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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




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The Confiscation of John Chandler's Estate. With a
Portrait. 8vo, $3.00, net. Postage extra.

Tracts Relating to the Currency of Massachusetts
Bay, 1682-1720. Illustrated. 8vo, $4.00, net. Post-
paid, $4.21.

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & COMPANY

BOSTON AND NEW YORK



THE CONFISCATION OF

JOHN CHANDLER'S

ESTATE



BY



ANDREW McFARLAND DAVIS




BOSTON AND NEW YOKE
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY



1903



Published May, zgoj





E-t
CO



a

CONTENTS



I. INTRODUCTORY 1

II. JOHN CHANDLER, LOYALIST 6

III. LEGISLATION 25

IV. THE VALUE OF THE ESTATE 60

V. THE PAPERS OF THE PROBATE FILES ANALYZED . . 71

VI. THE COURT RECORDS AND THE ARCHIVES .... 96

VII. THE LONDON TRANSCRIPTS 104

o
g

- APPENDIX

CO

CQ A. PAPERS ON FILE IN THE PROBATE COURT OF WORCES-

Jsj TER COUNTY IN THE CASE OF JOHN CHANDLER . 119

B. RECORDS OF THE CASES OF THE STATE vs. CHAN-

DLER IN THE INFERIOUR COURT OF COMMON PLEAS 187

C. PAPERS IN THE MASSACHUSETTS ARCHIVES RELATING

TO THE CASE OF JOHN CHANDLER 204

D. OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS IN THE PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE

OF ENGLAND RELATING TO JOHN CHANDLER'S CLAIMS
FOR TEMPORARY SUPPORT AND COMPENSATION FOR
LOSSES SUSTAINED 213



CALENDAR OF PAPERS RELATING TO THE ES-
TATE OF JOHN CHANDLER, AN ABSENTEE.

WORCESTER PROBATE FILES.

1. Certificate of the Committee of Correspondence, etc., of the

town of Worcester that John Chandler and others are
absentees April 18, 1777

2. Bond of Joseph Allen, Agent, 2000, sureties Benjamin

Conklin and Benjamin Greene May 7, 1777

3. Warrant appointing Samuel Curtis, Nathan Perry, and

Samuel Miller of Worcester appraisers of property left

by Chandler May 7, 1777

Return of appraisers January 1, 1779

Oath of Office January 2, 1778 [1779?]

4. Warrant appointing John Cutting, David Scott, and Enoch

Shephard appraisers of estate in Hampshire County

May 20, 1778

Oath of Office, John Kirkland August 6, 1778

Oath of Office, David Scott and Enoch Shephard

September 22, 1778

5. Warrant appointing David Wilder, Timothy Boutell, and

John Richardson, of Leominster, appraisers

October 6, 1778

Oath of Office October 8, 1778

Return of appraisers October 8, 1778

6. Warrant appointing John Fry, Esq., Henry Bond, and Pel-

atiah Metcalf of Royalston appraisers October 6, 1778
Oath of Office October 23, 1778

7. Petition of Mary Chandler November 20, 1778

8. Return of Royalston appraisers November 28, 1778

9. Return of Hampshire County appraisers December 3, 1778
Additional return December, 1778



viii CALENDAR OF PAPERS

10. Inventory of the real estate [1779] ?

11. Inventory of the personal estate April 7, 1777
Inventory of the real estate January 9, 1779
Oath of Agent March 17, 1779

12. Second petition of Mary Chandler March 17, 1779

13. Account of Joseph Allen, Agent, April 29, 1779
Jurat May 4, 1779
Order of Court May 4, 1779

14. Warrant appointing Samuel Curtis, Esq., Nathan Perry,

and Samuel Brown Commissioners to examine claims

September 1, 1779
Oath of Office May, 1782

15. Warrant appointing Benjamin Flagg, Esq., Nathan Perry,

Gentleman, and Samuel Miller, yeoman, Commissioners

to set off the wife's third part October 12, 1779

Oath of Office December 6, 1779

16. Report of the Commissioners to set off one third

December 6, 1779
Decree of Court February 8, 1780

17. Account current of Joseph Allen, Agent, Oath of Office

and allowance by Court May 2, 1780

18. Report of Commissioners to examine claims

( December 25, 1781

( January 1, 1782

Order of Court accepting and allowing same May 7, 1782

19. Certificate of claim of John Erving May 20, 1782

20. Certificate of claim of Edmund Hood May 20, 1782

21. Bond of Indemnity, Benjamin Greene and others

May 20, 1782

22. Re-appointment of Commissioners to examine claims

January 10, 1783

23. Warrant appointing Samuel Salisbury, John Nazro, and

Elijah Dix Commissioners to examine claims

February 6, 1783

24. Warrant appointing Daniel Waldo, John Nazro, and Elijah

Dix Commissioners to examine claims

February 20, 1783



CALENDAR OF PAPERS ix

Return of Commissioners May 20, 1783

Oath of Office June 3, 1783

Allowance by Court October 7, 1783

25. Bond of Indemnity, George Bethune et als. March 1, 1783

26. Decree of Court allowing return of Commissioners

October 7, 1783

27. Account of Joseph Allen, Agent [February, 1784]
Blank form of jurat and order of allowance by Court

February 3, 1784

28. Receipt for Certificate of Claim April 14, 1785

29. Certified copy of resolve of Legislature authorizing appoint-

ment of Commissioners to examine claim of Thaddeus
and William Maccarty June 15, 1785

30. Warrant appointing Daniel Waldo, Elijah Dix, and John

Nazro Commissioners to examine Maccarty claims

June 1, 1787

Oath of Office July 9, 1787

Return July 10, 1787



TRANSCRIPT OF THE COURT RECORDS AT WORCESTER.

Judgments entered in two cases under the Confiscation Act

December 12, 1780

31. State vs. Chandler.

Proceedings instituted by Levi Lincoln, appointed for that
purpose by the Attorney-General, against John Chan-
dler, for the confiscation of the Royalston property.

32. State vs. Chandler.

Proceedings instituted by Levi Lincoln, appointed for that
purpose by the Attorney-General, against John Chandler
for the confiscation of certain property in and about
Worcester.

MASSACHUSETTS ARCHIVES.

33. Certificate of the Committee of Correspondence, Safety, and

Inspection of Murrayfield as to real and personal estate of
Chandler in that town May 26, 1777



X



CALENDAR OF PAPERS



34. Certificate of Judge of Probate as to Report of Commis-

sioners to examine claims against the estate

May 8, 1782

35. Certificate of Judge of Probate to claim of George Bethone

May 20, 1782

36. Extract from Certificate of Register of Probate as to names

of Agents June 8, 1782

37. Certificate of Judge of Probate as to report of Commis-

sioners to examine claims against tbe estate

October 7, 1783

38. Statement of Account of Committee for the Sale of Absen-

tees' Estates in Worcester County April 20, 1784 (?)

39. Receipt of Gad Peirce no date

40. Memorandum of Expenses on real estate purchased by

Levi Lincoln, etc. no date

41. Bill of Probate Office June 10, 1784

42. Report of Secretary as to Warrants drawn on Chandler's

Estate.

LONDON TRANSCRIPTS.

43. Petition to Lord Germaine for " present support "

September 2, 1776

44. Petition to Lords Commissioners of Treasury for increase

February 17, 1779

45. Certificate of Robert Auchmuty October 29, 1782

46. Certificate of Thomas Flucker November 4, 1782

47. Certificate of Thomas Gage January 28, 1779

48. Certificate of Thomas Hutchinson January 28, 1779

49. Certificate of Thomas Oliver January 30, 1779

50. Certificate of Robert Auchmuty February 17, 1779

51. Minute of proceedings of Board and decision

52. Memorial to Commissioners praying for compensation

February 9, 1784

53. Schedule of Chandler's property annexed to Memorial

February 9, 1784

54. Supplemental Schedule March 15, 1784



CALENDAR OF PAPERS xi

55. Affidavit of James Putnam to loyalty and losses

August 14, 1784

56. Affidavit of Joshua Upham to loyalty and losses

August 17, 1784

57. Affidavit of Abijah Willard to loyalty and losses

July 19, 1784

58. Affidavit of Ebenezer Cutler to loyalty and losses

August 18, 1784

59. Affidavit of Daniel Murray to loyalty and losses

August 17, 1784

60. Certified copy of the Worcester Protest June 24, 1774

61. Certificate of Gov. Hancock as to certain County Officers

October 23, 1783

62. Certified copy of writ of Habere facias possessionem (Royal-

ston property), Date of writ January 24, 1781

63. Certified copy of Judgment Record, Hampshire County,

Confiscation suit, entered August, 1781

64. Certified copy of Writ of Habere facias possessionem

(Worcester property) January 24, 1781

65. Appointment of Worcester appraisers May 7, 1777

66. Inventory of Personal and Real Estate about Worcester

67. Appointment of Leominster appraisers, October 6, and

their return October 8, 1778

68. Appointment of Royalston appraisers, October 6, and their

return November 28, 1778

69. Appointment of Hampshire County appraisers

May 20, 1778

70. Return of Hampshire County appraisers

December 3, 1778

71. Oath of Agent March 17, 1779

72. Certificate of Register of Probate October 21, 1783

73. Certified copy of the Judgment Record in the Royalston

Confiscation suit December, 1780

74. Certified copy of the Judgment Record in the Worcester

Confiscation suit December, 1780

75. Transcriber's note as to three duplicates



xii CALENDAR OF PAPERS

76. Certificate of the Proprietor's Clerk of Murrayfield as to

Chandler's Interest October 29, 1783

77. Certificate of Register of Deeds, Hampshire County, as to

Chandler's conveyances October 31, 1783

78. Certificate of Register of Deeds, Hampshire County, as to

conveyances to Chandler October 31, 1783

79. Certificate of the sale, by the Committee, of the Worcester

County estate November 4, 1783

80. Letter from Chandler, enclosing Certificate showing sale of

Royalston estate October 11, 1785

81. Certificate of Governor Bowdoin as to member of Com-

mittee June 9, 1785

82. Certificate of Committee as to sale of Royalston estate

June 18, 1785

83. Certified copy of Report of Committee to set off dower

February 8, 1780

84. Letter from Chandler asking if further evidence is required

November 10, 1785

85. Letter from Chandler enclosing certificates as to sale of his

property February 28, 1786

86. Certificate of Governor Bowdoin as to members of Com-

mittee January 3, 1786

87. Certificate of Committee as to sale of Worcester County

property December 27, 1785

88. Certificate of Committee as to sale of Hampshire County

estate November, 1783

89. Duplicate of 88 November 3, 1783

90. Memorial of Chandler praying for continuance of his allow-

ance during absence from Great Britain May 1, 1787

91. Letter from Chandler as to claims against his estate

August 30, 1788

92. Affidavit of Chandler as to claims against his estate

August 30, 1788

93. Certified copy of the warrants drawn, claims allowed, and

proceeds of sale of Chandler's estate

94. Detailed statement as to claims against the estate

95. Chandler's review of the detailed statement



CALENDAR OF PAPERS xiii

96. Duplicate of letter of August 30, and enclosure. En-

dorsed November 6, 1788

97. Extract from Anstey's Report

98. Extract from Alphabetical list October 31, 1787

99. Certified copy of Account current with Chandler's estate

October 31, 1786

100. Extracts from volume 83, Audit Office, Loyalist series

101. Final report of Commissioners



THE CONFISCATION OF JOHN
CHANDLER'S ESTATE



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

AT the October meeting of the American Anti-
quarian Society, 1900, a letter, written in 1828 by
Mrs. Lucretia (Chandler) Bancroft to one of her
daughters, was communicated. This letter was to a
certain extent autobiographical, and its special inter-
est lay in the picture which it furnished of the sud-
den change in the fortunes of the Chandler family
caused by the outbreak of the Revolution. In its
pages we catch sight of the flight of the father,
Colonel John Chandler of Worcester, who was a
loyalist ; we note the effects upon his family of the
seizure of his property ; and we cannot fail to per-
ceive the responsibilities and sufferings entailed upon
the children through their changed circumstances.
The evident grief of the writer of the letter at the
separation from her father, whose name is asso-
ciated in her mind with reminiscences of domestic
happiness in their old home, and is ever mentioned
by her with tender regard and affectionate respect,



2 THE CHANDLER CONFISCATION

must arouse the sympathy of even the most casual
reader.

In a paper which was read before the Society
at the same meeting, Hon. Horace Davis of San
Francisco described the members of the family
referred to in the letter, and set forth at some length
the genealogy of the Chandler family and their
connection, through the various offices which they
had held, with the history and progress of Worces-
ter County.

A paper was communicated at the same time by
myself, which was entitled " Historical Notes on
the Letter," the purpose of which was to add
certain biographical facts concerning the writer of
the letter, and also such information as I could
obtain concerning the sequestration of the estate.
The wealth of illustrative material bearing upon the
seizure of the property which was disclosed by an
examination of the probate files of Worcester County
led to the incorporation in the paper of an account
of some of the more important of these documents,
and an analysis of the laws under which the proceed-
ings were taken. The limitations imposed upon a
communication at a meeting of this sort necessarily
prevented more extended work in this direction, and
lack of space in the pages of the published proceed-
ings precluded the idea of furnishing copies of the
original papers. Moreover, it was known that there
were many documents in London bearing upon the
case, from which additional information could un-
doubtedly be obtained, so that the publication then



INTRODUCTORY 3

of the material at hand would have resulted in a
work avowedly incomplete.

Copies of these London documents were subse-
quently forwarded to the American Antiquarian
Society by the late Benjamin F. Stevens, and through
these, in connection with the documents on file in
Worcester, the opportunity is now afforded to trace
the history of the various proceedings against the
Chandler estate, and simultaneously to identify with
reasonable certainty the several resolves or acts
under authority of which the different steps were
taken. The documentary evidence bearing upon
the seizure and confiscation of the estates of loyal-
ists which has been preserved in Massachusetts is so
full that it is quite possible there may be other
cases in which the accessible papers would furnish
equally vivid object-lessons of the application of this
legislation, and in which an examination of the
resolves furnishing authority for the official action
would as well bring out the various features which
the historian might consider of importance.

One of the most interesting points suggested by
an analysis of this legislation is the contest between
those lawmakers who at the outset would have
thrown off all restraint, and those more conservative,
who so shaped the earlier legislation of this sort
that in its phraseology, at least, it would have been
justifiable in case of a reconciliation with Great
Britain. It is possible, indeed, that the case of some
refugee nearer Boston would, by its closer touch
with the circumstances which led to some of this



4 THE CHANDLER CONFISCATION

early legislation, bring forth with greater force the
phase last alluded to, but it is not likely that any
case will better illustrate the various points involved
in the general legislation on the subject.

It was doubtless true that so long as the legisla-
tive body styled itself a Provincial Congress, it still
regarded the local government as subordinate to
Great Britain. Nor did the change in name to a
Colonial Assembly carry with it any idea of separa-
tion from the Crown. Caution was therefore natu-
ral in the legislation of the provincial and of the
colonial periods, and it is not surprising to find that
in many of the resolves ordering the seizure of the
property of loyalists, there is an underlying idea of
a possible future accounting. Why this state of
mind should have survived after the abandonment
of the colonial theory, even though the State for
a time did not adopt a constitution, is not clear,
yet it was not until 1779 that the Confiscation Act
was passed, although the seizure and sale of the per-
sonal property and the appropriation of the rents
derivable from the real estate were in the mean time
accomplished through various resolves, which were
ultimately superseded by an act which was euphe-
mistically entitled "An Act to prevent the waste,
destruction, and embezzlement of the goods or
estates of such persons who have left the same and
fled to our enemies for protection; and also for
payment of their just debts out of their estates."

The first of the papers connected with the Chan-
dler case is dated April 18, 1777, but references in



INTRODUCTORY 5

subsequent papers to anterior events show that
before the passage of the act to prevent the waste,
destruction, and embezzlement of the goods or
estates of refugees, the property of Chandler in
Worcester had been seized by the committee of
correspondence.

Thus we have proceedings inaugurated under
authority conferred by the resolves passed prior to
this act, and as we examine the papers in their
chronological arrangement, we find steps taken which
illustrate not only every section of the act, but also
the amendments to it, until finally we reach the pro-
ceedings under the Confiscation Act and the sale of
the real estate.

There can be but little doubt that a review of
these proceedings, accompanied by copies of the
original papers, will be of value to historical stu-
dents. Some interest will naturally be excited in the
fate of the victim of these proceedings who, driven
from Worcester by the ill usage of his fellow towns-
men and prohibited by legislation from returning to
his former home, died a lonely exile in London.
Although but little is known of his career after he
went to London, we can learn something about him,
and such information as is at hand will be found
in the next chapter.



CHAPTER II

JOHN CHANDLER, LOYALIST

THE branch of the Chandler family to which
belonged the refugee whose fortunes we are follow-
ing settled in Woodstock, then a part of Massachu-
setts. There were four Johns in succession, and it
was through the energy of the first of them that
the family fortunes began to rise. The progenitor,
William Chandler of Roxbury, seems to have been
incapable of taking care of himself. It was under
his son John that the move to Woodstock was made,
and it was due to his thrift that the second John
had a fair start in life.

In the paper communicated to the American Anti-
quarian Society, which has already been referred to,
Hon. Horace Davis says of the latter : " He accumu-
lated a comfortable property ; he represented Wood-
stock in the General Court, and served in the Indian
Wars with some distinction as Major and Colonel.
When Worcester County was formed in 1731, he was
made Probate Judge and Chief Justice of the Court
of Common Pleas, and he was for seven years a
member of the Governor's Council."

Of his personality we have but a shadowy outline,
but chance has preserved for us an address made by



JOHN CHANDLER, LOYALIST 7

him to the Grand Jury on the 5th of February, 1734,
at the first court of general sessions held in the first
court house built by the county of Worcester. An
account of the proceedings on that occasion is given
in the " Weekly Kehearsal " of February 18. The
speaker, whose identity with Hon. John Chandler of
Woodstock was established by Rev. Dr. Bancroft, 1
was evidently a man of some cultivation. He ap-
proaches the subject of the dedication of the build-
ing in an apologetic tone, as if he feared that his
participation in the affair might be construed into
an approval of " the superstitious custom used by
many in the world, of dedicating or consecrating to
saints or angels, places built for public use and
service." His opinion was that they should dedi-
cate themselves to the service of God. He praised
the new court house, which, he says, exceeds " so
many others in the Province built for the like ser-
vice, in the capaciousness, regularity, and workman-
ship thereof." He quotes from the Old Testament,
asking the gentlemen of the jury wherein they " can
be better instructed than in the charge given by
Moses, at the command of God, to the officers of
the tribes of Israel," and he winds up his charge to
the jury with a stated approval of their past con-
duct, which, however, he cautiously qualifies with
the limitation, " as far as I have observed."

This brief speech enables us to get a much clearer
conception of the man than is to be derived from

1 See sermon delivered January 6, 1811, published in Worcester,
1811, note a.



8 THE CHANDLER CONFISCATION

the mere rehearsal of the offices that he held, or
from any narrative of his life which can be con-
structed from the events known to us in connection
therewith.

With reference to the career of the third John,
Mr. Davis says that he " moved to Worcester, where
he held pretty much every office in the County. He
was Selectman, Town Treasurer, County Treasurer,
Sheriff, Register of Probate, Register of Deeds,
Probate Judge, Chief Justice of County Courts,
Representative to the General Court, Colonel in
the Militia, and a member of the Governor's Council.
He was also appointed by Governor Shirley, in 1754,
a delegate to the proposed congress designed to
concert measures for the union of the British Ameri-
can Colonies. He died in 1762, wealthy and full of
honors. In him the family reached its zenith."

In further evidence of the prominent position
which he occupied in public affairs, it may be men-
tioned that he was one of the three commissioners
named by the assembly in the " Act for the more
speedy finishing of the Land Bank or Manufactory
Scheme," which act was passed by the General
Court, January 15, 1742-43. This office he ac-
cepted, but the labor connected with it was found
to be much more irksome than was anticipated,
and the performance of the duties was practically
incompatible with a residence in Worcester. He
therefore resigned very soon after the organization of
the commission. He also held for a number of years
the office of Clerk of Courts for Worcester County.



JOHN CHANDLER, LOYALIST 9

His son John, the fourth of that name, was the
refugee. He was born February 26, 1720-21. To
quote again from the paper of Hon. Horace Davis,
" He was Selectman, Town Treasurer, Town Clerk,
County Treasurer, Sheriff, Judge of Probate, and
Representative to the General Court. He was also
Colonel of the Worcester Regiment, and in 1757
saw active duty in that capacity."

Up to 1774," adds Mr. Davis, Chandler's life
had been one of almost unbroken prosperity, but
when the storm of rebellion against England broke
out, his loyalist sentiments brought him into angry
opposition to popular feeling, and he was com-
pelled to leave home and family and retire to Boston.
When Boston fell into the hands of the Continental
Army, he fled to Halifax, and thence to London,
where he spent the rest of his lif e, twenty-four years.
This experience gave him in Worcester the nick-
name of i Tory John,' while in England he was
called the ' Honest Refugee,' because of the mod-
esty of his claims against the British Government
for losses sustained by reason of his loyalty." In
addition to the offices above enumerated, Colonel
Chandler was for many years a member of His
Majesty's Council, and held at the time of the out-
break a commission in the Court of General Sessions
of the Peace.

In the fall of 1774, when the bitterness of feeling
engendered by the political contest then going on
between the tories and those who subsequently were
denominated the " patriots " became so strong that



10 THE CHANDLER CONFISCATION

discussion was abandoned and threats against,- and
sometimes personal violence upon, the weaker party
were substituted, John Chandler was living in com-
fort in his spacious homestead in Worcester. Up to
that time his life had been not only uniformly pros-
perous, but entirely free from serious trouble. From
his father he must have inherited considerable pro-
perty. The various offices which he held furnished
revenue, and in addition, he was interested in a
store, the profits of which increased his income. He
owned several farms in the immediate vicinity of
Worcester, all of which, under the circumstances of
life then existing in Worcester County, were easily
to be rented. One of these farms he retained for
his own use, and from it he could readily supply his
household with a large part of the food necessary in
an establishment conducted upon so generous a
scale. His daughter says in the letter communicated
to the American Antiquarian Society that he dis-


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