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Colonel John Brown, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Brave Accuser of Benedict Arnold   By: (1848-)

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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies.]

COLONEL JOHN BROWN

OF PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

THE BRAVE ACCUSER OF

BENEDICT ARNOLD

An Address

DELIVERED BEFORE THE FORT RENSSELAER CHAPTER OF THE D.A.R. AND OTHERS

BY ARCHIBALD M. HOWE

AT THE

VILLAGE OF PALATINE BRIDGE, NEW YORK

SEPTEMBER 29, 1908.

W. B. CLARKE COMPANY 26 AND 28 TREMONT STREET BOSTON

1908

GEO. H. ELLIS CO., PRINTERS, 272 CONGRESS ST., BOSTON.

This address was delivered for the purpose of calling attention to the present condition of the marble monument erected at Stone Arabia, N.Y., to the memory of Colonel Brown in 1836, now insecure because the cemetery in the rear of Stone Arabia church is not properly maintained.

The form of the address is slightly changed, but the writer will never forget the kindness of the Canajoharie and Palatine friends who greeted him and the wonderful beauty of Stone Arabia, a plateau north of the Mohawk at Palatine where our ancestors maintained a strong outpost against Indians and other adversaries.

THE BRAVE ACCUSER OF BENEDICT ARNOLD.

John Brown, of Pittsfield, Mass., now almost forgotten, was a patriot in our Revolution of 1775 whose career has been described more than once by men in New York and in Berkshire County, but, as it is now time to give more impartial views of the controversy, perhaps another sketch of the life of this leader may encourage others to search for clearer views of the ways by which our ancestors established the institutions which we hope are to endure.

Daniel Brown, the father of Colonel John Brown, came from Haverhill, Mass., to the western part of the Commonwealth in 1752, when his son John was eight years old. He seems to have been first in the beautiful town of Sandisfield to take part in its local government, both secular and ecclesiastical. "Deacon Brown" is called prosperous when this new town on the banks of the Farmington River, east of the hills of the Housatonic, bade fair to equal Pittsfield as a trading place. "The Deacon" was a local magistrate under the king, when laymen served as judges. John, his youngest son, is described as tall and powerful, an athlete able to kick a football over the elm tree on the college green at New Haven when he entered at twenty three years of age, older in years than most college students of the year 1767.

It is believed that he prepared for college with some citizen of the neighborhood, and it is known that he married before graduating in 1771.

While at New Haven, he was fully informed of the peculiarities of Benedict Arnold, then a storekeeper, already disgraced in the eyes of respectable citizens because of his desertion from the British army and his reckless disregard for the rights of his creditors; for then the debtor was not allowed to retain his respectability, if he failed dishonestly. Furthermore, his self assertion was recognized as too often a display of arrogance and vanity. Brown's sister Elizabeth had married Oliver Arnold, attorney general of Rhode Island, a cousin of Benedict, and it is reasonable to suppose that he was well informed of Arnold's misdeeds, which thus became known to John Brown.

In 1771, when he was graduated from Yale, only twenty men were of his class. Quite a large number of Yale graduates took part with the patriots, and Humphreys, one of the class of 1771, was aide de camp to Washington. He, I believe, is the only writer in verse who extolled this John Brown. How often we are indebted to poets for our heroes! If this John Brown had incited an insurrection and been hanged for killing his fellow men contrary to law in time of peace, "his soul might be marching on." If, when he rode from Ticonderoga on horse at a high rate of speed to Philadelphia, to inform the Continental Congress that his friend Ethan Allen had taken possession of the fortress with its guns and materials for war, some poet had described his ride, as Longfellow portrayed Paul Revere's, the school children would still recall Brown of Pittsfield; but, my friends, 'tis of little moment that we are soon forgotten, if it be certain that, while we live, we live with moral courage in the life of every day... Continue reading book >>




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