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Ethan Allen to the Canadians



Ticonderoga, June 4, 1775.

To our worthy and respectable Countrymen and Friends, the French People of CANADA, greeting:

FRIENDS AND FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: You are undoubtedly more or less acquainted with the unnatural and unhappy controversy subsisting between Great Britain and her Colonies, the particulars of which, in this letter, we do not expatiate upon, but refer your consideration of the justice and equitableness thereof on the part of the Colonies, to the former knowledge that you have had of this matter. We need only observe, that the inhabitants of the Colonies view the controversy on their part to be justifiable in the sight of God, and all unprejudiced and honest men that have or may have opportunity and ability to examine into the merits of it. Upon this principle those inhabitants determine to vindicate their cause, and maintain their natural and constitutional rights and liberties at the expense of their lives and fortunes, but have not the least disposition to injure, molest, or any way deprive our fellow-subjects, the Canadians, of their liberty or property. Nor have they any design to wage war against them; and from all intimations that the inhabitants of the said Colonies have received from the Canadians, it has appeared that they were alike disposed for friendship and neutrality, and not at all disposed to take part with the King' s Troops in the present civil war against the Colonies. We were nevertheless surprised to hear that a number of about thirty Canadians attacked our reconnoitring party, consisting of four men, fired on them, and pursued them, and obliged them to return the fire. This is the account of the party which has since arrived at Head-Quarters. We desire to know of any gentlemen Canadians, the facts of the case, as one story is good till another is told. Our general order to the soldiery was, that they should not, on pain of death, molest or kill any of your people. But if it shall appear, upon examination, that our reconnoitring party commenced hostilities against your people, they shall suffer agreeable to the sentence of a court-martial; for our special orders from the Colonies are, to befriend and protect you, if need be; so that if you desire their friendship, you are invited to embrace it, for nothing can be more undesirable to your friends in the Colonies, than a war with their fellow-subjects the Canadians, or with the Indians. You are very sensible that war has already commenced between England and the Colonies. Hostilities have already begun; to fight with the King' s Troops has become a necessary and incumbent duty; the Colonies cannot avoid it. But pray, is it necessary that the Canadians and the inhabitants of the English Colonies should butcher one another? God forbid. There is no controversy subsisting between you and them. Pray


let old England and the Colonies fight it out; and you, Canadians, stand by and see what an arm of flesh can do. We are apprehensive that the conduct of your people, before complained of, had not a general approbation, and are still confident that your Country, as such, will not wage war with the Colonies, or approve the aforesaid hostile conduct of your people, as we conceive it to be impolitick to the last degree for the Canadians to enter into a bloody war without either a provocation or motive, and when, at the same time, every motive of interest, virtue, and honour, are ready at hand to dissuade you from it. In fine, we conclude Saint Luke, Captain McCoy, and other evil-minded persons, whose interest and inclination it is that the Canadians and the people of those Colonies should cut one another' s throats, have inveigled some of the baser sort of your people to attack our said reconnoitring party. We expect, gentlemen, as to these particulars, you will in good time inform us; and subscribe ourselves your real friends,

At present the principal Commander of the Army.


A copy of the foregoing letter was this day sent to Mr˙ Walker, our trusty friend at Montreal, per favour of Mr˙ Jeffere, whose fidelity is unquestionable; and it is wholly left with Mr˙ Walker to make its contents the most publick that he possibly can, whether by printing it and translating it into French, &c. We furthermore thought it expedient your Honours should have a copy communicated to you.

Yours at command,

To the Provincial Congress of New-York.