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Attempts to gain Favor with the Settlers. The militia of Albany County were largely in sympathy with the settlers; and when called out by the sheriff, they showed little disposition to run any great risk to themselves in support of a few New York speculators, the justice of whose cause was at least very doubtful.
Finding that very little dependence could be placed on their militia, the New York authorities now tried to gain favor with the settlers by bestowing titles and offices upon their prominent men. They also tried to induce people from New York to settle upon unoccupied New Hampshire grants, in hopes of bringing the settlers to a change of sentiment through these more peaceable methods.
ACTS OF THE COMMITTEES OF SAFETY AND OF THE
GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS
Committees of Safety; the Green Mountain Boys.From the first each township constituted a commonwealth, its chief authority the selectmen, and each inhabitant a voter. But the time had come when united action seemed a necessity in order to render their resistance to New York authority more effectual. Several of the towns organized Committees of Safety; and these would often meet in general convention to discuss and adopt measures for the common good and to make laws necessary for the common protection. At one of these conventions it was decreed that no New York officer should take any person out of the district without the consent of the Committee of Safety, and that no survey should be made or settlement be begun under the authority of New York.
The Committee of Safety constituted themselves and some of the elders of the people, a court, and took upon themselves the responsibility of punishing offenders. To carry out these decrees and to be in readiness for any emergency, a military association was formed, of which Ethan Allen was made colonel, and Seth Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochran, Gideon Warner and others, captains. The Governor of New York at one time threatened to drive rebellious settlers into the Green Mountains; and from this circumstance they took the name of “ Green Mountain Boys."
It was the duty of the Green Mountain Boys to watch in their vicinity for any hostile movement on the part of their adversaries, and to hold themselves in readiness to go to any part of the grants at any time, for the defense of the persons or property of the settlers.
Leading Spirits among the Green Mountain Boys. Prominent among the Green Mountain Boys stood Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochran, Peleg Sunderland, and others.
Ethan Allen was perhaps the most influential personage at this time. His commanding figure, great vigor of mind and body, confidence in his own ability, genuine good fellow
Ethan Allen. ship, ready sympathy, and hatred of any appearance of meanness or injustice, easily made him the chosen leader of the Green Mountain Boys.
Sometimes he harangued from the stump, vividly portraying to the hardy and unpolished settlers their just grievances, and urging them to defend stoutly their rights ; sometimes, through pamphlets of his own composing, which he widely scattered, he set forth, in his peculiarly original and vigorous style, the cruelty and injustice of the New York officials. These pamphlets did not fail to hit their mark, and were instrumental in firing the hearts of the hardy pioneers to such a sense of their wrongs that they were the more firmly determined to resist the unjust claims of their adversaries, even to the death if need be.
Seth Warner too was tall but of slighter build, more modest and unassuming, but no less firm and resolute; and while Allen was sometimes imprudent and overimpulsive, Warner was always cautious, and, possessing deliberation and excellent judgment, was, perhaps, the safer leader of the two.
Remember Baker, a kinsman of both, was, next to these two persons, perhaps, most conspicuous at this time, a leader in many an enterprise and always ready for action. Peleg Sunderland, a noted hunter, and Robert Cochran were also much hated by the New Yorkers on account of their active resistance to their encroachments.
Rewards Offered.—The most active in this resistance were termed rioters, and warrants were issued for their arrest; but the justice of the peace, who issued them, said that, in his opinion, it would not be possible for any sheriff to arrest them, and thought it would be wiser to induce one of their own number to betray them.
Proclamations were issued from time to time, offering rewards for the capture and delivery at Albany of the leaders. Allen, Baker, and Cochran also issued a proclamation declaring they would “kill and destroy" who should try to take them, and offering similar rewards for the persons of two hated New York officials to be delivered at Catamount Tavern in Bennington.
In a convention of the Committees of Safety held in Manchester the grantees expressed a determination to defend their rights and to stand by their leaders.
Capture of Remember Baker.- Esquire Monroe, a New York justice, who lived a few miles from the house of Remember Baker, coveting the reward offered, undertook the capture of Baker at his home in Arlington in March of the year 1772. With ten or twelve of his followers, Monroe, in the early morning, went to Baker's house and forced an entrance by breaking down the door. A fight ensued in which Baker, his wife, and young son were all severely wounded with sword cuts. Baker himself was bound, thrown into a sleigh, and driven with all speed toward Albany. A rescue party of ten had very soon mounted their horses and were in hot pursuit, overtaking the fugitives before they reached the Hudson. On the first
appearance of the rescue party, the men abandoned their wounded prisoner and fled into the woods. The whole story is told in the following bit of waggery :
Oh ! John Monro came on one day
Shortly after this Monroe also made an attempt to arrest Seth Warner, who was riding on horseback near Monroe's residence. Seizing Warner's horse by the bridle, he called upon some bystanders to help him. Warner urged him to desist; but, on his refusing to do so, he struck him over the head with his cutlass, the blow stunning him for the time being, but doing him no permanent injury. Warner then rode on, the spectators showing no disposition to interfere. Monroe, however, had had enough of the Green Mountain Boys, and never again molested them.