Primary tabs

Petition of Colonel James Easton

Proceedings on the Petition


A Petition of Colonel James Easton praying for an order on the Receiver-General for twelve hundred Pounds, or one thousand Pounds, to pay the Soldiers under his command at Ticonderoga, their Advance Pay, &c˙, was read, and committed to Deacon Rawson, Deacon Plympton, and Captain Parker.


The Report of a Committee of the late Provincial Congress, on Colonel Easton' s representation of the state of his Regiment at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, was read, and committed to the same Committee.


To the Honourable Council and House of Representatives of the MASSACHUSETTS-BAY:


The Petition of James Easton, of Pittsfield, in the County of Berkshire, and Colony aforesaid, humbly sheweth: That some time the beginning of May last your Petitioner raised fifty men, in concert with Colonel Ethan Allen and others, and stormed and took the Fortress of Ticonderoga. Soon after taking that very important place your Petitioner, seeing great contentions arising about the command of that station, by reason that the little army then there was not properly regulated, your Petitioner then, at his charge, made a journey from thence to the honourable Provincial Congress, then sitting at Watertown, to give intelligence of the reduction of the above fortress to the United Colonies; and also, if possible, to get a proper regulation at the said fortress. The honourable Provincial Congress thought proper not to intermeddle in this affair, as they understood the taking of the fort had its origin in the Connecticut General Assembly, and ordered their President to write to the said Assembly, and sent me express there, desiring them to regulate and garrison the same; which they did not at that time incline to do, but furnished me with five hundred pounds of powder and some cash, and ordered me as fast as possible to proceed forward with it to Ticonderoga, and on my way to raise as many men at the United Colonies' expense, as I could: which I did. On arriving there, I found matters in a much worse situation than when I left the place. I was then by an express sent for home, by some Companies I had raised, and were ready to march. Soon after my return, hearing that agents were sent from the Provincial Congress to settle matters at Ticonderoga, I again set off for that place, and at my arrival had the honour to be appointed to the command of a Regiment, and received of the aforesaid agents two hundred and eighty Pounds, and have paid it out to the several officers of the Regiment, to be by them paid to the soldiers, as advance pay for one month' s wages. And your Petitioner begs leave to inform your Honours, that he humbly conceives that forty Shillings advance pay is wholly inadequate to the soldiers for their present necessity, many of them having been there ever since the fort was taken, and having only a day' s warning to prepare for the campaign; and most of them extremely poor. The new-raised Companies are much in the same circumstances as to poverty; and the Regiment entertain an idea that they shall fare as the Connecticut Troops do at that place, they having forty Shillings bounty, and forty Shillings advance pay. And your Petitioner would humbly pray that your Honours would make them near about equal, (that there may be no murmuring,) by putting money into the commanding officer' s hands, to the amount of sixteen hundred Pounds, including the four hundred Pounds already expended, to pay out to them as their necessities may require for blankets and other clothing.

And your Petitioner begs leave further to inform your Honours, that he has already expended out of his own pocket, for raising and paying off men in the service of the United Colonies, nine hundred and twenty-one Pounds, besides all his own expenses for himself and horse in travelling back and forth in said services, which is no inconsiderable sum. And your Petitioner prays the indulgence of your Honours whilst he observes, that when he is at Crown Point he is about three hundred miles from this place, and that he expects soon to be ordered to St˙ John' s, so that he will soon be four hundred miles from this honourable Assembly, which will render it impracticable to have any further supply of cash from the Assembly till the campaign is ended.

Your Petitioner, although, from the beginning of our troubles, from a corrupt and abandoned Ministry, he has been most heartily engaged in the cause of our much-injured Country, and has spared neither money nor time, nor bodily strength, nor fatigue, for the general cause; but at all times, when judged expedient, has heartily devoted all to the publick good, yet he is so sensible the Regiment he has the honour to command cannot properly be provided for at such a distance without the commanding officer has money to silence the murmuring of the soldiers, that he expects a draught on the Receiver-General for twelve hundred Pounds or one thousand Pounds, to pay the advance pay, and provide blankets and other necessaries for the Regiment. And unless the honourable Council and honourable House of Representatives should see fit in their great wisdom to grant such a supply to him for the purpose aforesaid, he humbly begs leave to resign his orders, and prays that some other person may be appointed in his room. As in duty bound, shall ever pray.


WATERTOWN, July 24, 1775.