Front Page Titles (by Subject) declaration concerning ethan allen 1 - The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
declaration concerning ethan allen 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 2 (1771-1779) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
declaration concerning ethan allen1
[Dec. 2, 1775 ?]
A Declaration (or a letter to Howe) on Allen’s case.
When necessity compelled us to take up arms against Great Britain in defence of our just rights, we thought it a circumstance of some comfort that our enemy was brave and civilized. It is the happiness of modern times that the evils of necessary war are softened by the refinement of manners & sentiment and that an enemy is an object of vengeance, in arms, & in the field only. It is with pain we hear that Mr. Allen and eleven others taken with him while fighting bravely in their country’s cause, are sent to Britain in irons, to be punished for pretended treason; treasons too created by one of those very laws whose obligation we deny, and mean to contest by the sword. This question is will not to be decided by reeking vengeance on a few wretched helpless captives brave men who unfortunately but by subduing conquering vanquishing your enemies in the field of glory encounters of virtue atchieving success in the fields of war, by and gathering there those laurels which grow for the warrior brave alone. In this light we view the object between us, in this line we have hitherto conducted ourselves for its attainment. To those of your who bearing your arms have fallen into our hands we have extended afforded every comfort for which captivity will admit and misfortune call for enlargement upon parole has been admitted this they will do us the justice to testify. Enlargement & comfortable subsistence have been extended to both officers & men, trusting to the ties of honour & their bondage restraint is a bondage restraint of honour only. Should you think proper in these days to revive the antient barbarity of antient ages, barbarism and again disgrace our nature with the practice sacrifice the fortune of war has put it into our hands power subjects for multiplied retaliation. To them, to you, & to the world we declare they shall not be wretched unless their imprudence or your example shall oblige us to make them so; but we declare that their lives shall compel teach our enemies to respect the rights of nations. We have ordered Brigadr. General Prescot to be bound in irons & to be confined in close jail, there to experience sufferings similar to those corresponding miseries to those which shall be inflicted on Mr. Allen. His life shall answer for that life of Mr. Allen, & the lives of as many others for those sent with him of the brave men captivated with him. We deplore the event which shall oblige us to retaliate shed blood for blood, and shall resort to retaliation but as the means of stopping the progress of butchery. This it is a duty we owe to those engaged in support of our the cause of their country, to assure them that if any unlucky circumstance baffling the efforts of their bravery shall put them in the power of their enemies, their lives shall be warranted from sacrifice by the lives of the prisoners in our hands we will use the pledges in our hands to warrant their lives from sacrifice.
[1 ]Probably proposed on the arrival of the news of Allen’s confinement, Dec. 2, 1775. It was not accepted by the Congress.