Class . .
(From the Statue in City Hall Park, New York.)
THE MARTYR-HERO OF THE REVOLUTION
WITH A HALE GENEALOGY AND HALE S DIARY.
By CHARLOTTE MOLYNEUX HOLLOWAY.
THE PERKINS BOOK COMPANY,
296 BROADWAY, NEW YORK ^
THE LIBRARY OF
Two Cowe6 Recbived
OCT, i 1902
C»,ASS XXo. No.
If D ^
By F. TENNYSON NEELY,
in United States and Great Britain.
Copyright, 1902, By A. L. BURT COMPANY.
By charlotte MOLYNEUX HOLLOW AY.
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
NATHAN HALE. 7
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.
8 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 9
called to him breathlessly and joy-
'*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
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,
i 12 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
But it must not be inferred that
Nathan's zeal for his books caused him
16 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 17
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-
NATHAN HALE. 19
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
30 NATHAN HALE.
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
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-
28 NATHAN HALE.
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
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.
32 NATHAN HALE.
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,
* ''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
3t NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 37
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
40 NATHAN HALE,
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
NATHAN HALE. 41
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
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-
48 NATHAN HALE.
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-
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 53
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
NATHAN HALE. 55
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
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
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
56 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 57
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
Of these some became national names,
and of them all none was a greater worker
for the cause than Nathaniel Shaw, Jr.
58 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 59
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
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 61
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
It is odd that there have been no male
Shaws to hold the name since the time
62 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 63
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-
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
64 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 65
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
NATHAN HALE. 67
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-
68 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
70 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
" 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.
NATHAN HALE. 73
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
74 NATHAN HALE.
New London vessels had been captured
that private individuals were ruined in for-
tune. Still, some did very valiant service
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
NATHAN HALE. 75
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.
76 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 77
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
He grew absent-minded and would walk
along for hours without speaking. His
only relaxation was the chase ; but one day,
78 NATHAN HALE.
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
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,
80 NATHAN HALE.
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
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-
NATHAN HALE. 81
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
82 NATHAN HALE.
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.
NATHAN HALE. 83
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
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
84 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 85
speech, made these Journals ring through
the land by his strong and cogent appeals
And others there were, if not as thrilling
and outspoken as Johnson, fully as convinc-
ing by their deliberate speech and signifi-
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.
86 NATHAN HALE.
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
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-
88 NATHAN HALE.
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
Unfortunately the letters of neither are
to be found, but there is substantial evi-
90 NATHAN . HALE.
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-
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
NATHAN HALE. 93
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.
94 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 95
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
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
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
Hale had felt the same warning premoni-
tion, but the instinct of discipline was
sufficient to bold him in his place though
NATHAN HALE. 97
every fiber ached to be out, and a part of
the work he knew with prophetic insight
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.
98 NATHAN HALE.
^'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
NATHAN HALE. 99
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.
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
100 NATHAN HALE.
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
102 NATHAN HALE.
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-
NATHAN HALE. 105
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.
NATHAN HALE. 107
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
108 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE, 109
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
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
''The kindness expressed to me by
the people of the place, but especially
the proprietors of the school, will
always be gratefully remembered by,
NATHAN HALE. Ill
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,
113 NATHAN HALE.
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,
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,
NATHAN HALE. 113
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,
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.
114 ' NATHAN HALE.
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
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,
116 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 117
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:
NATHAN HALE. 119
**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
130 NATHAN HALE.
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 :
Soldier and Attendant of
Captain Nathan Hale.
June 20, 1844.
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
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.
134 NATHAN HALE.
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.
NATHAN HALE. 135
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
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
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.
'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;
NATHAN HALE. 133
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,
"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.
NATHAN HALE. 135
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
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.
136 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 137
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
138 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 139
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.
143 NATHAN HALE.
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 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
NATHAN HALE. 143
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.
144 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 145
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
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-
146 NATHAN HALE.
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."
NATHAN HALE. 147
**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-
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-
148 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
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-
150 NATHAN HALB.
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
NATHAN HALE. 151
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.
152 NATHAN HALE.
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-
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
NATHAN HALE. 153
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
154 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
156 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 157
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
158 NATHAN HALE.
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
He had carefully drawn plans of all
the fortifications. Distrustful of his
NATHAN HALE. 159
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,
160 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 161
stand any test, it is likely, that he en-
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
Several hours had elapsed since he
entered, and he was beginning to think
162 NATHAN HALE.
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!"
NATHAN HALE. 163
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
164 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 165
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
166 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 167
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-
NATHAN HALE. 169
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.
170 NATHAN HALE.
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
172 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 173
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
174 NATHAN HALE.
that nothing so increased his loyalty to
his country as the present temptation to
*'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
NATHAN HALE. 175
hers, and she was to lose a gallant and
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
176 NATHAN HALE.
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,
NATHAN HALE. 177
and natural curiosity led him to scan
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
178 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 179
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-
180 NATHAN HALE.
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
183 NATHAN HALE.
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
Close to the provost jail was an old
burying ground in Chambers, then Bar-
NATHAN HALE, 183
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?
NATHAN HALE. 187
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
NATHAN HALE. 189
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.
190 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 191
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
NATHAN HALE. 193
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-
194 NATHAN HALE.
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-
NATHAN HALE. 195
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.
196 NATHAN HALE.
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
198 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 199
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 -
200 NATHAN HALE.
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
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
NATHAN HALE. 301
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
NATHAN HALE. 203
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
204 NATHAN HALE.
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 :
Captain Nathan Hale, 1776.
Born at Coventry, June 6, 1755.
Died at New York, September 22, 1776.
'*I only regret that I have but one life
to lose for my country."
206 NATHAN HALE.
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.
NATHAN HALE. 207
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-
208 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 209
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
And at his own expense and with great
labor he has had a grand and rugged
boulder moved from its original site and
210 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 211
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
Of the sclioolhouses in which Hale
212 NATHAN 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 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
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-
NATHAN HALE. 215
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 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.
NATHAN HALE. 217
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
NATHAN HALE. 219
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
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
NATHAN HALE* 221
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
222 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 223
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
NATHAN HALE. 225
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
226 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 227
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
228 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 229
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
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
" 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
238 NATHAN HALE.
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
240 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 241
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-
242 NATHAN HALE.
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.
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
NATHAN HALE 245
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.
Of 14, Eichard, the second of these
children. Captain Nathan Hale was the
son. As the children of the rest were
246 NATHAN HALE.
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).
NATHAW HALE. 247
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
NATHAN HALE. 249
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;
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,
252 NATHAN HALE.
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,
NATHAN HALE 253
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
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.
254 NATHAN HALE.
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
2. (56) Nathan Hale Rose; b. Novem-
ber 18, 1776; grew up on the old home-
stead of his grandfather. He settled on
NATHAN HALE. 255
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:
256 NATHAN HALE.
1. (58) Elizabeth Taylor; m. Nathaniel
Hubbard, of Vernon, and afterward of
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
NATHAN HALE. 25T
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
5. (64) Enoch Hale; b. January 19,
1790; m. first, September 6, 1813, Almira
Hooker; second, May, 1822, Sarah
258 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 259
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
30. Billy Hale, seventh son of Deacon
R. Hale; b. April 23, 1759; m. January
19, 1784, Hannah Ba^i-er of Franklin.
260 NATHAN HALE.
He died of consumption in 1785, leaving
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
NATHAN HALE. 261
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-
61. Nathan Hale ; son of (27) Rev.Enoch
262 NATHAN HALE.
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,
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
NATHAN HALE. 263
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-
264 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 265
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-
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.
266 NATHAN HALE.
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-
''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
NATHAN HALE. 267 .
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
268 NATHAN HALE.
'^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.
NATHAN HALE. 269
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
270 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 271
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
272 NATHAN HALE.
of day before yesterday's report yt Cpt.
Coit mde Admiral. Rec'd Lett. Ed.
'*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.
NATHAN HALE. 273
**Sab., 29th. Went to meeting in the
barn. One exercise. After meeting
walk'd with Cpt. Hull and Mr. Hallam
''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.,
274 NATHAN HALE.
**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
NATHAN HALE. 275
**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
276 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 277
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
278 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 279
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
280 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 281
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
'^Saturday, 11th Some dispute about
the arrangement of Subs — but not peace-
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
282 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 283
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
284 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 285
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.
286 NATHAN HALE.
^'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
NATHAN HALE. 287
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.
288 NATHAN HALE.
'^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
''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
NATHAN HALE. 289
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
290 NATHAN HALE.
for the purpose of fortifying upon Lech-
'^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-
NATHAN HALE. 291
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
292 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 293
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
294: NATHAN HALE.
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-
*'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-
NATHAN HALE. 295
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.
296 NATHAN HALE,
*'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
*'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
NATHAN HALE. 297
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-
298 NATHAN HALE.
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'
NATHAN HALE. 299
—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
300 NATHAN HALE.
Soldiers 1 month's advance pay. Arr'vd
home a little after sunset. One heel
"Wed., 27th. Heel lame. Wt to Br.
Koses. Aunt Robs, Mr. Huntton and
"28th, Thursday. Unwell. Tarried
"29th, Friday. Went to see G. C.
Lyman. Call'd at Dr. Kingsbury's and
"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
NATHAN HALE 301
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
^'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 be.it to
302 NATHAN HALE.
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-
NATHAN HALE. 303
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
*'22d, Thursday. The enemy landed
some troops down at the Narrows on
304 NATHAN HALE.
'*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
306 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 307
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
308 NATHAN HALE.
most heartily to concur ^^dth you and do
hope ever to remain, as at present,
Your Friend and
Constant well wisher,
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,
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.
NATHAN HALE. 311
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.
312 NATHAN HALE.
Hale to Proprietors of Union Grammar
School, New London.
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
NATHAN HALE. 313
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,
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
314 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 315
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,
Timothy Green to Hale at East Had.
This is the continuance of a correspon-
316 NATHAN HALE.
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.
NATHAN HALE. 317
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
318 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 319
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.
By yours of the 5th I see you're Stationed
in the Mouth of Danger. I look upon yr
320 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 321
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
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.
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
NATHAN HALE. 323
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
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
324 NATHAN HALE.
no longer — Good B'y'e write me a line —
tlie News you can muster.
Nov. 27tli, 1775.
New Londot^, Deer. 4th, 1775.
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
NATHAN HALE. 325
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. —
New London, Deer. 18th, 1775.
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
326 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 327
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-
When I have observed the Malice and
328 NATHAN HALE.
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
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.
Thomas U. Fosdick to Hale at Camp.
Xeav London, Deer. 7, 1775.
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.
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
NATHAN HALE. 333
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
334 NATHAN HALE.
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
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.)
NATHAN HALE. 337
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.
338 NATHAN HALE.
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
P. S. Miss Polly's complits to Mr. Hale.
— A letter would not be disagreeable.
Robert Latimer to Nathan Hale at Camp.
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
340 NATHAN HALE.
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
I am with respect yr Sincere
friend & very H'ble St
Decbr. 20, 1775.
Timothy Dmght to Hale at Camp.
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
342 NATHAN HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 343
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.
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
344 NATHAk HALE.
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
NATHAN HALE. 345
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. . . .
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
346 NATHAN HALE.
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
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