About Joshua Loring, Jr.
LORING, Joshua, commissary of prisoners, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, in December, 1744; died in Edge-field. England, in August, 1789. Served as ensign (1761) and later lieutenant (1765) in the 15th Regiment of Foot. He was high sheriff of Massachusetts in 1768, subsequently mayor of Hingham, and one of those who signed an address to Governor Hutchinson in 1774, and to Governor Gage in 1775, approving their course. One of Gage's last official acts was the appointment of Boring, in June, 1775, as "sole vendue-master and auctioneer." He went to Halifax with the royal army the next year, and early in 1777 was appointed by Sir William Howe commissary of prisoners, toward whom he was accused of excessive cruelty. General Ethan Allen said of him that " he murdered precipitately, in cold blood, near or quite two thousand helpless prisoners in New York." But General Gold Selleck Silliman, in his letters to his wife, describes Loring as having treated him with "kindness, complaisance, and friendship." Other authorities agree that Loring starved prisoners so that 300 died before an exchange could be effected. His wife, Miss Lloyd, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was a brilliant and unprincipled woman, noted for her extravagance and love of play, at which she occasionally lost as much as 300 guineas at a sitting. Loring owed his appointment of commissary of prisoners to her influence with Howe.
Joshua Loring, Jr. served as high-sheriff in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. During the American Revolution, he was a Deputy Commissary of American prisoners-of-war in New York from 1777 until 1783. Together with William Cunningham, he was held responsible for the deaths from starvation and disease of thousands of Americans held prisoner on ships moored in New York Harbor. He was discharged from his office on the grounds of corruption and departed for England, where he died in 1798.