 
lowing May Captain Smedley received his commission as 
permanent commander of the Defence, Captain Harding 
having been transferred to the Oliver Cromwell. About this 
time the Defence was lengthened and changed from a brig 
to a ship. Her original tonnage having been two hundred 
and sixty, the change must have made her a formidable ship 
for the times. 

She sailed from Boston in March 1778; and not long 
afterward. In company with the Oliver Cromwell, captured, 
after a sharp engagement, the British war vessels Admiral 
Keppel and Cygnus, the latter being the prize of the Defence. 
In the following March this ship met an untimely end by 
shipwreck, in which her guns and most of her stores were 

The ship Oliver Cromwell, of twenty guns, was built at 
Saybrook in 1776; but owing to difficulties with the crew, 
her first cruise did not begin until May 1777, with Captain 
Seth Harding in command, and Timothy Parker as first lieu- 
tenant. In this cruise, the prizes were the brig Weymouth, 
sixteen guns, taken for State service under the name Han- 
cock, and the brig Honor, a prize which, with the cargo, 
sold for $53,000. 



In the following May, during a cruise of only twelve days, 
the Cromwell captured four prizes and sixty prisoners. On 
the 5th of the following June she encountered the British 
frigate Daphne. A sharp engagement of two hours ensued, 
in the course of which the mainmast of the Cromwell was 
shot away. At this juncture a British war vessel came to the 
asistance of the Daphne, and the Cromwell w^as forced to sur- 
render. Captain Parker and many of his men were confined 
in the prison ship Jersey, from which it is reported that Cap- 
tain Parker made his escape on the ice during the following 
severe winter. 

Of the exploits of the privateers, it is perhaps enough to 
say that they were hardly inferior to the exploits of the 
Continental and State vessels. They were, however, as a 
rule, not as well manned or equipped as the other classes of 
vessels, and there is no doubt that the hope of securing rich 
prizes was a strong incentive to the daring and adventurous 
cruises which they undertook. 

The most brilliant record of privateer service to be found 
is that of the sloop Beaver, carrying twelve three-pounders 
and sixty-five men. Under command of Captain Dodge, she 
had a narrow escape from being captured in May 1778, by a 
British frigate w^hich chased her into the harbor of New 
London. We do not hear of her again until March 1779, 
when, under command of Captain William Havens, she 
cruised in company with the ship Hancock, Captain Elisha 
Hinman commander, and assisted in capturing the British 
privateer brig Bellona of sixteen guns, the sloop Lady Ers- 
kine of ten guns, "and several other vessels from a fleet from 
New York, convoyed by the Thames frigate of thirty-six 
guns." Later in the same month, while the Beaver lay in 
New London undergoing repairs, a British fleet was descried 



near the entrance to the harbor. Hastily bending sails and 
adjusting rigging, Captain Havens gathered some fifty vol- 
unteers, and set sail toward the British fleet, in the guise of 
a merchant vessel. The ruse succeeded in drawing an armed 
British vessel to pursue him ; and when the pursuer had ap- 
proached within easy range, the twelve three-pounders of 
the Beaver were suddenly unmasked and brought to bear 
upon the British vessel, which soon struck her colors, and was 
brought into New London as the prize of the Beaver, Nine 
prizes were captured by this vessel, taken either in company 
with other vessels, or by the Beaver alone ; and in the record 
of her service which Mr. Thomas S. Collier has traced, we 
find occasional mention of several unnamed prizes which 
should be placed to her credit. 

It was not only in the prizes actually captured that the 
naval service of Connecticut was important. The coast of 
the State was continually infested with British vessels and 
fleets passing through Long Island Sound, at first with a feel- 
ing of security in the belief that such a thing as an American 
war vessel was either an impossibility or a farce; but later 
with far more caution, in view of the exploits of the American 
war vessels and their increasing number. We have seen, 
too, that the naval service of Connecticut extended to all 
parts of the world where a British fleet could be encountered, 
or successful cruises of any kind could be undertaken. It is 
safe to say that during the war no fewer than two hundred 
and fifty armed vessels of various classes were fitted out in 
this little State for naval service. Their fortunes, of course, 
were varied ; but the moral effect which they produced as a 
factor in defensive and offensive warfare has never been fully 

This moral effect, too, was considerably enhanced by the 


ingenuity of David Bushnell of Saybrook, to whose mechan- 
ical skill is due the invention of one of the first marine torpe- 
does, if not the very first, known to naval warfare. It cannot 
be said that this invention, regarded as it probably was at the 
time, as the device of a '"crank," was successful in destroying 
vessels of the enemy. It was successful in creating conster- 
nation among them, however, as in the case of the British 
frigate Cerberus, whose crew, seeing a line to which one of 
these torpedoes was attached floating in the water, cautiously 
pulled in the machine to which the line was attached, and 
found it to be one of Bushnell's "American turtles," weigh- 
ing some four hundred pounds, which exploded on the deck 
of the Cerberus, and it is reported to have killed several men. 
And in the case of Lord Howe's flagship, the Eagle, against 
which another of Bushnell's turtles was directed, the machine 
narrowly missed the ship, exploding nearby with a tremen- 
dous report, and sending "a vast column of water to an 
amazing height," so that the British fleet near the Battery 
at New York prudently withdrew to a safer anchorage. 

This torpedo has also furnished inspiration to one of 
the poets of the Revolution, Francis Hopkinson, whose well- 
known ballad, "The Battle of the Kegs," continues to live, 
and will probably live long in the literature of the time. 

The inventor, David Bushnell, was very favorably re- 
garded by Governor Trumbull, who recommended him to 
Washington, from whom he received a prominent appoint- 
ment in the corps of Sappers and Miners, doing good service 
at Yorktown. 


Warfare on Connecticut Soil 

ALTHOUGH the military and naval service of 
Connecticut was, as we have seen, performed 
almost entirely on other soils and In other 
waters than her own, she had already suffered 
from and repulsed Tryon's raid on Danbury, 
and was soon to suffer from other marauding expeditions 
under the same leader. But the culmination of her suffering 
lay In the fact that two of the most horrible and cruel mas- 
sacres which the annals of the Revolution record were en- 
acted on Connecticut soil. These were the Wyoming massa- 
cre and the Groton massacre. 

It Is unnecessary to say more than has already been said In 
the earlier chapters of this history regarding the proprietor- 
ship of Connecticut In the Wyoming valley. In the days of 
the Revolution, Westmoreland, now In Pennsylvania, was by 
charter rights, by legislative enactment, and still more by ac- 
tual settlement, first a part of Litchfield County, and after- 
wards a separate county of this State, with due representa- 
tion In the General Assembly. It was Connecticut soil at 
this time, whatever It may be now. After the struggles for 
maintaining possession In the earlier days, we find that in 
1776 troubles arose from Tory Interlopers from New York, 
who were dealt with after the customary fashion of the State 
In such cases; and from prying Pennsylvanlas who settled 
among the Connecticut people with a view to gaining a foot- 
hold and defeating the claims of the original settlers. At this 
time these settlers had sent from their twenty-five hundred 
inhabitants two full companies which joined the Continental 
army, thus drawing from the population of Wyoming, or 
Westmoreland, nearly all the most serviceable men, and leav- 
ing the valley an easy prey to the invader. Sharing In more 
than due proportion in the heavy taxation Imposed by the 



State, the people were sadly impoverished, and the fortifica- 
tions so much needed in 1778 were built by volunteers who 
received no wages for their labor. In the spring of 1778, 
the situation was alarming. These Connecticut settlers were 
surrounded on all sides by enemies impelled by various rno- 
tives to wreak vengeance upon them. Their Pennsylvania 
neighbors were certainly hostile to them at all times; and in 
New York there were many Tories who had been expelled 
from the settlement, and who were, for that reason, only too 
ready and eager to aid in an attack on Wyoming. To the 
Indians, too, who had already met rebuffs in this section, 
Wyoming stood not only as a tempting prey, but as a barrier 
to the German settlements beyond the Blue Ridge, which 
were also a tempting field for Indian depredations. At this 
time, all these enemies — British, Tories, and Indians — had 
combined under command of Colonel John Butler, to the 
number of about twelve hundred; and the months of May 
and June 1778 witnessed much cautious scouting, with a view- 
to a final attack. 

The two companies from Wyoming, now consolidated in 
one company serving in New Jersey, were sadly needed for 
the defense of their homes. Appeals to Congress for their 
return from the field were disregarded, and as soon as tidings 
reached them that their homes were threatened with an at- 
tack, all the officers resigned and came home at once, ac- 
companied by about thirty of the men, who, if not fur- 
loughed, may be credited with honorable desertion. As if in 
derision of the people, Congress had gravely issued an order 
to this little community to raise, arm, and equip a company 
of men for their own defense — an unnecessary enactment for 
a Connecticut county, as the organization of militia was as 
well perfected here as in other parts of the State, and was 



only limited and hampered by the lack of men of military 
age. But now military age was disregarded, for every man 
and boy who could bear arms volunteered for the defense 
of their homes. 

Home forces to the number of about three hundred were 
thus hastily mustered from the enrolled militia, and from 
old men, boys, and men of peace who volunteered. Colonel 
Zebulon Butler was placed in command. He was well fitted 
for the position, having had twenty years' experience in the 
military service of this State, and being at the time Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel of the Third Connecticut Regiment of the Con- 
tinental Line. 

On the 30th of June the enemy had concentrated forces at 
the head of the Wyoming valley, and were given possession 
of Fort Wintermoot by its Tory occupant. On the same day a 
stockade called Fort Jenkins was easily taken from its gar- 
rison of ten old men. This garrison had consisted of seven- 
teen men, of whom four had been killed and three made pris- 
oners on their return from their work in the field on the same 
day. Meanwhile the news of the invasion had spread through- 
out the valley, and the settlers, including women and children, 
flocked to the nearest forts or stockades for protection. The 
largest of these was called Forty Fort, a name commemo- 
rating the number of the original settlers. On the morning 
of July 3d a demand was made to surrender this fort, and 
the entire valley, to Colonel John Butler and his motley 
array of British and Tory soldiers and Indians. After a 
council of war, it was decided not only to refuse to surrender, 
but to commence an aggressive movement at once; though 
in this latter decision Colonels Zebulon Butler, Nathan Deni- 
son, and George Dorrance did not concur, believing that de- 



lay might bring reinforcements to the handful of men under 
their command. 

The council of war having decided upon the desperate 
expedient of an attack, Colonel Zebulon Butler lost no time 
in stationing his little force in the best possible position near 
Fort Wintermoot, and in opening fire upon the enemy, ad- 
vancing with each volley. This advance appeared to cause 
the enemy's forces to fall back, but this movement on their 
part was doubtless a ruse to lure the devoted Wyoming men 
to their own destruction; for in following up this supposed 
advantage they soon found themselves exposed to a galling 
fire from the Seneca Indians on their right flank, which was 
completely surrounded. Colonel Denison's order to wheel 
and front the enemy was misunderstood or disregarded, and 
a retreat and rout at once began. The Indians, adding to 
their deadly aim in the attack the weird, ominous yell of the 
war-whoop, now started in hot pursuit of the fugitives, giv- 
ing no quarter, and gathering a harvest of scalps for which 
they are said to have been rewarded at the rate of ten dol- 
lars each by the British. The American officers behaved with 
great bravery, every captain who led a company into the 
action having been killed at the head of his company. Two 
field officers. Colonel George Dorrance and Major John Gar- 
rett, were added to the roll of honor. This short and des- 
perate light against overwhelming odds resulted in a loss of 
one hundred and eighty-two Americans, whose names are 
recorded on the Wyoming monument. The loss of the 
enemy has never been ascertained by historians, but was com- 
paratively slight. 

The Indians to whose account stands the record of murders 
and tortures which followed the battle were mostly, if not en- 
tirely, of the Seneca tribe of the Six Nations, under the lead- 



ership of Sayenguaraghton, or Old Chief. The contem- 
porary accounts, followed by historians down to a very re- 
cent date, insist that Brant was the leader of the Indians in 
this affair; but his own denial, as well as documentary evi- 
dence published for the first time in 1889, bears out the state- 
ment that "Old Chief," whose name antiquarians have found 
spelled in twenty-seven different ways, commanded the In- 
dian forces at this time. His command appears to have been 
almost if not entirely independent of the leader. Colonel John 
Butler, upon whom, however, rests the responsibility of at- 
taching to his forces a band of Indians whose savage in- 
stincts could not be restrained. Of the scenes which fol- 
lowed the battle, it is unnecessary to speak. Those who were 
killed on the field were fortunate when compared with those 
who were taken alive and reserved for the fate devised by 
the old Indian hag. Queen Esther, who is said to have slain 
with her own hands sixteen of these hapless victims. It is 
enough to say that the prisoners of war who, to a large num- 
ber, fell into the hands of the Indians after the battle, were 
subjected to all the cruelties and tortures which Indian inge- 
nuity could devise, and that plunder and the destruction of 
the dwellings of the settlers followed. 

Although it does not appear that any women or children 
were killed by the Indians at this time or during the week of 
terror and destruction which followed the surrender, the fate 
of many of the survivors was hardly less pitiful than that of 
their husbands and protectors who fell in battle or died in tor- 
ture. A panic seized the survivors, who were mostly 
widowed women and orphaned children, and a precipitate 
flight through the surrounding wilderness began. With their 
homes in ashes or in the hands of the Indians, these poor 
people fled without provisions for their long march, and in 



continual dread of the savage enemy, whose devilish instincts 
were aroused to the full by the sight of blood and slaughter, 
and the consciousness of victory. Captain John PVanklin, 
who had arrived on the night of the third of July, just after 
the battle, with thirty-five men, despatched a messenger to 
Wilkesbarre on the morning of the fourth, who soon re- 
turned, reporting that the only safety was in flight, that every 
passage through the surrounding swamp was crowded with 
fugitives, and that there were in one company about one 
hundred women and children with but one man, Jonathan 
Fitch, to protect or advise them. Most of these unfortunates 
had come from within the present limits of Connecticut, and 
knew of no safe abiding place until they could reach their 
former homes. Their sufl^erings for lack of food and shelter 
can be but faintly imagined. Children were born, and chil- 
dren and aged women died, on the way. The kind aid and 
comfort which these refugees received from the few German 
families along their route should never be forgotten. Much 
suffering was alleviated, and doubtless many lives saved, 
through the instrumentality of these kindly people. 

Many of the refugees reached their early homes once more, 
bereft of their all, excepting only the devastated farms they 
had left behind them in the beautiful Wyoming valley, three 
hundred miles away. And many a boy as he approached 
man's estate, with here and there a grown man who had 
survived the massacre, returned with true Connecticut grit 
and fixedness of purpose, to reclaim the desolated farms, and 
face the dangers which had grown thicker in his absence. 

Late in this same year, 1778, General Putnam, who, since 
we left him at White Plains in 1776, had been in command 
at Philadelphia, and later in the Highlands of the Hudson 
River, was placed in command of three brigades, which under 



a new arrangement were stationed in Connecticut near Dan- 
bury, the principal encampment being at Redding. The ob- 
ject of this disposition of forces was "the protection of the 
country lying along the Sound, to cover our magazines lying 
on the Connecticut River, and to aid the Highlands on any 
serious movement of the enemy that way." 

Winter had begun when the camp was completed and occu- 
pied. In the leisure and inactivity of their winter quarters, 
the soldiers had ample time to reflect on their deprivations 
and to long for the comforts of home. There is no doubt 
that they suffered from lack of blankets and clothing, and 
that they were no better fed than they should be. Their pay, 
too, was irregular, and the little Continental money they 
received was fast losing its purchasing power. On the 30th 
of December, the men of Huntington's brigade assembled 
under arms, and declared their intention of marching to Hart- 
ford to present their grievances to the General Assembly. 
Putnam's tact and personal magnetism were equal to the oc- 
casion, serious though it was. He addressed the men in a few 
pointed, spirited words, which General Humphreys has pre- 
served for us in substance if not verbatim, after which they 
cheerfully obeyed the order to shoulder arms and march 
back to their quarters; and thus the affair ended. 

Late in the following February Governor Tryon attempted 
a border raid on Connecticut for the purpose of destroying 
the salt works in and about Greenwich, which formed an im- 
portant source of supply to the Continentals. On the morn- 
ing of the 26th, he appeared at New Rochelle, with a force 
of about fifteen hundred men. This force was discovered by 
Captain Titus Hosmer,who rode post-haste to Horseneck and 
gave the alarm to the small force of outposts at that place. 
Putnam happened to be in a house in the vicinity. Traditions 


vary, as usual in the case of Putnam, as to the house ; but the 
weight of evidence appears to designate a tavern, kept at the 
time by Israel Knapp. Wherever the General may have been 
when the alarm reached him, he rushed Putnam-like to his 
men, and at once formed his little force of one hundred and 
fifty on the "hill by the meeting-house." The enemy, with 
a force outnumbering the Americans ten to one, advanced, 
and after discharging some old field pieces and giving them 
"a small fire of musketry," Putnam's men retreated to avoid 
capture. Here occurred a famous episode, spirited pictures 
of which still embellish our school histories. As Putnam 
spurred towards Stamford for reinforcements, he soon found 
himself pursued by several British dragoons who fast gained 
upon him. After a chase of a quarter of a mile, with one of 
the pursuers within two lengths of him, he sharply turned his 
horse from the road, and made for the brow of a steep decliv- 
ity near by, down which he forced his horse at full gallop. 
The dragoons reined in their horses as the old hero dashed 
down the precipice, not daring to follow, but discharging 
their pistols at the fugitive, who escaped unhurt, though the 
escape was narrow, as a bullet pierced his military cap. It is 
said that Tryon on his return made him a present of a new 
cap or chapeau, some historians going so far as to state that 
the present was an entire uniform. He pursued his way to 
Stamford, and returned as soon as possible with reinforce- 
ments; but the enemy, as usual in expeditions under Tryon's 
command, had disappeared, having destroyed the salt works, 
pillaged houses at Greenwich, and committed other depreda- 

It is quite probable that Tryon's activity in raiding Con- 
necticut during this year 1779 was due, in great measure, to a 
reply he had received from Governor Trumbull to the pro- 



posal of Lord North's conciliatory plan, which Tryon under- 
took to negotiate in Connecticut. Gov^ernor Trumbull's let- 
ter reads as follows : 

"April 23d, 1778. Sir. Your letter of the 17th instant, 
from New York, is received with its enclosures, and the sev- 
eral similar packets of various addresses with which it was ac- 

"Propositions of peace are usually made from the supreme 
authority of one contending power to the similar authority of 
the other; and the present is the first instance within my 
recollection, where a vague, half blank, and very indefinite 
draft of a bill, once only read before one of three bodies of 
the Legislature of the Nation, has ever been addressed to the 
people at large of the opposite power, as an overture of 

"There was a day when even this step, from our then ac- 
knowledged parent State, might have been accepted with joy 
and gratitude; but this day, Sir, is past irrevocably. The 
repeated, insolent rejection of our sincere and sufficiently 
humble petitions; the unbrooked commencement of hostili- 
ties ; the barbarous inhumanity which has marked the prose- 
cution of the war on your part in its several stages; the inso- 
lence which displays itself on every petty advantage; the 
cruelties which have been exercised on those unhappy men 
whom the fortune of war has thrown into your hands; all 
these are insuperable bars to the very idea of concluding a 
peace with Great Britain on any other conditions than the 
most perfect and absolute independence. To the Congress of 
the United States of America, therefore, all proposals of this 
kind are to be addressed; and you will give me leave, Sir, to 
say, that the present mode bears too much the marks of an 
insidious design to disunite the people, and lull them into a 



state of quietude and negligence of the necessary preparations 
for the approaching campaign. If this be the real design, it 
is fruitless. If peace be really the object, let your proposals 
be addressed properly to the proper power, and your nego- 
tiations be honorably conducted; and we shall then have 
some prospect of (what is the most ardent wish of every 
honest American,) a lasting and honorable peace. 

"The British nation may then, perhaps, find us affectionate 
and valuable friends, as we are now determined and fatal 
enemies; and will derive from that friendship more solid and 
real advantage than the most sanguine can expect from con- 

Tryon's border raid at Horseneck was the beginning of a 
series of wanton attacks on Connecticut, such as might be 
expected of a leader who in the brutal affair of the Regula- 
tors had acquired the name of "the wolf of North Carolina," 
and who seemed bent on sustaining the reputation which the 
name implied, and adapting it to more northern latitudes. 

On the 5th of July, as the people of New Haven were 
preparing to celebrate the third anniversary of American in- 
dependence, he appeared off West Haven with a fleet of forty 
vessels with the purpose of invading their peaceful homes. 
The naval commander of this fleet was Sir George Collier, 
who appears to have been responsible for little if anything 
beyond the transportation of the troops. Hjs name, however, 
is coupled with Tryon's in a proclamation in which they 
jointly declare indemnity to all who peacefully occupy their 
homes during the invasion, and to civil and military officers 
who "give proofs of their penitence and voluntary submis- 

In the early morning, the Division of General George 
Garth, who was second in comnKuul, laiulcd at West Haven. 



The number of men in this division was, according to varying 
contemporary estimates, eight hundred to twelve hundred. 
The number under Tryon's command was probably about 
tvv'clve hundred. This force landed later in the morning at 
East Haven. The people of New Haven were taken com- 
pletely by surprise, but hastily mustered volunteers and 
militia to the number of about one hundred and fifty men 
under Colonel Hezekiah Sabin, jr., who went forward at 
once to oppose and harass General Garth's advance from 
West Haven. Among the New Haven volunteers was a 
small company of young men, mostly college students, under 
Captain James Hillhouse, jr., who appear to have been first 
in engaging the enemy, firing upon them at Milford Hill. 
The disparity of numbers prevented anything like a general 
engagement, but the galling fire which was kept up harassed 
the enemy on their march, and caused them some losses. 
Among the killed was Adjutant Campbell, a very popular 
young British officer. On the side of the Americans the loss 
of Captain John Hotchkiss fully offset the loss of Adjutant 
Campbell. During General Garth's march to New Haven, 
the fast increasing number of defenders of their homes 
caused more and more trouble, compelling him to abandon 
his original line of march, and proceed by a more circuitous 
route along the Derby road. Near the Derby bridge a hot 
encounter occurred, in which a number of prisoners were 
taken from the enemy. Again, at the entrance to New 
Haven there was fierce fighting, with a number killed on 
both sides. At last Garth's division entered the town after 
a march of eight hours, during which he had been continually 
harassed by our hastily mustered forces. His men were now 
ripe for plunder, murder, and rapine, and at once began their 
fiendish work. From the affidavits of sufferers which appear 



in the State Records of Connecticut, we may learn of rob- 
beries and rapes of defenseless women, the murder of two 
aged men, Benjamin English and Nathan Beers, during a 
reign of terror which goes far to blacken the record of the 
British and Hessian soldiers of the Revolution. 

Tryon effected a landing on the east side of the harbor 
towards noon of the same day, and with his twelve hundred 
men or more, and the assistance of a cannonade from the fleet, 
succeeded in silencing Fort Hale with its armament of three 
guns and its garrison of nineteen men, after a brave and stub- 
born resistance, in which the garrison finally spiked the guns 
and retreated. Before beginning this military exploit, the 
handsome residence of Captain Amos Morris had been 
burned by Tryon's men, perhaps as a specimen of the im- 
munitv v/hich his proclamation promised. On his march to 
the commanding position known as Beacon Hill, he met with 
a reception in the afternoon similar to that which Garth had 
met in the morning.. The handful of militia and others who 
had gathered to resist the invader, harassed the enemy in 
true Lexington fashion, and inflicted and received some losses. 
A bronze tablet on Beacon Hill commemorates the defense of 
New Haven at this point, a defense as stubborn and brave 
as the annals of the Revolution can show, when the disparity 
of numbers is considered. 

As usual in such marauding expeditions, the invading sol- 
diers gave themselves up to drunken rioting. The contem- 
porary diary of Dr. Ezra Stiles relates that on the next morn- 
ing "those fit for duty ( for they had been very drunk) crossed 
the ferry and joined Gov. Tryon's Corps or Division on 
Beacon Hill half a mile from the water." At this time four 
regiments of militia were coming to the rescue, and were 
placed in command of General Andrew Ward, who had 



directed the defensive movement of the previous day. These 
four regiments mustered about one thousand men, and proved 
sufficient to cause Tryon and his twenty-five hundred men to 
seek safety in flight, as usual in such cases. They embarked 
at once on board their ships in search of a safer field for 
their depredations, having burned at New Haven only a 
few warehouses and vessels. 

The casualties of the Americans at New Haven were 
tvv^enty-three killed and nineteen wounded. From Tryon's 
official report, taken for what it is worth, the loss of the in- 
vaders was nine killed, forty wounded, and twenty-five miss- 
ing. The proportion of wounded to killed among the Amer- 
icans as compared with the British a_ppears to support the 
statement that practically no quarter was given to the Ameri- 
cans who were wounded. 

On the morning of July 8th, Tryon with his Hessians and 
British appeared at Fairfield. Repeating the programme of 
the attack on New Haven, Garth's Division landed at the 
western portion of the town, and Tryon's division at the 
eastern. Although Fairfield was an easy prey, and although 
the proclamation which had been issued at New Haven was 
repeated here, the few men who could be mustered for the 
defense of the town showed true Connecticut grit and hero- 
ism, using a field-piece to advantage in opposing their ad- 
vance, and holding their little fort, with its garrison of 
tv/enty-three men under Lieutenant Isaac Jarvis, against an 
attack from a British galley, sent from the fleet with the ex- 
pectation of silencing this little stronghold. The fiendish 
barbarities enacted at New Haven were repeated and more 
than repeated at Fairfield; for, after a night of plunder, 
rapine and arson, the work of destruction was completed by 
burning the entire town, two hundred and eighteen buildings 



in all, of which ninety-seven were dwelling houses. The 
court-house, the jail, three churches, and two schoolhouses 
shared the fate of the dwellings. But few buildings escaped, 
and the inhabitants of the town were left homeless, and in 
many instances were robbed of their all. The village of 
Green's Farms, an outlying parish of Fairfield, also perished 
in the flames. In his official report, Tryon gives as his reason 
for this wholesale incendiarism that the Americans tired on 
his men from some of the houses. Before most of the houses 
were burned, he had sent, by a flag of truce, his stereotype 
proclamation, in which he had said among other things: 
"The existence of a single habitation on your defenceless 
coast ought to be a subject of constant reproof to your In- 
gratitude," to which Colonel Samuel Whiting promptly sent 
the following reply : 

"Connecticut having nobly dared to take up arms against 
the cruel despotism of Britain, and as the flames have now pre- 
ceded the answer to your flag, they will persist to oppose to 
the utmost that power exerted against injured innocence." 

The determined resistance of the few men under Colonel 
Whiting, and the gathering and rumors of gathering of 
militia from the neighboring towns, were with Tyron a suf- 
ficient cause for withdrawing his forces, which he did on 
the morning of the 8th of July, under a running fire from the 
militia and volunteers. 

Crossing to Huntington, Long Island, the fleet remained 
until the loth, taking in supplies, and waiting to spring upon 
its next defenceless victim. Norwalk was selected, and late 
in the evening of the loth all the attacking forces were landed 
with the exception of the "King's American Regiment 
(Tories) ", which joined the others before dawn on the morn- 
ing of the I ith. The forces were divitled as usual, approach- 



ing the town by different routes. Garth, with his division, 
came through what Is now South Norwalk, and Tryon ,with 
his division, marched on the easterly side to the heart of the 
town, establishing himself on Grumman's hill, where, in a 
comfortable chair still preserved among Norwalk relics, he 
watched the burning of the town, inspired perhaps by the 
example of Nero. 

The number of defenders at Norwalk appears to have 
been larger than is generally supposed. From the diary of 
Ezra Stiles we learn that "Major Gen. Woolcott & B. Gen. 
Parsons with Militia & Continentals fr. 900 to Eleven hun- 
dred opposed them. Our men gave way." Tryon, in his 
exaggerated official report says that "they were said to be 
upwds of Two Thousd." From the draft of an unpub- 
lished letter of General Oliver Wolcott's, presumably ad- 
dressed to General Heath ,and now in the possession of the 
Connecticut Historical Society, we learn that he "with about 
seven hundred of Militia arrived at Norwalk about Twenty- 
four hours before the destruction of that Town." From a 
letter of General Parsons to Governor Trumbull, it appears 
that he also was present at the time of the destruction of 
Norwalk, with what force we do not learn ; but it appears by 
the affidavit of Captain Stephen Betts that he, under these 
generals, was In command of about fifty Continentals; so Dr. 
Stiles cannot be far from correct in his estimate of the total 
number of defenders. Tryon's own report of his casualties, 
erroneously quoted by Barber and others, admits but two 
killed and twenty-three wounded. Although this need not be 
taken as final authority, it appears that owing to the late 
arrival of the undisciplined militia the defense did not assume 
the form of a pitched battle. 

Tryon withdrew precipitately from Norwalk as soon as his 


work of destruction was completed. On the loth of July, 
General Heath had received orders from Washington to 
march with two Connecticut brigades, from his headquarters 
in the Highlands, "towards Bedford." Having learned of 
Tryon's raid at New Haven and Fairfield, Heath at once 
proceeded in that direction with Parsons' and Huntington's 
brigades, but only reached Ridgefield on the 13th. Learning 
that the enemy had then left Norwalk, and threatened Stam- 
ford, he proceeded in that direction, making a demonstration 
at Stamford which doubtless prevented the cautious Tryon 
from making a descent upon that town. 

The loss of life among the Americans at Norwalk appears 
to have been small; but the destruction of property was 
large, being one hundred and thirty-five dwellings, eighty- 
nine barns, twenty-five shops, five vessels, and four mills. 



The Groton Massacre 

THE pitiful story of Arnold's treason is too well 
known to call for a detailed recital in this con- 
nection. It cannot be denied that he was a 
Connecticut man, nor need it be cited as an in- 
stance of the sagacity of his native State that 
he never bore a Connecticut commission. It must even be 
confessed that he did bear such a commission, as Captain of 
the Second Company of Governor's Foot Guards, which has 
already received honorable mention in a previous chapter. If 
such a man as Washington could trust him with the com- 
mand of West Point, which he so basely betrayed, it Is absurd 
to set up the wisdom of the General Assembly of Connecticut 
in military matters as superior to the wisdom of Washing- 
ton. The fact is, that the same General Assembly of this 
stanch little State would have been proud to issue a com- 
mission to Arnold at any time In his earlier brilliant career, 
and thus to have shared more closely in his record at Quebec, 
at Saratoga, and at Ridgefield. His native State, as the 
record stands, can claim her share in the great glory of the 
first five years of his career during the Revolution, and must 
bear her share of the still greater shame of the last two 

Hartford and its vicinity will always be memorable as 
the place where Washington held important conferences with 
the leading French officers. On the 25th of September, 1780, 
he was returning from one of these conferences, in company 
with Lafayette. It was his unexpected arrival and the cap- 
ture of Andre which prevented the treacherous surrender of 
West Point which Arnold had planned. Thus the sequel to 
the Hartford conference was fortunate in its results, even 
though it failed of its most wished-for result, the capture of 



the traitor himself, who probably would never have been 
taken alive. 

Under the commission of a Brigadier General in the Brit- 
ish army, he commenced a career which forms a sad contrast 
to the brilliant record of heroic service in the army of his own 
people. He was first detailed with sixteen hundred men for 
service in Virginia of a character quite similar to Tryon's 
service in Connecticut during the summer of 1779. In May 
178 I we find him reporting to Sir Henry Clinton, the burning 
of warehouses, barracks, tobacco, and provisions, at various 
points in Virginia. 

On the 2 2d of this same month, another conference of 
Washington with Rochambeau and others was taking place 
at Wethersfield, at the house of Joseph Webb. There were 
present at this conference Generals Knox and Duportail and 
the Marquis de Chastellux. A plan of campaign was then 
and there agreed upon which makes this one of the most im- 
portant councils of the Revolution, and has given to it the 
name of the Wethersfield conference. It is sometimes stated 
that the Yorktown campaign was planned at this conference, 
but this is saying too much. The most that can be said of it is 
that the combination of forces which brought about the de- 
feat and Sfurrender of Cornwallis was planned at this con- 
ference. The military movement decided upon at the time 
was an attack on New York with a view to gaining possession 
of that important point, and withdrawing the British forces 
from the South for its defense. The French fleet, then in the 
West Indies, formed a rather uncertain factor in this plan, 
and it was finally upon receiving a despatch from DeGrasse 
that he would enter the Chesapeake on his arrival off the 
coast, that the great movement against Yorktown was sud- 



denly undertaken, nearly four months after the Wethersfield 

As one of the results of this conference, the French legion 
under command of the Due de Lauzun, which had been 
cantoned at Lebanon since November 1780, was ordered In 
the June following to join the main army in New York; 
much to the relief of the gay young nobleman in command, 
who In his autobiography compares Lebanon to Siberia. This 
legion, with other French troops which passed through Con- 
necticut at about this time, saw some skirmishing In New 
York, and later did good service at Yorktown. 

On the 5th of September, 178 1, Washington with the 
allied forces was embarking at the head of Chesapeake bay, 
the waters of which were blockaded by the French fleet. On 
this day the famous engagement between the French and 
British fleet took place, the result of which made the defeat 
of Cornwallis possible. On the same afternoon a fleet of 
thirty-two British transports and war vessels, carrying troops 
to the number of two thousand under command of the traitor 
Arnold, appeared in Long Island Sound, and arrived off the 
harbor of New London at one o'clock on the following morn- 
ing. Owing to adverse winds, the harbor was not reached 
until about nine o'clock. Sir Henry Clinton at New York 
was just awakening to a full comprehension of Washington's 
masterly movement against Cornwallis. Racking his brains 
for a counter-movement of some kind, it seems quite prob- 
able that he decided upon this expedition against the almost 
defenseless towns of New London and Groton, as something 
which might divert Washington from his plans against Corn- 
wallis, although even Clinton must have known that no such 
movement could possibly accomplish this result.. However 
this may be. It gave Arnold command of another marauding 



expedition, which proved to be the last, and by far the most 
shameful and horrible, piece of dirty work which formed his 
sole occupation in the British service. 

Even Tryon could hardly have undertaken a Connecticut 
raid which promised such results at so small an apparent risk. 
The garrison at Fort Trumbull on the New London side was 
a mere handful of men, and the fort was then only a small 
battery open in the rear. On the Groton side, Fort Gris- 
wold, though a much more extensive stronghold, and better 
adapted for defense, was occupied only by a few men. It 
was reported to Arnold, by "friends to the [British] govern- 
ment," that this fort was very incomplete, and that there 
were only twenty or thirty men in it. No attack of any conse- 
quence had been made on the coast of Connecticut for two 
years, and the frequent appearance of British war vessels sail- 
ing harmlessly past New London harbor during this time had 
given the people a sense of security, so that their vigilance 
had been relaxed. Rich stores from prize ships were in the 
warehouses near the water front, and on board vessels in the 
harbor; and the destruction of these, with other military 
stores, would give ready excuse for the plunder and destruc- 
tion of private property, to which the "Yagers" who ap- 
peared among the forces were particularly prone. 

By ten o'clock on the morning of September 6th the forces 
had landed from the fleet, in two divisions on opposite sides 
of the harbor. On the Groton side, at what is now called 
Eastern Point, eight hundred men under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Eyre were landed to proceed against Fort Griswold; and on 
the New London side about one thousand men to capture 
Fort Trumbull with its garrison of twenty-three, and then to 
proceed with the work of destruction which followed. New 
London proved an easy prey. Ihc garrison of Fort Truin- 



bull, under command of Captain Adam Shapley, fired one 
broadside at the invaders, spiked the guns of the fort, and 
retreated to the shore, where they embarked in small boats 
under a heavy fire to reinforce Fort Griswold. Seventeen 
men from this garrison of twenty-three reached Fort Gris- 
wold and did good service, being experienced artillerists. 
One boat containing six men from the Fort Trumbull gar- 
rison was captured by the British. 

Arnold, with the main portion of the troops on the New 
London side, pursued his course over Town Hill and Man- 
waring's Hill, then unsettled portions of New London, to the 
thickly settled part of the town where the wharves and ware- 
houses were located, with dwelling-houses near by. On this 
march he met with some opposition, which he magnifies in his 
report, from a little temporary earthwork, called by the 
townspeople Fort Nonsense on account of its insignificance. 
He was harassed on his march, too, by the militia and others, 
who to the number of about one hundred had gathered for 
such defense as could be made without organization. Gain- 
ing the more northern portion of the town, and joined by the 
four companies under Captain Millet, flushed with their 
victory at Fort Trumbull with its garrison of twenty-three 
men, Arnold proceeded at once to the destruction of stores, 
and of such vessels as could be safely reached. Fire was used 
as the most expeditious destructive, and soon sixty-five dwell- 
ing houses, thirty-one stores and warehouses, eighteen me- 
chanics' shops, and nine public buildings were reduced to 
ashes. In his official report, Arnold explains the burning of 
dwelling-houses as unavoidable by reason of the explosion of 
a powder magazine in the town which scattered fire in all 
directions; but many of the burned dwellings and public 
buildings were far beyond the reach of this fire. 



Noticing, meantime, that man)- vessels were escaping up 
the Thames river, Arnold had directed Colonel Eyre to lose 
no time in taking Fort Griswold, on the opposite side, and 
in turning its guns on the escaping fleet. In pursuance of 
these instructions, Eyre had immediately advanced towards 
the Groton fort, and had demanded its surrender. Arnold, 
from the commanding hill in New London where the old 
burial ground is located, saw with some concern that Fort 
Griswold appeared much more formidable than he had been 
led to suppose, and despatched a messenger across the har- 
bor to countermand his orders for an attack. But it was too 
late. Eyre's second demand for a surrender of the fort, 
coupled with the threat that if he was obliged to storm the 
work martial law^ would be enforced, was met by Colonel 
Ledyard and his gallant little band of one hundred and fifty 
with the reply, "We shall not surrender, let the consequences 
be what they may," and the attack had begun when Arnold's 
messenger arrived. The British advanced in full force 
towards the eastern side of the fort, and were met by a volley 
of musketry from the men stationed on this side. Under 
Colonel Ledyard's order the artillery fire was reserved until 
the enemy approached within close range. At the word, a 
single eighteen pounder doubly charged with grape shot was 
brought to bear upon them, under the direction of Captain 
Elias H. Halsey, an experienced privateer gunner. The 
effect was deadly, cleaving a gap in the British ranks, leaving 
about twenty dead and wounded in its course. The advanc- 
ing column wavered, but, spurred on by the officers, continued 
its advance, and deploying in two directions, one division 
towards the south and west under Eyre, and the other 
towards the north under Major Montgomery. At the south- 
west bastion they were met with a fierce and obstinate resist- 



ance, Colonel Eyre being mortally wounded, and three officers 
of his regiment killed. 

On the east, Major Montgomery with his men advanced 
in a solid column, gaining possession of a small redoubt which 
had been abandoned, and rushing forward to the main works, 
effected an entrance, his men climbing upon each other's 
shoulders over a strong barricade of pickets, many meeting 
their death in the attempt. The defense was obstinate; cold 
shot were hurled upon the assailants, and all that a few brave 
men could do to resist an overwhelming force was done. Ma- 
jor Montgomery fell, pierced by a spear, as he entered at the 
head of his men, who followed him in a force which soon 
overwhelmed the few defenders at this point. Meanwhile 
at the southwest bastion the fight still raged, the few men 
engaged here being apparently unaware that the fort had 
been entered upon the other side. It is said that the flag 
at this point had been shot away, and its disappearance was 
taken to be a token of surrender. Luke Perkins, however, 
is credited with immediately replacing the flag upon a pike 
pole. This incident appeared to encourage the assault at 
this point, as they supposed that the flag had been struck; 
and "rushing with redoubled impetuosity, carried the south- 
west bastion by storm," as we learn from the narrative of 
Stephen Hempstead, one of the few survivors of the garrison. 
Here Captain Adam Shapley, Captain Peter Richards, Lieu- 
tenant Richard Chapman, and several other officers were 
killed or mortally wounded, after manfully fighting in the 

Further resistance being hopeless, and with the enemy 
pouring in overwhelming numbers at two opposite sides of 
the fort, Colonel Ledyard ordered his men to throw down 
their arms and surrender. The order was obeyed, but the 



slaughter continued. The enemy from the parapets and at 
the entrance continued firing upon the disarmed garrison, and 
rushing into the parade within the fort, continued their mur- 
derous work with the bayonet. While this was going on, 
Colonel Ledyard advanced towards the British officer In com- 
mand who asked of him who commanded the fort. Ledyard's 
reply, as reported by Stephen Hempstead, who stood near 
him was, "I did, sir, but you do now." In saying this he 
presented his sword In token of surrender, upon which the 
officer grasped It, and plunged it through his heart. The 
name of the perpetrator of this dastardly deed Is a matter of 
dispute, and fortunately for his memory will probably remain 
so. By some who were present. Major Bromfield, who suc- 
ceeded to the command at Montgomery's death, Is said to 
have been Ledyard's murderer; by others. Captain Beckwith 
is said to have been the guilty man. It Is useless to discuss 
the various theories and conflicting evidence regarding this. 
The defenders of the fort who have made the only written 
statements in the mater could hardly be supposed to be 
competent to Identify the man, and his comrades in arms very 
naturally preferred not only to conceal his name, but to sink 
the foul deed In oblivion if possible. 

Colonel William Ledyard, the victim of this unknown 
murderer was a knightly soldier. He was the commander of 
Fort Griswold from the time of Its completion In 1776, his 
command also covering New London and Stonington. He 
will always be remembered as the brave and inspiring leader 
of one of the most determined and heroic actions of the 
Revolution, leading, as he did, one hundred and fifty undis- 
ciplined, unorganized men to resist some eight hundred dis- 
ciplined veterans of the British army. 

The scenes which followed the ilenth of Ledyard were such 


as may have been expected from a horde of British soldiers 
under such an officer as the murderer of Ledyard. No quar- 
ter was given to the survivors. Wounded men were' des- 
patched by the bayonet, and of the unarmed survivors among 
the defenders, hardly a man escaped unhurt. The dead and 
wounded were plundered and even stripped of their scanty 
clothing. At last an officer more humane than the rest put 
a stop to the butchery and plunder, and the massacre was 
over. To add to the horrors of the day, a number of help- 
less wounded men, piled one upon another, were placed in a 
large ammunition wagon, for the purpose of removing them 
hastily from the fort where an attempt was made to blow up 
the magazine. The wagon with its tortured freight was 
drawn by about twenty soldiers; but on reaching the top of 
a steep hill near by, it appeared to be beyond their control, 
and after efforts to stop its descent, the soldiers abandoned it 
to its fate, thinking only of their own safety. Thus left, it 
dashed down the hill with fast increasing speed, until at last 
its course was arrested by coming in contact with a tree, 
killing some of the men already nearly dead from their 
wounds, throwing others to the ground, and by the shock 
adding excruciating pain to the hapless victims. 

With the burning of nearly all the few dwellings and other 
buildings which formed the little village of Groton, the hor- 
rors of the day closed. The militia were now fast gathering 
from the adjoining and near-by towns, and at about sunset of 
this memorable sixth of September, 178 1, the British hastily 
embarked on board their transports, to disappear with their 
commander Benedict Arnold from further active scenes in 
the Revolution. 

It is impossible to justify — almost impossible to account 
for this barbarous massacre. It is doubtless true that the 



survival of a mediaeval custom still made it at this time a 
code of European warfare that no quarter should be given to 
the garrison of a conquered stronghold ; but the code was 
always "honored In the breach" by the Americans, as in the 
case of Stony Point, and both European and American civi- 
lization were, or should have been, far beyond Its observance. 
The fall of the flag at Fort Griswold seemed only, as we have 
seen, a signal for renewed attack. If there Is a shadow of an 
excuse for the scenes which followed the taking of the fort, 
it lies In the fact that resistance was in progress at one part 
of the works after the other part had been carried. 

Of the little band of about one hundred and fifty men who 
held Fort Griswold for nearly an hour against a force esti- 
mated at six times their number, eighty-seven were killed, 
forty wounded, and fifteen made prisoners, showing that 
only eight or ten escaped unhurt. The casualties of the 
British, as reported by Arnold himself, were forty-seven 
killed and one hundred and thirty-nine wounded. Later re- 
ports state that the expedition returned to New York with 
two hundred and twenty fewer sound men on Its rolls than 
when It started. Thus It appears that this little band of de- 
fenders, nearly every one of whom was a Groton farmer, 
made havoc in the British ranks to an extent of at least about 
forty more than their own number. 

That Arnold tried to conceal the true state of affairs from 
Clinton is evident from his report. We learn on the author- 
ity of eye witnesses that not above thirty were killed or 
wounded in the fort before it was taken. Arnold reports 
that "Eighty-five were found dead In Fort Griswold, and 
sixty wounded, most of them mortally." 

And here, after conducting the most atrocious raid that 
the Connecticut coast suffered, within thirteen miles of his 



birthplace, we leave Benedict Arnold, at the close of a career 
in the Revolution which opened most brilliantly and closed 
most shamefully. 


The End of the War 

FROM the foregoing outline of military and naval 
service rendered by Connecticut, it is readily to be 
inferred that the position of the Governor and 
Council, and of the other legislators of the day, 
was no sinecure. In providing for and regulating 
all this service both within and outside the borders of the 
State, many new problems and many emergencies presented 
themselves, which required prompt and decisive action. 
There is no doubt that the financier and political economist 
of to-day can find much in such action to criticize; but it must 
be remembered that the leisure which such theorists and doc- 
trmaires are able to take in reaching their conclusions, was 
not granted to the men who were straining the resources of 
their State to provide both the literal and the figurative 
sinews of war. Had they and their compatriots taken time 
for reaching the conclusions of modern political scientists, the 
revolution would doubtless have come to an untimely end in 
its early stages. 

Foremost among the problems with which they had to deal 
was the money question. We have seen how this question 
was met from April 1775 to June 1776 by the issue of 
£260,000 in bills of credit, the payment of which was pro- 
vided by taxation, to meet the emergencies of the times. The 
financial situation soon became complicated by the increasing 
influx of continental money, which depreciated to such an 
extent towards the close of the war that five hundred dollars 
were needed to buy a dollar in specie. Early Connecticut 
legislation, as we have seen, made it a penal offence to fix 
higher prices for property sold and paid for in continental 
money than in "hard money." Notwithstanding this, the 
higher or more powerful law which governs values among 
men soon asserted itself, and prices of all commodities began 


to advance as early as in November 1776, when we find the 
legislators of the day establishing by enactment prices above 
which certain goods could not be sold. There is no doubt 
that speculation soon grew rife in these times, and that un- 
scrupulous and unpatriotic men took every possible advantage 
of the situation. Within a month from this first attempt to 
regulate prices by law, a second attempt was made, which 
went so far towards acknowledging the inevitable as to allow 
higher maximum prices. This policy was temporarily aban- 
doned in August 1777; and in the following October, pur- 
chases beyond small quantities for daily needs could only be 
legally made by those w^ho took the oath of fidelity to the 
United States. Patriotism by enactment having failed to 
bring about the expected result, regulation of prices was 
again undertaken in February 1778, with greater stringency 
and comprehensiveness than before, the additional safeguards 
being that no person could commence a suit in any court with- 
out first swearing that he had violated none of the provisions 
of the law regulating prices; and that any person who vio- 
lated this law should be forever disqualified from holding 
public oflice in the State. This law remained nominally in 
force until January 1780, by which time it may be surmised 
that it had become a dead letter. 

I'he Continental Congress, too, was equally fertile in 
devices, which it could only recommend to the States, for re- 
moving the symptoms rather than the causes of an inflated 
currency. Another expedient which Congress adopted at 
this time was the establishment of loan oflices in the various 
States, for borrowing money for the common cause, first at 
four per cent., and when this was found insufficient, at six 
per cent, interest. A loan office for this purpose was estab- 
lished with the State 'IVeasurcr, in December 1776, and some 



money was raised through the means. But the amount so 
raised did not meet the expectations or needs of Congress, 
and in the year 1778 it was found necessary to tax the sev- 
eral States to the extent of $5,000,000, of which the propor- 
tion assigned to Connecticut was $600,000, which although 
far beyond her just proportion, Connecticut promptly as- 
sumed, and promptly provided for, as usual, by laying taxes 
at the rate of two shillings to the pound in this instance. This 
simple expedient of taxing the States, after the failure or 
partial failure of loan offices and lottery schemes, was re- 
sorted to by Congress to the extent of $15,000,000 for the 
following year, and $6,000,000 annually for eighteen years 
thereafter; but this expedient yielded no better results than 
the loan offices and lotteries, and the issue of Continental 
bills continued. 

The issue of £260,000 in bills of credit, which was com- 
pleted in June 1776, was the last issue of paper money by 
Connecticut, with the exception of a small amount of frac- 
tional currency, until 1780. The old issue was called in as 
fast and as far as possible, beginning in February 1778, for 
the sake of leaving a clear field for Continental bills as a 
legal tender, though it was at last rather equivocally enacted 
that they should be a legal tender "according to their current 
value," and that creditors in other States whose laws were not 
similar should not be entitled to the benefits of this law. 
Upon the recommendation of Congress to all the States, 
this law was repealed in Connecticut in 178 1. 

The issue of State bills of credit in 1780 amounted to 
£190,000, and was made in lieu of the new Continental bills 
to which the State was entitled under the act of Congress, but 
of which privilege, if it could be so called, Connecticut never 



These leading facts regarding the finances of the period 
are taken from a carefully prepared treatise by Dr. Henry 
Bronson, on "Connecticut Currency, Continental Money, and 
the Finances of the Revolution," which may be found in 
vol. I of the Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical So- 

The financial record of Connecticut throughout the war 
stands on the whole, as a pleasing contrast to the record of 
the other New England States, when measured by its results 
after the war, and in the disastrous times which then ensued. 
The delusive issues of paper money in all the other States, 
excepting only Delaware, brought about the usual result. 
Connecticut, practically free from paper obligations, though 
suffering the results of heavy expenditures which she had met 
by heavy taxes, came out of the struggle much better pre- 
pared to avail of the coming times of peace and prosperity 
than her neighbors. 

In the final adjustment of the accounts of the several States 
under Hamilton's plan, in 1790, the amount found to be due 
to Connecticut was: For apportionment of State indebted- 
ness $1,600,000. For other amounts due from the United 
States, $619,121. 

These amounts were liquidated by the issue of United 
States stocks, which though largely reduced by compromise 
in the final settlement, probably brought to the State a larger 
amount of "hard money" in the end than the figures of the 
indebtedness of the United States actually represented, as 
these figures represented inflated Continental money values. 

Of the number of men furnished by Connecticut during 
the Revolution, there are varying estimates, the most reliable 
being those of the compilers of the official records; Dr. Henry 
P. Johnston, who prepared the valuable publication, "Con- 



necticut Men in the Revolution," and Mr. Albert C. Bates, 
who compiled Volume 8 of the Collections of the Connecticut 
Historical Society, giving additional muster-rolls and records. 
Dr. Johnston's estimate of the number of men in his com- 
pilation, is thirty thousand; and Mr. Bates' estimate of the 
number in his compilation, not included in the other, is about 
eight thousand. To this total of thirty-eight thousand should 
be added the number m scattered muster-rolls and records 
which are in the hands of individuals, and are coming to light 
from time to time ; so that it is safe to call the number of men 
furnished by this little State in the Revolution not far from 
forty thousand. 

An important service rendered by Connecticut was the 
custody and care of prisoners of war. Owing to the almost 
uniform loyalty of the people to the common cause, this ap- 
peared from the first to be the safest State for the confinement 
of suspected traitors, Tories, and prisoners captured in bat- 
tle. One of the first, if not the first of the political prisoners 
of the war was Dr. Benjamin Church, who in November 
1775 was detected in secret correspondence with the enemy. 
The vigorous and prompt measures of Israel Putnam at the 
time resulted in the detection of a bearer of this secret corres- 
pondence. Putnam is said to have appeared on horseback, 
with a rather bulky woman riding on the same horse, at 
Washington's headquarters, where he firmly and uncere- 
moniously ushered the woman into the presence of the Com- 
mander-in-chief, under whose searching inquiries and com- 
manding presence she disclosed the fact of Dr. Church'8 
secret correspondence, and her share in its delivery. Church 
was arrested and sent at once to the care of Governor Trum- 
bull, under whose direction he was confined in jail at Nor- 
wich. His doings had been so guarded that it was impossible 


to establish legal proof of his treason, and he was at last 
allowed to take a voyage to the West Indies for the benefit 
of his health. He must have been lost at sea, as neither he 
nor the vessel on which he sailed were ever heard of again. 

Another distinguished political prisoner, who was for sev- 
eral years under the care of Connecticut, was Governor Wil- 
liam Franklin of New Jersey. Unlike his patriotic sire, the 
illustrious Benjamin Franklin, he is described in the journal 
of the Council of Safety as "a virulent enemy to this coun- 
try." He arrived at Lebanon, under guard, on the memor- 
able 4th of July, 1776, having been consigned by the authori- 
ties of New Jersey to the care of Governor Trumbull, with 
the request that he be paroled as a prisoner. He was accord- 
ingly kept on parole in various Connecticut towns until the 
30th of April 1777, at which time it had been made known 
to Congress that he had been disseminating peace proclama- 
tions and similar literature; whereupon it was ordered that 
he be placed in close confinement, without access to writing 
materials. He was accordingly placed in Litchfield jail. He 
was released as an exchanged prisoner in November 1778, 
after an experience of more than two years under the watch- 
ful care of Connecticut. 

These more important instances give some idea of the 
trust that was reposed in this State in such cases. Not only 
were the first political prisoners of the Revolution entrusted 
to her care, but the first military prisoners as well. The gar- 
rison of Ticonderoga were paroled at Hartford, where, as 
it appears from the diary of Major French, one of the officers 
of this garrison, they did not assimilate well with the patriots 
of that town. And throughout the State, during the entire 
war, an important duty of the Council of Safety and the 
General Assembly was to provide for prisoners of war. 



Memorable among the places of confinement for prisoners 
is the Newgate prison — so called — at Simsbury. This was 
an abandoned copper mine purchased by the State, and used 
as a prison before the Revolution. The subterranean cells 
of this place have been so treated by romancers and others 
that they bear an unsavory reputation in these days of enlight- 
enment and prison reform. The place, however, accorded 
with the notions of penal confinement at the time. Notwith- 
standing its alleged unsanitary condition, we have yet to learn 
of a case where a prisoner suffered materially from this cause; 
and notwithstanding its supposed security, escapes were fre- 
quent. In one instance, on the i8th of May, 178 1, all the 
prisoners, most of whom were Tories, to the number of 
thirty, escaped, having disarmed the guards, who were asleep, 
and having placed most of them in the prison, after a sharp 
contest in which one of the guards was killed and six were 
wounded. Many of the prisoners, too, were wounded, in 
some instances by their comrades who could not distinguish 
them from the guards in the darkness. 

It was not until 1827 that the Simsbury copper mine was 
abandoned as a State prison, and the Wethersfield prison was 

Although Connecticut was known as the Provision State, 
the draft upon her food supplies was sometimes so great as 
to cause distress within her borders. On the 2d of February, 
1779, we find President Ezra Stiles of Yale College writing 
to Governor Trumbull that "the Steward of the College has 
been every way disappointed with respect to flour, so that it 
has become impossible for us to receive the students," and 
requesting that fifty or sixty barrels of flour be allotted to 
the College from the commissary department. On the 6th 
of April, 1779, Commissary-General Jeremiah Wadsworth 



writes to Governor Trumbull that breadstufts for the troops 
cannot be found, and that he fears that the Continentals then 
at New London were without bread. He shows the cost of 
three tons of flour seized under the law at Suffield to be 
£1,412, and very properly adds: "If it were possible to ob- 
tain bread for the army by the present law, the expense is 
so great that the Treasury of the United States is not suf- 
ficient to pay for it." 

Not only in food supplies, but in munitions of war, Con- 
necticut won her title of the Provision State. The iron fur- 
nace at Salisbury was continued under the management of 
the General Assembly and Council of Safety during the war, 
after its capabilities and resources were fully appreciated. 
The cannons and balls from this furnace performed an im- 
portant service in the Burgoyne campaign, and on the war- 
vessels, besides furnishing the armaments of forts and artil- 
lery companies. Many an iron kettle from the same furnace 
performed less conspicuous but no less important service. 
The lead mine at Middletown, too, did its share in furnishing 

It is impossible and unnecessary to describe in fuller detail 
the share of Connecticut in the Revolution. That share, as 
we have seen, was always ungrudgingly and promptly per- 
formed. Realizing that she Avas in her own right a free-born 
republic, she merged the rights of her political position in 
the common cause, and freely devoted to that cause all the 
advantages and facilities which her unique position gave her. 
As she, first of all the States, instructed her delegates to vote 
for independence, so when the question of adopting articles 
of confederation arose, she furthered that project in every 
possible way. 



In the diary of Governor Trumbull, a man too busy to 
keep an elaborate journal, the following entry may be read: 

"Friday, October 26th [1781]. About 7 o'clo. in the 
eveg reed the hand Bill from D. Govr Bower, of the surren- 
der of Ld Cornwallis & his Army — 9000 men, seamen in- 
cluded — quantity of Warlike Stores — one 40 gun ship — i 
frigate — about one hundred Transports. Praised be the 
Lord of Hosts!" 

Although the fighting practically ended with the surrender 
of Cornwallis, none the less did Connecticut, for a year and 
more after that event, keep up her quota of troops, make her 
contributions in money, and give every other evidence of her 
belief in the maxim, "Eternal vigilance is the price of lib- 

When at last, in 1783, peace was declared, Governor 
Trumbull, who had reached the age of seventy-three, — con- 
scious, apparently for the first time, that the infirmities of 
age had taken hold upon him, — declined a re-election, and 
retired, after fifty-one years of arduous public service, to 
the well-earned rest which he enjoyed for the less than two 
remaining years of his life. At the election which took place 
In May, 1784, Matthew Griswold was elected to the office 
of Governor. During the fifteen years of Trumbull's ad- 
ministration he had held the office of Lieutenant-Governor; 
and from his familiarity with public affairs and his unflinch- 
ing patriotism, was well fitted to conduct the affairs of his 
native State in the new era now opening before her. 




Sketches of Military Characters of the Revolution 

THE actions of Connecticut In the Revolution 
were not those of an abstract entity, but of 
warmly living human personalities; some note 
of their lives Is therefore an Important part 
of the contemporary history. The chief names 
on the roll are still vividly familiar, from their picturesque 
Individuality as well as their accomplishments ; and curiously, 
the one regarded with least pride achieved the most import- 
ant and decisive results of all. 

First in permanent esteem stands Israel Putnam, the "old 
Put" of affectionate admiration in his time; the Blucher of 
Connecticut, a born military leader of rough and racy per- 
sonality, unpretending and jovial but heavy of hand, full of 
resource and ignorant of fear. Not of Connecticut birth, he 
was Identified with us from his majority. Born in Salem 
(now Danvers), Massachusetts, Jan. 7, 17 18, he removed 
to a farm in (now) Pomfret at twenty-one; and lived for six- 
teen years as an ordinary farmer, but known far around for 
the daring with which he followed a formidable wolf to Its 
lair In a rocky cave and slew it. In the French and Indian War 
he was captain of a company under the much underrated 
Phineas Lyman; was in the battle of Lake George, which 
won William Johnson his knighthood for defeating Dieskau, 
and Lyman nothing; and was famed as a leader of rangers 
for two years after, finding those opportunities for adven- 
turous exploit which always come to the man who wishes 
them. He saved a boat-load of soldiers from the Indians by 
steering them down the furious Hudson rapids — which sug- 
gests Horseneck; he risked his life in the flames of Fort Ed- 
ward to save It from destruction; captured by the Indians 
and tied to a tree to be burned alive, he was actually scorched 
by the fires when a French officer rescued him. Command- 



Ing a regiment under Amherst, a bold and skilful exploit of 
his threw two armed vessels and an important fort into 
Amherst's hands. Again under Lyman in the West Indies, 
he aided in capturing Havana from the Spaniards; in Pon- 
tiac's War he went with Bradstreet (1764) to relieve De- 
troit; and after nine years of richly varied and brilliant mili- 
tary experience, came back as Colonel Putnam, a veteran 
officer fit to match any in the English army. The absurdity 
still lingers in some minds of styling the colonial soldiery of 
the Revolution an "untrained militia" : some of them were. 
Then for another decade he was farmer, innkeeper, traveler, 
and vigorous patriot, prominent among the "Sons of Liberty" 
in the Stamp Act times and the thickening storms that fol- 
lowed. In 1774 he aids in slipping provisions into Boston 
under Gage's not very acute eyes. When the news of Lex- 
ington is brought to him, while plowing in the field, he leaves 
the plow in the furrow like the Highlanders at the sending 
of the fiery cross, and without putting on his uniform, mounts 
his best horse and gallops to Cambridge. At Bunker Hill he 
holds a leading command: his order to his men, "Don't fire 
till you see the whites of their eyes," is classic. When Wash- 
ington assumed command of the army, Putnam was made one 
of his first four major-generals, and commanded his right 
wing. Later, in command at Brooklyn Heights, he shared 
in the inevitable American defeat at the battle of Long 
Island; but Colonel Knowlton's force which did itself honor 
at Harlem Heights was of his command. He is command- 
ant at Philadelphia after Lee's treachery and treason; then 
at Peekskill, holding the Hudson highlands against the Brit- 
ish. It is there that he captures a British spy, and in answer 
to a letter from Clinton threatening vengeance if the spy is 
harmed, replies that the prisoner was "taken as a spy, tried as 



a spy, condemned as a spy, and shall be executed as a spy," 
with a "P. S. He has been executed." Then he assists in 
recruiting. Later he holds western Connecticut against Brit- 
ish raids; and while fighting Tryon, saves his command by 
lingering too long near the enemy himself, then escapes cap- 
ture by ridmg down an almost impossible bluff at Horseneck 
with the bullets flying after him. Stricken with paralysis in 
1779, he passed his remaining years on the farm, and died 
May 19, 1790, secure of the fame for which he had taken 
no thought, and the good repute for which he had — each 
being the best way to secure its special prize. 

Next to Putnam must be placed a nature built on broader 
lines of intellect and more vehement elemental force, and like 
him with no spark of meanness; but engulfed in ruin from 
lack of his unselfish and single-minded devotion to duty^ 
his likable character and unspeculative common-sense. Bene- 
dict Arnold was all Connecticut's own, but his worse side had 
nothing typical of her; and the mantle of sorrow and pity 
we cast over him is not one of shame, — a feeling lost in the 
spectacle of the tremendous retribution which fell on him, 
and the temptation which was not wholly nor perhaps mainly 
one of selfishness, but a specious appeal to the very patriotism 
he seemed to forget. The boy prefigured the man : noted for 
athletic prowess, reckless daring, and resource; almost cer- 
tainly displaying the proud, passionate, uncontrolled, and 
rather self-seeking nature, quickly responding to affection or 
resentment, generous to the weak but not conciliatory to com- 
panions, which brought on the final tragedy. Arnold was a 
good man to have for a master, and a magnificently useful 
one to have for a subordinate; but he was not a comfort- 
able yokemate, and it is hard to believe that the train of hates 
and resentments which followed him were wholly without his 


fault. Yet again and again he acted with exemplary patience 
and the utmost magnanimity. Bom in Norwich, Jan. 14, 
1 74 1, and becoming a prosperous New Haven druggist and 
bookseller, he turned West India trader, traveled thither, 
fought a victorious duel with and wrested an apology from 
an insolent English captain. At news of Lexington, recruit- 
ing a company in hot haste he obtains a Massachusetts com- 
mission to capture Ticonderoga; finds Ethan Allen and the 
men of Connecticut beforehand with him, and as they pay no 
attention to his commission and claim of command, accom- 
panies them as a volunteer, and shares in the bloodless cap- 
ture. Joined a few days later by his own band, he sails 
down Champlain and takes St. John's; asks for the command 
of the captured forts and is refused it. Then he proposes to 
Washington the expedition to Quebec, across the great water- 
shed between the northern affluents of the Kennebec and the 
early waters of the Chaudiere; and after a fearful march 
through sleet storms, frozen lakes, rapids, and forests, 
deserted by part of his force under an officer who furnishes 
excellent excuses, his matchless energy and resolution bring 
the bulk of the forces to the city in November. He scales the 
heights, and dares the garrison of thrice his numbers to 
come out and fight; joined by Montgomery, he attempts an 
assault in which Montgomery is killed and his own leg shat- 
tered, but he keeps the place blockaded till he is relieved in 
spring. When the British undertake an invasion of New 
York by the path of Lake Champlain, Arnold spends the 
sununer building a fleet to bar their way, and on Oct. 11, 
5776, fights one of the most heroic and obstinate naval bat- 
tles in our history, off Plattsburg; hopelessly outnumbered, 
he finally brings off all his men and most of his boats, the 
nominally victorious British retire to Montreal, and the 


From an etching: by H. B. Hal 


Americans are enabled to send Washington the 3,000 men 
with which he fights the battles of Trenton and Princeton. 

Meantime an adhesive-fingered subordinate of Allen's re- 
venges himself for Arnold's hindering his promotion as a 
looter of baggage, by bringing countercharges of malfeas- 
ance against him, which are thrown out by the Board of War. 
Then Congress, on the same principle which to-day operates 
in dividing patronage, appoints five new major-generals all 
of whom together are not worth Arnold's little finger, and 
pass over him, the senior brigadier, because Connecticut has 
her share of major-generals already. Arnold behaves with 
excellent temper; asks only to be made ranking officer as 
before, offers for the present to serve under his juniors, and in 
Tryon's invasion of Connecticut does such deeds that Con- 
gress for shame makes him major-general, but still refuses 
to restore his rank. Meantime his business is going to ruin ; 
he has used and pledged his own means without stint, in 
Canada and since, to keep the expeditions from entire col- 
lapse for lack of supplies vi^hich could not be got from Con- 
gress, and asks to have the latter settle his claims ; Congress 
is suspicious and hangs off, Arnold goes to Philadelphia to 
urge action and restoration of his rank, and finally in despair 
and disgust asks permission to resign. Just then Burgoyne's 
invasion looms up ; Washington needs Arnold above all other 
men, and urges Congress to send him against Burgoyne. 
Arnold forgets resentment at once, hastens north, and by 
stratagem first and heroism afterwards saves the indepen- 
dence of the country. St. Leger's supporting expedition is 
scattered in panic by a decoy, and butchered by its Indian 
allies; then he defeats Burgoyne's flank movement at Free- 
man's Farm; and in the final battle on the Hudson called 
"Saratoga," takes command without official position and 


crushes Burgoync's army, his leg again shattered in the fight. 
This victory secures for the United States the aUiance of 
France, and by consequence the surrender of CornwalHs. 
Finally in 1778 Congress restores to the country's savior his 
military rank. 

Then he is given command at Philadelphia, and marries a 
girl of loyalist family. Thrown into this society, its argu- 
ments gradually become irresistible even on patriotic grounds. 
The cause is so nearly lost that even Washington despairs; 
the proposals of the English government are so alluring and 
guaranteed that many excellent patriots think it simply 
wicked to prolong this bloodshed and wretchedness, when all 
that the war has been fought for is to be had without it. Con- 
gress is so imbecile and factious that many think the coun- 
try's future under independence promises worse than it could 
be under English rule. The unpaid and unclothed soldiers 
are deserting in squads. The influential officers are beset 
with British tempters, olfering not coarse bribes, but influen- 
tial positions in the new and autonomous colonial government 
which is to replace the worthless simulacrum at Philadelphia. 
As fate will have it, the plea falls in a time when his personal 
grievances make him think the government which inflicts 
them unfit to exist. Harassed by debts brought on by the 
desire to make a large social figure in the eyes of Philadel- 
phians, and at feud with the Pennsylvania magistrates (the 
responsibility cannot be apportioned now, and perhaps could 
not be then), he wishes to resign his commission and pa^^s 
his remaining days as a country gentleman; but in an evil 
hour the Pennsylvania magnates bring a list of charges 
against him, of which we can say positively that all which 
were not false were frivolous. A committee of Congress 
finds them so and recommends uncjualified acquittal, and 



again he purposes to retire; but the officials are full of 
hatred, will not let him go without some punishment or dis- 
grace, declare that they have more evidence, and insist on a 
fresh trial. Congress appoints another committee; but Con- 
gress is located in Pennsylvania's capital, and dependent on 
Pennsylvania's good-will almost for the means of existing 
as a Congress, and the committee dare not affront them — it 
refers the matter to a court-martial. Arnold welcomes it and 
urges a speedy trial ; the magnates, under pretext of gather- 
ing fresh evidence, put it off month after month. Finally 
the court-martial meets and coincides with the Congressional 
verdict; but as the frivolous charges were technical violations 
of rule, orders Washington to reprimand him. Washington 
does so in terms that turn it from a disgrace into a panegyric, 
and offers Arnold the highest position in the army next to 
himself. But wrath and contempt turn the scale in his mind, 
already half gained as others were wholly gained by the Brit- 
ish arguments and promises. He will play the part of the 
general who ended the Cromwellian regime and restored to 
Englishmen their longed-for government; he will crush the 
rebellion by one dramatic blow, and after the first feeling has 
passed, be thanked by his countrymen for giving them pros- 
perity and true liberty. He stoops to the basest treason, if 
not to the country he did not regard as a country, then to 
honor and every-day good faith and loyalty to a comrade and 
superior; he asks to command the chief fortress of the cause, 
that he may surrender it to the British. How he is foiled and 
the life of an accomplice is forfeited, we need not detail; nor 
the awful plunge in his own consciousness, from the military 
dictator conferring a prosperous future on his countrymen, to 
a common hired traitor despised by the lowest in the land; 
nor the despite in which he was held by his English fellow 


officers who would not serve with him, — more for his being 
a provincial and American than for his being a traitor, — 
and how it gradually wore out even his powerful frame and 
broke his heart; and how, shortly before his death on June 
14, 1 80 1, he put on his old uniform and asked God to for- 
give him that ever he had worn another. It is a story for 
tears, not stoning. 

Ethan Allen — born in LitchHeld, Jan. 10, 1737 — is a less 
figure, but with that most surely and intimately living of 
memories, one intertwined with the associations of romance. 
The "Green Mountain Boys," to the children of two or three 
generations ago, were part of fairyland in charm, with the 
advantage of being on solid earth; they should be so still, to 
all children properly reared and instructed. The great lead- 
ers of these — Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, and Remember 
Baker — were Connecticut men ; pioneers of that overflow of 
overcrowded Connecticut which built up Vermont, and would 
have created a State in Wyoming (dealt with in a former 
chapter) but for the most frightful of Indian massacres. 
New Hampshire had been given a stretch of territory west- 
ward to Lake Champlain, and granted lands to settlers who 
wished them; then the Duke of York was granted the lands 
eastward to the Connecticut River, so that Vermont was com- 
mon to both. Before the dispute was settled in favor of New 
York, New Hampshire had granted out 128 townships; in 
violation of the terms of the New York grant, that it was not 
to interfere with prior settlers, the latter colony proceeded 
to grant out the lands to new ones; but when the New York 
surveyors came to plot the grants, the occupants cut green 
rods and beat them out of the country with smarting backs. 
The surveyors and grantees came back with deputy sheriffs 
in their train; the settlers raised armed companies and again 



applied the "beech seal" to claimants, sheriffs, surveyors, and 
all, Allen, an athletic and adventurous giant, was in his 
clement; he took part in this warfare with a will, and at once 
became a leader. The settlers make him agent to plead their 
rights at Albany; the case goes against them and a fresh 
attempt is made to eject them by force; they raise a regiment 
of "Green Mountain Boys" and make Allen colonel. Tryon 
of New York proclaims him an outlaw and offers £150 for 
his capture : the position is hard to find where Tryon cannot 
establish a worse record for vanity, violence, and unreason- 
ableness, not tainted by conspicuous ability or success, than 
any of his fellows. I'he Green Mountain Boys protect their 
own; and Allen uses his pen In vindication of their rights. 
At the outbreak of the Revolution he collects a force of Green 
Mountain Boys and makes a bloodless capture of Tlconde- 
roga : what he said on that memorable occasion was perhaps 
even more picturesque than what he Is reported to have said, 
but less decorous. They capture other posts which give them 
a mass of stores and the command of Lake Champlain ; Con- 
gress grants them the pay of Continentals, and recommends 
the New York Assembly to Vv^ipe out old scores and employ 
them In the army under their own officers. Allen and War- 
ner go to Albany : a few members of the Assembly wish them 
excluded from the session as proclaimed felons, the great 
majority vote to admit them, and later vote to raise a regi- 
ment of Green Mountain Boys. Allen suggests an invasion 
of Canada, which Is rejected; finally he undertakes one him- 
self with another officer, who helps him capture a fort, but 
leaves him In the lurch in an attack on Montreal, and Allen is 
taken prisoner and sent to England. With their customary 
kindness to American prisoners, they put him in chains, and 
a dastardly English officer, beaten in argument, strikes the 


chained prisoner in the mouth. Finally exchanged and sent 
home, he is made commander of the Vermont mihtia, and 
heutenant-colonel in the regular army. But New York, still 
refuses to give up her claim, and the British have hopes to 
use the Vermont fears (Vermonters never had fears) to 
induce the Green Mountain Boys to annex themselves to 
Canada as a protection against New York : Allen pretends 
to listen to the arguments and offers, and thus keeps British 
military action out of his region till the war is ended. After 
the war he was in Congress, working vigorously to secure 
Vermont's admission as a State; but New York did not un- 
clench her fingers till after his death, on P>b. 13, 1789. He 
deserves his memory, and long may we keep undimmed the 
richness of such romance as our history affords : romance is 
the nursery of patriotism. 

Allen's companions are eclipsed by the greater individu- 
ality of his name; but they deserve remembrance, not alone 
as Connecticut representatives, but for their native qualities. 
Seth Warner was a chevalier: more than a six footer, like 
Allen, gallant, frank, and of noble bearing, a mighty hunter 
and a practical man of affairs, a man to be followed and 
loved. Born in Roxbury (Connecticut), May 17, 1743, at 
twenty he removes to Bennington with his father; with Allen 
he is outlawed by New York, or rather by its fire-eating 
governor; he is second in command at Ticonderoga, and cap- 
tures Crown Point with its garrison and 113 cannon, an 
exploit which earns him a colonel's commission from Con- 
gress, against which the New York legislature repeatedly 
protests. He follows Montgomery to Canada; defeats Sir 
Guy Carleton at St. John's, New Brunswick; after Mont- 
gomery's death raises a body of troops and makes an attempt 
on Quebec. He commands the rear-guard in the retreat from 



Ticonderoga during Burgoyne's invasion ; at Bennington with 
his command he comes up and nearly destroys Breymann's 
reinforcing battalion. His health worn out in Revolutionary 
service, he returns with his family to his birthplace and 
shortly after dies there, Dec. 26, 1784, at only forty-one. 
Baker died a violent death still earlier and younger. Born 
in Woodbury about 1740, and while still a boy taking part m 
the French and Indian War, — notably in the bloody assault 
on Ticonderoga in 1758, — he removed in 1764 to the New 
Hampshire Grants, and shared in the work and the use- 
fulness of Allen and Warner; he too was outlawed, and was 
actually captured, and though rescued the same day, had been 
brutally maimed. He shared in the capture of Ticonderoga 
with Allen, and in that of Crown Point with Warner; but 
in August of that year (1775), while scouting on Richelieu 
River, the outlet of Lake Champlain, he was met by Indians 
and murdered. At Ticonderoga too was Col. James Easton, 
of Hartford birth, then a builder at Litchfield, then in 1763 
removing to Pittsfield, Mass. He was leader of the minute- 
men there, raised a Berkshire regiment at the outbreak of 
the war, took part at Ticonderoga, and was the first to 
acquaint the Provincial Congress with the news; urged the 
invasion of Canada, and commanded a regiment under Mont- 
gomery. He gained Arnold's ill-will, and had to retire from 
the army, dying poor on account of his sacrifices for the 

Two brilliant careers were cut short within a single week 
in Thomas Knowlton and Nathan Hale, both in the same 
corps. Knowlton, like Putnam, was not of Connecticut birth, 
but was reared there, won it honor, and deserves its remem- 
brance. From West Oxford, Massachusetts, where he was 
born Nov. 30, 1740, his father took him to Ashford in 


early boyhood. Like Baker, of about the same age, he took 
part in the French and Indian War when but half grown, and 
served in it during six campaigns; crowning the service in 
1762 by a share in the capture of Havana, whence so many 
New England citizens did }iot return. Then, like Putnam, 
he became a farmer again in Ashford, till the Revolution 
broke out. Made captain of the company of Ashford militia 
after Lexington, it was he with his company and 200 other 
Connecticut men who held the rail fence at Bunker Hill. He 
became a major; early in 1776 he raided Charlestown. At 
New York in that year he commanded the advance guard 
of the army, a regiment of light infantry; then was appointed 
lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of Connecticut rangers called 
"Congress' Own." At Bloomingdale, N. Y., on the morning 
of the battle of Harlem Heights, Sept. 16, 1776, he was 
killed while leading on his men against a body of Hessians 
and Highlanders; and Washington said of him in his Gen- 
eral Orders that he would have been an honor to any country. 
Most emphatically is this true concerning Nathan Hale. 
He died too young, and had had too little opportunity to play 
a conspicuous part, for certainty of prophecy : yet enough is 
certain to make us assured that no commonplace life was cut 
short when the Martyr Spy regretted that he had but one 
to lose for his country, and gladly resigned that one in its 
service; that he was no mere food for powder, more useful 
in death than he could have been in life; that his memory is 
justly honored, not alone because he gave to his countr)' all 
he had, but because that all was the promise of fame, power, 
and usefulness beyond the common. Lie had the blood of a 
family of genius, of which the most famous are his grand- 
nephew the creator of the Man Without a Country, and his 
grandniecc the creatrix of the Peterkins, but which has shown 



much other intellectual gift; and there is good reason to 
think that in a different line he would have previously made 
it illustrious. With a tali, staKvart, and athletic frame, a 
robust, manly, lovable and beloved personality, a strong 
mind, a lofty spirit, and a generous and chivalric nature, he 
lacked nothing to fit him for and almost guarantee him a dis- 
tinguished career. Born in Coventry, June 6, 1755, he pre- 
luded with a feeble childhood a youth of such bodily strength 
that a Coventry tradition credits him with being able to sit 
in a barrel and lift himself out with his hands. A Yale grad- 
uate of 1773, a thorough Latin scholar and superior debater, 
he became a teacher in New London; Lexington starts the 
village into a blaze, and Hale urges immediate arming for 
independence, volunteers, is made a lieutenant, takes part in 
the siege of Boston, and becomes a captain; goes to New 
York, and in Septem.ber 1776 with a few companions cap- 
tures at midnight a supply transport under the guns of a 
British man-of-war; then commands a company in Knowl- 
ton's Connecticut Rangers. Washington calls for some vol- 
unteer to risk his life by passing within the British lines as a 
spy, and bringing back intelligence of their fortifications and 
positions. Hale offers himself, is dissuaded because his life is 
too valuable so to risk, insists, and goes as a loyalist school- 
master, making drawings without secrecy; is captured while 
returning, condemned on the evidence of the plans secreted 
in his shoes, turned over to the provost, and condemned to be 
hanged the next morning at sunrise. Thus far, it was only 
the "fate of war"; but the brutal ruffian (Cunningham) 
chosen by the British for that post makes death bitterer by 
every indignity — a striking contrast to the generous brother- 
liness extended to Andre by the Americans. A Bible and a 
chaplain are refused him; his letters to his sisters and his 



betrothed wife are torn up before his eyes; and when he 
attempts to speak from the scaffold, the drums are beaten to 
drown his voice. It has not been drowned for posterity: the 
monument in his native town preserves his dying utterance, 
not nobler than the nature which prompted it; and one of the 
finest of American lyrics is devoted to his martyr death. 

Samuel Holden Parsons is a historical problem, absolutely 
insoluble except on inferential grounds; but the very abso- 
luteness of the contradiction between the facts of his life and 
the record of his seeming treason lead us irresistibly to the 
almost certain truth. Had he been really a traitor, he would 
be as far below Arnold as Arnold is below Washington : 
without a particle of temptation, a possibility of self-decep- 
tion, or even the excuse of despairing of his country; a venal 
scoundrel selling that country in cold blood almost at the 
moment of its triumph, and he a long-time public represen- 
tative and leading military officer, utterly trusted in the high- 
est positions by his State and his commander. There is noth- 
ing remotely parallel to it in American history, or indeed any 
other history; human nature is not capable of such vileness; 
any other explanation is more credible. Let us glance at his 
career and his action. Born at Lyme, May 14, 1737, nephew 
of Matthew Griswold, he graduates at Yale, becomes a law- 
yer, and for many years represents his native town in the 
Assembly; settles Connecticut's boundary conflict with Penn- 
sylvania; and in 1773 is one of the standing committee of 
inquiry, the precursor of the Continental Congress. Remov- 
ing to New London in 1774, he is appointed King's attorney. 
He plans the capture of Ticonderoga, and its prisoners are 
sent to Connecticut in recognition of this; is colonel of the 
Sixth at Roxbury near Boston, then sent to New York; serves 
at the battle of Long Island in August, is made brigadier- 



general, takes part at Harlem Heights and White Plains, is 
assigned to protect the line of the Hudson, then is with 
Washington in New Jersey. In 1778-9 he is again oh the 
highlands of the Hudson, and given charge of constructing 
the works at West Point. He harasses the British at Nor- 
walk; is one of the board which tries Andre; in 1780 he is 
made major-general, and succeeds Putnam in command of the 
Connecticut line. He had received steady promotion; he had 
no grievance against Congress, no quarrel over being unrecog- 
nized, none of the bitter injustices that drove general after 
general out of the service. He did not show himself aflame 
with avarice or pushing ambition, to sell himself for money or 
place. And at what time do we find him writing letters to a 
confederate in the State Assembly to be shown to the British ? 
Was it at the time when Arnold betrayed his trust, when suc- 
cess not only seemed hopeless, but even if won, the inau- 
guration of worse evils even than failure could bring? No: 
it was in July 178 1, three months before Yorktown; long 
after King's Mountain and Cowpens, after Greene's cam- 
paigns had ruined Cornwallls' position and loosed his hold 
on the Carolinas, when hope was vivid and the French fleet In 
active co-operation. And what is the nature of his commu- 
nications to the British? Vague, stale, worthless "news" 
which they knew already as well as he, which professed to 
keep them in touch with Important facts and told them not 
a jot. What is the conclusion from all this? Simply that 
Parsons was playing the part which Harvey Birch plays in 
Cooper's "Spy," of an ostensible spy for the enemy In order 
to be an actual one for his country; a part taken by more 
than one Harvey Birch in real life; essentially the part which 
Ethan Allen played, and which was known to Washington, 
who received the information obtained by these double spies. 


Probably the Connecticut magistrates were in the secret also. 
Had the treason been actual, it must have been blown on the 
wind which always exposes such secrets, or at least made Par- 
sons suspected; whereas he remained trusted to the uttermost 
by those around and above him. After the Revolution he 
became a lawyer in Middletown, member of the convention 
of 1787 which framed the Constitution, first judge of the 
Northwest Territory, and in 1789 removed to Marietta, 
Ohio; was a commissioner to settle a treaty for Connecticut 
with the Indians, to quiet their title; and was drowned in the 
Big Beaver, on a journey connected with this, Nov. 17, 1789. 
Eastern Connecticut was prolific in Continental officers. 
Two Norwich Huntingtons deserve mention. Jedediah was 
born Aug. 4, 1743; he became a West India trader with his 
father Jabez, and in the times before the Revolution was an 
active Son of Liberty, and on the committees of correspon- 
dence. At once after Lexington he joined the army at Cam- 
bridge; in 1777 was made brigadier-general; was on Charles 
Lee's court-martial and the court which examined Andre ; was 
brevetted major-general; and after the war was a delegate to 
the Constitutional Convention and for twenty-six years col- 
lector of customs at New London, dying Sept. 25, 18 18. He 
aided in drafting the constitution of the Society of the Cin- 
cinnati. Ebenezer, born Dec. 26, 1754, left his studies in 
Yale at the opening of the Revolution, but was granted his 
diploma; became lieutenant, captain, brigade major, deputy 
adjutant-general; and had command of a battalion at 
Yorktown. He was reputed one of the best disciplin- 
arians in the army. Later, he long commanded the 
Connecticut militia; was repeatedly a member of the Assem- 
bly, and twice a member of Congress; and died in his native 
town, June 17, 1834. 



David Wooster closed a long and distinguished career as 
a professional soldier — so far as colonial life permitted it — 
with a hero's death. Born In Stratford, March 2, 17 10, and 
graduating from Yale in 1738, the next year he engaged in 
the Spanish "War of Jenkins' Ear," which left so many of 
the flower of New England's manhood in the plague-stricken 
marshes of Cuba ; at first lieutenant, then captain of a naval 
vessel for the colony's defense. In 1745 he took part in 
the Louisbourg expedition under Pepperrell; in the French 
and Indian War beginning 1755 he was first colonel of the 
Connecticut Third, then brigadier-general, and served till the 
peace In 1763. The Ticonderoga expedition owed much to 
him ; he was a member of the Assembly ; and was made third 
of the original eight brigadier-generals in the Continental 
Army. He took part In the Canadian expedition, and was 
commander-in-chief there after Montgomery's death; resign- 
ing and returning to Connecticut, he was appointed major- 
general of the State militia. We find him In command at 
Danbury when Tryon attacks and burns it; assailing the rear 
of the retreating British, and heartening his men to disregard 
the random shots of the foe, he is pierced by a musket ball, 
and dies a few days after. May 2, 1777. 

The name of Return Jonathan Meigs has a halo of tender 
and smiling poetry around It, from the pretty Incident to 
which he owed his mother and his appellation. His father 
courts a fair Quakeress, who Is sure of her conquest and per- 
haps not sure of her heart; she respects him greatly but can- 
not marry him — a remark not then heard for the first or the 
last time. Coming again and again, he finally tells her It Is 
for the last asking, receives the same reply, and mounts his 
horse — perhaps not with too much alacrity — to depart. Then 
the girl knows that her happiness is going with him ; standing 



in the doorway, she calls to him, "Return. Jonathan !" That 
he did return, the existence of our hero would sufficiently 
avouch; more than this, he gave their boy — born at Middle- 
town, Dec. 17, 1734 — these, "the sweetest words he had 
ever heard," for a name, and it was perpetuated through 
several generations. In middle age the son is thrilled by the 
news of Lexington, and heads a body of volunteers for a 
march to Cambridge; accompanies Arnold to Quebec as 
major; is captured and exchanged, and raises a regiment and 
becomes its colonel in 1777. By a brilliant attack on Sag 
Harbor with 170 men, he captures ninety prisoners and 
destroys twelve vessels and a store of forage without loss to 
his command; at the storming of Stony Point he commands a 
regiment under Wayne. Serving through the war, he after- 
wards became one of the earliest settlers in Ohio, at Marietta ; 
was identified with the Western frontier, and from his thor- 
ough knowledge of the Indians and the trust they reposed in 
him, was appointed government Indian Agent in 1801, resi- 
dent among the Cherokees in Georgia; spent the rest of his 
life at the agency, and there more than twenty years later he 
died, Jan. 28, 1823, at the age of eighty-eight. 

Among the colonels of the Connecticut Line was Erastus 
Wolcott, born in East Windsor, Sept. 21, 1722; son of 
Judge and Governor Roger Wolcott, to whom we owe 
half our knowledge and more than half our puzzle on the 
hiding of the Charter. He was born to public office, from 
his heredity and capacity; lawyer, repeatedly member and 
Speaker of the Assembly's lower house, justice, judge of pro- 
bate and of the county court. Sent to Boston in 1775 to keep 
vv^atch of British movements, he shortly joins Washington at 
Cambridge at the head of a regiment of Connecticut militia; 
in 1777 becomes brigadier-general, ami commands the first 


^^^^^^^^^^/^^ c.^^^^^-*^/^/ ' /V>^- 



brigade of Connecticut militia, whom he leads to Peekskill 
and Danbury. Later he was judge of the State Supreme 
Court, and died in his native town, Sept. 15, 1793- 

James Wadsworth was born in Durham, July 6, 1730; 
graduated from Yale in 1748; was town clerk of Durham 
for thirty years, and a member of the Committee of Safety 
before the Revolution. In 1776 he was colonel and then 
brigadier-general in the Connecticut militia; the next year 
major-general; and appointed to the defense of the Sound 
coast. He was afterwards judge of, the New Haven county 
court, delegate to Congress 1783-6, and member of the Exec- 
utive Council 1785-90; dying in Durham, Sept. 22, 1817. 

Connecticut was represented in the Continental army by 
other than her own divisions of troops : she lent as well as 
borrowed important men. John Paterson, born 1744 in what 
Is now New Britain, graduated from Yale In 1762, taught 
school and practiced law in his native place; in 1774 removed 
to Lenox, Mass., at once took position as one of the ablest 
of the patriot leaders, and was a member of the first Provin- 
cial Congress at Salem in that year. Eighteen hours after 
Lexington he reported at Cambridge at the head of a regi- 
men of minute-men; he aided In fortifying Bunker Hill and 
defended the American rear in the battle. He shared the 
Canadian campaign; was at Trenton and Princeton ; In 1777 
was made brigadier-general and attached to the Northern 
Department, where he aided materially in the capture of 
Burgoyne ; fought at Monmouth, New Jersey, and was made 
major-general. Serving till the close of the war, he after- 
ward removed to Lisle, New York; where, after filling 
various political offices, including membership in Congress, 
he died July 19, 1808. 

Among the representative Continental officers from Hart- 


ford was Samuel Wyllys, who was born there Jan. 15, 1739; 
and graduated from Yale in 1758. On the outbreak of the 
war he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel ; he commanded 
a regiment at the siege of Boston, and served with distinc- 
tion through the war, becoming colonel in the Connecticut 
line. He succeeded his father as State Secretary in 1796, 
resigning in 1809; this office was held for ninety-eight suc- 
cessive years by three generations of the Wyllys family. 
Colonel Wyllys died June 9, 1823. 

Joseph Trumbull, a son of the first Governor Trumbull, 
was born at Lebanon, March 11, 1737, and graduated at 
Harvard in 1756. He was the first commissary-general of 
the Continental Army, appointed in July 1775 : it was inevit- 
able that the commissary headship should be among Connec- 
ticut merchants, for the colony had the only large surplus of 
food unreachable by the British. In November 1777 he 
was placed on the Board of War; after five months' ser- 
vice he resigned from ill health, and died not long after at 
Lebanon, July 23, 1778. 

Connecticut's representative in the United States' inchoate 
navy was Elisha Hinman, born at Stonington, March 9, 
1734. At sea from the age of fourteen, he was a captain at 
nineteen, making voyages to Europe and the Indies. He was 
one of the first captains commissioned for naval service in the 
Revolution ; was wounded in an engagement under Commo- 
dore Esek Hopkins, in April 1776; in August was appointed 
captain in the regular navy; was successively in command of 
three vessels, the "Alfred" last, which was captured and he 
was taken to England as a prisoner, but escaped to France. In 
Arnold's burning of New London, Captain Hinman lost all 
his property. When the Federalists began the new navy in 
1794, he was offered the command of the "Constitution," but 


declined on account of his advanced years. He was collector 
of customs at New London 1 798-1 802, and died there Aug. 
29, 1807. 

Ezra Lee, a native of Lyme, born in 1749, wins recollec- 
tion from risking his life in an enterprise for the good of his 
country, supposed to be certain death. David Bushnell had 
invented a torpedo called the "Marine Turtle" ; and General 
Parsons, with Washington's approval, selected Lee to attach 
it to the British war-ship "Eagle," anchored in New York 
harbor. The copper sheathing of the vessel rendered the 
plan abortive; Lee then tried the same experiment on another 
frigate, but was discovered too early. He served through the 
war, and died Oct. 29, 1825. 

Two other veterans are commemorated for their enormous 
longevity. In the second year of the war, a body of troops 
known as the Washington Life Guards was organized, picked 
for physical endowments and general character. It com- 
prised 180 men, afterwards increased to 250. Connecticut 
had several representatives in its ranks. The last survivor 
of the corps. Sergeant Uzal Knapp, was a native of Stam- 
ford; born 1759; and died at New Windsor, New York, 
Jan. II, 1857. Lemuel Cook, born at Plymouth in 1764, 
joined the army at seventeen, in the last year of the war, and 
was in the campaign against Cornwallis ; was honorably dis- 
charged at the close, removed at about seventy to Clarendon, 
New York, and died there May 20, 1866, leaving but two 
survivors of the Continental Army. F. M. 



Sketches of the Civil Characters of the Revolution 

THE civil officials of a government, in time of 
war, have the same individual responsibilities 
as the military officers. Connecticut's states- 
men were active during the American con- 
flict, and they bore a prominent part in all of 
the national gatherings; that one of the most conspicuous 
of them was only a citizen by adoption does not detract from 
the laurels of the State, as the like condition in the military 
service does not. 

Roger Sherman has been called a maker of the nation; he 
is the only man whose signature appears on the four greatest 
documents of early American history — namely, the Declara- 
tion of Independence, the Declaration of Rights, the Articles 
of Confederation, and the Constitution. He was a member 
of the committee which drafted the first three of these import- 
ant documents. Sherman was born at Newton, Massachu- 
setts, April 19, 1721; the day memorable for the blood of 
Lexington and Baltimore. 

He was of English descent; but his great-grandfather 
became a resident of Watertown, Massachusetts, during its 
early days. His father was a shoemaker, and young Roger 
learned the trade; there was not enough of this business in a 
colonial country town to keep him employed, and he did 
farming between whiles. The loss of his father when he was 
twenty years old threw the burden of supporting his mother 
and several younger children upon his shoulders; on this 
account he removed with the family in 1743 to New Milford, 
Connecticut, where his elder brother was engaged in trade. 
His education had been limited to a common school in boy- 
hood; but he was of the class who will always educate them- 
selves. Shoemaking by hand is a good trade for this. A 
book and a lapstone are natural companions; and scholarly 


shoemakers are not infrequent in history. Roger Sherman 
read and thought while he sewed and pegged, and he had a 
capacious and embracing intellect. His studies did not include 
the dead or foreign languages ; but in the fields of history, 
science, mathematics, law, and theology, he was a solid stu- 
dent. He became proficient in mathematics, which naturally 
turned his attention to surveying; and while we find in 1745 
that he had not entirely deserted his trade, in that year he 
became surveyor of lands for his county. This position was 
highly remunerative, — surveyors often figure in the inven- 
tories of colonial times, — and Sherman soon became a real- 
estate owner. 

He passed the decade between 1750 and 1760 in trade, 
though in 1754 he was admitted to the bar; he also utilized 
his knowledge of astronomy, and published an almanac, 
which he continued ov^er ten years. His political life began 
the year after he was admitted to the practice of law ; his first 
office was justice of the peace, and the same year he was 
elected to the General Assembly. The age of thirty-eight 
found him a judge; two years later he removed to New 
Haven, and discontinuing his law practice, confined his atten- 
tion to mercantile business. 

In his new home, political honors awaited him: in 1764 
he was again elected to the General Assembly, and two years 
later to the upper house of the legislature. The same year 
he became a judge of the Superior Court. He was elected an 
Assistant eighteen years, and resigned his position as judge 
on becoming, in 1789, a member of the national House of 
Representatives. As already noted he had been a member of 
the great convention which framed the Constitution in 1787. 
Other honors fell to him, or rather he was eagerly sought 
for other utilities: he was treasurer of Yale College for a 



decade, a reviser of the statutes of Connecticut, and mayor of 
his adopted city from the time of its incorporation until his 

Roger Sherman was like his elder colleague Benjamin 
Franklin : their public careers were analogous, the result of 
the office seeking the man; they outgrew the boundaries of 
one State, and their lives are a portion of national history. It 
is said that Sherman accomplished, at the age of twenty, what 
is considered greater than to conquer cities, — namely, a mas- 
tery of his passions; he was noted and esteemed for his calm- 
ness of nature and evenness of disposition. His rationality 
was his distinguishing trait: common-sense in him rose almost 
to genius. 

That intellectual and statesmanlike qualities are hereditary, 
as proved by Mr. Galton, is exemplified in Roger Sherman's 
descendants — three of his grandsons occupied seats in the 
United States Senate. Their noble ancestor was elected to 
that body in 1791, but did not finish his term of office, as his 
death occurred at New Haven, July 23, 1793. 

Among the Connecticut delegates to the Philadelphia con- 
vention in 1776 was William Williams, a son-in-law of Jon- 
athan Trumbull. He was born in Lebanon, April 18, 1731 ; 
was a graduate of Harvard, a member of the Committee of 
Correspondence and Safety, and served in the Continental 
Congress. He died Aug. 2, 1 8 1 1 . 

From the Southern province of Georgia came Lyman Hall, 
as a delegate to the convention called to proclaim the colonies 
Independent; he was born at Wallingford in 1725, and grad- 
uated from Yale in 1747. He made choice of the medical 
profession, and emigrated to Sunbury, Georgia. He was a 
member of the provincial convention which voted that Geor- 
gia should join the confederacy of the States, also of the Con- 


tinental Congress from 1775 to 1781, and governor of Geor- 
gia in 1783. He died in Burke County, Georgia, Oct. 19, 

The convention which first promulgated a declaration of 
the independence of the United States, known as the Meck- 
lenberg Declaration of Independence, — to whose reality we 
do not commit ourselves, — is said to have been held in the 
Court House at Charlotte, North Carolina. A member of 
that convention, and one of its promoters, was Waightstill 
Avery. He was born in Groton, Connecticut, May 3, 1745 ; 
studied law in Maryland, and began the practice of his pro- 
fession in 1769, in Mecklenberg County, North Carolina. He 
was active in civil affairs, served as a colonel of militia dur- 
ing the war, and was the first State attorney-general of North 
Carolina. He died in Burke County, March 15, 1821. 

Republics are proverbially ingrates; also proverbially, "Put 
not your trust in princes" : the fact is that honors or dishonors 
are even. The most faithful servants of either, at times, suf- 
fer indignities for which no subsequent vindication can fully 
atone, or entirely remove from the victims the stain of calum- 
nies engendered by political feuds. Such a sufferer was Silas 
Deane. He was born at Groton Dec. 24, 1737, graduating 
from Yale on attaining his majority; and engaged in mer- 
cantile business at Wethersfield. He was appointed delegate 
to the first Continental Congress, and became active in the 
formation of a naval force for the colonies. At the close of 
the year 1775, Congress appointed a committee for the sole 
purpose of holding secret communication with friends of 
America in foreign countries; the colonies were desirous of 
receiving recognition from, and obtaining alliances with, the 
European powers. In March, 1776, Silas Deane was 
appointed the first diplomatic agent for the embryo nation. 


From the painting by Alonzo ehappell 


His instructions were to proceed to the French court, and 
operate there and elsewhere on the Continent; to obtain 
clothes and munitions of war for an army of 25,000 men, and 
to solicit the alliance of France if the colonies succeeded in 
attaining their independence. 

Deane arrived in Paris in the summer of 1776, disguised 
as a private merchant; he received courteous treatment, but 
though Louis XV. was pleased at the break between Great 
Britain and her colonies, he feared to involve his country in 
open hostilities. Some of his advisers also had sense to see 
that a nominal autocracy would be mad to encourage democ- 
racy and rebellion. Previous to Deane's arrival, the famous 
Beaumarchais became acquainted with Arthur Lee, the Lon- 
don correspondent of Congress; secret negotiations were 
entered into between them, to supply the colonies with muni- 
tions of war. When Deane arrived in Paris, he was intro- 
duced to Beaumarchais by the French Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, and completed the arrangements whereby $200,000 
worth of arms and military stores were sent to America. 

Congress, in September 1776, appointed Franklin, Deane, 
and Jefferson commissioners to the Court of France; the lat- 
ter declined the appointment, and Arthur Lee was substituted. 
This change in the formation of the commission was the 
beginning of Deane's downfall. Lee was of a jealous and 
glum temperament, and was envious of Deane's success in 
completing the arrangements which he had begun. Lee's 
ambition was the cause of discord among the commissioners; 
he accused Deane of misappropriation of moneys, and of giv- 
ing promises of commissions to French officers, which Con- 
gress could not fulfil. These insinuations of the querulous 
Lee, suported by the testimony of other malcontents, caused 
a division in Congress which resulted in the recall of Deane; 


he arrived in America in August 1778, and was exasperated 
by the treatment received and the false reports against him. 
He met the charge of misappropriating the funds with the 
statement that his vouchers were in Europe. He was com- 
pelled to return for his papers; and so unjust was Congress, 
that, owing to the influence of Lee and his supporters, they 
refused to allow Deane his bill of expenses. Though Frank- 
lin testified to his honesty and private worth, the machina- 
tions of his enemies succeeded, and Deane was driven into 
obscurity; he died in poverty at Deal, England, Aug. 23, 
1789. Over a half-century after his demise, Congress liqui- 
dated the country's money indebtedness to his heirs; and his 
memory has been purged of unjust suspicions in the minds of 
the better informed. 

In the first Connecticut delegation to the Continental Con- 
gress was Eliphalet Dyer, born at Windham Sept. 28, 172 1. 
Graduating from Yale in 1740, he became a lawyer, and was 
a member of the Connecticut Assembly for seventeen years. 
He commanded a regiment during the French and Indian 
War. In 1763 we find him in England, as agent of the Sus- 
quehanna Company, in which he was interested. Colonel 
Dyer was a member of the Stamp Act Congress, and of the 
Continental Congress during the war, excepting in the year 
1779; he was chief justice of the Superior Court for four 
years. He died in his native town May 13, 1807. 

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union bear 
the signatures of Titus Hosmer and Andrew Adams. The 
former was born in Middletown in 1736, of English parent- 
age; his grandfather was an officer in Cromwell's army, and 
on the accession of Charles II. emigrated to America and set- 
tled at Middletown. Titus Hosmer graduated from Yale in 
1757, and went into the law, becoming an able and honorable 


attorney; he was a member of the Continental Congress, 
and died in the prime of life, at Middletown, Aug. 4, 1780. 
His colleague, Andrew Adams, was born in Stratford, Janu- 
ary 1736; on his graduation from Yale in 1760, he was 
admitted to the bar; three years afterwards he removed to 
Litchfield. He was a member of the Continental Congress, 
an adroit and able lawyer, besides being a learned judge. Mr. 
Adams died in his adopted town, Nov. 26, 1797. 

The eastern part of the State was represented in the Con- 
tinental Congress by Richard Law, son of Governor Jonathan 
Law, born in New Milford, March 17, 1732; he graduated 
from Yale at eighteen, and having completed the study of 
law, removed to New London. He served in Congress in 
1777-8, and also in 178 1-4; an able student of jurisprudence, 
he assisted Roger Sherman in the revision of the statutes of 
the State; was chief justice of the Superior Court, and Wash- 
ington appointed him judge of the District Court of the 
United States. Judge Law was for over twenty years mayor 
of his adopted town, where he died Jan. 26, 1806. 

Among the early governors of the State of Vermont was 
Thomas Chittenden, born at East Guilford, now Madison, 
Jan. 6, 1730; he emigrated to Salisbury in 175 i, and before 
the breaking out of the Revolutionary W^ar removed to the 
New Hampshire grants, settling at Williston. Governor 
Chittenden was prominent in the early councils of the nevv' 
State, was a leader in the convention that declared her inde- 
pendence, and helped to frame the first Constitution ; he was 
elected governor in 1778, and filled the office, with the excep- 
tion of one year, until his death at Williston, Aug. 24, 1797. 

Connecticut can point with pride to the labors of her dele- 
gates, among the powerful intellects who gathered at Phila- 
delphia in the summer of 1787, to formulate a stable con- 


stitution. Conservative, watchful, alert, endowed by nature 
with eloquence in debate, versed in legal lore, their influence 
swayed a body composed of the foremost representatives of 
American political talent. The dean of the delegation, Roger 
Sherman, had been associated with other national gatheriogs, 
and brought an already solid fame with him. He was 
exceeded in seniority of age by only one member of the con- 
vention — the revered Franklin; his two colleagues, Johnson 
and Ellsworth, were faithful representatives of a people 
whose government in the past had been ultra-democratic in 
principle, yet where the voice of the minority had always 
received consideration by the majority. 

William Samuel Johnson, the son of the Father of Episco- 
pacy in Connecticut, was born in Stratford, Oct. 7, 1727; 
after graduating from Yale (where his father was loth to 
send him, thinking a colonial college of little worth) in 1744, 
he adopted law as a profession. He was a delegate to the 
Stamp Act Congress, and from 1761 to 1771 was Connecti- 
cut's agent in England. While residing in London, he became 
personally acquainted with Dr. Samuel Johnson, and on his 
return to America, he carried on a correspondence with the 
mighty Ursus Major. He became a judge of the Superior 
Court of Connecticut, and was a member of Congress from 
1784 to 1787. Judge Johnson filled other important offices, 
which are mentioned elsewhere in this work. He died in his 
native town, Nov. 14, 18 19. 

A noted historian has said, ''never was harmony between 
private and public virtue more complete than that which 
existed in the character of Oliver Ellsworth," who was born 
at Windsor April 29, 1745. His father brought him up in 
the characteristic and needful virtues of the hard New Eng- 
land life, work, frugality, and forethought; but he was proud 



of the boy's precocious intellect, encouraged him, and had 
him alternate physical labors with preparatory studies for 
college. Oliver entered Yale at seventeen, but decided that 
he could obtain better advantages at the College of New Jer- 
sey (now Princeton) ; and in 1766 graduated there.. After 
five years' law study, intermingled with farming, he began 
the practice of law; appointed State's attorney, he removed 
to Hartford, and on the opening of hostilities took an active 
part. He was a member of the Continental Congress from 
1776 to 1780, and was elected to the Council of Connecticut; 
in 1784 he was made judge of the Superior Court. Judge 
Ellsworth after his retirement from national affairs, of which 
further mention will be made, declined the office of Chief 
Justice of Connecticut on account of an incurable internal 
disease. His death occurred six months later at Windsor, on 
Nov. 26, 1807. 



Connecticut Before the Adoption of a Federal 

Ar the close of the Revolutionary war, public 
affairs were In a chaotic state; while the Inde- 
pendence of the United States had been 
acknowledged by foreign powers, the internal 
governments of the States were not uniform, 
and their diverging interests did not tend to the advantage 
of the body politic. The Articles of Confederation and Per- 
petual Union, which, with the tardy adoption by Maryland, 
were finally ratified by all the colonies, became a frame of 
government for the United States. 

It would have been devoid of diplomacy and policy to 
offer, at this critical period in the nation's existence, a govern- 
ment armed with controlling power over States antagonistic 
In interests and jealous of each other; therefore the defects 
in the Articles of Confederation were due to the exigencies 
of the times. At the conclusion of peace, the fear of a com- 
mon enemy being eradicated, the people became jealous of 
the powers of Congress. The freemen dreaded lest they 
had deposed one set of despotic rulers, only to have their 
places filled with demagogues of their own production. 

The Continental Congress In 1778, at the solicitation of 
Washington, granted to officers of the army half-pay for 
life, subject to certain reservations by Congress. This caused 
uneasiness amongst the people, who looked upon it as a fore- 
runner of a pension list, to create a subsidized army as the 
henchmen of a despotism. Congress In 1783 attempted to 
mitigate these impressions by commuting the half-pay for 
life to a full five-years' pay; putting it on the ground of 
recompensing the officers for the depreciation of the Con- 
tinental currency In which they were paid. There was much 
popular indignation against this, for the reason that while an 
officer was allowed five years' pay, the rank and file were to 


receive only one year. The feeling against the officers was 
augmented by the formation of a society among them, at the 
time of disbandment of the army, to which they gave the 
name of The Cincinnati ; that is, those who had left their 
farms to save their country, and the war being over, returned 
to them. The society was in fact harmless enough; but the 
people imagined it a sort of Masonic order for the purpose 
of dividing up public offices among themselves. Malcontents 
throughout the country, aided by inflammatory publications 
in the newspapers, strove to arouse prejudices against both 
Congress and the officers. The feeling in Connecticut was 
more bitter and general than in her sister States, owing to her 
extreme democracy. The distrust of Congress was inflamed 
among the populace by the receipt of one Burke's pamphlet, 
in which he claimed that the organization of the Cincinnati 
was an attempt to form two classes among the people : the 
first a hereditary nobility, consisting of the military officers 
and the influential families of prominent men; the second of 
the people or plebeians. 

Connecticut's case in regard to the Articles of Confedera- 
tion was peculiar. For over one hundred and fifty years 
she had preserved autonomy to her people and had defied 
every vestige of authority not legitimately obtained from 
them. She was an exponent of State sovereignty; but the 
desolation inflicted by the war, which destroyed her foreign 
commerce, impoverished her coast towns, and bankrupted her 
merchants, forced her reluctantly to make even State rights 
subordinate to a national power, but to just the extent impera- 
tive and no further. 

These vital questions were met, however, in Connecticut's 
own conservative way, through the medium of her town meet- 
ings. Committees were appointed at these meetings, who met 



In convention at Middletown and passed resolves expressing 
disapprobation of the acts of Congress, for extra pay to offi- 
cers and soldiers. 

The financial question also became a leading factor in pop- 
ular discontent. The general government had emitted vast 
sums of paper currency, and Spanish and French specie 
became abundant during the war, inflating the circulating me- 
dium. The people at the close of hostilities were destitute of 
clothing and other necessaries of life. A demand was created 
for foreign importations which depleted the country of specie, 
and the uncertain value of the Continental paper currency 
caused a stringency in the money market. The bulk of Con- 
necticut's Importations were necessarily through the ports of 
New York and Boston, and were subject to a tax levied by 
these States; she was therefore in favor of surrendering to 
Congress the right of taxing imports. This required the 
unanimous consent of the States, and her willingness was 
neutralized by Rhode Island's refusal to consent to the prop- 

These financial difficulties led the people of the State to 
view the oflicers of the late war as harpies, who were attempt- 
ing to obtain riches from the misfortunes of their fellow citi- 
zens, and Congress was thought corrupt for abetting their 
efforts. These sentiments were expressed by the Middletown 
convention, and were concurred in by the Assembly at their 
October session 1783. Connecticut did not object to national 
taxation, but was opposed to the taxing power being used for 
the benefit of the members of the Society of the Cincinnati. 
She readily consented to the proposition of Congress, In 1783, 
to base taxation on the number of Inhabitants in each State 
rather than on the lands. Her ready acquiescence in these 
acts of Congress is greatly to her credit, when it is remem- 


bered that she had been deprived of her Pennsylvania pos- 
sessions, and received in exchange but a pittance of Western 
reservation lands, small in comparison with those granted to 
satisfy the demands of Virginia. 

The masses of the people of Connecticut were so discon- 
tented, that open sedition was likely. The better educated 
and informed citizens of the State, among whom were the 
clergy and the executive officers, were opposed to the uncon- 
stitutional step taken by the Middletown convention. By 
arguments and correspondence they supported the measures 
of Congress, contending that the additional pay allowed the 
army was necessary to maintain its organization, and that the 
expenses thus incurred would not be oppressive. Though in 
the minority, their endeavors took effect; the opposition 
subsided, the committees were dismissed, and tranquillity was 
restored to the State. The General Assembly, at its next ses- 
sion in May 1784, passed several measures which had pre- 
viously been very unpopular. 

The executive who piloted Connecticut through the 
troublous days of the Revolutionary War had passed the 
allotted period of threescore years and ten. Though urged 
repeatedly, to become again a candidate, he refused any 
further honors. His eighteen years' service as an executive 
officer, during the first three years of which he was Deputy 
Governor in this exciting time, had well earned him the 
merited reward of retirement from public affairs. 

Jonathan Trumbull was the only colonial governor who 
took a stand against the British government in the Revolu- 
tion, being almost the only one not appointed by it. He was 
born in Lebanon, Oct. 12, 17 10; son of Joseph Trumbull, 
who ten years before Jonathan's birth moved to Lebanon, 
and engaged in trade. The younger IVumbull at the age of 



thirteen entered Harvard College, graduating four years 
later. He studied theology, and was licensed to preach ; hut 
his services as a minister were brief. In 1731 we find him 
studying law, while engaged with his father at Lebanon in 
mercantile business. 

Governor Trumbull's political life began in 1733, and con- 
tinued without interruption for over half a century. He has 
been justly styled by a well-known writer "the presiding 
genius of Connecticut during the American conflict." He 
ended his days at Lebanon, Aug. 17, 1785. 

The efforts of Governor Trumbull during the Revolution 
were ably seconded by Matthew Griswold, who filled the 
oflSce of Deputy Governor during the entire period of his 
illustrious predecessor's occupancy of the executive chair. 
Governor Griswold was born at Lyme, March 25, 17 14. He 
had no early educational advantages, and his success in life 
was due solely to a natural ability, which attracted public 
note while he was still a young man. He began the study of 
law at twenty-five, and soon after was admitted to the bar, 
and by indefatigable work became a prominent advocate. He 
entered political life in 175 i. Governor Griswold was first 
elected to the gubernatorial chair in 1784, and served two 
terms ; then, declining a re-election, he retired to private life. 
He was a sincere friend, of a benevolent disposition, and in 
his domestic life hospitable and charitable, enjoying an exten- 
sive acquaintance. He died in his native town, April 28, 

Samuel Huntington was the son of a farmer, and was born 
in Windham, July 2, 1731. His ancestors were originally 
from Saybrook. The benefit of an early education were 
denied him, owing to his father's poverty; he worked at 
farming, varied by irregular attendance at the district schools. 


He was his own instructor in Latin, and on arriving at his 
majority began the study of law, with borrowed books and no 
preceptor. With great perseverance he mastered the rudi- 
ments of his profession, and was admitted to the bar. His 
increasing clientage caused his removal to Norwich in 1760, 
where his public career soon afterwards began. He became 
a member of the General Assembly, and associate judge of 
the Superior Court; was elected a delegate to the Continental 
Congress, and in 1779 was chosen President of that body, 
which at that time was the highest office in the land. 

On his forty-fifth birthday he participated in the debate on 
the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, of which 
he was a signer. Governor Huntington, owing to ill health, 
resigned his Congressional duties in 178 i, and returning to 
his native State, resumed his seat upon the bench and his 
position as a member of the Council. He became a member 
of Congress in 1783, but resigned in the same year, and 
returned to private life. His appointment as Chief Justice 
of the Superior Court, and his election as Deputy Governor, 
occurred in 1784. Two years later he was made Governor, 
which position he held until his death at Norwich, Jan. 5, 

Although not a collegian. Governor Huntington was 
invested with the degree of Doctor of Laws by Yale and 
Harvard Colleges. He was a man who talked little, was of a 
naturally retiring disposition, and to one not acquainted with 
him had the appearance of haughtiness; yet with his friends 
he was free and winning in his manner. 

Governor Huntington's able assistant, during his occu- 
pancy of the chair, was one of the famous quartette whose 
signatures ornament the Declaration of Independence. Oli- 
ver Wolcott was a son of Governor Roger Wolcott, and 


i/a/f^ yri^.^rzy^^'^ya U-^ 


was born at Windsor Nov. 26, 1726; after graduating 
from Yale in 1747, he began the study of medicine with his 
brother, Dr. Alexander Wolcott, and in 175 i entered upon 
that profession at Goshen. His entrance into political life 
dates from the organization of Litchfield County, when he 
was elected its first sheriff. He became a member of the State 
Council in 1774, and two years later was chosen a delegate 
to the Continental Congress, holding both positions until 

After the adjournment of Congress in 1776 he returned 
home, and was appointed by Governor Trumbull to the com- 
mand of the Connecticut militia, which consisted of fourteen 
regiments raised for the defense of New York. This body 
of troops was thoroughly organized by General Wolcott, and 
took part in the battle of Long Island; after which their 
commander returned to Connecticut, and the following winter 
occupied his seat in Congress. During the year 1777 we find 
General Wolcott commanding a brigade, with which he rein- 
forced General Putnam on the Hudson River and took part 
In the capture of Burgoyne's army. He was present at the 
session of the Continental Congress held at York, Pennsyl- 
vania, in the fall of 1777; on its adjournment he returned 
to his native State, and was placed in command of the State 
militia at the time of Tryon's raid. His attendance in Con- 
gress from 1780 to 1784 was irregular, his time being occu- 
pied with the military and civil affairs of Connecticut. 

At the cessation of hostilities, General Wolcott was 
appointed Indian agent, and was a member of the commis- 
sion which effected the treaty of peace with the Six Nations. 
On the death of Governor Huntington, Wolcott became the 
State executive ad interim, and at the next general election 
was chosen his successor. 



Governor Wolcott was re-elected, but did not complete his 
term of office; his death occurred Dec. i, 1797. He was a. 
singularly modest man, even diffident in his intercourse with 
men, in the common walks of life. Lossing says, "As a 
patriot and statesman, a Christian and a man, Governor Wol- 
cott presented a bright example of inflexibility, virtue, piety, 
and integrity." 



The Western Reserve 

THE war clouds of the Revolution had scarcely 
disappeared from the horizon — in fact, it was 
only a fortnight after the surrender of Corn- 
wallis — when Pennsylvania, although she 
had remained inert during the hostilities, peti- 
tioned Congress, the new arbitrator between the States, to 
adjudicate her claims to Westmoreland. The status of the 
case had entirely changed. The State of Pennsylvania 
appeared as a complainant instead of the Penn heirs. This 
gave a wholly new aspect to the case. The Penns, unsup- 
ported by the people of Pennsylvania and striving only to 
keep the Wyoming territory a waste for their future personal 
profit and aggrandizement, were powerless against the swarm- 
ing Connecticut immigration. Settlement could only be 
opposed by settlement; those who would use the land by oth- 
ers who would use it. The Penns were on little better foot- 
ing than the Indians, and like them were justly ousted by the 
forces of civilization. But when Pennsylvania wanted to use 
her own door-yard for civilized purposes, there was another 
case in equity if not in law. 

The bulk of the Connecticut survivors had returned to the 
Wyoming Valley in the autumn of the year of the massacre. 
The Indians had again raided the territory, and the white 
people suffered disasters of every description ; yet In defiance 
of mortal danger, they maintained their occupancy of the 

Among those — swept along by the tide of emigration that 
had swelled the settlements at Westmoreland, was Colonel 
John P>anklin, destined to play an Important part in the 
affairs of the new Connecticut. The Continental Congress, 
solicited to adjudicate on the ownership of the disputed terri- 
tory, was placed In a dilemma. The confederation was a part- 


nership of States claiming free sovereignty except as con- 
tributing quotas to a common defensive organization, and did 
not possess the power to arbitrate in disputes between its 
members. It therefore recommended that the subject of 
jurisdiction should be left to a board of commissioners, 
selected by delegates from the two States. 

This board was to consist of seven members, of whom five 
constituted a quorum; they were to be selected from four 
States, New England having but two representatives in the 
body; the populous State of Virginia had three, while the 
State contiguous to Pennsylvania had two. 

It would seem that Connecticut had not much to expect 
from the delegates chosen to the commission. Virginia had 
always been opposed to New England, and New Jersey's 
interests coincided with those of Connecticut's opponent. 
The original delegates reported to Congress, on Aug. 12, 
1782, were William Whipple of New Hampshire, Nathaniel 
Greene of Rhode Island, David Brearly and William Church- 
ill Houston of New Jersey, Cyrus Griffin, Joseph Jones, and 
John Rutledge of Virginia. General Greene and Mr. Rut- 
ledge declined the appointment,and Welcome Arnold and 
Thomas Nelson were substituted. 

The Court was opened at Trenton, New Jersey, Nov. 12, 
1782; Commissioners Whipple, Arnold, Houston, Griffin, 
and Brearly being present. Connecticut's counsel were Eli- 
phalet Dyer, William Samuel Johnson, and Jesse Root; while 
William Bradford, Joseph Reed, James Wilson, and Jona- 
than D. Sargeant appeared for Pennsylvania. The position 
of the Court was definitely stated when, in answer to the peti- 
tion of the Wyoming settlers, they replied that their jurisdic- 
tion extended only to State rights, and not to the settler's 
right of soil. The Court sat forty-one judicial days and 



heard testimonies and lengthy arguments; but there is no 
record of its sessions or deliberations. Before delivering a 
verdict, they agreed among themselves that no reasons should 
be assigned for it, and that it should be made unanimous. 
They arrived at the following judgment on Dec. 13, 1782: 
"We are unanimously of opinion that the jurisdiction and pre- 
emption of all territory lying within the charter of Pennsyl- 
vania, and now claimed by the State of Connecticut, do of 
right belong to the State of Pennsylvania." On the promul- 
gation of the Trenton Decree, Connecticut, which under pro- 
test had held control over Westmoreland for nine years, with- 
drew her jurisdiction. 

The Susquehanna Company had held no meetings from 
1774 to 1782; just previous to the holding of the Tren- 
ton Court, they appointed the State's attorneys their agents. 
The stockholders of the company were surprised at the deci- 
sion of the Court, and petitioned the General Assembly, at 
its May session in 1783, to request Dr. Johnson and Colonel 
Root to give an account of the trial. The confidence of the 
company in Colonel Dyer was not shaken, as he was not 
included in the requested investigation. The General Assem- 
bly, however, took no action on the petition. 

The Connecticut delegates concurred in the action of the 
Continental Congress, in withdrawing the national troops 
from the Wyoming Valley. Connecticut's acquiescence in the 
decision is greatly to her credit : the country was in a turbulent 
state, and a show of resistance to the authority of the Con- 
tinental Congress would have endangered the union of the 
States. But her not requiring a guarantee for the protection 
of her sons, who had so nobly defended the Wyoming Valley 
and her jurisdiction over the territory, despite all excuses 
was not creditable, and leaves an ill taste in the mouth to this 


day. She could have exacted it had she Hrmly insisted on it 
as a sine qua nan of rehnquishing jurisdiction; it was worth 
fighting for, and a most righteous cause. Why it was so 
tamely abandoned is still a mystery; the northwestern land 
grant in lieu of it by Congress was some compensation as a 
State, but to take it from the pockets of the Wyoming settlers 
was not equitable. Unofficially, however, the Connecticut 
people and the Susquehanna Company still kept up the strug- 
gle and supported the settlers, and at last the State was forced 
to interfere again. 

It is not within the scope of this work to follow the indig- 
nities and persecutions heaped upon the Connecticut settlers 
in the Wyoming Valley, in their attempted protection of the 
homes they had reclaimed from the savages and the wilder- 
ness. The action of the Pennsylvania authorities became so 
despicable and unjustifiable that it threatened the dissolution 
of the Confederation, by the prospect of a civil war. The 
formation of a new State was agitated, to be called Franklin 
or Susquehanna; the project was enthusiastically backed in 
New England and New York. The plan was to send a large 
number of emigrants into the territory; and Colonel Ethan 
Allen with a number of the Green Mountain Boys were again 
to attempt the formation of an independent commonwealth. 

The Connecticut schemers had drawn up a plan of govern- 
ment and had a constitution prepared, and the first Governor 
and Lieutenant-Governor had been selected. To disrupt the 
new State movement, Pennsylvania passed the Conforming 
Act of 1787 ; this was a compromise which a majority of the 
Wyoming settlers were in favor of accepting. Colonel Tim- 
othy Pickering, who had been appointed one of Pennsyl- 
vania's commissioners, stopped all revolutionary demonstra- 
tions by his diplomatic efforts, in connection with this Act. 



Pennsylvania was savagely bent on confiscating the lands 
outright. The legislature in 1790 repealed the compromise 
measure of 1787, declaring it unconstitutional. But the hold- 
ers of the Pennsylvania land titles gained nothing by this 
greedy action, as the long-suffering Connecticut settlers still 
held their possessions, though the legal warfare was con- 
tinued. It was not until 1807 that a clear title to the lands 
was obtained by the Yankees; they made the State a trifling 
payment, and the last vestige of injustice was obliterated, — 
just half a century from the time the first Connecticut settle- 
ment was made on the Delaware River. 

In a resume of the advantages derived by each State, we 
find Pennsylvania the chief gainer, as indicated in a former 
volume. The settlement was not against but in favor of 
Pennsylvania as such, however the Penns' pockets might suf- 
fer. Trade and industry were immensely helped; and the 
Yankee blood of the northern territory was a useful supple- 
ment to the Quaker and the Dutch of her southern section. 
The persistency and energetic business qualifications of her 
Connecticut-bred settlers, in the development of her mineral 
resources, redounded to the credit and riches of the Com- 

Connecticut, by sturdily maintaining her charter boun- 
daries as extending to the Pacific, and by illustrating her 
belief in making actual settlements, became the possessor of 
that region of the Northwest Territory called the Western 
Reserve of Connecticut. This exceeded in area the original 
domains of our State. 

The difliculty in the ratification of the Articles of Confed- 
eration was in the establishment of the disputed boundaries 
of the different States. Six of the thirteen States by their 
charters had defined limits. Among the claimant States was 


Connecticut, who claimed according to her royal grants the 
territory between her parallels of latitude as far as the Mis- 
sissippi River, which had been established in 1763 as the 
western boundary of the British possessions in America. The 
problem that confronted the general government was to 
obtain the acquiescence of the various claimants to the dis- 
puted territory between the established boundaries and the 
Mississippi. This darkened, and for a time retarded, the 
prospects for the formation of an American Union. It was 
not until sacrifices were made by the claimant States, that 
disruption was averted. 

Connecticut was the last State, and reluctantly, to give her 
sanction to the cession of the territory to the general govern- 
ment. An act passed by the General Assembly, on May 11, 
1786, relinquished all her right, title, interest, jurisdiction, 
and claim to lands within her chartered limits, lying west of 
a reservation of one hundred and twenty miles in length, 
between latitudes 41° and 42"^ 2' north, and west of and 
parallel with the western boundary of the State of Pennsyl- 

This reservation — the Western Reserve of Connecticut — 
was the subject of a protracted debate in Congress. It was 
stigmatized as a Yankee bargain to convey and relinquish 
an elusive, intangible, and imaginary title to a visionary and 
unproductive territory, for a tract of solid land with a sure 
title and definite boundaries. That Connecticut's claim to the 
reservation should have received the unanimous support of 
the delegates of the State against which she had been so lately 
arrayed in land controversies, is strongly presumptive evi- 
dence that there was some secret understanding between the 
representatives of the two Commonwealths at the Court held 



at Trenton. Furthermore, the territory thus reserved was 
about equal to that relinquished in Pennsylvania. 

Connecticut's bitterest opponents were the delegates from 
Virginia and Maryland; Washington was in the opposition; 
but the Virginians finally acquiesced, knowing that Connec- 
ticut would immediately settle her reservation with emigrants, 
who would form a barrier between the British and the Indian 
tribes, thereby enhancing the value of the adjoining territory, 
In which they were Interested. 

The States, excepting Maryland, agreeing to Connecticut's 
proposition. Congress accepted the cession of the territory 
on May 23, 1786; it was duly completed on the 17th of the 
following September. 

The reservation, according to the latest authorities, con- 
tained 3,366,921 acres, or over 5,260 square miles, an excess 
over the area of the mother State of 173,921 acres. It 
embraced the present Ohio counties of Ashtabula, Trumbull, 
Lake, Geauga, Portage, Cuyahoga, Medina, Lorain, Huron, 
and Erie, the greater part of Mahoning and Summit, and 
small portions of Ashland and Ottawa, in which is located 
the chief city of Ohio. That the population of this vast ter- 
ritory should at the beginning of the twentieth century num- 
ber within a few thousand of that of the mother State, is a 
living monument to Connecticut's far-sighted patriotism and 

As soon as peace was established with Great Britain, a com- 
mission was appointed by the Connecticut legislature to esti- 
mate the damage done to private citizens by British raids 
during the Revolutionary war. The committee reported the 
results of their labors as follows : 



New London burnt Sept. 6, 1781 . . . .£145,788 15s. 6d. 

Groton burnt Sept. 6, 1781 23,217 6 

Scattering towns burnt Sept. 6, 1781. 9,806 9 2 

£178,812 10 8 
Norwalk burnt by the British in 1779 34,867 9 2 
Confiscated property and other losses. 2,077 

£36,944 9 2 

Greenwich 6,365 1 1 8 

Losses of men not on oath 369 17 7 

^6,735 9 3 

Fairfield burnt in 1779 40,809 2 10 

New Haven ravaged by Tryon in July 

1779 24,893 7 6 

East Haven ravaged by Tryon in July 

1779 4,882 16 4 

West Haven ravaged by Tryon in July 

1779 474 o 3 

Other losses 586 o i 

£30,836 4 2 

Total amount of the losses in the whole State, according to 
the money value in 1774, £294,236 i6s. id. This estimate 
included merchandise and public buildings; exclusive of 
these, the loss was estimated to be £167,000. 

It was not until May 1792 that the legislature made pro- 
vision to reimburse the war sufferers. In that year 500,000 
acres of the extreme western part of the Reserve, comprising 
the greater part of what is now Huron and Erie counties and 



a small portion of Ottawa, was deeded to those having claims, 
and the tract became known as the Fire Lands. The follow- 
ing year the General Assembly appointed a committee con- 
sisting of one from each county, empowering them to sell and 
give deeds for the balance of the territory, to purchasers 
whose proposals were sanctioned by six of the members of the 
committee; the purchasers were allowed six years in which 
to pay for their allotments. 

The lands were disposed of in thirty-six parcels. The 
heaviest purchaser was Oliver Phelps, who, individually and 
in partnership, took over $250,000 worth. Gideon Granger's 
purchases amounted to $80,000; and Pierpont Edwards, a 
son of Jonathan Edwards, negotiated for $60,000 worth of 
landed property. The smallest sum received was nearly 
$1,700. The total sales amounted to $1,200,000, payable 
in five years, with interest after the second year. 

The purchasers of the tract formed the Connecticut Land 
Company. The settlement of the territory and the efforts 
of this corporation were retarded by the lack of acknowl- 
edged jurisdiction over the territory. To establish law and 
order, the whole Reserve was converted into a county, and 
named Trumbull, in honor of the Governor in office at that 

The difficulty which prevented the land company from giv- 
ing titles, and also retarded their sales, was solved by Congress 
passing the "Easement Act," in which Connecticut ceded to 
the United States her jurisdiction over the territory, the gen- 
eral government releasing to her all right, title, and claim 
to the soil. 

The distribution of the money from the land sales became 
a matter of controversy in Connecticut. In the same year 
that the sales committee was appointed, an act was introduced 



in the legislature, that the money derived from the sales 
should be used in the establishment of a perpetual fund; the 
interest on said fund to be appropriated to the several eccle- 
siastical congregations for support of ministers and schools 
of education. 

The opposition to this act was strong throughout the State; 
while it passed in the lower house of the legislature it was 
defeated in the upper. The question was debated for two 
years at the town meetings, in the pulpits, and in the news- 
papers. The General Assembly, at the May session of 1795, 
passed a bill appropriating the interest of the purchase money 
to the support of schools in the several societies; the same 
to be kept according to the provisions of law. This act cre- 
ated the Connecticut School Fund. The fund, still intact, 
but largely augmented, is now performing the duties assigned 
it by its promoters, for a free educational system. 

One of the most important participators in these early land 
speculations was Oliver Phelps; who, according to Stiles' 
"History of Ancient Windsor," was born in that town Aug. 
II, 1758, though most authorities give the year as 1749. 
He removed from his native town to Suffield; received a mer- 
cantile education, and engaged in business in Granville, Mas- 
sachusetts. During the Revolutionary War he was employed 
by the State of Massachusetts in the commissary department, 
and used his personal notes as a circulating medium. In 1789 
he purchased from Massachusetts, in connection with Na- 
thaniel Gorham, 2,200,000 acres in the western part of New 
York State; he removed to Canandaigua, and opened the 
first land office ever established in America. Mr. Phelps orig- 
inated a system of townships and ranges, which with modifi- 
cations was generally adopted in surveying United States 
government lands. From his adopted town he was appointed 



Judge of the Circuit Court, and elected member of Congress. 
He died there, Feb. 21, 1809. 

Soon after the close of the Revolution, the American peo- 
ple throughout the country became involved in land specula- 
tions. The enterprising citizens of Virginia sent agents to 
New England to descant on the value of land, and sell fic- 
titious acreage in the Shenandoah Valley at a comparatively 
small price. The leading men of Virginia countenanced and 
gave the influence of their names to these unscrupulous enter- 
prises, and an enormous area of tangled wilderness was dis- 
posed of, in what is now West Virginia and Kentucky. The 
Virginia laws regarding land titles were extremely loose; and 
the public records were deficient, so that a dozen surveys cov- 
ered the same lands, in part or in whole. The original land 
titles were often taken in the name of a bankrupt, which 
allowed the rightful owner to evade a personal liability. If 
the Virginians were careless in buying, they were remarkably 
shrewd in selling; they flooded the Eastern market with 
plausible and cunning salesmen, and millions of acres were 
disposed of to the "overreaching" Yankees. The Connecticut 
people invested their hard earnings in numberless acres which 
proved worthless and unsalable, even undiscoverablc ; ihey 
became thoroughly alarmed in 1798, and the following 
year deputized a prominent lawyer to visit the region and 
ascertain their position as landowners in the South. Though 
their agent was a man of unimpeachable Integrity and legal 
ability, and spent the best part of two years in a trackless 
wilderness, the Southern schemers had so perfected their 
plans that he was unable to obtain any money consideration 
for the large amounts Invested by his Connecticut clients. 

In fact, in obtaining others' goods without consideration, 
the Southerner has never shown himself a whit behind the 
Northerner. i 



Connecticut in the Federal Constitutional Con- 

THE limitation of the powers of Congress under 
the Articles of Confederation negatived most 
of its usefulness. It could do nothing but ask 
for supplies mostly refused and make recom- 
mendations not acted on. This caused the 
non-attendance of members, which made it difficult to obtain a 
quorum for business, and increase the difficulty of induc- 
ing able men to serve. The consent of seven States was neces- 
sary to consider any resolution except adjournment. Without 
the consent of the nine States, Congress could not engage 
in war, enter into any alliance or treaty, fix the revenue for 
public defense, coin money or regulate its value, emit bills of 
credit, borrow money, make appropriations, levy taxes, build 
or purchase war vessels, or raise troops. 

The public feeling became universal, that a stronger com- 
pact of government was necessary to preserve the concord of 
the States ; that they must resign a portion of their sovereign 
rights to a national government, which should be coercive in 
its powers and paramount in its functions. As early as 1780 
this was advocated by Hamilton, who suggested the holding 
of a convention to devise a plan for strengthening the Federal 
Constitution. He saw like others the evils of the powerless 
Confederation; but he had not been through the experiences 
of American-born citizens, had no fear of a strong general 
government, and wished to give complete supremacy to Con- 

Through the influence of Hamilton, the New York legisla- 
ture in 1782 passed a concurrent resolution recommending 
the holding of a general convention of the States to amend 
the Articles of Confederation. Congress for lack of revenue 
was confronted with national bankruptcy, the most danger- 


ous symptom of a political dissolution, and making foreign 
intervention possible. 

A convention was held at Hartford in November 1780, 
at which the four New England States and New York were 
represented; it was called to devise means for the establish- 
ment of a state revenue for the United States, to defray the 
accrued interest on loans, and to give Congress the power to 
negotiate future indebtedness. The convention recommended 
that Congress should have the power to apportion taxes by 
the number of inhabitants of the States, rather than on the 
land; they recognized the lack of Congress' power of coer- 
cion, and deemed it dangerous to the peace and freedom of 
the States. These principles were embodied in a set of resolu- 
tions, copies of which were forwarded to Congress and the 
legislatures of each State. This was during the excitement 
attendant on the Revolutionary War, and the importance of 
the suggestions did not receive the recognition it otherwise 
would. The legislatures of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 
in a general way, approved of the sentiments embodied in the 

The power of Congress was fast disappearing. A serious 
blow was the veto of Rhode Island (the unanimous consent 
of all the States being required) on allowing it to raise a 
revenue by an import duty of five per cent., ad valorem, on 
all goods of foreign growth and manufacture. Connecticut's 
share of the $1,500,000 to be raised for the annual support 
of the national government was $132,091. She had favored 
the importation tax, also the limitation of the period to a 
term of twenty-five years. In the apportionment of national 
expenses, Connecticut was fifth, the amount assessed to her 
being exceeded by that of the States of Virginia, Massachu- 
setts, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. 



The formation of the Northwest Territory, the state of 
trade, the navigation of the rivers forming boundaries 
between States, and the unsuccessful attempt to establish the 
independent State of Franklin, led the Virginia legislature in 
1786 to appoint commissioners and extend invitations to her 
sister States, to nominate delegates to meet at Annapolis and 
consider measures for coping with these difficulties. The 
convention met in September 1786. New York, New Jersey, 
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware were the only States 
represented. The legislatures of Massachusetts, New Hamp- 
shire, Rhode Island, and North Carolina appointed commis- 
sioners, but they failed to appear ; the other States remained 

The delegates from New York, Pennsylvania, and Vir- 
ginia were in favor of considering only acts pertaining to 
trade and commerce, and reporting to their several State, 
legislatures. The commissioners from Delaware favored a 
similar plan, though they desired that the resolutions should 
be ratified by all the State deelgates. The New Jersey repre- 
sentatives had an enlarged plan, which contemplated the 
adoption of articles to meet all the "exigencies of the Union." 
The convention readily saw the feasibility of New Jersey's 
plan, but owing to the representation being partial and defec- 
tive, and to their wish for the opinion of every State, it was 
decided that the States should be invited to appoint commis- 
sioners to a convention at Philadelphia the following May. 
This was to revise the Articles of Confederation so as to ren- 
der them adequate to the "exigencies of the Union." These 
resolutions of the Annapolis convention were promulgated 
by Congress on Feb. 21, 1787 ; accompanied by recommenda- 
tions that the States appoint delegates to attend a convention 
"for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of 


Confederation." This to Congress appeared the most prob- 
able means of estabhshing in the States a firm national gov- 

The desire for a stronger centralized power of government 
had been increased in New England by the outbreak of 
Shays' rebellion: all the States except Rhode Island readily 
responded to Congress' invitation to appoint commissioners. 
At the May session of the General Assembly, William Samuel 
Johnson, Roger Sherman, and Oliver Ellsworth were 
appointed to attend the Philadelphia convention as commis- 
sioners from Connecticut. On the day set. May 14, 1787, 
delegates from the different States began to assemble at the 
State house in Philadelphia ; it was not, however, until the 
25th of the month, that nine States, represented by twenty- 
nine delegates, organized the convention for business. 

The assemblage was composed of the illustrious men of the 
States; the selection of Washington to preside over its delib- 
erations was in accordance with the spirit of harmony that 
brought the delegates together. The commissioners from 
Virginia, which was the most populous State, had utilized 
the time preceding organization in formulating fifteen resolu- 
tions as a basis for a new Constitution ; these were ably pre- 
sented by Edmund Randolph, and became known as the Vir- 
ginia plan. These resolutions advocated the enlargement of 
the powers of Congress, by establishing two branches of the 
national legislature. The first was to be elected by the peo- 
ple, and its membership to be apportioned to each State 
according to its quota of contribution or to the number of free 
inhabitants; the second was to be elected by the first. Each 
branch was to have the right of originating acts. To the 
national legislature was delegated the rights vested in Con- 
gress by the Articles of Confederation. They were to legis- 



late on all cases to which the separate States were incom- 
petent, or in which the harmony of the United States might 
be disturbed by the exercise of individual legislation. They 
were to have the power to negative all laws passed by the sev- 
eral States contravening, in the opinion of the national legis- 
lature, the Articles of Union, or any treaty subsisting under 
the authority of the Union; and to call the national force 
against any State failing to fulfil its duties. 

A national executive was to be elected by the legislature, to 
be ineligible for a second term. There was to be a council 
of revision, consisting of members of the national judiciary, 
to have a veto over any act of the national legislature. The 
legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of the States were 
required to take oath to support the articles of Union. These 
resolutions were referred to a committee of the whole. 

On the day of the submission of the Virginia Plan, Connec- 
ticut's representative, Oliver Ellsworth, took his seat in the 
body; his colleague, Roger Sherman, made his first appear- 
ance the following day; Connecticut's delegation was com- 
pleted, June 2, with the seating of William Samuel Johnson. 
The first question considered was whether the government to 
be established should be of a federal or national character. 
The latter idea predominated, as it was thought it would be 
sanctioned by the people, who wanted something stronger 
than a federal form of government, which was simply a 
league of the States. A national government had a complete 
and comprehensive operation, while a federal government 
was a mere compact, resting on the good faith of the people. 

Roger Sherman, who was one of the committee that 
drafted the Articles of Confederation, on the day he took his 
seat admitted that Congress did not have sufficient power, but 
thought all that was necessary was to amend the Articles of 



Confederation. He advised enlarging their powers of raising 
moneys, but was opposed to nationalizing the government: 
he feared any radical change would not be sanctioned by the 
people. This seems not to have been the opinion of the con- 
vention; for by the vote of seven States, it was agreed that 
a national government should be established, consisting of a 
supreme legislative, executive, and judiciary body. The vote 
of New York was divided on the proposition ; Connecticut's 
was recorded in the negative. That the legislative body 
should consist of two branches was agreed upon by all the 
States; Pennsylvania at first dissenting. 

The position of Connecticut in the national gathering was 
early grasped by her sagacious representatives. In point of 
population, she was midway between the large and small 
States. Her boundaries were definitely fixed, so there could 
be no future extensions. She was an agricultural State, her 
area was subdivided into farms, which made her confines pro- 
portionally populated. Situated as Connecticut was, between 
the two seaports of New York and Boston, the attainment 
of her zenith would necessarily be gradual, not spasmodic. 
The larger States, in the formation of a new union, were look- 
ing for an aggrandizement of power. Connecticut having 
had to fight for life in the past from the encroachments of 
Massachusetts and New York, her representatives thought 
under the new system to equalize the representation, and to 
counteract the influence of population. Her delegates were 
able and noted jurists. In the early sessions, in deference to 
his seniority and experience, pre-eminence was given to Roger 
Sherman; but the avowed principles of the new school of 
republicanism, of which Johnson and Ellsworth were dis- 
ciples, marked them as leaders in connection with their elo- 
quence and diplomacy. Their constituency, from the first set- 



tlement of the colony, had been used to almost universal suf- 

In the preliminary work of the convention, as a committee 
of the whole, Connecticut's delegates took an active part; 
though their earlier views were changed by the debates and 
intercourse with the other members of the body. Sherman, 
in speaking of the membership of the first branch of the 
national legislature, advocated that they be chosen by the 
State assemblies; and that "the people should have as little 
to do as possible about government, as they lacked informa- 
tion, and were liable to be misled." The vote of Connecticut 
was divided on the proposition. Sherman still insisted that it 
was vital to the existence of State governments, and if It was 
the desire to abolish that form of government, the election 
ought to be by the people. 

On the great question of suffrage. It was the express desire 
of the convention that representation should be based on pop- 
ulation. The New England States and Pennsylvania were 
opposed to the enumeration of slaves, considering them 
merely personal property. The real issue was not in national 
but local representation. The same principle had to be applied 
In both cases; and in State affairs If only whites were counted,, 
the predominance of power would be given to the poor dis- 
tricts which held few slaves, instead of the rich ones which 
held many. This the planting interest would not suffer ; and 
the final compromise was a means of keeping the local power 
in the hands of the planter aristocracy. Three-fifths of the 
slaves were to be counted In apportioning representation. 

The position of Connecticut In the convention was clearly 
defined on June lo, when Sherman introduced his famous res- 
olution that representation In the lower branch should be pro- 
portionate, not equal. This placed Connecticut in conjunc- 


tion with those who represented the populous jurisdictions. 
The proposition was carried by the vote of seven States. To 
counteract this step, and to restore her prestige with her for- 
mer aUies, on the same day a motion was made by Sherman, 
and seconded by Ellsworth, that in the second branch of the 
legislature, each State should have a vote. This resolution 
became the rock of contention, and was known as the "Con- 
necticut proposition." It was voted down, and the conven- 
tion adopted a resolution that the membership of the Sen- 
ate should be determined by proportional suffrage. 

Mr. Paterson, of the New Jersey delegation, on June 15, 
presented for the consideration of the convention a series of 
nine resolutions, which were known as the New Jersey plan. 
They differed from the Virginia Plan, in that they favored 
only one branch of the legislature, whose power was derived 
from the States; instead of one executive head, it favored sev- 
eral. This became known as the State Sovereignty plan. Al- 
though it utterly failed, it formed the basis of a compromise, 
which brought the Connecticut representatives prominently 
before the body. 

Hamilton, who had remained silent during the convention, 
introduced on June 16 a plan of government leaning toward 
aristocracy; and advocated that the membership of executive, 
judiciary, and Senate, should be for life or good behavior. 

The report of the committee of the whole was taken up in 
detail on June 20. Ellsworth's proposition, that the national 
government should consist of a supreme legislative, executive, 
and judiciary body, was unanimously adopted. To pacify the 
fears of New Jersey and Delaware, the word "national" was 
dropped. Ellsworth moved as a substitute that "the govern- 
ment of the United States" be adopted; this was concurred in 
by a majority. That the legislature should consist of two 




branches was opposed by Sherman: while he admitted that in 
State legislatures two branches were necessary, he did not con- 
sider it so in the confederacy of States. Referring to the 
Articles of Confederation, of which he was one of the orig- 
inators, he declared that Congress had carried through a war 
as well as any government could. 

It was on the 21st of June that William Samuel Johnson 
made his maiden speech in the convention. He contrasted 
the New Jersey and Virginia plans of government, and 
favored the preserving of the distinct individuality of the 
States; in order to do this, he agreed that they must have 
equal votes in the general council. Sherman yielded to his col- 
league, and Connecticut voted for two branches of the legis- 
lature; also that the election of the members of the first 
branch should be by the people. 

The Connecticut delegation was opposed to a three-years' 
term for representatives. Sherman preferred annual elec- 
tions, but would be contented with biennial. He thought the 
representatives ought to return home and mingle with the 
people; that an extended stay at the national capital would 
cause them to acquire habits of thought differing from their 
constituents. It was the foresight of common-sense which 
enabled the man who, Jefferson declared, "never said a fool- 
ish thing in his life," so faithfully to portray the legislators 
of the United States in the twentieth century. 

The proposition favored by Delaware and Connecticut, 
that each State should pay its own representatives, was 
defeated in its incipiency. 

The composition of the second branch of the legislature 
was brought before the convention on June 29. It was intro- 
duced by Dr. Johnson, who made a forcible argument. He 
pointed out that States were districts of people, comprising 



one political society; that as States do exist as political bod- 
ies, governments are formed for them in their political capac- 
ity as well as for individuals; that they require means of self- 
defense; and while their interests are homogeneous with the 
people, they should be considered as political entities. There- 
fore, while the people by districts should be represented in 
one branch of the legislature, the other should represent the 
States. Ellsworth immediately proposed that in the second 
branch of the legislature, each State should have an equal 
representation; this was combated by Baldwin of Georgia, 
who was in favor of the upper house representing the relative 
wealth of their constituents. Ellsworth's motion was lost by 
a vote of six to five. 

From this time on, the motion for equal representation in 
the upper house was brought forward by the delegates from 
Connecticut. The smaller States, wishing to strengthen their 
forces, introduced a motion requiring the attendance of the 
delegates from New Hampshire. The persistency of Connec- 
ticut's delegates, in keeping the "Connecticut plan" before 
the convention, of State equality in the upper house and pro- 
portionate representation in the lower, nearly caused a disrup- 
tion of the convention. This was prevented by the influence 
of Franklin, who, true to his New England birth, counseled 
that the sessions of the body should be opened with prayer. 
His phlegmatic calmness countervailed the Southern impetu- 
ousity, and harmonized his Northern associates. He advo- 
cated referring the matter to a committee. Sherman agreed, 
saying that "such a committee is necessary to put us right." 
The convention on July 2 therefore referred the "Connecti- 
cut proposal" to a committee of one from each State. The 
body adjourned for three days to await their report. Ells- 
worth was Connecticut's representative on the committee; 



Baldwin of Georgia, another member, was also a native of 
the State; in the Pennsylvania delegation was Jared Inger- 
soll, likewise born in Connecticut. 

The day after the eleventh anniversary of the signing of 
the Declaration of Independence, the committee reported in 
favor of the "Connecticut proposal." What influences were 
brought to bear in the committee room will forever remain 
secret : perhaps simply common-sense, and seeing at once what 
others saw later. The report met with a storm of opposi- 
tion. Madison, Wilson, and other delegates of the larger 
States, could hardly control their indignation. Connecti- 
cut's delegates, with her faithful allies, stood firm; and when, 
on the 7th of July, they were joined by the commissioners 
from North Carolina, victory was assured. The convention 
was more at liberty to proceed to arrange the further details 
of the Constitution. 

Thus was Connecticut's great work accomplished. Her 
delegates, however, lent their forensic eloquence and legal 
ability to subsequent debates. But the leadership they had 
asumed from a sense of duty was dropped as soon as the occa- 
sion which called for it was past. The Constitution was 
signed by Sherman and Johnson ; the unavoidable departure 
of Ellsworth before the adjournment of the convention is the 
reason his signature does not appear upon the document. 

The State convention called to ratify the Federal Consti- 
tution met at Hartford, Jan. 4, 1788. Matthew Griswold 
was chosen presiding officer. The delegates were addressed 
by Oliver Ellsworth, Governor Huntington, Richard Law, 
and Oliver Wolcott. The Constitution was ratified Jan. 9, 
by 128 to 40; in the ratification, Connecticut was the fifth 
State. New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia gave a unani- 
mous consent; Pennsylvania was carried by 46 to 23. Re- 


viewing the vote of the convention in detail, we find that the 
learned Johnson, the reserved Huntington, and the astute 
Hosmer, at the head of their resident county delegations, 
were able to record a unanimous vote for ratification from 
Fairfield, New London, and Middlesex counties. The dele- 
gates from Hartford County, at whose head was the able 
Ellsworth, voted 28 ayes to 6 nays, and two nil diet; the neg- 
ative votes were from the towns of Enfield, Granby, Sims- 
bury, and Suffield. The result in Sherman's home county, if 
universally followed, would have deprived the people of the 
United States of a Constitution that has been able to adapt 
itself to many changed conditions. The vote of New Haven 
County was 9 ayes to 13 nays, and one nil diet. The towns of 
Branford, Durham, East Haven, Guilford, North Haven, 
Wallingford, Woodbridge, and Cheshire divided, were 
opposed to the ratification. The cause of this vote is hard to 
determine. New Haven was not less loyal than her sister 
counties; neither can it be attributed to lack of enterprise or 
progress, or that her people were satisfied with the Articles of 
Confederation, and wished no change. 

The vote of Tolland County was 1 1 yeas to 5 nays ; the 
delegates from the towns of Hebron, Somers, and Ellington, 
being in the minority. In the Windham County delegation, 
there was one town unrepresented; the vote was 15 yeas to 7 
nays, the latter cast by the delegates from Pomfret, Mans- 
field, and Woodstock, with Lebanon divided. The total vote 
of Litchfield County was 36; there was one delegate absent. 
Of her thirty-five votes twenty-six were in the affirmative; 
the towns of Barkhamsted, Cornwall, Harwinton, New 
Hartford, Norwalk, Sharon, and Torrington casting nine 
votes opposing the ratification. 


In the Days of Washington 

THE Constitution having been ratified by Ne\^ 
Hampshire In June 1788, this making the 
ninth State, and the Continental Congress 
having received legal notification, a resolu- 
tion was passed to make it operative. The 
first Wednesday In February was designated for the electors 
of the respective States to assemble and cast their ballots for 
President and Vice-President of the new republic. 

George Washington was the unanimous choice for Presi- 
dent; and John Adams, receiving the next highest number 
of votes, was declared Vice-President. Connecticut cast two 
of her votes for her favorite son, Samuel Huntington. Con- 
necticut's first electoral college consisted of Samuel Hunting- 
ton, Erastus Wolcott, Oliver Wolcott, Thaddeus Burr, Rich- 
ard Law, Jedediah Huntington, and Matthew Griswold. 

The first Wednesday in March was named as the day on 
which Congress should convene. Connecticut selected her 
delegates to the Constitutional convention, Oliver Ellsworth 
and William Samuel Johnson, to represent her In the first Sen- 
ate of the United States. On the opening day of the session, 
Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania were the 
only States represented by a full delegation. A quorum was 
not obtained until the 6th of April. On the following day, In 
the formation of the body, Oliver Ellsworth was made chair- 
man of a committee of eight members, to formulate a judicial 
system for the new nation. His legal lore and brain were 
exemplified in the organization of the National Judiciary, in 
which there has been no material change up to the present 

Connecticut was assigned five representatives to the lower 
house of Congress. At their head was Roger Sherman; his 
colleagues were Jonathan Trumbull, Jonathan Sturges, Ben- 


jamin Huntington, and Jeremiah Wadsworth. On the sec- 
ond day of the session of the House of Representatives, the 
entire Connecticut delegation was present, though a quorum 
of the body was not obtained until the first of the following 
month. Ihe important matters first deliberated upon by that 
branch of the new government from which all appropriations 
were to originate, were the consideration of a substantial 
revenue, and the adjustment of the individual State debts 
against the general government. 

It was on the 8th of April, 1788, that the first tariff bill was 
considered by a committee of the whole in the House of Rep- 
resentatives. Sherman, thinking it better to raise taxes on im- 
ports rather than impose direct taxation, advocated in debate 
a high duty on rum and other fermented and distilled liquors, 
and a protection for the iron industries. He was opposed to 
a high duty on tonnage, thinking it would cause foreign coun- 
tries to retaliate on American shipping. His colleague, Mr. 
Wadsworth, who was dubbed the "Astor of Connecticut," 
differed from the New Haven members. He thought rum 
and other liquors should be favored with a low tariff, as they 
entered into the food supply of the American laboring classes; 
and too high a duty would prohibit their use. To this state- 
ment Sherman objected. He estimated, that by the tariff bill, 
then under consideration, the aggregate revenue would be 
two millions of dollars; this he judged insuf^cient to meet the 
wants of the government, and said he would "prefer a reduc- 
tion on anything else rather than ardent spirits, the impor- 
tation of which does not deserve encouragement from any 
part of the world." On the final passage of the bill, May 16, 
Roger Sherman again made an eloquent appeal for a high 
tariff, asserting it would be better for the welfare of the coun- 
try' than a direct taxation; and would also act as a stimulus, 



by promoting the industry and economy of her citizens. The 
bill, however, was passed by a large majority; Roger Sher- 
man, with seven other members of the House, voting In. the 

The stability of the new government being firmly estab- 
lished by the provision of a permanent revenue, the moment- 
ous question then was, to determine the outstanding indebted- 
ness of the republic. The Continental Congress never had 
a system of financial legislation. The funds for the prosecu- 
tion of the Revolutionary War had been furnished largely by 
the different States, which had also received moneys from 
the central government, derived from foreign loans. The 
adjustment of these State claims was a perplexing problem 
for Congress to solve. Some of the States had suffered from 
war devastations, while others had been partially reimbursed 
by confiscation of loyalist estates and by territorial acquisi- 
tions. The State debts were estimated at about $25,000,000. 
Early In 1790 they became the subject of debates. The orig- 
inal creditors had parted with their certificates at a great dis- 
count, and there was a feeling amongst the national legisla- 
tors that the domestic Indebtedness should not be paid In full 
by the general government. The debts due the several States 
were very unequal. Those of Massachusetts and South Caro- 
lina amounted to more than $10,500,000. These differences 
in amounts caused Invidious comparisons, much to the dis- 
credit of Congress. 

The first proposition adopted In a committee of the whole 
of the House of Representatives, was for the general gov- 
ernment to assume the entire debt. This was afterwards neg- 
atived by the seating of the representatives from North 
Carolina, and the subject was recommitted. Those in favor 
of assumption argued that in justice, as well as from policy, 


the general government should assume the State indebtedness, 
since the debts were incurred for services rendered, supplies 
furnished, or loans made, not for a particular State, but for 
the benefit of the common cause of the Union ; that while 
one State could discharge its indebtedness without its being 
burdensome, for another, equally meritorious but destitute of 
resources, it would be a hardship for its citizens. The debts 
had been contracted when the United States had but little if 
any credit; and as the Constitution transferred to Congress 
the principal funds that the States relied upon for liquida- 
tion, in justice the debts should follow the funds. It was also 
argued, that as the United States had exclusive power to lay 
imports, the individual States had no way of raising a revenue 
except by direct taxation on landed property. This, on 
account of the inequality of the debts, would make the taxes 
in the different States unequal, thereby causing jealousy and 
dissatisfaction, likewise emigration from one State to 
another, to obtain lower taxes; and would also encourage 
smuggling: while the consolidation of the debts would pro- 
mote domestic industry and improvement throughout every 
part of the Union. 

The opponents of assumption were no less decided in their 
opinion, that a general or a partial assuming of the debts was 
unjust and impolitic. They contended that a public debt was 
a public evil, and that the assumption of the obligations of 
the States would increase and perpetuate the evil; that the 
United States, and the individual States together, could liqui- 
date the debts sooner than the former alone; that some of 
the States had paid a greater proportion of their debts than 
others, and it would be unjust to compel them to contribute 
towards the debts of the delinquents. They thought it would 
make State creditors more dependent on the general govern- 



emnt, and would lessen the influence and importance of the 
States, and tend to consolidate the Union. The assumption 
of any of the State debts by the general government appeared 
to be hopeless, when the question of a permanent location for 
the National Capital came before Congress. The attitude 
taken, and help given in decision, by friends of the assump- 
tion, caused two of the members of the opposition to favor 
an amendment, that the general government should assume 
$21,000,000 of the State debts; this to be apportioned among 
the individual States. This was carried in the Senate by a 
majority of two; the House concurring with a majority of 
six. That these two important decisions were reached by a 
compromise does not tend to elevate, in the public mind, the 
standard of the early legislative bodies of the United States. 
Connecticut's apportionment of the sum was $1,600,000; 
the amount being exceeded by that allowed Massachusetts, 
South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. 
Connecticut's expenditures during the war were $9,285,737.- 
92 ; with the assumption of debt, and the sums advanced by 
the general government, there had been received $3,436,- 
244.92; making her expenditures, net, $5,849,493. 

At the same session of Congress, a board of commissioners 
was appointed to make a final and conclusive settlement with 
the States. They reported in 1793, and the United States was 
found to be debtor to Connecticut for the sum of $6 1 9, 1 2 1 . 

The adjustment of the balances due to and from the indi- 
vidual States is a matter of national history. 

To strengthen the administration, and to recuperate his 
health, Washington in the fall of 1789 decided to make an 
extended tour of the New England States, with the exception 
of Rhode Island, which was not at that time a member of the 
Union. He left the city of New York, then the seat of gov- 


ernment, on the morning of the 15th of October; journeying 
in his own carriage, accompanied by his secretaries, Mr. Lear 
and Major Jackson; and with four attendants on horseback. 
The presidential party was escorted to the outskirts of the city 
by Chief Justice Jay, and the Secretaries of War and Treas- 
ury; dinner was had at a tavern near King's Bridge, and the 
night was spent at a hostelry in Rye. 

Resuming the journey at sunrise the following morning, the 
highways skirting Long Island Sound were traversed. Cross- 
ing the line into Connecticut, the party breakfasted at Stam- 
ford; the noon meal was taken at Xorwalk, the night spent 
at Fairfield. Soon after the breakfast, the tour was resumed; 
after breakfasting at Stratford, where an attempt was made 
to receive the party with a military parade, the journey was 
continued, and New Haven reached in time for dinner. The 
General Assembly w^as in session at this place, and having 
been notified of the approach of the President and his party, 
a committee, escorted by the Governor's Guards, received the 
distinguished visitors at the entrance to the city. The 
remainder of the day was spent by General Washington in 
receiving visits from the executive officers of the State and 
the civil authorities of the city, and in replying to addresses 
from the Assembly and the resident Congregational clergy. 

The next day being Sunday, Washington attended the 
morning service of the Episcopal Church; in the afternoon 
the Congregational church was visited. He entertained at 
dinner, given at a tavern kept by Mr. Brown, the State execu- 
tives, the Mayor of New Haven, the Speaker of the House, 
Mr. Ingersoll, and General Jedidiah Huntington; in Wash- 
ington's diary, this dinner is pronounced "good." During the 
evening, many officers of the disbanded Continental Army 
paid their respects to their late commander-in-chief. 



At day dawn on Monday, the presidential party began its 
journey northwards. The first meal of the day was taken at 
Wallingford; passing through the village of Durhani at 
about ten o'clock, Middletown was reached in time for din- 
ner; leaving the latter town about the hour of three, a route 
was taken passing the town of Wethersfield. Here the party 
was met by a large number of citizens from Hartford, having 
as an escort the Governor's Guard, a company of light-horse 
soldiery in their elegant uniforms, commanded by Colonel 
Jeremiah Wadsworth. The sun was just disappearing in the 
western horizon, when the city limits were reached. Wash- 
ington and his party were supplied with quarters at Bull's 
tavern. The following day, accompanied by the Honorable 
Oliver Ellsworth, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Colo- 
nel Jesse Root, the tourists visited the woolen factory, 
where General Washington ordered broadcloth for a suit of 
clothes for himself and a whole piece to make breeches for his 
servants. Various other points of interest were visited, and 
after partaking of dinner and tea at the residence of Colonel 
Wadsworth, the President held a public reception in the even- 
ing, for the citizens of Hartford. 

The hospitable capital city was left the following morning 
for Springfield, Massachusetts; an hour en route being spent 
by the President at the residence of OliverEllsworth In Wind- 
sor. The Massachusetts authorities vied with those of her 
sister States in extending State and civic honors to the presi- 
dential party. Washington's journey from Springfield to 
Boston was like the triumphal procession of one of the ancient 
Roman Consuls. The metropolis of New England was 
reached In the middle of the week; the 28th of the month 
was passed in visiting the sailcloth and card manufactories of 
that city. He was given a reception, with all the honors 


accorded the Supreme Magistrate of a Sovereign Nation, on 
the flagship of the French squadron in Boston harbor. The 
President arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the east- 
ern terminous of his tour, on the last day of October, and 
was entertained in a gala manner. On his return trip he 
reached Uxbridge, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Nov. 7. 
After breakfasting at Thompson, at a well-known house half 
way between Boston and Hartford, kept by one Jacobs, he 
proceeded to Pomfret. 

It was the intention of Washington to pay a visit to his 
paralytic comrade-in-arms, Israel Putnam; but as it involved 
an extra journey of some six or eight miles, it was abandoned. 
We can picture in our minds the delight of that sturdy old 
hero, his eyes_g_Iistening with martial ardor, as he again 
beheld his old commander. It would seem that the Father 
of his Country might have so changed his plans as to enable 
him to visit this old patriot, who was so soon to be called to 
his eternal home. Possibly the mental condition of Putnam 
would have made the visit painful and of no comfort to 

Leaving Pomfret, the party proceeded on its journey, stop- 
ping at Ashford. The following day was the Sabbath; and 
In deference to the established habits of Connecticut, the intol- 
erable condition of the roads, and the horses requiring rest, 
the President decided to refrain from travel on that day. 
Accommodations were secured at Perkins' Hotel, which was 
stigmatized by General Washington as "not a good one." 
Adjacent to the tavern was a meeting-house, where the Rev- 
erend Enoch Pond officiated; the distinguished visitors 
attended both morning and evening service, but it would seem 
that Washington was not much impressed with the force of 


From the original painting by Stuart, in Yale College. 


the religious discourses, for he criticises them in his diary as 
being "very lame." 

The homeward journey was continued on Monday, break- 
fast being taken at a tavern in North Coventry, where one 
Brigham was the host. Hartford was reached at nightfall. 
On the following morning at about seven o'clock, the presi- 
dential party left Hartford, journeying through the town of 
Berlin, breakfast being served at Worthington; the horses 
were baited at Wallingford, and at sundown New Haven 
was reached. President Washington was anxious to reach 
the national capital, so on the followingmorning an early start 
was made. After breakfasting at Milford, the horses were 
refreshed at Fairfield, and the night spent at Major Mar- 
vin's, some nine miles west of the last stopping place. Stam- 
ford was designated as the place where breakfast would be 
served the following morning; it was the intention to reach 
New York that day, but owing to the lameness of the horses, 
the night was spent at Rye. The next day, the 13th ot 
November, breakfast was taken at a tavern west of King's 
Bridge; between two and three o'clock in the afternoon the 
party arrived in New York, where the President was received 
with all the honors due his office. A Federal salute was fired 
from the Battery. 

The first legislative act toward the abolishment of slavery 
in Connecticut was passed in 1771, when the importation of 
slaves was prohibited. There is nothing to prove that there 
were separate organized volunteer companies of negroes dur- 
ing the Revolutionary War, though some historians contend 
that General Humphrey accepted the command of a company 
of colored soldiers after several had refused the honor. 
Slaves were offered their freedom by their masters, if they 
would join the American army; that many accepted this 


means of gaining their liberty is evidenced by the number of 
Revolutionary pensioners scattered throughout the State, 
after the war. The ceaseless agitation of the anti-slavery 
question by the clergy, coupled with the scarcity of labor for 
the white freemen and the poor remuneration for it, were the 
direct cause of the abolishing of human bondage. The 
legislature was petitioned as early as 1770 to emancipate the 
slaves, and a bill was drafted in 1780, but it was not passed 
until some four years later. The bill provided that no negro 
or mulatto child born after March i, 1784, should be held as 
a slave after reaching the age of twenty-five. It also com- 
pelled slave owners to file a certificate of the births among 
their property; a failure to do so was subject to a fine of 
seven dollars for each delinquent month. 

Connecticut was among the first of the thirteen original 
States to acknowledge anti-slavery sentiments. She was pre- 
ceded by Massachusetts, who abolished the evil in 1780, and 
Pennsylvania, who began a gradual emancipation in the same 
year. There were more human beings held in servitude in 
Connecticut in 1790 than In all the other New England States 
combined; Rhode Island having 952 slaves, New Hampshire 
158, and Vermont 17. Connecticut's slave population was 
2,764, 1. 1 7 percent, of her total inhabitants. This was mate- 
rially reduced in the next decade, as there were but 95 i, only 
0.38 of her total population. 

The emancipation law was amended in 1797, freeing at 
twenty-one all born in bondage after Aug. i in that year. The 
States of New Hampshire and Vermont contained only free 
population at the taking of the census in 18 10; but there 
were slaves in Rhode Island and Connecticut in 1840. When 
in 1848 the latter abolished slavery forever in the State, there 



were but six slaves to receive the benefit of the final emancipa- 
tion act. 

There was a peculiar custom, among the negroes of Con- 
necticut, that began before the Revolution. The liberality of 
the democratic government of the Commonwealth may have 
been the cause of its foundation. The inauguration of the 
Governor was the occasion of great festivities at the capital; 
these included military parades, and the formation of a gay 
procession to hear the election sermon. This attracted people 
of distinction from all parts of the State, who were attended 
by their negro servants. The love of the black man for show 
and finery, joined with his instinctive power of imitation, led 
them to elect a Governor for themselves, who was chosen for 
his superior physical strength. He was eligible as a candi- 
date, until failing health or old age warned him not to enter 
the list as a competitor. He was an absolute monarch, his 
will was law, there was no appeal from his decision. He was 
assisted in the discharge of his duties by a Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor; this constituted the entire staff of the slave govern- 
ment. The first historical evidence there is of the existence 
of such a custom is the record of one Governor Cuff, who 
in 1766 resigned in favor of John Anderson, after having 
held the office ten years. 

The inaugural ceremonies of the Black Governors were 
held at Hartford until 1800, when they were removed to 

The first Governor from Derby was a native African 
named Quosh; he held the office a number of years. Juba 
Weston, a negro belonging to General Humphrey, was also 
an incumbent of the office. Governor Quosh's only son Ros- 
well was one of the Governors, as well as Governor Weston's 
sons Nelson and Wilson ; the latter being the last to hold the 


office, which he did until within a few years of the late civil 

The morning of election day was devoted to the selection 
of the Governor; when this was decided, the formalities of 
his induction into office took place. The negroes retired to 
the limits of the town, and formed a procession as an escort 
for their newly chosen chief; and marched through the prin- 
cipal streets. First came the Governor on horseback, accom- 
panied by his body guard, uniformed, in all kinds of fantastic 
garbs, carrying swords and guns. There was shouting, laugh- 
ing, singing and all kinds of clownish antics. The procession 
marched to the principal tavern, where the Governor was 
duly sworn in, after which he delivered an address; this was 
followed by a dinner and dance which continued until noon 
of the next day. There is a great difference to be observed 
in the notices for these gatherings : the early ones read 
"negro men"; while in those of later date, this is changed 
to "colored gentlemen." 


Manufactures and Inventions 

IT was with prophetic vision that the Connecticut dele- 
gates asserted, at the Constitutional Convention, that 
they represented a manufacturing State. The Revo- 
lution checked the internal development of the Co'm- 
monvvealth. This in manufactures had been confined 
to household weaving, fulling mills, bloomery forges, and 
the production of nails and small iron utensils. In fact, there 
was nothing in Connecticut, at the dawn of peace, to which 
the modern term "manufacture" could be applied. The 
State in 1787 had an estimated population of 202,000; 
and although by the method of hand weaving as high as 700 
yards of cloth were made in one family in a year, and an 
overplus of nails and other iron products accumulated, this 
gave but a small surplus above the needs of home consump- 
tion. But it laid the foundation for the development from an 
agricultural to a manufacturing State, and the population was 
gradually transformed from tillers of the soil to the mechan- 
ics of the present day. 

The exigencies of warfare had made a demand for muni- 
tions. The Assembly in every way encouraged the manufac- 
ture of implements and ammunition. This is evidenced by a 
close scrutiny of the colonial and State records. The legisla- 
tures were in favor of offering every inducement, by granting 
subsidies and rebating taxes, to encourage all enterprises 
tending towards making Connecticut a manufacturing centre. 
We quote a few instances from the many, as illustrations of 
the liberal propositions offered to prospective individual 
industries. Additional time was granted to Samuel Hall, in 
which to fulfil his contract for 200 guns at £36 each, which 
had been delayed by his apprentices having to perform 
militia duty. A number of citizens were granted a monopoly 
for the manufacture of glass; and John Shipman had the 


exclusive right to operate a grist mill by tide-power. As 
early as 1775 the Assembly, by a money subsidy, encouraged 
Nathaniel Xiles in his manufacture of wire, which was 
deemed necessary as an important adjunct to the production 
of woolen and cotton goods. The citizens of Branford were 
engaged in making salt, for which the Assembly paid £80 
for 500 bushels. 

One of the earliest manufacturing industries of Connecti- 
cut was that carried on about 1740, in what is now the town 
of Berlin. An Irishman named Patterson, by trade a tinner, 
began the manufacture of household utensils from tin, and 
retailed them from house to house in a basket. His trade 
increased, and wagons drawn by one, two, and four horses 
were substituted for the basket. The Yankee tin peddler 
finally traveled throughout New England, and even into the 
Southern climes and Western wilderness. The breaking out 
of the war prevented the obtaining of raw material; but at 
the close of hostilities the business was revived, and carried 
on successfully by young mechanics who had learned the 
trade from Patterson. 

The most versatile mechanical genius during the Revolu- 
tion was Abel Buell, a native of Killingworth. He was 
apprenticed to a gold and silver smith, and before he was 
twenty years of age was detected raising a five-shilling 
colonial note to five pounds. The notes were bound in book 
form, and when taken out, left a stub. The work of Buell 
was so ingenious that his crime was only detected by com- 
parison with the stub. He was caught in the act, by the 
colonial official mounting a ladder and observing him through 
a window while he was at work. He was imprisoned at Nor- 
wich, and his forehead branded by the letter C. While in 
prison, he constructed a lapidary machine which is believed 



to be the first used in this country. With this machine he 
produced a curious ring, which he presented to the king's 
attorney, and it eventually secured his pardon. Buell, after 
his release from prison, located in New Haven, and in 1770, 
with the assitance of Amos Doolittle, engraved and published 
the first map made in America. His ingenuity was utilized, 
during the Revolution, in establishing a type foundry in New 
Haven, and in coining coppers for the State ; he having con- 
structed a machine that could produce 120 in a minute. At 
the close of the war, he visited England, to gain knowledge 
of the machinery used in the manufacture of cloths. On his 
return to this country, with a Scotchman named Mcintosh, 
they erected the first cotton factory in America. The enter- 
prise was a failure, however, and it was not until 1794 that 
a successful manufacture of this staple product was estab- 
lished in Connecticut. In that year, Samuel Pitkin & Co. at 
Manchester began to manufacture in considerable quantities, 
velvets, corduroys, and fustians. The only other cotton mill 
in operation at this time was at Providence, Rhode Island; 
but a mill was afterwards erected at Paterson, New Jersey. 
There was but little progress made in cotton manufacturing 
until after the beginning of the nineteenth century. 

An important invention, for the development of the manu- 
facturing interests of Connecticut, was made in 1784 by 
Ebenezer Chittenden, who was the possessor of wonderful 
mechanical genius. While a resident of New Haven, he per- 
fected a machine for bending and cutting card teeth. The 
machine was worked by a mandrel twelve inches in length 
and one inch in diameter, and was run by a band wheel 
turned by a crank. It required six Independent parts of the 
machine to make a complete tooth; this was accomplished by 
one revolution of the wheel. The capacity of the machine 


was sufficient to supply all the manufacturers in New Eng- 
land; its complement being 36,000 teeth an hour. Mr. Chit- 
tenden was of a frank, ingenuous disposition, and communi- 
cated his knowledge to a party who went to England and 
secured a patent, claiming to be the original inventor. 

The most ambitious attempt to manufacture cloths was 
made at Hartford in 1788, when a company with a capital 
stock of £1,250, divided between thirty-one stockholders, was 
incorporated. The State, to encourage the enterprise, abated 
the taxes for five years. The year after their incorporation, 
the company placed on sale their product, a dark-brown cloth. 
At the first Presidential inauguration, the President, Vice- 
President, and many of the attendants were robed in Con- 
necticut broadcloth. The mill made other mixtures, among 
which was the famous pepper-and-salt; the cloth retailed at 
from two dollars and a half to five dollars a yard. The first 
annual production was over 10,000 yards. The mill sus- 
pended operations in 1794, as it could not be made profitable. 

The silk industries were encouraged by the legislature, 
which offered a bounty on the raising of mulberry trees, and 
for raw silk. The State government had distributed half an 
ounce of mulberry seed to each parish. The Connecticut Silk 
Society was Incorporated in 1785, with its headquarters at 
New Haven. Its object was the encouragement of silk cul- 
ture and manufacture throughout the State. The banner 
town for silk industries was Mansfield; her inhabitants in 
1793 received a bounty on 265 pounds of raw silk. This 
town was prolific in early inventors. One of them made a 
buzz-saw for cutting the teeth of horn combs; another, a 
screw auger; while steelyards and spectacles were manufac- 
tured there at an early date. 

Connecticut has become famous for clocks, which have 


announced the time of day throughout the civilized world; 
yet It is only a little over a century since Ell Terry first con- 
structed In Plymouth the old-fashioned wooden wall clock. 
The wheels and teeth were made by hand; marked out first 
with a square and compass, then sawed with a fine saw. The 
movements alone, at this early day, cost £25. The first self- 
winding clock was the product of the brain of Benjamin 
Hanks of Litchfield; who Invented an Ingenious attachment 
which operated by the means of air. 

The steam carriages of the twentieth century would not 
cause much excitement among the fathers of the Revolution, 
if they should revisit their old haunts. At the close of the 
eighteenth century, Dr. Apollos Kinsley traveled the high- 
ways of Hartford in one of the first steam carriages ever con- 
structed ; of which he was the inventor. The doctor was an 
eccentric but ingenious personage. He patented a brick- 
pressing machine, which greatly aided that industry. His 
machine for making pins was not a success; but he perfected 
a card machine which was operated by dog power. In 1798, 
Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, established a 
manufactory at Hamden to complete a contract he had with 
the United States government to furnish them with 10,000 
stand of arms. Several contracts were let at the same time, 
but Whitney was the only contractor who did not lose money. 
His success was due to his wonderful mechanical genius, by 
which he was able to reduce the production to a simple pro- 

There were, at the close of the eighteenth century, linen and 
button manufactories at New Haven; glass works, snuff and 
powder mills, a duck manufactory, besides various iron works, 
at Hartford. Iron foundries were scattered over the State : 
one at Stafford manufactured hollow ware enough to supply 


the demands of the Commonwealth. Paper was made in a 
number of different localities. The manufacture of tin ware 
had so increased that $250,000 worth of raw material was 
used annually. Large quantities of metal buttons were made 
at Waterbury: ironmongery, nails, hats, candles, leather 
boots and shoes, were produced throughout the State. 

Connecticut's exports consisted of live stock, lumber, dairy 
products, cereals, fish, leather, candles, pot and pearl ashes. 
There were five ports of entry, and the value of the exporta- 
tions amounted to about one million and a half of dollars 
annually; her commerce was chiefly with her sister States 
and the West Indies. Vessels aggregating about 33,000 ton- 
nage were owned and employed in her merchant marine ser- 

The manufacturing and commercial interests of the State 
demanded the establishment of money exchanges for the 
transaction of business. Between 178 1 and 1784, State banks 
had been organized in the three leading commercial centres 
of the United States. The establishment of a bank at Prov- 
idence, Rhode Island, in 1791, caused the question to be agi- 
tated through the newspapers, in the early part of 1792, as 
to the feasibility and local needs of a bank at Hartford. At 
about the same time, the monetary situation was under discus- 
sion by the citizens of New London. In 1792, the May ses- 
sion of the General Assembly chartered the Union Bank of 
New London and the Hartford Bank of Hartford. The 
former consummated its organization, and was ready for 
business, prior to the Hartford Bank, which opened its doors 
to the public Aug. 8, 1792. The same year, a bank was 
chartered in New Haven, but there was some difficulty in 
obtaining subscriptions to its capital stock; this was finally 
reduced, and the bank began business in October. 1795. In 



that year, articles of incorporation were granted for a bank 
at Middletown; but its organization was not completed until 
the early part of the nineteenth century. The granting of a 
bank charter to the citizens of Norwich in 1796, and the 
opening of a financial institution in that city in the same year, 
completed the banking facilities of the State at the close of 
the century. 

The unsuccessful attempts of Jonathan Hulls in England 
to apply steam to navigation, were supplemented in the 
United States by a son of Connecticut, whose memorial tab- 
let adorns the rotunda of the Capitol of his native State. 
John Fitch, who first utilized steam as a marine motive 
power, was born in what is now East Windsor, Jan. 21, 1743- 
He was apprenticed to learn the clock and watch trade; but 
having contracted an unhappy marriage, before the break- 
ing out of the Revolutionary War he removed to New Bruns- 
wick, New Jersey. He remained in that State, following his 
trade, until the occupancy of the territory by the British 
caused him to emigrate to the interior of Pennsylvania. 

It was practically at the same time that two American 
inventors, without any previous knowledge of a steam engine, 
began experiments to propel a vessel by the force of con- 
densed steam. There had been, a decade before this, various 
trials on the river Seine; but though the Marquis de Jouf- 
froy constructed a steamboat of considerable size, it was 
deficient in power. James Ramsey had exhibited on the 
Potomac River, in 1784, a boat propelled by machinery; and 
two years later, a pump worked by steam power drove a 
stream of water from the stern, and thus furnished motive 
power. His death occurred while he was preparing himself 
for other experiments. 

It was in the village of Neshaminy near Philadelphia, in 


1785, that John Fitch built a model of his paddle-wheel 
boat. The inventor sought the aid of Congress, but his 
appeal was rejected, and termed the dream of a hare-brained 
mechanic. Obtaining from New Jersey the right to navigate 
her streams, and receiving pecuniary help from Philadelphia, 
Fitch completed, in the summer of 1786, a boat that attained 
the speed of seven miles an hour. A more ambitious attempt 
was completed the following summer, the boat being forty- 
five feet in length; the first successful trial of a steamboat 
took place on the Delaware River, Aug. 23, 1787, The fol- 
lowing year a patent was obtained, and in the summer a new 
steamboat appeared, with a tubular boiler, and three paddles 
on its stern. On the trial trip on the Delaware, near Burling- 
ton, New Jersey, a boiler pipe burst; the boat was aban- 
doned and drifted back to Philadelphia. She was afterwards 
repaired, and run regularly between Philadelphia and Tren- 
ton; her maximum rate of speed was about eight miles an 
hour. These trips encountered various disasters, which caused 
a feeling of suspicion amongst the public; so the enterprise 
was abandoned. 

At the request of one of the stockholders of the steamboat 
company. Fitch visited France to introduce his invention in 
that country. It was during the French Revolution ; receiving 
no encouragement, he returned to his native land, leaving his 
drawings and specifications in the keeping of the gentleman 
who requested him to visit the country. This was unfor- 
tunate for Pitch, as the party was the United States consul at 
L'Orient. He showed them to Robert Fulton, who was at 
that time experimenting in France. Discouraged and dis- 
heartened, Fitch on his return to America moved West, 
where, after passing a few years in obscurity, he died on July 
2, 1798. 



An invention that gained a world-wide reputation, and 
received the indorsement of prominent professional men, was 
that of Elisha Perkins, who patented in 1796 his metallic 
tractors. They were about three inches in length, one resem- 
bling brass, the other steel ; but it was claimed that they were 
made from a peculiar composition. They were used to cure 
local inflammation, pain in the face and head, and in rheu- 
matic, neuralgic, and similar diseases. An application was 
made to the afflicted parts, and the tractors were allowed to 
remain twenty minutes, drawing downwards. This system 
of treatment became known as Perkinsism, and met with prac- 
tical use among the medical fraternity of Europe and Amer- 
ica. It was alleged that thousands of patients received per- 
manent relief from it; it was made the subject of medical 
works favoring its use, among which was a report of the 
medical staff of the Royal Frederick Hospital of Copenha- 
gen, Denmark. Early In the nineteenth century it was discov- 
ered that the materials used in the construction of the trac- 
tors were iron and brass ; the physicians began to doubt the 
efficacy of the remedy, and its use was largely discontinued. 
It is probable that many patients were benefited by the 
mechanical stimulus given to the afflicted parts, which was 
similar, though of less power, to the manual rubbing and 
kneading so universally practiced at the present day. Still 
more perhaps was due to the mental excitation directed to the 
nerves of these parts. 

Dr. Perkins was a native of Norwich, where he was born 
Jan. 16, 1 74 1. During an epidemic of yellow fever, while 
engaged In demonstrating a remedy for it, he contracted the 
disease, and died In New York City, Sept. 6, 1799. 

There were many other Inventions, the outgrowth of the 
fertile brain of the Connecticut Yankee. The envious flings 


at the alleged fraudulent inventions have been dealt with else- 




Court, County, and Township Organizations 

THE organization of Middlesex County in 1785, 
from Hartford, New London, and New 
Haven counties, and in the following year, of 
Toland County, from Windham and Hart- 
ford counties, completed the civil division of 
the State by counties. At the January session of the legisla- 
ture in 1784, New Haven and New London were incorpo- 
rated as cities; at the following May session, Hartford, Mid- 
dletown, and Norwich became municipalities. There were 
numerous changes in the constitution of the courts in 1784; 
the office of Judge of the Superior Court was deemed incom- 
patible with a seat in the General Assembly, or in either 
branch of Congress. 

The docket of the Superior Court had assumed such pro- 
portions, that in order to relieve the legal business of the 
State, a new court was instituted, to be known as the Supreme 
Court of Errors; it was to consist of the Deputy Governor 
and Council, and sessions were to be held annually, at Hart- 
ford and New Haven alternately. The Secretary of State 
was ex-officio clerk of this court; In 1793 the governor was 
added as a member. The court thus established was to be the 
resort of all matters brought by error or complaint from 
the judgment or decree of the Superior Court, in mat- 
ters wherein It was found that the rules of law and principles 
of equity had been erroneously adjudged ; the decrees of this 
Superior Court of Errors were to be final and conclusive to all 
concerned. There was a marked change in the membership 
of the court in 1806. The Council, or what is now the State 
Senate, was not generally composed of men versed in law; 
therefore on final decisions the best legal results were not 
obtained. The Superior Court sessions had been changed 
In 1801 ; they were to hold a winter and summer term In each 


county, and their membership was increased to six. To 
restore the standard of the Supreme Court of Errors as a 
court of last resort, the judges of the Superior Court, of 
whom five were to constitute a quorum, were substituted for 
members of the Council. The Superior Court membership 
was increased to eight members and a chief justice. There 
were no other changes in the formation of the courts of the 
State, until the adoption of the Constitution of 1818. 

The military affairs of the Revolution so engaged the atten- 
tion of the people of Connecticut that there was but little 
accomplished in the organization of towns. The legislature 
in 1779 incorporated the town of Barkhamsted. The terri- 
tory had been granted in 1732 to the citizens of Windsor; the 
first settlement was made ten years later, and increased slowly, 
there being but twenty families within its limits as late as 
1 77 1. The adjoining town of Colebrook was settled in the 
winter of 1765-66, and incorporated with town privileges 
in 1779. The town of Southington was originally included in 
Farmington ; it was divided among eighty-four proprietors 
in 1722. Five years later an ecclesiastical society was estab- 
lished there; by an act of legislature, in 1779, it was granted 
township rights. 

Washington was formerly a part of the towns of Wood- 
bury, Litchfield, Kent, and New Milford; the first settlement 
within its limits was made in 1734. It was one of the four 
towns incorporated by the legislature, at its session held in 
1779. A religious society was organized in 1741, and given 
the name of Judson. Cheshire was originally a parish in the 
town of Wallingford. As early as 1723, a society was organ- 
ized consisting of thirty-four families; it was erected into a 
town in 1780. In the same year, township privileges were 
granted to Watertown, which was formerly a parish of 



Waterbury. The first town to be Incorporated after the war 
was East Hartford, In 1783 ; It was that part of the town of 
Hartford on the east bank of the Connecticut River. The 
following year the parish of Amity, which had been settled 
since 1739, and was a part of the towns of New Haven and 
Mllford, was erected Into a township and named Wood- 
bridge. The year 1785 saw four towns added to the town- 
ship organizations of Connecticut. Berlin, under the name 
of Kensington, was organized In 17 12 with a congregation 
of ten families, as the second society of Farmlngton. There 
had been subdivisions of the church made In 1753 and 1772. 
The territorial limits of the town were formerly In the con- 
fines of Farmlngton, Wethersfield, and MIddletown. Bris- 
tol was the parish of New Cambridge, In the town of Farm- 
lngton, and In 1747 became an Independent society. East 
Haven was originally a part of New Haven. Thompson had 
been settled since 1 7 1 5 ; later a church society was estab- 
lished, and known as Thompson's parish; It was within the 
limits of the town of Killlngly. 

Eleven new towns were incorporated in 1786. Bozrah 
was originally a part of Norwich, Brooklyn was formed from 
Pomfret and Canterbury; Ellington formerly belonged to 
East Windsor; Franklin was taken from Norwich, Granby 
from SImsbury, and Hamden from New Haven. There was 
an ecclesiastical society in Hampton since 1723, which con- 
sisted originally of seventeen families, taken from the towns 
of Windham, Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury, and Mans- 
field. Lisbon was originally a part of Norwich; North 
Haven was taken from New Haven, and Montville from 
New London; and Warren was formerly a part of Kent. 
Bethlehem, a part of the town of Woodbury, was Incorpo- 
rated as a town in 1787; the same year a portion of Wood- 


bury, that had been settled since 1672, was erected into a 
town and given the name of Southbury. The parishes of 
Northfield and North Fairfield, in the town of Fairfield, 
were incorporated as a town in 1787, under the name of 
Weston. In the western part of the State in 1788, from New 
Milford, Danbury, and Newtown, the town of Brookfield 
was formed. Though there had been a church society estab- 
lished since 1724, and an Episcopal church since 1741, in the 
northern part of Stratford, it was not organized as a town 
until 1789; it was given the name of Huntington. 

In the last decade of the eighteenth century, six new towns 
were incorporated : Sterling, a part of Voluntown, was sepa- 
rated in 1794. The year following, Plymouth, which had 
been an independent parish since 1739 under the name of 
Northbury, was taken from Watertown and invested with 
town privileges. Wolcott, originally known as Farmingbury, 
was taken from Waterbury and Southington in 1796. Trum- 
bull, a portion of Stratford, was incorporated as a town in 
1797. Two towns were created in 1798, — Oxford, taken 
from Derby and Southbury, and Roxbury, which was a part 
of Woodbury. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Connecticut 
was divided into eight counties and one hundred and seven 



Ecclesiastical Societies at the End of the Eigh- 
teenth Century 

AT the close of the Revolutionary conflict, nine- 
tenths of the people of Connecticut, were 
either communicants of the Congregationallst 
faith, or attended religious worship in 
churches of that denomination. The Baptists 
were the first religious sect to organize In the colony a congre- 
gation which was opposed to the established Church; this 
was In 1705. These seceders from the Church of their fore- 
fathers, were located In the eastern part of the colony, adja- 
cent to Rhode Island, which was the stronghold of Antlpsedo- 
baptlsts In America. The Reverend Valentine Wightman 
removed from South Kingston In that province, to Groton, 
where he organized a Baptist society; he was in charge of 
the congregation forty-two years, and at his death he was 
succeeded by his son, Timothy Wightman, who officiated 
forty years, and was also succeeded by his son, John G. 
Wightman, who held the position until his death In 1841; 
making one hundred and thirty-six years, during which the 
three generations of WIghtmans had charge of the spiritual 
welfare of the first Baptist society In Connecticut. 

It was a score of years after the establishment of the first 
Baptist church, that another was started, in the adjoining 
town of New London; and in 1743 a society was organized 
in what is now North Stonington. The growth of this religi- 
ous denomination In Connecticut was slow ; at the end of the 
eighteenth century It had not over twenty churches in the 

The greatest withdrawals from the ranks of the Congre- 
gatlonallsts were caused by the opposers of the Saybrook 
Platform; the disciples of the Separate churches, as they 
were called, insisted on an open confession of faith, with a 
public recital of religious experiences, and the right to choose 


and ordain their own officers; they were strongly in favor 
of clear evidence of regeneration, and the right of every mem- 
ber of the church to exercise the gifts God had bestowed 
upon him for the edification of his brethren. Their first 
church was established at Canterbury; and there were several 
other congregations scattered throughout the colony, though 
they never numbered over thirty societies, some of which were 
fully organized while others were only gatherings of peo- 
ple,' assembling together for religious fellowship. The broad- 
ening of the religious and governmental principles of the 
Congregational churches in the latter part of the century, led 
some of these seceders to unite again with their former asso- 
ciates; while others joined themselves to Baptist societies. 

Voluntown had a Presbyterian church in the first part of 
the eighteenth centurv, which was under the charge of the 
same pastor for nearly fifty years; at his death it was reor- 
ganized on Congregational principles. There was also a 
society at South Mansfield, which was nominally Presbyte- 
rian, but practically Congregational. 

The seeds of Methodism were sown in Connecticut m 
1787, by two of their ministers; and two years later, Rev. 
Jesse Lee made an itinerant tour of three months throughout 
the State, preaching in its principal places. The first society 
of Methodists was founded at Stratford, in September 1789, 
and consisted of three women; the next, at Redding, num- 
bered two persons; the first church edifice was erected at 
Weston, and was called Lee's chapel. The circuits of New 
Haven, Hartford, and Litchfield, were established m 1790; 
at this time there were only four Methodist clergymen m 
New England; three years later, when George Roberts took 
charge of Methodism in Connecticut, his district included 
nearly the whole of the State, besides portions of Rhode 



Island and Vermont. The sect grew slowly in the State; at 
the end of the century, churches were built in Middletown, 
New London, New Haven, and Norwich. 

The doctrines of Unitarianism began to make their 
appearance in New England in the last decade of the eigh- 
teenth century. The Rev. Stanley Griswold, who accepted the 
charge of a church in New Milford, soon after his ordina- 
tion, manifested religious sentiments that were not in har- 
mony with those of his orthodox brethren, and invited to his 
communion table all of his congregation, whether they had 
been admitted communicants or not. He was the first apostle 
of Unitarianism In Connecticut, but was soon afterwards 
joined by Rev. Whitfield Cowles, who labored at Granby, 
Rev. John Sherman, who had charge of a society at Mans- 
field, and Rev. Henry Channing, who was pastor at New 
London. No Congregational church in the State, and but 
one Society, ever became Unitarian ; one In Torrington, and 
another In Middletown, became Separates; both of these, 
however, reverted to their original connection. 

The early efforts of the Episcopalians, have been already 
chronicled In this work; they numbered In 1750 about twen- 
ty-five societies, widely scattered throughout the colony; the 
excitement caused by religious revivals made converts for 
them, which increased the number of their societies to forty; 
but during the war their membership decreased; owing to 
the fact that they were stigmatized as Tories. After the 
declaration of peace, many withdrew to the British provinces. 
That they might have a full organization to strengthen 
Episcopacy in this country. It was deemed necessary that the 
Church should have resident authoritative head; yielding 
to the solicitations of friends, and members of the church, 
Rev. Samuel Seabury was chosen In March 1783, to go to 


England, and ask for consecration as a bishop. He was the 
son of a CongregationaHst minister; was born at Groton, 
November 30th, 1729; not long after graduating from Yale 
in 1748, he proceeded to Scotland, and devoted a year to the 
study of medicine; and when twenty-four years of age, he 
was ordained in London in 1753, a minister of the Church of 
England. Returning to his native land, he first settled at 
New Brunswick in New Jersey, and afterwards at Jamaica, 
Long Island; early in the commencement of hostilities with 
the British, we find him at Westchester, New York, where he 
had resided for ten years. 

Mr. Seabury was suspected of toryism, and of being a 
Tory pamphleteer; he was seized by a party of patriot horse- 
men, returning from the destruction of Rivington's Press, and 
taken prisoner to New Haven; but the charges were not 
proven, and upon his discharge he went to New York, where 
he made his residence during the British occupancy of the 
city. Owing to his Inability to take the oath of allegiance 
to the British government, the English prelates could not 
legally consecrate him ; he then proceeded to Scotland, where 
at Aberdeen, on November 14th, 1784, he was consecrated 
the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church. The 
Scottish bishops were non-jurors, having refused to take the 
oath of allegiance to William and Mary, as they considered 
the deposition of James II. illegal; and the Scottish Episco- 
pal church was not established by law. Bishop Seabury on 
his return to this country, was chosen rector of St. James's 
church, New London; he assisted Bishop White in revising 
the Prayer-book, and preparing a constitution for the Ameri- 
can Episcopal Church, which was adopted In 17 89. He died 
at New London, F'ebruary 25th, 1798 ; his body lies beneath 
the chancel of the new St. James's church in that city. 




Bishop Seabury was succeeded in the episcopate by Rev. 
Abraham Jarvis, D. D., rector of Christ Church In Middle- 
town; he held an influential position and did an important 
work In the early history of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
In Connecticut. 

There were, In 1 800, sixty-two Episcopal parishes in the 
State; an Increase of thirty-seven during the preceding fifty 
years; the clergy numbered seventeen, and the communicants 
about fifteen hundred. 

Connecticut in the eighteenth century had her religious 
atmosphere disturbed by the formation of several sects, the 
followers of "inspired" preachers or exhorters; the most 
obnoxious of these, were the Rogerenes, or as they were some- 
times called Rogerene Quakers, or Rogerene Baptists. This 
agitation began In the second half of the seventeenth century; 
the leaders were a family by the name of Rogers, residents 
of New London; the origin of their dissent from the Con- 
gregationallst church was their free Intercourse with the Sab- 
batarians of Rhode Island. John Rogers, the founder of the 
sect, maintained that there were three religious ordinances; 
baptism, the Lord's Supper, and the imposition of hands; 
they rejected the Sabbath, and held that all days were sancti- 
fied; they had no houses of worship, and abhored all minis- 
terial trappings. Their prayers were mental, excepting on 
special occasions, when they indulged in vocal demonstra- 
tions; they were willing to pay county and town taxes, but 
repudiated the ministerial tax rate. It was charged against 
them that they violated the Lord's Day in every possible 
way; insulted magistrates and ministers, and trampled all 
laws, divine and human, under foot. It is claimed they 
appeared in a nude state, or nearly so, at public gatherings 
and assemblies, especially on the Sabbath, and interrupted 


the services in every conceivable manner; when corrected, 
they reviled the courts, and defied the authorities; they 
courted arrest and imprisonment, to enable them to pose as 
religious martyrs. 

The Rogerenes, like some persons in the present day, 
employed no physicians, and used no drugs; one of their sect 
wrote and published a book, the title of which was, "Battle 
Life;" it was suppressed by the authorities. At the death of 
the founder, the Rogerenes gradually died out; but after 
having lain dormant for thirty years, an attempt w^as made 
by a grandson of the founder, another John Rogers, to revive 
the sect in 1764. They began to make public demonstrations 
against practice of what they called "idolatries"; there was 
a series of provocations on one side, and retaliating punish- 
ments on the other, which were vehemently carried on for 
about a year and a half; the Rogerenes were publicly 
whipped, fined, imprisoned, and tarred and feathered. 

The doctrines of the Sandemanians, were promulgated in 
America, by Robert Sandeman, a Scotchman, who became 
Interested while in his native country, in the Glassites, or fol- 
lowers of John Glas; the creed of this sect, was an indepen- 
dent government of the church, without any national super- 
vision, which they held to be inconsistent with the true nature 
of the Church of Christ, and salvation by simple faith alone. 
Sandeman, imbued with these religious beliefs, went to Eng- 
land, where he founded societies, which became known as 
Sandemanians, after their projector; he came to America in 
1764, and after establishing a society in Boston, the following 
year went to Danbury, where he organized another. San- 
deman was a man of learning and superior ability; his favor- 
ite expression was, "a bare belief of a bare truth" ; he died at 
Danbury, April 2d, 1771. The next year his followers 



removed to New Haven, where the society flourished for a 
few years; but at the breaking out of the war, the members, 
being non-combatants, were regarded as Tories and became 
objects of suspicion ; they were brought before the civil 
authorities, and sentenced to imprisonment; the congregation 
was dispersed. A new society was formed in 1774, which 
was afterwards divided; one part became known as Osbor- 
nites, from their leader Levi Osborn; the other, bore the 
name of Baptist Sandemanians, from their belief in and 
practice of baptism by immersion ; the former was the larger 
body, and at one time numbered four hundred followers. 
Their religious meetings were held on Sunday and Thursday 
afternoons ; their churches were provided with large circular 
tables, around which they sat, each person being provided 
with a copy of the Scriptures, which they read, and upon 
which the men commented, the women remaining silent; 
they were oblivious to spectators. Singing and prayers com- 
pleted the exercises; after which they assembled at the house 
of a brother or sister, and partook of a feast; the sect gradu- 
ally became extinct. 

Connecticut was thrice visited, during the year 1780, by 
Mother Ann Lee, an exponent of Shakerism ; on her first two 
visits, she was subjected to the indignities of a mob attack; 
but she succeeded in interesting some of the inhabitants of 
Enfield, in her peculiar doctrines; a society of Shakers was 
organized in the following year, and a "family" was located 
in the northeastern part of that town. Amongst the first 
adherents of Shakerism, was Elder Joseph Meacham, a Bap- 
tist preacher; he afterwards became one of the heads of the 
society. At the close of the eighteenth century, there were 
a few Quaker families residing in Pomfret; they built a 


house of prayer, but the congregation long since became 

Among the forms of theological doctrines, which had influ- 
ence at this time, was that taught by Rev. Samuel Hopkins, 
which from him received the name of Hopkinsianism. It was 
an extreme form of Calvinism, and was held by many minis- 
ters and members of Congregational churches. Iheir funda- 
mental principles were, that all virtue and true holiness con- 
sisted in disinterested benevolence, and that all sin, was sel- 
fishness; that the self love, which men gave to their own 
external interests, was sinful. The founder was remarkable 
for his simplicity, earnestness, and presevering industry; his 
tenets, were a source of controversy, for over a century. 

He was born in Waterbury, September 17th, 1721; he 
was engaged in agricultural pursuits, until his fifteenth year; 
he graduated from Yale College in 1741, and became so 
impressed with the preaching of Whitefield and Tennant, 
that he lived in seclusion for several months, to determine if 
he was a Christian. Having satisfied himself on this point, 
he was licensed to preach, but continued his studies, under 
Rev. Jonathan Edwards; he was an itinerant preacher for a 
short time, but in the winter of 1743 was settled over a 
society at what is now Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 
where he remained for twenty-five years, when he was dis- 
missed, on account of the diminution in the membership of 
the church. His next charge was at Newport, Rhode Island; 
but his flock being dispersed by the British occupation of the 
city during the Revolution, he preached at different points; 
in 1780 he returned to Newport, where he resided until his 
death, December 20, 1803. In his latter years, he had a pre- 
carious living, owing to the loss of membership in his congre- 
gation. Dr. Hopkins was one of the founders of the Ameri- 


d-7J'iafia n Cd^ar^ 


can Colonization Society, and was a bitter opponent of slave 
traffic; he Is believed to be the hero of Mrs. Harriet Beecher 
Stowe's novel, "The Minister's Wooing." His complete 
works were published In 1805. 

The efforts of the Rev. Eleazer Wheelock, In the educa- 
tion of the aborigines, and their conversion to Christianity, 
resulted In a number of the sons of Connecticut becoming 
engaged in missionary work amongst the Indians; of these, 
there was one whose reputation as an acute metaphysician, 
and sound theologian became world-wide. 

Jonathan Edwards, the son of Reverend Timothy 
Edwards, was born in what Is now East Windsor, October 5, 
1703. He was a member of Yale's class of 1720, and after 
his graduation spent two years at that Institution, studying 
theology. His first charge was a small congregation of Eng- 
lish Presbyterians In New York; but he remained In that city 
only a few months, returning to his Alma Mater, and serving 
as tutor for two years. His pastorate over a society In North- 
ampton, Massachusetts, was terminated in 1750, on account 
of his persistent efforts, to reprove the younger members of 
his flock; they were of the wealthiest and most Influential 
families In his congregation, and became Incensed at their pas- 
tor's endeavors; the result was his dismissal. For the next 
six years, he was missionary amongst the Stockbrldge Indians, 
where he produced his most famous theological work, "The 
Freedom of the Will," which was published In 1758, and 
circulated throughout Europe. Dr. Edwards reluctantly 
accepted the presidency of the college of New Jersey In 1758 ; 
on March 22d of that year, he died at Princeton of small pox, 
which was prevailing at the college. His published theolog- 
ical writings are numerous, and rank among the most valu- 
able contributions to religious literature. 


One who early sacrificed his life in the conversion of his 
Indian brethren, was David Brainard. He was descended 
from a servitor in the Wyllys family at Hartford, and 
became one of the first settlers of Haddam. He was bom m 
East Haddam, April 20, 1718; entered Yale College m 
17.9 • from which he was expelled in 1743. ^or disobeymg 
orders in attending the meetings of Whitefield and Tennant, 
and for doubting the Christianity of one of his tutors. 1 he 
same year he began his duties as a missionary, labonng 
among the Indians in the vicinity of Kinderhook, New 
York; he extended his work among the Delawares, and a 
tribe near Crosswicks, New Jersey. Overcome by his ardu- 
ous labors, he traveled in New England, to regain his health, 
but died at the Rev. Jonathan Edwards's home, in North- 
ampton, Massachusetts, October 9th, 1747- 

Among the pupils of Dr. Wheelock's Indian school, who 
prepared themselves for missionary work, was Samuel Kirk- 
land; he was born at Norwich, December ist, 1741^ of 
Scottish ancestry; he spent two years at the college of New 
Jersey, and before completing his education dwelt with the 
Seneca Indians. He received his collegiate degree in 1765, 
and the following year was made an Indian missionary; his 
work was amongst the Oneidas; it was through his instru- 
mentality, that this tribe (the only one of the Six Nations) 
remained loyal to the American cause. He died at Clinton, 
New York, February 28, 1808; Hamilton College is an out- 
growth of an institution of learning established by him in 


James Deane was a youthful missionary, who at the age 
of twelve mastered the language of the Oneidas, and made 
many converts; he was born at Groton August 20, 1748, and 
was a graduate of Dartmouth College. Congress employed 



him to conciliate the Indians on the northern frontier; he was 
made Indian agent, and stationed at Fort Stanwix, with the 
rank of major; after the Revolutionary war he became a 
judge in Oneida county and a member of the New York 
assembly. Major Deane was the author of an Indian mytho- 
logy; he died at Westmoreland, New York, September lo, 

The successor of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, as mission- 
ary to the Stockbridge Indians, was Stephen Westcott, born 
in Tolland, November 13, 1735 ; he was the author of many 
religious works, and died at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 
May 15, 1819. 

The patriarch of the New England Clergy, was Samuel 
Nott, born in Saybrook in 1754; he graduated from Yale 
College, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational 
church at Franklin March 13, 1782 ; he had pastoral charge 
of this congregation until his death (occasioned by a fall), 
January 23, 1854. 

Connecticut's sons have furnished history with two other 
notable cases of longevity, in continuous service, as Congrega- 
tional pastors. Benjamin Trumbull was born at Hebron in 
1735, and after graduating from Yale in 1757, he accepted 
the charge of a congregation in that part of New Haven 
now known as North Haven, in 1760; where he continued 
until his death, February 2, 1820. Doctor Trumbull resided 
in one house over half a century; he wrote over four thou- 
sand sermons, and published religious essays, a History of 
Connecticut, and a History of the United States, besides other 

John Lanthrop was born in Norwich, October 20, 1731; 
he graduated from Yale College in 1754; was ordained in 
1756, and made pastor of a Congregationalist church at 


West Springfield, Massachusetts, where he remained sixty- 
four years; he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity 
from his Alma Mater In 1791 and from Harvard College 
In 181 1. He was also elected a fellow of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences; his sermons accompanied by 
an autobiography were published In seven volumes. He died 
at West SprlngHeld, December 31, 1820. With these should 
be mentioned Rev. Richard Mansfield, D.D., an Episcopal 
clergyman, who was rector of St. James's church, Derby, for 
seventy-two years, from 1748 to 1820. 

Prominent among the early educators, was Joseph Bel- 
lamy, a native of Cheshire; as a theological Instructor, his 
style was plain, and his manner impressive; he held high rank 
as a preacher among his contemporaries, and Inaugurated the 
first Sunday-school In the world. He died at Bethlehem, 
March 6, 1790. 

Ellzur Goodrich was born In that part of Wethersfield 
now known as Rocky Hill, October 26, 1734; he served as 
a tutor for two years after graduating from Yale college; he 
was ordained as a Congregatlonalist minister In 1756, and 
settled over a church at Durham, where he remained for 
more than forty years, and was Instrumental In educating 
three hundred young men. He was an Intense patriot, and 
advised his people to lay down their lives and property In 
the American conflict. He died at Norfolk, November 22, 

The authorship of Joseph Smith's book on Mormonism, 
Is attributed to the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a native of Ash- 
ford, where he was born In 1761 ; he was a soldier of the 
Revolution. He began the study of law, and In 178;; grad- 
uated from Dartmouth college; he afterwards studied for 
the ministry, and preached ten years In New England; but 



finally emigrated to the West, and engaged in mercantile busi- 
ness. While a resident of New Salem, now Conneaut^ 
Ohio, he wrote a romance, entitled "Manuscript Found"; it 
pretended to be a transcript of a manuscript found in an 
ancient mound, giving an account of the customs, manners, 
and warlike conflicts of the original people of this continent; 
the author vainly attempted to get the work published. After 
his death, at Amity, Pennsylvania, October 20, 18 16, it has 
been alleged that a follower of Joseph Smith stole the man- 
uscript from a printing establishment in Pittsburg, where he 
was employed. 

Rev. John Buckley, a casuist and sage, son of the author 
of "Will and Doom," published a treatise in 1724, which 
attracted universal attention; in it the theory was advanced, 
that aborigines had no right or claim to any lands but those 
they subdued by their own hands ; and that the English had 
perfect right to occupy any lands without compensating the 

Manassch Cutler was born at Killingly May 3, 1742; 
after his graduation from Yale in 1765, he studied theology, 
and was ordained in 1771, and placed in charge of a society 
at Hamilton, Massachusetts. He became identified with the 
settlement of the Northwestern territory, and was one of the 
founders of Marietta, Ohio. On his return to New England, 
he continued his pastoral duties at Hamilton until his death, 
July 28, 1823. The first scientific description of the plants 
of New England was the result of his botanical researches. 

The first colored preacher of any prominence in Connec- 
ticut was Lemuel Haynes ; he was born in what is now West 
Hartford, July i8th, 1753; and abandoned by his white 
mother. He volunteered in the American Army, and was 
with the expedition against Ticonderoga; returning from 



the war he became engaged in farming; he made himself 
proficient in Latin and Greek, having no light by which to 
study, except that of the fire. He was ordained minister in 
1785, and settled at Rutland, Vermont, where he preached 
thirty years. He died September 28, 1833. 



Arts and Literature in the Eighteenth Century 

THE art of printing was first introduced into 
Connecticut by Thomas Short, at New Lon- 
don, in the year 1709; he published the Say- 
brook Platform in 17 10. This was the only 
printing press in the country for forty-five 
years; Mr. Short died about two years after its establishment. 
The colonial laws were in manuscript; the Assembly 
decided to revise and print them, and the Governor and 
Council were requested to procure a printer, to settle within 
the limits of the colony. Negotiations were entered into with 
Timothy Green, a descendant of Samuel Green, who was the 
first printer in North America; the Assembly agreed with 
Mr. Green that he should be the colony's printer, and receive 
fifty pounds annually for printing the election sermons, proc- 
lamations for Fast and Thanksgiving days, and the laws 
enacted at each session. Mr. Green located at New London 
in 17 14, and he and his descendants were printers for the col- 
ony and the State until after the Revolutionary War. 

The advent of the printing press turned the attention of 
the literary minds of the colony towards journalism. Con- 
necticut was late In entering the newspaper field; in six of the 
colonies weekly papers were already in circulation, when on 
Jan. I, 1755, James Parker & Co. began the publication of 
the "Connecticut Gazette" at New Haven. This pioneer of 
Connecticut journalism was a four-page, two-column weekly 
sheet, ten and a quarter Inches In length and fifteen and a half 
in breadth. The subscription price was two and a half shill- 
ings a quarter, postage prepaid. Three years afterwards a 
second paper was established In the colony; Timothy Green, 
on Aug. 8, 1758, Issued the "New London Summary" or 
"Weekly Advertiser," a two-column folio sheet, twelve by 
eight inches, printed on paper manufactured at Norwich. 


coNNEC ncu r as colony and state 

Editor Green, in connection with his printing plant, carried 
on the business of bookbinding, and copperplate printing. 
These two early journalistic ventures were short-lived. The 
"Summary" was the first to suspend, in 1763, in consequence 
of the death of its editor; the "Connecticut Gazette" sur- 
vived until the next year. The latter was revived on July 5, 
1765, by Benjamin Mecum; its final demise occurred Feb. 
19, 1768, on the issue of the 596th number. The "Summary" 
was resuscitated and enlarged by a nephew of the original 
editor, and given the name of the "New London Gazette;" 
this was changed in 1773 to the "Connecticut Gazette," 
and as such continued to be issued for more than eighty years. 
Journalism was first introduced into Hartford by Thomas 
Green. The first number of the "Connecticut Courant" was 
printed on Oct. 28, 1764; the present existence of this paper 
makes it a national landmark, there being only two newspa- 
pers published to-day in the United States that antedate its 
nativity even nominally, and it is the oldest of all with a con- 
tinuous name and publication. The year preceding the sus- 
pension of the "Connecticut Gazette" at New Haven, the first 
number of the "Connecticut Journal and New Haven Post 
Boy" appeared, under the combined editorship of Thomas 
and Samuel Green. Though there were many changes in the 
proprietorship. Its last issue was on April 7, 1835. Connec- 
ticut as a newspaper field attracted the attention of Alexander 
and James Robertson, who were engaged in journalistic 
enterprises in New York city; they formed a partnership 
with John Trumbull at Norwich in 1773, and began the pub- 
lication of a weekly newspaper under the far-reaching and 
ambitious title of the "Norwich Packet and the Connecticut, 
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Adver- 



At the breaking out of hostilities with the British there 
were fourteen weekly newspapers published In New Eng- 
land. Of these, Hartford, New Haven, New London, and 
Norwich had one each ; the latter town became the publish- 
ing center for the colony. Timothy Green, the New London 
printer, in company with Judah Paddock Spooner, had 
opened a rival printing establishment; this firm published in 
1773 an edition of Watts' Psalms, also a "Manual Exercise." 
The Robertsons In 1776 sold their interests to John Trum- 
bull, who changed the name of the paper to the "Connecticut 
Centinel." He published editions of special sermons, alma- 
nacs, and orations; his imprint appears in 1778 on the title- 
page of Hubbard's "Indian Wars," and later on a work 
entitled "The Captivity of Colonel Ethan Allen;" also on 
school and hymn books. The New Haven enterprise requir- 
ing the personal attention of Mr. Green, his partner Ebene- 
zeer Watson had charge of the "Connecticut Courant" until 
his death, which occurred In 1777; he was succeeded in the 
management of the paper by his widow, who was the first 
woman in America to edit a paper. 

Peace was hardly declared between Great Britain and the 
United States, when new journalistic enterprises began to 
make their appearance in Connecticut, the population being 
of an enlightened and educated class of citizens; in 1785 
there were as many newspapers published weekly in the State 
as in all the territory south of Pennsylvania. In the decade 
between 1780 and 1790, the most important undertaking in 
the journalism of Connecticut was made at Hartford, where 
in 1784 the first issue of the "American Mercury" appeared, 
under the editorship of Joel Barlow; Elisha Babcock was 
associated with him in the management of this publication, 
and the paper continued to be issued, under different owner- 



ships for over half a century, but was finally merged with 
the "Independent Press." 

There had been an attempt made in 1783 to launch a jour- 
nal under the laudable heading of the "Freeman's Chronicle 
or American Advertiser;" but not receiving public support it 
languished and died in the first year of its existence. Besides 
those already mentioned, an attempt was made in 1794 to 
publish a semi-weekly called the "Hartford Gazette;" this 
proved another yearling. These projects completed the news- 
paper efforts in Hartford up to the close of the eighteenth 

In the sister city of New Haven, the "New Haven Ga- 
zette" was started as a weekly in May, 1784; two years later, 
"Connecticut Magazine" was added to its title. Its seven 
years of existence were marked with various changes of title 
and proprietorship; lacking pecuniary support, it finally suc- 
cumbed to the inevitable. An enterprising firm of publishers 
in 1788 began the publication of the "American Musical 
Magazine," but after issuing ten numbers it was discon- 
tinued. The last newspaper enterprise in the "City of Elms," 
prior to the opening of the nineteenth century, were the "Fed- 
eral Gazette," a weekly devoted to the Federalist party, and 
the "Messenger," which survived about two years. 

In other parts of the State, newspapers were established, 
of which we mention a few of the important ones. The 
"Middlesex Gazette" was started in 1785, at Middletown, 
and had an existence of nearly half a century. The first 
number of the "Litchfield Monitor" appeared in 1784, and 
the "Farmer's Journal" at Danbury in 1790. The "Ameri- 
can Telegraph and Fairfield County Gazette" was started in 
1790 at Newfield. Among the Norwich publications was the 
"Weekly Register," which blossomed into life in 1790, to die 



at seven years of age; its successor to claim public favor was 
the "Chelsea Courier," which name was afterwards changed 
to the "Norwich Courier." The "Weekly Oracle" and "The 
Bee" were short-lived journals published in New London; 
they expired about the end of the eighteenth century. The 
ambitious Norwich editor, John Trumbull, established in 
1798 at Stonington Point a small-sized paper which he called 
the "Journal of the Times"; the following year it was 
enlarged, and the name changed to the "Impartial Journal." 
Notwithstanding its taking titles, it was not a recipient of 
public patronage, and collapsed about two years later. 

The early colonial literature was mostly crude and form- 
less, or imitative and pedantic. Its subjects were chiefly 
religion and histories of the Indian wars. The writings of 
the Rev. Thomas Hooker, which consisted exclusively of ser- 
mons, of which one hundred were published in England, were 
Connecticut's principal contribution to this period of Ameri- 
can Literature. Her first secular writer and earliest poet was 
Roger Wolcott. A volume entitled "Practical Meditations" 
was published in New London in 1725; it contained a 
lengthy preface by Reverend Mr. Bulkley of Colchester, and 
a poem of sixty pages by Mr. Wolcott, the latter being a brief 
account of the agency of the "Honorable John Winthrop, 
Esquire, at the court of King Charles the second. Anno Dom- 
ini 1662." There is nothing noteworthy in the shorter pieces 
of the book, nor can much be said of their literary merits. 
The political genius of this early rhymester descended to his 
grandson Oliver, who scribbled many poems, among which 
was one entitled "The Vision of Paris"; but proved his pos- 
session of common sense by retaining them in their original 
manuscript. His letters and State papers, which fill fifty 


folio volumes, are depositeil in the Connecticut Historical 
Society, and are documents of real value. 

Connecticut, in the absence of anything worth calling a 
colonial literature, merely shared the condition of her neigh- 
bors, and for the same reasons. A new and mostly poor dem- 
ocratic society, with few independent incomes and no great 
scholarly foundations, engaged in rough material work, and 
cut off from the literary currents of the Old World and its 
leisured classes, produced few who had time to cultivate lit- 
erary gifts, no sympathetic companionship or audience, and 
no market. An occasional "sport" might arise, a great nat- 
ural litterateur like Franklin or a great thinker like Jonathan 
Edwards; but there could be no class of literary men or 

Edwards was by far the greatest of all Connecticut's chil- 
dren since its foundation : one of the four Americans who as 
pure thinkers apart from literary or executive work, have 
overpassed the bounds of State, sectional, or even national 
fame and influence, and belong to the World. It is signifi- 
cant, and might give pause to those who unthinkingly parrot 
the sneers at the Puritan system that every one of these was 
the product of the "blue" New England order. Three were 
Massachusetts men — Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Thomp- 
son, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, the fourth was Edwards, 
recognised even by Europeans as one of the great metaphy- 
iscians of all time. Worthy to stand beside Aquinas and 
Spinoza and Kant. His life was simple on the outside: the 
great events of such men's lives are internal, or the embodi- 
ments of unseen mental processes. Edwards remained twen- 
ty-three years in charge of a Congregational church at North- 
ampton, iMass., and with a rudimentary flexibility of temper 
(or a little of that sense of humor which means a balanced 

' i**ii| 


view of life) might have remained till his death. But to him 
his logic was no mental diversion, but the inexorable law of 
life or death; and the Sacraments were instruments and Sig- 
nets of the Almighty, which it was simple blasphemy to use 
outside their assigned function or by others than their legiti- 
mate beneficiaries. The doctrinaire would not bend, the 
church would not alienate a large body of its helpers and 
sacrifice its potential members; and they parted. 

Edwards penniless but undaunted, went to teach in 1750 
among the Indians of Stockbridge. Doubtless he accom- 
plished some good in that sphere ; but his work for the world 
lay in the wonderful metaphysical treatises we owe to his 
enforced leisure and solitude, and which, in lack of money to 
buy stationery, he wrote on such odd scraps as he could find or 
save. Chief of these is his treatise on "The Freedom of the 
Will" one of the immortal classics of metaphysical specula- 
tion. As pure reasoning, no detail of its close knit fabric is 
open to assault. The conclusions which revolt the modern 
soul are due to the acceptance of theological premises no 
longer held valid. 

Thence he was called to the presidency of the College of 
New Jersey now Princeton University. He was reluctant to 
accept the position, which involved duties and personal man- 
agement for which, with his "flaccid solids and vapid fluids" 
he felt himself insulted. Fate was kind to him in sparing the 
trial. Two months later he died, at fifty-four. It is among 
the sardonic curiosities of heredity that his grandson was 
Aaron Burr. 

The first signs of a new intellectual era showed themselves 
in the years between the fall of Quebec and the Revolution. 
Connecticut's first man of letters proper, John Trumbull, was 
a son of a clergyman of the same name ; he was born in what 



is now Watertown, April 24, 1750. He was a sickly child, 
carefully taught by his mother, a woman of superior educa- 
tion. His precocity was such that he passed the entrance 
examination to Yale College at seven, though he was not 
admitted as a student until six years later. In collaboration 
with I imothy Dwight, in his second year in college, he issued 
a series of essays modeled on the "Spectator." Two years 
later he wrote a satirical poem on the educational methods 
of the day, entitled "The Progress of Dullness," reminiscent 
of the "Dunciad." After his graduation he was tutor at 
Yale; was admitted to the bar in 1773, and finished his law- 
studies in the Boston office of John Adams, afterwards Presi- 
dent; and the next year began practice in New Haven. On 
the breaking out of the war, he became an active patriot. 
Trumbull's contributions to Revolutionary literature were an 
"Fllegy on the Times," and his famous "McFingal," a close 
imitation of "Hudibras." The "hero" (or villain) was a 
supposable American Tory, and the poem resembled its pro- 
totype in being mostly disquisition, with little action; the tar- 
ring and feathering of McFingal answering to Hudibras' 
being put in the stocks. It had wit enough to save it from 
being a mere copy, however; some of its lines would not dis- 
credit its original, and are often quoted as belonging to that. 
The first part was written in 1775, and immediately pub- 
lished; its author removed to Hartford in 178 1, when he 
completed the remaining cantos, and the epic was published 
in its entirety the following year. 

Trumbull served from 1801 as Judge of the Superior 
Court, and from 1808 as Judge of the Supreme Court of 
Errors, until 18 19, when he retired from the bench. Six 
years later he removed to Detroit, Michigan, where he died 
May 10, 1 83 1. 



The triad of American poets of the last quarter of the 
eighteenth century, John Trumbull, Joel Barlow, and David 
Humphrey, in conjunction with other writers, after the close 
of the war, wrote a series of poetic essays entitled "American 
Antiquities," pretended extracts from a poem which they 
styled "The Anarchiad"; it was designed to checlc the spirit 
of anarchy then prevalent in the United States. 

The cosmopolitan poet of Connecticut was Joel Barlow, 
who was born at Redding, March 24, 1754. His father was 
a farmer with ten children, of whom Joel was the youngest; 
there was enough money to give him a liberal education, and 
he entered Dartmouth in 1774, afterwards becoming a stu- 
dent at Yale and graduating in 1778. At the commencement 
exercises in that year he delivered an original poem entitled 
the "Prospect of Peace." He abandoned the study of law 
for theology, was licensed to preach, and became a chaplain 
in the army. While engaged in military pursuits he partially 
composed his celebrated poem, the "Vision of Columbus," 
which was an enlargement of his early effort. These two 
compositions were the foundation of the "Columbiad." At 
the close of the war he resumed the study of law, and 
settled at Hartford, where he engaged in editorial work, and 
published an edition of the "Vision of Columbus." He also 
revised Dr. Watts' version of the Psalms, adding several 
devotional pieces of his own. The following rhyme was 
occasioned by the meeting of Mr. Barlow and OHver Arnold, 
a cousin of the traitor, in a book-store in New Haven ; Mr. 
Arnold had gained a reputation for extemporizing verse, and 
Mr. Barlow desired a specimen of his art: 

"You've proved yourself a sinful cre'tur, 
You've murdered Watts and spoiled the metre, 


You've tried the word of God to alter, 
And for your pains deserve a halter." 

Mr. Barlow relinquished his editorial duties in 1786, and 
opened a book-store in Hartford. The following year he 
embarked for England as agent for a land company. On the 
breaking out of the French Revolution he proceeded to 
France, where he became connected with the Girondists. On 
his return to England in 1791 he published "Advice to the 
Privileged Orders," also "A Letter to the National Conven- 
tion" and "The Conspiracy of Kings" ; these were in favor 
of the French Revolution, and made the author obnoxious to 
the majority party of England. Barlow returned to France, 
and actively engaged in the Revolution. While at Chambery 
he wrote the mock didactic poem called "Hasty Pudding," 
which is his one real literary claim to remembrance. He sub- 
sequently returned to Paris and withdrew from political 
affairs, shocked by the atrocities of the Revolution. The 
United States government appointed him in 1795 consul to 
Algeria, where he negotiated a treaty with the Dey. The 
following year he consummated a league with the authorities 
of Tripoli, by which all the American prisoners were released 
from captivity. He resigned his consulship in 1797 and 
returned to Paris, where he engaged in trade and amassed a 
comfortable fortune. 

Disposing of his real estate in PVance, he returned to his 
native land; but his supposed authorship of the "Song of the 
Guillotine," in connection with the assistance he gave Paine 
in the publication of the "Age of Reason," caused him to be 
coldly received by the New England people. He therefore 
bought an estate in the District of Columbia, in the vicinity 
of Georgetown, where he built an elegant mansion, and gave 


From the painting by Robert Fult 



it the name of "Kalorama." Here he revised the "Colum- 
biad" in 1808 and published an edition de luxe, which 
excelled anything previously issued by the American press. 
He was engaged in gathering material for a history of the 
United States, when in 181 1 he was appointed minister plen- 
ipotentiary to the French Court. On Oct. 12, 1812, he was 
invited to Wilno to hold a conference with Napoleon, who 
was retreating from Moscow. Caught in the snows and cold 
of the terrible Polish winter, with wretched food and accom- 
modations, he succumbed to the hardships of the journey, and 
died on Dec. 24, at the obscure village of Czernowice, near 
Cracow. His figure remains prominent in American history, 
as much for what he was as for what he did. 

David Humphrey, the son of Rev. Daniel Humphrey, the 
established minister of Derby for over half a century, was 
born July 1752 in that town, and graduated from Yale in 
1 77 1. He entered the army as captain of a Connecticut com- 
pany of negro volunteers, and in 1778 was appointed aide to 
General Putnam, with the rank of major. Two years later he 
was made a member of Washington's staff, where he remained 
until the close of the war. Colonel Humphrey in 1784 went 
to France as secretary to the commission for negotiating 
foreign treaties; after two years abroad he returned to his 
native town, which he represented in the General Assembly, 
and made Hartford his residence. In 1790 he was appointed 
United States representative to the court of Portugal; after 
four years' residence at Lisbon he returned to America, and 
was sent as commissioner plenipotentiary to the Spanish court. 
His connection with the manufacturing interests of Connecti- 
cut will be dealt with in another volume of this work. He 
served as a brigadier-general in the war of 18 12, and died at 
New Haven, Feb. 21, 18 18. His writings consisted of 


political tracts, patriotic poems, a memoir of General Put- 
nam, and an elegy on the burning of Fairfield by the British; 
his miscellaneous works were published in 1 804. 

These were not the only ones stirred by the new spirit. 
Among others was Dr. Lemuel Hopkins, the projector of 
"The Anarchiad," first published in parts in the "New Haven 
Gazette and Connecticut Magazine." It was written in the 
style of a fable with the utmost license of parody and imita- 
tion, embodied the Federalist political views of the auth- 
ors, and had an extensive circulation; much of the composi- 
tion was by Dr. Hopkins. He was born in Waterbury June 
19, 1750, studied medicine, and in 1776 began practice at 
Litchfield. He removed to Hartford in 1784, and passed his 
life as a physician and man of letters. He was one of the 
founders of the Medical Society of Connecticut. In personal 
appearance he was tall, lean, and long-legged, and uncouth, 
with large features and light eyes, which made him a striking 
spectacle. He was the author of a few short poems, the best 
known of which is an "Epitaph on a Patient Killed by a Can- 
cer Quack." The use of an improper remedy for a hereditary 
pulmonary complaint caused his death in April 14, 1801. 

There appeared in Hartford in 1791 a medley of bur- 
lesque and satirical pieces, which was given the name of 
"The Echo." Richard Alsop and his brother-in-law Theo- 
dore Dwight were responsible for its production; it ridiculed 
the bombast and bathos of the newspaper writers of the day, 
and caricatured the political doctrines and measures of the 
Anti-Federalists. It was entirely the work of its projectors, 
excepting that one number contained a few lines by Dr. Ma- 
son F. Cogswell, and parts of one or two numbers were by 
Dr. Lemuel Hopkins and Dr. Elihu H. Smith. A collection 
of these pieces, humorously illustrated, was published in 



1807. The contributors to the "Echo," with the exception 
of Theodore Dwight, were all natives of Connecticut. Rich- 
ard Alsop was born in Middletown Jan. 23, 1761 ; though a 
student of Yale College, he did not become a graduate, but 
engaged in trade. He occasionally devoted himself to belles- 
letters, and his work embraced a variety of subjects. He pub- 
lished his own French and Italian translations. He wrote 
"Monody on the the Death of Washington," in heroic verse, 
in 1800; "The Enchanted Lake, or The Fairy Morgana," 
was written in 1808. He died at Flatbush, New York, Aug. 
20, 18 15. He left a number of unpublished manuscripts, 
among them a poem of considerable length entitled "Charms 
of Fancy." 

Elihu Hubbard Smith was born at Litchfield, Sept. 4, 
1 77 1. On graduating from Yale he studied medicine, and 
began the practice of his profession in New York city, in 
1793. He lived in Wethersfield previous to locating in New 
York, and was the editor of the first collection of American 
poetry. He was associated with Dr. S. L. Mitchell in estab- 
lishing the "Medical Repository" in 1793. He died in New 
York city, Sept. 24, 1798, a victim of yellow fever. 

Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell was born at Canterbury Sept. 
17, 1761 ; he was the youngest and most distinguished mem- 
ber of the Yale College class of 1780. Studying medicine, 
he located in Stamford, but afterwards removed to New 
York city. Dr. Cogswell finally settled in Hartford, and 
became noted as a skillful surgeon ; he died in that city, Dec. 
17. 1833. 

This aggregation of literary minds was known throughout 
the country as "The Hartford Wits." and made the city a 
recognized literary centre in that epoch. 

Noah Webster, the great lexicographer and philologist, 


was born in what is now West Hartford, Oct. 17, 1758. He 
entered Yale at sixteen, but his college course was interrupted 
by the disturbance of the current events of the Revolution. 
We find him in 1777 present at the surrender of Burgoyne; 
but the following year he resumed his studies, and received 
his collegiate degree. He removed to Hartford, having a 
monetary capital of one dollar with which to begin life; this 
was supplemented, however, by an Indomitable will, a good 
education, a great power of work, and still greater indepen- 
dence of mind. Webster became a teacher in the public 
schools, and spent his leisure hours in the study of law. He 
was admitted to the bar in 178 1 ; but his clientage not being 
remunerative, he opened a high school at Goshen, New 
York, which he called "The Farmer's Hall Academy." His 
practical work as a teacher showed him the defects of the 
existing text-books; he was always interested in philology 
and had ideas of his own as to mitigating the chaos of Eng- 
lish spelling; and he thought this newly emancipated country 
ought to throw off the shackles of English orthography as It 
had of English political supremacy. He prepared the first 
part of a "Grammatical Institute of the English Language," 
which was published In 1783 at Hartford; this was followed 
by a second and third part, and by his American Spelling 

In 1788 he was connected with the editorial management 
of the "American Magazine," but the following year he 
returned to Hartford and resumed the practice of law. In this 
year appeared "Dissertations on the English Language," a 
series of lectures delivered by Webster in the American cities. 
He wrote essays on national subjects, and traveled throughout 
the States, to interest parties In the passage of a copyright 
law. During Washington's presidency Webster removed his 



family to New York, and engaged in editing a daily news- 
paper called "The Minerva," also a semi-weekly entitled 
"The Herald"; these names were afterwards changed to 
"Commercial Advertiser" and the "New York Spectator." 
Returning to New Haven in 1798, he began the preparation 
of his first dictionary. His "Compendious Dictionary" was 
published in 1806; this was followed the next year by a 
"Philosophical Grammar of the English Language." The 
same year he began his great work, "A Dictionary of the 
English Language." His pecuniary means were limited, and 
to reduce his family expenses he removed to Amherst, Massa- 
chusetts, in 18 12. He returned to New Haven in 1822, and 
Yale College conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of 
Civil Law. 

He visited Europe in 1824 to obtain material for his dic- 
tionary, which was published in 1828 in two volumes; it was 
republished in England, and gained for its author a world- 
wide reputation. An enlarged edition was published in 1841. 
During nearly half a century Mr. Webster was engaged in 
lexicography; but he was no closet pedant. He practiced 
law, was a farmer, a legislator, and an academician. He was 
a prolific writer, an essayist and pamphleteer, and wrote 
books on political, economical, literary, historical, educa- 
tional, and moral subjects. He died at New Haven May 
28, 1843, leaving a precious legacy to his country and man- 
kind at large. It has been said of him, "he taught millions to 
read, but not one to sin." 

Another author of standard text-books was Nathan Daboll, 
who was born in Connecticut in 1750. He was famous as an 
educator, and published in New London "A School-master's 
Assistant," also a work on "Practical Navigation." He 
began in 1773 the annual publication of "The Connecticut 



Almanac," one of the most Interesting of Connecticut pro- 
ducts; it Is still issued at the same place by the fifth genera- 
tion of Daboll's descendants, having never intermitted publi- 
cation. This is unique In American history. Mr. Daboll 
died at Groton, March 9, 1 8 1 1 . 

Connecticut had another son, Jedldlah Morse, who was the 
author of educational works. He was born In Woodstock, 
Aug. 23, 1 761; graduating from Yale in 1783, he studied 
theology and was settled in 1789 over the First Congrega- 
tionallst Church at Charlestown, Massachusetts. At the age 
of twenty-three he prepared the first geography published in 
America ; this was followed by larger works of the same 
character, accompanied by gazetteers of the world. For 
thirty years Mr. Morse was without a competitor in his field; 
his works were translated into German and French. He pub- 
lished in 1804 "A Compendious History of New England," 
and in 1824 "A History of the American Revolution." He 
was an opponent of Unitarianism, which he combated stur- 
dily; this opposition to liberalism In religion brought upon 
him a persecution that Impaired his health, and In 1802 he 
resigned his pastoral charge. He died at New Haven Jan. 
9, 1826. 

The most noted early American traveler and explorer was 
John Ledyard, born at Groton in 175 1. The loss of his 
father in early life caused his removal to Hartford, where he 
attended the public schools; he began the study of divinity, 
and was for a time a student at Dartmouth. He was obliged 
to suspend his collegiate course on account of poverty, and 
reached Hartford by way of the Connecticut River without a 
shilling in his pocket. At twenty he shipped as a common 
sailor for Gibraltar; he accompanied Captain Cook on his 
third voyage of discovery as a corporal of the marines, and 



was present at the tragic death of that illustrious navigator. 
Ledyard returned to his native land in 178 1, but the follow- 
ing year we find him in England, where he conceived the plan 
of journeying through northern Europe and Siberia, and 
crossing Bering's Strait to the American continent. Upon 
reaching the eastern shores of Asia, he found that the ice pre- 
vented navigation, so he retraced his steps to a Russian port 
In Siberia to await the coming of summer. He was seized by 
Russian soldiers, conveyed to the Polish frontier, and assured 
that if he returned to Russia he would be executed. After 
surmounting many obstacles, he reached England, and was 
Induced to participate in an exploration tour through Central 
Africa. He proceeded to Cairo, and while making prepara- 
tions to penetrate the interior country, he was attacked with a 
bilious fever which caused his death, Jan. 7, 1789. Led- 
yard's "Journal of Captain Cook's last Voyage" was pub- 
lished in 178 1. 

Aaron Cleveland, son of Rev. Aaron, was born in Had- 
dam, Feb. 3, 1744; the death of his father deprived him of 
a college education, but he pursued his studies while appren- 
ticed to a Norwich manufacturer. He was nineteen when he 
produced his first poem, "The Philosopher and Boy." He 
became a Congregationalist minister, and was located near 
Hartford. Several sermons and a few of his poems have 
been published. He died Sept. 2, 18 15. He was the great- 
grandfather 6f President Grover Cleveland. 

Among the contributions to the literature of the eighteenth 
century were Reverend Ezra Stiles's "The United States ele- 
vated to Glory," in 1783, and some ten years later "The His- 
tory of the Judges of Charles II." Dr. Stiles left in manu- 
script forty-five bound volumes of diaries and writings, which 
are in Yale College Library. 



There were other poetasters and versiliers in the State, 
whose compositions were published before the close of the 
eighteenth century, but their reputation was only local. 

To encourage the literary aspirations of her citizens, the 
Connecticut legislature in 1783 granted a copyright to the 
author of any book or pamphlet, for fourteen years with a 
renewal for the same length of time. 

The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences was in- 
corporated in 1799 by Theodore Dwight and others; the 
membership was limited to two hundred residents of the 

With this number of poets and men of letters, Connecticut 
in the eighteenth century produced but one artist. John 
Trumbull, the youngest son of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, 
was born at Lebanon June 6, 1756. While at Harvard he 
studied books on drawing and painting, and copied some of 
the old masters. He graduated at seventeen, and his father 
desired him to become a clergyman, but he resolved to devote 
his life to art. The breaking out of the Revolution caused 
him to exchange his pencil for a sword; in the summer of 
1775 we find him adjutant of the First Connecticut Regi- 
ment, stationed at Roxbury, Massachusetts. At the request 
of Washington he made a drawing of the enemy's fortifi- 
cations, which so pleased the commander-in-chief that he 
appointed him an aide-de-camp. He was commissioned, 
major, and on being attached to the northern department of 
the army, was raised to the rank of colonel. There was some 
delay of Congress in forwarding his commission, which not 
being dated to suit Colonel Trumbull, he resigned. On. 
abandoning his military career, he located at Boston, and 
resumed his art studies. In 1780 he sailed for London to 
place himself under the tuition of Benjamin West; he was 



arrested as a rebel and thrown into prison, charged with trea- 
son. He was confined eight months, and then released on bail 
upon consenting to leave the country. His first original pic- 
ture, "The Battle of Cannae," was completed soon after leav- 
ing college. After the conclusion of peace in November 
1783, he returned to England to continue his studies under 
West. In 1785 he produced his picture of "Priam bearing 
back to his palace the body of Hector." The praise it won 
encouraged him to formulate a plan for a series of historical 
paintings, of the representative events in the American Revo- 
lution. The following year he painted his "Battle of Bunker 
Hill" and "The Death of Montgomery." He produced in 
1787 "The Sortie of the Garrison at Gibraltar," for which 
he received $2,500. Trumbull returned to America in 1789, 
and painted portraits of the signers of the Declaration of 
Independence, also heads for his famous rotunda pictures at 
the National Capital. He was appointed private secretary to 
John Jay, and returned to England. He afterwards went to 
Paris and engaged in commerce. For eight years he was a 
special commissioner to carry out certain specifications in 
Jay's treaty with Great Britain. He returned to New York 
in 1 804 and resumed his career as an artist, but receiving no 
encouragement, he sailed for England, where he remained 
until 1 8 15. Locating in New York the following year, he 
was commissioned by the United States government to paint 
"The Signers of the Declaration of Independence," "The 
Surrender of Burgoyne," "The Surrender of Cornwallis," 
and "Washington's Surrender of his Commission," which 
employed him for seven years. He was one of the founders 
of the American Academy of Fine Arts, and served as Its 
president for nine years. Being unable to dispose of most of 
his paintings at private sale, he presented them to Yale Col- 


lege, the trustees agreeing to pay him an annuity of $i,ooo. 
This collection consisted of fifty-seven pictures, and was 
named Trumbull Gallery. His autobiography was published 
in 1 84 1. His death occurred at New York City, Nov. 10, 



Formation of Political Parties and End of the 

THE Federalist party, for the first few years 
after the organization of the new gov^ernment, 
was not properly a party, but a union of 
nearly all the intellect and business of the 
country against anarchy and consequent busi- 
ness demoralization. The only approach to it in American 
history since is the union of both parties in the East against 
the free-silver danger of 1896. Once the worst of the peril 
was over, parties resumed their natural division ; of those 
who dreaded mob ignorance and shiftiness above all things, 
and those who dreaded class selfishness above all things. This 
was fairly accomplished by 1793, and Federalists stood 
arrayed against Republicans, soon to become Democratic- 
Republicans; even in 1792 the process was in clear evidence. 
But Washington was the only possible presidential candidate 
with both parties, and was unanimously chosen by the electors. 
John Adams, having the next largest number of votes, became 

The second Electoral College of Connecticut consisted of 
nine members: Samuel Huntington, John Davenport, Jr., 
Oliver Wolcott, Thomas Grosvenor, David Austin, Elijah 
Hubbard, Thomas Seymour, Sylvester Gilbert, and Marvin 
Wait. Their ballots were cast for the Federalist nominees. 

During the second Congress the House of Representatives 
was presided over by Jonathan Trumbull, whose election to 
the Speaker's chair was a deserved honor, conferred on him 
and the State he represented. He continued to hold the posi- 
tion until he was transferred in 1795 to a seat in the United 
States Senate. 

On the resignation of the first Secretary of the United 
States Treasury in the early part of 1795, Oliver Wolcott, 
Jr., who had been auditor of the Treasury ever since its 


organization, was promoted to fill the vacancy. On the 14th 
of March, 1796, the President sent to the Senate the name of 
Oliver Ellsworth for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 
The nomination was immediately confirmed, and Ellsworth 
was invested with the judicial robes of the court which he was 
so largely instrumental in creating. 

By the end of Washington's second administration, great 
changes had occurred in the affairs of the country. At home, 
the public and private credit was restored ; the country was 
at peace, with the exception of the trouble with France ; 
American tonnage had doubled; agricultural products found 
a ready market; exports had increased from $19,000,000 
annually to $56,000,000, and imports in the same proportion. 

The election of 1796 showed signs of impending Federal- 
ist dissolution; but Connecticut still remained stanch in her 
old allegiance. Her third Electoral College had for mem- 
bers Oliver Wolcott, Jonathan Trumbull, Jeremiah Wads- 
worth, Heman Swift, Elizur Goodrich, William Hart, Elias 
Perkins, Jesse Root, and Jonathan Sturges. These cast their 
vote for John Adams for President;* but their ballots were 
divided for \'ice-President. The regular Federalist nominee, 
Thomas Pinckney, received four, and John Jay five votes. 
There were eleven votes cast for Oliver Ellsworth, New- 
Hampshire throwing six, Rhode Island four, and Massachu- 
setts one. 

There have been a number of fisticuff and pugilistic 

*At this time the ballots were not specifically marked for 
President and Vice-President, the one who had the highest 
number being President — which produced the Jefferson-Burr 
Imbroglio in 1800, there being a tie. But it was understood 
in voting which candidate was designed to have each office, 
so that the expression in the text is legitimate. 


(HyOt/ IMJCA^'-Cr^^ 


encounters In the halls of Congress; in the first breach of 
decorum a Connecticut legislator took an important part. To 
the sixth Congress Vermont sent as representative Matthew 
Lyon, a native of Ireland. He had founded a town, and was 
engaged in manufacturing and newspaper interests. Lyon in 
his maiden speech avowed his Anti-Federalist principles, and 
posed as a leader of the democracy, much to the disgust of his 
own partisans. During the early part of the session, he made 
disparaging and insulting remarks about the Connecticut 
members, asserting that they misrepresented their constitu- 
ency. He admitted his acquaintance with people of that 
State, and remarked that he knew they fought well, as he had 
proven it to his personal satisfaction by encounters with them 
on their visits to relatives residing in the State he represented. 
This statement brought forth from Roger Griswold, one of 
Connecticut's delegation, the jocular remark, "Did you fight 
them with your wooden sword?" This was an allusion to 
the dismissal of Lyon from the Green Mountain Boys for 
cowardice. The belligerent member from Vermont then 
expressed a desire to remove to Connecticut, and edit a news- 
paper for the purpose of enlightening her misguided people. 
To this Griswold retorted, "You couldn't change the opinion 
of the meanest hostler in the State." Lyon emphatically 
declared that he could, and that he had serious thoughts of 
moving into the State, and fighting them on their own ground. 
Griswold then approached Lyon, and laying his hand on his 
shoulder, said with a sarcastic air, "If you go, Mr. Lyon, I 
suppose you will wear your wooden sword." 

These taunts infuriated Lyon into spitting in his tor- 
mentor's face. A commotion ensued in the House, and a 
motion was made to expel Lyon, but it was defeated; his 
party friends coming to his assistance. The indignity rankled 


in Griswold's spirit, though the disgrace was entirely Lyon's; 
and he soon afterwards attacked Lyon while he was occupy- 
ing his seat in the House, beating him over his head with a 
cane, Lyon seized a pair of tongs lying near the fire-place, and 
a disgraceful combat ensued. 

Griswold seems to have been the most expert fighter; he 
landed a violent blow on Lyon's face, which felled him to the 
ground; he then beat him shamefully, and dragged him 
around by his legs, until the Speaker stopped the outrageous 
affair by a call to order. Unsuccessful attempts were made 
to expel both members; but they were not even censured. 
7'he only reason for this undignified personal afiair becoming 
historical is, that it was the first Congressional pugilistic bat- 

The attempt of Genet of France to drag the United States 
into the fray with the foes of the PVench Republic, and make 
it a point of vantage for fitting out privateers for the 
Directory, discredited for the time the sympathizers with 
France. Even Jefferson was forced to disavow his feather- 
headed friend; but the Federalists were well understood in 
France to be the real authors of his suppression. Hence 
when they carried the election of 1796, the French Directory 
issued a decree granting the war ships of that nation the right 
to annihilate American commerce in European waters, and 
all Americans found serving on hostile armed vessels were to 
be treated as pirates. I'he Hamilton wing of the Federalists 
were glad of the opportunity at once to deal a blow at the 
hated PVench democracy, and to strengthen their own politi- 
ical position by a foreign war. They pushed forward the 
building of a strong navy, and carried on naval operations 
in the West Indies. They also passed an Alien Law, pri- 
marily to exclude foreign journalists who were galling them 



by acrid and foul-mouthed attacks. This was accompanied 
by a Sedition Law, to close their opponents' mouths at home. 
Their efforts against France were helped by the exposure of 
the corruption of the Directory, which sought to obtain bribes 
from the American envoys to sign a treaty of peace. Presi- 
dents Adams was incensed Into declaring that he would send 
no other representatives to Paris till he was assured of the 
good faith of the Directory; and it seemed that open war 
was inevitable. But he received private assurances that they 
were In a better mood, and somewhat frightened over the 
unlucky results of their attempted "graft"; and he was a 
patriot first and a party man afterwards, which can hardly be 
said of some of the other wing. Knowing that the other fac- 
tion would oppose any attempt to come to terms with France, 
as depriving the party of Its political capital, he sent over an 
envoy without consulting his Cabinet. The result was a furi- 
ous break within the party ranks, Hamilton denouncing 
Adams without stint, and the two factions hating each other 
worse than either did the Republicans. This Is usually held 
to have defeated the party in 1800; but an analysis of the 
vote shows that the result was probably inevitable In any 

Connecticut's presidential electors were Jonathan Trum- 
bull, Jonathan Ingersoll, John Treadwell, Tapping Reeve, 
Jesse Root, Matthew Griswold, Jonathan Sturges, J. O. 
Mosely, and Stephen M. Mitchell. The vote of the State 
was cast for John Adams for President, and Charles C. 
PInckney for Vice-President. The retiring President had 
retained Oliver Wolcott, Jr., as head of the Secretary of the 
Treasury; on his resignation In the latter part of 1800, Sam- 
uel Dexter was appointed his successor. The vacancy thus 


caused in the Cabinet was filled by the selection of Roger 
Griswold as Secretary of War. 

At the opening of the nineteenth century, the Governor's 
chair was filled by Jonathan the second son of Connecticut's 
great war Gov^ernor. He was born at Lebanon, March 26, 
1740. Entering Yale College at fifteen, he early exhibited 
large scholarly ability. After his graduation he settled in his 
native town, and soon afterwards became a member of the 
General Assembly. He was connected with that body at the 
breaking out of the Revolutionary War. He joined the Amer- 
ican forces and was appointed Paymaster-General of the 
northern department of the Continental army. He held this 
position until he became Alexander Hamilton's successor as 
private secretary and chief of staff to Washington, serving 
until the close of the war. He held various political offices, 
which have been previously mentioned; and resigned from 
the United States Senate in 1796 to accept the position of 
Deputy-Governor of his native State. Upon the death of 
Governor Wolcott he became Governor ad interim. 

Governor Trumbull was first elected by the people as chief 
executive officer of the State in 1798, and continued to fill the 
position by re-elections for twelve terms. This length of 
service exceeded that of any occupant since his father. He 
also proved himself capable of retaining the confidence of his 
fellow-citizens, transmitted to him from his father. Gover- 
nor Trumbull's death ocurred at Lebanon, Aug. 7, 1809. 

The population of the Commonwealth in 1800 was 251,- 
002, which was a trifle over fifty persons to a square mile. In 
the number of her inhabitants, Connecticut was the eighth 
State in the Union; within her confines there was a little less 
than five per cent, of the entire population of the United 
States. The inhabitants, exclusive of the 5,330 free but 



untaxed persons, and 951 slaves, consisted of 121,193 white 
males, and 123,528 white females. Of these, there were 
37,946 males and 35,736 females under ten years of age; 
19,408 males and 18,210 females between the age of ten and 
sixteen years; 21,603 males and 23,561 females between 
sixteen and twenty-six; 23,180 males and 25,186 females 
between the ages of twenty-six and forty-five; and 18,976 
males and 20,820 females over forty-five years of age. 

The most populous town in the State was Stonington, the 
least so was Union. The inhabitants were chiefly of Eng- 
lish descent, though there were a few Scotch and Irish people. 

Connecticut, in proportion to her size, was one of the most 
thickly populated States in the Union. It was laid out in 
small farms, ranging in extent from fifty to four hundred 
acres each. The State was crossed with innumerable high- 
ways. A traveler, even in the most unsettled parts, could not 
pass over two or three miles without striking a habitation. 

It was a model of good husbandry, the industry of the peo- 
ple being exemplified in the abundant production of the neces- 
saries and conveniences of life. The citizens were of a law- 
abiding disposition, but were great litigants, seeking the 
redress of the courts for most trifling disputes. This was 
simply turning the pertinacious defense of individual right 
into legal channels, instead of the personal brawls or 
mob-fights of earlier English times. In the thirteenth 
century, two men who fell out broke each other's heads, 
or got huge groups of supporters to fight their battles; 
in the eighteenth they went to law. The habit sup- 
ported a number of lawyers, though the leading attorney of 
the Commonwealth did not earn over $2,000 a year. Polit- 
ical strife did not rage with as much violence as in the other 
New England States; public proceedings were conducted 



with more calmness. The clergy, as the aristocratic body, 
acted as a balance-wheel to the democratic State government, 
and checked an overbearing spirit of republicanism. 

Hartford and New Haven were the chief centres of the 
State, though hardly to be called cities in the modern term. 
They had less than four thousand population each; their 
mail and traffic were transported by semi-weekly stages. 
Each had a few shops stocked with miscellaneous merchan- 
dise, and were engaged in foreign commerce; though New 
Haven had the advantage over Hartford, whose trade was 
mainly confined to West India rum and molasses. 

New Haven, with her Long Wharf, which was finished 
in 1802, sent ships all over the world. The richest cargo 
imported in the eighteenth century was valued at a quarter 
of a million, the duties being nearly $70,000. Increasing 
wealth refined and humanized New Haven as other places. 
The town paupers were no longer sold at auction ; poultry 
and cattle were forbidden on her green ; a modern cemetery 
was begun, and an attempt was made to obtain a permanent 
supply of water. 

Hartford, as the head of navigation and consequent dis- 
tributing point for the Connecticut Valley, had early drawn 
to itself a very able body of wholesale merchants, whose 
wealth was bequeathed and formed a notable mass of general 
refinement and predisposition to culture. From the nature of 
its early settlement, also, it had a strongly intellectual atmos- 
phere. As early as 1774, a notice appeared in the Connec- 
ticut "Courant," advocating the establishment of a public 
library similar to one organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin 
Franklin; and in 1799 The Hartford Library Company was 

The first evidence of the evolution of a State from a wil- 


derness up to civilization, is the perfecting of the external and 
internal intercourse among the people. Connecticut and Penn- 
sylvania were the pioneers in the improving of highways. In 
1791-92 a turnpike leading from Norwich to New London 
was opened; in the period between 1795- 1800 there were no 
less than seventeen turnpike companies incorporated, their 
franchises intersecting the State in every direction, bringing 
the inhabitants into close communion, and opening the mar- 
kets of contiguous States to the Commonwealth. 

The State was visited at various times during the eight- 
eenth century, with earthquakes, violent storms, drouths, and 
epidemics; which to the God-fearing Inhabitants prognosti- 
cated the Angel Gabriel's trumpet proclaiming the Day of 
Judgment. The most farcical of these has been perpetuated 
by a drollery entitled "Lawyers and Bullfrogs," better known 
as "The Frogs of Windham." The incident took place one 
dark and dismal night in July 1758. The inhabitants of the 
town of Windham were aroused at midnight by a terrific 
noise, resembling the yells and screeches of Indians; the 
alarmed people, not taking time to garb themselves, rushed 
from their dwellings; the valiant males armed to defend 
themselves against spiritual or earthly foes. Forming in bat- 
tle array, the army advanced eastward, and making a recon- 
noissance, found the noise proceeded not from the heavens 
above, but from an adjacent pond; thus appeased, the valor- 
ous warriors retired. The rising sun disclosed the cause of 
the disturbance. The pond, on account of a severe drought, 
was reduced to a small stream running through its centre ; the 
bullfrogs that had populated the watery area of the pond, 
owing to the scarcity of the water, had fought for the pos- 
session of this stream. Their battle cries had resembled in 


^ound the names of Dyer and Elderkin, two prominent attor- 
neys of the town ; hence the title adopted by the poetaster. 

We read of storms when the hailstones were as large as 
goose eggs, and fell in such abundance that banks were 
formed five and six inches deep ; ( they still fall in every other 
town except where the reader of the account is located;) of 
earthquakes by which fissures several inches wide were made 
in the ground; chimneys toppled, walls thrown down, or 
rocks misplaced. Such shocks were perceptible in Boston and 
New York. Add the suffocating summer of 1798, when an 
epidemic of yellow fever raged in New London, and which 
was followed by one of the severest winters known to the 
oldest inhabitants; the dark day of 1780, when the fowls 
went to roost at noon, and candles were lighted during the 
day, causing the House of Representatives to adjourn; all 
these to the religion-tinctured souls presaged another blast 
from Gabriel's trumpet. 

The close of the eighteenth century fairly corresponds with 
that of the exclusive dominance of country simplicity and 
Puritan habits and restrictions. Cities were growing, 
towns were advancing in wealth and knowledge, habits 
were becoming sophisticated, people were beginning to have 
time to play; amusements multiplied, and dancing, instru- 
mental music, even card-playing ceased to be wholly barred 
out. The last remnants of the old fashion of "bundling" — 
much misunderstood, and always a resort of necessity from 
unheated houses — went out altogether. When there was but 
one warm room in the house, the kitchen with the great open 
fire, couples who wished tc^ court apart from the rest of the 
family had no chance save by utilizing the girl's chamber, 
where they lounged on the bed with the coverlet drawn over 
them for warmth. This caused much less mischief than 



might have been supposed : all wished to marry, and mostly 
could marry early ; the records do not show that there were 
any worse results than with the modern apparatus of cha- 
perons and duennas. And all usual customs seem natural 
and proper; the youth of both sexes were loth to give up the 
endearing privacy, and the mothers loth to shame their own 
past; the younger generation rebelled against the change, 
and even some of the elder had no great zeal for it. This 
feeling has been rendered in verse by a colonial poet : 

"It shan't be so; they rage and storm, 
And country girls in clusters swarm, 
And fly and buzz like angry bees, 
And vow they'll bundle when they please. 
Some mothers too will plead their cause, 
And give their daughters great applause, 
And tell them 'tis no sin nor shame, 
For we, your mothers, did the same." 

But it had always disappeared in any locality soon after 
the introduction of civilized comforts, and at this time it lin- 
gered only in the more primitive districts ; and the mockery 
of the outside world made it shortly impossible even there. 

The pack horse and stage coach were to become relics of 
the past; to be superseded by the slow-moving canal boats 
and the rampant iron horse. 

The hamlets, clustered around the village green, were to 
extend their boundaries, impelled by the advancing tide of 
manufactures, which were to make Connecticut's name 
familiar with the world. Ancient barbarities were to be con- 
demned; human bondage gradually abolished; the branding 


of criminals, the auctioning of the poor, the execution for 
legal offenses, were all to be modified. 

Connecticut, in a word, was to keep pace with the van- 
guard of the modern world in humanity, refinement, and intel- 
lectual progress. 


/.PR 14 1804 

i J