Page:Historical account of Lisbon college.djvu/97

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HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF LISBON COLLEGE.

condemned to make this perilous voyage. He was chained in the boat, but contrived to loosen the chain, jumped out and was drowned in the Tagus. The balloon answered Allen s most sanguine expectations. It ascended magnificently from the verandah of the Count of Obidas in the direction of the Tagus. This was the first balloon ever seen in Portugal.

Somewhat prior to this period, his friend the Marquis of Ponte de Lima nominated him to a benefice in the Province of the Minho near Ponte de Lima, of the value of fifty pounds a year. As the care of souls was attached to it, on account of his scrupulosity he obtained the sanction of the Marquis to employ a substitute. About the same time, as a token of the esteem in which he was held by the Royal Family, he was assigned a pension as Pen Maker to the Court. The remarkable elegance and beauty of his handwriting may have first suggested the appointment, but the office was by no means a sinecure, for till the departure of the Royal Family, it was he who made all the pens used by its members. By means of these pensions Allen was enabled, during the remainder of his life, to procure for himself whatever little extras he required, and for considerable periods to support himself without being a burthen to the College.

About the year 1792 he undertook the lowest class of Syntax. Later he took charge of a large class of more advanced Humanists, whom he conducted through the Courses of Poetry, Rhetoric, and Philosophy. Father Allen acted towards his scholars more like a friend than a master, and he strove to contribute, by every means in his power, not only to their improvement, but even to their comforts and amusements. After he had finished the Course of Philosophy, he never held any official situation in the College, though he was always considered as one of the Superiors and, as such, was always admitted to the Councils of the House. With a view to the erection of the College Observatory, a project which he had much at heart, he visited England for a few months in 1794, but without meeting with much encouragement.