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Ebenezer Mattoon to Thomas Cushing Regarding Henry McCulloch

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Date: 1787
About this artifact

Henry McCulloch of Pelham was sentenced to death for his part in Shays' Rebellion. General Ebenezer Mattoon, justice of the peace in Amherst, wrote to Major Thomas Cushing that Henry was just a "tool of the rebel leaders..." He said that "...he is rash and bad in many of his expressions, exceedingly so, yet when he is out of bad company, and himself, I Declare I know not of a Person of more honesty and fidelity, nor a person more Generous, according to his ability, surely less guilty than either of the four who are pardoned...he frequently told me he wished he were out of it, but he could not live in Pelham unless he joined. them." Like the Pelhamites, Mattoon acknowledged the important connection between mercy and obedience to law: "If he is spared, the town of Pelham is attached to the government, if he is executed...the affection of the town is lost."

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Courtesy Massachusetts State Archives, Boston, MA