In their own words

thomas jefferson, jefferson memorial,

July 31, 1798 Charged for Sedition

“As to the executive, when I shall see the efforts of that power bent on the promotion of the comfort, the happiness, and the accommodation of the people, that executive shall have my zealous and uniform support. But whenever I shall, on the part of the executive, see every consideration of public welfare swallowed up in a continual grasp for power, in unbound thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, or selfish avarice; when I shall behold men of real merit daily turned out of office for no other cause but independency of spirit; when I shall see men of firmness, merit, years, abilities, and experience, discarded in their application for office, for fear that they possess that independence, and men of meanness preferred, for the ease with which they can take up and advocate opinions, the consequences of which they know little of; when I shall see the sacred name of religion employed as a state engine to make mankind hate and persecute each other, I shall not be there humble advocate”

The Scourge of Aristocracy - Oct. 1,1798

"At this agitated and awful crisis, when everything is industriously circulated, which can corrupt or mislead the public sentiment, and prepare the American mind for a state of abject slavery, and degrading subjugation to a set of assuming High Mightnesses in our own country, with a close connection with a corrupt tottering monarchy in Europe, which has long been intolerable to every man whose breast contains the smallest spark of the amor patriae"

"No mans blood" - June 3, 1798

"The gentleman from Connecticut yesterday hoped there would be 'better blood and accent ' to carry the question. I have no objections to gentleman of high blood carrying this address. I have no pretensions of high blood, though, I think I have as good blood as any of them, as I was born of a fine, hale, healthy woman. Before yesterday I never heard of gentlemen boasting of their blood in this house. I cannot say, it is true, that I am descended from the bastards of Oliver Cromwell, or his courtiers, or from the Puritans who punished their horses for breaking the Sabbath, or from those who persecuted the Quakers or hanged the witches. I can, however, say that this is my country, because I have no other; and I own share of it, which I have brought by means of honest industry; I have fought for my country. In every day of her trouble I have repaired to her standard and conquered under it. Conquest has let my country to independence, and, being independent, I'll call no man's blood into question."

Lyon's letter to General Mason from Jail Oct. 14 1798

"...It is all useless, said I; if I wish to come out, they could not hold me; and as I do not, if my limits were marked by a single thread, I would not over step it..."

John Adams

"A group of foreign liars have discomfited the education, the talents, the virtues and the property of the country. The reason we have no Americans in America."

"Can their hearts endure that the most influential men in the country, all foreigners and all degraded characters? Foreigners must be received with caution, or they will destroy all confidence in government."

Thomas Jefferson

"For my own part, I consider these laws as mererly an experiment on the American mind, to see how far it will bear an avowed violation of the Constitution."

Quill Drop

Matthew Lyon's public letter to Adams, printed 59 minutes before 1 AM March 4, 1801 ~ 1 MINUTE AFTER Adam's Presidency

"Fellow citizen: came to the administration, sir, under the most favorable auspices at a time...when this country was considered an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, and there was a great influx of foreign riches, industry and ingenuity; when this country was happy in the freedom of speech and of the press; when the Constitution was considered a barrier against legislative, executive and judicial encroachments... before offices, places and contracts, were considered as the executive right of the favorite caste. Reflect a little, sir, and see this awful change made four short years... your mad zeal for monarchy, your love for pomp, your unhappy selection of favorites, your regardlessness of the public treasure... has divided the people into parties and fostered among them envy , malice and rancorous hatred toward each other..."

"under your administration, sir, a system of appointments have been established by which implicit faith in your infallibility and a knack for discoloring the truth became the only qualification to office, or to entitle a person to a contract."

"perhaps in no one instance has our constitution, our sacred bill of rights, been more shamefully, more barefacedly trampled on, then in the case of the passage of the bill called the Sedition law. This, sir, was your darling hobbyhorse. By this law you expected to have all your follies, your absurdities, and your atrocities buried in oblivion. You thought by its terrorism to shut the mouths of all but sycophants and flatterers, and to secure yourself in the presidency at least; but I'll happily have you been disappointed-, the truth has issued from many a patriot pen and press -and you have fallen, never, never to rise again"

Historic Perspective


Matthew Lyon books, Lyon books

Two Fighter & Two Fines (Campbell)

Matthew Lyon "New Man" (Austin)

Matthew Lyon, Hamden of the Congress (McLaughlin)

Life Services of M. Lyon (White)

The Blind African Slave (Brace)

Vt Historic society, UVM archives

1778 Burn

Matthew Lyon, Griswold, peter porucpine, Lyon caricature, Lyon fights griswold,griswold attacks lyon

Competing accounts of the Griswold hickory cane assault.

Cartoon of Demonic Lyon attacking Congressman Griswold with a wooden sword "what beastly action"

 Peter Porcupine (William Cobbett) "my quills shall pierce and my Press shall block you." 

Lyon Fought Back

Lyon attacks Griswold, Matthew Lyon fights Griswold, Matthew Lyon fire tongs, Griswold hickory cane

While sitting at his desk, his back turned, Lyons was assaulted by Griswold using a Hickory cane. Lyon defended himself, charging Griswold, pushing him back to the fireplace where Lyon armed himself with the fire tongs. 

Colonial (Social) Media

Colonial limrick,

Not everyone could read, limericks and songs were a way of conveying the news. 

Faux News

colonial limrick

Lyon was a thorn in the side of the Federalists, neither did they spare barbs 

Incarcerated Incumbent

voting statistics,

The Green Mountain Boys offered to break Col. Lyon out of jail. Instead, he ran for re-election

Unbelievable facts

Lyon's cell?

All that remains of the building in which Col. Lyon was imprisoned is a hand wrought colonial jail cell. Currently it is in a solar field in Vergennes Vt. Once a year it is used for fund raising... bail for a good cause

Green Mountain Boys

85-90 Militia; (Thomas Rowley was real Bard) Responsible for taking Fort bluff...before Washington was a general.

Fort Ti had all the weapons for the fledgling Continental army. Matthew Lyon fired the first cannon under the auspices of the American eagle. Mounted on Crown Point, NY, a 13-inch called 'Old Sow'

Invisible legacy?

Col. Matthew Lyon founded Fairhaven Vermont. 

There is no Lyon Rd. 

There is an Adams St. 

There is no Lyon rd in Vergennes.


The Green Mountain State has 

a State Historic Marker, Fair Haven.

There is nothing in Vergennes, nothing in Montpelier, nothing at a rest stop.  

no statue, no monument. no high school baseball team. 

Only ghosts and the river tell the tale of the Lyon of Vermont. 

The State Prison in Eddyville, Kentucky has Lyon's grandson's initials on its gate. He was a warden.


Thomas Rowley, Bard of the Green Mountain Boys is buried in Jenison Cemetery Shoreham, Vt

Col. Lyon is buried in Eddyville, Lyon County, Kentucky Beneath a State Historic Marker

Pvt. Jeffrey Brace is honored by State Historic Marker in Georgia Vt. His grave is on private land