Skip to main content

Full text of "Nathan Hale. The martyr-hero of the revolution, with a Hale genealogy and Hale's diary"

See other formats



Class . . 







(From the Statue in City Hall Park, New York.) 








Two Cowe6 Recbived 

OCT, i 1902 

Copyright entry 

C»,ASS XXo. No. 

If D ^ 
COPY 3. 

Copyright, 1889, 
in United States and Great Britain. 

Copyright, 1902, By A. L. BURT COMPANY. 


t c All Bi^hU Reserved, 



Seldom had there been a more glo- 
riously beautiful day even in the month 
of the poet's song, of flowers and sun- 
shine, than was the 6th of June, 1755. 
The sun shone with a steady warmth 
agreeably tempered by the west wind 
which sent scurrying whifFs of perfume 
from the roses on its every breath and 
the birds sang in the leafy bowers with 
the joyous fullness and triumph of the 
spring, whose promise was beginning to 
mature into fulfillment. From the hour 
that the first pale tinge of pink streaked 
the gray sky, the thrifty New England 



farmers had been busy in the fields, and 
though they silently drank in the elixir 
of the sparkling day, there was small 
converse about its beauty. But practical 
though they were when they paused to 
rest, now and then it was with deep en- 
joyment that they beheld the freshness 
and loveliness of the earth. 

There were few more productive farms 
in Connecticut than that of Deacon 
Richard Hale of Coventry, and though 
he would have spurned anything that 
approached pride, he often felt that the 
Lord had been exceedingly good to him, 
for had he not blessed him in flock and 
children and made all to which he put 
his hand prosper? 

His was indeed a fine farm, nobly set 
where it commanded a view of the 
country for miles around, and where its 


well-tilled fields could be seen by those 
who often rode from the city to make 
visits or on pleasure bent. His men re- 
spected him and accorded him a certain 
measure of love, but he was a man who 
exacted everything due to him as he 
gave unto others all that was theirs. In 
the church he was a pillar, a man of 
sense and eminence, who spoke only 
when he had something to say and whose 
godliness was of the right flavor. In 
affairs of the body politic his counsel was 
also esteemed, and he had served in 
many offices of honor and settled many 
disputes which else had gone to the 
courts. But though all conceded his 
justness and merit few there were who 
could express for him that ready friend- 
ship which is at the service of the man 
of genial disposition. 


Much of the sternness of his character 
was due to training and the belief that 
as grandson of a minister he should 
always preserve a demeanor and lead a 
life that should exemplify the teachings 
of his ancestors. That in his family his 
will was law has been proved by the 
stern insistence with which he followed 
his plan of having his son Nathan submit 
to his choice of a profession for him. 

The deacon was out in the fields with 
his men this 6th of June, and though he 
was working as diligently as ever, it was 
noticeable that anxiety disturbed the 
usual serenity of his face, and he made 
frequent trips back to the house, return- 
ing from each with the same expression. 
He was bending over a furrow when a 
woman ran hastily from the kitchen 
down the long slope to the fields and 


called to him breathlessly and joy- 
ously : 

'*You are a fortunate man, Deacon 
Hale, for your sixth son is so fine and 
lusty a boy that Elizabeth already pro- 
nounces him her finest child." 

The deacon dropped his hoe and 
looked over his small brigade. 

**The Lord be praised for the mother 
and the child. Let him be a worthy 
servant. You may leave off working this 
day and do as you will w4th your time." 

As he turned to the house the dame, 
half-running at his side, queried: 

'*He will be named for you, won't he, 

deacon? It is time that one of vour 


blood received your name." 

The deacon shook his head. 

**He shall be called after that righteous 
and patriotic man, my kinsman Nathan, 



and I shall be well pleased if he have as 
high a sense of duty." 

Well would it have been for him had 
he known that in Coventry, not the least 
among the villages of Connecticut, was 
ushered into the world on that peaceful 
June day, a soul so noble, so true, so 
filled with high purpose and resolve that 
the world was to marvel and acknowl- 
edge its grandeur and greatness. Per- 
haps it might have caused the stern 
heart to show its love more strongly had 
he known the future of that child now 
resting on the mother's breast. 

For the childhood of Nathan Hale, 
though not in any sense strictly un- 
happy, was not as full of pleasure as that 
of other children. He was under the 
sway of the will which so thoroughly 
dominated his mother that in the ^wenty- 



three years of their union she had never 
opposed Deacon Hale. Nevertheless, 
though gentle and yielding, her spirit 
was^ar from being weak. She was a 
woman of exceptionally fine character 
with a bent toward literature, an ideal- 
ism in her composition strongly contrast- 
ing with her husband's intensely practi 
cal nature. 

Elizabeth Strong came of a very good 
family, and when she married Deacon 
Hale she was a very beautiful girl of 
eighteen, whose character was tinged 
with thoughtfulness, gentle and steads 
fast, devoted to books, and though not as 
buxom as other maidens, one whom the 
many and fast pressing cares of married 
life did not overcome, but only devel- 
oped. She believed most devoutly in 
the strictest observance of the Sabbath, 


but often it sorely grieved her heart to 
S have her husband repress her children's 

youthful joy, and where she could she 
' modified his decrees. The deacon had 

long prayers at breakfast, dinner and 
supper and after the latter he required 
his household to be assembled in the 
great living room, where he read the 
Scriptures and had more prayers. 
Promptly to bed at 9 o'clock was the 
command and out of it about 4. He was 
an indefatigable worker, and it is related 
of him that one time when his men were 
piling hay upon a cart he thought they 
did not do it fast enough nor press down 
the load sufficiently, so he sprang to the 
top himself and worked with such energy 
that his cry: "More hay, more hayP 
came so fast that it taxed them to keep 
up. But at length the overloaded pyra- 



mid toppled, covering him completely. 
He jumped up, gasping and looking at 
their laughing faces, scrambled back and 
cried again: ''More hay, more hay!" 

At evening it might be expected that 
his tired frame succumbed readily to 
sleep. He was opposed to all kinds of 
games, fearing their after effect and for- 
bade the boys to use the morris board, 
and in order that they might not evade 
his prohibition he used to sit with the 
candle in his grasp. But he soon fell 
asleep and the lads, Nathan included, 
brought the board and played by the 
light he held, one keeping watch against 
his waking. 





Young Nathan was not as strong in his 
early infancy as the promise of his birth 
foretold, and he naturally received more 
attention from his mother and Grand- 
mother Strong, the latter an exception- 
ally fine character. They early per- 
ceived there was something more than 
common in this lad, and the grand- 
mother set to work to cultivate his mind. 
It was a grateful relief to the mother, 
to whom new babes came so fast that 
there was no opportunity to give him all 
the attention she longed to bestow. 
Nevertheless, the women decided that it 
was only just that the lad be given the 
advantages of a college education and be 



prepared for it. The father had no such 
idea. He intended the two elder boys 
should go to Yale and become ministers, 
but for Nathan he had different plans. 
However, the women were decided and 
he yielded on the condition that Nathan 
be a minister, too. 

He was sent to study with Dr. Joseph 
Huntington, a member of the Norwich 
Huntington family, a man of great eru- 
dition, noble in character and sweet in 
disposition. It may be imagined that he 
took particular care of Nathan's educa- 
tion, for he was the pastor of the dea- 
con's church, and he loved besides, with 
exceeding delight, a promising scholar, 
and he had in this boy one who studied 
most diligently. 

But it must not be inferred that 
Nathan's zeal for his books caused him 


to become a pale, studious lad, who 
pored over them incessantly. He was 
passionately fond of an outdoor life and 
became not only a proficient but a leader 
in all games of skill and strength. He 
was a general favorite, for he was the 
best fisher and hunter in the neighbor- 
hood, and often gave pleasure to others 
by fashioning for them rods and other 
sporting implements. In running, leap- 
ing, wrestling, in fact, all manly sports, 
he excelled and his unfailing good nature 
prevented envy. His mental develop- 
ment kept pace with his athletic, and he 
was ready for college at the age of six- 
teen and passed an examination that 
gave intense satisfaction to his reverend 

The change from the quiet country to 
the life, interest and stimulus of New 


Haven was a great one for the boy. His 
beloved, gentle mother had passed away 
in his twelfth year, having borne twelve 
children, ten of whom were living at her 
death. His father, according to the cus- 
tom of the times had soon remarried, for 
it was a necessity that he have some one 
to manage his household. His second 
wife was the Widow Adams, and he 
added her brood of children to his own 
and cared for them with equal conscien- 
tiousness. Though Nathan had respect 
and affection for his stepmother, he soon 
felt more love for her children, and the 
advent of this new element soon made a 
change in the household. It became 
brighter and there was, despite the dea- 
con, a perceptible lessening of strict con- 

Not that his authority was overthrown. 



There was too strict bringing up in the 
Adams family to countenance anything 
that would savor of an open revolt, but 
as in many cases the influence of the 
second wife was more inclined to leniency 
than that of the first, although she was, 
too, a very devout and God-fearing 
woman. The introduction of so many 
new inmates made the farmhouse a place 
of greater attraction, and particularly did 
the Hale children like the brightness and 
good nature of their stepbrothers and 

It was evident from the first that the 
second son of the deacon, John, was de- 
cidedly impressed by the good looks and 
qualities of Sarah Adams, and his court- 
ship having the full sanction of both 
parents, he was married to her Decem- 
ber 19, 1771, when he was in his twenty- 


fourth year. But however winsome and 
lovable the nature of Sarah, she was 
never the popular favorite that her sister 
Alice became. Alice was very beauti- 
ful, of petite and exquisite figure, rather 
below the middle stature, with a light, 
elastic walk, a^^fine, open, intellectual 
countenance, with regular features and a 
brow that inspired the most enthusiastic 
admiration in all who beheld her. She 
had large hazel eyes, mild, sweet, pecul- 
iarly attractive, and filling those upon 
whom they rested with a sense of the 
loftiness and yet thoroughly social char- 
acter of their owner. Her hair was 
beautifully black and glossy and worn in 
natural ringlets, while her arms and neck 
would have served as models for a sculp- 
tor. Apart from her rare personal 
charms she was endowed with a mind of 


great depth and penetration, an intellect 
which made her society eagerly sought 
by men like President Dwight of Yale 
and the great circle of educated and cul- 
tured men and women whom she drew 
about her when she lived in Hartford. 

It may readily be perceived that there 
would be attraction between two such 
natures, and as Alice was nearly Nathan's 
own age, being but two years his junior, 
they often pursued their sports and 
studies together; for Alice Adams had 
the same love of study and easily mas- 
tered matters deemed far too deep for 
woman's brain. 

When he went to Yale he had won 
from her a promise to write to him fre- 
quently and that she fulfilled the promise 
there is no doubt. Her letters were 
among the dearly cherished possessions 



which the brute Cunningham so ruth- 
lessly tore to pieces when the hero fell 
into his tender clutches. She always 
saved Nathan's to her, though at the 
period of her marriage to Ripley she 
must have destroyed those earlier ones. 



While at college, Nathan gratified his 
love of athletics by taking a greater in- 
terest in the games of the day and his 
record as the breaker of all previous 
ones in jumping was long cherished in 
the college. He aroused all whom he 
met to the same enthusiasm as himself, 
almost by the force of his personal mag- 
netism. He made the Linonian Society 
a new force and sustained his part in it 
with great credit. Though he was the 
general favorite in college, there were, of 
course, certain men whom he drew into 
the bonds of close intimacy. Among 
these were Benjamin Tallmadge, Roger 



Alden, John P. Wyllis, Thomas Mead, 
Elihu Marvin, William Robinson and 
Ezra Samson. Indeed, the number of 
his college friendships might include all 
who knew him and were won by the 
good nature, modesty, willingness to ad- 
mit the worth in others' opinions while 
maintaining his own, that characterized 
him. Among the faculty he was as great 
a favorite, for he had won their hearts 
by his deference to superior knowledge, 
his eagerness to learn, his manly sin- 
cerity and deep feeling and the remark- 
able nature of his intellect. 

New Haven society welcomed him to 
its homes with cordial hospitality, and 
he was there one of the most warmly 
sought and desired, and helped greatly by 
his suggestion and aid. 

Despite all this he was a most prodi- 



gious worker, always living up to his 
maxim, ''A man ought never to lose a 
minute." Not content with standing 
high in his studies he persuaded his 
classmates to form an epistolary class, 
in which each exchanged letters, dealing 
with the topics of their studies, the 
questions of the day, and literature, and 
each was at liberty to criticise the other 
and argue whatever seemed to admit a 
controversy. The criticisms of Hale 
were always shown to be full of justice, 
fine discrimination and were given in a 
style which was astonishing for its ease 
and elegance. He was a very ready and 
fluent speaker, with a wonderful mas- 
tery of words and reasons, fond of logi- 
cal argument and delighting in debate. 
It was this which made him think he 
would have a better success in another 



vocation than that chosen by his father 
for him. He had a most impressive 
presence, a beautifully clear and musical 
voice, and the speeches which he made 
in the Linonian Society are preserved as 

He made visits to his home and during 
the long vacation did not disdain to help 
his father in the fields. He became 
more and more in love with Alice and 
before his return, prior to his graduation 
told her this. She frankly responded to 
his affection, but it was left to the dea- 
con's approval, which neither doubted 
would be forthcoming. To the grief and 
astonishment of all he peremptorily for- 
bade them to think of the matter, in- 
sisted there should be no renewal of the 
subject after he dismissed it, chiding 
Nathan for such thoughts ere he left 



school and declaring there should be no 
more marriages within the family, and 
that for the youth to marry at all till he 
had been some years a minister would be 
a mistake. Nothing his wife could do 
would alter his mind. 

Nathan went back with a heavy heart. 
He did not specially care for the pulpit, 
for his sense of reverence was so deep 
that he believed unless he had a strong 
predilection for the career it would be 
wrong for him to enter upon it. Person- 
ally he rather inclined to the bar and the 
ready speech, sound reasoning and quick 
wit that were his well fitted him for that 

The graduating exercises of the class 
of 1773 were more than usually interest- 
ing and attracted a large number of 
ladies, for after taking part in a Latin 



debate with Tallmadge, William Robin- 
son and Ezra Samson, Nathan Hale was 
affirmative speaker on the question, 

Whether the education of daughters be 
not, without any just reason, more neg- 
lected than that of sons," and he paid 
such glowing tributes to woman that his 
side won amid rapturous applause. 

Honorably anxious to become self- 
supporting as soon as he could, he im- 
mediately accepted the offer of a school 
in East Haddam, which was then a far 
more important place than it has ever 
been since, and whose people, quiet and 
hospitable, found great delight in the 
society of the amiable and vivacious 
young master. But though he dis- 
charged his duties most diligently and 
faithfully and was heartily in love with 
the picturesque and beautiful surround- 



ings, and his mind was captured by the 
Indian legends in which the town 
abounds, he was not content to remain 
within its circumscribed bounds, and he 
was constantly on the lookout for a more 
active and larger field. 

He succeeded in 1773-74 in entering 
into correspondence with the proprietors 
of the Union Grammar School, New Lon- 
don. They had but recently erected a 
fine school structure on their principal 
street, standing where the present Croc- 
ker House has been erected. It was in- 
corporated in October, 1774, by the Gen- 
eral Assembly on the petition of the 
twelve proprietors who stated that they 
"had erected a commodious schoolhouse 
and for several years past had hired and 
supported a schoolmaster." It was their 
petition for incorporation which at- 



tracted the notice of Hale and the infor- 
mation that the school would furnish a 
thorough English education, would be 
kept at a high grade, would teach Latin 
and was really a preparatory academy 
for college, stimulated him to gratify his 
student heart. The proprietors, on the 
other hand, were delighted to secure so 
fine a scholar and such a perfect gentle- 
man; so a call was unanimously ex- 
tended to him and he left East Haddam 
in the spring of 1774, and began his work 
in New London. His school numbered 
about seventy boys at seventy pounds a 
year, half being prepared for college; 
and he also had in the morning from 5 
till 7 a class of young ladies who paid 
him six shillings apiece. He believed in 
making every moment of his time valu- 
able and found a variety of employment. 


Then there were some boys to whom 
he gave lessons outside of his school 
hours. In addition to his school work 
he spent much time in conducting scien- 
tific experiments, and a considerable 
portion of the money he earned in acquir- 
ing a library in the branches in which he 
was interested. 

He found the social atmosphere of New 
London very much to his liking. He 
lived very simply, in accordance with his 
tastes rather than his income, which would 
be considered a fair one in those days. 
His clothing was always fitting to a gen- 
tleman in his position and he was neat to 
the verge of fastidiousness. In person 
he was remarkably handsome, being 
finely proportioned and of a very grace- 
ful and dignified bearing. He was five 
feet ten in height, with a broad, full 



chest, a fine, nobly browed face with 
regular, intelligent features, large, pene- 
trating blue eyes and an abundance of 
light brown hair. Passionately fond of 
athletic sports he soon won the hearty 
respect of the athletic youth of New 
London by his feats, the more as they 
were attempted in no spirit of bravado. 
Samuel Green, one of his pupils, was so 
impressed by the achievements of Hale 
that he preserved a record. He said 
that he would put his hand on a fence as 
high as his head and clear it easily in a 
bound, jump from the bottom of one 
empty hogshead over and into another 
and from the bottom of this over and 
down into a third and out of that like a 
cat. His face was remarkable for its 
combined expression of intelligence and 
good humor, dignity and ingenuousness. 


He had marks on his forehead, where 
powder had flashed into the skin and a 
large hair mole in his neck, just where 
the knot came, had made his youthful 
companions often tell him he would be 

With his quick discernment, swift per- 
ception of the humorous, delight in so- 
ciety, abundance of good suggestions and 
works, together with his steadfast and 
loyal friendship, it is no wonder that 
wherever he went he speedily became a 
center of admiration and love. With all 
his good fellowship there was a dignity 
and decision of character which never 
failed to impress all, and he had a sin- 
cere respect for religion which endeared 
him to those whose age, inclinations and 
occupation forbade participation in the 
gayeties of youth. Though he had made 



no protestations of religion, no one was 
more prompt and constant in attendance 
on church nor more attentive a listener 
to discourses which it may be suspected 
often tired the intellect of the young 

That he appreciated his new field can 
be gathered from his letters to his uncle 
and schoolmates. To the former, teach- 
ing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he 
wrote September 24, 1774: 

"My own employment is at present the 
same that you have spent your days in. 
I have a school of thirty-two boys, about 
half Latin, the rest English. The salary 
allowed me is seventy pounds per annum. 
In addition to this I have kept during 
the summer a morning school between 
the hours of 5 and 7, of about twenty 
young ladies, for which I have received 
six shillings a scholar by the quarter. 
The people with whom I live are very 



free and generous; many of them are 
gentlemen of sense and merit. They are 
desirous that 1 would continue and settle 
in the school, and propose a consider- 
able increase of wages. I am much at a 
loss whether to accept their proposals. 
Your advice in this matter coming from 
an uncle and a man who has spent his 
life in the business, would, I think, be 
the best I could receive. A few lines on 
this subject, and also to acquaint me 
with the welfare of your family, if your 
leisure will permit, will be much to the 
satisfaction of your most dutiful nephew, 

''Nathan Hale."* 

* ''Possessing genius, taste and ardor," writes Sparks, 
''he became distinguished as a scholar, and endowed in 
an eminent degree with those graces and gifts of nature 
which add a charm to youthful excellence, he gained 
universal esteem and confidence. To high moral worth 
and irreproachable habits were joined gentleness of 
manner, an ingenuous disposition, and vigor of under- 
standing. No young man of his years put forth a fairer 
promise of future usefulness and celebrity, the fortunes 
of none were fostered more sincerely by the generous 
good wishes of his associates or the hopes and encourag- 
ing presages of his superiors." 




Hale's letters show the feeling that 
was entertained for him only they are 
very modest in the hinting of what his 
contemporaries so enthusiastically wit- 
nessed. In writing to his college mate, 
Roger Alden, from New London, May, 
2, 1774, he said: 

/'I am at present in a school in New 
London. I think my situation prefera- 
ble to what it was last winter. My 
school is by no means diflScult to take 
care of— it consists of about thirty 
scholars, ten of whom are Latiners, and 
all but one of the rest are writers. I 
have a very convenient schoolhouse and 


the people are kind and sociable. I 
promise myself some more satisfaction 
in writing and receiving letters from you 
than I have as yet had. I know of no 
stated communication, but without 
doubt opportunities will be much more 
frequent than while I was at Moodus." 

Of course, it would have been singular 
if he had not written poetry, but the 
poetical effusions which his finely 
balanced brain sent out were generally 
in answer to rhymed messages from his 
friend, Tallmadge, then located at 
Wether sfield. His were always gently 
satirical and full of fun, and as far as 
poetry went quite as worthy the name 
as some which passes current to-day."^ 

* ''Always employed aboiit something," testifies Mrs. 
Lawrence, ''he was ingenious and persevering." 
*' When his head was not at work, his hands, were," 
says Stuart, whose beautiful and sympathetic"Lif e of 
Hale" was the means of calling general attention to 


Hale's unceasing activity was source 
of wonder to all who knew him in New 
London, but he had need to keep both 
brain and hand at work to prevent the 
heart sickness which was his from man- 
ifesting itself. His nature was essen- 
tially noble, his mind calm and clear, and 
he knew the best antidote to the trouble 
which otherwise would have crushed 

his fine character and noble patriotism. During one of 
his college vacations he made a large and beautiful 
powder horn which was in the possession of WiUiam 
Roderic Lawrence, of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1856. He 
was the grandson of Mrs. Lawrence, Nathan's love, and 
received it from his father to whom it was given by- 
Deacon Eichard Hale. **He put a peculiar concentra- 
tion and zest to everything he undertook. He used to 
say, in jest to the girls in the Coventry home that he 
could do everything but spin." 

Col. Samuel Green, talking to Stuart of Hale said: 
**Hewas a man peculiarly engaging in his manners. 
These were mild and genteel. The scholars, old and 
young, were attached to him. They loved him for his 
tact and amiability. He was wholly without severity 
and had a wonderful control over boys. He was 



In both Stuart's history and Lossing's 
accounts of Hale it is stated his dearly 
loved Alice did not marry till after his 
death when she wedded Eleazar Ripley, 
who left her a widow at the age of eigh- 
teen, with one child. She subsequently 
married, after the death of her child, 
William Lawrence, of Hartford, Connec- 
ticut. She lived in this city till her 
death, September 4, 1845, aged eighty- 

sprightly, ardent, and steady, had a fine moral character 
and was respected highly by all his acquaintances. 
The school he taught was owned by the first gentlemen 
in New London, all of whom were exceedingly gratified 
by Hale's skill and assiduity." With this agrees the 
testimony of Mrs, EHzabeth Poole, of New London, who, 
as Miss Betsy Adams, was an inmate of the family 
with whom Hale lodged. "His capacity as a teacher 
and the mildness of his mode of instruction were highly 
appreciated both by parents and pupils. He was pecu- 
liarly free from the shadow of guile. His simple, un- 
ostentatious manner of imparting right views and 
feelings to less cultivated understanding was unsurpass- 
ed by that of any individual who at the period of her 
acquaintance with him or after, fell under her 



This latter is true, but Alice Adams 
was born in Canterbury, Connecticut, in 
1757, and at the time of Nathan Hale's 
death was eighteen years old and a 
widow. Further than this she was his 
espoused wife as could have been easily 
seen if the letters which passed between 
them had been preserved. But the min- 
iature and letters of Hale which she pos- 
sessed unaccountably disappeared, and 
we know that the brute Cunningham de- 
stroyed all that Nathan had with him at 
the time he fell into his hands. The 
camp book which she had and his camp 
basket were preserved. 

Despite the fact that Alice Adams was 
driven to marry Elijah, not as erro- 
neously stated, Eleazar, Ripley, by her 
stepfather. Deacon Hale, her heart was 
true to her first and only love always 


during her life, for as her spirit was 
passing away she murmured: Write to 

Richard Hale saw with pride the 
promising career of the son who seemed 
likely to make the name illustrious, and 
he firmly resolved that no boyish love 
should be permitted to stand in the way. 
He sincerely believed that his action was 
for the best and his conscience assured 
him that the wisdom of a father could 
best be relied upon to promote the in- 
terests of a son. 

Fond as he was of his stepdaughter, 
Alice, and he really was fond of her, and 
as much as his own child's were her in- 
terests in his heart, he decided she would 
gain nothing if the attachment she had 
formed for Nathan were permitted to 
deepen. He was sure it was best for her 


to marry some one who could at the be- 
ginning support her in decent pride and 
whose advance would not be retarded by 
marriage. Also he had some notion, 
never clearly explained, that it was better 
not to have any more marriages in a fam- 
ily, which was under the same roof tree. 
He had peremptorily forbidden Nathan 
and Alice to think of marriage with his 
consent; now he interdicted all commu- 

In those days and to a gentle, loving 
spirit, such as Alice's, the idea of de- 
fiance to parental will was utterly abhor- 
rent. The youth or maiden who could 
do so would have been looked upon as 
flying in the face of Divine Providence, 
and deserving of some swift and certain 
retribution. Therefore, when he selected 
from her numerous admirers one Elijah 



Ripley, a merchant of Coventry, irre- 
proachable in habits and promising in 
business, and commanded Alice to look 
upon him with favor, she did not dare to 
do more than utter a remonstrance and 
reiterate her love. But she was con- 
vinced by his arguments that love for 
Nathan and pride in his progress de- 
manded that she be no bar, therefore 
she yielded to her stepfather's com- 
mands and importunities and agreed to 
place what was thought would be a most 
effectual barrier between them. 

She was not seventeen. Her mother 
took the same view as her husband. She 
thought it would be an aid to Hale and 
she smothered her own feelings and mar- 
ried Ripley in December, 1773. 

Whatever her feelings she made him a 
most dutiful wife, but the union was not 



long, for in little more than a year, Rip- 
ley was dead, and the young widow and 
her infant child returned to the shelter 
of the Hale homestead. 

Alice Ripley was no longer a child. 
To her had come woman's intuition and 
knowledge, and she knew that Nathan 
was the only person whom she could 
ever love. She saw how futile it was to 
hope to take his image from her heart, 
and she believed that he was still true to 
the Alice he had loved. She was no 
longer under obligation to obey, and she 
wrote to him fully and frankly. 




But to go back to Hale. It must be 
imagined what a bitter blow was the 
deacon's decision. He did not submit 
without a protest. He wrote and ex- 
plained that it would not be many years 
before he would be able to take care of 
a wife. He did not ask for immediate 
marriage, indeed, the incentive that Alice 
would be his only when he had shown 
that he was able to receive her would be 
the greatest help to him. He even got 
his uncle to write to his father, saying 
that the young man would work the bet- 
ter if he knew the reward of a wife was 
to be his. But this was not what the 
deacon wanted. 



Nothing would change his mind. He 
wrote lengthily on the need of obeying 
parents and forbidding Nathan to come 
home. And he hurried matters. 

Nathan was not present at the wed- 
ding. It would have been impossible for 
him to have concealed his contempt for 
Ripley, who was unmanly enough to 
marry one who, as he knew, did not love 
him. And he was not strong enough to 
pierce his own heart. 

For Alice he entertained only the most 
sincere compassion and profound pity 
after the first sharp pang of torture. 
He knew in his very soul that she 
loved him and his knowledge of her 
nature told him one of the greatest 
miseries of her situation was the en- 
deavor to comply with her duty to Ripley. 

Alice, he reasoned, with that sublime 



overlooking of self which exalted him 
above personal sorrow, had a far harder 
part than he, for she had not the occu- 
pation or chance to let other interests 
divert her thoughts which he had. Often 
as he sat in the schoolroom after his 
pupils were dismissed his thoughts must 
have gone to Coventry to Alice, not with 
an unrighteous love, but in picturing of 
the life that was hers. 

Outwardly there was no apparent 
change in him. His classmates who 
knew of his attachment received no ex- 
pressions of repining or regret. He 
knew his duty, and he was prepared to 
do it with stoical firmness. His father, 
who had so thwarted his hopes, received 
the same dutiful letters as of yore, 
though they must have shown a lack of 
the warmth of hopeful love. 



The people of New London, fortu- 
nately, knew nothing of his story. That 
was a great help to him and after the 
first stunning blow his practical, healthy 
nature forbade anything of the misan- 
thrope and for this as well as other rea- 
sons he took active part in society. 

Very agreeable it was. New London 
in the days preceding the Revolution 
was a place of great importance, then as 
now important as a place of communica- 
tion between the eastern and middle col- 
onies, and then, as not now, the resort of 
ships of all nations. It had an immense 
coast trade and intercourse with the 
South and imports and exports to Europe. 
The wharves were flanked by rows of 
warehouses. The harbor was always 
animated, and the merchants operated on 
a scale of magnitude few have at- 


tempted since. The importance of the 
place was duly recognized by the Brit- 
ish, as was also the independent spirit of 
its inhabitants. They had taken an 
active interest in the fight in behalf of 
freedom from the day they had re- 
ceived the famous resolutions of the 
Boston aldermen not to use certain 
articles made in England. A copy had 
been forwarded to New London, and it 
was laid before the town, December 28, 
and referred to a committee of fifteen, 
comprising among others Gurdon Salton- 
stall, Richard Law, and Nathaniel Shaw. 
The committee had drawn up a subscrip- 
tion which was generally signed and all 
the articles interdicted in the Boston 
resolutions were scrupulously avoided. 

In December, 1770, the town had sent 
as delegates to the grand convention of 



the colony, held in New Haven, Gurdon 
Saltonstall, William Hillhouse, Nathaniel 
Shaw, Jr, and William Manwaring, and 
in June, 1774, when the edict of Parlia- 
ment shutting up the port of Boston took 
effect. New London was ablaze with pa- 
triotic indignation. 

The Connecticut Gazette, the news- 
paper published by the Greens, had been 
active in stimulating the fire of liberty 
in the hearts of its inhabitants; indeed, 
it was the boldest in Connecticut in its 
utterances, and the first in the colonies 
to publish the immortal and prophetic 
speech of noble Colonel Barre, whose 
designation of the Americans as ''Sons 
of Liberty" gave to the colonists a fit- 
ting name for the bands which did such 
noble missionary service in the exciting 
days just antedating the Revolution, 



By the impassioned eloquence and strong 
argument of the many articles contribu- 
ted to it by Stephen Johnson of Lyme, a 
minister of God, it had been doing much 
to make the people undertake their duty. 
When the title ''Sons of Liberty" was 
published in the Gazette, there was at 
once a society formed in New London 
and Windham counties, and when the 
odious Stamp Act was attempted to be 
put into force, it was they who marched 
to Hartford and compelled the agent to 

On the 27th of June, 1774, a town meet- 
ing was held, with Eichard Law in the 
chair, and a committee of five appointed 
to correspond with other towns and see 
that all stood by each other and adhered 
to the cause of liberty. In December, to 
the committee, Eichard Law, Gurdon 



Saltonstall, Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., Samuel 
Parsons, were added John Deshon and 
William Coit and a committee of inspec- 
tion was appointed to take care that the 
acts of the Continental Congress held in 
Philadelphia, September 5, 1774, be abso- 
lutely and bona fide adhered to. 

The New Londoners had early deter- 
mined to buy no tea, but take Labrador 
tea, made from the Ceanothus Ameri- 
canus instead, but some salesmen having 
received consignments from Great Bri- 
tain, a council was called of the boldest 
and most patriotic spirits in the town 
and the tea was taken from them, the 
zealous adding their own private stores 
and a grand bonfire was made on the 
parade in the winter of '73-74. There 
was a determined effort to do without 
everything made in the Mother Country, 



and at all the parties, ''liberty parties" 
they were called, all the ribbons, flowers 
and fabrics of British manufacture were 
discarded completely. 

To this hotbed of patriotism young 
Hale had come, and be sure that ardent 
spirit, by inclination and tradition and 
inheritance inclined to liberty, was at 
once fired with zeal, and he became one 
of the most interested in the work of 
making the whole town patriotic to the 

It was not as easy a task as might be 
imagined, for there were many loyalists 
in New London, some of them among 
the wealthiest families, and they were 
incessant in their urging that things be 
conducted with moderation and the 
Mother Country be permitted every op- 
portunity to adjust the diflSculties. But 


the larger number of the leading families 
were in favor of liberty, such as the 
Mumfords, Manwarings, Shaws, Laws, 
Coits, Deshons, Prentices, Chapmans, 
Parsons, Hillhouse and Green, the 
printer, whose paper, the Connecticut 
Gazette, was foremost in the work of 
stirring up the colony. Hale was a wel- 
come addition to the young people's 
gatherings, and while he was always 
ready to form one of any gathering, and 
entered fully into the spirit of the most 
festive, he was equally a favorite with 
the elders; for his deference and the 
maturity of his mind caused him to be 
consulted, and his ease and clearness of 
utterance, the happy ability to say ex- 
actly what was needed at the right time, 
rendered him invaluable in bhe debates 
which were constantly arising. 




That Hale would have needed little urg- 
ing to do what he conceived to be his duty, 
the manner in which he bowed to his father's 
decision respecting Alice Adams shows. 
But when the sentiment of patriotism was 
roused, there was no place where it could 
be fanned to a nobler fire than in the old 
home of Winthrop, who had succeeded in 
obtaining from Charles the Second the 
most liberal charter granted to any of the 

Next to his birthplace New London was 
admitted by all to be fullest of memories 
of Nathan Hale, therefore it is but fitting 
to devote a few pages to that tovrn at the 
beginning of the great struggle for freedom 


in which the martyr was to win his 

From the very beginning, New London 
had been distinguished in the colony for the 
free and independent spirit of her men 
They were bold, adventurous and litigious, 
preferring to spend any amount of money 
rather than submit to a decision that they 
thought unjust. 

The records of the General Court are 
filled with references to the demands, com- 
plaints and suggestions that came from New 
London, and in all thinsfs it was reo;arded 
as both enterprising and fully aware of its 
own importance. 

And in all the summons issued for troops 
for the aid of the colonies, there never had 
been from any more eager and hearty re- 
sponse than from this flourishing seaport. 

Now that opportunity to show how they 
valued freedom was actually thrust on 


them, tlie people were quick to seize it and 
were in a state of organization that would 
have greatly alarmed the officers of His 
Gracious Majesty George the Third, had 
they had the prevision to investigate the 
town and see with what sturdy, well-taught 
rebels his majesty's men would have to 

True, there was situated in the port a 
collector of customs and a controller, but 
both these men were either convinced that 
it was out of the question to think of dis- 
loyalty or they saw and kept their mouths 
discreetly sealed. Certain it is, that in 
the early part of the struggle neither Dr. 
Moffatt nor Duncan Stewart gave any in- 
formation to enlighten the royal governor. 

The state of fatuous complacency in 
which all the royal governors were till they 
were aroused too late to do much for their 
king is not exactly to be attributed to 


their general stupidity as much as to the 
fact that they had only recently seen the 
splendid loyalty of the colonists in the 
fight with France for the possession of 
Canada, and they forgot that men who fight 
to free the continent from an odious and un- 
bearable neighbor are likely to be fully 
as active in ridding themselves of odious 
and unbearable taskmasters. 

Among the men who were instrumental 
in getting the people of New London 
aroused were some who were proprietors 
of the Union Grammar School which had 
engaged Hale's services. The names of the 
men who were of most influence in the 
town were Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., Richard 
Law, John Deshon, William Hillhouse and 
Thomas Mumford. 

Of these some became national names, 
and of them all none was a greater worker 
for the cause than Nathaniel Shaw, Jr. 


He possessed wealth, intelligence, public 
spirit and a business enterprise which made 
him one of the foremost merchants of the 

He had correspondents in Boston, New 
York and Philadelphia as ^vell as in Lon- 
don, and through them he was accurately 
informed of the trend of affairs. Besides 
this, he had a far-seeing mind, and from 
the laying of the tax on tea he saw that 
that there was to be something more than 
protest offered by the colonies. 

It was a case where a child had outgrown 
the strict limitations of a too inconsiderate 
parent and would demand the right to act 
for itself. 

Mr. Shaw liv^ed in a style that made many 
men from other colonies when travelling 
come to his house to enjoy his hospitality, 
the pleasure of his converse and company. 
His home was the center of bountiful and 


elegant good cheer and cordiality, and he 
entertained at one time and another nearly 
all the great men of the period. 

The Shaw manor still stands in fine pres- 
ervation in the original location on Bank 
street, and though the encroachments of 
trade have robbed it of some of its grand 
expanse of ground, there is yet surrounding 
it a spacious lawn and the very garden in 
which the famous tea-party was given to 
General Washington. 

The house itself has a curious and notable 

When, in the French and Indian war, the 
Acadians were driven from their land with 
such cruelty, a detachment was brought 
to New London and remained there over 
winter waiting for the spring to be trans- 
ported to the Barbadoes. 

The people of the town were very kind 
to the hapless prisoners and tried to give 



them the consolation of little kindnesses 
and attentions. 

Many of the Acadians learned to under- 
stand and appreciate the Americans, and 
some of them became very greatly attached 
and remained in New London ; and of 
these were some who were anxious to work 
to relieve the tedium and misery of their 
exile. They ^v^ere skilled artisans and 
possessed a high degree of taste, and soon 
found ready employment. 

At that time the father of Nathaniel 
Shaw, a sea-captain who had amassed a 
fortune in trading between this country 
and Ireland, had purchased a great tract of 
land, part of which lay on a rocky bluff. 
This overlooked the water, and if he erected 
his home upon it, he could see his own 
ships riding at anchor. 

This was a great inducement to the 
captain ; but the labor of getting the stone 


out and hewn into shape was tremendous. 
However, he was resolved on using that 
site, and the work was going on when the 
Acadians were brought to the town. Some 
of them asked for employment and set to 
work on the house. 

Their skill was very great, and their 
taste and suggestions made a decided 
improvement. The manner in which the 
stones are laid is altogether different from 
that used in any houses of the time, and 
it is still a model of fine and exquisite 

But the old wives used to say that as 
the Acadians worked, their tears dropped 
into the mortar, and they prophesied that 
the fullness of years and continual tenure 
of the house would never be the lot of the 
male owners. 

It is odd that there have been no male 
Shaws to hold the name since the time 


of Nathaniel, though it is still in the 
family line, and the last of the family, 
Nathaniel Shaw Perkins and his sister, Miss 
Jane Richard Perkins, are its occupants 

It is a grand old manor of gray stone, 
built from the rocks on which part of it 
stands, noble in outline and proportion, and 
with rooms that are models of colonial 
architecture. It is rich in treasures of the 
past and it is going to be scrupulously 
preserved. Here Washington, Greene and 
Lafayette have been guests with Jonathan 
Trumbull and others of the men who made 
the nation, and the mementoes of their visit 
and the room in which the commander-in- 
chief slept are kept intact and in almost the 
very same condition. 

At the time of the Revolution, the elder 
Shaw and his wife had resigned the man- 
agement of the home to Nathaniel and his 


beautiful and stately wife, Lucretia. Both 
were famed for their kindness and 
hospitality as well as for their great love 
of their native town. 

It was the gathering place of the young 
people ; and here Hale met many of the 
demure maidens whom he tauo-ht in the 
morning, and learned that their reticence 
and shyness vanished in the drawing-room, 
and they were bright and happy girls with 
a fund of gay repartee and hearty, whole- 
some spirits. 

Society was very gay in New London. 
It was a most socially disposed town, and 
the diary of Joshua Hempstead, who was a 
man of elegant tastes and social advantages, 
abounds with records of garden parties, 
teas and hunts and visits to Fisher's Island. 
The reputation of Ne^v London for festivity 
and good cheer was wide, and British 
officers were very glad to have their ships 


anchor there while they took water and 
stores, and they had liberty to mingle with 
the charming young maidens and cordial 
young men. Their coming was just as 
eagerly looked for, and signal for a round 
of festivities like that in which Patty 
Hempstead figured when she cut up her 
grandfather's brocade coat to make a 
party gown. 

But the young men who now gathered 
with their sisters and sweethearts in the 
Shaw manor, and partook of the graceful 
and cordial welcome of their hosts, had 
other thoughts than extending the hand of 
friendship to the British officers. 

They were intensely interested in the 
contest between the sister colony, Mas- 
sachusetts, and the king's officers, and there 
was sure to be either some one who had 
just come from Boston or Salem, or some 
correspondent of Mr. Shaw had sent the 


latest news from Philadelphia and New 
York ; and what was being done in Virginia 
and how its burgesses were writhing under 
the yoke was to be discussed in all its 

The news-letter was eagerly read. The 
speeches were commented on and taken 
apart to find their hidden meaning, for in 
those days many spoke in parables which 
the patriot alone could interpret; the tid- 
ings from Parliament, the obstinacy of the 
king, the tyranny of North, the feeling of 
the English people, the friendly spirit of 
some and the speeches of Barre and Burke 
and Brougham, all these drew the men 
together to talk in low tone and with 
earnest face, while the women listened 
with glowing eyes and quickening pulse, 
ready to give to any who hesitated a glance 
of surprised reproach, and to smile encour- 
agement on the bold speaker who did not 



care who heard him say that he would work 
for justice to his land and colony. 

Many of the girls were as ardent in the 
cause as their brothers, and they displayed 
all the enthusiasm of women who meant to 
show they would be true and brave and 
enduring. They had already spoken elo- 
quently in their cheerful abandonment of 
the articles on which taxes were laid and 
their dispensing with their favorite bever- 
age without a murmur. 

All the summer of 1774 was portent with 
the murmurs of the coming conflict. Many 
were in active training. By day and by night 
the militia was practising under the direc- 
tion of men who knew what mit>:ht be ex- 
pected. The French and Indian war was not 
a forgotten memory and its veterans drew 
hopeful auguries as they remembered how 
superior were the colonial to the British 


troops and how the latter had depended on 
them for support and guidance. 

The New London militia belonged to the 
Third Connecticut regiment under the old 
organization. Its field officers were : Dud- 
ley Saltonstall of New London, colonel ; 
Jabez Huntington of Norwich, lieutenant 
colonel ; and Samuel Parsons of Lyme, cap- 

All these men met at the Shaw manor, and 
with them William Hillhouse, Richard Law, 
John Deshon, Governor Trumbull, Gurdon 
Saltonstall, Marvin AVait, Thomas Mumford 
and Nathan Hale. They had already banded 
themselves to stand together, though at 
that time Parsons was king's attorney for 
New London county. 

Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., possessed the most 
wealth and the best means of obtaining 
general intelligence without exciting suspi- 


cion, from the fact that as merchant he could 
have correspondents at so many ports. 

He had used this liberty to good advan- 
tage, for, foreseeing the inevitable conflict 
in the end, he had been quietly preparing 
by securing supplies of powder from the 
French islands. 

A few extracts from his letters will show 
how clearly he understood what the colony 
was to undergo. 

Writing to P. Vandervoort, October 22, 
1773, he said : 

In regard to the tea that is expected 
from England, I pray heartily that the colo- 
nies will not suffer any to be landed. The 
people with us are determined not to pur- 
chase any that comes in that way." 

To Vandervoort, April 11, 1775 : 

Matters seem to draw^ near where the 
longest sword must decide the controversy. 
Our General Assembly sits to-morrow and 



I pray God Almighty to enlighten them to 
adopt such measures as shall be to the in- 
terest of America." 

To Messrs.. Wharton, Philadelphia, May 
5, 1775 : 

" I wrote to you by Col. Dyer and Mr. 
Green,our colony delegate to congress, desir- 
ing you to let them have what money they 
should have occasion for to the amount of 
four or five hundred pounds. I really do 
not know what plan to follow or what to 
do with my vessels." 

To the selectmen of Boston, May 8,1775 : 

"I have received from Peter Curtenius, 
treasurer of the committee in New York, 
100 barrels of flour for the poor. He writes 
me he shall forward three hundred and fifty 
pounds in cash for the same." 

To Messrs. James and Isaac Wharton, 
Philadelphia, Sept. 18, 1775 : 

" I shall set out to-morrow for the camp 


at Roxbury, and it is more than probable I 
shall come to Philadelphia on my return." 

To an agent in Dominica : 

" All our trade is now at an end, and God 
knows whether we will be able to ever carry 
it on again. No business now but prep- 
aration for war, ravaging villages, burning 
towns, etc." 

In December, 1774, he represented to the 
government of the colony the desperate need 
of having powder for the fortifications of 
New London, and offered to send his own 
vessels for it, free of charge. The Assembly 
acted on his advice and sent him an order 
to obtain six hundred half -barrels at once. 
In July, 1775, he gave this brief order to 
the commander of a vessel fitting out for 
Hispaniola : 

" Purchase- gunpowder and return soon." 

It was he who furnished the regiment of 


Colonel Parsons with powder, balls and flints. 
In January, 1776, he wrote to his agent at 
Guadaloupe, AVilliam Constant, ordering 
him to purchase powder to the amount of 
all the interest you have of mine in your 
hands. And make all despatch you can ] 
for we shall want it soon." 

When General Washington was in urgent 
need of powder and arms it was Nathaniel 
Shaw, Jr., who forwarded, July 22, 1776, 
three cases of arms and flints ; and by John 
Keeny three more cases of arms and one 
chest of Continental cutlasses. July 31 he 
wrote Robert Morris, chairman of the secret 
committee of Congress, that he had received 
another supply of powder, 13,500 cwt. 
from Port au Prince. 




Nathaniel Shaw was the trusted friend 
of General Washington, whom he knew well 
before the latter was elevated to the com- 
mand of the Continental army. He was also 
well acquainted and in constant correspon- 
dence with the leading men of the move- 
ment for freedom, and he had every oppor- 
tunity to meet and prepare his fellow 
patriots, for the work that was to be done. 
Previous to the actual outbreak of hostili- 
ties he did immense service which was rec- 
ognized by his appointment in July, 1776, 
as naval agent for the colonies. Governor 
Trumbull and the council of safety also 
decided there was none so fit to take care 
of the sick seamen. 


He threw himself with enthusiasm into 
the labor, and was the valued aid of Trum- 
bull and his chief resource in the times 
of stress and anxiety and literal lack of 
nearly everything which soon followed 
the beginning of the war. 

He not only did what was assigned him, 
but was active in fitting out ships as 
privateers to cruise in the waters where 
rich British convoys might be seized. 

There was the greatest good fortune for 
New London in this at first, and it w^as a 
branch of warfare peculiarly adapted to 
her, for so many of her sons were seafarers 
by inclination and occupation. 

But though the American privateers did 
great damage to the British and secured 
some very valuable and helpful prizes, the 
increase in the number of British men-of- 
war made it hard to get out and in ; and to- 
ward the close of the war, so many of the 


New London vessels had been captured 
that private individuals were ruined in for- 
tune. Still, some did very valiant service 
all through. 

From New London was fitted out the 
first naval expedition under the authority 
of Congress in January, 1776. 

This was composed of four vessels, the 
Andrea Doria, the Columbus, Alfred and 
Cabot : Eesek Hopkins of Rhode Island 
was commodore, and Dudley Saltonstall 
captain, with Elisha Hinman lieutenant, 
Peter Richards and Charles Bulkeley mid- 
shipmen, and eighty other New Londoners 
in the crew. 

The commodore re-entered New London 
harbor in the following April with seventy 
prisoners, eighty-eight pieces of cannon and 
a large quantity of naval and military 
stores, having previously sent the heavy 
ordnance captured at New Providence 


home in a sloop commanded by Captain 

All throuo-li the Revolution Nathaniel 
Shaw and his wife worked for their coun- 
try with unfaltering zeal and hope and 
confidence in the darkest hour. They 
gave freely of time, patience and money 
and never allowed those about them to 
understand how hard it was to be hopeful 
and cheerful part of the time. 

While the husband was engaged in the 
larger and masculine part of the campaign, 
the wife was directing her maids how to 
prepare food, jellies, provisions of all sorts 
and stocks of clothing; for the soldiers. 

And many a ^vife and mother whose 
husband and son were at the front were 
cared for and encouraged by Lucretia 
Shaw when the fight for existence grew 
too hard and the gnawing anxiety was un- 
dermining courage and strength. 


They had a very hard time, these brave 
women of the Kevolution. The men gone, 
they had to go out into the fields and 
work from sunrise to sunset and then try 
to care for their little ones and make their 
food and clothing in the night by the 
feeble light of the candle. 

Provender was cut and vegetables raised 
and wood for the fire furnished by women 
who never before had attempted man's 
labor. Many went out in their husbands' 
boats and supplemented the return of the 
field by the plentiful fish of the sea. 
These were dark days in New London. 

It required tact and much management 
to induce these stout-hearted proud women 
to let any one help them, and only one as 
persistent and true as Lncretia Shaw could 
have done it without offending their honest 
pride. But she did. She made them be- 
lieve that she was really a more fortunate 


sister willing to share with the other mem- 
bers of the family. 

But when the prisoners were released 
from the terrible disease-breeding pens of 
the British prison ships and when one of 
these arks of pestilence sent forth its vic- 
tims, Lucretia Shaw went down to the sea 
and ministered unto them, and in so doing 
caught a malignant fever from whicli she 
died, December 11, 1781. 

Her death was a terrible blow to her 
husband. He was as one from whom the 
sun of life was cut off. He went about 
his work for his country with no diminu- 
tion of result, but he seemed to be with- 
out that high sustaining power that had 
kept him without complaint at the most 
obstinate task. 

He grew absent-minded and would walk 
along for hours without speaking. His 
only relaxation was the chase ; but one day, 


April 15, 1782, while out hunting, he ac- 
cidentally discharged his own fowling- 
piece and was instantly killed. 

Of the others, Richard Law was the son 
of a governor of Connecticut. He was 
born in Milford and educated at Yale. 
He was always distinguished for his keen 
sense of justice and his ability to see merit. 
He was quick to understand how great an 
addition New London had received in the 
young schoolmaster, and was from the first 
his friend. 

Mr. Law had been nominated for Con- 
gress and, like Hillhouse, was a member of 
the governor's council. But just as he 
was getting ready to go to Congress he fell 
ill with the small-pox, and had the misfor- 
tune to be absent and unable to sign his 
name to the Declaration of Independence, 
a fact which gave him great regret all his 
life. He went to Congress in the follow- 



ing October and was one of the most in- 
dustrious and courageous members. 

Like Nathaniel Sha^v, William Hillhouse 
was a thorough patriot. He was of Irish 
ancestry, being the nephew of the Rev. 
James Hillhouse, who had been summoned 
from Ireland to take charo;e of the North 
Parish. He was a graduate of Yale, a 
member of the governor's council, a major 
of the second reo;iment of horse raised in 
the State. For many years after the Revo- 
lution he was chief judge of the county 
court and reckoned a judge and states- 
man, honest, just and wise." He did great 
service all through the war. 

Thomas Mumford belonged to Groton 
on the other side of the river, but had his 
business of merchant in New London. He 
was one of the eleven gentlemen who in 
April, 1776, formed the project of taking 
Ticonderoga and successfully carried it, 


though without any authority from Con- 

He obtained the money for the expedition 
from the colonial treasury, but each man 
gave his individual note and the receipt for 
it. They were afterwards reimbursed by 

He was one of the committee appointed 
to receive and sign emission of bills and 
also served as agent of the secret commitee 
of Congress. 

John Deshon, at the time Hale came to 
New London was very prominent in the 
training of the young men who were to be 
such gallant soldiers of freedom, and in 
everything that tended to strengthen the re- 
solve to resist oppression. He had made 
the young men understand how to handle 
arms, to man fortifications, and he was 
agent of the provincial government for f orti- 


fications and afterward its conimissary in 
enlisting troops. ^ 

He was of French extraction, his father, 
Daniel Deschamps, corrupted to Deshon, 
was reared by Captain Rene Grignon of 
Norwich, and when his benefactor died the 
young man came to New London in 1715, 
and married Ruth Christophers. 

Three of his sons were conspicuous for 
their bravery in the Revolution. One, 
Captain Daniel, was appointed commander 
of the brig Old Defence, and did excellent 
work before he was captured by the Eng- 
lish ; another, Richard, was in the army, 
and John worked in both army and navy 
for the cause. 

These men were joined shoulder to shoul- 
der in the war against unjust representation 
when Hale came among them. They had 
done all they could to induce their friends to 

take the same stand ; and though some were 


reluctant and many thought that it was 
wrong to disregard the strong bonds of 
race and feeling, as outrage after outrage 
was perpetrated in the name of law, the 
most of the hesitants came over and only 
those who were obstinately British held 

It was fast taking hold on all that the 
only course open to patriots was armed 

And they knew well that it was not 
when the actual need came that they 
should be getting ready. It was twice 
armed to be armed in time. 

Consequently, besides the regular detach- 
ment permitted by the royal governor, 
there were a number of independent com- 
panies in the town. 

But the work had to be done very cau- 
tiously, for it would not do to be too bold 
and alarm and warn the future enemy. 


Besides Dr. Moffatt, his majesty's control- 
ler of customs, there was already in the 
town Duncan Stewart, the collector, and a 
number of English families of direct birth 
or so closely allied by marriage and trade 
as to be determined on adherence to the 
mother country. 

Any of these would have been glad to 
give a warning that might have resulted in 
arrest and serious hindrance of the grand 

Had this been attempted, however, there 
is not a particle of doubt that New London 
would not have bm'st the slight restraint 
of policy and the first shot would have 
been on Connecticut soil. 

There were various ways of communicat- 
ing employed, and it added zest to the act 
to know that a vigilant foe had to be out- 

The Connecticut Gazette was published in 


New London by Timothy Green and was 
the most considerable paper in the colony 
and in New England. It was certainly 
uncommonly bold in all its utterances. 

It had steadily, since 1767, opposed the 
laying of unjust duties, and it had been 
foremost in urging their being forcibly 
refused obedience. 

It had contributors from every part of 
the State and from outside, and as they 
were all learned men and able to use the 
Roman heroes and the Koman history for 
facts, examples and quotations, they had an 
excellent cover, and many a spirited argu- 
ment was presented under a semblance of 
discussion of the deed of Brutus or the en- 
croachments of Caesar on Roman rights. 

As has been stated before, Stephen John- 
son of Lyme, a minister who had come to 
America from Ireland with his heart throb- 
bing with eager desire for freedom of 


speech, made these Journals ring through 
the land by his strong and cogent appeals 
and reasonings. 

And others there were, if not as thrilling 
and outspoken as Johnson, fully as convinc- 
ing by their deliberate speech and signifi- 
cant parable. 

In these days, when we have abundance 
of newspapers, we do not really comprehend 
the immense worth that a paper had to the 
men of the past, who felt that it meant the 
dissemination of knowledge, the potent 
arouser of men to freedom, the one grand 
means of communicating with their whole 

The Connecticut Gazette was passed from 
hand to hand and its utterances were eagerly 
read and long commented on, and as men 
went to the field they turned over the sen- 
tences as they ploughed and felt new force 
and new enlightenment borne in on them. 


By every means in its power this paper 
did all that it was possible to do to strength- 
en the resolve of New London to resist 

It printed Warren's oration on the anni- 
versary of the Boston massacre ; it filled its 
poet's corner with the effusions of the poets 
of the day, who poured forth long stanzas of 
verse, a little halting, it may be, but true in 
patriotic ring. 

The country had been strong in Sons of 
Liberty, and if the young schoolmaster did 
not go out with them his whole sympathies 
were in league with their bold resistance to 
the king's collectors. 

In the secret conclaves at the ShaAV 
manor, it can be assumed that he was trusted 
and listened to with the same attention his 
magnetic utterance and sincerity always 




Hale was always inclined to be a soldier. 
It was one of his pastimes to marshal his 
companions, and to have order was a pas- 
sion with him. Everything which he had 
was always in the most exquisite array 
and cleanliness ; and though he delighted in 
teaching, it was not with that whole-souled 
devotion that would have characterized the 
born teacher. He did well, for it was his 
maxim to do all things well. But if time 
had permitted there would have been res- 
ignation of the office of teacher for another 

This would not have been the army had 
not the fire of patriotism warmed his veins. 
He would have been a minister of the gos- 


pel, an office for which his great learning 
and natural grace and vigor of speech en- 
titled him to hope for success and in 
which he would have assuredly done great 
good. But his was a higher calling. 

The progress of the companies openly 
and secretly drilling in New London was 
of great interest to him. He had calmly 
thought out all the sides of the question, 
and he knew it was only right for every 
young man to fight for his country. 

When war came it was his intention to 
resign his school and go to the front as 
soon as he found there was actual need of 
men. He had acquainted his father with 
this resolve at the beginning of his sojourn 
in New London. He had fully and elo- 
quently described his ideas of his duty. 

He was really determined to go to the 
war, should it come, even if his father did 
not approve, for this was a case where pa- 



rental authority had to be put aside. True, 
there was no cause why he was not legally 
his own master, but in those days age did 
not absolve the child from the deep rever- 
ence and absolute obedience exacted by the 
code of the day. 

As soon as Alice Ripley had intimated 
that the love she entertained for him knew 
no diminution. Hale had responded to her 
with all the relief and exquisite happiness 
of a true and loyal heart. He had frankly 
explained to her that as much as ever did 
he love her, and both were content to wait 
till he was in a better position to marry. 

That she would feel as he did on the 
matter of his duty to his country he was 
certain, and when both father and betrothed 
replied in unqualified approval he was 
greatly pleased. 

Unfortunately the letters of neither are 
to be found, but there is substantial evi- 


dence of the strong patriotism of the elder 

But patriotism ran in the Hale blood. 
The kinsman for whom Nathan had been 
named had died fighting for the colonies 
and England at Louisbnrg, and he had 
heard often the story of his bravery and 
death. His brothers were full of the spirit 
and eager to work with and help the Sons 
of Liberty, and his father, despite his strict 
ideas of submission to the powers in author- 
ity, had all the Puritan hatred of oppres 
sion and would have gone to the field him- 
self had he been able. 

Not only did he quickly give his consent 
and blessing, but all through the long war 
sent liberally of his substance, instructing 
the girls of the family to furnish all the 
cloth they could spare for the soldiers' cloth- 
ins;. He used to sit outside and watch for 
soldiers to pass ; and when one came along 



he was brouglit into the homestead, made 
eat to repletion and after sleeping was sent 
on his way, laden with good things for the 
others. All through his section he was 
noted for his kindness of heart and thought- 
ful care for the poor. If a woman had a 
husband at the war, it was the deacon's 
care to see that she did not lack for fire- 
wood and loads of provisions from his 

All the time that these stirring events 
were leading up to the inevitable conclu- 
sion, no word of independence had been 
breathed. But there was doubtless many a 
brain to whom the image was no stranger. 
It was left for Nathan Hale to first give 
the tocsin to New London patriots. 

It might have been thought, so zealously 
did he attend to the duties of his place, that 
his sole thought lay in forming the mind of 
his charges. His school was a model. The 



discipline was firm, yet never did it relax 
into softness nor increase to harshness. All 
his boys were his devoted lovers, and some 
of them, even when the snow of years was 
on their heads, could not think of him vdth- 
out tears. 

In the schoolroom he maintained an 
even deportment which did not allow any- 
one to guess he was more of a favorite than 
another. He was very tender to those who 
were dull, and he could speed the bright 
with a quiet word which sank deep into 
the heart and was spur to greater endeavor. 

AVith all his sweetness he had a firmness 
and steadiness of resolve that never per- 
mitted him to lose control, and which added 
respect to the love that was lavishly be- 
stowed upon him. 

He was very fond of athletics and there 
was great interest in the sport after school 
hours. Master and pupil tried their skill 


and lie made many of his boys wonderfully 
good athletes and showed them how to per- 
form jumps and go through motions that 
would have been thought impossible were 
it not for his help. 

The girls, too, found in the young man 
a very willing and social helper in their 
festivities. He was ever of a very agreeable 
disposition, and now that the cloud of unhap- 
piness had been lifted and he was certain 
that some day Alice would be his, he could 
enter with unrestrained zest into the frolics 
and merrymakings of the time. 

Nor was he without exciting the tender 
friendship of a number of young ladies of 
the town and Norwich, for there is note of 
this in the correspondence of some, notably 
Miss Betsy Christophers ; and no one could 
have been long with this amiable and 
talented young man without feeling for 
him more than the usual kindliness. 


The later writers who have taken up 
Hale since they found that there was pop- 
ular admiration of his great qualities have 
followed the finest as the truest and most 
original of the Hale books, Stuart's, in all 
details while endeavoring by a little varia- 
tion to seem more original themselves. But 
hard study of all things relating to him 
show no reason to think, as does an author 
of this sort in his work of 1901, that Hale 
had other love than Alice Adams. 

He had not. She was married in De- 
cember, 1773, and a widow in a short time. 
He loved only her. 

Life went very swiftly with him as with 
all the young patriots. Each month brought 
nearer the crisis. It was becoming plain to 
all who could see that there must be a war, 
and the only question was, when ? 

The patriots were now anxious to have 
it come, for they were straining every nerve 


to be better prepared. But they saw how 
matters were shaping in Massachusetts, and 
the express from that State was awaited 
with great anxiety by the throng who 
nightly gathered down on the parade, under 
the shadow of King George's statue, and 
waited for the mail to come thundering up 
to Miner's Tavern and the carrier to tell his 
gossip, conjecture and information, and may- 
be distribute a few precious copies of The 
Boston Post. 

Winter had worn away. The new life of 
spring was clothing everything with beauty 
and freshness, for nature ever goes on her 
way ; and there was to be a baptism of blood 
that would rouse the world and from which 
should spring a nation the refuge and the 
hope of man. Though the trend of affairs 
was unmistakable, one thing that delayed 
rupture was the more politic course of the 
king's men in New London. They felt the 



spirit of the town and dared not overstep 
their authority, nor, indeed, fully exercise 
it. It would not do to badger people 
thirsting for the opportunity to avow their 
real sentiments. 

It was a particularly bright and beautiful 
day, succeeding that epoch-making 19th of 
April, 1775. The scholars were all in their 
places and the master was deep in one 
of his own calculations when there went 
through the assembly a sudden electric 
thrill, and all turned and looked instinc- 
tively toward the windows. One was open, 
and through it came the so and of eager, 
excited voices, a murmur that increased and 
seemed to grow deeper and greater in vol- 
ume. The boys looked wistfully toward 
the master. 

Hale had felt the same warning premoni- 
tion, but the instinct of discipline was 
sufficient to bold him in his place though 


every fiber ached to be out, and a part of 
the work he knew with prophetic insight 
had begun. 

Some of the boys had arisen, expecting 
that the increasing excitement would be 
warrant in his eyes for their infraction of 
discipline, but he firmly bade them resume 
their places and finish their work. 

Disappointedly they did so, thinking the 
long session would have to be served out 
to the end, but Nathan Hale was no marti- 
net and he felt the promptings in these 
young breasts might come from higher 
cause than curiosity ; so after the first 
lessons had been ended he dismissed the 
school and was soon on the street. 

The schoolhouse door closed, his whole 
manner changed. He as a comrade of his 
boys, and he laughed a little as he saw the 
eager race toward the parade, where now 
were gathered a dense throng. 


^'I can give you a good run," he said to 
Richard Law, one of his pupils and the 
two, master and boy, ran with the odds in 
favor of the trained athlete till they reached 
the outskirts of the crowd. It was im- 
possible to get in through the crowd which 
seemed to be pressing on the narrow space 
surrounding King George's statue, and as 
they gazed they saw that a man on horse- 
back was the object of all the attention, 
and that he was hoarsely speaking. The 
dense throng was perfectly silent, and as 
Hale again and again tried to draw the 
attention of his neighbors his touch was 
unheeded, so tensely were all faculties 
strained to catch the least sound. 

At length the murmuring voice ceased 
and a great shout went up. The spell was 

I pray you, sir," said Hale anxiously to 
a portly old gentleman taking snuff in such 


excitement that he spilled it all on his shirt 
iMiffle, tell me what it is all about ? " 

Haven't you heard ? 'Tis an express 
from Lexington, where the British have 
fallen on our brothers and sought to cut 
them in pieces ! " 

" It has come, then ! " said Hale. 

uHow " 

Hush hush, he is going to speak — no, 
no, he is falling from his saddle ; bear a 
hand, there, easy, easy, this way, this way ; 
noble fellow, here, bring him into the 
tavern. Give him something to revive 
him. No wonder, such a ride." 

These were the messages which, with 
numerous comments and commands, ran 
from lip to lip and the crowd parted and 
the limp figure of the messenger was borne 
to the tender services that awaited him. 

Then a man mounted the long seat that 
stood under the statue of King George 



and pointing at the scarlet-coated figure 
cried: ''It is not a good color! That is 
the emblem of the bloody tyrant ! " 

Cheers with a few cries of disapproval 
burst from the throng and in the midst a 
clear, authoritative voice cried : 

'' Attention, friends ! Let all who wish 
to form some plan to meet the circumstances 
the express from Lexington hath laid be- 
fore us gather at Miner's Tavern to-night, 
w^hen it will be discussed what is to be 
done to help our sister, brave Massachu- 
setts, and keep ourselves from experiencing 
the hate and tyranny of the enemies of 

" We will all be there ! " shouted an able- 
lunged man, and the looks on other faces 
showed how clearly he expiessed their 
sentiments. But some there were who 
moved off and seemed to be discussing the 
situation with grave apprehension. 




When Hale was put in possession of 
the news brought by the man who had 
galloped into town, his horse covered 
with foam, his person thick with mud 
and had cried out his tidings as he 
reached the base of the statue, he felt a 
deep silence take hold upon him. He 
felt the moment had come that was to be 
a crucial one in his life. But he also 
saw at once his duty. The long ex- 
pected had arrived, and it was only what 
the friends of freedom, the far-seeing 
ones who hoped that the breach between 
the colonies and the Mother Country 
could never be healed had desired, and 


yet there was something so solemn, so 
tragic in the fact that the spilling of 
blood had forever divided them, that he 
walked a moment with bowed head, 
musing on the decrees of Providence. 

He looked into the cloudless sky, he 
glanced at the fair earth and he felt how 
beautiful it was to put principle before 
all, and what a privilege was his to be 
able to strike a blow for the freedom he 
had learned to revere in studying the 
lives of the old heroes and the noble fig- 
ures of history. 

He slowly walked to his lodging and 
shut himself in with his thoughts, for he 
felt in the very exaltation of his spirit a 
strange sensation of almost acute pain. 

He knew that he was deliberately 
going into a struggle that might again 
bereave him of all hope of happiness. 



He had unusual clearness of vision, and 
he felt that it would be no fight of a few 
months, but a long and tedious war, and 
how could he hope to keep Alice waiting 
all this time? 

It would be impossible for another 
than he to understand the battle he 
fought in his soul. 

The magnitude, the grandeur, the 
public spirit of Nathan Hale have been 
fully dwelt on; but have we measured 
the extent of his self-abnegation? Do 
we know the fullness of experience, hard 
and bitter, crowded into that brief life of 
twenty-one years? Why, at twenty 
one stands on the threshold of achieve- 
ment, as it were, and here was one who 
had run the full gamut of human emo- 

The sacrifice of Nathan Hale can only 



be understood by comprehending that 
which he voluntarily resigned for his 
country. The breadth and depth of his 
intellect, his unswerving regard for 
right, his vivacious and sprightly char- 
acter, his love of letters and poesy have 
been chronicled by his college president, 
his fellows at Yale, his pupils at New 
London, who, seventy years later, could 
not mention him without a quivering lip, 
and by his comrades in the army. Be- 
neath that frank, modest, genial and in- 
genuous exterior was a soul as lofty, as 
heroic, as pure, as capable of self-abne- 
gation, as any martyr of sacred writ. 

Youth is ardent, impetuous, generous; 
it longs for fame, it scorns restraint, de- 
spises danger. It is not to be marveled 
at that it rushes to the breach and offers 
its breast to the enemy's steel. We ad- 


mire its bravery and sing its deeds, but 
in our secret souls we think that it is 
easier to give a life that has known not 
the joys of living than the full existence 
of one loved and loving. 

Hale's young heart had thrilled re- 
sponsive to another love than freedom's; 
that soul had felt a deeper anguish than 
often falls to the lot of men. The love of 
man for God is the instinctive yearning 
of the separated atom of infinity for re- 
union; the love of man for his country 
brings the loftiest attributes of the finite 
under the directing force of the infinite; 
the love of man for woman, if it be 
worthy of the name of love, is the call of 
soul to soul, the obedience of the created 
to the noblest behest of the Creator, the 
essence of divinit}^ and humanity, a 
force that is immeasurable, a power that 



has lifted men to Heaven or whose baffled 
madness has driven them to lowest 
depths of despair. Yes, it is indeed 
easier to risk a life that knows not love 
or holds not love, for it is like casting 
aside a priceless volume in ignorance of 
the treasures in its unopened pages. 
The heart that has not loved is unawak- 
ened, the life that has felt not the bliss 
or agony of love is a life unlived. True 
love is essentially noble ; it stimulates a 
man to glorious ambition, to marvelous 
endurance, it nerves him to meet death 
for it is always directed by the voice of 
consience. It was with such a love that 
Nathan Hale loved, it was with such a 
love he went to battle for his country, 
for it taught him that not ambition, nor 
the world nor passion, should still the 
voice of duty. 


Through the throng gathered at 
Miner's Tavern, that nigLt, there pushed 
a supple and erect figure before which 
all gave way, for, from the resolute eyes 
and on the pale, clear cut features shone 
an expression of such high and conse- 
crated purpose that it seemed to many 
that they had seen something of the in- 
spiration that illumined the countenances 
of the prophets of old. The Honorable 
Richard Law had left the chair to make 
a brief and ringing speech and there was 
the silence of approval too deep for out- 
burst when Hale asked to be recognized. 
He ascended the platform and faced that 
throng and then from his very soul 
poured that impassioned, moving tide of 
eloquence that made the men long to 
be in arms, the women forget their 
natural reluctance to part with their 


dear ones, and those who had come with 
their infants in their arms raised them 
on high that they might see the young 
speaker. He concluded his soul stirring 
oration with : 

''Let us not lay down our arms till we 
have gained independence!' ' 

''Independence!" It was a new word. 
It thrilled men's souls, it lighted the fire 
of liberty and the flame burned quench- 
less through the disaster and discourage- 
ment that bore so heavily at first. It 
was the touchstone. "Independence!" 
The thought, not crystalized in men's 
minds was here given expression. The 
meeting broke up all animated with the 
most sincere patriotism, and as hundreds 
thronged around Hale others discussed 
the chances of establishing that which 
he had breathed to them. No more 


compromise, no more suing. Independ- 
ence was the object hereafter. 

When Hale returned to his room he 
thought clearly on the situation, and he 
knew that he had done what was right* 
He asked for permission to go with the 
two companies that were starting for 
Massachusetts on the morrow and at 
daybreak they were on the march. They 
could do nothing but show their sympa- 
thy, and after remaining with them a 
few days he returned before the battle 
of Bunker Hill in which the New Lon- 
don companies took part, and resigned 
his position in the following letter : 

Gentlemen: Having received infor- 
mation that a place is allotted me in the 
SsYmy, and being inclined, as I hope, for 
good reasons, to accept it, I am con- 
strained to ask as a favor that which 



scarce anything else would have induced 
me to, which is, to be excused from 
keeping your school any longer. For 
the purpose of conversing upon this and 
of procuring another master, some of 
your number think it best there should 
be a general meeting of the proprietors. 
The time talked of for holding it is 6 
o'clock this afternoon, at the school- 
house. The year for which I engaged 
will expire within a fortnight, so that 
my quitting a few days sooner, will, I 
hope, subject you to no great inconven- ' 

''School-keeping is a business of 
which I was always fond, but since my 
residence in this town evervthing has 

*J CD 

conspirec^ to render it more agreeable. 
I have thought much of never quitting 
it but with my life, but at present there 
seems an opportunity for more extended 
public service. 

''The kindness expressed to me by 
the people of the place, but especially 
the proprietors of the school, will 
always be gratefully remembered by, 


gentlemen, with respect, your humble 
servant, Nathan Hale. 

*Triday, July 7, 1775. To John Win- 
throp, Esq., Richard Law, Esq., &c., 

The company to which Hale was at- 
tached was under the immediate com- 
mand of Major John Latimer. It was 
part of a regiment ordered by the Gen- 
eralJAssembly in 1775, for home defense 
and the defense of the country at large, 
and until placed under the general-in- 
chief of the Continental Army, remained 
subject to the orders of the Connecticut 
Council of Safety : 

John Latimer, major; Nathan Hale, 
captain after September 1; John Bel- 
cher, lieutenant; Joseph Hilliard, lieu- 
tenant; Alpheus Chapman, ensign; 
George Hurlburt, sergeant; Joseph Page, 


sergeant; Reuben Hewitt, sergeant; 
Ezra Bushnell, sergeant; Stephen Pren- 
tice, corporal till September 1, then ser- 
geant; Joshua Raymond, corporal; 
Abraham Avery, corporal; Henry Hil- 
liard, corporal; Zebulon Cheeseborough, 
corporal; Rammeton Sears, drummer; 
Robert Latimer, fifer; Robert Latimer, 
Jr., fifer. 

Men in company: William Bacon, 
Christopher Beebe, Amos Butler, Joseph 
Brown, David Baldwin, Richard Booge, 
Charles Brown, Jonathan Bowers, Asa 
Baldwine, Guy Beck with, William Car- 
ver, James Comstock, Benjamin Com- 
stock, Jr., Simeon Cobb, Fairbanks 
Church, John Chappell, Benjamin 
Cheeseborough, Caleb Couts, Reuben 
Cheamks, George Chunks, Peter Cheese- 
borough, Edward Clark, James Dennis, 


John Dean, John Dennis, Christopher 
Dean, Enos Greenfield, David Hillhouse, 
George Habes, Peter Holt, Thomas 
Hiscox, Elisha Hancock, Elisha Johnson, 
Joseph Lovatt, David McDowell, Abel 
Minard, Jabez Minard, Lawrence Martin, 
Isaac Hammon, Enos Nero, Sias Pawhig, 
James Ward, John Holmes, William 
Hatch, Amos Shaw, John Patton, Sam- 
uel Woodward, Joseph Peters, Samuel 
Hix, Jared Stephens, Daniel Talbot, 
Christopher Woodbridge, Ichabod Young, 
Jeremiah Dodge. 

Seventy-one, including the oflScers, 
enlisted in July, and three in August. 
Three died. Corporal Prentice, November 
22,1775; William Hatch, November 27, 
and Jonathan Bowers, December 2, 1775. 
In New York the company was aug- 
mented to ninety. 


August 3 it was stationed with Captain 
Shipman's at New London to defend the 
town from an attack of the British men- 
of-war, perilously near, and regular 
watch and guards were kept about the 
camp. The soldiers were taught all that 
belonged to soldier life, discipline and in- 
struction being a passion with Hale. On 
September 4, rumors of British attacks 
were so frequent and possible that the 
Council ordered the company to make 
such intrenchments and fortifications as 
were needed to thoroughly defend the 
town, but on the 24th, the company in 
response to the demand of Washington 
that all troops raised in Connecticut 
should be sent to him, was ordered to 
march immediately to the camp near 

Hale was then two and a half months 



attached to the army. He received 
forty -eight pounds, fifty shillings of en- 
listment money and sixpence a day as 
billeting money, all provided out of the 
Continental stores. 

From September 28, 1775, till April, 
1776, the Connecticut troops were in the 
vicinity of Boston, Hale all the time 
training and exercising his company till 
it was noted for its proficiency and the 
attachment of its members to its captain. 
Washington personally complimented 
him on the admirable skill of his men, 
and when the latter, anxious for the pay 
which was so long withheld, were muti- 
nous and about to return home, he 
pleaded with them so eloquently and so 
generously relinquished all his own pay 
and his private means that, not with- 
standing the hardships that soon came, 



not a murmur was heard from Hale's 
company afterward, and it was always 
ready to take a foremost place in danger. 

Its station was, indeed, a very perilous 
and arduous one, for it did picket duty 
in the most advanced position, where the 
enemy was continually making sorties 
and frequent encounters and repulses 
evidenced the bravery and diligence of 
the men. 

It was for this reason that Hale and 
some of the members were promptly 
granted furloughs when he asked for 
them and he set out in the winter to 
make a visit to his home and his dearly 
beloved Alice. He has embodied in his 
diary some of his diflSculties on the way, 
but there is nothing of the home life and 
the conversation with his betrothed, for 
he was peculiarly delicate in writing or 


talking of what he held so sacred. On 
his way back he stopped awhile in New 
Haven and called on his numerous 
friends. While in the house of a partic- 
ularly dear one he disclosed the fact that 
he had received a commission as captain, 
and said: ''Didce et decorum est pro p atria 
mori.'' Telling of this visit, the friend, 
a nautical officer in the Revolution, 

These were some of the last expres- 
sions I heard fall from his lips. After 
he had left the house my father said: 
'That man is a diamond of the first 
water, calculated to excel in any station 
he assumes. He is a gentleman and a 
scholar, and last, though not least, of his 
qualifications, a Christian.' " 

Hale was indeed the latter. His serv- 
ant, Asher Wright, testifies that he was 



a praying man and never undertook 
anything without first spending some 
time in prayer. ''When I was ill," said 
this deeply sorrowing friend and attend- 
ant, '*he prayed with me and I know 
that when his first waiter was ill, he 
prayed daily with him. He recovered, 
but his father came after him, and Cap- 
tain Hale was a mind I should take his 
place. And I did and remained with 
him till he went onto Long Island." 

Others than Asher Wright loved Hale, 
but none with more devoted, enduring 
affection. He exulted in the noble 
qualities of his mind and heart, in his 
gentleness and firmness and in his per- 
sonal beauty and prowess. In the pride 
he took in attending to Hale's belong- 
ings he minutely noted the garb in 
which he last saw him and said: 


**He had on a frock of white linen, 
fringed, such as officers used to wear. 
He was too good looking to go so. He 
could not deceive. Some scrubby fellow 
ought to have gone — Captain Hale went 
away — was gone about a fortnight be- 
fore I knew what became of him. When 
he left us he told me he had got to be 
gone awhile, and wanted that I should 
take care of his things, and if the 
army moved before his return to have 
them moved too. When he went 
away he did not tell me where he was 

Wright took tender care of Hale's 
effects and to that it was due that his 
diary, books, and camp basket and camp 
book were returned to his friends. 
When he heard of Hale's death his grief 
was pitiable to behold, and he gave way 


to it SO unreservedly that his intellect 
was impaired. Mindful of his master's 
last request, he sought to keep Hale's 
effects intact and when the army was 
moving from New York, though he had 
great difficulty in finding a conveyance 
for Hale's property and came near being 
taken prisoner by the British, he often 
said he would rather have been cap- 
tured than save himself by abandoning 

The fate of Hale left him without a 
motive, and though he remained in the 
war, it was some time after his discharge 
before he returned to Coventry. He 
eventually drifted back and died there 
after a long life. He brought to Hale's 
father all the young hero's effects, in- 
cluding the camp basket and book. The 
former was made of osier, neatly twined, 



divided into two compartments, and in 
it there is yet the dehris that Hale left 
there the last time he used it. 

Asher was always willing to talk of 
his captain, and though it affected him 
to tears, many truthful and valuable in- 
cidents were related by him of the young 
soldier's brief camp life. 

He received a pension of ninety -six dol- 
lars a year, and it was supplemented by 
the tender and assiduous generosity of 
Deacon Hale and his son, David Hale, of 
New York, who looked after Wright all 
his life. He died in 1844, and was hur- 
ried in a grave about one hundred and 
fifty feet north of Hale's monument, and 
about thirty feet northwest of the graves 
of the Hale family. A plain marble slab 
bearing this inscription denotes his rest- 
ing place : 


Asher Wright, 
A Revolutionary 
Soldier and Attendant of 
Captain Nathan Hale. 
June 20, 1844. 
Aged 90. 

It must have been happiness to Wright 
to know he was to lie thus near to the 
friend and master who had made him 
feel the nobility and love that binds a 
man to those in his employ, whatever 
his station. 




Intent always on his military duties, 
Hale never permitted himself to be 
drawn into any of the games which occu- 
pied the attention of other officers. It 
will be noticed from the record of his 
diary, which is here given, that he was 
constantly on the alert to better the state 
of the service and the condition of his 

He was a constant visitor at headquar- 
ters, where he was a great favorite and 
he always made a note of any extraordi- 
nary circumstance and tried to apply the 
hints on discipline and military science 
that he picked up to his own men. 


Then he was essentially of a religious 
temperament. Believing with a com- 
plete faith in the eflScacy of prayer, he 
never undertook anything of importance 
without first sending up a petition for 
its success. And quietly and by the ex- 
ample of his gentle courtesy and per- 
sonal cleanliness of life, he sought to 
make his companion officers better in 

Yet in no y/ay was he what would be 
called at the present day a '*prig." 

In his diary he chronicles a number of 
times that he took wine and played cards 
with his brother-officers. He had the 
social temperament so well developed 
that all the more credit is due to him for 
the persistence with which he often put 
aside social pleasures to study out prob- 
lems connected with his position. 


Very little chance was there in his life 
in these eventful days for thinking of 
his love and his prospects, but it is to be 
taken for granted that both were often 
in his thoughts in the long and lonely 
duty that was assigned to him. He was 
very punctual in answering letters from 
his friends so that it is certain he was 
equally prompt in writing and answering 
those from Alice. It is a great pity 
there is not more detail of this part of 
his life. 

Of the many he wrote, these to his 
brothers show how he found time to give 
them intelligence of his health and the 
movements of the army : 

**New York, May 30, 1776. 
''Dear Brother: Your favor of the 9th 
of May, and another written at Norwich, 
I have received— the former yesterday. 



You complain of my neglecting you — I 
acknowledge it is not wholly without 
reason, at the same time I am conscious 
to have written to you more than once 
or twice within this half year. Perhaps 
my letters have miscarried. 

''1 am not on the end of Long Island 
but in New York, encamped about one 
mile back of the city. We have been on 
the Island and spent about three weeks 
there, but have returned. As to Bri- 
gades: We spent part of the Winter at 
Winter Hill in Gen'l Sullivan's, thence 
we were removed to Eoxbury and an- 
nexed to Gen'l Spencer's; from thence 
we came to New York in Gen'l Heath's. 
On our arrival we were put in Gen'l 
Lord Sterling's; here we continued a 
few days and were returned to Gen'l 
Sullivan's; on his being sent to the 
Northward we were reverted to Lord 
Sterling's, in whose Brigade we now 
remain. In the first detachment to 
the Northward under Gen'l Thomson, 
Webb's private regiment was put down; 
but the question being asked if we had 



many seamen and the reply being yes, 
we were erased and another put in our 

''We have an account of the arrival of 
Troops at Halifax, thence to proceed on 
their infamous errand to some part of 

''Maj'r Brooks informed me last even- 
^ ing, that in conversation with some of 
the frequenters at headquarters he was 
told that Gen'l Washington had re- 
ceived a packet from one of the sheriffs 
of the city of London, in which was con- 
tained the Debates at Large of both 
houses of Parliament — and what is more, 
the whole proceeding of the Cabinet. 
The plan of the summer's Campaign in 
America i'S said to be communicated in 
full. Nothing has yet transpired; but 
the prudence of our Gen'l we trust 
will make advantage of the intelligence. 
Gen'l Gates (formerly Adjutant Gen'l, 
now Maj'r Gen'l) is gone to Philadel- 
phia, probably to communicate the 

''Some late accounts from the North- 



ward are very unfavorable, and would be 
more so could they be depended on. It 
is reported that a fleet has arrived in the 
Eiver; upon the first notice of which our 
army thought it prudent to break up the 
siege and retire — that in retreating they 
were attack'd and rout'd, Numbers 
kill'd, the sick, most of the cannon and 
stores taken. The account is not au- 
thentic. We hope it is not true. 

''It would grieve every good man to 
consider what unnatural monsters we 
have, as it were, in our bowels. Num- 
bers in this Colony, and likewise in the 
western part of Connecticut, would be 
glad to imbrue their hands in their Coun- 
try's Blood. Facts render this too evi- 
dent to admit of dispute. In this city 
such as refuse to sign the Association 
have been required to deliver up their 
arms. Several who refused to comply 
have been sent to prison. 

' * It is really a critical Period . America 
beholds what she never did before. 
Allow the whole force of our enemy to 
be but thirty thousand, and these floating 



on the Ocean, ready to attack the most 
unguarded place. Are they not a formid- 
able Foe? Surely they are." 

^^New York, June 3d, 1776. 

''Dear Brother: Continuance or re- 
moval from here depends wholly upon 
the operations of the War. 

''It gives pleasure to every friend of 
his country to observe the health which 
prevails in our army. Dr. Eli (Surgeon 
of our Reg't) told me a few days 
since there was not a man in our Reg't 
but might on occasion go out with 
his Fire lock. Much the same is said of 
other Regiments. 

The army is every day improving in 
discipline, and it is hoped w^ill soon be 
able to meet the enemy at any kind of 
play. My company, which at first was 
small, is now increased to eighty and 
there is a sergeant recruiting, who, I 
hope, has got the other 10, which com- 
plete the Company. 

"We are hardly able to judge as to the 
numbers the British army for the Sum- 



mer is to consist of — undoubtedly suffi- 
cient to cause us too much bloodshed. 

**Gen'l Washington is at the Con- 
gress, being sent for thither to advise on 
matters of consequence. 

''I had written you a complete letter 
in answer to your last, but missed the 
opportunity of sending it. 

**This will probably find you in Coven- 
try — if so remember me to all your 
friends — particularly belonging to the 

Forget not frequently to visit and 
strongly to represent my duty to our 
good Grandmother Strong. Has she 
not repeatedly favored us with her ten- 
der, most important advice? The 
natural Tie is sufficient, but increased by 
so much goodness our gratitude cannot 
be too sensible. I always with respect 
remember Mr. Huntington and shall 
write to him if time admits. Pay Mr. 
Wright a visit for me. Tell him Asher 
is well — he has for some time lived with 
me as a waiter. I am in hopes of obtain- 
ing him a Furlough soon, that he may 



have opportunity to go home, see his 
friends and get his Summer clothes. 
. *'Asher this moment told me that our 
Brother Joseph, Joseph Adams, was 
here yesterday to see me, when I happen- 
ed out of the way. He is in Col. Par- 
son's regiment. I intend to see him to- 
day, and if possible by exchanging get 
him into my company. 

''Yours affectionately, 

''N. Hale. 

'T.S.: Sister Rose talked of making 
me some Linen cloth similar to Brown 
Holland for Summer wear. If she has 
made it desire her to keep it for me. 
My love to her, the Doctor, and little 

"New Yoke, Aug. 20th, 1776. 
''Deak Beothek: I have only time for 
a hasty letter. Our situation has been 
such this fortnight or more as scarce to 
admit of writing. We have daily ex- 
pected an action — by which means, if any 
was going, and we had letters written, 



orders were so strict for our tarrying in 
camp that we could rarely get leave to 
go and deliver them — e 

**For about 6 or 8 days the enemy 
have been expected hourly, whenever 
the wind and tide in the least favored. 
We keep a particular look out for them 
this morning. The place and manner of 
attack time must determine. The event 
we leave to Heaven. Thanks to God we 
have had time for completing our works 
and receiving our reinforcements. The 
Militia of Connecticut ordered this way 
have mostly arrived. Col. Ward's 
Eeg't has got in. Troops from the 
Southward are daily coming. We hope 
under God to give a good account of the 
Enemy whenever they choose to make 
the last appeal. 

''Last Friday night two of our fire ves- 
sels (a Sloop and Schooner) made an at- 
tempt on the shipping up the River. 

'*The night was too dark, the wind too 
slack for the attempt. The Schooner 
which was intendedfor one of the Ships 
had got by before she discovered them; 


but as Providence would have it, she run 
athwart a bomb-catch which she quickly 
burned. The Sloop by the light of the 
former discovered the Phoenix — but 
rather late— however she made shift to 
grapple her, but the wind not proving 
sufficient to bring her close along side or 
drive the flames immediately on board, 
the Phoenix after much difficulty got her 
clear by cutting her own rigging. Serg't 
Fosdick, who commanded the above 
sloop, and four of his hands, were of my 
company, the remaining were of this 

"The gen'l has been pleased to re- 
ward their bravery with forty dollars 
each, except the last man, who quitted 
the fire Sloop, who had fifty. Those on 
board the Schooner received the same. 
I must write to some of my other 
brothers lest you should not be at home. 
Remain, your friend and brother, 

'*N. Hale, 

"Mr. Enoch Hale." 




When the Connecticut troops joined 
the army in New York, the diligence and 
care of his company, the thorough under- 
standing of all things military displayed 
by Hale, made him sought for by other 
officers, and there were none of his rank 
so welcomed in the tents of the generals. 
He was on terms of personal and inti- 
mate friendship with Generals Heath, 
Sullivan, and Putnam, and the acquaint- 
ance he had made with the commander- 
in-chief through the medium of Trum- 
bull, the beloved ^'Brother Jonathan" of 
Washington, had ripened into a deep and 
understanding feeling on both sides. 


The commander-in-chief knew how to 
gauge and appreciate such talent as Hale 
possessed, and it was a pleasure to him 
to converse with the young man so old 
in his conceptions of important things, 
so fresh and youthful in his pleasures. 

The company with which Hale hoped 
to do great service was all imbued with 
his own enthusiasm ; he had drilled the 
men and persuaded them to remain, and 
they had grown to love and delight in 
his ability. Therefore when an oppor- 
tunity for good work came the men were 
as eager as the daring youth to engage 
in it. 

There was a British ship-of-war, the 
Asia, anchored in the East River, guard- 
ing a sloop laden with supplies. Hale 
had earnestly and carefully reconnoi- 
tered the two and every approach, and. 


he conceived the idea of stealing the 
sloop from under the very shadow of the 
man-of-war. It was a daring and hazard- 
ous scheme and required cool and daring 
men to carry it out. He dared not 
breathe a thought of his intent to any of 
his fellow-officers, for he knew the risk 
might be prohibited ; so he had a con- 
sultation with his chosen men, and they 
agreed to carry out his plans. 

They assembled just before the moon 
rose and crossed the river in their own 
skiff, disturbing the calm waters so little 
that not a hint was given to the enemy. 
They landed on the opposite shore and 
crept down the point nearest to the 
sloop, preserving the same silence, for 
they were in hostile territory, and the 
least sound might bring discovery and 
death. Then they waited for the spring 


moon to go down, neither speaking nor 
moving in the long watch. Finally, the 
heavy darkness of early morn settled on 
all, and the little crew made for the 
skiff, which was rowed out into the 
stream, pausing every little while as 
some fancied sound was cause of alarm. 

On board the Asia all was still, though 
they often heard the monotonous cry of 
the sentinel: ''All's well," as he kept his 
ward on the quarter deck. The patriots 
were under the bow of the sloop, in an- 
other moment they were over its side 
and on its deck, and Hale seizing the 
helm pointed for the American camp, 
the others keeping watch over the Brit- 
ish sailors not yet disturbed in their 
bunks The sloop gained the wharf even 
as the faint sound of the Asia's sentinel's 
''All's well" came over the waters, and 


then the brave Hale and his crew gave 
three loud cheers, which were taken up 
by the men who quickly gathered on the 
wharf. The prize was a rich one and 
won him special thanks, the gift of 
money to his men and the sense of ela- 
tion that he had been able to help feed 
the hungry and clothe the ragged in the 
camp, adding much to his satisfaction. 

It took something out of the usual run 
to raise the spirits of the Americans in 
those days. The army had dwindled 
away by sickness, expiration of term of 
enlistment and dissatisfaction to about 
fourteen thousand, many of these unfit 
for service, raw, unfed, unclothed, all 
apprehensive. The officers, were, many 
of them, ignorant of their duties and 
like their men anxious and disheartened. 
Nothing but sublime faith in the justice 


of the cause could have supported Wash- 
ington in this dreadful time of doubt and 
indecision. He did not know how to 
plan his campaign, for he was utterly- 
ignorant of the tactics that his adversary- 
would adopt, and he shrunk from any 
movement that would peril the fortunes 
of the republic, and lose the confidence 
of the nation, for he well knew that it 
was rankest folly to suppose he could 
oppose his raw and undisciplined recruits 
to the twenty -five thousand perfectly 
equipped and drilled British veterans so 
advantageously posted, provided with 
every need of war and supported by so 
magnificent a fleet of battleships, and 
only waiting to move upon the '^rebels" 
to destroy them, as their generals 
boasted. The patriots, too, had some of 
the same feeling and the men who were 



deserting by regiments and clamoring 
for their pay from an empty treasury, 
argued they were not deficient in patriot- 
ism, only displaying sense. 




With nothing to fall back upon in the 
^ay of stores or defenses it behooved 
Washington to make his first important 
movement with the greatest care. But 
hov^ could he anticipate the British 
plans? The concern of the enemy 
seemed to be with feasting and gayety 
only, but the American general knew 
that so experienced and able a com- 
mander as Howe was not letting his duty 
to his king suffer. He was formulating 
his plans, and when they were perfected 
he would advance and close about his 
weak and inferior foe, and perhaps 
scatter the army that stood as the bul- 
wark of freedom. 


It can be imagined how long Washing- 
ton turned over in his mind the probable 
plans of Howe ere he determined to 
seek information from the very inside 
and secure through a spy what he could 
not otherwise obtain and what he knew 
would be invaluable aid. 

It was not in accordance with his 
nature to turn to this means until he felt 
there was no other, and it is to be be- 
lieved that it was with extreme repug- 
nance he accepted the conclusion that 
only thus could he gain the knowledge 
he needed. 

He knew how easy it would be for the 
British general, in full possession — 
through spies and traitors, of which 
there was abundance — of his weakness, 
to surround him, and he resolved if pos- 
sible to concentrate his force instead of 


having it spread over sixteen miles of 
front. But at what point? 

He took his board of oflScers into con- 
sultation and they agreed as to the con- 
clusion though unable to offer any solu- 
tion of the difficulty, and it was decided 
that one of them, Colonel Knowlton, 
should gather the officers together and 
try to find a volunteer for the hazardous 
work. It required a man of education 
and familiarity with drawing and all 
that draughtsmen should know, for the 
principal information was to be about 
the British fortifications, one able to 
mingle in the society of officers, draw 
out confidences and form accurate esti- 
mate of the numbers, the disposition, the 
manner of concentration, the ammuni- 
tion, in fact, everything that military 
science knew and desired to know. 


It was not only a call for a man of great 
bravery and trustworthiness, but for one 
who was not only intelligent but deter- 
mined to leave nothing undone that 
could give him success. 

It was a pity there should have been 
no honorable name to designate such 

The very name of spy was odious 
to honorable men, and n3 matter how 
great the services rendered the doer 
was likely to be held in contempt. And 
yet there was no reason for this treat- 
ment of an honorable man. The spy and 
traitor, animated by greed and desire for 
revenge is detestable, but when a man 
accepts a dishonorable and dangerous 
task for the sake of his country he is en- 
titled to more honor and admiration than 
is the desert of the successful general 


and the soldier who wins his laurels in 
the heat of battle. 

But when Colonel Knowlton convened 
his council of oflBcers and asked for vol- 
unteers there was a long and unbroken 
pause, while each man looked at the 
other, not with questioning whether he 
would respond, but with inquiry as to 
how he would receive what was held to 
be an insult. There was resentment 
slowly gathering on every face, for men 
in those days thought it noble to be a 
soldier in the field, but held it little 
short of disgrace to seek to pry into an 
enemy's councils. 

Knowdton saw the situation, and he 
set forth in impassioned language the 
need of some volunteer, the distress in 
which the commander-in-chief was, the 
absolute certainty that without this in- 


formation there would be great danger 
of utter defeat and loss of life. 

He concluded, and waited for a volun- 
teer. None stirred, though all acknowl- 
edged the force of his reasoning. Still — 

He felt his heart sink, and yet he 
could not blame the men. Just then, a 
man who had entered after he had con- 
cluded his appeal and had gathered from 
those about him its purport, arose, and 
said in a voice that was weak with ill- 
ness but strong in resolve: 

"I will undertake it." 

''Captain Hale!" exclaimed Hull, his 
friend and companion, afterward Gen- 
eral Hull, "you do not know what you 
say. You a spy?" 

'*It is out of the question," cried sev- 
eral. ''There is some one other than you 
for such a service." 


**Who?" asked Hale, and there was a 
shamed-faced silence which was broken 
by remonstrance as he again declared 
his willingness. Even Knowlton was 
sorry that this youth, the pride and dar- 
ling of the soldiery, should offer himself 
and tried to extend the hope that some 
other could be found to perform the re- 
quired service. 

Yet he had nothing on which to base 
it. He had tried to tempt a French ser- 
geant to essay the service, but had been 
repulsed with the reply that while he 
was willing to fight like a man for the re- 
public, he would not expose himself to 
die the death of a dog. 

While his friend and schoolmate, who 
was overcome with emotion was talking. 
Hale disengaged himself from their grasp 
and replied to their arguments in the im- 


mortal speech, whose conclusion Hull 
has given to us: 

think I owe to my country the ac- 
complishment of an object so important 
and so much desired by the commander of 
her armies — and I know no other mode of 
obtaining the information than by as- 
suming a disguise and passing into the 
enemy's camp. 1 am fully sensible of 
the consequences of discovery and cap- 
ture in such a situation. But for a year 
I have been attached to the army and 
have not rendered any material service, 
while receiving a compensation for which 
I naake no return. Yet I am not influ- 
enced hy the expectation of promotion 
or pecuniary reward. I wish to be use- 
ful, and every kind of service for the 
public good becomes honorable by being 
necessary. If the exigencies of my 



country demand a peculiar service its 
claims to the performance of that service 
are imperious!" 

What a different reply from that in the 
case of Andre. How noble the feeling, 
how unselfish, how purely actuated by 
that noblest of motives, love of his 
country ! 

The friends who had hoped to dissuade 
him from the task they dreaded for him, 
not so much on account of its danger as 
of the stigma that defeat would entail, 
were abashed before such sublime self- 
abnegation and could only sorrowfully 
wish him godspeed and pray there 
would be no necessity for the extreme 
sacrifice. It was with emotions of pride 
as well as poignant grief that Hull, his 
dear friend, listened to his words. And 
in his heart as in that of every man pres- 


ent there entered a new conception of 
the claims of country. 

Hale waited but a little to arrange his 
thoughts for he was still weak and 
trembling in body from his recent ill- 
ness, having actually risen from his bed 
to come to the gathering, ere he presented 
himself before the commander-in-chief. 
He had firmly resolved that whatever 
objection Washington should advance he 
would meet with all the force of his con- 
viction and determination, for he knew 
that the noble-souled chief loved him 
and might seek to dissuade in the priv- 
acy of friendship. 

Of what passed between the young 
captain and the commander-in-chief, 
who entertained so warm an affection for 
him there is no means of knowing, but it 
can be assumed that Washington put 


aside his feeling as a soldier and urged 
him to consider all the dangers and dis- 
honor of the task before undertaking it. 
And we can also hold fast the thought 
that Hale met him with respectful firm- 
ness and the expression of his desire to 
do something to aid in this vital crisis. 

Their interview was long, and when 
Hale left Washington's presence it must 
have been with a long and loving pres- 
sure of the hand he was never to grasp 
again, while to the heart of the general 
there must have come a bitter thought 
of the demands of war. 

It took Hale some time to arrange his 
plans; it was in the middle of Septem- 
ber that he was ready to go, and armed 
with the necessary means to obtain all 
the aid that Americans could give him, 
and having with him Stephen Hempstead. 


of New London, a true and tried friend 
and companion, he left the army and 
walked from Harlem Heights to Nor walk, 
fifty miles up the Sound on the Connec- 
ticut shore. 

They had got along well, for they were 
in the friendliest of territory, though 
here and there were Tories, and they had 
kept their plans to themselves eo well 
that all whom they met supposed them 
bound for a visit to their homes. It had 
been impossible for them before to find 
any craft that would land them on the 
opposite shore, for the East River and 
the. Sound were filled with British ves- 
sels on the lookout for the Yankee craft 
that thus early were beginning to sorely 
harass and annoy them. 

At Norwalk, however, they found the 
armed sloop Huntington, commanded by 


Captain Pond, and Hale engaged and 
prepared to don his disguise, for he was 
to go as a traveling schoolmaster. 

It was the character he could feel most 
natural in, and the one that would en- 
able him to mingle with men of learn- 
ing. It was not without some trepida- 
tion that Hempstead saw him prepare for 
the work, for he then realized that now 
was the beginning of the real danger. 

He placed his uniform, his military 
commission, many of his papers, his sil- 
ver shoe buckles, in the hands of his 
friend, but retained his watch and his 
diploma, for both were to bear out his 
character. It is said that he was jesting 
when he declared that he meant to pass 
for a Dutch" schoolmaster, and the re- 
tention of the diploma with his name 
upon it shows that he was determined to 


pass under his own name. Donning a 
plain suit of brown clothes and a round, 
broad-brimmed hat, as soon as night 
came, he bade farewell to his friend and 
went on board the sloop. The passage 
across the Sound was quickly made and 
the sloop safely and unmolested glided 
into the harbor of Huntington. 

The point chosen for the landing was 
called The Cedars. The boat speedily 
put him ashore, and passing the farm- 
house of Jesse Fleet, which, with the 
dwelling of the Widow Eachel Chiches- 
ter, '^Mother Chick," a noted loyalist, 
whose tavern was the resort of all the 
Tories and Loyalists for miles around, 
Hale went along the road toward the 
settlement on the east side of Hunting- 
ton harbor, till after a mile's walk he 
reached the residence of William John- 



son, and attracted by the light already 
in the windows of the thrifty farmer, 
walked boldly to the door which, for- 
tunately, was opened by Mr. Johnson 
himself. They had a confidential inter- 
view, and the farmer placed himself and 
his at Hale's service. 

Such information as he could give was 
eagerly furnished and also a good break- 
fast and a bed. After a few hours' re- 
pose, Hale again resumed his way and 
successfully threading the increasing 
dangers, found himself at last in New 
York City. 

It was needful that he had the cool, 
clear brain that was his, for the line of 
the British had greatly advanced in the 
short time that intervened since he left 
Harlem Heights. Between the head- 
quarters of Howe at one end and Clinton 


at the other was stretched the whole 
army, and Long Island, from Red Hook 
to Flushing Bay and far into the country 
from Brooklyn, was occupied by the ene- 
my. Added to this the intermediate 
country was patrolled daily by troops of 
British cavalry, and they were not as 
eager and vindictive toward the patriots 
as the organized and unorganized Tories 
who only sought to win favor by finding 
out information or capturing American 

It required alertness and adaptability 
to pass undetected, and Hale employed 
these qualities of his nature with fine 
success. He was always able to make 
himself a favorite, and we can think of 
him as winning the confidence and gain- 
ing the secrets of many a British officer 
and soldier whom he met as he traveled 


along his humble way seeking some 
place where he could ply his calling in 
assurance that the power of King George 
would protect him from the insolent 

He ran the gantlet and was in the 
very heart of the enemy, and wandered 
about New York, in the camp, exchanging 
jests and talking with soldier and oflScer, 
and the while carrying the plans of the 
fortifications in his eye, sauntering about 
all day and sitting up nearly all night 
sketching or even prowling about as near 
as he dared to the sentinels. He re- 
ceived a great deal of information from 
the boastful talk of the soldiers and 
officers who were glad to tell how well 
they were prepared to destroy the Yan- 
kee general and his troops. 

In the city he passed again and again 


the famous or infamous jails, already 
filled with unhappy prisoners, already 
sending out daily their long train of 
bodies of victims of pestilence and ill 
treatment, or the guarded prisoners 
marching to death. He must have seen 
some of the dreadful sights furnished by 
the provost jail; he must have heard of 
Cunningham and the brutalities that 
sickened even the British soldiers. But 
with the shadow of death hanging over 
him he walked serenely, upheld by his 
conviction that he was working for a 
noble purpose, exulting and drawing new 
strength in his exhausting task as each 
day gave him more to add to the price- 
less information for which Washington 
was waiting. 

He had carefully drawn plans of all 
the fortifications. Distrustful of his 


memory, he had set down in Latin the 
information he had garnered, and his 
shoes were padded with finely executed 
details. Then, satisfied that no more 
could be obtained, assured that what he 
had would enable Washington to execute 
a coup that would break the British 
force in two and place New York in the 
power of the Americans; tortured now 
by the fear lest the patriots should make 
some move before he could bear back the 
fruit of his work, he turned his face 
from New York and began his homeward 

He did not, probably, take the same 
route that he had used in coming, and it 
is impossible to trace his movements, for 
no one has ever been found who could 
give any account of conversation with 
him till he reached The Cedars, 


He had skirted the British outposts, 
and traversed all the hostile territory, 
and was again at the point where it was 
arranged a friendly vessel should daily 
send a boat to meet him. He came in 
the early morning, and it is likely that 
his coming anticipated rather than fol- 
lowed the boat, for as he scanned the 
water there was no sign of craft of any 
sort, and hungry and emboldened by his 
long-continued success he entered the 
Tory tavern, believing that none there 
could recognize him, and perhaps with 
the boyish daring that would crop out in 
his dignified and manly character, wish- 
ing to give himself a little sport with the 
enemy ere he returned. 

He certainly knew of the character of 
the place he was entering, and it was 
with the feeling that his disguise could 


stand any test, it is likely, that he en- 
tered it. 

Though it was yet early morning there 
was a number of persons seated in the 
great room and ''Mother Chick" herself 
took his order. He entered into conver- 
sation with the others, and was so en- 
grossed that he did not notice that one 
whose face he had but seen slightly and 
then had been impressed with its famil- 
iarity, had slipped out. He ate his 
breakfast and was still in the most enter- 
taining part of his conversation, for the 
sentiments of the loyalists and their 
hints at what was to be done, their 
boasts of what they could do for the 
king, interested him, ever on the alert 
for news. 

Several hours had elapsed since he 
entered, and he was beginning to think 


he ought to go forth again to spy for the 
longed-for boat when Mother Chichester 
V announced to all that a strange boat was 


Consternation seized on the loyalists, 
and they prepared to disperse, some 
offering to bring the young stranger with 
them, but Hale declined, saying surely 
the Yankee, if it were one, would not 
molest a poor schoolmaster. And he 
said that he would go out and see what 
was the mission of the newcomer. 

His easy manner left him as he passed 
the barroom's threshold, and he almost 
ran to the beach, so confident was he 
that it was the boat for which he waited. 

He had come in range of the boat's 
crew when suddenly a dozen men leaped 
up, and covering him with their muskets, 
cried: Surrender or die!" 


He had been betrayed! It leaped into 
his mind that the familiar face he had 
perplexedly noticed was that of a rene- 
gade enemy and relative who had slipped 
out and given to the British vessel lying 
at anchor just below the point the signal 
to come for a prize. 

God only knows what other thoughts 
passed through his brain, what despair 
possessed that heart, but an instant bo- 
fore bounding with joy and hope. 

There was no escape. Eetreat was 
cut off, for the swarming tories were in 
his rear and death was his only portion 
if he refused the summons. And life 
was very dear to him, and he clung to 
it, though reason told him the chance 
of escape was very remote. He was 
taken into custody and among the boat's 
crew he saw the informer, the unworthy 


relative, whose disgrace had been such a 
keen mortification to the family, and 
whose ignoble revenge was thus gratified. 

He was rowed to the guardship, the 
Halifax, Captain Quarme, who received 
him with courtesy though sternness, and 
whose first word showed that his iden- 
tity was known. Hale did not attempt 
to deny it. He was questioned if he 
were not a captain in the Continental 
army, and he said simply that he was. 
Asked as to his reason for being in that 
garb and evidently disguised, he refused 
to reply ; but the search of his person 
showed the truth, and from the soles of 
his shoes were drawn the plans and 
maps he had thought to bear to Wash- 
ington to give him the help that would 
have been so invaluable. As these were 
brought to light and the descriptions in 



Latin read, it must have been that the 
cloud of despair blackened and obscured 
all the sun of hope. 

There was but one duty in the prem- 
ises, to convey him to New York, and 
thither the vessel bent her way. 

It is evidence of the wonderful mag- 
netism and grand qualities of Hale that 
he completely captivated his captors, for 
though the name of spy was enough to 
cause him to be treated with loathing 
and scorn by the enemy's oflBcers, his 
bearing, his countenance, the dignity 
and bravery with which he stood the 
discovery and the simple manliness of 
his attitude so won on the captain of the 
Halifax that he impetuously exclaimed 
he had regret *'that so fine a fellow had 
fallen into his power." 

But his standard of duty required him 


to be true to his country, and he regret- 
fully sent Hale under a detachment in 
to New York. 

It might have been possible for the 
young patriot to elude his guard if there 
had been any help, any friendly face or 
presence in the throng through which 
they passed when they landed at the New 
York wharf, but the lower part of the 
city fairly swarmed with soldiers, and 
the citizens were eagerly and fearfully 
battling the flames striving to save their 
property, and thus there was none to 
take an interest in the young prisoner, 
to report his capture and arouse patriotic 

New York was on fire, and had been 
blazing fiercely, apparently defying con- 
trol since 2 o'clock that morning. Be- 
ginning at Whitehall Slip, both sides of 


Broadway and away up into the city, 
was a mass of flames and smoke. The 
British soldiers had been called out to 
help battle with the flames, the firemen 
seemed to be unable to hold it in check, 
and the whole city was thought to be 

The morning of that eventful Satur- 
day, September 21, was dark and lower- 
ing and the spread of the smoke really 
made the conflagration seem greater. 
But it was not stopped till four hundred 
and ninety-three houses, one-third of 
the city, was laid in ashes. 

Hale realized soon that he was not to 
meet with one friendly face, and he com- 
posed his features to firmness as he 
neared the quarters of General Howe. 




Three miles from the City Hall stood a 
mansion built by James Beekman, a 
sterling patriot, who, on the approach of 
the British, had abandoned his house and 
retreated to Esopus. It was a spaciousi 
and well-appointed mansion, and the 
commander-in-chief of the British army 
at once selected it for his headquarters, 
for it was sufficiently near the center of 
the city to command all the stirring and 
plotting going on in a few moments, and 
far enough from the provost jail to avoid 
letting any of the sounds from the prison 
den reach the British commander's ears, 
says Stuart. The testimony of wit- 


nesses, and Mr. Beekman's gardener, 
who made a note of it at the time corrob- 
orates the statement that it was in the 
greenhouse of the mansion that Hale 
was confronted with General Howe. It 
was a rare coincidence that Andre occu- 
pied a room in this mansion, just at the 
head of the stairs, before he went on his 
ill-fated expedition, but it is a fact that 
Hale did not enter the house, but was 
conducted to the greenhouse. 

Howe was not in the best of humors, 
and weary with the day's work and anx- 
ious for the dinner that was to come off 
that evening, the announcement that he 
was to sit in judgment on an American 
spy did not tend to sweeten his disposi- 
tion. He was an eminently just man and 
desired above all to keep his reputation 
clear from charges of excessive cruelty. 


To say that this man would have com- 
mitted Hale to the mercies of Cunning- 
ham if he knew the character of the lat- 
ter is to make an assertion that seems to 
be not in accordance with Howe's attri- 

But it must be remembered that 
nothing aroused the indignation of 
officers so much as the attempt of a spy 
to pry into their precious secrets, and, 
therefore, it can be seen how ruthless 
Howe would be under this provocation. 

When Hale was ushered into his pres- 
ence the young American saw a man 
who at first sight might be thought to 
resemble Washington — tall, slender, dig- 
nified, graceful, with an appearance of 
almost majestic loftiness, yet on his 
sharp, clearly cut features, nothing of 
that benignity which distinguished the 



American commander and made him 
gentle and pitying, though just, \Yhen 
talking with those who were brought 
for his judgment. Howe's face was 
habitually fretful in expression in these 
days and his temper, naturally quick 
and sharp, was exasperated to-day by 
the fire and the time the soldiers em- 
ployed in putting it out. 

He saw a young, magnificently formed 
man, with a calm, pale, yet serenely 
resolute face, with culture and educa- 
tion, power and intellect, and the lofti- 
ness of the inner spirit so enstamped 
upon it that he involuntarily asked for a 
repetition of the charge. 

It was given, and Howe frowningly re- 
sumed his seat and bent his piercing 
gaze upon Hale. The latter returned it 
with the direct and level look of a man 


who knows that he is to be judged and 
scorns to prevaricate. 

Howe interrogated him, and was an- 
swered without equivocation and in a 
modest and manly manner that made an 
impression on the listeners, but which 
enraged the commander-in-chief. Hale 
did not attempt to conceal his work, 
which was spread before the general and 
followed by him with alarm and anger 
as he saw how ably and successfully it 
had been done. Every one of his plans, 
his carefully erected fortifications were 
sketched and described in Latin, and he 
could scarcely contain his anger. 

Hale did not try to ask for trial by 
court martial, he was too well aware of 
the fate that was deemed fit for a spy, 
but he did manfully defend himself when 
Howe asked him why, he, a man of 


learning and appearance had attempted 
this ignominious thing. He told him he 
was serving his country and that sufficed 
to make him do any service that was 
sought from him. 

Howe looked at him in involuntary ad- 
miration and across his mind came the 
thought: ''What a gain this would be to 
turn him to us ! Surely, ambition and 
place can tempt him;" and he offered to 
Hale full pardon if he would only join 
the army, or form one of the regiments 
of Tories or king's American dragoons, 
for Royal American regiments or volun- 
teers, he even promised to Hale speedy 
removal from that and advancement in 
the regular army, but the young patriot 
was not to purchase life on such terms ; it 
would not be life but a dishonored exist- 
ence. And he emphatically declared 


that nothing so increased his loyalty to 
his country as the present temptation to 
forsake her. 

*'Then you may die for her," grimly 
declared Howe, and turning to his desk 
he made out the commitment and 
directed William Cunningham, provost 
marshal of the royal army, to receive 
the body of one Nathan Hale, captain, in 
the rebel army, and convicted as a spy, by 
the order of William Howe, commander- 
in-chief of the forces of His Majesty 
George the Third, in America, and keep 
it in safe custody till morning at day- 
break, when he was to see him hung by 
the neck till dead. 

The commander-in-chief had done 
with the convicted spy. The young cap- 
tain had served his country, but, alas! 
the priceless information was never to be 


hers, and she was to lose a gallant and 
proved soldier. 

Hale listened to his sentence without a 
word. He was as erect and fearless 
when the dread words, harshly pro- 
nounced, without a word of pity on his 
youth, fell on his ear as when he stood 
at the head of his devoted and loving 
band. It must have been that the whole 
panorama of his life swept before him, 
but no sign of the agony of his soul was 
forced from him, and at touch of the 
guard he turned and followed him from 
the greenhouse and to the place where 
the provost marshal was awaiting him. 

The news of Hale's wonderful success 
in remaining so long a time in the British 
lines and having such carefully sketched 
details of the British movements and 
plans had quickly passed through the 


army, and there was quite a crowd of 
officers and soldiers to look at the spy 
and pass invidious remarks. But Hale 
might never have heard them. He was 
thinking, w^e may believe, not so much 
of his own fate as of the loss to his be- 
loved commander-in-chief of the infor- 
mation that would have been such a 
guide, perhaps a saving of years of 

Cunningham was very eager to receive 
him from the officer who commanded 
his guard and would fain have dismissed 
the young British lieutenant if he dared, 
but Howe's order had been that the 
officer should not leave Hale till he saw 
him safely in the provost dungeon, and 
Cunningham sullenly acquiesced in his 
presence. Hale had already heard of 
this man, so notorious for his brutality, 


and natural curiosity led him to scan 
him closely. 

He beheld a large and tall man with a 
countenance reddened equally with drink 
and passion, rough in feature and in- 
tensely forbidding of aspect, without the 
presence of a single emotion that was 
not purely animal. 

William Cunningham had been in his 
earlier years a soldier in the British 
dragoons, then he came to New York 
and joined the Royalists and Tories, 
doing every service to show his vindic- 
tive animosity toward the Americans. 
It was really with Cunningham a feeling 
of personal hate of liberty that actuated 
him, in much of his vile w^ork. Then he 
was exceedingly avaricious and after Sir 
William Howe made him provost mar- 
shal of the British army, he studied how 


he could best defraud the unfortunates 
thrown into his power of the rations 
allowed them, impartially cheating both 
government and prisoners. He was 
never sober, and though always able to 
attend to his duties, the calling from his 
revels threw him into a rage that he 
vented on the prisoners till he wearied 
of the task. Kicking them, exposing 
them to insult too vile to mention, parad- 
ing up and down the corridors with his 
negro hangman, Eichmond, at his back 
carrying a coil of rope, hanging the con- 
demned in the yard back of the jail and 
leaving their bodies to dangle for hours 
so that the other prisoners must see and 
be intimidated ; these were some of the 
tortures inflicted by him on those in his 

Of these, such as had means were 


made to pay for everything they re- 
ceived in advance, and such as had 
friends were encouraged to have the 
latter come and bring them food. This he 
confiscated, and if remonstrated with, 
threatened them with the jail. 

Another of his pastimes was rushing 
into the cell of the prisoners and an- 
nouncing that the day or the morrow 
was to be their last, bidding them get 
ready and often having a gallows erected 
under their windows. That he made 
way with those who were particularly 
obnoxious to him there is no reason to 

It is related that he also had a regular 
system of levy, and collected money 
from all who dared let their love for 
those in his clutches bring them 
within reach. He sent out spies to as- 


certain the circumstances and relatives 
of his prisoners, and governed himself in 
his treatment of them by the amount of 
money he could obtain, though he was 
so consisistently brutal that he would 
take the money and continue his perse- 




The provost was then in use as a jail. 
It was a receptacle for offenders who 
were most notorious. It was the safest 
of all places in which to keep a prisoner. 
It was adjacent to the spot where public 
executions at this period usually took 
place. Two old gentlemen of Lyme, 
Connecticut, saw Hale there the night 
before his execution. A Hessian strag- 
gler passing through Coventry just after 
the event told Mr. Brigham, with whom 
he stayed all night that he saw Hale hung 
in New York near Chambers Street. 

The provost jail stood upon the eastern 
boundary of the City Hall Park, where 
the present Hall of Records stands. It was 


guarded strictly and every mode of in- 
gress or egress was under surveillance all 
the time, details of men being charged 
with a duty whose neglect would soon 
cost them their lives. The food was 
wretched and stinted to a cruel degree, 
the accommodations abominably over- 
crowded; and side by side with men of 
refinement and culture would be the 
outcasts of the town whose lano-uage and 
conduct added a double torture to the 
imprisonment. It was supposed to be 
possible for the friends of the prisoners 
to give them some articles of food and 
clothing, but Cunningham invariably 
confiscated them and frightened away 
the messengers with his vulgar and 
terrific abuse. 

Close to the provost jail was an old 
burying ground in Chambers, then Bar- 


rack Street and this was the spot that 
Cunningham chose for his executions. 
He offered to hang his prisoners in 
batches of five or six back of the prison 
yard, but the protests of decency pre- 
vented him from carrying out his savage 
desire. He was particularly anxious to 
have the life of the proud and noble 
young man who surveyed him with such 
calm, unmoved contempt, and evinced no 
emotion when he employed all the re- 
sources of his ingenuity to add new tor- 

The heart of Hale, indeed, was far 
from the brutal jailer who had the power 
to torture his body for a few hours 
longer. He had received the sentence 
unmoved and made no attempt to secure 
clemency, knowing well that in accord- 
ance with the fortune of war, the de- 



cision was what he had to expect. But 
as soon as the conviction that but a few 
hours intervened between him and eter- 
nity settled upon his soul, the present 
was temporarily forgotten, his whole 
soul turning to his dear ones. 

Till daybreak! Why, it would take 
every hour to write to Alice and the 
father, whose claims could not be for- 
gotten. Then he wanted to give some 
token of love to each of his brothers and 
sisters and his nephews and all the dear 
friends whom he was never to greet, 
some evidence that he had met his fate 
like a soldier and patriot and was only 
sorry that he could not have further 
served his country. 

He scarcely knew that Cunningham 
was questioning him as he gave his age, 
bh^th, rank and size, heard read the war- 



rant that consigned him to death and 
was rigidly searched and ordered to be 
closely confined and watched. 

He asked then if he might not have 
his hands left unpinioned and be fur- 
nished a light and writing materials that 
he might write to his friends. Cunning- 
ham peremptorily refused, and when he 
asked for a Bible jeered and threw his 
ribald jests at the unfortunate, asking 
him what he needed of a book to make 
repentance? The most sincere would be 
the confessing his sorrow for his acts 
against his king and turning back to the 
service, then he might have a chance ^to 

Hale entreated for this favor, which he 
declared to be but a right that humanity 
should accord him, and, fortunately, the 
young British lieutenant, who had lin- 



gered near, so interested was he in the 
youth scarce his own age, so strong and 
daring, heard and had his manly sym- 
pathies aroused. In a tone of authority, 
cutting in its contempt of the human 
brute, he ordered Cunningham to comply 
with Hale's request, and then withdrew 
after the young man was placed in a cell, 
and writing materials and a light thrust 
upon the narrow board that served as a 

How can we imagine the night, the 
thoughts of the young man? In that 
hour with the certainty of an ignomin- 
ious death before him ; the knowledge 
that never again would he be able to 
look upon his loved ones; the doubt 
whether the words that he was about to 
pen for them would reach them, would 
it be strange that his heart quailed? 


But there is no reason for supposing 
that it did. The same high courage that 
supported him in the facing of Howe, 
the calm contempt for the brute who 
had received him into custody, remained 
with him and gave him strength. And 
he also knew that he had to send words of 
comfort to those he loved, that his fare- 
well to the bride whom death was to pre- 
vent him from joining in this world would 
have to be made in such terms as would 
enable her to bear the blow. He set to 
the task, we can believe, with firmness 
and resolution, and then the testimony of 
all who showed that he was essentially 
and deeply religious tells in what com- 
munion with his God the other hours of 
that night were spent. 

Morning came all too soon, but it found 
him ready when the brutal jailer looked 



in. He had never touched the oaken 
plank, which was his bed, for he had no 
thought of sleep, and as soon as the pro- 
vost marshal thrust himself into the cell 
he handed him his letters and eagerly 
scanned his face to see if he might have 
the certainty that the man, hard though 
he was, would not trifle with the solemn 
trust of a dying man. 

But it was to be a new torture inflicted 
on that much suff'ering soul. The pro- 
vost marshal, with no thought of his vic- 
tim's feelings, tore open the pages in his 
haste to read and after he found how un- 
cowed, how noble and how patriotic were 
the sentiments therein expressed, tore 
the letters into shreds, and stamping his 
foot, exclaimed he would not permit the 
rebels to have such letters; such senti- 
ments were far too strongly savoring of 


rebellion, too suggestive of resistance to 
his majesty. Why, Canningham is re- 
ported to have said it would have been 
an incentive to fight to have let them 
have his letters ; the rebels should never 
know they had a man who could die 
with such noble sentiments. 

Hale was helpless. There was none 
to whom he could ask the favor of bear- 
ing or remembering a message, and it 
was with a pang of the bitterest grief 
that he saw all his carefully written, 
softening and encouraging words 
trampled in the dust, but he was nerved 
by the loathing he felt for the tyrant to 
conceal his emotion, and after the first 
bitter word which must have dropped 
from his lips to let Cunningham know his 
contempt, he was silent, and gave all his 
thought to the journey before him. 


The sun was beginning to streak the 
horizon when he ordered the captive to 
prepare for his death march. It had 
been a very exciting Saturday in the 
city, the fire which had started at 2 
o'clock in the morning had taken up all 
the efforts of citizens and soldiers to 
check it, and there were many who had 
remained on the alert all through the 
night to assist the men who were curb- 
ing its spread. There were also pothers 
who came to the city from the surround- 
ing country and were just reaching it on 
the break of day. These, with a farmer 
of Long Island, Tunis Bogart, who related 
that Cunningham butchered Hale like 
a calf," some soldiers and officers of the 
army and the officer whose narrative of 
the execution furnished to General Hull 
the material from which Stuart drew 


his **Life of Hale," the inevitable crowd 
which news of an execution gathers, all 
hastened about the place of execution as 
soon as the tidings that Cunningham was 
to string up another victim was heard. 
Among the throng were many women 
with children in their arms, at first curi- 
ous and careless spectators, but at sight 
of the youth and beauty of the victim 
their hearts were touched and their cries 
and pitying comments were so long that 
the brutal provost marshal ordered them 
to silence at pain of their own imprison- 

Hale had asked again for some man of 
God, to whom he might speak and with 
whose prayers in his ears he might meet 
his fate, but the request had met so 
scoffing a refusal that the young man de- 
termined he would not let his custodian 



see how it hurt him. He was to meet 
the most ignominious of deaths, one that 
causes a soldier's heart to always weaken 
with ^horror at its very mention. It was 
far from the thoughts which had 
strengthened the young warrior when he 
put the bright vision of love behind him. 
Pride, we know, was in Hale's heart, but 
it was the noblest, loftiest sort, and the 
knowledge that it was duty which he 
had obeyed enabled him to bear up with 
that wondrous fortitude which awed 
even the coarse nature of his captors. 

He had been bound with his arms be- 
hind him and clothed in a white jacket 
with white overalls and a white cap on 
his shining brown hair. Though an 
earlier hour had been set than the usual 
one, 10 o'clock, the soldiers had been 
drawn up in a hollow square as was the 


custom, and in the center was a large 
tree. Beneath, already dug, with the 
spade and earth in an unsightly heap, 
was the grave for the body of the exe- 
cuted. A sight that would have com- 
pletely unnerved the strongest heart. 

From the provost jail to the place of 
execution was but a short distance and 
the procession was soon formed with a 
guard of soldiers leading the way, then 
Hale, his white jacket and cap bordered 
with black, and his winding sheet and 
coflBn borne by four black men, and then 
the negro hangman with the rope and 
ladder on his shoulders and a double 
guard of soldiers with Cunningham and 
the oflBcers detailed to witness the 
carrying out of sentence in the rear. 
When the spot was reached the guards 
formed a semicircle, the hangman ad- 


vanced, and while Hale stood calmly 
witnessing his preparations, placed his 
ladder against the tree, adjusted his rope 
and descended. Then he took the coffin 
of Hale and placed it in such a position 
that it was directly beneath the hanging 
noose, and Hale was ordered to mount it. 

His face, so noble, so beautiful, so 
illumined with lofty hope and heroism 
and courage, was turned upon the throng, 
and at sight of that proud and uplifted 
look, that expression of confidence and 
hope in the life so soon to be his, a great 
awe fell on the people and even the sol- 
diers were moved. 

Cunningham marked the impression 
he made, and hoping that he would ruin 
it by a speech, boisterously demanded 
that he make his last speech and con- 





The eyes of Hale had swept sky and 
earth, had lingered in a long, caressing 
farewell, his soul had been filled with 
thoughts of his country, and when the 
coarse voice of the provost marshal dis- 
turbed the air, he cast upon him a glance 
of ineffable contempt, and then bent his 
look on the spectators. The women 
were sobbing audibly and the men had 
to turn their eyes from that glowing 
countenance for a moment. Then as he 
looked upon them all were silent, and 
his voice, strong, full, ringing with en- 
ergy and patriotism, filled with love of 
God and country, gave its immortal 
message to the future: 

*'I only regret that I have but one life 
to lose for my country." Thus spoke 
the patriot, the martyr, the noble soul 
that knew naught of selfishness. 


The proYOst marshal was stunned. 
For a moment his venom and rage nearly- 
choked his utterance, then, in a tone like 
the bellowing of a defied and maddened 
bull he roared : 

^'Swing the rebel off!" 

All that a man hath will he give for 
his life, and when he gives life with all 
that life ha,th for his country, patriots 
may immortalize, but only the infinite 
can measure the extent of the sacrifice. 




The disclosure of the work of Hale had 
a very important effect on the British 
general's plans, and doubtless was in- 
strumental in causing the change of 
some. Due importance was attached to 
Hale's mission, and no time was lost in 
notifying Washington of the fate of his 

It was a dreadful disappointment, but 
the first thought was for the young man 
so cruelly cut down in his promise. 
The announcement was made by a Brit- 
ish oflScer, Colonel Montaznar, who was 
deputed to convey the information to 
General Washington under a flag of 


truce. It had a very depressing effect 
on the army, and for days all that was 
discussed was the capture of the hero 
so loved by all. The British expression 
of courtesy was, primarily, for the pur- 
pose of showing how futile it was to try 
to secure possession of their secrets, and 
it was successful, for it would have been 
impossible to have found any one to 
venture again. 

That Washington's plans depended 
greatly on Hale's success, and that he 
was so obliged to meet unusual obstacles 
because of his apprehension, history has 
shown. But history has not set down 
the love the commander-in-chief felt for 
the young officer whom he knew so in- 
timately, and whom he thought he had 
permitted to go to his death. 

The news of the fate of Nathan Hale 


traveled all too quickly to the home in 
Coventry, and the family there was 
struck with the bitterest grief, though 
the Puritan habit of repression made the 
deacon and his daughters and sons re- 
strain its manifestation. Then there 
was the heroic strain which gloried in 
the thought that a son and brother had 
been able to die so gloriously for his 
country. It must have been a consola- 
tion to the father and sisters and 
brothers who so loved him to think he had 
died for duty. 

Of the feelings of Alice Ripley there 
is no chronicle. She was so thoroughly 
in harmony with the nature of her grand 
young lover that she must have felt 
something of the exalted sacrifice that 
he had made even in her bitter grief. 
To have been twice cheated out of happi - 


ness and to know that the gallows had 
been the fate of one born for such honor- 
able distinction in learning and elo- 
quence, and gifted with such a full dower 
of talent, must have wrung her heart 
sorely. Yet, though she could not have 
failed to keep his image in her heart for 
many years, she finally married a gen- 
tleman of Hartford, Connecticut, Will- 
iam Lawrence, and there in a delightful 
atmosphere of culture she lived till her 
death in September, 1845. So strong is 
the force of love that as death came to 
bear her away she murmured: ''Write 
to Nathan." 

The stirring times that followed, the 
vicissitudes that beset the American 
army and its final triumph, and then the 
poverty and struggle for existence in the 
years after the war, were among the 


causes which contributed to the neglect 
of proper testimonial to Hale. His serv- 
ices were appreciated and not forgotten, 
but they were unrecorded in the marble 
and towering shaft with which a nation 
delights to honor its heroes. 

The gravestone placed by the family 
to denote his death was a simple slab, 
telling that beside his father was a 
memento of "Nathan Hale, Esq., a cap- 
tain in the army of the United States, 
was born June 6, 1755, received the first 
honors of Yale College, in September, 
1773, and resigned his life a sacrifice to 
his country's liberty at New York, Sep- 
tember 22, 1776, aged twenty-two." 

It was not till 1837 that patriotic sen- 
timent in Connecticut demanded that 
there be fitting recognition of his great 
service, and the Hale Monument Associa- 



tion was formed. It was chiefly to in- 
dividuals that the first appeal was made, 
though Congress was asked again and 
again to appropriate a suitable sum. 
Hitherto the only memento outside that of 
his family was Fort Nathan Hale in New 
Haven harbor, erected in 1808, and some 
societies that honored ^ themselves by 
adopting his name and dying speech for 
a motto. But it was not till the 25th of 
November, 1837, when the evacuation of 
New York was being celebrated by a 
party of Eevolutionary soldiers number- 
ing twenty and many prominent people 
of the town, that Judge A. T. Judson, in 
his brilliant memorial address, proposed 
the organization of the association. 

Previous to the formation of the asso- 
ciation. Judge Judson with two other rep- 
resentatives from Connecticut tried to 


have Congress grant a sum for a Hale 
cenotaph, but in vain. Though the house 
committee for ten years submitted favor- 
able reports, though petitions poured in 
from the people of the State, there was 
this curious lack of patriotism. The 
first petition was headed by the name of 
Dr. Nathan Howard, who married Joanna, 
sister of Nathan. The second came from 
Hartford, was drawn up by the Hon. 
Thomas S. Williams, and signed by 
thousands all over the State. Upon this 
a report was made by Congress recom- 
mending the setting aside of one thou- 
sand dollars for the purpose, but the re- 
port was not acted upon. 

The Hale Association was composed of 
patriots, and by the most indefatigable 
and continued work it succeeded in rais- 
ing over two thousand dollars, the ladies 


of Coventry being the most diligent in 
the work, and in May, 1846, the State 
granted one thousand dollars, and in 
1847 two hundred and fifty dollars more, 
and on the 7th of April, 1846, the ground 
was broken for the monument, which 
was completed September 17, 1846. 

The total cost was three thousand 
seven hundred and thirty-three dollars 
and ninety-three cents, the railroads 
which transported the stone from Quincy, 
Massachusetts, the Old Colony, Boston 
and Worcester, and the Norwich and 
Worcester, whose president was the 
Hon. Nathan Hale, of Boston, gave 
the transportation ; the ladies of Coven- 
try had a Nathan Hale drama, a tea party 
and other entertainments, whereby they 
alone raised the sum of fifteen hundred 



The first Nathan Hale monument is a 
very beautiful one. 

It stands on elevated ground in a 
most commanding site in the Hale family 
burial plot, and consists of a pyramidal 
shaft resting on a base of steps with a 
shelving projection about one-third of 
the way up the pedestal. It is of hewn 
Quincy granite, solid from foundation to 
capstone and embracing twenty-five tons 
of stone, fourteen feet square at the base 
and forty-five feet high, and bears on 
its sides the following inscription : 

(East side.) 
Captain Nathan Hale, 1776. 
(North side.) 
Born at Coventry, June 6, 1755. 
(South side.) 
Died at New York, September 22, 1776. 

(West side.) 
'*I only regret that I have but one life 
to lose for my country." 


The next memorial after that in Coven- 
try was the statue erected by the State 
of Connecticut in the capitol grounds in 
Hartford, and there is also preserved 
with tenderest care the old Nathan Hale 
schoolhouse in New London, Connecti- 
cut, on Union Street. Then there is also 
in New London a beautiful grammar 
school named after the hero, a patriotic 
society, the Nathan Hale Sons of the 
American Kevolution, Nathan Hale 
Street, and an order of fraternal society, 
with one of the American Mechanics 
perpetuates the name, and bears testi- 
mony to the love and pride of the citizens 
of the town in which he taught before he 
went to lay down his life on Liberty's 

Huntington, Long Island, where he was 
captured has also erected a memorial. 


But the most beautiful and best known, 
the most eloquent and widespread in its 
influence, is that noble figure in which 
Macmonnies has made enduring presenta- 
tion of youth and beauty and heroism. 
Standing in City Hall Park, New York, it is 
daily seen by thousands, and the fascination 
and potency of that beautiful statue has 
brought close to hundreds of thousands 
the history of Hale, has given new mean- 
ing to love of countr}^ and enkindled in 
men's breasts a quenchless flame, that fire 
of divinity which makes a man love his 
country next to his God, and, loving his God, 
but love his country the more. 

Besides the statue in the Hartford Capitol 
the one in the Athenaeum ought to be 
mentioned. It is of bronze and stands on the 
grounds in a fine position. Enoch Woods 
the sculptor, a Hartford man, did the 
work at the request of Mr. James J. Good- 



win, who presented it to the institution in 
1894. The figure is nobly conceived. There 
was no ceremony of dedication until the 
exercises at the presentation of the Capi- 
tol statue of Hale, where Charles Dudley 
Warner made the address of presentation 
after an eloquent prayer by Eev. Joseph 
Twitchell and Governor Lounsbury received 
the statue for the State. It was designed 
by Karl Gerhardt of Hartford and former 
Governors Hubbard and Waller, Hon. 
Robert Coit, Hon. Henry Barnard and 
Governor Lounsbury, and Hon. Edward 
Spicer Cleveland were active in obtaining 
the grant for its work. The dedication 
was on June 14, 1887. 

On the Fourth of July, 1894, the residents 
of Huntington, Long Island, unveiled a 
memorial of Hale in the form of a granite 
column with a fountain at its base. This was 
to commemorate his capture and landing 


there. Rev. H. Q. Judd made the prayer, 
Mr. Robert Lenox Belknap, chairman of 
the Local Nathan Hale association made the 
historical address, and General Stewart 
Woodford gave a fine oration. The 
memorial was accepted for the town by the 
Supervisor, George M. Tileston. 

It remained for a public-spirited English- 
man who could admire heroism, fortitude 
and patriotism to give a grand memorial 
to the embodiment of both in the young 
man who helped to render our history 

Mr. George Taylor, member of a great 
Broadway firm, has developed a beautiful 
tract at Huntington which he has called 
Hale Site in memory of the martyr-hero of 
the Revolution. 

And at his own expense and with great 
labor he has had a grand and rugged 
boulder moved from its original site and 


placed in position witli three bronze tablets 
recording tlie facts of Hale's stay, capture 
and landing at Huntington. The boulder 
weighs forty-five tons and is placed near 
the exact spot on the shore where stood 
the home of William Johnson, who gave 
shelter and information to Hale when he 

In 1901 the Norwalk chapter of 
Daughters of the American Revolution, 
which had been working earnestly for the 
cause, erected an ornamental fountain of 
fine design and most admirable lines in the 
main street of the city opposite the city 

At Norwalk Hale changed his captain's 
uniform for the sober disguise of a school- 
master, and then crossed to Huntington. 

The unveiling of the fountain was on 
Lexington Day, April 19, 1901, and ad- 
dresses were made by General Russell 


Frost, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, and 
Rev. C. M. Seleck and S. P. Cadman of 
Norwalk and Brooklen, respectively. 

To the great exertions of the Nor- 
walk chapter, D. A. R., and its regent, 
Mrs. Samuel Richard Weed, who inter- 
ested even the school children, the memo- 
rial owes its successful and speedy comple- 

The city accepted it through Mayor 
Glover in a sensible and eloquent patriotic 

Yale was to have had a statue of the 
hero for its 200th anniversary in 1901, but 
an unfortunate difference of opinion has 
deferred its erection. William Ordway 
Partridge, the sculptor, made a very fine 
desiOT. There is no doubt that the orio^i- 
nat intention will be carried out at an 
early day. 

Of the sclioolhouses in which Hale 


taught, the earlier, that at East Haddam, 
has been cared for by the Society of Sons 
of the Revolution. 

It was a small building which was a 
long time ago removed from its original 
site and used as a dwellino;;. The research 
and patriotism of Connecticut Sons, aided 
by the efforts of Mr. Richard H. Greene of 
New York, were instrumental in preserving 
the relic. 

The owner, the late Judge Attwood of 
East Haddam, Avith a grand generosity 
that is to prove a noble memorial of him 
in the minds of men, secured the building, 
and in 1890 it was presented to the Sons 
of the Revolution of New York State 
who transferred it to the Sons of Con- 

The house was placed on a grand site 
on the river bank, the gift of Governor 
Bulkeley who gave sufficient ground to 



make an attractive park about it. In 
every way it was restored, and on the 6tli 
of Jnne, Hale's birthday, it was dedicated 
with fine ceremonies. 

Prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. 
Warren of New York, Morris P. Ferris 
presented the gift and former Governor 
Morgan G. Bulkeley, the president of the 
Connecticut society, accepted it in a telling 
speech. Several addresses followed, and a 
bronze bust of Hale was unveiled on the 
site where the building originally stood by 
the river. Enoch S. Woods of Hartford 
was the sculptor. 

The largest and most imposing ceremony 
in honor of Hale which took place in Con- 
necticut was that of Bunker Hill Day, 
June 17, 1901, when the Society of the 
Sons of the American Eevolution form- 
ally celebrated the restoration of the 
Nathan Hale schoolhouse and turned it 



over to the care of the Liicretia Shaw 
chapter, D. A. R., by whom it is now 

There was strong effort made for several 
years to obtain possession of the old Union 
Grammar School which had been moved 
from its original site on the corner of State 
and Union streets where the Crocker 
House now stands, and whence it was 
moved to a site that was owned, with the 
building, by the R. T. Palmer Company. 
It was used as a dwelling-house, and when 
the Sons made overtures for its possession, 
the owners finally agreed to sell it for four 
thousand dollars. 

This was a large sum, but it did not 
deter the patriotic society, which was 
greatly helped by New York men and the 
various chapters of the Daughters, and 
finally it was placed in the ''Antientist 
Burial Place," the God's Acre of the fore- 


fathers of the hamlet set apart for a burial 
place June 6, 1653. 

With removing, rebuilding the under 
foundation and part of the flooring, and 
paiating, in all ways making it the same as 
at the time Hale occupied it, the school- 
house cost the society $6,000. 

But the money was cheerfully given, for 
there is not a Son or Daughter who does 
not count it well spent to make this little 
red building stand for the patriotism of 
the past and present. 

The dedicatory exercises were very 
notable. There was a great procession 
of the Sons of the American Revolution 
from New York and Connecticut, soldiers 
and marines from Fort Trumbull and U. S. 
Lancaster, with the apprentices from the 
latter. There were the bands of the city 
and the Lancaster, three companies of the 
Connecticut National Guard ; the Hospital 



Corps, the third section of the Machine 
Gun Battery, the Putnam Phalanx witli 
a drum corps, the Moodus Fife and Drum 
Corps, the Seventh rVrtillery band, U. S. A., 
and United States Regulars from Fort 
Terry, the Sons of the American Revolu- 
tion from many states in the Union and 
the Sons of the Revolution with the 
Nathan Hale School Drum Corps and 150 
boys from the Nathan Hale Grammar 

The exercises were held on a large plat- 
form on the old burial-ground, just beside 
the schoolhouse. 

. The Rev. Edwin S. Lines, State chaplain 
of the Sons of the American Revolution, 
offered prayer, then Ernest E. Rogers, the 
indefatigable mover for the success of the 
work, as president of the Nathan Hale 
branch of the society, welcomed the visitors 
to the city. 


He said in part : 

" We dedicate this building to the memory 
of Nathan Hale. If the exterior is kept in 
proper repair the sturdy frame of hand- 
hewn oak will endure for centuries. Let 
us consecrate it in the words of the immor- 
tal Webster delivered at the laying of the 
corner-stone of Bunker Hill monument, 7 6 
years ago this very day. We consecrate 
our work to the spirit of national indepen- 
dence, and we wish that the light of peace 
may rest upon it forever." 

The response to the address of welcome 
was delivered by President Jonathan 
Trumbull of the Connecticut society, grand- 
son of Washington's beloved Brother Jon- 

" Ten years ago, on the fifteenth, our 
society met at Lebanon to celebrate the res- 



toration of the historic old war office and 
establish the building as an historic shrine. 
Within a year from that time, it fell to my 
lot to report on the possibility of securing 
the Nathan Hale schoolhouse at New Lon- 
don for the same purpose. The advice of 
those best informed on the subject was to 
wait — and we waited with intervals of dis- 
cussion and re-investig:ation for eight years. 
At last we decided that we would wait no 
longer ; and as the result of that decision 
the Nathan Hale schoolhouse, like the 
Lebanon war office, stands on record as the 
property of the Connecticut society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution. 

It is not the ownership of these two little 
buildings but rather the sacred trust which 
that ownership involves of which we are 

The building now stands in charge of a 
permanent committee appointed, consisting 


of the State regent of the Daughters of the 
American Eevolution, the chapter regent of 
the Liicretia Shaw, ^ew London, and the 
president, branch president and registrar of 
the Connecticut society, Sons of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. In recognition of the 
especial interest and substantial aid given 
by the Lucretia Shaw chapter, it has been 
decided that the chapter shall have the use 
of the building as a home for the organiza- 
tion under the belief that in no other way 
can the purposes for which it stands be so 
well carried out. 

" In this belief, Madame Regent for the 
State of Connecticut, I find it a most grati- 
fying duty to place in your hands the key 
of this building for the purpose I have 
stated, acknowledg:ino; at the same time the 
cheering encouragement w^hich, in your of- 
ficial position as a sister ofiicial, you have so 
freely and cordially given me, and assuring 



you that, as Sons and Daughters in one 
glorious family, this day marks more 
strongly than ever the relation of brother 
and sister which our societies bear to each 

Mrs. Sara Kinney, the State Regent 
of the Connecticut Daughters of the 
American Revolution, replied in part as 
follows : 

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen : 
In behalf of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution, in the State of Connecticut, and 
especially in behalf of the Lucre tia Shaw 
chapter of New London, I beg to assure 
you, Mr. President, of our keen apprecia- 
tion of your personal and official efforts to 
bring about a union of the patriotic in- 
terest of the societies of the American 
Revolution — an effort which comes to its 
happy consummation on this rare June 


day. The patriotic organizations repre- 
sented here to-day have always felt, and 
will always continue to feel, a proud and 
peculiar interest in the brief life, the 
flawless record, the tragic death of Nathan 
Hale, that splendid boy with heart of oak 
and a soul so loyal to God and country 
that its beautiful serenity was unshaken 
even when he stood within the ghastly 
circle of the hangroan^s rope. 

" The Lucretia Shaw chapter accepts the 
honorable trust committed to it by the Sons 
of the American Revolution, and it cannot 
be doubted that the memories of a dead 
and gone past which must always linger 
about this old schoolhouse will serve to 
Sons and Daughters alike as a stimulus to 
greater devotion to the principles which 
actuated our forefathers, to a profounder 
love of country, to a more unswerving loyal ty 
to our flag, and to a steadfast adherence to 


whatsoever will best conserve the interests 
of the commonwealth of Connecticut. We 
shall not fail to live up to our high and 
happy privilege as Sons and Daughters of 
the American devolution, if we emulate 
the lofty spirit of the Connecticut boy who 
to heart beat and drum beat " was led out 
to a so-called io^nominious death on the 
22d of September, 1776. 

" It is with pleasure, Mr. President, that I 
deliver these keys to the Lucretia Shaw 
chapter into whose custody and care the 
Nathan Hale schoolhouse has been placed 
by the Connecticut society of the Sons of 
the American Ee volution." 

The keys were taken by the chapter re- 
gent, and then the bronze tablet which had 
cost $500 was unveiled by little Nathan 
Hale of Schenectady, N. Y., the grandson 
of the Rev. Edward Everett Hale and 


great-great-grandnephew of the hero, while 
the Children of the American Revolution, 
under the direction of Mrs. Marian R. H. 
Lillie, saluted the flag which had been 
placed on the schoolhouse. They had 
worked hard to have their gift ready, and 
much credit should be theirs for their no 
small part of the programme. 

The historical address was delivered by 
Prof. Henry P. Johnston of the College of 
the City of Jsew York. The oration on 
the personal character of Hale was by the 
Hon. Walter S. Logan, president of the 
Xe^v^ York society. Sons of the American 

" The courage of Nathan Hale was of the 
sublimest sort. There are many men who 
can face a cannon's mouth without flinch- 
ing. There are many men who could lead 
a forlorn hope and shout in triumph as 



they fell. There are many men who are 
capable of performing the most heroic of 
deeds upon the battlefield, but there are 
few men who are willing to face, without 
flinching, death upon the scaffold, glorying 
in the opportunity. It is peculiarly ap- 
propriate that the Sons of the American 
Revolution should be the ones to com- 
memorate this deed. 

It is also peculiarly appropriate that the 
passive instrument of this celebration 
should be a schoolhouse. Where, if not 
in the school where his character received 
its earliest formative influences and his 
mind acquired that clearness of vision 
which made him see his duty so clearly 
and follow it so unflinchingly; where, if 
not in this schoolhouse did Nathan Hale 
become the man who could be the gr'eatest 
hero of American history ? 

The country schoolhouse has done more 


for Connecticut and for New England than 
we are wont to give it credit for. If you 
ask me why men have been able to go 
forth from this Xew England of ours to 
all parts of the nation and the world, 
carrying character and civilization to the 
wilderness, the desert, the prairie and the 
plain ; why, when men of 'New England 
have gone forth they have made their im- 
press upon every community they entered 
and every society of which they became a 
part ; why, Avhen men of New England 
have gone forth to build up the distant 
corners of the land, they have so often 
been sent back to represent new communi- 
ties and nev/ states in the national con- 
gress and in the public council, I tell you 
it is because here in New England we have 
had from the time that New England first 
began, the country schoolhouse. 

It has been the schoolhouse that has 


built new Connecticuts on the banks of the 
Ohio and the Mississippi, on the slopes of 
the Kocky Mountains and on the shores of 
the distant sea. The country schoolhouse 
has been the most potent agency of our civ- 

" All New England may claim the credit 
for the schoolhouse, but Connecticut may 
claim it in an exceptional degree. In no 
spot upon the earth's surface were the 
plain average people of the community so 
well educated one hundred and fifty years 
ago, as here in this colony of Connecticut. 

You do well to preserve the schoolhouse 
where Nathan Hale received the first im- 
press upon his character and the first in- 
spiration for his mind. 

Whenever there has been work to do for 
humanity and liberty on land or sea, in 
peace or in war, Connecticut men have 
been found ready and willing to undertake 


it. And the reason why Connecticut has 
been able to do so much and to exercise 
such an influence in the nation and in the 
world, has been due, more than to any 
other cause, to the country schoolhouse, 
which has dotted her hillsides and nestled 
in her valleys, which has been found 
everywhere and always within the reach 
of every boy and girl born ^sdthin the 
State. You are celebrating to-day, not only 
the man who proudly went to his death 
for his country and for liberty, but the 
Connecticut schoolhouse and all that it has 
done for its country and for liberty. 

In this United States of ours, there are 
to-day nearly 40,000 members of the various 
chapters of the Daughters of the Ameri- 
can Revolution — a noble 40,000. We have 
scarce 10,000 sons. The only fair conclu- 
sion is that the women of America have 
four times the patriotism and civic virtue 


of the men. When I learned to-day that 
the Nathan Hale schoolhouse was to be 
delivered to the State Regent of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution for 
safe keeping, I felt sure that that school- 
house was in safe hands, safer in the hands 
of 40,000 Daughters than of 10,000 sons." 

The Lucretia Shaw chapter to which the 
care of the schoolhouse has been intrusted 
was the first chapter of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution or the first or- 
ganization of a patriotic character to draw 
attention to the work of Hale. This was 
done at the celebration of the 296th anni- 
versary of the founding of New London, 
May 6, 1894, when the chapter invited 
guests from the leading chapters and the 
Sons to hear the oration on Nathan Hale 
given by Miss Charlotte Molyneux Hollo- 
way. By request this was repeated at the 


State Congress of the Daughters of the 
American Revolution in the Pequot House, 
New London, June 6, 1895. From that 
date the Daughters determined to work 
for the preservation of the Nathan Hale 
schoolhouse as suggested by the registrar 
of the chapter, Mrs. Catherine Dudley 
Bramble of New London. How the work 
has resulted is eloquently told by the 
red schoolhouse in the old burial-place of 
founders and patriots. 

The Daughters have furnished the in- 
terior, laid a hard-wood floor, completely 
equipped the kitchen and have collected 
quite a number of historical relics. This 
schoolhouse is open for visitors in the after- 
noons and a lady is always in charge to 
show the interesting objects. 

The poets have given to the fate of 
Hale all the tender and immortal com- 
memoration which his romantic and 



heroic history so well commands and in* 
spires. President Dwight of Yale Col- 
lege has written a beautiful tribute : 

'*Thus while fond Virtue wished in vain to 

Hale, bright and generous, found a hapless 
grave ; 

With Genius' living flame his bosom glowed, 
And Science lured him to her sweet abode; 
In Worth's fair path his feet adventured far. 
The pride of Peace, the rising hope of War; 
In duty firm, in danger calm as even — 
To friends unchanging, and sincere to Heaven. 
How short his course, the prize how early won, 
While weeping friendship mourns her favorite 

Very, very beautiful and touching is 
this tribute from Virginia Frazer Boyle, 
a Daughter of the Revolution: 



**There's night in the council chamber, 
There is gloom where the rebels meet, 

There is death in the valley beneath them, 
And over their arms is defeat. 

"The lines that were throbbing with valor, 
Have missed her white star in its sheen. 

And the heels of the dastard deserter, 
Press hard in the spaces between. 

*'The glance of the council is eager. 
But the voice of the general is low; 

He is seeking the bravest, the truest, 
To send in the camps of the foe. 

*'The silence of death is the answer — 

A scorn and a flash of the eye ; 
For those bronzed, rugged heroes of battles 

Will not stoop to the rank of a spy. 

"But a voice rings out from the shadow, 
With the thrill of a clarion's flow, 

'When my country has need, 'tis my service; 
Her honor is mine; I will go!* 



*^And in the first flush of his manhood, 

The patriot bums in his eyes 
As he changes the trappings of glory 

And fame for the lowly disguise. 

*'0n he speeds through the veil of the darkness; 

The camp of the British is won — 
Ay, the fate of the rebels is trembling, 

But the dangerous mission is done. 

'^He has served her, the country he lives for — 

Would die for, need that be end; 
But halt to the ringing of hoof beats, 

Betrayed by the hand of a friend ! 

*'Men die in the hot blood of battle, 
And rot in the trench, face to face; 

But, oh ! those long hours of anguish. 
The taunt of dishonor, disgrace! 

''Ah, patriot, soldier, and lover, 

Thy warriors call thee again, 
And far o'er the hills for the bridal 

She watches thy coming in vain. 



**And the sigh of the waning September 
Breaks soft on the blush of the sky, 

While the grim forms of British are waiting 
To mark how a rebel can die. 

"No hand bears the last tender missives 
That filled up the long night of woe ; 
They have hurled the white fragments about 

That fall like the sleet upon snow. 

*'For those blue eyes look outward beyond 

Above the gray world and its moan, 
But no priest bends the knee for the shriving — 
The soul in its grandeur is lone. 

*'They have bound the brave form for the 

And pinioned the strong arms for death ; 
But afar from the old apple orchard, 
Newborn, on a patriot's breath. 




''The hills pipe a sonorous message, 

The breezes repeat by the sea — 
'I only regret, oh! my country, 

I lose but this one life for thee!' 

''Oh, motherland, these are thy jewels 
That blazon the shield on thy breast ; 

Oh, motherlove, these are the truest — 
The hearts that have loved thee the best!" 

Every one is familiar with the poem of 
Francis M. Finch, recited before that 
Linonian Society in Yale in which Hale 
was so prominent a member. It should 
be known by all who love and revere the 
patriot : 

" To drum beat and heart beat, 

A soldier marches by; 
There is color in his cheek. 

There is courage in his eye; 
Yet to drum beat and heart beat. 

In a moment he must die. 



By starlight and moonlight, 
He seeks the Britons' camp; 

He hears the rustling flag, 

And the armed sentry's tramp; 

And the starlight and the moonlight 
His silent wanderings' lamp. 

With slow tread and still tread, 

He scans the tended line, 
And he counts the battery guns. 

By the gaunt and shadowy pine ; 
And his slow tread and still tread 

Gives no warning sign. 

The dark wave, the plumed wave, 
It meets his eager glance; 

And it sparkles 'neath the stars, 
Like the glimmer of a lance — 

A dark wave, a plumed wave. 
On an emerald expanse. 

A sharp clang, a steel clang, 

And terror in the sound ! 
For the sentry, falcon-eyed. 

In the camps a spy has found ; 
With a sharp clang, a steel clang, 

The patriot is boimd. 



" With calm brow, steady brow, 

He listens to his doom ; 
In his look there is no fear, 

Nor a shadow trace of gloom ; 
But with calm brow, steady brow, 

He robes him for the tomb. 

" In the long night, the still night, 

He kneels upon the sod ; 
And the brutal guards withhold 

E'en the solemn word of God! 
In the long night, the still night. 

He walks where Christ hath trod. 

'Neath the blue morn, the sunny mom, 

He dies upon the tree ; 
And he mourns that he can give 

But one life for liberty. 
And in the blue morn, the sunny mom, 

His spent wings are free. 

^' But his last words, his message words, 
They burn, lest friendly eye 

Should read how proud and calm 
A patriot could die. 

With his last words, his dying words, 
A soldier's battle-cry. 



From Fame-leaf and Angel-leaf, 

From monument and urn, 
The sad of earth, the glad of Heavea, 

His tragic fate shall learn ; 
And on Fame-leaf and Angel-leaf 

The name of Hale shall bum.'* 


Nathan Hale was directly descended 
from Robert Hale, of Charlestown, 
Massachusetts, one of the early settlers 
of the '*Bay Colony," in that State. 

Robert Hale belonged to the family of 
Hales of Kent, England. There were in 
England at that time at least three large 
families of the name, belonging to dif- 
ferent parts of the kingdom. These were 
the Hales of Kent, the Hales of Hertford, 
and the Hales of Grioucestershire. Of 
the last of these families was the cele- 
brated Sir Matthew Hale, who was nearly 
contemporary with Robert Hale, the 


emigrant to America, who was born in 
1609 and died in 1676. 

From the Hales of Hertfordshire spring 
the family of Thomas Hale, one of the 
early settlers of Newbury, Massachu- 
setts. Of this family are a large part of 
those persons who now bear the name of 
Hale in New England. 

Robert Hale, of Charlestown, and his 
descendants retained the coat of arms of 
the Hale family of Kent, to which, there- 
fore, there seems no doubt that they 

This family existed in Kent as early as 
the reign of Edward HI. Nicholas up 
Hales, then resided at Hales Place, Hal- 
den, Kent. His son. Sir Robert Hales, 
was Prior of the Knights of St. John, and 
Lord High Treasurer of England. He 
was murdered by Wat Tyler's mob, on 



Tower Hill, in 1381. His brother, Sir 
Nicholas de Hales, was the ancestor of 
three subdivisions of the family, de- 
scribed in Halsted's Kent as the Hales of 
Kent, Coventry and of Essex. 

To the Kent family belonged — ^we may 
say in passing down to the emigration of 
Eobert Hales, — Sir James Hales, whose 
suicide by drowning led to the "Case of 
Dame Hales," reported by Plowden, and 
commented on by the clowns in Hamlet: 
'*Sir James Hales was dead and how 
came he to his death? It may be an- 
swered by drowning, and who drowned 
him? Sir James Hales; and when did 
he drown him? In his lifetime. So 
that Sir James Hales, being alive, caused 
Sir James Hales to die, and the act of 
the living man was the death of the dead 
man. And then for this offense it is 


reasonable to punish the living man who 
committed the offense and not the dead 

Of the same family was Sir Edward 
Hales, the loyal companion of James II. 
:'n his exile, made by him Earl of Ten- 
terden and Viscount Tonstall. 

The name in England was spelt with a 
final ''s" and without. Hale Place, near 
Canterbury, bears the same name as the 
New England family, and the residents 
spell their names with the '*s." 

Gen. I. 1. Robert Hale, who arrived 
in Massachusetts in 1632. He was 
among those who set off from the first 
church in Boston to form the first church 
in Charlestown, in 1632. He became a 
deacon in this church. He was a black- 
smith by trade, but appears to have held 
many oflfices of trust in the town and 


State, for he was appointed surveyor of 
new plantations by the General Court 
until his death, which was July 19, 1659. 
His wife's name was Jane. After his 
death she married Richard Jacobs of Ips- 
wich, and died in July, 1679. 

1st Robert Hale had 

Gen. n. 2. Rev. John Hale; b. June 3, 
1636; d. May 15, 1700. 3. Mary; b. May 

17,1639; m. Wilson. 4. Zachariah; 

b. April 3,1641; d. June 5, 1643. 5. 
Samuel; d. 1679. 6. Joanna; b. 1638; m. 
John Larkin; d. 1685. 

2. Rev. John Hale, graduated at Har- 
vard College, in 1657. He was the first 
minister of Beverly, Massachusetts, 
when the church was separated from 
Salem, in 1867, and remained in this 
charge to his death. He was one of 
three chaplains to the New England ex- 


pedition to Canada in 1690. He was 
taken prisoner, and afterward released. 
Two years after the Salem witchcraft ex- 
citement arose and engaged the atten- 
tion of Mr. Hale, who participated in the 
examination of the accused and con- 
ducted the religious exercises. In Oc- 
tober a person in Wenham accused Mrs. 
Hale of witchcraft, and the shock was 
suflScient to restore the minister to his 
senses. His own medicine cured him of 
his delusions, and he was eager to prove 
the thing was wrong. In 1697 he pub- 
lished'* A modest inquiry into the nature 
of witchcraft and how persons guilty of 
that crime may be convicted; and the 
means used for their discovery discussed, 
both negatively and affirmatively, ac- 
cording to Scripture and experience." 
He further lamented the deceptions of 



those who believed in the witchcraft 

He married three times. First, Re- 
beckah Byles, daughter of Henry Byles 
of Sarum, England. She died April 13, 

1683, aged 45 years. Second, March 3, 

1684, Mrs. Sarah Noyes, of Newbury. 
She died May 20, 1695, aged 41 ; and third, 
August 8, 1698, Mrs. Elizabeth Clark, of 
Newbury, who survived him. By his first 
two wives he had the following children: 

Gen. m. 1. (7) Rebeckah; b. April 
28, 1666; d. May 7, 1681. 2. 8, Robert, b. 
November 3, 1638; d. 1719. He was the 
father of Colonel Robert Hale of Beverly, 
who accompanied Shirley to the siege of 
Louisburg. The male line in this family 
is extinct, the family mansion at Beverly 
has always been in the possession of his 



3. (9) Rev. James; b. October 14, 1685; 
d. 1742. He was minister of Ashford, 
Connecticut, and left a son, James Hale, 
from whom a large family descended. 
Of these Robert Hale, b. 1749, was an 
officer in the Revolution. 

6. (12) John; b. August 24, 1692. He 
was drowned by the oversetting of a boat 
in Wells River, the only person of the 
party, though an excellent swimmer. 
He left no sons. 

5. (11) Joanna; b. June 18, 1689. 
^ 4. (10) Samuel; b. August 13, 1687; d. 
about 1724. 

Of the children of Rev. John Hale, the 
fourth as named above was Samuel. He 
settled in Newbury, Massachusetts, and 
August 26, 1814, m. Apphia Moody; b. 
June 23, 1693. He lived in that part of 
the town called Newburyport, and there 


all his children were born. He removed 
to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where 
he died in 1724. His children were: 

Gen. IV. 1. (13) Joanna, b. June 1715; 
d. about 1792; m. Captain Stephen Ger- 
rish, of Boscawen, New Hampshire. 

2. (14) Richard; b. February 28, 1717: 
d. June 1, 1802; lived and died at 

3. (15) Samuel; b. August 24, 1718; 
gr. H. C. 1740; d. July, 1807. He lived 
and died at Portsmouth. 

4. (16) Hannah; b. January 24, 1720; 
m. Joseph Atkinson of Newbury, Jan- 
uary 23, 1744; d. about 1791. 

5. (17) John; b. January 16, 1712; d. 
about 1787. 

Of 14, Eichard, the second of these 
children. Captain Nathan Hale was the 
son. As the children of the rest were 


therefore his cousins and connected with 
his life, their names and dates of birth 
are given : 

13. Mrs. Joanna Gerrish and Captain 
Stephen Gerrish had issue. 

Gen. V. 1. (18) Henry Gerrish; b. 1742 
(m. 1777 — he had seven children). 

2. (19) Jenny; m. Ames;(m. 1777, 

had two children). 

3. (20) Samuel Gerrish; b. 1748; (m. 
1777^ — he had two children). Probably 
this was Colonel Samuel Gerrish, cash- 
iered for conduct unworthy an oflScer 
at Bunker's Hill, and Sewall's Point, 
August 19, 1775, a sentence pronounced 
by the judge advocate '*far too severe.'* 
When the battle was fought neither he 
nor his officers were commissioned. 

4. (21) Enoch Gerrish; b. 1750; (m. 
1777~he had two children). 


5. (22) Gerrish (a son), b. 1756; d. 

August 24, 1777. 

14. Richard Hale; born in Newbury- 
port February 28, 1717; removed to 
Coventry, Connecticut, where he lived 
and died June 1, 1802. He married Eliz- 
abeth, daughter of Joseph Strong, Esq., 
of that place on the 17th of May, 1746. 
She died April 2, 1767. He married 
again the "Widow Adams" of Canter- 
bury, by whom he had no issue. The 
children of the first marriage : 

Gen. V. 1. (23) Samuel; b. May 25, 
1747; d. April 17, 1824, without issue. 

2. (24) John; b. October 21, 1748; d. 
December 22, 1802, without issue. 

3. (25) Joseph; b. March 12, 1750; d. 
April 29, 1784. 

4. (26) Elizabeth; b. January 1,1753; 
d. October 31, 1813. 



5. (27) Enoch; b. October 28, 1753; d. 
January 4, 1837. 

6. (28) Nathan; b. June 6, 1755; exe- 
cuted at New York, September 22, 1776. 

7. (29) Richard; b. February 20, 1757; 
d. February, 1793. 

8. (30) Billy; b. April 20, 1759; m. 
Booker, January 19, 1785; d. Sep- 
tember 7, 1785. 

9. (31) David; b. December 14-15, 1761, 
d. February 10, 1822. 

10. (32) Jonathan; b. December 14-15, 
1761; d. December 21, 1761. 

11. (33) Joanna; b. March 19, 1765; d. 
April 22, 1838. 

12. (34) Susanna; b. February 1, 1756; 
d. March, 1766. 

15. Samuel Hale, of Portsmouth; b. 
August 24, 1718; gr. H. C. 1740; d. 
July, 1807. He taught the grammar 


school at Portsmouth for many years ; 
served in the old French war, and was at 
one time judge of the Common Pleas 
court. He married Mary, daughter of 
Thomas Wright of Portsmouth. Their 
children were : 

Gen. VII. (35) Samue^., of Barrington ; 
b. 1758; d. April 28, 1828. His sons 
were Samuel B. and John P. of Ports- 
mouth; of the last of whom Hon. John 
P. Hale of the United States Senate 
was the son. 

2. (36) Thomas Wright of Barrington; 
-b. 1760. 

3. (37) JohuT b. 1764; tutor at Harvard 
College from 1781 to 1786; d. 1791. 

4. (38) William; b. August 6, 1765; m. 
Lydia Rollins, April 30, 1794; d. Novem- 
ber 8, 1848, at Dover, New Hampshire, 
where he had resided, leaving five chil- 



dren. He represented the State in Con- 
gress six years, and was often a member 
of the State Legislature. 

16. Hannah Hale; b. January 24, 
1720 J m. Joseph Atkinson of Newbury, 
January 23, 1744. They lived at Bos- 
cawen. New. Hampshire, where she died 
about 1791. They had issue: 

Gen. n^. 1. (39) Samuel Atkinson. 

2. (40) Simeon Atkinson. 

3. (41) Susannah Chadwick. 

4. (42) Hannah Atkinson. 

5. (43) Sarah Atkinson. 

17. John Hale; b. January 16, 1721-22. 
He lived at Gloucester (Cape Ann, 
Massachusetts), and died about 1787. 
He had issue ; 

Gen. V. 1. (44) Samuel ;of New York). 

2. (45) John. 

3. (46) Benjamin. 



4. (47) Ebenezer. 

5. (48) Jane. 

6. (49) Sally. 

7. (50) Hannah. 

Between eighteen and fifty on the list 
numbers are all the consins of Nathan 
Hale, and under his father's family his 
brothers and sisters. 

Here follow the children of his brothers 
and sisters * 

23. Samuel Hale; oldest son of Dea- 
con Richard Hale ; lived at Coventry and 
died without issue April 17, 1824. 

24. Major John Hale; second son of 
Deacon Richard Hale ; b. October 21 , 1748 , 
m. Sarah Adams at Coventry, December 
19, 1771, daughter of his father's second 
wife. They lived at Coventry, where he 
died, December 22, 1802, without issue. 
His death was sudden, and his widow, 


eager to carry out his intentions, be- 
queathed one thousand pounds to trus- 
tees as a fund, the income of which was 
to be used for the support of young men 
preparing for missionary service, and in 
part to found and support the Hale 
Library in Coventry, to be used by the 
ministers of Coventry and the neighbor- 
ing towns. She died November, 1803, 
in less than a year after him. 

25. Lieutenant Joseph Hale, third son 
of Deacon Richard Hale; b. March 12, 
1750; was with the army near Boston, 
and it is believed to the close of the war. 
He served both in Knowlton's and Webb's 
regiments. Soon after his brother 
Nathan's death, he was in the battle of 
White Plains, and a ball passed through 
his clothes. Subsequently he was for a 
long time stationed at New London, 


where he became acquainted with Re- 
beckah Harris, daughter of Judge Harris 
of that place. They were married Oc- 
tober 21, 1777. After the close of his 
service he settled in Coventry, but his 
constitution, which was naturally very 
strong, was broken, and he fell into a de- 
cline, and died April 30, 1784. leaving 
four children: 

Gen. VI. 1. (51) Elizabeth; b. Septem- 
ber 29, 1779; m. November, 1801, Zeb- 
. ediah Abbot, of Wilton, New Hamp- 
shire. They had four sons and five 

2. (52) Rebeckah; b. January 9, 1781, 
m. October 1799, Deacon Ezra Abbot, of 
Wilton, New Hampshire. They had a 
large family of children, of whom tnree, 
Joseph Hale, Ezra and Abiel, graduated 
at Brown College. 


S. (53) Mary Hale; b. November 23, 
1782; m. in 1808, Rev. Levi Nelson, of 
Lisbon, Connecticut. No issue. 

4. (54) Sarah Hale, b. November 27. 
1783; died June 27, 1784. 

26. Elizabeth Hale^ oldest daughter 
of Deacon R. Hale; b. January 1, 1752; 
m. December 30, 1773, Dr. Samuel Rose, 
a surgeon in the army of the Revolution. 
He v^as a son of Dr. Rose of Coventry. 
He died in the winter of 1800-1. Their 
children were : 

Gen. VL 1. (55) Captain Joseph Rose; 
b. September 17, 1774, m. Milly Sweat- 
laiid; settled in North Coventry as a 
blacksmith; d. about 1835, leaving 
several children. 

2. (56) Nathan Hale Rose; b. Novem- 
ber 18, 1776; grew up on the old home- 
stead of his grandfather. He settled on 


the farm previously occupied by his 
Uncle Richard. He married first Eunice, 
daughter of Deacon Talcott, of North 
Coventry. She died after a few years, 
leaving a daughter, who died young. 
He married, second, the widow Per- 
kins of Lisbon, Connecticut, by whom he 
had three sons and one daughter. 

3. (57) Fanny Rose; b. January 4, 
1779; m. December, 1799, Sandford Hunt, 
of North Coventry, and died February 
6, 1845, "an excellent woman." They 
settled in Batavia, New York. Of their 
family was Hon. Washington Hunt, of 
New York and Lieutenant Hunt of the 
United States army. 

After the death of Dr. Samuel Rose, 
his widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Rose, married 
John Taylor, of Coventry. She died 
October 31, 1813. Their children were: 


1. (58) Elizabeth Taylor; m. Nathaniel 
Hubbard, of Vernon, and afterward of 
Manchester, Connecticut. 

2. (59) David Taylor; married and died 
in New York without issue. 

27. Enoch Hale; fourth son of Deacon 
K. Hale; b. October 28, 1753; entered 
Yale College, with his brother Nathan, 
1769; gr. 1773; studied theology, and on 
the 28th of September, 1779, was ordained 
a minister of Westhampton, Massachu- 
setts, where he died, January 14, 1837, 
after an energetic and useful ministry of 
more than fifty-seven years. He was 
deeply affected by his Brother Nathan's 
fate, for he was profoundly attached to 
him. He married September 30, 1781, 
Miss Octavia Throop, of Bozrah, Connec- 
ticut, daughter of Rev. Mr. Throop, of 


that place. She died August 18, 1839. 
Their children were: 

Gen. VI. 1. (60) Sally Hale; b. Au- 
gust 2, 1782; m. Elisha B. Clapp, of West- 
hampton, Novembe 27, 1800; d. Feb- 
ruary 7, 1838, leaving seven children. 

2. (61) Nathan Hale; b. August 16 
1784; m. Sarah Preston Everett, of Bos- 
ton, September 5, 1816. 

3. (62) Melissa Hale; b. February 26, 
1786; m. September 27, 1809, Henry 
McCall, of Lebanon, Connecticut. They 
had eight children. 

4. (63) Octavia Hale; b. May 13, 1788; 
m. December 19, 1811, William Hooker, 
of Westfield, Massachusetts. They had 
four children. 

5. (64) Enoch Hale; b. January 19, 
1790; m. first, September 6, 1813, Almira 
Hooker; second, May, 1822, Sarah 


Hooker ; third, May, 1829, Jane Murdock ; 
died November 12, 1848, without issue. 
He studied chemistry and medicine at 
Yale College and at Howard Medical 
School, and took his degree of M.B. at 
Cambridge, August 20, 1813. He prac- 
ticed with distinguished success for a few 
years in Gardiner, Massachusetts, and 
for the rest of his life in Boston. 

6. (65) Eichard Hale; b. July 2, 1792; 
m. December 28, 1815, Lydia Eust, who 
died January 10, 1837. He died in 1839. 

7. (66) Betsey Hale; b. June 2, 1794; 
m. July 2, 1818, Levi Burt of Westhamp- 
ton. They had seven children. 

8. (67) Sybilla Hale; b. September 3, 
1787; m. 1819, Eichardson Hall. They 
had nine children. 

28, Nathan Hale died without issue. 

29. Eichard Hale; sixth son of Daecon 


R. Hale; b. February 20,1757; m. March 
16, 1786, Mary Wright, of Coventry; he 
died February, 1793, at St. Eustatia in 
the West Indies, where he had gone in 
search of health. They had: 

Gen. VL 1. (68) Mary Hale; b. July 6, 
1787; d. December 10, 1791. 

2. (69) Laura Hale; b. August 30, 1789; 
m. her cousin, David Hale, then of 

3. (70) Mary; b. January 25, 1791; d, 
October 2, 1793. 

After the death of Richard Hale his 
widow married Nathan Adams of Can- 
terbury, son of her father-in-law's second 
wife. They had no children. She died 
in 1820. 

30. Billy Hale, seventh son of Deacon 
R. Hale; b. April 23, 1759; m. January 
19, 1784, Hannah Ba^i-er of Franklin. 


He died of consumption in 1785, leaving 
one son. 

Gen. VL 1. (71) Billy; died in early 

31. David Hale, ninth son of Deacon 
R. Hale; b. December 14, 1761; grad- 
uated at Yale College, 1785; settled as 
minister in Lisbon, Connecticut. He 
married May 19, 1790, Lydia Austin; b. 
December 9, 1764; daughter of Samuel 
Austin, of New Haven. In 1804, in poor 
health, he was dismissed from the 
church in Lisbon and removed to Coven- 
try, where he became a deacon of the 
church in 1806. He was also represen- 
tative of the town and justice of the 
Court of Common Pleas. He died Feb- 
ruary 10, 1822. His widow died April 
28, 1849. They had one child: 

Gen. VI. 1. (72) David Hale; b. April 


25, 1791; m. first his cousin, Laura Hale, 
January 18, 1815. She died July 25, 1824. 
He m. second, August 22, 1825, Lucy S. 
Turner, of Boston. 

33. Joanna, second daughter of Deacon 
R. Hale; b. March 19, 1764; m. January 
22, 1784, Dr. Nathan Howard, of Coven- 
try. He died April 21, 1838, at the age 
of 77, and she the next day. They had 
nine children, all of whom died except: 

Gen. VI. 1. (73) John Howard; b. 
November 10, 1784; m. Lucy Ripley, 
daughter of Judge Ripley, of Coventry; 
d. March 30, 1813. They had three sons, 
Chauncey, John and Ripley. 

2. (74) Nathan Howard; b. March 20, 

Of Nathan Hale's nephews are the fol- 
lowing : 

61. Nathan Hale ; son of (27) Rev.Enoch 


Hale; b. August 16, 1784; gr. Williams 
College 1804, LL.D. Harvard University. 
He conducted for more than forty years 
the Boston Advertiser. The active 
labors of his life are well known. He 
married September 5, 1816, Sarah Pres- 
ton Everett, daughter of Rev. Oliver 
Everett, of the new South Church Boston. 
Their children were eleven in number, 
the fourth being the Rev. Edward 
Everett Hale, born April 3, 1822; m. 
October 13, 1852, Emily Baldwin Perkins, 
of Hartford. 


Hale's diary covers the time he left 
New London with his military company 
till, with the army from aroand Boston, 
he marched into New York. There are 
a few pages torn from the beginning and 


one from the November entry. From 
September 30 till October 6 is missing, 
and the 16th of the latter month, then 
the entries are regular till December 31, 
1775. On January 24, 1776, they are 
taken up again and run seven days. 
Two in February and four after he 
reached New York complete them. 

"(Sep. 23d.) Cannon, 40 or 50, heard 
from the last stage to the present. 
Marched 3^ o'cl — and arrived (at) Water- 
mans, (a private house and entertain- 
ment good) after a stop or two. 6^ o'cL, 
6m. — tarried all night. 

''24th, Mch'd 6 o'cl., mch'd from 
Olney's 2 miles, and reached Providence, 
but made no stop. Having march'd 
thro' the town with music, and mde a 
sht stp at the hither part, in the road, 
came 4 miles further to Slacks in Reho- 


both, where we dined. 'Eeceived Eeho- 
both, Sept. 24, 1775, of Nathan Hale, 
Lieut, of Maj. Latimer's company, five 
shillings and ten pence lawful money for 
the use of my house and other trouble 
by 3d Company. Eliphalet Slack.') re- 
ceipt given to Hale. 4 o'cl., mch'd from 
Slaks 6m., and reached Daggett's in 
Attleborough, and put up, depositing 
our arms in the mttg House. Soon after 
our arrival joined by the Maj., who set 
out from home the nt bef 

**25th. March'd soon after sunrise — 
and came very fast to Dupree's in 
Wrentham, 9m. to Breakfast. Arv'd 9 
o'cl. 11 set off, and U P.M. arv'd (at) 
Hidden's, Walpole, and there dined and 
tarried till 4^ o'cl., and then march't to 
Dedham, 7m. and put up. 

''Tuesday, 26th. Mch'd 5m. before 


Breakfast to — For Dinner went 4im. to 
Parkers, which is within a mile and a 
half from Camp. At our arrival in Camp 
found that 200 men had been draughted 
for a fishing party. Pitched our tents 
for the present in Roxbury, a little be- 
fore sunset. 

Wednesday, 27th. Went to some of 
our lower works. 12 or 15 of the fishing 
party return and bring 11 Cattle and 2 

''Thursday, 28th. Fishing party re- 

''Friday, 29th. Mch'd for Cambridge. 
Arv'd 3 o'cl., and camped on the foot of 
Winterhill, near Gen. Sullivan's 3 
Comies, Majors C. Shipmans, Bostwick. 

"Sat., 30th. Considerable firing on 
the Roxbury side in the forenoon, and 
some P.M. No damage done as we hear. 


Join'd this day by Opts. Perril and 
Levenwth about 4 o'cl. 

^'Octo. 6th, 1775. Near 100 Cans fired 
at Koxbury from the enemy. Shot off a 
man's arm, and killed one cow. 

*'7th. Some jfiring from Boston neck- 
nil, mat. 

''8th. Sab. A.M. rainy — no meetg. 
Mr. Bird pr. Watertown P.M. Went to 
meetg on the hill. Mr. Smith pr. 

''9th, Monday. Morng clear and pleas- 
ant, but cold. Exersd men 5 o'cl. 1 h. 

"Tuesday, 10th. Went to Roxbury— 
dined with Doctr Wolcott at General 
Spencer's Lodg. P.M. rode down to 
Dorchester with a view to go on upon the 
point; but Coll Fellows told us he could 
give us no leave as we had been informed 
in town. Returned to Camp 6 o'cl. 

"Wed., 11th. Bror Joseph here in the 


morning — went Camge 12 o'cl — .sent a 
letter to Bror Enoch by Saml Turner. 
Inform'd by Joph that he was to be ex- 
amin'd to-day for — Saw Royal Flynt — 
pr'd to write him. Eec'd a letter from 
Gil. Salt, wh inf. ye Schooner by St. 
Johns taken — all ye men kill'd, and yt 
8,000 bushels of wheat had been taken 
and carried to Norwich fm Christ. 
Champlin's ship run agrd at Stoningtn. 
Rec'd letter 9th from Gil. Salt. Do 9th 
fm John Hallam — 8th E. Hale. A heavy 
thunder showr in ye eveng. 

*'Thurs., 12th. Wrote 6 letters to N. 
L. Saw CI Sage. Infmd Montreal held 
by Montgomery — St. Johns off'd to capi- 
tulate, but refusing to deliver guns, 
Johnson's terms were refused; but must 
soon surrender. P.M., went in to Cam- 
bridge. Took the Cambge paper — pd 3 


'^Friday, 13th. Infmd by Lt. Col. 
that Coh Webb last night gave orders 
that Field Officers Lieutenants should 
wear Yellow Eibbons — put in one ac- 
cordingly. Walkd to Misk for clothes. 

''Sat., 14th. Mounted picket guard. 
Gov. Griswold at plough'd hill. Rumors 
of 25,000 troops from England. 

''Sab., 15th. Mr. Bird pr. P.M. After 
meeting walked to Mystick. 

"Tuesday, 17th. A Sergt.-Major de- 
serted to the Regulars. 

"Wed., 18th. A private deserted to 
the enemy. Last night a cannon split in 
our floatg battery when fired upon B. 
Common — 1 of our men kill'd — another 
said to be mortally wounded — 6 or 7 
more wounded. Rec'd letters — G. 
Saltonstall, 16th— J. Hallam, 14th— E. 
Hallam, 15th— E, Adams, 16th. In Mr. 


Sals. Letter rec'd news of the publish- 
ment of Thomas Poole and Betsy Adams 
on the 15th. 

''Thursday, 19th. Wrote 4 letters— to 
Messrs. G. Sals, and John Hallam, and 
to Misses Bet. Adams and Hallam. 3 
people inhabitants of Boston sd to have 
escaped on Eoxy side last night. Several 
guns were fired at them, which were 
heard here on Winter hill. This morn- 
ing one of our horses wandered down near 
the enemy's line, but they durst not ven- 
tured over to take him on account of 
Eifle placed at ye old Chimy ready to fire 
upon them. A sick man at Temples 
found to have the small pox. 

''Friday, 20th. Wet and rainy. News 
from Roxbury yt 8 persons, 5 of them 
inhabitants, and 4 of them Sailors, made 
their escape last night from Boston to 


Dorchester Point who bring accounts yt 
10,000 Hanoverians & 5,000 Scotch and 
Irish troops are hourly expected in Bos- 
ton. Cpt. Perrit ret'd sunset from Con- 
necticut. News yt Col. Josh Trumbull, 
Commy Gen. was at the point of Death. 

*'Sat., 21st. Constant rain & for ye 
most part hard for the whole day. A let- 
ter communicated to ofFrs of ye Regt 
fm G. Washgtn to Coll Webb with orders 
to see what offrs will extend the term of 
service fm 6th Decemb' to 1st Jany — Col 
Webb issued orders for removing a man 
who was yesterday discovered to have 
ye small pox from Temple's house to ye 
hospital — but the offrs remonstrating, 
suspended his orders. Sun set clear. 

'*Sab., 22nd. Mounted piquet guard- 
had charge of the advance Piquet. Nil. 
mem. Mistick Commy refus'd to deliver 


provsns to Compies which had had 
nothing for ye day. On which Opt. 
Tuttle and 60 or 70 men went, and as it 
hapnd terror instead of force obtained the 
provisions. On Piquet heard Eegrs at 
work with pick axes. One of our Gen- 
tries heard their G. rounds give the 
countersign — which was Hamilton. Left 
P. guard and retd to Cp at sunrise on 

''23d, Mon. 10 o'cl.,went to Cambridge 
wth Fid Comns oflBcers to Genl Putnam, 
to let him know the state of the Regt 
andjy t it was thro' ill usage upon the score 
of Provisions yt thy wld not extend their 
term of service to the 1st of Jany, 1776. 
Din'd at Browns--drk 1 Bottle wine — 
walk'd about street— call'd at Josh 
Woodbridge's on my way — and ret'd 
home about 6 o'cl. Rec'd confirmation 


of day before yesterday's report yt Cpt. 
Coit mde Admiral. Rec'd Lett. Ed. 
Hallam, 15th. 

'*24th, Tuesday. Some rain. Wt to 
Mystick with clothes to be washed (viz. 
4 shirts, Do. Necks, 5 pair Stockings, 1 
Napkin,! Table Cloth, 1 Pillow Case, 2 
Linen and 1 Silk Handkerchief). P.M. 
Got Brick and Clay for Chimney. Winter 
Hill came down to wrestle, wh view to 
find out our best for a wrestling match 
to which this hill was stumped by Pros- 
pect, to be decided on Thursday ensug. 
Evening prayers omitted for wrestling. 

'*25th, Wednesday. No letters. 

''26th, Thursday. Grand wrestle on 
Prospect Hill — no wager laid. 

''Friday, 27th. Messrs John Hallam 
and David Mumford arvd. 

' * Sat. , 28th. Somewhat rainy. 


**Sab., 29th. Went to meeting in the 
barn. One exercise. After meeting 
walk'd with Cpt. Hull and Mr. Hallam 
to Mystick. 

''Sat., 28th. At night Sergt of the 
enemy's guard deserted to us. 

''Monday, 30th. Some dispute with 
the Subalterns, about Cpt. Hull and me 
acting as Captain. The Col and Lieut. 
Col. i'ull in it that we ought to act in 
that capacity. Brigade Majs and Genl 
Lee of same opinion. Presented a peti- 
tion to Gen. Washington for Cpt Hull 
and myself asking the pay of Cpts. Re- 
fused. Mr. Gurley here at Dinr. P.M. 
Went into Cambridge with Mr. Mumford. 

"Tuesday, 31st. Wrote letters to 
Father and Brother John and Enoch. 
P.M. Went to Cambridge — dr wine, &c., 
at GenLPutnams. 


**Wednesday, Novem. 1st. Mounted 
Piquet guard— nil mem. Rec'd 3 letters 
frm S. Belden, G. Salt., and B. Hallam. 
The 1st infmd he had no Scarlet Coating 
&c., and also reminded me of 20s. due to 
him by way of change of a 40s. Bill 
rec'd for Schooling (forgot). 2nd infmd 
that (as per Philadelphia paper) Peyton 
Randolph died of an Apoplexy 22nd ult. 
3rd infmd Sheriff Christopher is dead. 

*'Wed., 1st. Came off from Piquet 
guard 10 o'cl. 11 do wt to Cmge with 
Cpt Hull — dined at Genl Putnams with 
Mr. Learned. Infmd Mr. Howe died at 
Hartford two months ago. Not heard of 
before. Coll Parson's Regt under arms to 
suppress ye mutinous procedings of Genl 
Spencer's Regt— one man hurt in the 
neck by a bayonet (done yesterday). 
Retnd to camp 6 o'cL 


**Thursday, 2nd. Rain constantly, 
sometimes hard. Received a flying Re- 
port that the Congress had declared in- 

"Friday, 3rd. Nil Mem. 

**Sat., 4th. Mr. Learned and myself 
din'd at Coll Halls. Deacn Kingsbury'^s 
son visited me. P.M., Cpt Hull and 
myself wt to Prospect Hill. 

Sunday, 5th. A.M., Mr. Learned pr. 
John 13, 19 — excellentissime. A little 
after twelve a considerable number of 
cannon from the enemy in memory of 
the day. Din'd with Cpt Hull at Genl 
Putnams. Rec'd news of the taking of Fort 
Chamblee with 80 odd soldiers, about 
100 women & children, upwards of 100 
barrels of Powder, more than 200 barrels 
of pork', 40 do of flour, 2 Mortars and 
some cannon. The Women, wives to 


OflScers in St. Johns, were brought to 
St. Johns and there their Husbands per- 
mitted to come out, and after spending 
some time with them return. Also News 
of a vessel taken by one of privateers 
Fr. Phia to Bn wh 104 pipes of wine — 
another from the West Indies with the 
produce of that country. Rec'd a letter 
from bro. Enoch. Nov. 1 Covntry pr. 
Daniel Robertson who is to make me a 
visit tomorrow. The paper in which 
the OflScers sent in their names for new 
commissions return'd for more Subalt- 
erns. Ensns Pond and put down th 

names. Those who put down their 
names the first offer, (are) Colls Webb 
and ^Hall, Capts Hoyt, Tuttle, Shipman, 
Bostwick, Perrit, Levenworth, Hull and 
Hale — Subs Catland. 
•'Monday, 6th. Mounted Piquet Guard 


in the place of Cpt. Levenworth. A 
Rifleman deserted to the Regulars. Some 
wet. Day chiefly spent in Jabber and 
Chequers. Cast an eye upon Young's 
Mems, belongg to Col. Varnum — a very 
good book. Cmptof ye bad condition of 
ye lower Piquet by Majr Cutler, &c. It 
is of the utmost importance that an 
officer should be anxious to know his 
duty, but of greater that he shd care- 
fully perform what he does know. The 
present irregular state of the army is 
Dwing to a capital neglect in both of 

'^Tuesday 7th. Left Piquet 10 o'cl. 
Tnfmd Major Brooks applied for this 
Regt — new establishment — wh occasd 
much uneasiness among the Cpts. Rain 
pretty hard most of the day. Spent 
most of it in the Majr, my own and other 


tents in conversation— some chequers — 
Studied yt best method of forming a 
Eegt for review, of arraying ye Com- 
panies, also of marching round ye re- 
viewing Officer. A man ought never to 
lose a moments time. If he put off a 
thing from one minute to the next, his 
reluctance is but increased. 

''Wednesday, 8th. Cleaned my gun — 
pld some football, and some chequers. 
Some people came out of Boston via 
Koxby. Rec'd N. of Cpt Coit's taking 
two prizes, with Cattle, poultry, hay, 
rum, wine, &c., &c.— also verbal ac- 
counts of the taking of St. Johns. 

''Thursday, 9th. 1 o'cl. P.M., an 
alarm. The enemy landed at Lech- 
mere's Point to take off cattle. Our 
works were immediately all mann'd, and 
a detachment sent to receive them, who 


were obliged, it being high water, to wade 
through water nearly waist high. While 
the enemy were landing, we gave them 
a constant Cannonade from Prospect Hill. 
Our party having got on to the point, 
marched in two columns, one on each 
side of the hill with a view to surround 
ye enemy, but upon the first appearance 
of them they made to their boats as fast 
as possible. While our men were 
marching on ye point, they were ex- 
posed to a hot fire from a ship in the 
bay, and a floating Battery — also after 
they had passed the hill. A few shot 
were fired from Bunker's Hill. The 
damage on our side is the loss of one 
Eifleman taken and 3 men wounded, one 
badly, and it is thought 10 or more cattle 
carried oflf. The Rifleman taken was 
drunk in a tent in which he and the one 


who received the worst wound were 
placed to take care of the Cattle, Horses, 
&c., and give notice in case the enemy 
should make an attempt upon them. 
The tent they went in was taken. What 
the loss was on the side of the enemy 
we cannot yet determine. At night met 
with the Capts of ye new establishment 
at Genl Sullivan's to nominate Subal- 
terns. Lieut. Burbank of Col Doolittle's 
Regt made my 1st L. Sergt Chapman 
2nd & Sergt. Hurlbart Ensn. 

•^Friday, 10th. Went upon the hill to 
see my new Lieutenant Burbank and 
found him no great things. On my re- 
turn found that my Bro. & Joseph Strong 
had been here and enquired for me. 
Immediately after dinner went to Cambr. 
to see them, but was too late. Went to 
headquarters— saw Genl Sullivan and 


gave him a description of my new Lt. 
He said that he would make enquiry con- 
cerning him. On my return fo. the abo, 
Lt. at my tent, agrble to my invitation. 
After much roundabout talk persuaded 
him to go with me to the Genl to desire 
to be excused from the service. The 
Genl not being at home, deferr'd it till 
another time. 

'^Saturday, 11th Some dispute about 
the arrangement of Subs — but not peace- 
fully settled. 

Sunday, 12th. This morning early a 
meeting of Capts. upon the above matter 
and not ended till noon. No meeting 
A.M. P.M. Mr. Bird pr. 

Monday, 13th. Our people began to 
dig turf under Cobble Hill. Inlistments 
delivered out. At night a man of our 


Eegt attempted to desert to the Kegrs, 
but was taken. 

''Tuesday, 14th. Some uneasiness 
about Sabs. P.M. went to Cambr. Nil 
mem. Genl orders of today contained 
an account of the reduction of St. Johns. 
Digg sods under Cobble Hill continued.'' 

Here follow, copied by Hale's hand, 
long and minute directions for the 
Guards — twenty-one articles in all, after 
which the diary continues : 

"Wednesday, 15th. Mounted Main 
Guard. Heard read the articles of sur- 
render of St. Johns. Likewise an ac- 
count of the repulse of our piratical 
enemies at Hampton in Virginia, with 
the loss of a number of men (in a hand- 
bill). Three deserters made their escape 
from Boston to Koxbury last night. 
Two prisoners were taken this afternoon 


in the orchard below Plough'd Hill, who, 
with some others were getting apples. 
They bring accounts that it was reported 
in Boston that our army at St. Johns was 
entirely cut off. That last week when 
they attempted to take our cattle at 
Sewel's point they killed 50 or 60 of our 
men, wounded as many more and had 
not a man either killed or wounded — 
whereas in truth we had only one that 
was much wounded, and he is in a way 
to recover. Rec'd a letter from J. 

^'Thursday, 16th. Reliev'd from 
Piquet, 8^ o'cl. Confined James Brown 
of Opt. Hubbels company for leaving the 
guard which he did yesterday toward 
night, and did not return until 4 o'cl. 
this morning, when he was taken up by 
the centinel at the door of Temple's 


House. As it appeared he was some- 
what disguised with liquor, I ordered 
him confined and reported. 

''Thursday, 16th. Wrote two letters — 
1 to J. Hallam and 1 to G. Salt. It being 
Thanksgiving in Connecticut, the Capts 
and officers in nomination for the new 
army had an entertainment at T's house 
provided by Capt. Whitney's Sutler. 
They were somewhat merry and inlisted 
some soldiers. I was not present. 
About 10 or 11 o'cl. at night Orders came 
for reinforcing the Piquet with 10 men 
from a Comy. 

''Friday, 17th. Kec'd an order from 
Colonel Hall for taking up at the Con- 
tinental store 4 pr. Breeches, 6 Do 
Stockgs, 5^ yds of Coats, 5 Do Shoes, 1 
Shirt, 1 buff jerk. 1 pr. Indian Stockgs, 
all which I got but the Shirt, Indian 


Stockgs, U yd. Coatng, and shoes which 
are to come to-morrow morning. Cpt 
Hull wth some of his soldiers went wth 
me to Cambge. Return'd after dark. 
Stop'd at Genl. Lee's to see about Furls 
for men enlisted, who ordered the general 
orders of the day to be read by which 
Furloughs are to be given by Colls only 
and not more than 50 at a time must 
have them out of a Regt. Genl orders 
further contained that the Congress had 
seen fit to raise the pay of the oflScers 
from what they were— and that a Cpt. 
upon the new establishment is to receive 
26| Dollars per month — a 1st and 2nd 
Lieut. 18 Dollars and Ensn 13^ Dollars. 

''Saturday, 18th. Obtained an order 
from Colo. Webb upon the Q.M.G. for 
things for the soldiers. Went for them 
afterward — returned a little after Sunset. 


^'Sabbath Day, 19th. Mr. Bird pr.— 
one service only, beginning after 12 o'cl. 
Text Esther 8th, 6: ''For how can I en- 
dure to see the evil that shall come unto 
my people, or how can I endure to see 
the destruction of my kindred?" The 
discourse very good, the same as 
preached to Genl Wooster, his officers 
and Soldiers, at Newhaven, and which 
was again preached at Cambridge a Sab- 
bath or two ago. Now preached as a 
farewell discourse. Robert Latimer, the 
Majr's son, went to Roxbury today, on 
his way home. The Majr who went there 
today and Lieut Hurlburt, and Robert 
Latimer F. who went yesterday, returned 
this eveng and bt accts that the Asia Man 
of War, stationed at New York, was 
taken by a Schooner armed with Spears, 
&c., which at first appeared to be going 


out of the Harbour atid was brot to by 
ye Asia and instead of coming under her 
stern, just as she corns ud shot along 
side. The men who were before con- 
ceal'd immediately sprang up with their 
lances, &c., and went at it with such 
vigour that they soon made themselves 
masters of the ship. The kill'd and 
wounded are not known. This account 
not credited. Sergeant Prentis thought 
to be dying about 12 Meridian — some 
better if any alteratn this evening. 

''Monday, 20th. Obtain'd furloughs 
for five men, viz., Isaac Hammon, Jabez 
Minard, Christopher Beebe, John Holmes, 
and William Hatch, each for 20 Days. 
Mounted mn Guard — 4 prisoners, nil 
mem., until 10 o'cl.,when an alarm from 
Cambr. and Prospect Hill occasioned our 
turning out. Slept little or none. 


'^Tuesday, 21st. Reliev'd by Cpt. 
Hoyt. Sergt. Prentis very low. Colo 
and some Opts went to Cambr. to a Court 
M. to Cpt. Hubbel's Trial, adjourn'd 
from yesterday today. Evening spent 
in conversation. 

''Wednesday, 22nd. Sergt. Prentis 
died about 12 o'cl. last night. Tried to 
obtain furlough to go to Cape Ann and 
keep Thanksgiving but could not suc- 
ceed. Being at Genl Sullivans, heard 
Genl Green read a letter from a member 
of the Congress expressing wonder at 
the Backwardness of the OfFrs and Sol- 
diers to tarry the winter, likewise in- 
forming that the men inlisted fast in 
Pennsylvania and ye Jersies for 30s. per 
month. Some hints dropt as if there 
were to be a change of the" 

Here a leaf of the Camp Book is gone 


and the Diary recommences as fol- 

''Saturday, 25th. Last night 2 sheep 
kill'd belonging to the Enmy. This 
morning considerable firing between the 
Gentries. A Rifleman got a Dog from the 
regulars. Col. Varnum offer'd a Guinea 
for him the (same) that Genl Lee had 
oflFer'd. 10 o'cl. A.M. went to Cobble 
Hill to view. Another brought to the 
Ferry way — two there now. P.M. Went 
to Cam — Ret'd Sunset — Heard further 
that 200 or 300 poor people had been set 
on shore last night by the Regulars, the 
place not known, but sd to be not more 
than 6 or 8 miles from hence. Cannon 
were heard this forenoon, seeming to be 
off in the bay, and at some distance. 
Observed in coming from Cambr., a num- 
ber of Gabines at Genl Lees, said to be 


for the purpose of fortifying upon Lech- 
mere Point. 

'^26th, Sunday. William Hatch of 
Major Latimer's Co. died last night, 
having been confin'd about one week — 
He has the whole time been in — and great 
part of it out of his Senses. His distem- 
per was not really known. He was 
buried this afternoon — few people at- 
tended his funeral. Reported that the 
people were set ashore at Chelsea, and 
bring accts that the troops in Boston had 
orders to make an attack on Plough'd 
Hill, when we first began our works 
there, but the UflScers, a number of them, 
went to Gen Howe and offer'd to give up 
their commissions, absolutely refusing to 
come out and be butcher'd by the Amer- 
icans. Mounted main Guard this morn- 
ing. Snowy. Lt. Chapman rec'd Re- 


cruiting ordrs, and set out home, propos- 
ing to go as far as Eoxby today. 

*'27th, Monday. Nil mem. Evening 
went to Gen. Lee's, whom I found very 
much cast down at the discouraging 
prospects of supplying the army with 

''28th, Tuesday. Promised the men if 
they would tarry another month they 
should have my wages for that time. 
Gen. Sullivan returned. Sent order to 
Fraser, Q.M., to send us some wood. 
Went to Cambr. — could not be served at 
the store. Eeturn'd — observ'd a greater 
number of Gabines at Genl Lee's. Infml 
at Cambr. yt Genl Putnam's Regt., 
mostly concluded to tarry another month 
(This is a lie). 

*'29th, Wednesday. The Regt. drawn 
up before Genl. Sullivan's. After he 


had made them a most excellent speech, 
desired them to signify their minds 
whether they would tarry till the 1st of 
Janury. Very few fell out, but some 
gave in their names afterwards. Read 
News of the taking of a vessel loaded 
wth ordinance and stores. 

''30th, Thursday. Obtain'd a furlough 
for Ensn Hurlburt for 20 Days. Sent no 
letters to-day on account of the hurry of 

''(December) 1st, Friday. Wt to Cam- 
bridge. A number of men about 20 in 
the whole, confined for attempting to go 
home. OurRegt this morning by means 
of Genl Lee unversally consented to 
tarry until the Militia came in, and by 
far the greater part agreed to stay until 
the first of Jan. 

"2nd, Saturday. Orders rec'd to the 


Regt that no one Officer or Soldier 
should go beyond Drum call from his 
alarm post. Went to Mystick with Gel 
Sullivan's order on Mr. Fraser for things 
wanted by the Soldiers who are to tarry 
till ^the 1st of January, but found he had 

''3rd, Sunday. Wet weather. No pr. 
Evg gotanordr from B. G. Sullivan upon 
Colo Mifflin for the above mentioned 
articles not to be had at Eraser's. 

''4th, Monday. Went to Cambridge to 
draw the above articles but the order 
was not accepted. Rec's News yt 
several prizes had been taken by our 
Prvateers, among which was a Vessel 
from Scotland, ballast'd with coal— the 
rest of her cargo dry goods. Cpt. Bulk- 
ley and Mr. Chamberlain, from Colches- 
ter with cheese. Purchased 107 lbs., for 


which I gave an order upon Mr. Lat- 

'*5th, Tuesday. Rec'd News of the 
death of John Bowers, Gunner in Cpt. 
Adams' Privateer, formerly of Majr Lati- 
mer's Company. 

*'6th, Wednesday. Upon main Guard. 
Nil mem. Rec'd some letters per Post. 
Col. Doolittle, Officer of the day, infmd 
that Col. Arnold had arrived at point 
Levi near Quebec. 

''7th, Thursday. Went to Cambridge 
to draw things. 

''8th, Friday. Did some writing. 
Went P.M. to draw money for our ex- 
penses on the road from N. L. to Rox- 
bury, but was disappointed. 

"9th. Nil mem. Saturday. 

"10th. Struck our tents and the men 
chiefly marched oflF. Some few remain- 


ing came into my room. At night 
Charles Brown, Daniel Talbot and Wm. 
Carver returned from privateering. As- 
sisted Majr Latimer in making out his 
Pay Roll. Somewhat unwell this morning. 

''11th, Monday. Finish'd the pay roll, 
and settled some accounts about 12 o'cl. 
Majr Latimer set out home. 1 or more 
Companies came in to-day for our relief. 

"12th, Tuesday. A little unwell yes- 
terday and to-day. Some better this 

**13th, Wednesday. On Main Guard. 
Rec'd and wrote some letters. Read the 
History of Philip. 

'*14th, Thursday. Went to Cambridge. 
Visited Majr Brooks, found him unwell 
with an ague. Capt. Hull taken violently 
ill yesterday — remains very bad to-day 
— has a high fever. 


*'15th, Friday. Nil mem. 

**16th, Sat. Our people began the 
covered way to Lechmere's Point. 

''17th, Sunday. Went to My stick to 
meeting. Some firing on our people at 
Lechmere's Point. 

*'18th, Monday. Went to Cambridge 
to draw things. The Regt paraded this 
morning to be formed into two companies, 
that the rest of the officers might go 
home. Heard in Cambridge that Cpt. 
Manly had taken another prize with the 
Govr of one of the Carolinas friendly to 
us jand the Hon Matthews, Esqr., Memb. 
of the Continental Congress, whom Gov. 
Dunmore had taken and sent for Boston. 

^'19th, Tuesday. Went to Cobble Hill. 
A shell and a shot from Bunker's Hill. 
The shell breaking in the air— one piece 
fell and touched a man's hat, but did no 


harm. Works upon Lechmere's Point 

"20th, Wed. Went to Roxbury for 
money left for me by Majr Latimer with 
Genl Spencer, who refused to let me 
have it without security. Draw'd some 
things from the Store. Lt Catlin and 
Ensn Whittlesey set out home on foot. 

"21st, Thursday. Wrote a number of 
letters. Went to Cambridge to carry 
them where I found Mr. Hempstead had 
taken up my money at Genl Spencer's 
and given his receipt. I took it of 
Hempstead giving my receipt. The sum 
was £36 10s. Od. 

"22d, Friday. Some Shot from the 

"23rd, Saturday. Tried to draw 1 
month's advance pay for my Company, 
but found I could not have it till Mon- 


day next. Upon which borrowed 76 
Dollars of Opt. Levenworth, giving him 
an order on Coll Webb for the same as 
soon as my advance pay for January 
should be drawn. 3| o'cl. P.M. Set 
out from Cambridge on my way home. 
At Watertown took the wrong road, and 
went two miles directly out of the way, 
which had to travel right back again. 
And after travelling 11 miles put up at 
Hammons, Newtown, about 7 o'cl. En- 
tertainment pretty good. 

*'24th, Sunday. Left H's 6^ o'cl. 
Went 8 miles to Strayton's, passing by 
Jackson's at 3 miles. Breakfasted at 
Straytons. The snow which began be- 
fore we set out this morning increases 
and becomes burthensome. From Stray- 
tons 9 miles to Stone's, were we eat Bis- 
cuit and drank cyder. 7 miles to Jones' 


—dined — arv'd 3J o'cl. From there 2m. 
and forget some things, and went back — 
then return'd. To Dr. Reeds that night. 
Pass'd Amadons and Keiths 3m. Good 
houses. Within i m. of Dr. Reeds 
missed my road, and went 2 m. directly 
out of my way, and right back, travell'd 
— in the whole today, 41 miles. The 
weather stormy and the snow for the 
most part ancle deep. 

*'25th, Monday. From Dr. Reeds 8 
o'cl. Came 1 or 2 m. and got horses. 
4 m. to Hills and breakfasted — ordinary. 
8 m. to Jacobs and din'd. Dismissed 
our horses. 6 o'cl. arv'd Keyes 11 m., 
and put up. Entertainment good. 

"26th, Tuesday. 6 o'cl. A.M. Fr. K. 
6 m. to Kindals — breakfasted. 10 on to 
Southwards — din'd. Settled accts with 
'Lt Sage — dd hm 16 Dollars for paying 


Soldiers 1 month's advance pay. Arr'vd 
home a little after sunset. One heel 
string lame. 

"Wed., 27th. Heel lame. Wt to Br. 
Koses. Aunt Robs, Mr. Huntton and 
Opt Robs. 

"28th, Thursday. Unwell. Tarried 
at home. 

"29th, Friday. Went to see G. C. 
Lyman. Call'd at Dr. Kingsbury's and 
Mr. Strongs. 

"Jany, 1776, 24th, Wednesday. Set 
out from my Fathers for the Camp on 
horseback at 7^ o'cl. At 11 o'cl. arv'd at 
Perkins by Ashford Meetmg House 
where left the horses, 12^ o'cl. mch'd — 
3J arv'd Grosvenors, 8 m. and 4J at Gros- 
venor's Pomfret, 2m. and put up. Here 
met 9 Solrs fr. Windham. 

"25th, Thursday. 6J o'cl. mcTid from 


G. and came to Forbs 7m., but another 
Co having engaged breakfast there we 
were obliged to pass on to Jacobs (from 
Grov. 18m.) — After Breakfast went 8m. 
to Hills, and dr. some bad cyder in a 
worse tavern. 7 o'cl. arv'd Deacon 
Reeds, 5 m. Uxbridge, and ^ comy put 
up, myself wth remainder passed on to 
Woods 2m. 

^'26th, Friday. 7 o'cl. fr. Woods 4m. 
to Almadons Mendoreld — breakfasted. 
17m. to Clark's, 10 o'cl. Mchd about 11 
o'cl. — arv'd at Ellis' 5^ where drank a 
glass of brandy, and proceeded on 5^ to 
Whitings. Arv'd 2 o'cl. Arv'd at 
Barkers in Jamaica Plains, but being re- 
fused entertainment were obliged to be- 
take ourselves to the Punch Bowl where 
leaving the men 11 M., went to Roxby 
Saw Genl Spencer, who tho't it to 


have the men there, as the Regiment 
were expected there on Monday or Tues- 
day. Indians at Genl Spencers. Retd 
to Winter Hill. 

*'28th, Sunday. Went to Roxby to 
find barracks for 11 men that came with 
me, but not finding good ones, ret'd to 
Temple's House where the men were 
arv'd before me. In the evening went to 
pay a last visit to General Sullivan with 
Col. Webb and the Cpts. of the Regt. 

*'29th, Monday. Nil mem. 

**30th, Tuesday. Removed from Win- 
ter Hill to Roxby. 

**Feby 4th, 1776. Sunday. 

**Peb. 14th, 1776, Wednesday. Last 
night a party of Regulars made an at- 
tempt upon Dorchester, landing with a 
very considerable body of men, taking 6 
of our guard, dispersing the rest and burn- 


ing two or three houses. The Guard 
house was set on fire but extinguished. 

**(New York) July 23d, 1776. Report 
in town of the arv'l of twenty S. of the 
line in St. Lawre River. Doct. Wolcott 
and Guy Richds Jun. here frm N. L. 
Rec'd L fr. G. Saltonstall. 

*'Aug. 21st. Heavy storm at night. 
Much and heavy thunder. Capt. Van 
Wyke and a Lieut, and Ensn of Colo 
McDougall's Reg't kill'd by a Shock. 
Likewise one man in town belonging to a 
Militia Reg't of Connecticut. The Storm 
continued for two or three hours for the 
greatest part of which time (there) was a 
perpetual Lightning and the sharpest I 
ever knew. 

*'22d, Thursday. The enemy landed 
some troops down at the Narrows on 
Long Island. 


'*23rd, Friday. Enemy landed more 
Troops — News that they had marched up 
and taken Station near Flatbush, their 
advce Gds. being on this side near the 
Woods — that some of our Riflemen at- 
tacked and drove them back from their 
post, burnt 2 stacks of hay and it was 
thought kiird some of them — this about 
12 o'cl. at Night. Our troops attacked 
them at their station near Flath, routed 
and drove them back 1| miles.'* 




HALE's letters, and letters to HALE. 

From New London, the 2d of May, 1774, 
to Thomas Mead, at New Haven. 

This is the first opportunity I have of 
acknowledging your favour of last ^vinter. 
I was, at the receipt of your letter in East 
Haddani (alias Modos), a place which I, 
at first, for a long time, concluded inacces- 
sible, either by friends, acquaintance or 
letters. Nor was I convinced of the con- 
trar}^ until I re(cei)ved yours &> at the same 
time two others from Alden and Wyllys, 
Avhich made me, if possible, value your 
letter the more. 

It was equally or more difl&cult to con- 
vey anything from Modos. True, I saw 


the bearer of yours (Mr. Medcaff) some 
few days before he set out for New Haven, 
and desired the favour of sending some 
letters by him. Accordingly, I had written 
letters to you, Alden and Wyllys with one 
or two others, but upon enquiry found that 
Mr. Medcaft was gone too soon for me. 
Since which I have scarce had an oppor- 
tunity of sending towards N. Haven. 

I want much to receive a letter from you 
and a full history of the transactions of the 
winter. I have heard many flying reports, 
but know not what to conclude as to the 
truth of them. Upon the whole I take it 
for certain that the Quintumviri have been 
massacred, but in what manner I have not 
been sufficiently informed. From what I 
can collect, I think probable you have had 
some high doings, this winter, but expect a 
more fidl account of these matters in your 


I am at present in a school in New Lon- 
don. I think my situation somewhat pre- 
ferable to what it was last winter. My 
school is by no means difficult to take care 
of. It consists of about 30 scholars, ten of 
whom are Latiners and but six writers. I 
have a very convenient schoolhouse and 
the people are very kind and sociable. — I 
promise myself some more satisfaction in 
writing and receiving letters from you than 
I have as yet had. I know of no stated 
communication but without doubt oppor- 
tunities will be very much more frequent 
than when I was at Moodus. — For the 
greater part of the last year we were good 
neighbors, and, I have always thought, very 
good friends. Surely, so good on my part, 
that it would be matter of real grief to me 
should our friendship cease. — The only 
means of maintaining it is in constant writ- 
ing ; in the practice of which I am ready 


most heartily to concur ^^dth you and do 
hope ever to remain, as at present, 
Your Friend and 

Constant well wisher, 

Nathais^ Hale. 

New London, May 2, 
A. D. 1774. 

Hale to his Uncle, Samuel Hale, at 

New London, Conn., Sept. 24, 1774. 

Respected Uncle : 

My visit to Portsmouth, last fall, served 
only to increase the nearness of your family 
and make me the more desirous of seeing 
them again. But this is a happiness Avhich 
at present I have but little prospect of en- 
joying. The most I now hope for is that 
I mav have the satisfaction now and then to 
hear from my Uncle and Cousins hj letter. 

I can tell you but little of my father or 



his family, being situated about 30 miles 
from them. I have not visited them for 
near three months, but have heard from 
them somewhat indirectly within a few 
days. I understand they are well. My 
eldest sister Elizabeth was married last 
winter (as you have doubtless heard) to 
Sam'l Kose, son to Doct'r Rose, and has, I 
suppose, a prospect of a very comfortable 
living. As to any further particulars of 
my Father or his family, I can mention 
nothing. My own employment is at pres- 
ent the same that you spent your days in. 
I have a school of thirty-two boys, about 
half Latin, the rest English. The salary 
allowed me is £70 per annum. In addition 
to this I have kept, during the summer, a 
morning school, between the hours of five 
and seven, of about 20 young ladies ; for 
w^hich I have received 6s. by the quarter. 
The people with whom I live are free and 



generous, many of them gentlemen of sense 
and merit. They are desirous that I won Id 
continue and settle in the school and pur- 
pose a considerable increase of wages. I 
am much at a loss ^vhether to accept their 
proposals. Your advice in this matter 
coming from an Uncle and from a man 
who has spent his life in the business, 
would, I think, be the best 1 could possibly 
receive. A few lines on this subject, and 
also to acquaint me with the welfare of 
your family, if your leisure will permit, 
will be much to the satisfaction of 

Your most dutiful Nephew, 

Nathan Hale. 

P. S. — Please to present my duty to my 
Aunt, and fondest regards to all my cousins. 
If no other opportunity of writing presents, 
please to improve that of the Post. 
Addressed : To 

Major Samuel Hale, at Portsmouth. 


Hale to Dr. Aeneas Munson at New 

New London, November 30, 1774. 


I am happily situated here. I love my 
employment, find many friends among 
strangers ; liave time for scientific study, 
and seem to fill the place assigned me with 
satisfaction. I have a school of more than 
thirty boys to instruct, about half of them 
in Latin, and my salary is satisfactory. 
During the summer I had a morning class 
of young ladies — about a score — from five 
to seven o'clock ; so you see my time is 
pretty fully occupied, profitably, I hope, to 
my pupils and to their teacher. 

Please accept for yourself and Mrs. Mun- 
son the grateful thanks of one who will 
always remember the kindness he ever ex- 
perienced whenever he visited your abode. 

Your friend, Nathan Hale. 


Hale to Proprietors of Union Grammar 
School, New London. 

Gentlemen : 

Having received information that a place 
is allotted me in the army, and being in- 
clined, as I hope, for good reasons, to accept 
it, I am constrained to ask as a favor that 
which scarce anything else would have in- 
duced me to, which is to be excused from 
keeping your school any longer. For the 
purpose of conversing upon this and pro- 
curing another master, some of your num- 
ber think it best there should be a general 
meeting of the proprietors. The time 
talked of holding it is 6 o'clock, this after- 
noon, at the schoolhouse. The year for 
which I engaged will expire within a fort- 
night, so that my quitting a few days 
sooner, I hope, will subject you to no great 


School keeping is a business of which I 
was always fond, but since my residence in 
this town, everything has conspired to ren- 
der it more agreeable. I have thought 
much of never quitting it but with life, but 
at present there seems an opportunity for 
more extended public service. 

The kindness expressed to me by the 
people of the place, but especially the pro- 
prietors of the school, will always be grate- 
fully remembered by, gentlemen, with re- 
spect, your humble servant, 

Nathan Hale. 

Friday, July 7, 1775. To John Win- 
throp, Esq., Richard Law, Esq., &c. &c. 

Letters from correspondents to Nathan 

Windsor (not East) Jany 20, 1773. 

In my present unlucky situation I have 


just received yours of day after Thanks<- 
giving ; from wliich I am at loss to deter- 
mine whether you are yet in this land of 
the living, or removed to some far distant 
and to us unknown region ; but this much 
I am certain of, that if you departed this 
life at Modos, you stood but a narrow 
chance for gaining a better. 

At the top of the page, I denominate my 
present situation unlucky ; in one sense it 
is so, but on many accounts I can't but say 
that I am well pleased with it. By con- 
fining myself to a school I am deprived of 
the pleasure of many agreeable rides among 
my friends about the country in which I 
had determined to spend the winter with 
this further aggravation, that till noAv yon 
have not known where to direct for me, 
& perhaps have entertained the suspicion 
that I was careless about returnino; an answer 
to yours. On the other hand my school is 


not laro;e, mv neig;libors are kind and clever 
and (summatira). My distance from a house 
on your side of the river which contains 
an object worthy the esteem of every one, 
and as I conclude, has yours in an especial 
manner, is not great ; why should I com- 
plain ? For no other reason but that I 
cannot enjoy the company of yourself with 
some other special friends. I have lately 
seen your brother at the other side of the 
river, who informs me that he is very 
pleased with his school. 

Thus far, sir, I conclude by wishing you 
in yom^ business, the greatest success. 

Your sincere friend, 
& huml sert, 

Wm. Robinson. 

Timothy Green to Hale at East Had. 
dam : 

This is the continuance of a correspon- 


dence that begun between Hale and Mr. 
Green some montlis previous when the for- 
mer applied for the Union Grammar school. 
Hale was then at the school in Moodus, or 
East Haddam, which he had received in Oc- 
tober, 1773, after his graduation, and where 
he remained but for the short period of five 
months, leaving it in March, 1774. 

Though he wrote to his friends saying 
the town had some agreeable features, it 
was very plain that he was not satisfied 
there, probably because of the isolation 
from all his friends and the impossibility of 
getting news from or to them. 

He had heard of the incorporation of the 
Union Grammar school at New London, 
and was familiar with the name of Timothy 
Green, for he doubtless read the paper pub- 
lished by the latter, The Connecticut Ga- 
zette, the patriot's medium of communica- 
tion in the colony. 


There were twenty-four proprietors of 
the school, namely : John Winthrop, Guy 
Richards, John Kichards, Capt. Richard 
Deshon, Richard Law, Duncan Stewart, 
the English collector, Capt. Robinson Mum- 
ford, Thomas Mumford, Capt. Joseph Pack- 
wood, Capt. William Packwood, Roger 
Gibson, Winthrop Saltonstall, David Mum- 
ford, Silas Church, Capt. Michael Melal- 
ley, Capt. Thomas Allen, Capt. Charles 
Chadwick, Mr. Samuel Belden, Jeremiah 
Miller, Capt. Russell Hubbard, Nathaniel 
Shaw, Jr., Capt. John Crocker, Dr. Thomas 
Coit and Timothy Green. 

That he early tried to leave Moodus was 
shown by the letter of Mr. Green, who wrote 
to him in December, saying, " I have shewed 
Mr. Huntington's Letter and the sample of 
your writing enclosed in it to several of the 
Proprietors of the School in this Town who 
have desired me to inform you that there is 


a probability of their agreeing with you to 
keep the school ; and for that reason desire 
that you would not engage yourself else- 
where till you hear further from them." 

(The Mr. Huntington referred to was 
Hale's beloved teacher — Rev. Joseph Hunt- 

In the meantime the school had a teacher 
in Phineas Tracy of Norwich, and on Feb- 
ruary 4, Mr. Green wrote again to Hale, 
asking him to wait one week more and then 
came this subjoined letter :) 

K London, Feb. 10, 1774. 


Since my last to you, the Proprietors 
of the new School House in this Town have 
had a meeting and agree that you should 
take the School for one quarter, at the rate 
of $220 Dols. per ann., to be paid at the end 
of the qtr. of which I am desirous to ac- 
quaint you. Am not able to inform you 


when Mr. Tracy's quarter will expire, but 
this will do when I'm acquainted by a line 
from you whether we may depend on your 
taking the school, which you will please to 
write me pr. first oppo. 

It is the desire of the Proprietors that 
you would come down two or three days 
before Mr. Tracy's quarter expires that they 
may be certain of the school's being imme- 
diately supplied with a master — in which 
case it is agreed that your wages shall com- 
mence from the time of your arriving here. 
— I am, sir, &c. Tmo. Geeen. 

Mr. Tracy's time will be up about the 
middle of March. 

Gilbert Saltonstall to Hale in Camp. 

New London, Oct. 9, 1775. 

Dear Sir, 

By yours of the 5th I see you're Stationed 
in the Mouth of Danger. I look upon yr 


Situation more Perilous than any other in 
the Camp.— Should have tho't the new Re- 
cruits would have been Posted at some of 
the Outworks, &c. and those that have been 
inure to Service advanc'd to Defend the most 
exposed Places — But all things are con- 
certed and ordered with Wisdom no doubt 
— The Affair of Dr. Church is truly amaz- 
ing from the acquaintance I have of his 
publick Character I should as soon have 
suspected Mr. Hancock or Adams as him. 

Last Saturday a ship of 200 tun run 
aground off Stonington loaded with Wheat 
it's the Ship that some time ago purposely 
fell in the Hands of the AVallace at Rhode 
Island wh a load of Flower, she is owned 
by Christo Champlin of Newport, when the 
Fishing Boats hail'd them they gave no 
Reply and soon after run on the Shoals as 
above, the Com. of Stonington went to un- 
loading her immediately & sent off per Capt 


Niles who lay in this Harbor to come round 
to Stonington to protect her against any- 
small Tender which should happen that 
way, he up Anchor and went round forth- 
with ; the Ship is now in this Harbor (came 
in this Morn) her Cargo is principally taken 
out in lighters and sent to Norwich, where 
she will follow as soon as the AVind permits, 
for she can'b beat up, having lost her Masts 
in the Gale the 10th Sept Young Dr. 
Mumford has Just brought this paper from 
New York. 

1 have extracted all the material News 
— should have sent the Paper, but it is 
the only one in Town and everyone is 
Gaping for News. 

You'll excuse the writing, as I am in a 
great hurry I scratch away as fast as I can. 
Your Sincere Friend, 


322 nathan hale. 

Esteemed Feiend, 

Your various Letters duly received. — 
It was no unwillingness in me that pre- 
vented my answs in course. The Honest 
Reason though not a reputable one, I know 
will excuse Me to you, I'll therefore give it. 
I defer'd and deferVl to the last mom't, and 
then something turned up tantamount 
to a sore Finger and in fact prevented 

Doctr Church is in close Custody in 
Norwich Goal, the AVindows boarded up 
and he deny'd, the use of Pen, Ink and 
Paper, to have no converse with any Per- 
son but in the presence of the Goaler and 
then to Converse in no Language but 
English. Good God what a fall — 

You saw in the paper the Address to the 
King from the Merchts &c. of Manchester 
— Notwithstanding their pretending their 
Resources are many, and so large that the 


Americans' Nonimportation & exportation 
will be like the light dust of the Ballance, 
yet to everyone who will turn it in his 
thoughts, it's utterly impossible but that 
ye prodigeous Consumption of British 
Wares &> Merchandize from Georgia to 
Nova Scotia including Canady the Reduc- 
tion of which I consider as already com- 
pleated must affect them sensibly and 
they must recognize the consequence of 
America — 

I wish New York was either ras'd to 
the Foundation or strongly garisoned by 
the American Forces. When the Army is 
new modled, send me a List of the Ar- 
rangements. Are any of the Connecticut 
Companies to be disbanded ? The Majors 
&c. — what are to become of them ? 

My Compliments to S. Webb and Hull 
and other Friends — Hempsted will wait 


no longer — Good B'y'e write me a line — 
tlie News you can muster. 

Yr &c. 

Gilbert Saltonstall. 
Nov. 27tli, 1775. 

New Londot^, Deer. 4th, 1775. 
Dear Sir, 

The behaviour of our Connecticut Troops 
makes me Heart sick that they who 
have stood foremost in the praises and 
good Wishes of their Countrymen, as 
having distinguished themselves for their 
Zeal and Publick Spirit should now shame- 
fully desert the Cause ; and at a critical 
moment too, is reall}^ unaccountable — amaz- 
ing. Those that do return will meet with 
real Contempt, with deserv'd Reproach — ■ 
it give me great satisfaction that the officers 
universally agree to tarry — that is the Re- 
port, is it true or not ? May the God who 


has SO signally appeared for us since the 
commencement of oar troubles interpose, 
that no fatal or bad Consequence may at- 
tend a dastardly desertion of his Cause. 

I want much to have a more minute 
Acct of the situation of the Camp than I 
have be enable to obtain. I rely wholly 
on you for information. — 

Gilbert Salstonstall. 

New London, Deer. 18th, 1775. 
Deak Sir. 

I wholly agree with you in the agreables 
of a Camp Life, and should have try'd it 
in some Capacity or other before now, 
could my Father carry on his Business 
without me. I propos'd going with 
Dudley, who is appointed to Commn a 
Twenty Gun ship in the Continental 
Navy, but my Father is not willing and I 


can't persuade myself to leave him in the 
Eve of Life against his consent. 

Yesterday week the Town was in the 
greatest confusion imagineable ; Women 
wringing their Hands along Street ; Children 
crying, Carts loaded till nothing more would 
stick on, empty ones driving in ; one Person 
running this way ; another that, some dull, 
some vex'd, none pleas'd, some flinging up 
an intrenchment, some at the Fort prepar- 
ing the Gruns for Action, Drums beating, 
Fifes playing ; in short as great a Hubbub 
as at the confusion of Tongues ; all this 
occasioned by the appearance of a Ship and 
Two Sloops off the Harbor, spos'd to be 
part of Wallace's Fleet. — When they were 
found to be Friends, Vessels from New 
Port with Passengers, ye consternation 
abated, and all fell to work at the Intrench- 
ment, which runs from N. Douglasses to 
S. Bills Shop — they have been at Work ever 


since yesterday Week when the Weather 
would permit, they work'd Yesterday at 
Winthrop's Neck and are at it there to-day 
— in some respects we are similar to a Camp 
for Sunday is no Day of rest now. — You 
would hear the small Chaps (who mimick 
Men in everything they can) cry out, " Cut 
down the Tories Tres " there is not one of 

Capt Willows remaining in his lot 

back of his House — they are appropriated to 
a better use than he would ever have put 
them to. — The Breastwork is much the 
better for them. 

I might inform you of many little bicker- 
ings that occur daily, but as those that 
raise them are of no importance, and the 
Evils (if any) are only local, it is not worth 
while to repeat them ; Besides you know 
the Genius of the Town is a restless, discon- 
tented Spirit. 

When I have observed the Malice and 


Envy which rages to a Flame in so many 
Breasts, the Slander, the illiberal & ungener- 
ous Reflections which serve as Fuel to those 
Hellish Vices, I lament the Depravity of the 
Human Heart, and fall little short of a 
Misanthropist. But when I come across a 
Person of Candour, Reason, Justice and 
Sincerity with their attendant Virtues, (I'd 
almost said a Person of either of those En- 
dowments) I feel a generous glow within 
me despise the base light in which I view'd 
Human Nature, & become reconciled to my 

The Soldiers can give no other Reason 
for not Enlisting than the old woman's. 
They wou'd not, cause they wou'd not. 

My Compliments to Capt Hull — am very 
sorry to hear of his Illness, hope this will 
find him recruited. 

I am with Sincerity Your Friend 




Roger Alden to Hale in Camp. 

N. Hayeis', Novembr. 28tli, 1775. 
Dear Sik : — 

If you had only once thought how much 
pleasure it would have given me to re- 
ceive a letter from you in your present 
character and situation, I am sure you 
could not have neglected writing to me by 
Captain Leavenworth. 

If the life and business of a soldier have 
worn off all that friendship and tenderness 
for me which you have so often expressed 
by words and actions I shall try to reconcile 
myself to the misfortune and promise my- 
self no more happiness and satisfaction 
from him whom I once esteemed among the 
number of my best friends. 

The cares, perplexities and fatigues of 
your office are matters sufficient to vindi- 
cate your conduct and the duty which you 



owe to your own honor and the interest 
of your country is sufficient to employ 
your whole time and to justify you in 
dispensing with the obligation of your 
old friends and acquaintances. 

I almost envy you your circumstances; 
I want to be in the army very much ; I feel 
myself fit to relish the noise of guns, drums, 
trumpets, blunderbuss and thunder, and 
was I qualified for a berth and of influence 
sufficient to procure one I would accept it 
with all my heart. I would accept of a 
lieutenancy but would prefer an adjutancy; 
but other more fortunate young persons 
are provided for and I, poor I, must make 
myself contented where I am. Think of 
my condition and then imagine how highly 
I appreciate yours. Give my love and com- 
pliments to Keyes and Woodbridge, tell 
them I shall be very careful to ansTver 
all their letters as your own. After you 



have thought over all this, tell yourself 
that no one loves you more thau R. A. 

RoGEE Alden^. 
Thomas U. Fosdick to Hale at Camp. 
Xeav London, Deer. 7, 1775. 

Dear Sir, 

Ever since the uneasiness which I have 
heard persisting amongst the Connecticut 
Troops, I've formed a Resolution to go 
down to the assistance of my countrymen, 
to facilitate which I have just resigned my 
office as Sergeant in Col. Saltons tail's com'y 
— I make no doubt, Sir, but you can assist 
me to some such office, as I should choose 
to be in that station under you in partic- 
ular ; if not, I am determined to come 
down — a hearty Boy, undaunted by Dan- 
ger. Ensign Hurlbut will write you con- 
cerning the above. 

Your very Humble Servt. 
Thos, Updlo: Fosdick. 



John Hallam to Hale. 
New London, Deer. 10, 1775. 

Sunday Evening. 

Dear Sir. 

I rec'd yours by the Post, which tho' 
short, believe me was very acceptable ; 
your being on Picquet is a sufficient ex- 
cuse that you wrote no more — I must make 
an excuse for the shortness of mine of a 
similar kind ; we have at length concluded 
to intrench along our Street from Capt. N. 
Douglass's to Capt. Wm. Packwood, which 
we began — Friday afternoon, on Saterday 
we worked &> likewise all this Day, oc- 
casion'd by an alarm & to-morrow and 
next. Day we expect our Country Friends 
in to help us ; we've had upward of 200 
Volunteers to work. The Alarm I men- 
tion'd was thus. Early this morning we 
rec'd an Express from Stonington, that 
a Ship and Tender was coming in to their 
Harbor & several more was seen in the 


Offing, a few Hours after she made her ap- 
pearance round Eastern Point; Judge you 
of the confusion. I never saw greater nor 
did I ever see Men worke with such spirit 
& prepare to fight with more resolution. 

I think it impossible that the same num- 
bers of Men in the same time could do 
more work tho' most of us unus'd to the 
spade and Pickax as witness my hands all 
of a blister, the particulars of our proceed- 
ing I ned not mention, but you may de- 
pend on't we did everything we could ; 
but to our great joy by means of a spy- 
Glas as the ship drew nearer we discovered 
hr to be a Merchantman. 

I had like to forgot to tell that about 
100 Men have been at work this week past 
on the Ledge of rocks about half way from 
the water's edge to the top of Groton Hill 
down by Chester which Place they mean to 
fortify well, the Col is likewise with his 


Men building a good battery on Winthrop's 
Neck, at the same time our Intrenchments 
go on briskly ; thus you see we have at 
length waked from our Lethargy. — We have 
so many demands for men that your Com'y 
fills slow. Your Ensan has in all about 
16, your Lieut but few what George 
tells me he has wrote you is perhaps the 
reason of your Lieut. Poor success — the 
Coll Compy is not quite full. Shaw and 
Mumford by permit of the Congress have 
near a dozen Vessels fitting out for Powder, 
Dudley Saltonstall beating up for Volun- 
teers as he is appointed Capt of a Thirty 
Gun Frigate by the Congress, Capt N. Sal- 
tonstall is his first Lieut, there is a number of 
recruiting officers among us besides yours, 
so that Your success is as good as you can 
expect — every Day brings accts of some 
Damage done our vessels by the Gale of 
the 9th. Am Sn Yrs. J. H. 



Ensign George Hurlbut to Hale 
at Camp. 

New London, December 11th, 1775. 
KiNDE Sir — 

After Returning You My Sincere 
Thanks I would Inform You I Received 
Your Oblidging Letter Which was Dated 
of the 7th Insant wherein You Informs 
me the soldiers was going Home a Sunday 
— I should be very glad sir if You would 
Inform me how The minds of our soldiers 
is — when I Came awa They ware very 
Backward about Staying. When I was at 
Roxbury they ware all in Confusion, that 
had about 30 Under Guard that was bound 
home, I was Almost Discour they ware all 
our Conneticut men — you May Depend 
upon it, sir, they will all Return Again, 
their friends will Receive them Very Cool 
— I will acquaint You a Little how they Go 



on hear — when I was at Breakfast Yester- 
day the News Come that their was 4 ships 
Turning Round fishers Island and the Old 
Women began to Preach and Cry we shall 
all Die. By the Great Gun Bullets, I Have 
not took so much Pleasure since I Have 
Been hear as did Yeasterday wh en I Long'd 
for You to be hear. They all hands worke 
a Sunday — They have Begun to Intrench all 
A Long street. 

But Least I should weary Your patience 
I will Conclude with my Compliments to 
Capt Hull and the Majr if he is their — 
From your sincere Friende, 

• Elihu Marvin to Hale 

(Marvin Robinson and Alden were Hale's 
classmates. Marvin was teaching school 
at Norwich ; Robinson at Windsor and 
Alden at New Haven.) 


NoEwicH, ISth Deer 1775. 


Three months at Cambridge and not one 
line. Well, I can't help it. If a Capt's 
Commision has all this effect, what will 
happen when it is turned into a Colonel's. 

Polly hears of one and another at New 
London who have letters from Mr. Hale, 
but none comes to me, Polly says. 

Mrs. Poole was at Norwich some time 
since and desired me to enclose a letter for 
her which I engaged to do, but I was un- 
fortunately taken sick the night the man 
sat out, and through that indolence which 
you know is so natural to me I had neglected 
to write sooner so w^as disappointed of ful- 
filling my engagement. 

The fortifications are going on briskly at 
New London and Groton — I hear at Ston- 
ington they are preparing to make the mos. 
vigorous defence. 


James Hilhouse writes me they are pre- 
paring to give them a suitable reception at 
New Haven. The assembly is now sitting 
— nothing of their doings have as yet trans- 
pired but it is said the Governor called 
them together to see what shall be done 
with some Tories who are said to be trouble- 
some in the Western part of the Colony — 
you know they are plenty there — 

We hear that a number of the settlers on 
the Susquehannah purchase are taken 
prisoners by the Pennymites. That assembly 
have taken up the matter and seem de- 
termined to proceed to bloodshed. A sad 
Omen to the happy union that has as yet 
subsisted between the Colonies. Could our 
internal enemies wish for a more favorable 
event on their side — 

I make no doubt of its being a plan of the 
Tory party in the Pennsylvania assembly. 
What will be the event, I know not, but 



hope the, all- wise disposer of affairs will 
not suffer it to proceed to a rupture between 
the Two Colonies. 

I am now Trespassing on my school 
hours so must conclude your's 

ELmu Marvin. 

P. S. Miss Polly's complits to Mr. Hale. 
— A letter would not be disagreeable. 

Robert Latimer to Nathan Hale at Camp. 
De. Sir, 

As I think myself under the greatest 
obligations to you for your care and kind- 
ness to me, I should think myself very 
ungratef ull if I neglected any opportunity 
of expressing my gratitude to you for the 
same. And I rely on that goodness I have 
so often experienced to overlook the 
deficiencies in my Letter which I am sensible 
will be many as maturity of judgment is 
wanting and tho' I have been so happy as 


to have been favoured witli your instruc- 
tions, you can't, Sir, expect a finish'd letter 
from one who has as yet practised but very 
little this way, especially with persons of 
vour nice discernment. 

Sir, I have had the pleasure of hearing 
by the soldiers w^hich is come home, that 
you are in health, tho' likely to be deserted 
by all the men you carried down with } ou, 
which I am very sorry for as 1 think no 
man of any spirit would desert a cause in 
which we are all so deeply interested. I 
am sure was my Mammy willing I should 
prefer being with you to all the pleasures 
which the company of my Relations can 
afford me. 

I am with respect yr Sincere 

friend & very H'ble St 

RoBT Latimer, 

Decbr. 20, 1775. 



Timothy Dmght to Hale at Camp. 

Dear Sir, 

The many civilities I have already 
received at your hands, embolden me to 
trouble you with the inclosVl. The design 
you will learn from a perusal of it. As 
such a publication The Conquest of 
Canaan") must be founded on an extensive 
subscription, I find myself compelled to 
ask the assistance of my friends. To a 
person of Mr. Hale's character (motive 
of friendship apart) fondness for the 
liberal arts would be a sufficient apol- 
ogy for this application. As I was ever 
unwilling to be under even necessary 
obligations, it would have been highly 
agreeable could I have transacted the 
whole business myself. Since that is 
impossible, I esteem myself happy in re- 
flecting that the Person who may confer 


this obligation is a Gentleman of whose 
politeness and benevolence I have already 
experienced so frequent and undoubted 
assurances. If you will be so kind, my 
Dear Sir, as to present the inclos'd to 
those Gentlemen & Ladies of the circle with 
which you are connected, whom you may 
think likely to honour the poem with 
their encouragement, and return it with 
their Names, by a convenient opportunity, 
it will add one more to the many instances 
of esteem with which you have obliged 
your very sincere Friend, 

and most Humble Servant 

Timothy Dwight, Jun. 

Mk. Nathan Hale. 

Feb. 20, 1776. 

Com's to Capt. Hull, Mr. E. Hunt'g 
(Lieut. Ebenezer Huntington) & the rest 
of my acquaintance in Camp. 

I would beg the favor of you to forward 


a letter which will be delivered to you by 
Capt Perit for Doctr Bracket of Ports- 
mouth, as you have connections there — 
You may probably do it without inconven- 

Elihu Marvin to Hale at Camp. 

Norwich, 11th Jne 1776. 

Kind Sr, 

Am much obliged for your partic- 
ular history of the adventure aboard 
the prize ; wish you would acquaint me 
with every incident of good or ill fortune 
which befalls you in your Course of life. 
The Avhole journal I hope sometime or 
other to peruse. You are sensible that I 
am not in a way to met with adventure 
news or interesting. Teaching, scolding 
and floging is the continual round. I am 
surprised when I reflect on my situation ; 
once I could enter my school a ad spend 


my hours with pleasure, but them scenes 
are now past. In short I have come to be 
one of your fretting, teazing pedagogues 
and think hard of quiting. For these 
some months I have ben like a person 
half distracted. I know not what to do 
with myself. I think of this, that and the 
other calling and know not which to prefer ; 
then my bleeding country awakens my at- 
tention and seems to demand me in the 
field. . . . 

My hearty prayer to God for my country 
is that he would preserve peace and har- 
mony among ourselves. I greatly fear some 
of America's greatest and most dangerous 
enemies are such as think themselves her 
best friends. In what other light can we 
consider such men as profess themselves 
firm friends to her cause and yet are spirit- 
ing up their neighbors to fall on the Mer- 
chant and compel him to sell his own goods 


at their own price. Had we virtue to deny 
ourselves our foolish passions and assist 
each other to the end I think we need not 
fear the Boasted power of Britain with all 
her train of Confederate mercenaries. . . . 

E. Marvin. 
N. B. — Nevins is on the hill every night. 
Polly says she writes by him. The Ladies 
are all in good spirits, 

Ezra Selden to Hale at New London. 

RoxBURY Camp, Jne 25th, 1775. 


I have just remembrance of my engage- 
ment to you as well as to Numbers of others 
Avhich I cannot fulfill. We came into 
Roxbury on Sunday about Five o'clock, 
they have been firing upon Roxbury a 
great part of Saturday. The number of 
those slain in battle between Putnam and 
the Gagites is uncertain — By Letters from 


Gentlemen in Boston Gage had his Army 
Sixteen hundred worse than before the 
Engagement. . . . 

The Soldiers live in houses as many as 
can &L more also But are not so healthy as 
those in Tents of which number we 
are. ... 

EzEA Selden. 



Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process 
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: April 2010 



1 1 1 Thomson Park Drive 
Cranberry Township, PA 16066 
(724) 779-2111