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A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity

A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity

Published Jan 24, 2023 Updated Jan 24, 2023
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A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity

Induced by a sense of duty to my country, and by the application of many of my worthy friends, some of whom are of the first characters, I have concluded to publish the following narrative of the extraordinary scenes of my captivity, and the discoveries which I made in the course of the same, of the cruel and relentless disposition and behaviour of the enemy, towards the prisoners in their power; from which the state politician, and every gradation of character among the people, to the worthy tiller of the soil, may deduce such inferences as they shall think proper to carry into practice. Some men are appointed into office, in these states, who read the history of the cruelties of this war with the same careless indifferency, as they do with the page[s of the ] Roman history; nay, some are preferred to places of trust and profit by the tory influence. The instances are (I hope) but rare; and it stands all freemen in hand, to prevent their further influence, which, of all other things, would be the most baneful to the liberties and happiness of this country; and so far as such influence takes place, robs us of the victory we have obtained, at the expence of so much blood and treasures.

I should have exhibited to the public the history of the facts herein contained, soon after my exchange, had not the urgency of my private affairs, together with more urgent public business, demanded my attention, ‘till a few weeks before the date hereof. The reader will readily discern, that a narrative of this sort could not have been wrote when I was a prisoner: my trunk and writings were often searched, under various pretences; so that I never wrote a syllable or made even a rough minute, whereon I might predicate this narration, but trusted solely to my memory for the whole. I have, however, taken the greatest care and pains to recollect the facts, and arrange them; but as they touch a variety of characters and opposite interests, I am sensible that all will not be please with the relation of them: Be this as it will, I have made truth my invariable guide, and stake my honour on the truth of the [facts]. I have been very generous [with the] British, in giving them fu[ll and] ample credit for all their [good] usage of any considerable consequence, which I met with among them, during my captivity; which was easily done, as I met with but little, in comparison of the bad, which, by reason of the plu- rality of it, could not be contained in so concise a narrative; so that I am certain, that I have more fully enumerated the favors which I received, than the abuses I suffered. The critic will be pleased to excuse any inaccuracies in the performance itself, as the author has unfortunately missed of a liberal education.

Bennington, March 25th, 1779.

ETHAN ALLEN

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