2. Mrs. Temple's “case” recurs in both the family and the general correspondence of the Adamses. She was Harriet, daughter of the late Gov. William Shirley and wife of Robert Temple (d. 1784), of Ten Hills Farm, the original estate of the Winthrops on the Mystic River in Charlestown (Thomas B. Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown
, Boston, 1879, 2:938; Mayo, Winthrop Family
, p. 144). Her husband's politics were ambiguous; he had left Boston for England in 1775, but was at this moment in New York
endeavoring to return home, which with the permission of Gen. Howe, Gen. Washington, and the Continental Congress, he soon did. (See JA to AA, 20 Aug.
, below; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick
, 5:447; Sabine, Loyalists
, 2:349; Rowe, Letters and Diary
, p. 319.) In a letter to JA dated at Ten Hills, 10 Aug. 1776
, Mrs. Temple described her “distrest Situation,” pointed out that “many Persons in this Province have been paid for thier Trees [cut down for the use of the Continental forces]
as Cord Wood,” and requested a like indulgence to her (Adams Papers
). JA promptly presented her case to Congress, 23 Aug. (
, 5:699), and on the 28th Congress “Resolved
, That, upon the said Harriot's producing to the quarter master general, an account of the trees which were cut down upon the farm of Robert Temple, Esqr. for the purpose of supplying the continental army with wood for firing, or for the purposes of fortification, so far as from the nature of the circumstances such destruction can be ascertained by her, that the quarter master general of the continental army, shall make her a just compensation for the same, in such manner as other persons have been paid, who have supplied the army with wood for these purposes; and that the quarter master general, in his accounts, shall be allowed for the same by this Congress” (same, p. 713).
But long delays followed. On 23 April 1778 James Bowdoin (whose daughter Elizabeth was the wife of Robert Temple's brother John) addressed to his friend Washington a strong plea for action on this claim because Ten Hills was “in so ruined a state, that it will require a great length of time, and great expence upon it to put it in a condition to answer the purpose of supporting [Temple's]
family” (MHS, Colls.
, 6th ser., 9 : 415). On 27 Feb. 1779 Temple himself submitted a memorial to Congress saying that the conditions in Congress' resolve of 1776 had been met on his part but the claim had not been paid (PCC
, No. 41, X). Action now followed speedily. The memorial was committed on the same day, and on 6 March, in a most interestingly itemized report, which Congress adopted, Temple was allowed, and the quartermaster general ordered to pay him, £6702 for the destruction of his fruit and timber trees, fences, and farm and wharf buildings, less £2500 already paid him by Massachusetts, or £4202, equal to $14,006 ⅔ (
, 13:260, 288–289). This was, however, in inflated currency, and Temple in the following year gave up the struggle, sold Ten Hills, and sailed with his family to England. “The Day before yesterday Mr. Robert Temple with all his family, even to the Cat
, arrived here in 32 Days from Boston; he had disposed of all his property, real and personal, in that Country, and is come, as he says, to lay his bones in England or Ireland” (Jonathan Sewall to Isaac Smith Jr., Bristol, 25 Aug. 1780, MHi
: Smith-Carter Papers). He died in Dublin, leaving his wife and three daughters (Robert C. Winthrop Jr., “Account of the Family of Robert Temple,” MHi
: Fenton Papers, under date of 8 Jan. 1894).