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Arnold’s Effigy at New Milford

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

October 27.—Last evening, the infamous traitor Arnold was carried through New Milford, Connecticut, in effigy. He made his appearance sitting on his coffin, in a horse-cart, hung round with several pair of splendid lanterns; behind the traitor stood the Devil, who seemed, however, ashamed of so unprofitable a servant. The traitor being dressed in uniform, pinioned, and properly accoutred for the gallows, having made the tour of the town, was brought under strong guard to the place of execution, where, in the view of some hundred spectators he was formally hanged, cut down, and buried. The numerous populace expressed their universal contempt of the traitor, by the hissing explosion of a multitude of squibs and crackers, with which they graced his exit, as well as their joy at the timely discovery of his hellish treason, by a beautiful illumination of the town. The whole procession and execution, with all things pertaining to the exhibition, were conducted with the greatest decency and good order. Thirteen volleys were fired by the guards, and three cheers given by the people in testimony of their joy that the States were rid of the traitor. This closed the scene. On the heart of the traitor was fixed a label expressive of his real character, the justice of his condemnation, and a bequest of his soul to the Devil. A label from the Devil’s mouth announced his acceptance of the bequest, in regard to the traitor’s intentional service; but on account of his motley performance, assigned him a place below every Devil of enterprise and principle.

It is hoped the ever memorable 25th of September (the day when the blackest of crimes was unfolded) will be observed yearly throughout the United States of America, and handed down to the latest posterity, to the eternal disgrace of the traitor.1


1 Pennsylvania Packet, January 16, 1781.