Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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Journal and Letters of Samuel Curwen, pp. 61–176; ed. by G. A. Ward. Boston, 1864. World History

385.

Extracts from the Diary of a Tory Refugee

June 6, 1776

London, my favorite place of abode, is, as the peasant said, "a sad lickpenny," and truly one cannot breathe the vital air without great expense. The numerous applications to the treasury by Americans whose pretensions are so much beyond mine, exclude the most distant hope of relief for me, should inadvertence or more unjustifiable principles of conduct reduce me to the necessity of asking a favor which I am determined at all events to defer to the longest period, if it please the great disposer of events to prolong my uneasy abode in this country of aliens for many days yet to come. . . .

June 10, 1776

I find my finances so visibly lessening that I wish I could remove from this expensive country, (being heartily tired of it,) and, old as I am, would gladly enter into a business connection anywhere consistently with decency and integrity, which I would fain preserve. The use of the property I left behind me I fear I shall never be the better for; little did I expect from affluence to be reduced to such rigid economy as prudence now exacts. To beg is a meanness I wish never to be reduced to, and to starve is stupid; one comfort, as I am fast declining into the vale of life, my miseries cannot probably be of long continuance. . . .

October 31, 1776

By a letter from Mr. Danforth I was informed some of my countrymen were about to apply to the administration for relief. As my residence has been much longer than the most, and the suddenness of my departure from home rendering it morally impossible for me to become possessed of much money, and my pretensions, for aught I know, being as good as any and better than many, I presume I shall not be the only exile left in a forlorn condition if any provision be made; and if never made, forlorn I shall truly be, my finances every day very sensibly lessening. Had I received Mr. Deberdt’s letter in time I should have returned to London, but it was otherwise; and if my presence now can be dispensed with, it will be more agreeable, as I live pleasantly enough among a few acquaintances, at the rate of twenty guineas a year, in a state of rigid economy that I never before was reduced to the necessity of putting in practice. . . .

December 31, 1776

My little bark is in imminent hazard of being stranded, unless the wind shifts quickly or some friendly boat appears for its relief. In plain English, my purse is nearly empty; which circumstance has of late frequently reminded me of an emblematical device in the beginning of Fuller’s History of the Holy Wars, wherein on the right is a purse distended with gold and standing upright, on the left the same turned upside down, in a lank condition, emptied wholly of its contents, with these words under the former, "We went out full," and under the latter, "We returned empty." I do not know but I am departed from my country, family, and friends on as foolish and fantastic grounds as the misguided devotees of that time did to rescue the Holy Land from infidels, though on opposite principles I confess, — they to fight, I to avoid fighting. I now begin to tremble lest the same fate awaits me that befell them. I dislike the motives of the chief agents in America, and their whole system from its first small beginnings to its full monstrous growth of independency; and I trust from a very just motive, love of my country, which this place, I am convinced, has no tendency to promote the welfare of. But what of that? It is my duty, and sure the state is not to reward the loyalty of every subject; the court in this case would have more than enough to do to satisfy the demands of all claimants. I cannot foresee what I may hereafter do, but easily that I must suffer hunger and nakedness in the comfortless mansions of the wretched. These ideas I have not been accustomed to associate. . . .

Exeter, March 7, 1777

I received a letter from London informing me of my wife’s health and welfare in November last, and that she had been obliged to pay ten pounds sterling to find a man for the American army in my stead. . . .

March 10, 1777

Walked out to Judge Sewall’s, he having the day before engaged to accompany me to the treasury, where, after a compliment, I received information of a hundred pounds down and a hundred per annum during the troubles in America, which I esteem as a providential provision procured by the friendship of my respected friend Judge Sewall. I received an order on the Bank; accompanied by him and Mr. Thomas Danforth, I took a note at the cashier’s office for seventy pounds payable to myself on demand, and thirty pounds in cash, departing very joyous, and, I hope, grateful to that Being who has, by friends, been pleased in the midst of gloomy prospects to set my feet on firm ground and establish my goings: may I wisely improve this gracious indulgence. . . .

December 31 1777

The lenity shown to General Burgoyne and his army is allowed on all hands to do more honor to America than the laurels reaped by the Howes can bring to this distracted country. God knows what is for the best, but I fear our perpetual banishment from America is written in the book of fate; nothing but the hopes of once more revisiting my native soil, enjoying my own friends within my own little domain, has hitherto supported my drooping courage; but that prop taken away leaves me in a condition too distressing to think of; however, amidst the increasing evils of old age, I have this consolation, that, mortifying as my lot is, severe as my sufferings may be, their continuance cannot be lasting. . . .

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Chicago: "Extracts from the Diary of a Tory Refugee," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 631–633. Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QDTLMP5685L5W2S.

MLA: . "Extracts from the Diary of a Tory Refugee." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 631–633. Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QDTLMP5685L5W2S.

Harvard: , 'Extracts from the Diary of a Tory Refugee' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.631–633. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QDTLMP5685L5W2S.