History Contorts Itself

To the Editor: Jeff Hastings’ brief article on Ira Allen contained a few inaccuracies: Firstly, I would not characterize Allen as a “homey family man,” exactly. He spent most of his marriage out of town on business either trying to establish trade with Canada or overseas on various business ventures. His letters home do not show a hint of homesickness, nor a desire to get back to family life. Also, his incarcerations in England and France for attempting to carry arms to Canada were not directly connected. The British rightly assumed that he was transporting arms for sale to Canadians to support an insurrection. Allen persuaded them to allow him to go to France to obtain proof that the arms were for Vermont, and the French arrested Allen because they suspected him of being a spy–for by that time, France and the United States were close to waging war. The Allen family letters have been published–good reading for anyone interested in early American history and life on the frontier.