December Meeting, 1937

    A STATED Meeting of the Society was held, at the invitation of Mr. Augustus P. Loring, Jr., at No. 2 Gloucester Street, Boston, on Thursday, December 16, 1937, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the Recording Secretary, Augustus P. Loring, Jr., in the chair.

    The records of the Annual Meeting in November were read and approved.

    The chair announced on behalf of the Council the resignation of Mr. Chester Noyes Greenough as Vice-President of the Society and the election by the Council, in accordance with the By-laws, of Mr. Matt Bushnell Jones to fill the vacancy.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported the death on December 6, 1937, of Wilberforce Eames, the senior Corresponding Member of the Society.

    Mr. Frank W. C. Hersey read the following paper:

    The Misfortunes of Dorcas Griffiths

    THE Misfortunes of Dorcas Griffiths, a Cyprian of Boston, who, after divers amorous adventures, being the Mistress both of the Arch-Rebel Hancock and the King’s Officers, was driven thence by the Fury of the Revolution and sought refuge in England; with an Account also of her Daughter, who was bred to be a Prostitute.”

    This is not the title page of a lost novel by Defoe, but the summary of a narrative of real life in eighteenth-century Boston. With what delight Defoe would have written a novel based on the lurid careers of these women! He would have peopled the story with a throng of hard-bitten characters—sea captains, sailors, soldiers, merchants, Sons of Liberty, fine gentlemen. He would have portrayed with gusto the bustling scenes, the coarse and vigorous life that centered round the wharves, the taverns, the counting rooms, and the streets of the old North End. And lest one savor this narrative with too much relish, Defoe would have given such a warning as appeared in his preface to The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders: “There is not a wicked action in any part of it, but is first or last rendered unhappy and unfortunate; there is not a superlative villain brought upon the stage, but either he is brought to an unhappy end, or brought to be a penitent; there is not an ill thing mentioned, but it is condemned.”

    One would hesitate at the present day to embark upon as detailed an account as Defoe would have written. But it is possible to draw an outline of Dorcas Griffiths’ career from various petitions written by her and from other letters and documents preserved in the Public Record Office.

    Dorcas was born in Boston, August 31, 1720, the daughter of James Pringle and his wife Elizabeth Willcott, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Dorcas Willcott. From this grandmother came the name Dorcas as well as the house where three generations of the family successively lived. Mrs. Dorcas Willcott had moved from Salem to Boston in the latter part of the seventeenth century and had settled in the North End. When she died in 1722, she left a will,1 dated May 18, 1722, in which she bequeathed to her “loving daughter Elizabeth Pringle” the residue of her estate “as well Real as Personal,” and named her as executrix. The other bequests were to her grandchildren, the heirs of another daughter, Dorcas, who had married Daniel Ballard, September 28, 1704, and had since died. These bequests were as follows: “to my grandson Daniel Ballard, a gold ring; to my grandson Bartholomew Ballard, a silver cup; to my grandson Joseph Ballard, a silver spoon; to my granddaughter Sarah Ballard, a silver porringer and spoon and a feather bed.” There was no inventory of the estate. Administration was granted to Elizabeth Pringle by Judge Samuel Sewall, July 2, 1722.

    And now comes a mystery in this strange family. Twenty-six years later, in 1748, four friends and neighbors made depositions under oath that Elizabeth Pringle was the daughter of Mrs. Dorcas Willcott.2 What had happened? Who had challenged the identity of Elizabeth or questioned her legitimacy? And why?

    Owen Harris, mathematician, deposed, December 6, 1748, that he had known Dorcas Willcott; that he had been named co-executor with Elizabeth Pringle in her will, but had renounced his executorship; “that there never was the least scruple or doubt in any wise but that the said Elizabeth Pringle was and is the Daughter of the said Dorcas Willcott.”

    Thomas Williston, cordwainer, aged fifty years, deposed, December 6, 1748, “that he was well acquainted with Dorcas Willcott and her Daughter Elizabeth Pringle, living under the same roof with them for a considerable time and even to this day in the same house with her said Daughter Elizabeth Pringle.”

    Mary Ballard, “Relict Widow of Daniel Ballard, dece[ase]d aged about fifty seven years,” testified that “for more than thirty eight years she has been acquainted with Elizabeth Pringle, and that moreover she was intimately acquainted with her Mother Dorcas Willcott, and that her husband Daniel Ballard’s first wife was own Sister to Elizabeth Pringle aforesaid and were the Daughters of the said Dorcas Willcott.”

    Hannah Orange of Boston, “Widow aged about seventy five years,” deposed that she had “known Elizabeth Pringle whose maiden name was Elizabeth Willcott ever since she was a little child living at Salem and that she the Deponent well knew her Mother Dorcas Willcott and her grandfather and grandmother Penley and that she was also well acquainted with Dorcas the Sister of the said Elizabeth who married Daniel Ballard.”

    It is clear from the deposition of Thomas Williston that Mrs. Elizabeth Pringle continued to reside in the house which her mother had bequeathed to her in 1722. It appears from other testimony in later years that her daughter Dorcas, who became Mrs. Griffiths, also lived in this same house. What was the location of this house? It is referred to as being on Hancock’s Wharf or at the head of Hancock’s Wharf. More specific information has been made available by the aid of Mr. Samuel C. Clough, who generously placed at my disposal his wide knowledge of the ownership of real estate in Boston. Between Hancock’s Wharf and Scarlett’s Wharf to the north was the Town Slip at the foot of Fleet Street. In the middle of the seventeenth century Scarlett’s Wharf had been owned by Captain Samuel Scarlett and John Freak, two prominent merchants who were partners. One day while they were on board a vessel lying at their wharf, the vessel blew up from some unknown cause and both were killed. The widows and heirs made a division of the property whereby the southern half of the wharf fell to the Freak heirs and the northern half to the Scarletts. In 1694 Josiah Willcott of Salem married as his second wife Mary Freak, the only child of John Freak, and thus came into possession of the house at the corner of Fish Street, from which these wharves projected, and the Town Slip. On August 30, 1709, the selectmen ordered that this way or slip be preserved and continued twenty-one feet in breadth between the housing of Mr. Josiah Willcott on the north and the land of Captain Habijah Savage on the south, and that the same breadth be continued down to low-water mark. It is difficult to determine the relationship of Josiah Willcott and Mrs. Dorcas Willcott; but it seems probable that this house belonging to a Willcott was the house in which lived Mrs. Dorcas Willcott, her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Pringle, and her granddaughter, Mrs. Dorcas Griffiths.

    When she was twenty-two years old, Dorcas Pringle married Thomas Griffiths; at any rate, their marriage intentions were filed on September 14, 1742. Later, part of the family dwelling was converted into a shop where Mrs. Griffiths sold groceries, tea, and linen drapery. Eventually she was granted a license to sell liquor: “Dorcas Griffiths to retail at Head of Hancock’s Wharf.” Wherever Bacchus is present, one may be sure that Venus is not far away. The buxom shopkeeper offered more enticing goods than could be bought over the bar. Her charms and abilities must have been well known to many of the sea captains and prosperous merchants of the vicinity. Did she advertise after the manner of contemporary frail ladies in England? Whether publicity of this nature was then used in Boston is a question. The form such advertisements took in England at this period is illustrated by some examples preserved in that monument of respectability, the British Museum. They appeared in such broadsides as those entitled List of the Sporting Ladies and The Only Time and Exact Calendar of all the Ladies of Pleasure which are to be Entered at these Races (1770). Here are two of these historical curiosities:

    Polly Smith is come from Newmarket to entertain Gendemen at these Races; is acknowledged to rise and fall well while she carries, never throws her Rider; nor allows him to come in for the Plate as long as she is able to wag. She is allowed to give more Pleasure, and carry farther, than ever was known: Her Maid is to be spoke with (for her) at the Bed and Cushion—***None under five Shillings the Sweat, and Sixpence the Maid.

    The two Miss K— will attend the course as usual, being just returned from Windsor; they are quite perfect in the possession of Wriggle and Twist, and from the experience they have had, during their absence from this place, great Pleasure may be expected by every buck that mounts. They are preëminent figures, dress genteel, and their behaviour good. May be heard of in St. Aldgate’s.

    There now comes an episode in Dorcas Griffiths’ career which links her name with that of the wealthy owner of the wharf nearby. This famous client of hers was John Hancock, who was so gratified that he kept her as his mistress. Such warmth of temperament was not incompatible with his ardor as a patriot. How much the Sons of Liberty were willing to overlook for the cause of patriotism is shown by their attitude to John Wilkes. Although Wilkes had been a member of the Hell-Fire Club, the libertine Friars of Medmenham,3 was notorious for the intensity and diversity of his sex life, and was reputed to be the author of the licentious poem Essay on Woman, the Sons of Liberty in Boston, including James Otis, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and John Adams, wrote several letters to him expressing their esteem and devotion. “You are one of those incorruptibly honest men reserved by heaven to bless and perhaps save a tottering Empire. . . . Those generous and inflexible principles which have rendered you so greatly eminent, support our claim to your esteem and assistance” (June 6, 1768). And one of the committee of that patriot group, Benjamin Kent, wrote to him (October, 1768): “I never expect to see what you wrote on Woman, but if I should find anything which is called too Luscious, I assure you I am well fortified by the revolution of sixty cold North American winters, which have hoar’d my head. . . . Dr Sr I have the pleasure to acquaint you that you stand very high in the Estimation of a great many the most worthy amongst us.”4 It should be pointed out that Hancock’s liaison with Dorcas Griffiths ran its course before his marriage to Dorothy Quincy, which took place the summer after the opening of the Revolution, August 28, 1775, at Fairfield, Connecticut.

    What finally caused the break between Dorcas Griffiths and John Hancock is not known. “He turned her off,” is all that the records tell. Perhaps they had a quarrel. Perhaps her feminine heart had been fluttered by the English soldiers in their dashing uniforms. Perhaps she decided that the Sons of Liberty were on the losing side, and resolved to make a virtue of loyalty to the Crown. At all events she transferred her allegiance to the old flag and bestowed her favors on the King’s officers. How she showed her compassion for some of these who were wounded at Bunker Hill, how thereby she aroused the animosity of the patriots, how she and her daughter Sarah fled from Boston to Halifax when the British troops departed, and what befell thereafter will all be told in her own words.

    The refugees arrived in England in December, 1778. As loyal subjects in distress they petitioned for relief, but their first petition was rejected because it was not well certified—with the minute: “Do not appear to be cases within the Rule for relief.” A second petition, presented on March 31, 1780, was magnificently supported by testimonials to their loyalty and sufferings by General Gage, Sir William Howe, and Sir William Pepperrell. How did these women secure such distinguished names? Dorcas’ paramour, Captain David Johnston of the Marines, whom she had nursed after the Battle of Bunker Hill, persuaded Lord Percy to interest himself in them, and he prevailed upon General Gage and Sir William Howe to give the certificates. In due course, on August 4, 1780, Dorcas and her daughter were granted £50 each a year from July 5, 1779. The payments continued regularly until 1782 and then suddenly ceased. The Commissioners for American Claims had investigated this case and had discovered the truth about Dorcas Griffiths from Thomas Flucker, former Secretary of Massachusetts. Enraged by the representations made by her “concealed enemies,” Mrs. Griffiths presented a third petition, January 27, 1784, imploring a reconsideration of her case. The Commissioners reopened the matter, listened to new testimony, and came to their final decision: that Dorcas Griffiths and her daughter Sarah “were not proper Objects of the Bounty of Government.” Several facts the Commissioners refrained from entrusting to the records, but it is now no secret what they had in mind when they wrote: “If the Lords of the Treasury wish to know all the Circumstances of this Case we shall be ready at any time to communicate them to their Lordships which we should prefer to giving them upon Paper.”

    The first petition was as follows:

    To the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury

    The Memorial of Dorcas Griffiths widow of the late Thomas Griffiths of Boston Merchant,

    Most humbly sheweth,

    That your Memorialist’s late Husband, by his Loyalty and firm attachment to the King, did experience the most vindictive resentment of His Majesty’s Rebellious Subjects in that part of America, which, after his decease, was continued to your Lordships Memorialist and Family with additional cruelties, the Rebels being informed of the aid and attention given by them to the Sick and wounded Officers of the King’s Army to all of whom, as far as their personal attention and property could extend, relief was given, their house being always open for their reception, the truth of which can be testified by many Gentlemen of the Army now in London.

    Your Memorialist’s departure from Boston together with that of her daughter Sarah Hinson (also a widow) was so very precipitate for the preservation of their lives that they were compelled to leave all their industriously acquired property behind them to a very considerable amount, by which they are reduced from affluence and comfort to poverty and misery.

    Your Memorialist therefore humbly prays your Lordships to take their unhappy situation into your Lordships consideration and to grant them such relief as their sufferings may appear to deserve. And Your Memorialist will ever pray &c.

    Dorcas Griffiths

    Sarah Hinson


    Decr 21st 1778

    I beg leave to mention one Circumstance, that on the 17th of June 1775 I was wounded at the attack of Bunkers hill, & when brought over to Boston I must have died on the Street had not the Memorialist and Daughter taken me into their house. I therefore owe my life to their humanity.

    David Johnston

    Capt Marines & Aid de Camp to Earle Percy5

    This dramatic episode and the tender ministrations of Dorcas arouse one’s interest in Captain David Johnston. I have been able to gather a good deal of information about this officer. His name appears in the Army Lists from 1761 to 1791 in the roster of the Marines. He was commissioned as first lieutenant, January 10, 1761; captain lieutenant, November 1, 1773; captain, September 27, 1775; and major, March 19, 1783.

    The commanding officer of the battalion of Royal Marines stationed at Boston was Major John Pitcairn. He issued orders on May 20, 1775, dividing the Marines into two battalions with eight companies and one grenadier and one light infantry company in each: “Captain David Johnston, Superintendant Adjutant and Deputy Paymaster to the 2nd Battalion.”6 Battalion orders of June 3, 1775, give the regulations for payment of companies:

    The Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having directed, by their letter to Major Pitcairne of the 2d of March last, that the Captains of Marines commanding Companies on shore at Boston, should pay their Companies in the same manner as practised by the Land Forces, the Captains or commanding Officers of Companies will receive from Captain Johnstone, Deputy Paymaster, one month’s subsistence for the non-commissioned Officers and private men of their respective companies, deducting £0 1½s 5d per week each, for provisions, and the usual stoppages as directed by the Admiralty, viz.

    For one Serjeant per week




    For one Corporal or Drummer



    For one Private Man




    Dollars to be taken at




    Captains are to give the Deputy Paymaster compleat monthly Pay Rolls, accounting for the subsistence distributed to their Companies, and specifying every particular casualty that has happened in each Company during the preceding month, and to commence this day.7

    The Marines were engaged in the Battle of Bunker Hill. A letter (June 22, 1775) by Lieutenant J. Walker, Adjutant of the First Battalion, gives several details of the part they played:

    Two companies of the 1st Battalion of Marines and part of the 47th Regiment were the first that mounted the breastwork. . . . We leaped the ditch and climbed the parapet, under a most sore and heavy fire. . . . Major Pitcairn was killed close beside me. . . . One captain and one subaltern fell in getting up, and one captain and one subaltern was wounded.8

    This captain who was wounded was probably David Johnston. His gallantry on that day was rewarded by promotion. In the orders of September 27, 1775, the royal thanks were tendered to the forces for their intrepid conduct on the seventeenth of June. “The King has been pleased to make the following promotions in his Marine Forces, serving in North America: Capt. Lieut. David Johnston, Captain vice Souter, promoted.”9

    After the evacuation of Boston the Marines were landed at Halifax. In April, 1777, the two battalions were consolidated into one by orders of the Board of Admiralty, January 1, 1777. Captain David Johnston was then appointed captain of the grenadier company. In September, 1778, the battalion of Marines sailed for England. In the Army List of 1788, though still listed as major, David Johnston was put on half-pay as captain of Marines—an indication that he was retired.

    There follows the second petition of Dorcas and her daughter:

    To the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury

    The Petition of Dorcas Griffiths and Sarah Hinson her Daughter, Widows, late of Boston, in New England

    Most humbly sheweth

    That your Lordships Petitioners are Natives of Boston and resided in that Town until His Majesty’s Troops removed from thence. Their Loyalty has been ever steadfast, and by the present unnatural Rebellion their sole Property which lay in the Town of Boston is lost to them.

    Your Petitioners are unwilling to plead as a Merit, (because it was their Duty as well affected to His Majesty’s Person and Government, and Compassion required it) but their Attention to the Sick and Wounded Officers of the King’s Army, to all of whom, as far as lay in their power, they afforded every Assistance, their House being always open for their reception can be certified by many Gentlemen of the Army now in London, which drew upon your Petitioners the ill will of the disaffected in Boston, and the Circumstances being so well known, they were obliged to quit it with the King’s Forces to preserve themselves from the Fury of the Rebels, leaving all their property behind them, and were landed at Halifax, where they continued in much distress three Years, in the hope of the Rebellion being crushed, and that they might thereby be enabled to return to their Home; but at length they were with the humane Assistance of some Friends enabled to come to England to implore your Lordship’s benevolence and Assistance. They have now been 15 Months in London, and are in extreme distress, not having received any Allowance from your Lordships. A Memorial was laid before Your Lordships and particularly recommended by Lord George Germain soon after their Arrival, and the result of the prayer of which they have in all humility waited for in expectation of Your Lordships Compassionate Consideration of it, but they have now the Mortification to find it required a further proof of their Loyalty and Sufferings than was annexed to it.

    Your Petitioners therefore presume to renew their prayer to Your Lordships for relief, and hope that the Certificates annexed to this Petition will be a sufficient Testimony of their Loyalty and Sufferings and gain them that relief Your Lordships may think them deserving of, and which their necessities most powerfully pleads for them.

    And your Petitioners will ever pray

    Dorcas Griffiths

    Sarah Hinson

    I certify that I have been informed the Petitioners humanely assisted the Sick and wounded Officers of the King’s Army at Boston; which drew the Resentment of the Rebels upon them, and obliged them to leave their Country.

    Thos Gage

    Portland Place

    March 7th 1780

    I certify that the Petitioners were considered by me as loyal & good Subjects and that they quitted Boston under the protection of His Majesty’s Troops, to avoid the Resentment of the Rebels with which they were threatened in consequence of their having received into their house several wounded Officers of the King’s Army.

    W. Howe

    March 18th 1780

    I hereby certify that I have been well informed that the Petitioners were obliged to leave the Town of Boston, for the Reasons set forth in the foregoing Memorial.

    W. Pepperrell

    Queen Ann Street West

    March 22d 1780

    [Endorsement:] Recd 31st Mar. 1780. A former Meml of the above people Read 20 July 1779, not well certified, and Minute thereon was, Do not appear to be cases within the Rule for relief.

    Read 4 Augt 1780

    50£ per Ann from 5th July 177910

    There follows the report of the Commissioners for American Claims which, two years later, led to the cutting off of this allowance. Dorcas and her daughter, it appears, came under the heading of “widows and minors receiving allowances who cannot be classed.” Due record was made of the fact that Gage and Howe, as well as Johnston, certified the women’s “loyalty and humanity.”

    Her Daughter appears for her. Mr. Griffiths was a Merct of Consequence, brot very little from Boston, Mother 65 years of Age, says it is but a small allowance, but appears perfectly Satisfied, no further attendance required from Mrs. Griffiths or Mrs. Hinson. Memo: There is a Treasury Minute respecting these two Cases, in these words, “Do not appear to be Cases within the Rule for Relief. 20th July 1779. 4th of August 1780. Widows late of Boston, pay them 50£ each per Ann from the 5th July 1779.” Kept a Hucksters Shop (Mr. Flucker says) upon Handcocks Wharf. Johnson wounded at Bunker Hill, went to Mrs. Griffiths’ House, Johnson persuaded them to go with him to Halifax. Johnson persuaded Lord Percy to Interest himself for them & he prevailed upon Lord Gage11 & Sir Wm. Howe to give Certificates. Capt. Johnson was a Month in the House, had a Shop & good business upon Handcocks Wharf, lived very well, came away from Boston just before the evacuation. Did not receive Compensation for the Kindness they showed to Capt. Johnson. Likewise to Major Logan, & were kind to him & received no Compensation. Mr. Flucker knows both the Mother & the Daughter extreamly well. The Mother was a Common prostitute & bred up her Daughter in the same way, She was kepd by the famous Handcock, & when he turned her off, she lived with Capt Johnson.

    Decision on the Case of Griffith Dorcas

    This Woman was in low life at Boston. She kept a little shop. She lost no property But she produced several Certificates of her Character However upon further Enquiry into her Character we found it to be such as by no means to justify Govt in giving her any Allowance in future.

    Then came the decision with respect to Dorcas’ daughter:

    This is the Daughter of Mrs. Dorcas Griffiths, & lived at Boston with her Mother at the time the Rebellion broke out. It does not appear that she had any property of her own, or that she is in want of this provision. Exd12

    Two years later came the third petition:

    To the Honorable the Commissioners appointed by Parliament for enquiring into the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists.

    The Memorial of Dorcas Griffiths (widow of the late Thomas Griffiths of Boston Merchant) and Sarah Hinson (also a widow) her daughter

    humbly sheweth,

    That your Memorialists are natives of Boston in New England where they enjoyed every possible comfort and happiness until the unhappy Rebellion broke out in America; Your Memorialists were drove out of their Country for assisting His Majesty’s Troops when beseiged in Boston, and on their arrival here in 1778 represented their unhappy Situation by Memorial to the Lords of the Treasury which their Lordships could not take into consideration for want of proper Certificates of the Facts therein set forth.

    In 1780 Your Memorialists were enabled to remove the difficulties of their Lordships of the Treasury by having the facts represented in their Memorial in 1778 certified by General Gage, Sir Wm Howe and Sir William Pepperel (copies of whose Certificates are hereunto annexed); in consequence of their being reduced to the greatest distress occasioned by their Loyalty, as certified by the Certificates abovementioned, their Lordships of the Treasury were pleased to order annual allowances to be made to your Memorialists of fifty Pounds per annum each, which allowances were regularly paid to them to the 5th of January 1782; but to the great astonishment and inexpressible distress of your Memorialists their said allowances from that time were discontinued, owing to representations made of them by persons who must have deviated from truth and stood forth concealed Enemies, which to this hour your Memorialists are unable to discover in order to their having an opportunity of opposing their malice; the discontinuance of the Treasury allowance has brought on your Memorialists such distress as to compel them to dispose of the little Furniture they had left for the support of their existence.

    Your Memorialist Dorcas Griffith at the time she was expelled her Country was in the occupation of a Shopkeeper and had gained a comfortable livelyhood from the decease of her husband to the time of her expulsion; the annual profits of her Business she is willing on Oath to declare could not be less than one hundred pounds per annum and the property she was compelled to desert she is also ready to verify on oath did amount not to less than seven hundred and fifty Pounds that is to say,

    her House








    Shop Goods








    She was possessed besides of landed property at Casco Bay which produced forty Pounds per annum; the above to the best of her knowledge was her real loss which would support her in her native country better than two hundred pounds per annum in England.

    Your Memorialists Therefore prays that their Case may be taken into your consideration in order that your Memorialists may be enabled, under your Report, to receive such aid or relief as Their Losses and Services may be found to deserve.

    Dorcas Griffiths

    Sarah Hinson


    Queen’s Street No. 15

    [Endorsed:] R. 27 Jany 1784.

    Read February 2613

    The following new testimony was recorded by the Commissioners:

    Brompton row July 7th 1784. The Bearer Mrs. Dorcas Griffiths having requested a Certificate of my knowing her Situation and Circumstances in Boston previous to the American war. I hereby certify that she kept a Grocery and Tea shop there, and I believe did business eno to support her in credit and reputation, that the House she lived in was supposed to be, and I believe belonged to her, and that she frequently bought articles in the Grocery way of me, all of which were paid for in time and with honor.

    A. Savage late Comptroler of the Customs at Falmouth, and D Servy at Boston

    These are to certify that Mrs. Dorcas Griffiths was known to me some years since in Boston having lived in the same Neighbourhood with her, where she occupied a house reputed to be her Mother’s, who was then living, part of which house was a Shop, in which Mrs. Griffiths sold Groceries and other articles, and thereby to all appearance supported herself reputably.

    Joseph Domett14

    No 17 Devonshire Street

    Queen Square Bloomsbury

    July 13th 1784

    The final report of the Commissioners is as follows:

    Hinson, Mrs.

    24th June, 1784

    She attends for her Mother and herself. Her Case and Mrs Griffiths were heard in the latter End of the year 1782, before Mr Wilmot & Mr Coke who reported them not to be Objects of the Bounty of Government.

    Before no particular Account of the Property was stated. They kept a shop on Hancock’s Wharf. The House belonged to Mrs Griffiths & was valued at £200 & the Furniture worth £150 & Shop Goods worth £400. They were likewise possessed of a Landed Property at Casco Bay which [rented] for £40 a Year—they had received this Rent for 3 or 4 Years it was her Grandmother’s. The Shop Goods consisted chiefly of Linen Drapery.

    There are several Certificates to Loyalty from many very respectable Gentlemen but there are none to Property.

    Mrs. Hinson is desired to produce Certificates to the Property both on Hancock’s Wharf & in the Neighbourhood of Casco Bay.

    They left Boston at the Evacuation. There was no trade at that time which was the reason of the Shop being so full of Goods.

    She says that her Mother & herself are now in want of present Support.

    When the Certificates are sent in to the Property on Casco Bay & the House, no further Certificates or Attendance required.

    16 Septr 1784

    Produces a Certificate from Mr Joseph Domet that Mrs Griffiths occupied a House at Boston reputed to be her Mothers & that she kept a Grocer’s Shop. Certificate also from Mr A. Savage that he believes the said House belonged to Mrs Griffiths, and that she did Business in the Grocery way enough to support her in credit and Reputation.


    This Case was heard by Mr Wilmot & Mr Coke towards the latter End of the Year 1782 when Mrs Griffiths and Mrs Hinson stood upon the List with separate allowances of £50 a Year each which those Gentlemen recommended to be discontinued not at that time stating (or wishing to state) very particularly those Reasons which induced them to make such a Report.

    But the Case being sent again by the Lords of the Treasury to be reconsidered, it becomes more necessary to hint at those Reasons which induce us to concur in the same Report. In the first Instance no particular property was stated to those Gentlemen & they did not press it because we understand that they decided upon another Ground. The History of Mrs Griffiths & Mrs Hinson was given to those Gentlemen by one of the most respectable Gentlemen of the Province (who is now dead) in a confidential Conversation who convinced them that they were not proper Objects of the Bounty of Government.

    In our Opinion Mrs Hinson the Daughter stands in a Situation to deserve the Compassion & perhaps the Bounty of Government if she wanted it. But we are relieved from the unpleasant task of discriminating between the two Cases by a Letter which we have lately received from Mrs Griffiths pressing us to recommend some Allowance to her & adding that Mrs Hinson was not in want of it at present.

    On the Ground of Property we have great Reason to think that we have been deceived at least with Respect to that Property at Casco Bay. But we repeat again that that is not alone the Ground upon which we have decided this Case. If the Lords of the Treasury wish to know all the Circumstances of this Case we shall be ready at any time to communicate them to their Lordships which we should prefer to giving them upon Paper.

    If they wished to return to America we conceive that [the] Women can have done nothing to prevent it. But whether they remain in this Country or not under all the Circumstances of the Case we do not think it proper to recommend any Allowance to Mrs Griffiths & Mrs Hinson does not want it.15