Joseph Allen's Rule In The Green Mountains

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Frontier revolutionary leader and author of the first deistic work by an American, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Allen and Mary Baker, farmers. Allen served briefly in the French and Indian War and in 1762 began operating a productive iron forge in Salisbury, Connecticut. That same year he married Mary Brownson, with whom he would have five children. But Allen’s deism and aggressive personal conduct ruined his early prospects: he was warned out of Salisbury in 1765 and Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1767. Allen turned next to hunting, at which he excelled. In 1770 he moved to the Green Mountains, then part of New York, and began investing in nearly worthless New Hampshire titles to these lands. Within a year Allen…show more content…
The settlers were therefore entirely justified in resisting those who tried to steal that land. As Allen wrote in the Connecticut Courant (31 Mar. 1772), “we mean no more by that which is called the Mob, but to defend our just Rights and Properties.” After four years in which he had successfully nullified New York’s rule in the Green Mountains, Allen extended that reasoning to mandate the people’s right to create their own state and formulate its government according to their desires. It was at this point that the British government took notice and planned to send troops to quell this frontier uprising in May…show more content…
In a daring effort to capture a weakly defended Montreal with an equally small force of New Englanders and Québecois, Allen was taken prisoner by the British. Over the next two years he suffered a brutal captivity in British prisons, aboard prison ships, and in the New York City jail. Thanks to the efforts of his family, Allen’s cruel treatment at the hands of the British became a cause célèbre. Finally exchanged in May 1778 for Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, Allen wrote a narrative of his captivity that lacerated the British as vindictive monsters while calling on Americans to forsake any thought of compromise. Allen’s Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen’s Captivity (1779) was an enormous success, going through eight editions in two years, and is rated second among best-selling books of the revolutionary period after Thomas Paine’s Common
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