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Number of Loyalists.
mutual rights and claims put upon their true grounds), has not the principle he favors been that of actual practice? If so many emigrated to the Provinces, we must conclude that it was their own choice, and that the wild lands offered them on such easy terms were tempting enough to recommend in their eyes a strange soil. Much stranger it could not well appear than, after the lapse of some eight years, must have appeared that which they had forsaken. Certain it is, that very many of the absentees, instinctively yearning for their native land, returned to it as their last rest, though doubtless these made but a small proportion of the whole. Those only who were in too keen haste to do so with the earliest signals of peace were taught by nameless indignities and harassings that it could not be done with impunity ; but this was all the penalty. Such was the reception of Elijah Williams of Deerfield and Keene, and some others, it may be; but Curwen tells us, that on his landing at Salem, even in 1785, he returned to his own door without seeing any one who met him with coldness or repulse. Men there were, doubtless, whose faces could not, indeed, after any interval, longer or shorter, be shown again to their countrymen. The lapse of time, however, would, in behalf of the many, exert its natural influence. The painful memory of the past becomes fainter ; reviving prosperity dulls the edge of popular resentment; and penal laws, though unrepealed, become a dead letter in effect. As to what must be considered, after all, in this region, the élite, for the most part, of the Loyalist body, we have the means of giving, with tolerable accuracy, the relative numbers, according to the degree of their decision and distinct stand, or as they came forth more or less in bold relief to the rest of the public. Whether this may be taken as a fair specimen of the party in general, or will serve for other sections of the land, we cannot say. But of a hundred and seventy-nine graduates of Harvard to whom that name may be thought fairly to belong, more than fifty remained “ in their lot,” from which they wished not to be driven, and passive in their loyalty ; twenty-six were temporary “ absentees”; perhaps five died in America under British protection before the Peace (whose future course, therefore, had they lived, could not be foreseen), and ninety-four wholly expatriated themselves. Obviously, equal certainty cannot attach to every one of these names in their several connections.
VOL. XLIII. - 4th S. VOL. VIII. NO. I. 12
We have left ourselves no space to speak of Mr. Sabine's individual sketches, much as we desire it ; but must somehow make room to specify several omissions, as well as real or supposed errors of an opposite kind. We premise, as a clew to guide us to the individuals, that, in the history of their minds, they are all Harvardians. This remark applies to the omissions alone.
Samson Stoddard of Chelmsford (1730) was quite obnoxious in that place, as Allen informs us (History of Chelmsford), so that we have been led thus to number, not only him, but his sons Samson and Vryling (1763, 1765).
Timothy Prout (1741), merchant, of Boston, died at New York under British protection, in the midst of the war. Thomas Steel (1730), also of Boston, who retired from the same profession to Leicester, and died early in the contest, was the only Loyalist of that place. (See Washburn's History.) Mr. Sabine omits Dr. Kneeland (1751), the respectable physician of Cambridge, and steward of the college, but who was at length thrown out from that office by the Overseers, after being elected by the Corporation (see Quincy's History) ; and John Wadsworth (1762), a tutor of singular popularity, but who, with his free speech, had wellnigh lost his chair, retaining it but by a single vote in the Board (Eliot's Biog. Dict., Art. Rogers, note ; and Dr. Freeman's Sermon on George R. Minot, Esq.). Andrew Oliver (1749), the eldest son of the lieutenant-governor so named, and the well-known essayist on comets, was doubtless of the same political stamp with all his family, though, owing to his retiring and philosophical turn of mind, which averted odium, he alone rests in his native soil. The late aged physician of Salem, and the lamented and accomplished professor, formerly of Dartmouth College, were his descendants. William Mayhew (1767), of Martha's Vineyard, had been for two or three years sheriff of Dukes county, when, in 1775, his name appears for the last time; nor can we doubt the reason, especially as his death some years after occurred at Hudson, on the North river, N. Y.,
as it would seem, a place of seclusion. John Stevens (1766) of Charlestown, a near connection of the Gorham family, but, withal, a straightforward and, possibly, eccentric inan, became so obnoxious at home as to retreat to Concord, N. H., where he found himself no less so, and was, in a kind of alienation from society, buried in
Names omitted by Sabine.
a private lot of his own. To the same list belongs Samuel Cutler (1765), of Brookfield by origin, but early in life a trader at Edenton, N. C., though he eventually died at Bellows Falls, Vt., nearly thirty years ago. Why does Mr. Sabine pass by Nathaniel Sparhawk (a classmate of Cutler), early a merchant in Salem, who, undoubtedly, as well as his father, Colonel Sparhawk of Kittery-point, must be counted of the same party with his younger brothers, William Pepperell (who succeeded to his grandfather's baronetcy) and Samuel Hirst. That the elder brother was abroad much or most of the war is a clear matter of fact. George Eveleigh (1742), of South Carolina, comes before us once and again in Curwen's Diary ; he speaks of him as a fellow-collegian, and may we not safely infer, a fellow-exile ? Hon. James Sheafe (1774) of Portsmouth, N. H., then fresh from college, is said to have entered with youthful ardor into the royal cause; probably enough, through his connection by marriage with the Meserves. Whether this lasted through the war, we have no means of knowing ; it contin. ued long enough, at any rate, to become a part of his personal history, since there were those who in his subsequent political life never forgot to “keep it before the people.” Mr. Sabine seldom loses sight of Episcopal ministers; yet Edward Winslow (1741), son of Joshua Winslow, a teaconsignee, was forced to leave the Quincy church (see Rev. B. C. Cutler's Historical Discourse), and died at New York before the Peace ; and Joseph Domett (1762), also of Boston, for a short time over the Episcopal society at Marshfield, we believe, is supposed to have died at last in England or Ireland.
Toryism seems, judging from the proscribing act, to have strangely flourished at Marshfield, - not a large place, surely; whether through the influence alone of such a man as “Nat” Ray Thomas, cannot now be decided. Levi Willard (1775), nephew of the brothers Abel and Abijah, returned from England in 1785, where he is thought to have sojourned most of the intervening time ; at any rate, in Lancaster, bis native place and final residence, the nature of his political attachments appears not to have been doubted. We regard as refugees, though their names are wanting here, Michael Joy (1771), of Boston, to whom, in some degree, is related the present family of that name in this city ; Benjamin Loring (1772), the youngest son of the commodore ; and Francis Brinley (1775), who was the nephew of Thomas Brinley of the
class of 1744, and confessedly within that category. Of the younger person of the last name we can indeed learn nothing whatever, and for that very reason inser, that, leaving college walls, as he did, while the tocsin was sounding, he forthwith left the country too, no more to return. We count also as such, with confidence, Joseph Dowse (1766), son of the surveyor and searcher of the ports of Salem and Marblehead, and who, as stated by Winthrop, was “a surgeon in the British army in the West Indies.' Is there not, it may be queried, some probable reason, likewise, for so including William Checkley (1756), son of the minister of the New South Church, and who was an officer in the custom-house at Providence ? But we are most surprised by Mr. Sabine's failure to record the names of some whose bones rest under the northern sky of our continent; as John Barnard (1762), a merchant at St. John's, New Brunswick, and brother of the late Rev. Dr. Barnard of Salem ; John Thomas (1765), of Plymouth, one of the seven founders of the Old Colony Club (Thacher's Plymouth), and who died at Liverpool, Nova Scotia, in 1823 ; Jesse Rice (1772), a native of Marlboro', and who became, it is said on some authority, a physician in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. have ourselves very lately detected in Nathaniel Thomas (1774) a son of N. R. Thomas of Marshfield (spoken of on the last page), who followed his father to the Provinces. Mr. Sabine has made some confusion, we see, with the Isaac Winslows, of whom, we believe, he has three. The graduate of 1762 was not, as he imagines, the son of General John Winslow, and the physician who settled in Marshfield (who was not liberally educated); but a merchant in Boston, whose death was far earlier in date. Finally,
we marvel that he so circumscribes the Vassal name. The elder William (1733) had a son of his own name (1771), to whom a place should have been given ; while Lewis Vassal (1760), nephew and cousin respectively of the two, must have crossed the water, though no documents that illustrate the party even mention his name. His whole career is impenetrably dark, bafiling, while it goads, curiosity, and we feel inclined to offer a reward to any one that can unearth him.
We had a few things more to say as to Mr. Sabine's opposite error, but are warned with every line we add how much we have trespassed already on our allowed limits. Yet we must hint that his discrimination surely failed him when he admitted into his pages some names, for whose
Names included by Sabine.
company high-souled and chivalrous spirits (such as were so many of those whom he has enrolled) will hardly feel obliged to him.
Surely Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Church, and Silas Deane have no business here. That Deane's diplomatic life went down in a cloud, we indeed supposed; but, though we have never had a very exact idea of his case, have nowbere seen it branded in the manner the author would convey. As to the other two, we should never think of deeming Loyalist and traitor as interchangeable terms. Then, again, why does the author press into his service several names of such as ceased to have part or lot in what is done under the sun, years before it was enforced upon one to make the final decision. There may have been, indeed, a fair presumption what their course would have been, had opportunity been given. But this might have been affirmed of Colonel William Bourne of Marblehead, the two sons of Judge Oliver (Daniel and Andrew), who died “ before their day,” Henry Vassal, perhaps Judge Foxcroft of Cambridge, equally as of the younger Atkinson of Portsmouth, Rev. Dr. Miller of Quincy, Major Samuel Waldo of Portland, Hon. Chambers Russell
, and Dr Barclay of Trinity Church, New York. Mr. Sabine introduces these last, as he does, too, Jeremy Gridley, at one period attorney-general. Why not, also, then, Benjamin Pratt, first of Boston, and finally chiefjustice of New York, and whose condemnation it was to be the son-in-law of Robert Auchmuty? But when we think how numerous is the class whose names he records, scattered, too, over the length and breadth of the land, in too many cases brought into day from nooks and corners, it is, perhaps, more to his praise that he has kept his exact limits so well, no oftener unjust to those without or within the circle. We respond, too, to his spirit, vindicating (as is, we believe, his desire) honored names from pitiable epithets and vulgar opprobrium ; and are well pleased, at the lapse of two thirds of a century from the Revolution, to have so full and, generally, so faithful a dictionary of those whose impress upon it must be obvious to all.
But we must shake off the sway of a too attractive subject, and forbear. Had not Mr. Sabine, with another opportunity, better give to his long historical essay — what it so much needs - either a table of contents, a running-title, or a final index ?
J. P. D.