Mr. Jolley Allen
MR. JOLLEY ALLEN’S quaint narrative, now published for the first time, is a fragment, so to speak, of the warp which shows itself here and there through the well-worn fabric of history, and serves to remind one who may be a trifle weary of the doings of generals, kings, and statesmen, that it is not mainly because of their courage or pride or power that our world is what it is, but rather because of the unknown thousands who follow in their train, the nameless confidential servants, shopkeepers, and hand-workers, — patient privates in the illimitable army, without whom neither generals nor kingdoms nor states would be possible.
In the present case, the humble hero, it must be confessed, is not much of a hero by his own showing, but merely an industrious tradesman, whose ambition hardly extended beyond his till and his family, and possibly a dream of “ gigrespectability,” — a busy ant engaged in antlike accumulation among his fellows, until suddenly down crashes the armed heel of Bellona upon the unconscious colony, and all is confusion and ruin.
Jolley Allen’s minute-book of the year 1780, containing his story, together with memoranda of wearing apparel, an abstract of his will, copies of letters, and various accounts, came into the writer’s hands from the legatee of the son of one of Allen’s executors. The story, which is well authenticated, opens in 1772, when by common consent the great majority of Boston merchants agreed not to buy nor sell the East India Company’s tea, on whose behalf the British government had levied the objectionable tax. It will be seen that Allen was a declared, and in the matter of tea an unscrupulous loyalist, though in other respects apparently straightforward enough. His exact words and spelling have been followed whenever quoted.
” Some time, I think, in the month of October, 1772, I bought two chests of tea of Governor Hutchinson’s two sons, Thomas and Elisha, at Boston, about eleven o’clock in the forenoon ; and I thought it most prudent, for the fear of being watched — as the custom of Boston is to shut up their warehouses and go on Change and return about four in the afternoon — to leave them until two o’clock; and by agreement Messrs. Hutchinson’s apprentice waited until that time to deliver them to one Will’m Burke that I ordered to go with his cart to their warehouse for the said two chests of tea, which he did, and brought them with him to my shop; and as he went to unload the tea. Mr. John Hancock’s head clerk, Will’m Palphrey, happened to come by at the same time, and looking at the two chests of tea, as he thought, took the original numbers ; but he happened to be mistaken, for he took the East India marks instead of the company’s house number in London. I cannot look upon him in any other light than an informer, because of one of the committee coining to me in about half an hour afterwards, and saying he had information of two chests of tea comeing into my house, and that his business was to desire of me not to be out of the way, as the whole committee of the town of Boston was to waite on me about four o’clock that same afternoon.
“ I beg leave to observe that when I hired Will’m Burke, I cautioned him, for fear of an accident, that if any enquiry slum d be made hereafter, that he must say he took the tea from off the Long Warf, and that nobody was there, but to his surprise, looking about him, he saw a boat with men in it, rowing toward a large ship in the stream which he supposed brought them two chests on shore from that ship, — which story he never diviated from, altho’ he was often examined by the said committee, and severely threatened by them. I was likewise several different times threatened with that Diabolical Punishment of being Tarr’d and Feathered, and under the disagreeable apprehention of the same for many days afterwards, which no mortal can describe the anxiety of mind I was in, and expected my house to be pulled down and everything destroy’d.
“ The said committee came to me about half after three o’clock, thinking to catch me unprepair’d for their attack ; but Providence had ordered it so that I was ready to receive them, for I had cutt the ropes and taken off the outside covering, so that no person could tell from where I had them. The committee comeing to my door, I met them, and asked their business ; they told me they came to know from whence I had the two chests of tea that come into my shop at two o’clock that day. I answered if that was their business, and they had nothing further to say to me, they was welcome to walk in. I received them in my parlor. I asked them what their demand was upon the tea ; they told me nothing further than to be shewn the chests of tea. I then asked each one of them if that would give them full satisfaction. They told me upon a point of honor it would, and they shou’d have nothing more to say to me at present. I answered them upon honor I wou’d shew them the same tea that came into my house. I accordingly went to my store and opened the door, and shewed them the two chests of tea, which they all stood amazed at, saying that was not what they meat, though they had given their words of honor.
I asked them where all their honors lay. They told me they ment to see the two outside cases where the marks lay, that they might know from whence I bought them. I told them I was surprised at that whole body which was the standing committee of the town of Boston shou’d forfet their honors in so trifleing an affair; but still wanting to see the outside cases, I granted it by pointing to the same, saying, there they lay; I hope you are satisfied now. I verily believe where I pointed with my finger there lay between two and three hundred of the same sort, and I left them to find them out, which they soon gave up, saying that I had fairly outwitted them all; but they would watch well for the time to come, which they did to the utmost of all their powers in every respect, striving to hurt me in my trade.
“ My stock in English goods at that time was very great, being well sorted, and cost me many thousand pounds sterling, and my trade dwindled away, chiefly at last to the friends of government and the army, after the above tea affair, which was a great detriment, with so large a stock of goods laying on my hands at that time ; but I still kept my house, and continued there until and during the whole time of the blockade of Boston.
“ To the following gentlemen, whom I received into my house during the said blockade, I am well known, viz. Gen’l Gage’s two brothers in law, Major Kimball and Captain Kimball, General Prescott, Lord Barrington’s son, General Piggott, Capt. Delaney, of the light dragoons, and Dr. Bruce, of the train of artilery, who lodged with me.
“ From my principals and attachment to my king and country which I never disguised, and taking all the military gentlemen I possibly could under my roof, and accomodating them to the utmost of my power, contrary to the political principals of the major part of the town of Boston, and comeing away with the fleet and army, was the great cause of it going so hard with me at their General court and from the mobs in America.”
On the 7th of March, 1776, Lord Howe, finding that the earthworks thrown up by Washington’s troops on Dorchester Heights made Boston untenable by his army, and the harbor untenable by the fleet, and having failed, owing to a severe storm, in his proposed attack on the American position, concluded to evacuate the town ; and the news came to the loyalists, in Washington’s words, like a thunderbolt. They had not dreamed of being left unprotected by the British government ; and in a minute they saw themselves forced to leave home and friends, property and livelihood, and to flee they knew not where. As most of our ancestry were on the winning side, naturally we have come to think that the other was altogether wrong and indefensible. Yet at the parting of the ways there were patriots equally on both sides, men who alike risked all they had ; and to the loyalists the knowledge that their only safety was in flight came almost with the terrible suddenness of flood or earthquake.
There was an army of more than ten thousand men, with baggage, equipments, and stores to be moved, and twelve hundred to fifteen hundred citizens with all their personal effects, and little time and limited conveyance available. Under these circumstances, and with the cannon thundering in his ears, it is hardly to be wondered at that Jolley Allen took the first man who offered and made the best bargain he could, hiring “ on the 11th of March a vessel for my effects and family of one Captain Campbell, as he styled himself, who came and told me his vessel was at my service, as he had disposed of no part of it. I asked him who was to command the vessell. He said it belonged to him and he was the captain. I then asked him if he was used to go to sea. He answered he had for twenty years and upwards gone captain of his own vessell. Upon that I showed him my shop and two warehouses full of goods, and likewise the furniture of my house, which cost me above one thousand pounds sterling. I then asked this villian — for I cannot look upon him in another light —how much of his vessel he thought I should want. He told me three quarters of it would hold my effects. I answered him, if that was the case, I would rather hire the whole of it, which I accordingly did, and agreed with him for fifteen guineas to carry me, my family, and effects where the fleet and army went, and paid him down half the money and took his receipt for the same, for we did not know where we was going. I began to take my goods down and pack them up immediately, and was obliged to put them into the street as I packed them, and myself and my family watched them two days and two nights before I cou’d get any carts to carry them down to the vessell, which was about a quarter of an English mile from my house, and which cost me upwards of forty-two pounds sterling all ready cash.
“ The 14th of March myself and family lay on board the said vessell, the 17th towed down below the castle by strange sailors, and there lay until the 27th of March, and at three o’clock in the afternoon sailed under the convoy of Admiral Gratton. I believe the fleet made about eighty sail of us at that time. When we came to weigh anchor, and got it three quarters up, a large ship of about five hundred tuns came foul of us, and got foul of our bowspritt, saying with bitter oaths that they wou’d sink us if we did not let go our anchor. At this time we had carried away all their side-rails and a carriage that was hung over. When they got clear, we fell to work to get our anchor up again, and another vessell of near seven hundred tun fell foul of our bowspritt, which carried away their quarter-gallery, and did them abundant mischief, which obliged us to let our anchor down again. Accordingly we weighed our anchor a third time, and got it up so high that the vessell moved.
“ I then was glad to think we should get out of Nantasket Road and get up to the fleet which hove to for us; but I was soon disappointed, for the stern of our vessell got aground. I turned to the captain, and asked what he thought would become of us. He said he could not tell. Then I desired him to look over the stern where we was aground, which he did. I asked him whether the tide was comeing in or agoing out. He said he could not tell without an almanack. I told him to look again and let me know his opinion, which he did after some time, saying if the tide was going out the vessell would grow faster in the sand, and we should be more aground, but if the tide was comeing in, the vessell would rise and we shou’d get away, which I thank God we did ; and soon found we were going to sea without either captain, mate, or sailor, or even a boy that had been to sea. A young man was put at the helm that had never seen salt-water before, and pointing to a vessell before him the captain said, follow that, and wherever it goes, do you keep it always in view. I called the captain aside once more and asked him what that man at the helm must do when night came on, and he could not see that object. Oh, said he, Mr. Allen, I am surprised at you ; all the men-of-war will throw out lights, and then we shall be as light as day. This I was easy enough to believe, but soon found a fatal reverse, for before the day closed in the whole fleet was out of sight, and we was left to ourselves in a melancholy disposition.
“ Soon after I heard a bussel upon deck, and was told that the clew at the mainsail had given way, and to my great surprise found it had blown off the other side the shrouds, and was in danger, as I thought, of oversetting the vessell. I then called the captain to me, and said to him in these words: you are the man that has brought me into all these difficulties I am now in, and I do insist upon your doing your duty on board this vessell as long as I am in it, both by night and day, and I command you that you get the clew of the mainsail in immediately, and I will give you all the assistance in my power, with all the other help on board. There being room, I gave him liberty to take in more passengers to put more money in his pocket, so that in all we were twenty-nine souls on board, which all endeavored what lay in their power to get the mainsail in again, and with all the help we were able; and the captain tyed it to one of the pumps, but for want of knowing how to tye a sailor’s knot, it gave way in less than a quarter of a minute.
“ I told him that he must now renew his strength, and we would likewise do the same, for I feared the vessell would overset; accordingly we got it in again, and he then tyed it to both pumps in such a manner as not to be able to untye it, and so it was obliged to be cut with an ax. I asked, on going on the quarter deck, a little while after the accident, if he had no such thing as a compass in our benecle, and he said he had two, but he had no occasion for them and they was both under his bed, and he shewed them to me, saying we was going directly after the fleet. He then made an apology that he had broke open my box and took out my candles, as he had forgot to bring any on board. At this time we went about five knots an hour, but had shipped several seas in the intrim of time. All the water we had on board that could be drank, which was on deck, was about three quarters of a barrell, and we shipped a heavy sea about eight o’clock that same evening, which loosened the cask, and the bung started, and we lost all, there not being one drop left to wet the mouths of all the souls on board. In about half an hour after, we shipped a much heavier sea, which carried off’ the whole of our cubbose off the deck, and we had no place to dress a bit of victuals after this.
“ I then turned to the captain and said, I fear we shall all perish before half an hour’s at an end; had you not better try your pumps to see if the hold is filling with water, to know if we be not sinking ? Oh ! dear sir, says the captain, I am glad you thought of it, for I had forgot it. Then he tryed the pump, which was choaked, and he could not get any water out of it, and the hold was at least a quarter full of water. I then told him to try the other pump, and he went to look for the tackling to rigg the other pump, but could not find anything to do it with, and if he had I am convinced he did not know what to do with it.
“ In this disagreeable situation we continued, shipping seas often. I walked the deck till near twelve o’clock at night, untill I was not able any longer for the seas breaking in upon us and from the intense cold, for it froze to solid ice, so that it was dangerous to move a foot on deck. In this deplorable state, I went down into the cabin to my dear wife and seven children, thinking every minute would be the last I had to live. I took my wife by the hand as she lay in bed in the cabin, and to think I shou’d die along with her gave me great satisfaction ; but she being in a great deal of trouble, I did not let her know the eminent danger we was in. But about two o’clock in the morning, those passengers that lay in the hold of the vessell came running, and begged for God’s sake we would permit them to come in; that a plank in the side of the vessell had given way, and the sea was pouring in, and the vessell sinking, and they entreated they might be permitted to stay in the cabin till we all went to the bottom together, which was granted.
” Untill this my wife did not know the danger we was in. I then insisted that the captain shou’d go in search to see where the plank had given way. I myself went along with him, and found it not quite so bad, but that we had a great deal of water in the hold, that had got between the vessell and the cieling and had broke its way through, and made as much noise as if a plank had given way when the vessell moved. I next desired the captain to come upon deck, which he did, and I asked him whereabout we was at sea. He said he could not tell. I then asked him what distance we was from land. He said it was impossible for him to tell, he had not kept any reckoning; and the reason he gave was that he had forgot to bring pens, ink and paper. I told him I had all those things. Then he made answer he had never learnt navigation, that he was never on salt-water before, but he knew how to row a boat on a river; on which I told him I was sorry we had not a boat to save our lives, but at the same time it was my opinion if we had a boat with oars, he knew as little of it as of Navigation.
“ I then turned my back to him, almost froze to death, and looked out for day* brake, which at last I was so happy to see. We lay at the mercy of the waves, every large rope froze almost as thick as my thigh, and no person able to walk the deck, with sails and rigging torn in ten thousand pieces, that we could neither get them up nor down. About seven o’clock the captain said he saw a vessell, and I entreated him if he knew how to steer for it, he would with all speed. He made answer that he did not understand steering the vessell he was now in so well as he knew how to give directions to another. Some time after he said he thought he never saw so large a ship before and desired me to look at it, which I did, and soon perceived it was the main land, thinking how kind Providence had been to us to let us live to see that happy hour. He told me lie was fully convinced it was Nantucket. I told him, if that was the case, we must all perish very soon, for the amazeing shouls that lay off Nantucket. And now he was at the greatest loss to know what to do in this situation, and for want of a map our case I then thought began to be desperate, which I am of opinion, had there been one, he knew no more what to do with than a ratt.
“ Providentially for us the day turned out very fine and warm, and we got clear of all our ice. I then desired the captain to order every one upon deck, and told them it was by my desire they should all appear, and to know what we should do in this melencholly situation we appeared in. I was of the opinion that no soul on board knew what land it was, and as we came up with it very fast, we all advised on this matter together with tears in our eyes, going where we could not tell. I was for running the vessell on shore in the most convenient place that we could see, which all agreed to except the captain, who was for going to sea again, thinking we might fall in with an English Man of War. I immediately objected against it, and so did every one in the vessell. So he found he stood no chance, but to shore he must go with us, and accordingly we endeavoured to set in for the land as fast as we could; and thank God there was a strong currant with a full tide in our favour, which brought us in quick, and looking for the safest place to run on shore we struck on the bar of Cape Cod most, violently, eight or nine times, which made the vessell shake so that at every stroke we thought she would have gone in a thousand pieces; but luckily for us we got off the bar, but our anchor that was banging eatched hold of the bar, and we all endeavoured to get the anchor untangled, and with great difficulty accomplished it. Soon after we got into twenty-four fathom water, and happy was I in myself that I had lived to see that anchor let down to hold us fast, to the great relief of all the twenty-nine unfortunate souls on board, though I expected to lose all my property. This was about two o’clock in the afternoon of the 28th of March, the day after we left Nantasket Road.”
It now became a question how the unlucky seafarers should get to land, and the captain having proposed that a signal of distress should be raised, Allen dryly observed, alluding to the torn and flying sails and rigging, that there were nine hundred thousand more signals than were needed; and indeed men were presently seen on shore, who, after talking together in the leisurely Cape Cod fashion, and making signs that they were going for assistance, went off through the woods, returning at last with a boat drawn by ten oxen and with six more men. Finally, though warned that smallpox had been brought, from Boston by some of the sloop’s company, they came off and landed the passengers; Allen and his wife and seven children arriving in the ox-cart at Provincetown at ten o’clock at night. There they were confined in a small cottage, with broken window and leaky roof, “not fit to put a hog in,” for three weeks, at the end of which time a final blow fell upon the unhappy man in the loss of his wife, who, “as tender a mother to her children as ever man could wish for, seeing all her effects taken from her, and wanting the common necessaries of life, fell a sacrifice to barbarity, and expired quite broken-hearted in the fifty-second year of her age.”
The General Court, sitting at Watertown, had been informed of the landing of the refugees within a week, and, being asked for instructions, it appointed a committee to go to the town, secure their persons and property, and take measures to prevent the spread of smallpox. Meanwhile the Provincetown folk had not been idle, having run the sloop aground so that she could not be got off; giving themselves three weeks to unload and store Allen’s property, portions of which would frequently drop from the carts ; some being carefully buried in the sand, moreover, and battles being fought to secure a reasonable distribution of the spoil.
On the 24th of May, though the committee of the court had been in Provincetown and had returned to make their report, no orders had been received concerning the disposition to be made of the family; and the Provincetown selectmen, tired of maintaining it, even on the most thrifty terms, gave a pass to Allen and his son that they might present themselves at Watertown and receive the direction of the court as to their destination, leaving six children to the tender mercies of the town.
Accordingly, Allen went first to Boston, where he found his house, which he had carefully closed, broken open and occupied by his former barber, who was with difficulty induced to lodge him upon payment of eight shillings sterling. In Boston and on the way to Watertown lie and his boy were so abused that they were afraid of their lives, and walked by night, sleeping beneath a hedge. Upon reporting themselves at Watertown, they were confined, possibly for their own safety, and became the subjects of considerable discussion by the members of the General Court; it being proposed that Allen should be put in jail to pick oakum, or sent to the Castle in Boston harbor, or made to work in “Cinderbury mines, where few persons ever live to come out.” It was clearly impossible to punish the children, and it was concluded to bind the elder ones to service or labor, and make the four younger ones temporarily a charge upon the community; Allen himself to be confined and forced to labor, — a severe punishment for a man of sixty, accustomed to no harder work than to stand behind a counter and make entries in his daybook.
At this juncture, Lewis Allen, of Shrewsbury, stopping on his way to Boston, was surprised to meet his brother Jolley at Watertown, supposing him to be still at Cape Cod. During the explanation which followed, the latter said he had not troubled his friends with his affairs, lest he should bring them into difficulties ; but now, overcome by the news of what was in store for him, he was glad to have his brother petition the court to be allowed to assume the charge of himself and all his children, giving bonds for their maintenance and for his safe - keeping ; and accordingly, on June 14, the court, doubtless willing to be relieved from the charge of four small children, granted the petition, ordering that £36 8s. should be paid Lewis Allen for their support from the proceeds of the sale of Jolley’s effects ; the former giving his bond for £100 that none of them should become a public charge, and that Jolley should not leave Worcester County nor hold correspondence with enemies of the liberties of America.
Lewis continued on his way to Boston, while his brother and nephew plodded on to Shrewsbury, hungry and tired; nobody daring to let a horse and chaise to them, though Lewis had given them money for the purpose.
Allen relates that he hoped for a respite from his troubles at Shrewsbury, but found himself much mistaken, the air being filled with threats and rumors of all sorts of violence to him and his brother’s household, until, ten days after his arrival, when he was going to bed, his brother came to him, much agitated, saying that a mob of people from neighboring towns were to surround the house that night, and would probably kill them all. “ Then,” says Allen, “ I was exceedingly sorry that my brother had sent a memorial to the court for me, as I said to him at Watertown, when he chided me for not writing to him, ‘ No, Lewis, I have brought this on myself ; let me work myself out of it as well as I can.’” But no mob appeared, the Shrewsbury men being disappointed by not receiving reinforcement from other towns. On the 8th of July “three friends of government ” warned Jolley Allen that that night was fixed upon to destroy the house and its contents; and so, after much cogitation, he concluded to take the bull by the horns, and sent for two men who he had been told were ringleaders, and asked them if be might go to Deacon Stone, their representative, who lived three miles away. They said they had no authority to give him leave, but nevertheless came back later in the evening, having dressed themselves in their Continental uniforms, and accompanied him to Mr. Stone’s bouse, after he had said a few words to his brother explaining his departure. On the way, groups of men were encountered who abused him without restraint.
He stated his case to Mr. Stone, informing him of the plot to attack his brother’s house and himself, much to the surprise of his two companions, who reluctantly admitted the fact. Then he claimed Mr. Stone’s hospitality and protection, which were granted him, and in his house he remained a week, when the same threats of violence against his host and his family which had driven Allen from his brother’s house made it incumbent upon him to free Mr. Stone from his compromising company, and, not knowing where else to turn, he took the road again to the former place. Fortunately for him, the mob at this very time made a short cut across the fields to Mr. Stone’s house, and, seeing that Allen was gone, followed him to his brother’s house. After parleying with Lewis Allen, a scuffle between him and some of the mob actually began, and so Jolley showed himself; and upon being assured that violence should not be done him if he yielded himself to them, but that otherwise he had everything to fear, he allowed himself to be led, in the midst of a great crowd, “insulted the greatest part of the way too inhuman to describe,”once more to the farm of Mr. Stone, who was then in his field. Thither the crowd went, and demanded of their astonished representative why Allen had left his house that day. What followed is best given in the latter’s words: —
“ Ho! ho! what’s your will with me, said Mr. Stone. Are you, my townsmen, the people that threatened to set my house in flames and destroy all my effects ? I now know you all well, and know how to make a proper return of the whole of you to the General Court. What are you come about? what is your business with Mr. Allen ? They answered : he shall not live in the town of Shrewsbury, nor no king of the tories nor villan like him; he shall go back to the Court. He answered ; what has this here mob to alledge against Mr. Allen? has he broke his confinement, has he been disguised in liquor, or has he been guilty of any misdemeanour? If he has, I will save you the trouble of sending him to the General Court, but I will send him under a strong guard immediately. The speaker of the mob made answer there was not one of Giese articles to lay to his charge, but as a body they appeared before him all friends to the United States, and that out of regard for the thirteen stripes they would suffer no such villainous Tory to be in the town. The representative said he was thoroughly tired, and desired they wou’d all sitt down in the field with him" (which they did,except Allen,“left standing, ready to sink into the earth, a spectacle to gaze on"). “ The mob being seated, their representative began : I now understand you want me to send that man under a guard to Watertown to the General Court. If you had any crime against him, I would do it, but you have none. Now I will give you my opinion as your representative. This man lived eight days with me. I have never lived with more satisfaction than during the time he was in my house, except that I have been told that my house was going to be sett on fire during the greatest part of the time. If that was the case, I would make them build me up a better in the room of this I have. And you want me truly to send this man to Watertown, thirty-one miles, because I took him into my house, and you had not the satisfaction of murdering him eight days back. Now I have this to say to you, now you are all calmly sitting with me ; you are the transgressors, and if I knew where to send for a sufficient guard to surround you all. you are the people f ought to send to the Court for disobeying the Court’s orders. You say you are true friends to the United States and the thirteen stripes, but you are the people that want ty pull down the United States and teare the stripes to pieces. I have been your representative for a number of years, and always have done everything that lay in my power for the prosperity of the town in promoting such laws as was serviceable to the town. I am now convinced this body that appears before me are determined to break through the laws I have been striving to hold up. I see plainly by the minds of this body, which is the greatest part of this town, that you have no occasion for a representative. I am determined to serve you no longer ; appoint who you will.”
Thus ended the verbal encounter between worthy Deacon Stone and his unworthy constituents. Would that more representatives were men of like honesty and mettle!
The mob, though rebuffed, were not yet done with their unresisting prisoner, but marched him sixteen miles further to Northborough, where they arrived at two o’clock in the morning, having had him in their hands since noon of the previous day, and where the militia was drawn up to receive him. Here the mob appealed to the Northborougli representative, who repeated substantially their own representative’s statements, warning them that they were entirely in the wrong. Completely nonplused, they now wrote a document for signature to this extraordinary effect, that Allen should agree to be shot through the heart in case he should leave his brother’s premises. To this he naturally demurred, but, worn out and unnerved by all he had gone through, he finally signed a paper whereby he consented to receive not more than five hundred stripes should he be found outside his brother’s bounds, except to attend public worship, — presumably in company with his murderers by agreement. Was ever such a tentative squaring of law and license, of prudence and piety ?
Jolley Allen was once again relegated to his brother’s farm, and watched with even more zeal than is usual in country towns; and he was assured by his sympathetic “friends of government. ” that a little less docility on his part would have been his undoing at Northborough, where a six-feet-deep grave had been prepared for him.
Two more episodes marked his stay in Shrewsbury: the sending of himself and his son, then seventeen years old, to Provincetown, in “ an empty vessell,” by order of the General Court, which learned that the enterprising inhabitants of the adjacent country were helping themselves to the stored property, the sloop being already burnt for the sake of the iron upon her. “ A crimson silk damask bed was torn to pieces, and some got enough to make capasheens, others to make bonnets and shoes, which my own children saw worn,” writes Allen. Empty came the vessel back, except for the six younger children and four beds and bedding; the selectmen being doubtless only too glad to be rid at last of the little orphans, while stoutly denying the claim of the General Court to their father’s more available belongings.
In September Jolley Allen was summoned to Boston. Mindful of the contingent stripes, he would not set off without a pass from the Shrewsbury town committee. On his arrival, Oliver Wendell and John Pitts, on the part of the court, gave him a letter to the selectmen of Provincetown, requiring them to deliver to him, on their account, the residue of his goods, deducting proper charges and expenses. Again the selectmen refused to give up their booty until Allen delivered a message from Mr. Wendell, reserved for such an emergency, to the effect that they should take care how they offended the court a second time, in case they should ever wish any favors from it. This threat seems to have prevailed, and they presented the modest account for storage and unloading the sloop to the amount of £150 sterling, which Allen disputed, settling finally for £74, to which amount goods were disposed of on the spot, according to the order of the court, and which he says were then worth in Boston eight times as much. Allen’s debts were also defrayed by forced sales, and the remainder of the luckless sloop’s cargo was put aboard the schooner Esther, in which Jolley and his daughter sailed for Boston ; the latter having accompanied her father because, as he puts it, “ I might be murdered by the way, and she might be witness of my funeral, and the General Court might know what was become of me.”
Allen saw his little contingent remainder placed in Mr. Wendell’s store in Boston, and accounted for everything to the latter, who insisted that, all his silver plate and that of a certain Mrs. Vintino, whose executor he was, should be stored in the same place, notwithstanding all remonstrances : saying, “ I make not the least doubt but what you will have all your effects returned to you, and that immediately, by our General Court, on my making your return to them with the character the selectmen of Provincetown have given of you to me.” Allen adds, ‘‘I never heard from Mr. Wendell or Mr. Pitts afterwards.”
Jolley Allen remained at Shrewsbury, “ insulted as before, and playing bo-peep ” with the townsfolk as they watched him ; staying in the house for many days together, that they might think he had gone, and then reappearing, so that in case of his actual flight it might not be too soon discovered, as he explains. At last, at one o’clock in the morning of February 9, 1777, once more befriended by his three anonymous sympathizers, he stole away from his brother’s house, — probably without saying farewell to his little sleeping family, lest he should be innocently betrayed,— and, making all possible speed, reached New London twenty-four hours later, and went aboard the British frigate Amazon, which lay off that place, where “Captain Jacobson, at about two o’clock in the morning, generously received " him. Anxious, however, to be in a place of absolute safety, and to hasten on his way to England, he prevailed on the friendly captain, “who loaded him with kindnesses,” to set him ashore after three days, when he proceeded to New York, “ in imminent danger all the way,” arriving there about sunset on the 17th of February, and Lord Howe put him on board the fleet; none too soon, as it proved, for it was on the point of sailing.
Jolley Allen’s memoranda relate that, after a prosperous voyage, he reached London the 20th of March, and found his wife’s sister, Mrs. Lewington, with whom he “thought to live comfortable” during his stay in England, “raving mad in Bedlam,”thinking himself, his wife, and children “ was all fell a sacrifice to the barbarity of the Americans.” Happily she became much better. But misfortune still pursued him, for, on applying to the firm to which he had sent bills of exchange on London for £230, asking that the proceeds should lie safely invested, he learned that they had been refused payment and were protested : and thus, without money and almost friendless, he says, “ I did not know what to do.” At the New England Coffee House, however, he was a little cheered by meeting fellow-refugees from Boston, and in the latter part of March he had made up his mind to apply to the British government for temporary maintenance pending compensation for his losses. He was introduced to the “ Right Honorable Lord George Garmain,” — as he spells Germaine’s name, — by whom he was graciously received, and who promised to take care of him. Accordingly, he was directed to go to the treasury, where he got an order on the bank, and, he adds, “from this place I receive my daily bread once a quarter, or else I must have perished in London.”
What became of the unfortunate loyalist? Did he live to see bis children and his home,— for, in spite of all he had suffered, New England was such to him, shown by his request that his body should be deposited in bis “ own tomb, number seventeen, under the King’s Chapple, " — or did he die alone in lodgings, still hoping for relief from the Crown, and were his remains laid under Wapping Church, “in the stranger’s vault, which would cost £2 10s. sterling,” as he provided, in case “the unhappy troubles in America ” were not ended ?
The answer has only very lately come to the writer in the form of a communication from the clerk of the church and parish of St. John of Wapping, who says, “Mr. Jolley Allen was buried at Wapping on the 7th of June, 1782. He died of decline.”
W. Henry Winslow.