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DASH AGAINST MONTREAL.
hundred and fifty Canadians under arms. As I march, they gather fast. You may rely on it, that I shall join you in about three days, with five hundred or more Cana dian volunteers. I could raise one or two thousand in a week's time; but I will first visit the army with a less number, and, if necessary, go again recruiting. Those that used to be enemies to our cause, come cap in hand to me; and I swear by the Lord, I can raise three times the number of our army in Canada, provided you continue the siege. The eyes of all America, nay, of Europe, are or will be on the economy of this army and the consequences attending it.” *
Allen was actually on his way toward St. John's, when, between Longueil and La Prairie, he met Colonel Brown with his party of Americans and Canadians. A conversation took place between them. Brown assured him that the garrison at Montreal did not exceed thirty men, and might easily be surprised. Allen's partisan spirit was instantly excited. Here was a chance for another bold stroke equal to that at Ticonderoga. A plan was forthwith agreed upon. Allen was to return to Longueil, which is nearly opposite Montreal, and cross the St. Lawrence in canoes in the night, so as to land a little below the town. Brown, with two hundred men, was to cross above, and Montreal was to be attacked simultaneously at opposite points.
* Am. Archives, 4th Series, iii. 754.
All this was arranged and put in action without the consent or knowledge of General Montgomery; Allen was again the partisan leader, acting from individual impulse. His late letter also to General Montgomery, would seem to have partaken of fanfaronade; for the whole force with which he undertook his part of this inconsiderate enterprise was thirty Americans and eighty Canadians. With these he crossed the river on the night of the 24th of September, the few canoes found at Longueil having to pass to and fro repeatedly, before his petty force could be landed. Guards were stationed on the roads to prevent any one passing and giving the alarm in Montreal. Day dawned, but there was no signal of Major Brown having performed his part of the scheme. The enterprise seems to have been as ill concerted as it was ill advised. The day advanced, but still no signal; it was evident Major Brown had not crossed. Allen would gladly have recrossed the river, but it was too late. An alarm had been given to the town, and he soon found himself encountered by about forty regular soldiers, and a hasty levy of Canadians and Indians. A smart action ensued; most of Allen's Canadian recruits gave way and fled, a number of Americans were slain, and he at length surrendered to the British officer, Major Campbell, being promised honorable terms for himself and thirty-eight of his men, who remained with him, seven of whom were wounded. The prisoners were marched into the town and delivered over to General Prescott, the commandant.
ALLEN A PRISONER.
Their rough appearance, and rude equipments, were not likely to gain them favor in the eyes of the mili tary tactician, who doubtless considered them as little better than a band of freebooters on a maraud. Their leader, albeit a colonel, must have seemed worthy of the band; for Allen was arrayed in rough frontier style-a deer-skin jacket, a vest and breeches of coarse serge, worsted stockings, stout shoes, and a red woolen
We give Allen's own account of his reception by the British officer. "He asked me my name, which I told him. He then asked me whether I was that Colonel Allen who took Ticonderoga. I told him I was the very man. Then he shook his cane over my head, calling me many hard names, among which, he frequently used the word rebel, and put himself in a great rage."
Ethan Allen, according to his own account, answered with becoming spirit. Indeed he gives somewhat of a melodramatic scene, which ended by his being sent on board of the Gaspee schooner of war, heavily ironed, to be transported to England for trial; Prescott giving him the parting assurance, sealed with an emphatic oath, that he would grace a halter at Tyburn.
Neither Allen's courage nor his rhetorical vein deserted him on this trying occasion. From his place of confinement he indited the following epistle to the general:
*Am. Archives, iii. 800.
"HONORABLE SIR,-In the wheel of transitory events I find myself prisoner, and in irons. Probably your honor has certain reasons to me inconceivable, though I challenge an instance of this sort of economy of the Americans during the late war to any officers of the crown. On my part, I have to assure your honor, that when I had the command and took Captain Delaplace and Lieutenant Fulton, with the garrison of Ticonderoga, I treated them with every mark of friendship and generosity, the vidence of which is notorious, even in Canada. I have only to add, that I expect an honorable and humane treatment, as an officer of my rank and merit should have, and subscribe myself your honor's most obedient servant, ETHAN ALLEN."
In the British publication from which we cite the above, the following note is appended to the letter, probably on the authority of General Prescott: "N. B.-The author of the above letter is an outlaw, and a reward is offered by the New York Assembly for apprehending him."*
The reckless dash at Montreal was viewed with concern by the American commander. "I am apprehensive of disagreeable consequences arising from Mr. Allen's imprudence," writes General Schuyler. "I always dreaded his impatience of subordination, and it was not until after
* Remembrancer, ii. 51.
WASHINGTON CENSURES ALLEN.
a solemn promise made me in the presence of several officers that he would demean himself with propriety, that I would permit him to attend the army; nor would I have consented then, had not his solicitations been backed by several officers."
The conduct of Allen was also severely censured by Washington. "His misfortune," said he, "will, I hope, teach a lesson of prudence and subordination to others who may be ambitious to outshine their general officers, and, regardless of order and duty, rush into enterprises which have unfavorable effects on the public, and are destructive to themselves."
Partisan exploit had, in fact, inflated the vanity and bewildered the imagination of Allen, and unfitted him for regular warfare. Still his name will ever be a favorite one with his countrymen. Even his occasional rhodomontade will be tolerated with a good-humored smile, backed as it was by deeds of daring courage; and among the hardy pioneers of our Revolution whose untutored valor gave the first earnest of its triumphs, will be remembered, with honor, the rough Green Mountain partisan, who seized upon the "Keys of Champlain."
In the letters of Schuyler, which gave Washington accounts, from time to time, of the preceding events, were sad repinings at his own illness, and the multiplied annoyances which beset him. "The vexation of spirit under which I labor," writes he, "that a barbarous complication of disorders should prevent me from reaping