In a few days three of the rebels, armed with pistols, again came to the shop of Captain Godfrey, and sternly demanded of him all his goods and chattels, to be held by them in trust, and to be restored to him at the close of the American rebellion, on condition that he joined General Washington. His refusal of these conditions was, by the decree of the war committee, to be punished with death. This committee had a number of armed men as the instruments by which they enforced their decrees. The three envoys gave the Captain one hour to consider their proposal.
At the expiration of the hour Margaret Godfrey and her husband came into the room where the rebels were seated. Margaret asked them how her husband and family should be able to join General Washington; “Would they not be arrested as spies or enemies of the New England colonists if they attempted to pass over among them?”
One of the rebels answered her, “If you will go and join General Washington, we will give you a pass into New England, and as soon as we can consult with the war committee we will bring or send you the passport.”
Margaret trembled lest her husband would suddenly object to the proceeding, as nothing definite had been arranged during their hour of debating the situation, only that they must escape if possible. She was well aware of her husband’s sterling loyalty. She caught his eye and nodded to him to assent to the proposition of the rebels.
He did so. The rebels left, promising the pass the next day, and that in twenty-four hours after receiving it, a guard would be ready to escort them on their way to New England. It being late in the afternoon the rebels then left. At noon the following day a messenger arrived with the passport, and also an order to be ready to proceed toward New England on the following day. The permit or passport read as follows:
Permit the bearer, Charles * * * Godfrey,
* * * Esqr.,
to pass from river St John in Nova Scotia with his family
to any part of New England.
Maugerville, } By order
of the Committee,
ye 8 July, 1776. } JACOB BARKERLY, Chairman.
After a few words of conversation with the Captain and his wife, the messenger took his departure. No time was lost in preparing to escape. Mrs. Godfrey was determined to have everything in the canoe before daylight next morning. The night fortunately was fine, and if all went well they would be well on their way to Fort Frederick before Jacob Barkerly or any of the rebels were aware of their departure. Accordingly the night was a busy one getting ready and transferring bundles of stuff to the canoe, which was some distance off. At early dawn all were in readiness, and the last to leave the homestead at Grimross were Margaret and Paul, who had returned from the shore for a box containing the Captain’s private papers, which had been overlooked in the hurry. A few minutes before four o’clock the Indian and Mrs. Godfrey arrived at the canoe with the box.