Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: ALLEN'S CLAIM AND CONTROVERSY
ALLEN'S CLAIM AND CONTROVERSY
Then Allen petitioned the queen to be put in possession of the waste lands of the province. All lands, unenclosed and unoccupied, were adjudged waste lands, and Allen was declared the lawful owner of them all.
While this petition was under consideration, Mr. Vaughan, the people's agent in England, remonstrated against its being granted. Much of the land that had been long used by the inhabitants for the pasturage of their cattle, was unenclosed, and therefore must, according to the opinion of the attorney-general, be accounted waste land. The same was true of nearly all the woodland in all the towns, and of the extensive salt-marshes in Hampton, which were indispensable to the inhabitants.
But why present these facts to the consideration of the queen and her advisers? Why show them that the prayer of the petition could not be granted, without gross injustice to the inhabitants of the province? Why remonstrate against the appointment of John Usher to the office of lieutenant-governor of the province-an appointment which he was again seeking? It was all in vain. Allen "entered upon the common land in each of the towns, and took possession by turf and twig;" and Usher again came into power. Meantime, Joseph Dudley had been appointed governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. And Allen's suits went on. Again the courts decided against him, and again he appealed.
But Allen had really become weary of the controversy, and did not wish to prosecute the appeal, if the difficulty between him and the people could be settled by mutual agreement. Many of the people, too, wished for a compromise. Deputies from the several towns, therefore, met in convention at Portsmouth, May 3, 1705, to discuss the subject, and, if possible, agree upon terms of accommodation. The deputies from Hampton, chosen the day before, were Mr. John Stanyan and Samuel Dow, who were "to join with the representatives of the province, with full power from the freeholders and the community, to discourse, debate and determine as might be most advantageous for the peace and benefit of the province, relating to Mr. Allen's claim. A few days before, the same persons had been chosen by the freeholders, to meet the convention, but had not authority to agree to any terms proposed, without first laying them before the town, to be voted upon. More ample powers were needed; and in compliance with a precept from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, they were granted, in connection with the last choice of delegates.
The delegates met in convention at the time proposed, and the next day passed the following Resolution: "That they had no claim or challenge to any part of the Province without the bounds of the four towns of Portsmouth, Dover, Hampton and Exeter, with the hamlets of New Castle and Kingston, which were all comprehended within lines already known and laid out, and which should forthwith be revised; but that Allen and his heirs might peaceably hold and enjoy the said great waste, containing forty miles in length and twenty in breadth, or thereabouts, at the head of the four towns aforesaid, if it should please her majesty; and that the inhabitants of the four towns would be so far from interrupting the settlement thereof, that they desired the said waste to be planted and filled with inhabitants, to whom they would give all the encouragement and assistance in their power."
They further proposed, in substance, to give Allen £2000 current money of New England, and 5000 acres out of the common lands in the towns and hamlets,-1500 acres of which, to be laid out in Hampton-provided the inhabitants should receive ample security forever afterward, against any further disturbance from any person, on account of his or Mason's claim. The proposed terms were to be presented to Allen for his consideration, and it was supposed that he would accept them; but his sudden death, the very next day, left the controversy still unsettled.
The following year, Mr. Allen's only son, Thomas Allen, of London, renewed the suit, being obliged again to go over the whole ground; but no decision was had before the death of Allen, in 1715, and this put an end to the suit, which his heirs, being minors, did not renew. The Mason claims were, indeed, revived for a brief season, more than twenty years later; but all rights were purchased, and quitclaim deeds given to the several towns.