The Green Mountain Hero: Ethan Allen

The New Hampshire Grants: A Republic, a State, or a British Territory?
September 29, 1781, 9:52 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In 1777, the New Hampshire Grants and several New York and New Hampshire towns near the Grants officially declared themselves the Republic of Vermont. At the same time, the delegates who drafted the Constitution of Vermont announced that they were interested in becoming the 14th state of the United States. But Congress wasn’t ready to make a decision. Because of this, New York was able to send soldiers to attack the new republic which was technically a foreign enemy of the United States. To make things worse, Congress was doing virtually nothing to stop the fighting. That’s when the British trouble started.

Vermont was growing tired of all the fighting in Congress. So it’s possible that I might have been sent by Vermont in an official capacity to negotiate with a country who the Continental Congress didn’t like at all. The British Empire. That’s right. The country that mercilessly imprisoned me was the country Vermont was considering joining. It started when a man whom I had never met handed me a letter from Colonel Robinson, a British officer commanding a Tory regiment. It suggested that Great Britain would be interested in reconciling all past grievances if Vermont rejoined the British Empire.

Despite the fact that we used to hate all the British and all the Tories, Vermont was ready to think about joining them. But we decided to wait first. After all, this gave us a trump card to play on Congress. If they finally made up their mind that we were in the wrong, we could simply join the British Empire. Problem was, someone leaked that I had made a trip to a British general, Henry Clinton. Luckily, Washington could never prove anything. I will never say whether it is true or not, but I will say that later my brother Ira and I made several more trips to British territory in Canada which resulted in an uneasy peace treaty. This, and the fact that many New Hampshire and New York towns were declaring themselves a part of Vermont, put immense pressure on Congress to make a decision. This brings us up to the present. However, there is now also pressure on us. The British has an army very near, and are threatening to take us over if we don’t join peacefully. On the other hand, Washington and the French fleet have the British General Cornwallis trapped in Virginia. If Washington succeeds in capturing Cornwallis, the British will most likely retreat and go on the defensive. So we wait.


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