ALLEN, WILLIAM (1793–1864), naval officer, was born at Weymouth in 1793, entered the navy as a volunteer in 1805, and, as midshipman, was present at the passage of the Dardanelles in 1807. Allen was promoted lieutenant in 1815, commander 1836, and captain 1842. He look part in the Niger expedition of Richard Lander and Oldfield, 1832; but is best known as having commanded the Wilberforce in the elaborately equipped but disastrous expedition under Captain Trotter to the same river in 1841–2. Though Allen cannot be blamed for any of the misfortunes of this expedition, he was on his return placed on half-pay, and retired from the service, as rear-admiral, in 1862, dying at Weymouth 23 Jan. 1864. In 1848, Allen, along with Dr. T. R. H. Thomson, the surgeon, published, in two volumes, ‘A Narrative of the Expedition sent by H.M.'s Government to the River Niger in 1841.’ In 1849 he travelled through Syria and Palestine, and published the results in two volumes (1855) under the title of ‘The Dead Sea, a New Route to India, with other Fragments and Gleanings in the East,’ in which he advocated the construction of a canal between the Mediterranean and Red Sea by the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea, entering into elaborate comparison between that route and the proposed Suez Canal by the Nile. In 1846 he published a pamphlet on ‘Mutual Improvement,’ advocating the institution of good-conduct prizes to be awarded by ballot by the community divided for the purpose into small groups; and in 1849 a ‘Plan for the immediate Extinction of the Slave Trade, for the Relief of the West India Colonies, and for the Diffusion of Civilisation and Christianity in Africa by the co-operation of Mammon with Philanthropy,’ a chimerical scheme of compulsory ‘apprenticeship,’ or ‘temporary bondage.’ Allen also brought out two volumes of ‘Picturesque Views’ on the island of Ascension (1838) and the Niger (1840), and papers by him will be found in the ‘Journal of the Royal Geographical Society,’ vols. vii. viii. xiii. and xxiii. He was a fellow of the Royal Society, and an accomplished musician; some of his landscape paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1828 to 1847 (Graves's Catalogue).
[O'Byrne's Naval Biography, and Allen's publications; Gent. Mag. 1864, i. 659.]
ALLEN, WILLIAM (1770–1843), man of science and philanthropist, was born 29 Aug. 1770. His father, a silk manufacturer, was a member of the Society of Friends. Allen imbibed in childhood the religious principles of his parents, and adhered to them through life. After going to a school at Rochester he was employed in his father's business; but his taste for chemistry induced him to enter J. G. Bevan's chemical establishment at Plough Court. On Bevan's retirement in 1795 he took the business and opened a laboratory at Plaistow. His position enabled him to make many scientific experiments, and he associated with some friends of similar tastes (including Astley Cooper) in the ‘Askesian Society.’ He gave lectures to his fellow-members at Plough Court; became Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1801, and of the Royal Society in 1807. He was appointed lecturer at Guy's Hospital in 1802, and lectured there till 1826. At the request of his friend Humphry Davy he also lectured at the Royal Institution. His attention, however, was drawn from science to the philanthropic movements of his time. He had been interested from boyhood in the agitation against the slave trade. Clarkson became his friend in 1794, and he was on intimate terms with both Clarkson and Wilberforce through life. On the abolition of the slave trade he became an active member of the African Institution, and shared in the agitation for the abolition of slavery. He was equally active in promoting education. He was a member of the committee formed in 1808 for the support of Lancaster, which in 1814 became the British and Foreign School Society. Allen was its treasurer and steady supporter. The Lancaster and Bell controversy was one of the topics of the ‘Philanthropist,’ a quarterly journal which he started in 1811 and maintained until 1817, and in which many other schemes of social improvement were discussed. James Mill was his chief contributor, and their friendly relations were undisturbed by radical religious differences. A full account of this review is given in Bain's ‘Life of James Mill’ (pp. 82, 112, 125, 144, 158, 161). In 1814, Allen, with Bentham, Robert Owen, and four other partners, bought the New Lanark Mills from Owen's previous partners in order to carry out the well-known scheme for social improvement. Owen declares that Allen was bustling and ambitious, though he admits him to have been anxious to do good in his own way. Differences arose as to the management, and Allen succeeded in obtaining an agreement in 1824 by virtue of which some bible instruction was to be