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ment for life. But few, however, signed the petition in favour of Stephen. The Assembly spent several days on the subject, and finally granted the request of Jesse; yeas 104, nays 31. The request of Stephen was negatived in the House; yeas 42, nays 97. The decision of the Assembly was brought to Manchester by his excellency Governor Galusha, and immediately communicated to the prisoners. Jesse received the news with peculiar satisfaction; while Stephen was greatly depressed, being wholly left without hope. Jesse lamented that his brother could not share in the same comparative blessing with him, and that they could not be 'fellow-prisoners together. Little did these brothers think that the fate of Stephen would terminate more favourably than that of Jesse, and be the cause of a more speedy deliverance. 'Tis often the case, that the darkest dispensations of Divine providence are presages of the rising morning. This should teach us always to trust in the Lord, and consider that although clouds and darkness are round about him, yet justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
On the 29th day of October Jesse took a final farewell of his brother, of his friends, and family at Manchester, and was carried to the state-prison at Windsor, expecting to spend the remainder of his life there. None can express the melancholy situation of Stephen, the poor prisoner, separated from wife and children, parents and friends, under sentence of death, without hope. I visited him frequently with sympathy and grief, and endeavoured to turn his mind on the things of another world; telling him that, as all human means failed, he must look to God as the only way of deliverance. I advised him to read the Holy Scriptures, to which he consented, if he could be allowed a candle, as his cell was dark; this request was granted; and I often found him reading. He was at times calm, and again impatient. The interview I had with him a few days before the news came that it was likely that Colvin was alive was very affecting. He says to me,
"Mr. Haynes, I see no way but I must die; every thing works against me; but I am an innocent man; this you will know after I am dead." He burst into a flood of tears, and said, "What will become of my poor wife and children! they are in needy circumstances, and I love them better than life itself." I told him God would take care of them. He replied, "I don't want to die. I wish they would let me live even in this situation some longer; perhaps something will take place that may convince people that I am innocent." I was about to leave the prison when he said, "Will you pray with me?" He arose, with his heavy chains on his hands and legs, being also chained down to the floor, and stood on his feet during prayer, with deep and bitter sighings. A Mr. Taber Chadwick,* of Shrewsbury, Monmouth county, New-Jersey, brother-in-law of Mr. Wm. Polhamus, in Dover, New-Jersey, where Colvin had lived ever since April, 1813, seeing the account of the trial of the Boorns at Manchester, he wrote the letter that has been so often published. When the letter came to town, every one was struck with consternation. A few partly believed, but the main doubted. "It cannot be that Colvin is alive," was the general cry. Mr. Chadwick's letter was carried to the prisoner, and read to Stephen; the news was so overwhelming, that, to use his own language, nature could scarcely sustain the shock; but, as there was some doubt as to the truth of the report, it tended to prevent an immediate dissolution. He observed to me, "that he believed that, had Colvin then made his appearance, it would have caused immediate death. Even now a faintness was created that was painful to endure." Soon a letter was sent to Manchester informing that there was a probability that the man supposed to be murdered was yet alive, and that Mr. Whelply, of New-York, formerly of Manchester, and who was intimately acquainted with Colvin, had actu
* Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Polhamus live distant from each other about forty miles.
ally gone to New-Jersey in quest of him. Thus there was increasing evidence in confirmation of the letter. As soon as Mr. Whelply had returned to New-York, he immediately wrote " that he had Colvin with him." A Mr. Rempton, a former acquaintance of Russell's, wrote to his friend here, "that while writing Russell Colvin is before me." A New-York paper announced his arrival also, and that he would soon set out for Vermont. Notwithstanding all this, many gave no credit to the report, but considered it a mere deception. Large bets were made. On the 22d of December, Colvin arrived in the stage with Mr. Whelply at Bennington. The county court being then in session, all were filled with astonishment and surprise. The court suspended business for some hours, to gaze upon one who in a sense had been dead, and is alive again. Many who formerly knew him now saw that there could be no deception; Russell could call many of them by name. Towards evening, the same day, lie came to Manchester; notice being given that he was near at hand, a cry was heard, "Colvin has come /" The stage was driven swiftly, and a signal extended; it was all bustle and confusion. The stage stopped at Captain Black's inn. The village was all alive; all were running to obtain sight of the man who they had no doubt was dead, and had come as a kind of saviour to one who was devoted to the gibbet. Some, like Thomas in another case, would not believe without tangible evidence. People gathered around him with such eagerness as to render it impossible to press through the crowd, or obtain a sight of him. Almost all his old acquaintance he could recognise, and call them by name. Several guns were discharged for joy; people ran' to different parts of the town to give notice. The prison door was unbolted— the news proclaimed to Stephen that Colvin had come! The welcome reception given it by the joyful prisoner need not be mentioned. The chains on his arms were taken off, while those on his legs remained; being impatient of an interview with him who had come to bring salvation, they met. Colvin gazed upon the chains, and asked, "What is that for?" Stephen answers, "Because they say I murdered you." Russell replied, "You never hurt me." His wife, and friends, and people from every part of the town were collected. Joy and gladness sat on every countenance. Many shouts of rejoicing were heard, together with the discharge of cannon. The news having been spread that Colvin had come to Manchester, the next day there was a large collection from the neighbouring towns, who met to behold the returned exile, and to express their high satisfaction on the occasion. I think I can say that I scarcely ever saw more exultation and tender sympathy on any occasion. Not less than fifty cannon were discharged, and at a seasonable hour they returned to their places of abode. Mrs. Colvin came to see her husband, but he took but little notice of her, intimating that she did not belong to him. Some of his children came to see him, of whom he appeared somewhat fond. He wondered how they came here, as he said "he left them in New-Jersey, and must take them back." He fancies that he is the owner of the farm belonging to Mr. Polhamus, in Dover; talks much about his property there. It is observed by those who formerly knew him, that his mental derangement is much greater than it was when he left Manchester. Many things that took place years ago he can recollect with accuracy, and describes with a degree of propriety. He discovers a placid and harmless disposition. The family where he resided in New-Jersey are fond of him, wish him to return and spend his days with them, of which he seems very desirous; accordingly, on the 29th of December, he set out from Manchester with Mr. Whelply for New-York, who engaged to convey him from thence to his former habitation in New-Jersey, having received remuneration from this town for that purpose. There it is probable Colvin will end his days. Stephen is not in a state of confinement, but lives with his family. Jesse is still in state-prison, has heard the news, and has written to his attorney to use means for his release. It is probable that the honourable court will provide some way by which they may obtain a legal dismission at their session, which is at Bennington, on the third Tuesday of January instant.
The writer would observe, that publishing the above narrative was the effect of friendly importunity. It may be expected that imputations of an unwarranted nature on the town of Manchester, and on the civil authority of Vermont, will be made; but I am fully of the opinion, were the matter well understood, that the judicious and candid would be satisfied.
It must be acknowledged, that it is one of the most mysterious events recorded in the annals of time. There are circumstances attending it which are still enveloped in obscurity that human sagacity cannot explore. Has there murder been committed at Manchester? is a question often suggested by people abroad. We are ready to answer, that evidence to prove such an event does not appear. One thing we are sure of, that Russell Colvin has not been murdered; and that the prisoners condemned are, and ought to be, exonerated.
Manchester, Vt, 1820.
Addition.—About four years after Colvin was missing, some children of Mr. Johnson's, near the place where it was supposed that the murder had been committed, found a hat; they carried it home: all agreed that it was Colvin's hat: it was in such an injured state that it was pulled in pieces and thrown away.—Colvin was unwilling to return to Vermont with Mr. Whelply, who was obliged to have recourse to stratagem. A young woman of Russell's acquaintance agreed to accompany him, pretending that they only designed a visit to New-York. While there she was missing, which excited some uneasiness in the mind of the returning exile. While staying a few days at New-York, to prevent his returning, Mr. Whelply told him there were British men-of-war lying in the harbour, and, unless he