Allen, from the commencement of his career in this most interesting pursuit, up to the attainment of his object by its complete establishment at Bath cannot be traced; nor the source ascertained from whence his funds were derived. It appears that Mr. Allen risked the chance of taking the revenues to be derived from his new institution for a term of years, at a certain annual payment to the State; or, in official language, that he farmed them; and his success proved commensurate to the ability, exertion, and persevering industry employed in carrying the plan into effect: so that on the expiration of the first term, a renewal was taken at an advanced rent of some tens of thousands a-year.
Mr. Allen fixed himself at Bath, and built the splendid mansion of Prior Park with the oolite of that district, or Bath stone, which he first quarried on an extensive scale and brought into general use. At Prior Park every man distinguished in any way was a welcome guest, and the proprietor has received most justly, deserved tributes of applause from many capable of erecting monuments to his memory more durable than those of brass or stone; but one frequently noticed has ever appeared to me inadequate. It does indeed represent the image of a private gentleman, endowed with goodness of heart, some learning, and a tolerable judgment; but if Mr. Fielding's Allworthy was really meant to pourtray Mr. Allen, one may seek in vain for any resemblance of a man, who, by energy of mind and indefatigable exertions conferred so great a benefit on his country, that the wealth acquired by himself seemed no more than the necessary appendage to such public service.
Mr. Allen died in 1?64; but his spirit still hovered over Bath, and impelled individuals brought forward in his school, to make the second and last improvement in our mail conveyances by substituting the rapid speed of a coach, with its safety and accommodation of passengers, for the slow and solitary progress of a postman on