Ethan Allen

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Who is Ethan Allen?

The following quotes are from Ethan Allen or were written about him by his friends,
his brother, and his enemies. These firsthand accounts (known in the history world as "primary sources") are the pieces of evidence that historians use to write history.

Ethan Allen has been called many names over the years. Why do you think
people had so many different opinions about Ethan Allen during his time?

"Ethan Allen was...of a bad character...After he had been a Prisoner in Canada...he openly acknowledged...that it was indifferent to him for whom he fought; whether the King of Great Britain...or for America; they who would give him the best Pay should have his Service."
—Peter Oliver, a Tory, 1781

"I belong to this republic [of Vermont]. The animosities and confusions which are taking place in the United States of America forebodes their dissolution...One thing I know, which is that Vermont is not in confederation with the United States."
—Ethan Allen to Guy Carleton, Britain's governor
general of Quebec. January 12, 1787

"Mr. Allen, fickle and enterprising, had changed his Sentiments...He was joined by...Men of rash and violent tempers ...and they vainly conceited that they were become invincible."
—James Duane, a lawyer representing
New York in the Grants disputes, 1773

"Ever since I arrived to a state of manhood...I have felt a sincere passion for liberty...so that the first...attempt at Lexington, to enslave America, thoroughly electrified my mind, and fully determined me to take part with my country."
—Ethan Allen, A Narrative of Col.
Ethan Allen's Captivity
, 1779

"Behold him move ye staunch divines!
His tall head bustling through the pines;
All front he seems like a wall of brass,
And brays tremendous as an ass;
One hand is clench'd to batter noses,
While t'other scrawls 'gainst Paul and Moses."

—Poem by Lemuel Hopkins, 1793

"I shall make no apology for writing this pamphlet...Many times have I hazarded my life for you, as well as my own property; and if occasion shall in future require, will freely do it again."
—Ethan Allen in the introduction of An Animadversory Address To the Inhabitants of the State Of Vermont, 1778

"The real facts were that for a few days he could out travel me, in the wilderness...He was a man of firm constitution, larger and stronger than myself."
—Ira Allen describing his brother, Ethan

"It cut me to the heart to see the Canadians in so hard a case...in consequence of their having been so true to me, they... expected immediate death...I...stepped between the executioners and the Canadians...and told Gen. Prescott to thrust his bayonets into my breast, for I was the sole cause of the Canadians taking up arms."
—Ethan Allen describing his imprisonment in Montreal in
A Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen's Captivity, 1779

"[Allen's] fortitude and firmness seem to have placed him out of the reach of misfortune. There is an original something in him that commands admiration; and his long captivity and sufferings have only served to increase, if possible, his enthusiastic zeal."
—George Washington to the president of Congress, May 12, 1778

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