The United Empire Loyalists
W. Stewart Wallace

Part 1 out of 2

This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan.

Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 13

A Chronicle of the Great Migration






The United Empire Loyalists have suffered a strange fate
at the hands of historians. It is not too much to say
that for nearly a century their history was written by
their enemies. English writers, for obvious reasons, took
little pleasure in dwelling on the American Revolution,
and most of the early accounts were therefore American
in their origin. Any one who takes the trouble to read
these early accounts will be struck by the amazing manner
in which the Loyalists are treated. They are either
ignored entirely or else they are painted in the blackest

So vile a crew the world ne'er saw before,
And grant, ye pitying heavens, it may no more!
If ghosts from hell infest our poisoned air,
Those ghosts have entered these base bodies here.

So sang a ballad-monger of the Revolution; and the opinion
which he voiced persisted after him. According to some
American historians of the first half of the nineteenth
century, the Loyalists were a comparatively insignificant
class of vicious criminals, and the people of the American
colonies were all but unanimous in their armed opposition
to the British government.

Within recent years, however, there has been a change.
American historians of a new school have revised the
history of the Revolution, and a tardy reparation has
been made to the memory of the Tories of that day. Tyler,
Van Tyne, Flick, and other writers have all made the
_amende honorable_ on behalf of their countrymen. Indeed,
some of these writers, in their anxiety to stand straight,
have leaned backwards; and by no one perhaps will the
ultra-Tory view of the Revolution be found so clearly
expressed as by them. At the same time the history of
the Revolution has been rewritten by some English
historians; and we have a writer like Lecky declaring
that the American Revolution 'was the work of an energetic
minority, who succeeded in committing an undecided and
fluctuating majority to courses for which they had little
love, and leading them step by step to a position from
which it was impossible to recede.'

Thus, in the United States and in England, the pendulum
has swung from one extreme to the other. In Canada it
has remained stationary. There, in the country where they
settled, the United Empire Loyalists are still regarded
with an uncritical veneration which has in it something
of the spirit of primitive ancestor-worship. The interest
which Canadians have taken in the Loyalists has been
either patriotic or genealogical; and few attempts have
been made to tell their story in the cold light of
impartial history, or to estimate the results which have
flowed from their migration. Yet such an attempt is worth
while making--an attempt to do the United Empire Loyalists
the honour of painting them as they were, and of describing
the profound and far-reaching influences which they
exerted on the history of both Canada and the United

In the history of the United States the exodus of the
Loyalists is an event comparable only to the expulsion
of the Huguenots from France after the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes. The Loyalists, whatever their social
status (and they were not all aristocrats), represented
the conservative and moderate element in the revolting
states; and their removal, whether by banishment or
disfranchisement, meant the elimination of a very wholesome
element in the body politic. To this were due in part no
doubt many of the early errors of the republic in finance,
diplomacy, and politics. At the same time it was a
circumstance which must have hastened by many years the
triumph of democracy. In the tenure of land, for example,
the emigration produced a revolution. The confiscated
estates of the great Tory landowners were in most cases
cut up into small lots and sold to the common people;
and thus the process of levelling and making more democratic
the whole social structure was accelerated.

On the Canadian body politic the impress of the Loyalist
migration is so deep that it would be difficult to
overestimate it. It is no exaggeration to say that the
United Empire Loyalists changed the course of the current
of Canadian history. Before 1783 the clearest observers
saw no future before Canada but that of a French colony
under the British crown. 'Barring a catastrophe shocking
to think of,' wrote Sir Guy Carleton in 1767, 'this
country must, to the end of time, be peopled by the
Canadian race, who have already taken such firm root,
and got to so great a height, that any new stock
transplanted will be totally hid, except in the towns of
Quebec and Montreal.' Just how discerning this prophecy
was may be judged from the fact that even to-day it holds
true with regard to the districts that were settled at
the time it was written. What rendered it void was the
unexpected influx of the refugees of the Revolution. The
effect of this immigration was to create two new
English-speaking provinces, New Brunswick and Upper
Canada, and to strengthen the English element in two
other provinces, Lower Canada and Nova Scotia, so that
ultimately the French population in Canada was outnumbered
by the English population surrounding it. Nor should the
character of this English immigration escape notice. It
was not only English; but it was also filled with a
passionate loyalty to the British crown. This fact serves
to explain a great deal in later Canadian history. Before
1783 the continuance of Canada in the British Empire was
by no means assured: after 1783 the Imperial tie was

Nor can there be any doubt that the coming of the Loyalists
hastened the advent of free institutions. It was the
settlement of Upper Canada that rendered the Quebec Act
of 1774 obsolete, and made necessary the Constitutional
Act of 1791, which granted to the Canadas representative
assemblies. The Loyalists were Tories and Imperialists;
but, in the colonies from which they came, they had been
accustomed to a very advanced type of democratic government,
and it was not to be expected that they would quietly
reconcile themselves in their new home to the arbitrary
system of the Quebec Act. The French Canadians, on the
other hand, had not been accustomed to representative
institutions, and did not desire them. But when Upper
Canada was granted an assembly, it was impossible not to
grant an assembly to Lower Canada too; and so Canada was
started on that road of constitutional development which
has brought her to her present position as a self-governing
unit in the British Empire.



It was a remark of John Fiske that the American Revolution
was merely a phase of English party politics in the
eighteenth century. In this view there is undoubtedly an
element of truth. The Revolution was a struggle within
the British Empire, in which were aligned on one side
the American Whigs supported by the English Whigs, and
on the other side the English Tories supported by the
American Tories. The leaders of the Whig party in England,
Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke, Colonel Barre, the great
Chatham himself, all championed the cause of the American
revolutionists in the English parliament. There were many
cases of Whig officers in the English army who refused
to serve against the rebels in America. General Richard
Montgomery, who led the revolutionists in their attack
on Quebec in 1775-76, furnishes the case of an English
officer who, having resigned his commission, came to
America and, on the outbreak of the rebellion, took
service in the rebel forces. On the other hand there were
thousands of American Tories who took service under the
king's banner; and some of the severest defeats which
the rebel forces suffered were encountered at their hands.

It would be a mistake, however, to identify too closely
the parties in England with the parties in America. The
old Tory party in England was very different from the
so-called Tory party in America. The term Tory in America
was, as a matter of fact, an epithet of derision applied
by the revolutionists to all who opposed them. The
opponents of the revolutionists called themselves not
Tories, but Loyalists or 'friends of government.'

There were, it is true, among the Loyalists not a few
who held language that smacked of Toryism. Among the
Loyalist pamphleteers there were those who preached the
doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance. Thus
the Rev. Jonathan Boucher, a clergyman of Virginia, wrote:

Having then, my brethren, thus long been tossed to
and fro in a wearisome circle of uncertain traditions,
or in speculations and projects still more uncertain,
concerning government, what better can you do than,
following the apostle's advice, 'to submit yourselves
to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether
it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors, as
unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of
evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well?
For, so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye
may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as
free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of
maliciousness, but as servants of God. Honour all men:
love the brotherhood: fear God: honour the king.'

Jonathan Boucher subscribed to the doctrine of the divine
right of kings:

Copying after the fair model of heaven itself, wherein
there was government even among the angels, the families
of the earth were subjected to rulers, at first set
over them by God. 'For there is no power, but of God:
the powers that be are ordained of God.' The first
father was the first king... Hence it is, that our
church, in perfect conformity with the doctrine here
inculcated, in her explication of the fifth commandment,
from the obedience due to parents, wisely derives the
congenial duty of 'honouring the king, and all that
are put in authority under him.'

Dr Myles Cooper, the president of King's College, took
up similar ground. God, he said, established the laws of
government, ordained the British power, and commanded
all to obey authority. 'The laws of heaven and earth'
forbade rebellion. To threaten open disrespect of government
was 'an unpardonable crime.' 'The principles of submission
and obedience to lawful authority' were religious duties.

But even Jonathan Boucher and Myles Cooper did not apply
these doctrines without reserve. They both upheld the
sacred right of petition and remonstrance. 'It is your
duty,' wrote Boucher, 'to instruct your members to take
all the constitutional means in their power to obtain
redress.' Both he and Cooper deplored the policy of the
British ministry. Cooper declared the Stamp Act to be
contrary to American rights; he approved of the opposition
to the duties on the enumerated articles; and he was
inclined to think the duty on tea 'dangerous to
constitutional liberty.'

It may be confidently asserted that the great majority
of the American Loyalists, in fact, did not approve of
the course pursued by the British government between 1765
and 1774. They did not deny its legality; but they doubted
as a rule either its wisdom or its justice. Thomas
Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusetts, one of the
most famous and most hated of the Loyalists, went to
England, if we are to believe his private letters, with
the secret ambition of obtaining the repeal of the act
which closed Boston harbour. Joseph Galloway, another of
the Loyalist leaders, and the author of the last serious
attempt at conciliation, actually sat in the first
Continental Congress, which was called with the object
of obtaining the redress of what Galloway himself described
as 'the grievances justly complained of.' Still more
instructive is the case of Daniel Dulany of Maryland.
Dulany, one of the most distinguished lawyers of his
time, was after the Declaration of Independence denounced
as a Tory; his property was confiscated, and the safety
of his person imperilled. Yet at the beginning of the
Revolution he had been found in the ranks of the Whig
pamphleteers; and no more damaging attack was ever made
on the policy of the British government than that contained
in his _Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes
in the British Colonies_. When the elder Pitt attacked
the Stamp Act in the House of Commons in January 1766,
he borrowed most of his argument from this pamphlet,
which had appeared three months before.

This difficulty which many of the Loyalists felt with
regard to the justice of the position taken up by the
British government greatly weakened the hands of the
Loyalist party in the early stages of the Revolution. It
was only as the Revolution gained momentum that the party
grew in vigour and numbers. A variety of factors contributed
to this result. In the first place there were the excesses
of the revolutionary mob. When the mob took to sacking
private houses, driving clergymen out of their pulpits,
and tarring and feathering respectable citizens, there
were doubtless many law-abiding people who became Tories
in spite of themselves. Later on, the methods of the
inquisitorial communities possibly made Tories out of
some who were the victims of their attentions. The outbreak
of armed rebellion must have shocked many into a reactionary
attitude. It was of these that a Whig satirist wrote,

This word, Rebellion, hath frozen them up,
Like fish in a pond.

But the event which brought the greatest reinforcement
to the Loyalist ranks was the Declaration of Independence.
Six months before the Declaration of Independence was
passed by the Continental Congress, the Whig leaders had
been almost unanimous in repudiating any intention of
severing the connection between the mother country and
the colonies. Benjamin Franklin told Lord Chatham that
he had never heard in America one word in favour of
independence 'from any person, drunk or sober.' Jonathan
Boucher says that Washington told him in the summer of
1775 'that if ever I heard of his joining in any such
measures, I had his leave to set him down for everything
wicked.' As late as Christmas Day 1775 the revolutionary
congress of New Hampshire officially proclaimed their
disavowal of any purpose 'aiming at independence.'
Instances such as these could be reproduced indefinitely.
When, therefore, the Whig leaders in the summer of 1776
made their right-about-face with regard to independence,
it is not surprising that some of their followers fell
away from them. Among these were many who were heartily
opposed to the measures of the British government, and
who had even approved of the policy of armed rebellion.
but who could not forget that they were born British
subjects. They drank to the toast, 'My country, may she
always be right; but right or wrong, my country.'

Other motives influenced the growth of the Loyalist party.
There were those who opposed the Revolution because they
were dependent on government for their livelihood, royal
office-holders and Anglican clergymen for instance. There
were those who were Loyalists because they thought they
had picked the winning side, such as the man who candidly
wrote from New Brunswick in 1788, 'I have made one great
mistake in politics, for which reason I never intend to
make so great a blunder again.' Many espoused the cause
because they were natives of the British Isles, and had
not become thoroughly saturated with American ideas: of
the claimants for compensation before the Royal
Commissioners after the war almost two-thirds were persons
who had been born in England, Scotland, or Ireland. In
some of the colonies the struggle between Whig and Tory
followed older party lines: this was especially true in
New York, where the Livingston or Presbyterian party
became Whig and the De Lancey or Episcopalian party Tory.
Curiously enough the cleavage in many places followed
religious lines. The members of the Church of England
were in the main Loyalists; the Presbyterians were in
the main revolutionists. The revolutionist cause was
often strongest in those colonies, such as Connecticut,
where the Church of England was weakest. But the division
was far from being a strict one. There were even members
of the Church of England in the Boston Tea Party; and
there were Presbyterians among the exiles who went to
Canada and Nova Scotia. The Revolution was not in any
sense a religious war; but religious differences contributed
to embitter the conflict, and doubtless made Whigs or
Tories of people who had no other interest at stake.

It is commonly supposed that the Loyalists drew their
strength from the upper classes in the colonies, while
the revolutionists drew theirs from the proletariat.
There is just enough truth in this to make it misleading.
It is true that among the official classes and the large
landowners, among the clergymen, lawyers, and physicians,
the majority were Loyalists; and it is true that the mob
was everywhere revolutionist. But it cannot be said that
the Revolution was in any sense a war of social classes.
In it father was arrayed against son and brother against
brother. Benjamin Franklin was a Whig; his son, Sir
William Franklin, was a Tory. In the valley of the
Susquehanna the Tory Colonel John Butler, of Butler's
Rangers, found himself confronted by his Whig cousins,
Colonel William Butler and Colonel Zeb Butler. George
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, were not inferior
in social status to Sir William Johnson, Thomas Hutchinson,
and Joseph Galloway. And, on the other hand, there were
no humbler peasants in the revolutionary ranks than some
of the Loyalist farmers who migrated to Upper Canada in
1783. All that can be said is that the Loyalists were
most numerous among those classes which had most to lose
by the change, and least numerous among those classes
which had least to lose.

Much labour has been spent on the problem of the numbers
of the Loyalists. No means of numbering political opinions
was resorted to at the time of the Revolution, so that
satisfactory statistics are not available. There was,
moreover, throughout the contest a good deal of going
and coming between the Whig and Tory camps, which makes
an estimate still more difficult. 'I have been struck,'
wrote Lorenzo Sabine, 'in the course of my investigations,
with the absence of fixed principles, not only among
people in the common walks of life, but in many of the
prominent personages of the day.' Alexander Hamilton,
for instance, deserted from the Tories to the Whigs;
Benedict Arnold deserted from the Whigs to the Tories.

The Loyalists themselves always maintained that they
constituted an actual majority in the Thirteen Colonies.
In 1779 they professed to have more troops in the field
than the Continental Congress. These statements were no
doubt exaggerations. The fact is that the strength of
the Loyalists was very unevenly distributed. In the colony
of New York they may well have been in the majority. They
were strong also in Pennsylvania, so strong that an
officer of the revolutionary army described that colony
as 'the enemies' country.' 'New York and Pennsylvania,'
wrote John Adams years afterwards, 'were so nearly
divided--if their propensity was not against us--that if
New England on one side and Virginia on the other had
not kept them in awe, they would have joined the British.'
In Georgia the Loyalists were in so large a majority that
in 1781 that colony would probably have detached itself
from the revolutionary movement had it not been for the
surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. On the other hand,
in the New England colonies the Loyalists were a small
minority, strongest perhaps in Connecticut, and yet even
there predominant only in one or two towns.

There were in the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the
Revolution in the neighbourhood of three million people.
Of these it is probable that at least one million were
Loyalists. This estimate is supported by the opinion of
John Adams, who was well qualified to form a judgment,
and whose Whig sympathies were not likely to incline him
to exaggerate. He gave it as his opinion more than once
that about one-third of the people of the Thirteen Colonies
had been opposed to the measures of the Revolution in
all its stages. This estimate he once mentioned in a
letter to Thomas McKean, chief justice of Pennsylvania,
who had signed the Declaration of Independence, and had
been a member of every Continental Congress from that of
1765 to the close of the Revolution; and McKean replied,
'You say that ... about a third of the people of the
colonies were against the Revolution. It required much
reflection before I could fix my opinion on this subject;
but on mature deliberation I conclude you are right, and
that more than a third of influential characters were
against it.'



In the autumn of the year 1779 an English poet, writing
in the seclusion of his garden at Olney, paid his respects
to the American revolutionists in the following lines:

Yon roaring boys, who rave and fight
On t'other side the Atlantic,
I always held them in the right,
But most so when most frantic.

When lawless mobs insult the court,
That man shall be my toast,
If breaking windows be the sport,
Who bravely breaks the most.

But oh! for him my fancy culls
The choicest flowers she bears,
Who constitutionally pulls
Your house about your ears.

When William Cowper wrote these lines, his sources of
information with regard to affairs in America were probably
slight; but had he been writing at the seat of war he
could not have touched off the treatment of the Loyalists
by the revolutionists with more effective irony.

There were two kinds of persecution to which the Loyalists
were subjected--that which was perpetrated by 'lawless
mobs,' and that which was carried out 'constitutionally.'

It was at the hands of the mob that the Loyalists first
suffered persecution. Probably the worst of the
revolutionary mobs was that which paraded the streets of
Boston. In 1765, at the time of the Stamp Act agitation,
large crowds in Boston attacked and destroyed the
magnificent houses of Andrew Oliver and Thomas Hutchinson.
They broke down the doors with broadaxes, destroyed the
furniture, stole the money and jewels, scattered the
books and papers, and, having drunk the wines in the
cellar, proceeded to the dismantling of the roof and
walls. The owners of the houses barely escaped with their
lives. In 1768 the same mob wantonly attacked the British
troops in Boston, and so precipitated what American
historians used to term 'the Boston Massacre'; and in
1773 the famous band of 'Boston Indians' threw the tea
into Boston harbour.

In other places the excesses of the mob were nearly as
great. In New York they were active in destroying
printing-presses from which had issued Tory pamphlets,
in breaking windows of private houses, in stealing live
stock and personal effects, and in destroying property.
A favourite pastime was tarring and feathering 'obnoxious
Tories.' This consisted in stripping the victim naked,
smearing him with a coat of tar and feathers, and parading
him about the streets in a cart for the contemplation of
his neighbours. Another amusement was making Tories ride
the rail. This consisted in putting the 'unhappy victims
upon sharp rails with one leg on each side; each rail
was carried upon the shoulders of two tall men, with a
man on each side to keep the poor wretch straight and
fixed in his seat.'

Even clergymen were not free from the attentions of the
mob. The Rev. Jonathan Boucher tells us that he was
compelled to preach with loaded pistols placed on the
pulpit cushions beside him. On one occasion he was
prevented from entering the pulpit by two hundred armed
men, whose leader warned him not to attempt to preach.
'I returned for answer,' says Boucher, 'that there was
but one way by which they could keep me out of it, and
that was by taking away my life. At the proper time, with
my sermon in one hand and a loaded pistol in the other,
like Nehemiah I prepared to ascend my pulpit, when one
of my friends, Mr David Crauford, having got behind me,
threw his arms round me and held me fast. He assured me
that he had heard the most positive orders given to twenty
men picked out for the purpose, to fire on me the moment
I got into the pulpit.'

That the practices of the mob were not frowned upon by
the revolutionary leaders, there is good reason for
believing. The provincial Congress of New York, in December
1776, went so far as to order the committee of public
safety to secure all the pitch and tar 'necessary for
the public use and public safety.' Even Washington seems
to have approved of persecution of the Tories by the mob.
In 1776 General Putnam, meeting a procession of the Sons
of Liberty who were parading a number of Tories on rails
up and down the street's of New York, attempted to put
a stop to the barbarous proceeding. Washington, on hearing
of this, administered a reprimand to Putnam, declaring
'that to discourage such proceedings was to injure the
cause of liberty in which they were engaged, and that
nobody would attempt it but an enemy to his country.'

Very early in the Revolution the Whigs began to organize.
They first formed themselves into local associations,
similar to the Puritan associations in the Great Rebellion
in England, and announced that they would 'hold all those
persons inimical to the liberties of the colonies who
shall refuse to subscribe this association.' In connection
with these associations there sprang up local committees.

From garrets, cellars, rushing through the street,
The new-born statesmen in committee meet,

sang a Loyalist verse-writer. Very soon there was completed
an organization, stretching from the Continental Congress
and the provincial congresses at one end down to the
pettiest parish committees on the other, which was destined
to prove a most effective engine for stamping out loyalism,
and which was to contribute in no small degree to the
success of the Revolution.

Though the action of the mob never entirely disappeared,
the persecution of the Tories was taken over, as soon as
the Revolution got under way, by this semi-official
organization. What usually happened was that the Continental
or provincial Congress laid down the general policy to
be followed, and the local committees carried it out in
detail. Thus, when early in 1776 the Continental Congress
recommended the disarming of the Tories, it was the local
committees which carried the recommendation into effect.
During this early period the conduct of the revolutionary
authorities was remarkably moderate. They arrested the
Tories, tried them, held them at bail for their good
behaviour, quarantined them in their houses, exiled them
to other districts, but only in extreme cases did they
imprison them. There was, of course, a good deal of
hardship entailed on the Tories; and occasionally the
agents of the revolutionary committees acted without
authority, as when Colonel Dayton, who was sent to arrest
Sir John Johnson at his home in the Mohawk valley, sacked
Johnson Hall and carried off Lady Johnson a prisoner, on
finding that Sir John Johnson had escaped to Canada with
many of his Highland retainers. But, as a rule, in this
early period, the measures taken both by the revolutionary
committees and by the army officers were easily defensible
on the ground of military necessity.

But with the Declaration of Independence a new order of
things was inaugurated. That measure revolutionized the
political situation. With the severance of the Imperial
tie, loyalism became tantamount to treason to the state;
and Loyalists laid themselves open to all the penalties
of treason. The Declaration of Independence was followed
by the test laws. These laws compelled every one to abjure
allegiance to the British crown, and swear allegiance to
the state in which he resided. A record was kept of those
who took the oath, and to them were given certificates
without which no traveller was safe from arrest. Those
who failed to take the oath became liable to imprisonment,
confiscation of property, banishment, and even death.

Even among the Whigs there was a good deal of opposition
to the test laws. Peter Van Schaak, a moderate Whig of
New York state, so strongly disapproved of the test laws
that he seceded from the revolutionary party. 'Had you,'
he wrote, 'at the beginning of the war, permitted every
one differing in sentiment from you, to take the other
side, or at least to have removed out of the State, with
their property ... it would have been a conduct magnanimous
and just. But, now, after restraining those persons from
removing; punishing them, if, in the attempt, they were
apprehended; selling their estates if they escaped;
compelling them to the duties of subjects under heavy
penalties; deriving aid from them in the prosecution of
the war ... now to compel them to take an oath is an act
of severity.'

Of course, the test laws were not rigidly or universally
enforced. In Pennsylvania only a small proportion of the
population took the oath. In New York, out of one thousand
Tories arrested for failure to take the oath, six hundred
were allowed to go on bail, and the rest were merely
acquitted or imprisoned. On the whole the American
revolutionists were not bloody-minded men; they inaugurated
no September Massacres, no Reign of Terror, no
_dragonnades_. There was a distinct aversion among them
to applying the death penalty. 'We shall have many unhappy
persons to take their trials for their life next Oyer
court,' wrote a North Carolina patriot. 'Law should be
strictly adhered to, severity exercised, but the doors
of mercy should never be shut.'

The test laws, nevertheless, and the other discriminating
laws passed against the Loyalists provided the excuse
for a great deal of barbarism and ruthlessness. In
Pennsylvania bills of attainder were passed against no
fewer than four hundred and ninety persons. The property
of nearly all these persons was confiscated, and several
of them were put to death. A detailed account has come
down to us of the hanging of two Loyalists of Philadelphia
named Roberts and Carlisle. These two men had shown great
zeal for the king's cause when the British Army was in
Philadelphia. After Philadelphia was evacuated, they were
seized by the Whigs, tried, and condemned to be hanged.
Roberts's wife and children went before Congress and on
their knees begged for mercy; but in vain. One November
morning of 1778 the two men were marched to the gallows,
with halters round their necks. At the gallows, wrote a
spectator, Roberts's behaviour 'did honour to human

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene

Addressing the spectators, he told them that his conscience
acquitted him of guilt; that he suffered for doing his
duty to his sovereign; and that his blood would one day
be required at their hands. Then he turned to his children
and charged them to remember the principles for which he
died, and to adhere to them while they had breath.

But if these judicial murders were few and far between,
in other respects the revolutionists showed the Tories
little mercy. Both those who remained in the country and
those who fled from it were subjected to an attack on
their personal fortunes which gradually impoverished
them. This was carried on at first by a nibbling system
of fines and special taxation. Loyalists were fined for
evading military service, for the hire of substitutes,
for any manifestation of loyalty. They were subjected to
double and treble taxes; and in New York and South Carolina
they had to make good all robberies committed in their
counties. Then the revolutionary leaders turned to the
expedient of confiscation. From the very first some of
the patriots, without doubt, had an eye on Loyalist
property; and when the coffers of the Continental Congress
had been emptied, the idea gained ground that the Revolution
might be financed by the confiscation of Loyalist estates.
Late in 1777 the plan was embodied in a resolution of
the Continental Congress, and the states were recommended
to invest the proceeds in continental loan certificates.
The idea proved very popular; and in spite of a great
deal of corruption in connection with the sale and transfer
of the land, large sums found their way as a result into
the state exchequers. In New York alone over 3,600,000
pounds worth of property was acquired by the state.

The Tory who refused to take the oath of allegiance became
in fact an outlaw. He did not have in the courts of law
even the rights of a foreigner. If his neighbours owed
him money, he had no legal redress. He might be assaulted,
insulted, blackmailed, or slandered, yet the law granted
him no remedy. No relative or friend could leave an orphan
child to his guardianship. He could be the executor or
administrator of no man's estate. He could neither buy
land nor transfer it to another. If he was a lawyer, he
was denied the right to practise his profession.

This strict legal view of the status of the Loyalist may
not have been always and everywhere enforced. There were
Loyalists, such as the Rev. Mather Byles of Boston, who
refused to be molested, and who survived the Revolution
unharmed. But when all allowance is made for these
exceptions, it is not difficult to understand how the
great majority of avowed Tories came to take refuge within
the British lines, to enlist under the British flag, and,
when the Revolution had proved successful, to leave their
homes for ever and begin life anew amid other surroundings.
The persecution to which they were subjected left them
no alternative.



It has been charged against the Loyalists, and the charge
cannot be denied, that at the beginning of the Revolution
they lacked initiative, and were slow to organize and
defend themselves. It was not, in fact, until 1776 that
Loyalist regiments began to be formed on an extensive
scale. There were several reasons why this was so. In
the first place a great many of the Loyalists, as has
been pointed out, were not at the outset in complete
sympathy with the policy of the British government; and
those who might have been willing to take up arms were
very early disarmed and intimidated by the energy of the
revolutionary authorities. In the second place that very
conservatism which made the Loyalists draw back from
revolution hindered them from taking arms until the king
gave them commissions and provided facilities for military
organization. And there is no fact better attested in
the history of the Revolution than the failure of the
British authorities to understand until it was too late
the great advantages to be derived from the employment
of Loyalist levies. The truth is that the British officers
did not think much more highly of the Loyalists than they
did of the rebels. For both they had the Briton's contempt
for the colonial, and the professional soldier's contempt
for the armed civilian.

Had more use been made of the Tories, the military history
of the Revolution might have been very different. They
understood the conditions of warfare in the New World
much better than the British regulars or the German
mercenaries. Had the advice of prominent Loyalists been
accepted by the British commander at the battle of Bunker's
Hill, it is highly probable that there would have been
none of that carnage in the British ranks which made of
the victory a virtual defeat. It was said that Burgoyne's
early successes were largely due to the skill with which
he used his Loyalist auxiliaries. And in the latter part
of the war, it must be confessed that the successes of
the Loyalist troops far outshone those of the British
regulars. In the Carolinas Tarleton's Loyal Cavalry swept
everything before them, until their defeat at the Cowpens
by Daniel Morgan. In southern New York Governor Tryon's
levies carried fire and sword up the Hudson, into 'Indigo
Connecticut,' and over into New Jersey. Along the northern
frontier, the Loyalist forces commanded by Sir John
Johnson and Colonel Butler made repeated incursions into
the Mohawk, Schoharie, and Wyoming valleys and, in each
case, after leaving a trail of desolation behind them,
they withdrew to the Canadian border in good order. The
trouble was that, owing to the stupidity and incapacity
of Lord George Germain, the British minister who was more
than any other man responsible for the misconduct of the
American War, these expeditions were not made part of a
properly concerted plan; and so they sank into the category
of isolated raids.

From the point of view of Canadian history, the most
interesting of these expeditions were those conducted by
Sir John Johnson and Colonel Butler. They were carried
on with the Canadian border as their base-line. It was
by the men who were engaged in them that Upper Canada
was at first largely settled; and for a century and a
quarter there have been levelled against these men by
American and even by English writers charges of barbarism
and inhumanity about which Canadians in particular are
interested to know the truth.

Most of Johnson's and Butler's men came from central or
northern New York. To explain how this came about it is
necessary to make an excursion into previous history. In
1738 there had come out to America a young Irishman of
good family named William Johnson. The famous naval hero,
Sir Peter Warren, who was an uncle of Johnson, had large
tracts of land in the Mohawk valley, in northern New
York. These estates he employed his nephew in administering;
and, when he died, he bequeathed them to him. In the
meantime William Johnson had begun to improve his
opportunities. He had built up a prosperous trade with
the Indians; he had learned their language and studied
their ways; and he had gained such an ascendancy over
them that he came to be known as 'the Indian-tamer,' and
was appointed the British superintendent-general for
Indian Affairs. In the Seven Years' War he served with
great distinction against the French. He defeated Baron
Dieskau at Lake George in 1755, and he captured Niagara
in 1759; for the first of these services he was created
a baronet, and received a pension of 5,000 pounds a year.
During his later years he lived at his house, Johnson
Hall, on the Mohawk river; and he died in 1774, on the
eve of the American Revolution, leaving his title and
his vast estates to his only son, Sir John.

Just before his death Sir William Johnson had interested
himself in schemes for the colonization of his lands. In
these he was remarkably successful. He secured in the
main two classes of immigrants, Germans and Scottish
Highlanders. Of the Highlanders he must have induced more
than one thousand to emigrate from Scotland, some of them
as late as 1773. Many of them had been Jacobites; some
of them had seen service at Culloden Moor; and one of
them, Alexander Macdonell, whose son subsequently sat in
the first legislature of Upper Canada, had been on Bonnie
Prince Charlie's personal staff. These men had no love
for the Hanoverians; but their loyalty to their new
chieftain, and their lack of sympathy with American
ideals, kept them at the time of the Revolution true
almost without exception to the British cause. King George
had no more faithful allies in the New World than these
rebels of the '45.

They were the first of the Loyalists to arm and organize
themselves. In the summer of 1775 Colonel Allan Maclean,
a Scottish officer in the English army, aided by Colonel
Guy Johnson, a brother-in-law of Sir John Johnson, raised
a regiment in the Mohawk valley known as the Royal Highland
Emigrants, which he took to Canada, and which did good
service against the American invaders under Montgomery
in the autumn of the same year. In the spring of 1776
Sir John Johnson received word that the revolutionary
authorities had determined on his arrest, and he was
compelled to flee from Johnson Hall to Canada. With him
he took three hundred of his Scottish dependants; and he
was followed by the Mohawk Indians under their famous
chief, Joseph Brant. In Canada Johnson received a colonel's
commission to raise two Loyalist battalions of five
hundred men each, to be known as the King's Royal Regiment
of New York. The full complement was soon made up from
the numbers of Loyalists who flocked across the border
from other counties of northern New York; and Sir John
Johnson's 'Royal Greens,' as they were commonly called,
were in the thick of nearly every border foray from that
time until the end of the war. It was by these men that
the north shore of the St Lawrence river, between Montreal
and Kingston, was mainly settled. As the tide of refugees
swelled, other regiments were formed. Colonel John Butler,
one of Sir John Johnson's right-hand men, organized his
Loyal Rangers, a body of irregular troops who adopted,
with modifications, the Indian method of warfare. It was
against this corps that some of the most serious charges
of brutality and bloodthirstiness were made by American
historians; and it was by this corps that the Niagara
district of Upper Canada was settled after the war.

It is not possible here to give more than a brief sketch
of the operations of these troops. In 1777 they formed
an important part of the forces with which General
Burgoyne, by way of Lake Champlain, and Colonel St Leger,
by way of Oswego, attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach
Albany. An offshoot of the first battalion of the 'Royal
Greens,' known as Jessup's Corps, was with Burgoyne at
Saratoga; and the rest of the regiment was with St Leger,
under the command of Sir John Johnson himself. The
ambuscade of Oriskany, where Sir John Johnson's men first
met their Whig neighbours and relatives, who were defending
Fort Stanwix, was one of the bloodiest battles of the
war. Its 'fratricidal butchery' denuded the Mohawk valley
of most of its male population; and it was said that if
Tryon county 'smiled again during the war, it smiled
through tears.' The battle was inconclusive, so bitterly
was it contested; but it was successful in stemming the
advance of St Leger's forces.

The next year (1778) there was an outbreak of sporadic
raiding all along the border. Alexander Macdonell, the
former aide-de-camp of Bonnie Prince Charlie, fell with
three hundred Loyalists on the Dutch settlements of the
Schoharie valley and laid them waste. Macdonell's ideas
of border warfare were derived from his Highland ancestors;
and, as he expected no quarter, he gave none. Colonel
Butler, with his Rangers and a party of Indians, descended
into the valley of Wyoming, which was a sort of debatable
ground between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and carried
fire and sword through the settlements there. This raid
was commemorated by Thomas Campbell in a most unhistorical
poem entitled _Gertrude of Wyoming_:

On Susquehana's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruined wall
And roofless homes a sad remembrance bring
Of what thy gentle people did befall.

Later in the year Walter Butler, the son of Colonel John
Butler, and Joseph Brant, with a party of Loyalists and
Mohawks, made a similar inroad on Cherry Valley, south
of Springfield in the state of New York. On this occasion
Brant's Indians got beyond control, and more than fifty
defenceless old men, women, and children were slaughtered
in cold blood.

The Americans took their revenge the following year. A
large force under General Sullivan invaded the settlements
of the Six Nations Indians in the Chemung and Genesee
valleys, and exacted an eye for an eye and a tooth for
a tooth. They burned the villages, destroyed the crops,
and turned the helpless women and children out to face
the coming winter. Most of the Indians during the winter
of 1779-80 were dependent on the mercy of the British

This kind of warfare tends to perpetuate itself
indefinitely. In 1780 the Loyalists and Indians returned
to the attack. In May Sir John Johnson with his 'Royal
Greens' made a descent into the Mohawk valley, fell upon
his 'rebellious birthplace,' and carried off rich booty
and many prisoners. In the early autumn, with a force
composed of his own regiment, two hundred of Butler's
Rangers, and some regulars and Indians, he crossed over
to the Schoharie valley, devastated it, and then returned
to the Mohawk valley, where he completed the work of the
previous spring. All attempts to crush him failed. At
the battle of Fox's Mills he escaped defeat or capture
by the American forces under General Van Rensselaer
largely on account of the dense smoke with which the air
was filled from the burning of barns and villages.

How far the Loyalists under Johnson and Butler were open
to the charges of inhumanity and barbarism so often
levelled against them, is difficult to determine. The
charges are based almost wholly on unsubstantial tradition.
The greater part of the excesses complained of, it is
safe to say, were perpetrated by the Indians; and Sir
John Johnson and Colonel Butler can no more be blamed
for the excesses of the Indians at Cherry Valley than
Montcalm can be blamed for their excesses at Fort William
Henry. It was unfortunate that the military opinion of
that day regarded the use of savages as necessary, and
no one deplored this use more than men like Haldimand
and Carleton; but Washington and the Continental Congress
were as ready to receive the aid of the Indians as were
the British. The difficulty of the Americans was that
most of the Indians were on the other side.

That there were, however, atrocities committed by the
Loyalists cannot be doubted. Sir John Johnson himself
told the revolutionists that 'their Tory neighbours, and
not himself, were blameable for those acts.' There are
well-authenticated cases of atrocities committed by
Alexander Macdonell: in 1781 he ordered his men to shoot
down a prisoner taken near Johnstown, and when the men
bungled their task, Macdonell cut the prisoner down with
his broadsword. When Colonel Butler returned from Cherry
Valley, Sir Frederick Haldimand refused to see him, and
wrote to him that 'such indiscriminate vengeance taken
even upon the treacherous and cruel enemy they are engaged
against is useless and disreputable to themselves, as it
is contrary to the disposition and maxims of their King
whose cause they are fighting.'

But rumour exaggerated whatever atrocities there were.
For many years the Americans believed that the Tories
had lifted scalps like the Indians; and later, when the
Americans captured York in 1813, they found what they
regarded as a signal proof of this barbarous practice
among the Loyalists, in the speaker's wig, which was
hanging beside the chair in the legislative chamber!
There may have been members of Butler's Rangers who
borrowed from the Indians this hideous custom, just as
there were American frontiersmen who were guilty of it;
but it must not be imagined that it was a common practice
on either side. Except at Cherry Valley, there is no
proof that any violence was done by the Loyalists to
women and children. On his return from Wyoming, Colonel
Butler reported: 'I can with truth inform you that in
the destruction of this settlement not a single person
has been hurt of the inhabitants, but such as were armed;
to those indeed the Indians gave no quarter.'

In defence of the Loyalists, two considerations may be
urged. In the first place, it must be remembered that
they were men who had been evicted from their homes, and
whose property had been confiscated. They had been placed
under the ban of the law: the payment of their debts had
been denied them; and they had been forbidden to return
to their native land under penalty of death without
benefit of clergy. They had been imprisoned, fined,
subjected to special taxation; their families had been
maltreated, and were in many cases still in the hands of
their enemies. They would have been hardly human had they
waged a mimic warfare. In the second place, their
depredations were of great value from a military point
of view. Not only did they prevent thousands of militiamen
from joining the Continental army, but they seriously
threatened the sources of Washington's food supply. The
valleys which they ravaged were the granary of the
revolutionary forces. In 1780 Sir John Johnson destroyed
in the Schoharie valley alone no less than eighty thousand
bushels of grain; and this loss, as Washington wrote to
the president of Congress, 'threatened alarming
consequences.' That this work of destruction was agreeable
to the Loyalists cannot be doubted; but this fact does
not diminish its value as a military measure.



The war was brought to a virtual termination by the
surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
The definitive articles of peace were signed at Versailles
on September 3, 1783. During the two years that intervened
between these events, the lot of the Loyalists was one
of gloomy uncertainty. They found it hard to believe that
the British government would abandon them to the mercy
of their enemies; and yet the temper of the revolutionists
toward them continued such that there seemed little hope
of concession or conciliation. Success had not taught
the rebels the grace of forgiveness. At the capitulation
of Yorktown, Washington had refused to treat with the
Loyalists in Cornwallis's army on the same terms as with
the British regulars; and Cornwallis had been compelled
to smuggle his Loyalist levies out of Yorktown on the
ship that carried the news of his surrender to New York.
As late as 1782 fresh confiscation laws had been passed
in Georgia and the Carolinas; and in New York a law had
been passed cancelling all debts due to Loyalists, on
condition that one-fortieth of the debt was paid into
the state treasury. These were straws which showed the
way the wind was blowing.

In the negotiations leading up to the Peace of Versailles
there were no clauses so long and bitterly discussed as
those relating to the Loyalists. The British commissioners
stood out at first for the principle of complete amnesty
to them and restitution of all they had lost; and it is
noteworthy that the French minister added his plea to
theirs. But Benjamin Franklin and his colleagues refused
to agree to this formula. They took the ground that they,
as the representatives merely of the Continental Congress,
had not the right to bind the individual states in such
a matter. The argument was a quibble. Their real reason
was that they were well aware that public opinion in
America would not support them in such a concession. A
few enlightened men in America, such as John Adams,
favoured a policy of compensation to the Loyalists, 'how
little soever they deserve it, nay, how much soever they
deserve the contrary'; but the attitude of the great
majority of the Americans had been clearly demonstrated
by a resolution passed in the legislature of Virginia on
December 17, 1782, to the effect that all demands for
the restitution of confiscated property were wholly
inadmissible. Even some of the Loyalists had begun to
realize that a revolution which had touched property was
bound to be permanent, and that the American commissioners
could no more give back to them their confiscated lands
than Charles II was able to give back to his father's
cavaliers the estates they had lost in the Civil War.

The American commissioners agreed, finally, that no future
confiscations should take place, that imprisoned Loyalists
should be released, that no further persecutions should
be permitted, and that creditors on either side should
'meet with no lawful impediment' to the recovery of all
good debts in sterling money. But with regard to the
British demand for restitution, all they could be induced
to sign was a promise that Congress would 'earnestly
recommend to the legislatures of the respective states'
a policy of amnesty and restitution.

In making this last recommendation, it is difficult not
to convict the American commissioners of something very
like hypocrisy. There seems to be no doubt that they knew
the recommendation would not be complied with; and little
or no attempt was made by them to persuade the states to
comply with it. In after years the clause was represented
by the Americans as a mere form of words, necessary to
bring the negotiations to an end, and to save the face
of the British government. To this day it has remained,
except in one or two states, a dead letter. On the other
hand it is impossible not to convict the British
commissioners of a betrayal of the Loyalists. 'Never,'
said Lord North in the House of Commons, 'never was the
honour, the humanity, the principles, the policy of a
nation so grossly abused, as in the desertion of those
men who are now exposed to every punishment that desertion
and poverty can inflict, because they were not rebels.'
'In ancient or in modern history,' said Lord Loughborough
in the House of Lords, 'there cannot be found an instance
of so shameful a desertion of men who have sacrificed
all to their duty and to their reliance upon our faith.'
It seems probable that the British commissioners could
have obtained, on paper at any rate, better terms for
the Loyalists. It is very doubtful if the Americans would
have gone to war again over such a question. In 1783 the
position of Great Britain was relatively not weaker, but
stronger, than in 1781, when hostilities had ceased. The
attitude of the French minister, and the state of the
French finances, made it unlikely that France would lend
her support to further hostilities. And there is no doubt
that the American states were even more sorely in need
of peace than was Great Britain.

When the terms of peace were announced, great was the
bitterness among the Loyalists. One of them protested in
_Rivington's Gazette_ that 'even robbers, murderers, and
rebels are faithful to their fellows and never betray
each other,' and another sang,

'Tis an honour to serve the bravest of nations,
And be left to be hanged in their capitulations.

If the terms of the peace had been observed, the plight
of the Loyalists would have been bad enough. But as it
was, the outcome proved even worse. Every clause in the
treaty relating to the Loyalists was broken over and over
again. There was no sign of an abatement of the popular
feeling against them; indeed, in some places, the spirit
of persecution seemed to blaze out anew. One of Washington's
bitterest sayings was uttered at this time, when he said
of the Loyalists that 'he could see nothing better for
them than to commit suicide.' Loyalist creditors found
it impossible to recover their debts in America, while
they were themselves sued in the British courts by their
American creditors, and their property was still being
confiscated by the American legislatures. The legislature
of New York publicly declined to reverse its policy of
confiscation, on the ground that Great Britain had offered
no compensation for the property which her friends had
destroyed. Loyalists who ventured to return home under
the treaty of peace were insulted, tarred and feathered,
whipped, and even ham-strung. All over the country there
were formed local committees or associations with the
object of preventing renewed intercourse with the Loyalists
and the restitution of Loyalist property. 'The proceedings
of these people,' wrote Sir Guy Carleton, 'are not to be
attributed to politics alone--it serves as a pretence,
and under that cloak they act more boldly, but avarice
and a desire of rapine are the great incentives.'

The Loyalists were even denied civil rights in most of
the states. In 1784 an act was passed in New York declaring
that all who had held office under the British, or helped
to fit out vessels of war, or who had served as privates
or officers in the British Army, or who had left the
state, were guilty of 'misprision of treason,' and were
disqualified from both the franchise and public office.
There was in fact hardly a state in 1785 where the Loyalist
was allowed to vote. In New York Loyalist lawyers were
not allowed to practise until April 1786, and then only
on condition of taking an 'oath of abjuration and
allegiance.' In the same state, Loyalists were subjected
to such invidious special taxation that in 1785 one of
them confessed that 'those in New York whose estates have
not been confiscated are so loaded with taxes and other
grievances that there is nothing left but to sell out
and move into the protection of the British government.'

It was clear that something would have to be done by the
British government for the Loyalists' relief. 'It is
utterly impossible,' wrote Sir Guy Carleton to Lord North,
'to leave exposed to the rage and violence of these people
[the Americans] men of character whose only offence has
been their attachment to the King's service.' Accordingly
the British government made amends for its betrayal of
the Loyalists by taking them under its wing. It arranged
for the transportation of all those who wished to leave
the revolted states; it offered them homes in the provinces
of Nova Scotia and Quebec; it granted half-pay to the
officers after their regiments were reduced; and it
appointed a royal commission to provide compensation for
the losses sustained.



When the terms of peace became known, tens of thousands
of the Loyalists shook the dust of their ungrateful
country from their feet, never to return. Of these the
more influential part, both during and after the war,
sailed for England. The royal officials, the wealthy
merchants, landowners, and professional men; the high
military officers--these went to England to press their
claims for compensation and preferment. The humbler
element, for the most part, migrated to the remaining
British colonies in North America. About two hundred
families went to the West Indies, a few to Newfoundland,
many to what were afterwards called Upper and Lower
Canada, and a vast army to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
and Prince Edward Island.

The advantages of Nova Scotia as a field for immigration
had been known to the people of New England and New York
before the Revolutionary War had broken out. Shortly
after the Peace of 1763 parts of the Nova Scotian peninsula
and the banks of the river St John had been sparsely
settled by colonists from the south; and during the
Revolutionary War considerable sympathy with the cause
of the Continental Congress was shown by these colonists
from New England. Nova Scotia, moreover, was contiguous
to the New England colonies, and it was therefore not
surprising that after the Revolution the Loyalists should
have turned their eyes to Nova Scotia as a refuge for
their families.

The first considerable migration took place at the time
of the evacuation of Boston by General Howe in March
1776. Boston was at that time a town with a population
of about sixteen thousand inhabitants, and of these nearly
one thousand accompanied the British Army to Halifax.
'Neither Hell, Hull, nor Halifax,' said one of them, 'can
afford worse shelter than Boston.' The embarkation was
accomplished amid the most hopeless confusion. 'Nothing
can be more diverting,' wrote a Whig, 'than to see the
town in its present situation; all is uproar and confusion;
carts, trucks, wheelbarrows, handbarrows, coaches, chaises,
all driving as if the very devil was after them.' The
fleet was composed of every vessel on which hands 'could
be laid. In Benjamin Hallowell's cabin there were
thirty-seven persons--men, women, and children; servants,
masters, and mistresses--obliged to pig together on the
floor, there being no berths.' It was a miracle that the
crazy flotilla arrived safely at Halifax; but there it
arrived after tossing about for six days in the March
tempests. General Howe remained with his army at Halifax
until June. Then he set sail for New York. Some of the
Loyalists accompanied him to New York, but the greater
number took passage for England. Only a few of the company
remained in Nova Scotia.

From 1776 to 1783 small bodies of Loyalists continually
found their way to Halifax; but it was not until the
evacuation of New York by the British in 1783 that the
full tide of immigration set in. As soon as news leaked
out that the terms of peace were not likely to be
favourable, and it became evident that the animus of the
Whigs showed no signs of abating, the Loyalists gathered
in New York looked about for a country in which to begin
life anew. Most of them were too poor to think of going
to England, and the British provinces to the north seemed
the most hopeful place of resort. In 1782 several
associations were formed in New York for the purpose of
furthering the interests of those who proposed to settle
in Nova Scotia. One of these associations had as its
president the famous Dr Seabury, and as its secretary
Sampson Salter Blowers, afterwards chief justice of Nova
Scotia. Its officers waited on Sir Guy Carleton, and
received his approval of their plans. It was arranged
that a first instalment of about five hundred colonists
should set out in the autumn of 1782, in charge of three
agents, Amos Botsford, Samuel Cummings, and Frederick
Hauser, whose duty it should be to spy out the land and
obtain grants.

The party sailed from New York, in nine transport ships,
on October 19, 1782, and arrived a few days later at
Annapolis Royal. The population of Annapolis, which was
only a little over a hundred, was soon swamped by the
numbers that poured out of the transports. 'All the houses
and barracks are crowded,' wrote the Rev. Jacob Bailey,
who was then at Annapolis, 'and many are unable to procure
any lodgings.' The three agents, leaving the colonists
at Annapolis, went first to Halifax, and then set out on
a trip of exploration through the Annapolis valley, after
which they crossed the Bay of Fundy and explored the
country adjacent to the river St John. On their return
they published glowing accounts of the country, and their
report was transmitted to their friends in New York.

The result of the favourable reports sent in by these
agents, and by others who had gone ahead, was an invasion
of Nova Scotia such as no one, not even the provincial
authorities, had begun to expect. As the names of the
thousands who were anxious to go to Nova Scotia poured
into the adjutant-general's office in New York, it became
clear to Sir Guy Carleton that with the shipping facilities
at his disposal he could not attempt to transport them
all at once. It was decided that the ships would have to
make two trips; and, as a matter of fact, most of them
made three or four trips before the last British soldier
was able to leave the New York shore.

On April 26, 1783, the first or 'spring' fleet set sail.
It had on board no less than seven thousand persons, men,
women, children, and servants. Half of these went to the
mouth of the river St John, and about half to Port Roseway,
at the south-west end of the Nova Scotian peninsula. The
voyage was fair, and the ships arrived at their destinations
without mishap. But at St John at least, the colonists
found that almost no preparations had been made to receive
them. They were disembarked on a wild and primeval shore,
where they had to clear away the brushwood before they could
pitch their tents or build their shanties. The prospect
must have been disheartening. 'Nothing but wilderness
before our eyes, the women and children did not refrain
from tears,' wrote one of the exiles; and the grandmother
of Sir Leonard Tilley used to tell her descendants, 'I
climbed to the top of Chipman's Hill and watched the
sails disappearing in the distance, and such a feeling
of loneliness came over me that, although I had not shed
a tear through all the war, I sat down on the damp moss
with my baby in my lap and cried.'

All summer and autumn the ships kept plying to and fro.
In June the 'summer fleet' brought about 2,500 colonists
to St John River, Annapolis, Port Roseway, and Fort
Cumberland. By August 23 John Parr, the governor of Nova
Scotia, wrote that 'upward of 12,000 souls have already
arrived from New York,' and that as many more were
expected. By the end of September he estimated that 18,000
had arrived, and stated that 10,000 more were still to
come. By the end of the year he computed the total
immigration to have amounted to 30,000. As late as January
15, 1784, the refugees were still arriving. On that date
Governor Parr wrote to Lord North announcing the arrival
of 'a considerable number of Refugee families, who must
be provided for in and about the town at extraordinary
expence, as at this season of the year I cannot send them
into the country.' 'I cannot,' he added, 'better describe
the wretched condition of these people than by inclosing
your lordship a list of those just arrived in the Clinton
transport, destitute of almost everything, chiefly women
and children, all still on board, as I have not yet been
able to find any sort of place for them, and the cold
setting in severe.' There is a tradition in Halifax that
the cabooses had to be taken off the ships, and ranged
along the principal street, in order to shelter these
unfortunates during the winter.

New York was evacuated by the British troops on November
25, 1783. Sir Guy Carleton did not withdraw from the city
until he was satisfied that every person who desired the
protection of the British flag was embarked on the boats.
During the latter half of the year Carleton was repeatedly
requested by Congress to fix some precise limit to his
occupation of New York. He replied briefly, but courteously,
that he was doing the best he could, and that no man
could do more. When Congress objected that the Loyalists
were not included in the agreement with regard to
evacuation, Carleton replied that he held opposite views;
and that in any case it was a point of honour with him
that no troops should embark until the last person who
claimed his protection should be safely on board a British
ship. As time went on, his replies to Congress grew
shorter and more incisive. On being requested to name an
outside date for the evacuation of the city, he declared
that he could not even guess when the last ship would be
loaded, but that he was resolved to remain until it was.
He pointed out, moreover, that the more the uncontrolled
violence of their citizens drove refugees to his protection,
the longer would evacuation be delayed. 'I should show,'
he said, 'an indifference to the feelings of humanity,
as well as to the honour and interest of the nation whom
I serve, to leave any of the Loyalists that are desirous
to quit the country, a prey to the violence they conceive
they have so much cause to apprehend.'

After the evacuation of New York, therefore, the number
of refugee Loyalists who came to Nova Scotia was small
and insignificant. In 1784 and 1785 there arrived a few
persons who had tried to take up the thread of their
former life in the colonies, but had given up the attempt.
And in August 1784 the _Sally_ transport from London cast
anchor at Halifax with three hundred destitute refugees
on board. 'As if there was not a sufficiency of such
distress'd objects already in this country,' wrote Edward
Winslow from Halifax, 'the good people of England have
collected a whole ship load of all kinds of vagrants from
the streets of London, and sent them out to Nova Scotia.
Great numbers died on the passage of various disorders--the
miserable remnant are landed here and have now no covering
but tents. Such as are able to crawl are begging for a
proportion of provisions at my door.'

But the increase of population in Nova Scotia from
immigration during the years immediately following 1783
was partly counterbalanced by the defections from the
province. Many of the refugees quailed before the prospect
of carving out a home in the wilderness. 'It is, I think,
the roughest land I ever saw'; 'I am totally discouraged';
'I am sick of this Province'--such expressions as these
abound in the journals and diaries of the settlers. There
were complaints that deception had been practised. 'All
our golden promises,' wrote a Long Island Loyalist, 'are
vanished in smoke. We were taught to believe this place
was not barren and foggy as had been represented, but we
find it ten times worse. We have nothing but his Majesty's
rotten pork and unbaked flour to subsist on... It is the
most inhospitable clime that ever mortal set foot on.'
At first there was great distress among the refugees.
The immigration of 1783 had at one stroke trebled the
population of Nova Scotia; and the resources of the
province were inadequate to meet the demand on them.
'Nova Scarcity' was the nickname for the province invented
by a New England wit. Under these circumstances it is
not surprising that some who had set their hand to the
plough turned back. Some of them went to Upper Canada;
some to England; some to the states from which they had
come; for within a few years the fury of the anti-Loyalist
feeling died down, and not a few Loyalists took advantage
of this to return to the place of their birth.

The most careful analysis of the Loyalist immigration
into the Maritime Provinces has placed the total number
of immigrants at about 35,000. These were in settlements
scattered broadcast over the face of the map. There was
a colony of 3,000 in Cape Breton, which afforded an ideal
field for settlement, since before 1783 the governor of
Nova Scotia had been precluded from granting lands there.
In 1784 Cape Breton was erected into a separate government,
with a lieutenant-governor of its own; and settlers
flocked into it from Halifax, and even from Canada.
Abraham Cuyler, formerly mayor of Albany, led a considerable
number down the St Lawrence and through the Gulf to Cape
Breton. On the mainland of Nova Scotia there were
settlements at Halifax, at Shelburne, at Fort Cumberland,
at Annapolis and Digby; at Port Mouton, and at other
places. In what is now New Brunswick there was a settlement
at Passamaquoddy Bay, and there were other settlements
on the St John river extending from the mouth up past
what is now the city of Fredericton. In Prince Edward
Island, then called the Island of St John, there was a
settlement which is variously estimated in size, but
which was comparatively unimportant.

The most interesting of these settlements was that at
Shelburne, which is situated at the south-west corner of
Nova Scotia, on one of the finest harbours of the Atlantic
seaboard. The name of the harbour was originally Port
Razoir, but this was corrupted by the English settlers
into Port Roseway. The place had been settled previous
to 1783. In 1775 Colonel Alexander McNutt, a notable
figure of the pre-Loyalist days in Nova Scotia, had
obtained a grant of 100,000 acres about the harbour, and
had induced about a dozen Scottish and Irish families to
settle there. This settlement he had dignified with the
name of New Jerusalem. In a short time, however, New
Jerusalem languished and died, and when the Loyalists
arrived in May 1783, the only inhabitants of the place
were two or three fishermen and their families. It would
have been well if the Loyalists had listened to the
testimony of one of these men, who, when he was asked
how he came to be there, replied that 'poverty had brought
him there, and poverty had kept him there.'

The project of settling the shores of Port Roseway had
its birth in the autumn of 1782, when one hundred and
twenty Loyalist families, whose attention had been directed
to that part of Nova Scotia by a friend in Massachusetts,
banded together with the object of emigrating thither.
They first appointed a committee of seven to make
arrangements for their removal; and, a few weeks later,
they commissioned two members of the association, Joseph
Pynchon and James Dole, to go to Halifax and lay before
Governor Parr their desires and intentions. Pynchon and
Dole, on their arrival at Halifax, had an interview with
the governor, and obtained from him very satisfactory
arrangements. The governor agreed to give the settlers
the land about Port Roseway which they desired. He promised
them that surveyors should be sent to lay out the grants,
that carpenters and a supply of 400,000 feet of lumber
should be furnished for building their houses, that for
the first year at least the settlers should receive army
rations, and that they should be free for ever from
impressment in the British Navy. All these promises were
made on the distinct understanding that they should
interfere in no way with the claims of the Loyalists on
the British government for compensation for losses
sustained in the war. Elated by the reception they had
received from the governor, the agents wrote home
enthusiastic accounts of the prospects of the venture.
Pynchon even hinted that the new town would supersede
Halifax. 'Much talk is here,' he wrote, 'of capital of
Province... Halifax can't but be sensible that Port
Roseway, if properly attended to in encouraging settlers
of every denomination, will have much the advantage of
all supplies from the Bay of Fundy and westward. What
the consequence will be time only will reveal.' Many
persons at Halifax, wrote Pynchon, prophesied that the
new settlement would dwindle, and recommended the shore
of the Bay of Fundy or the banks of the river St John in
preference to Port Roseway; but Pynchon attributed their
fears to jealousy. A few years' experience must have
convinced him that his suspicions were ill-founded.

The first instalment of settlers, about four thousand in
number, arrived in May 1783. They found nothing but the
virgin wilderness confronting them. But they set to work
with a will to clear the land and build their houses.
'As soon as we had set up a kind of tent,' wrote the Rev.
Jonathan Beecher in his Journal, 'we knelt down, my wife
and I and my two boys, and kissed the dear ground and
thanked God that the flag of England floated there, and
resolved that we would work with the rest to become again
prosperous and happy.' By July 11 the work of clearing
had been so far advanced that it became possible to allot
the lands. The town had been laid out in five long parallel
streets, with other streets crossing them at right angles.
Each associate was given a town lot fronting on one of
these streets, as well as a water lot facing the harbour,
and a fifty-acre farm in the surrounding country. With
the aid of the government artisans, the wooden houses
were rapidly run up; and in a couple of months a town
sprang up where before had been the forest and some
fishermen's huts.

At the end of July Governor Parr paid the town a visit,
and christened it, curiously enough, with the name of
Shelburne, after the British statesman who was responsible
for the Peace of Versailles. The occasion was one of
great ceremony. His Excellency, as he landed from the
sloop _Sophie_, was saluted by the booming of cannon from
the ships and from the shore. He proceeded up the main
street, through a lane of armed men. At the place appointed
for his reception he was met by the magistrates and
principal citizens, and presented with an address. In
the evening there was a dinner given by Captain Mowat on
board the _Sophie_; and the next evening there was another
dinner at the house of Justice Robertson, followed by a
ball given by the citizens, which was 'conducted with
the greatest festivity and decorum,' and 'did not break
up till five the next morning.' Parr was delighted with
Shelburne, and wrote to Sir Guy Carleton, 'From every
appearance I have not a doubt but that it will in a short
time become the most flourishing Town for trade of any
in this part of the world, and the country will for

For a few years it looked as though Shelburne was not
going to belie these hopes. The autumn of 1783 brought
a considerable increase to its population; and in 1784
it seems to have numbered no less than ten thousand souls,
including the suburb of Burchtown, in which most of the
negro refugees in New York had been settled. It became
a place of business and fashion. There was for a time an
extensive trade in fish and lumber with Great Britain
and the West Indies. Ship-yards were built, from which
was launched the first ship built in Nova Scotia after
the British occupation. Shops, taverns, churches,
coffee-houses, sprang up. At one time no less than three
newspapers were published in the town. The military were
stationed there, and on summer evenings the military band
played on the promenade near the bridge. On election
day the main street was so crowded that 'one might have
walked on the heads of the people.'

Then Shelburne fell into decay. It appeared that the
region was ill-suited for farming and grazing, and was
not capable of supporting so large a population. The
whale fishery which the Shelburne merchants had established
in Brazilian waters proved a failure. The regulations of
the Navigation Acts thwarted their attempts to set up a
coasting trade. Failure dogged all their enterprises,
and soon the glory of Shelburne departed. It became like
a city of the dead. 'The houses,' wrote Haliburton, 'were
still standing though untenanted: It had all the stillness
and quiet of a moonlight scene. It was difficult to
imagine it was deserted. The idea of repose more readily
suggested itself than decay. All was new and recent.
Seclusion, and not death or removal, appeared to be the
cause of the absence of inhabitants.' The same eye-witness
of Shelburne's ruin described the town later:

The houses, which had been originally built of wood,
had severally disappeared. Some had been taken to
pieces and removed to Halifax or St John; others had
been converted into fuel, and the rest had fallen a
prey to neglect and decomposition. The chimneys stood
up erect, and marked the spot around which the social
circle had assembled; and the blackened fireplaces,
ranged one above another, bespoke the size of the
tenement and the means of its owner. In some places
they had sunk with the edifice, leaving a heap of
ruins, while not a few were inclining to their fall,
and awaiting the first storm to repose again in the
dust that now covered those who had constructed them.
Hundreds of cellars with their stone walls and granite
partitions were everywhere to be seen like uncovered
monuments of the dead. Time and decay had done their
work. All that was perishable had perished, and those
numerous vaults spoke of a generation that had passed
away for ever, and without the aid of an inscription,
told a tale of sorrow and of sadness that overpowered
the heart.

Alas for the dreams of the Pynchons and the Parrs!
Shelburne is now a quaint and picturesque town; but it
is not the city which its projectors planned.



When Governor Parr wrote to Sir Guy Carleton, commending
in such warm terms the advantages of Shelburne, he took
occasion at the same time to disparage the country about
the river St John. 'I greatly fear,' he wrote, 'the soil
and fertility of that part of this province is overrated
by people who have explored it partially. I wish it may
turn out otherwise, but have my fears that there is scarce
good land enough for them already sent there.'

How Governor Parr came to make so egregious a mistake
with regard to the comparative merits of the Shelburne
districts and those of the St John river it is difficult
to understand. Edward Winslow frankly accused him of
jealousy of the St John settlements. Possibly he was only
too well aware of the inadequacy of the preparations made
to receive the Loyalists at the mouth of the St John,
and wished to divert the stream of immigration elsewhere.
At any rate his opinion was in direct conflict with the
unanimous testimony of the agents sent to report on the
land. Botsford, Cummings, and Hauser had reported: 'The
St John is a fine river, equal in magnitude to the
Connecticut or Hudson. At the mouth of the river is a
fine harbour, accessible at all seasons of the year--never
frozen or obstructed by ice... There are many settlers
along the river upon the interval land, who get their
living easily. The interval lies on the river, and is a
most fertile soil, annually matured by the overflowing
of the river, and produces crops of all kinds with little
labour, and vegetables in the greatest perfection, parsnips
of great length etc.' Later Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac
Allen and Edward Winslow, the muster-master-general of
the provincial forces, were sent up as agents for the
Loyalist regiments in New York, and they explored the
river for one hundred and twenty miles above its mouth.
'We have returned,' wrote Winslow after his trip, 'delighted
beyond expression.'

Governor Parr's fears, therefore, had little effect on
the popularity of the St John river district. In all, no
less than ten thousand people settled on the north side
of the Bay of Fundy in 1783. These came, in the main, in
three divisions. With the spring fleet arrived about
three thousand people; with the summer fleet not quite
two thousand; and with the autumn fleet well over three
thousand. Of those who came in the spring and summer most
were civilian refugees; but of those who arrived in the
autumn nearly all were disbanded soldiers. Altogether
thirteen distinct corps settled on the St John river.
There were the King's American Dragoons, De Lancey's
First and Second Battalions, the New Jersey Volunteers,
the King's American Regiment, the Maryland Loyalists,
the 42nd Regiment, the Prince of Wales American Regiment,
the New York Volunteers, the Royal Guides and Pioneers,
the Queen's Rangers, the Pennsylvania Loyalists, and
Arnold's American Legion. All these regiments were reduced,
of course, to a fraction of their original strength,
owing to the fact that numbers of their men had been
discharged in New York, and that many of the officers
had gone to England. But nevertheless, with their women
and children, their numbers were not far from four

The arrangements which the government of Nova Scotia had
made for the reception of this vast army of people were
sadly inadequate. In the first place there was an
unpardonable delay in the surveying and allotment of
lands. This may be partly explained by the insufficient
number of surveyors at the disposal of the governor, and
by the tedious and difficult process of escheating lands
already granted; but it is impossible not to convict the
governor and his staff of want of foresight and expedition
in making arrangements and carrying them into effect.
When Joseph Aplin arrived at Parrtown, as the settlement
at the mouth of the river was for a short time called,
he found 1,500 frame houses and 400 log huts erected,
but no one had yet received a title to the land on which
his house was built. The case of the detachment of the
King's American Dragoons who had settled near the mouth
of the river was particularly hard. They had arrived in
advance of the other troops, and had settled on the west
side of the harbour of St John, in what Edward Winslow
described as 'one of the pleasantest spots I ever beheld.'
They had already made considerable improvements on their
lands, when word came that the government had determined
to reserve the lands about the mouth of the river for
the refugees, and to allot blocks of land farther up the
river to the various regiments of provincial troops. When
news of this decision reached the officers of the provincial
regiments, there was great indignation. 'This is so
notorious a forfeiture of the faith of government,' wrote
Colonel De Lancey to Edward Winslow, 'that it appears to
me almost incredible, and yet I fear it is not to be
doubted. Could we have known this a little earlier it
would have saved you the trouble of exploring the country
for the benefit of a people you are not connected with.
In short it is a subject too disagreeable to say more
upon.' Winslow, who was hot-headed, talked openly about
the provincials defending the lands on which they had
'squatted.' But protests were in vain; and the King's
American Dragoons were compelled to abandon their
settlement, and to remove up the river to the district
of Prince William. When the main body of the Loyalist
regiments arrived in the autumn they found that the blocks
of land assigned to them had not yet been surveyed. Of
their distress and perplexity there is a picture in one
of Edward Winslow's letters.

I saw [he says] all those Provincial Regiments, which
we have so frequently mustered, landing in this
inhospitable climate, in the month of October, without
shelter, and without knowing where to find a place to
reside. The chagrin of the officers was not to me so
truly affecting as the poignant distress of the men.
Those respectable sergeants of Robinson's, Ludlow's,
Cruger's, Fanning's, etc.--once hospitable yeomen of
the country--were addressing me in language which
almost murdered me as I heard it. 'Sir, we have served
all the war, your honour is witness how faithfully.
We were promised land; we expected you had obtained
it for us. We like the country--only let us have a
spot of our own, and give us such kind of regulations
as will hinder bad men from injuring us.'

Many of these men had ultimately to go up the river more
than fifty miles past what is now Fredericton.

A second difficulty was that food and building materials
supplied by government proved inadequate. At first the
settlers were given lumber and bricks and tools to build
their houses, but the later arrivals, who had as a rule
to go farthest up the river, were compelled to find their
building materials in the forest. Even the King's American
Dragoons, evicted from their lands on the harbour of St
John, were ordered to build their huts 'without any public
expence.' Many were compelled to spend the winter in
tents banked up with snow; others sheltered themselves
in huts of bark. The privations and sufferings which many
of the refugees suffered were piteous. Some, especially
among the women and children, died from cold and exposure
and insufficient food. In the third place there was
great inequality in the area of the lands allotted. When
the first refugees arrived, it was not expected that so
many more would follow; and consequently the earlier
grants were much larger in size than the later. In Parrtown
a town lot at length shrank in size to one-sixteenth of
what it had originally been. There was doubtless also
some favouritism and respect of persons in the granting
of lands. At any rate the inequality of the grants caused
a great many grievances among a certain class of refugees.
Chief Justice Finucane of Nova Scotia was sent by Governor
Parr to attempt to smooth matters out; but his conduct
seemed to accentuate the ill-feeling and alienate from
the Nova Scotia authorities the good-will of some of the
better class of Loyalists.

It was not surprising, under these circumstances, that
Governor Parr and the officers of his government should
have become very unpopular on the north side of the Bay
of Fundy. Governor Parr was himself much distressed over
the ill-feeling against him among the Loyalists; and it
should be explained that his failure to satisfy them did
not arise from unwillingness to do anything in his power
to make them comfortable. The trouble was that his
executive ability had not been sufficient to cope with
the serious problems confronting him. Out of the feeling
against Governor Parr arose an agitation to have the
country north of the Bay of Fundy removed from his
jurisdiction altogether, and erected into a separate
government. This idea of the division of the province
had been suggested by Edward Winslow as early as July
1783: 'Think what multitudes have and will come here,
and then judge whether it must not from the nature of
things immediately become a separate government.' There
were good reasons why such a change should be made. The
distance of Parrtown from Halifax made it very difficult
and tedious to transact business with the government.'
and the Halifax authorities, being old inhabitants, were
not in complete sympathy with the new settlers. The
erection of a new province, moreover, would provide
offices for many of the Loyalists who were pressing their
claims for place on the government at home. The settlers,
therefore, brought their influence to bear on the Imperial
authorities, through their friends in London; and in the
summer of 1784 they succeeded in effecting the division
they desired, in spite of the opposition of Governor Parr
and the official class at Halifax. Governor Parr, indeed,
had a narrow escape from being recalled.

The new province, which it was intended at first to call
New Ireland, but which was eventually called New Brunswick,
was to include all that part of Nova Scotia north of a
line running across the isthmus from the mouth of the
Missiquash river to its source, and thence across to the
nearest part of Baie Verte. This boundary was another
triumph for the Loyalists, as it placed in New Brunswick
Fort Cumberland and the greater part of Cumberland county.
The government of the province was offered first to
General Fox, who had been in command at Halifax in 1783,
and then to General Musgrave; but was declined by both.
It was eventually accepted by Colonel Thomas Carleton,
a brother of Sir Guy Carleton, by whom it was held for
over thirty years. The chief offices of government fell
to Loyalists who were in London. The secretary of the
province was the Rev. Jonathan Odell, a witty New Jersey
divine, who had been secretary to Sir Guy Carleton in
New York. It is interesting to note that Odell's son,
the Hon. W. F. Odell, was secretary of the province after
him, and that between them they held the office for
two-thirds of a century. The chief justice was a former
judge of the Supreme Court of New York; the other judges
were retired officers of regiments who had fought in the
war. The attorney-general was Jonathan Bliss, of
Massachusetts; and the solicitor-general was Ward Chipman,
the friend and correspondent of Edward Winslow. Winslow
himself, whose charming letters throw such a flood of
light on the settlement of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,
was a member of the council. New Brunswick was indeed
_par excellence_ the Loyalist province.

The new governor arrived at Parrtown on November 21,
1784, and was immediately presented with an enthusiastic
address of welcome by the inhabitants. They described
themselves as 'a number of oppressed and insulted
Loyalists,' and added that they had formerly been freemen,
and again hoped to be so under his government. Next spring
the governor granted to Parrtown incorporation as a city
under the name of St John. The name Parrtown had been
given, it appears, at the request of Governor Parr himself,
who explained apologetically that the suggestion had
arisen out of 'female vanity'; and in view of Governor
Parr's unpopularity, the change of name was very welcome.
At the same time, however, Colonel Carleton greatly
offended the people of St John by removing the capital
of the province up the river to St Anne's, to which he
gave the name Fredericktown (Fredericton) in honour of
the Duke of York.

On October 15, 1785, writs were issued for the election
of members to serve in a general assembly. The province
was divided into eight counties, among which were
apportioned twenty-six members. The right to vote was
given by Governor Carleton to all males of twenty-one
years of age who had been three months in the province,
the object of this very democratic franchise being to
include in the voting list settlers who were clearing
their lands, but had not yet received their grants. The
elections were held in November, and lasted for fifteen
days. They passed off without incident, except in the
city of St John. There a struggle took place which throws
a great deal of light on the bitterness of social feeling
among the Loyalists. The inhabitants split into two
parties, known as the Upper Cove and the Lower Cove. The
Upper Cove represented the aristocratic element, and the
Lower Cove the democratic. For some time class feeling
had been growing; it had been aroused by the attempt of
fifty-five gentlemen of New York to obtain for themselves,
on account of their social standing and services during
the war, grants of land in Nova Scotia of five thousand
acres each; and it had been fanned into flame by the
inequality in the size of the lots granted in St John
itself. Unfortunately, among the six Upper Cove candidates
in St John there were two officers of the government,
Jonathan Bliss and Ward Chipman; and thus the struggle
took on the appearance of one between government and
opposition candidates. The election was bitterly contested,
under the old method of open voting; and as it proceeded
it became clear that the Lower Cove was polling a majority
of the votes. The defeat of the government officers, it
was felt, would be such a calamity that at the scrutiny
Sheriff Oliver struck off over eighty votes, and returned
the Upper Cove candidates. The election was protested,
but the House of Assembly refused, on a technicality, to
upset the election. A strangely ill-worded and ungrammatical
petition to have the assembly dissolved was presented to
the governor by the Lower Cove people, but Governor
Carleton refused to interfere, and the Upper Cove candidates
kept their seats. The incident created a great deal of
indignation in St John, and Ward Chipman and Jonathan
Bliss were not able for many years to obtain a majority
in that riding.

It is evident from these early records that, while there
were members of the oldest and most famous families in
British America among the Loyalists of the Thirteen
Colonies, the majority of those who came to Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, and especially to Upper Canada, were people
of very humble origin. Of the settlers in Nova Scotia,
Governor Parr expressed his regret 'that there is not a
sufficient proportion of men of education and abilities
among the present adventurers.' The election in St John
was a sufficient evidence of the strength of the democratic
element there; and their petition to Governor Carleton
is a sufficient evidence of their illiteracy. Some of
the settlers assumed pretensions to which they were not
entitled. An amusing case is that of William Newton. This
man had been the groom of the Honourable George Hanger,
a major in the British Legion during the war. Having come
to Nova Scotia, he began to pay court to a wealthy widow,
and introduced himself to her by affirming 'that he was
particularly connected with the hono'ble Major Hanger,
and that his circumstances were rather affluent, having
served in a money-making department, and that he had left
a considerable property behind him.' The widow applied
to Edward Winslow, who assured her that Mr Newton had
indeed been connected--very closely--with the Honourable
Major Hanger, and that he had left a large property behind
him. 'The nuptials were immediately celebrated with great
pomp, and Mr Newton is at present,' wrote Winslow, 'a
gentleman of consideration in Nova Scotia.'

During 1785 and subsequent years, the work of settlement
went on rapidly in New Brunswick. There was hardship and
privation at first, and up to 1792 some indigent settlers
received rations from the government. But astonishing
progress was made. 'The new settlements of the Loyalists,'
wrote Colonel Thomas Dundas, who visited New Brunswick
in the winter of 1786-87, 'are in a thriving way.'
Apparently, however, he did not think highly of the
industry of the disbanded soldiers, for he avowed that
'rum and idle habits contracted during the war are much
against them.' But he paid a compliment to the half-pay
officers. 'The half-pay provincial officers,' he wrote,
'are valuable settlers, as they are enabled to live well
and improve their lands.'

It took some time for the province to settle down. Many
who found their lands disappointing moved to other parts
of the province; and after 1790 numbers went to Upper
Canada. But gradually the settlers adjusted themselves
to their environment, and New Brunswick entered on that
era of prosperity which has been hers ever since.



Not many Loyalists found their way to Prince Edward
Island, or, as it was called at the time of the American
Revolution, the Island of St John. Probably there were
not many more than six hundred on the island at any one
time. But the story of these immigrants forms a chapter
in itself. Elsewhere the refugees were well and loyally
treated. In Nova Scotia and Quebec the English officials
strove to the best of their ability, which was perhaps
not always great, to make provision for them. But in
Prince Edward Island they were the victims of treachery
and duplicity.

Prince Edward Island was in 1783 owned by a number of
large landed proprietors. When it became known that the
British government intended to settle the Loyalists in
Nova Scotia, these proprietors presented a petition to
Lord North, declaring their desire to afford asylum to
such as would settle on the island. To this end they
offered to resign certain of their lands for colonization,
on condition that the government abated the quit-rents.
This petition was favourably received by the government,
and a proclamation was issued promising lands to settlers
in Prince Edward Island on terms similar to those granted
to settlers in Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Encouraged by the liberal terms held forth, a number of
Loyalists went to the island direct from New York, and
a number went later from Shelburne, disappointed by the
prospects there. In June 1784 a muster of Loyalists on
the island was taken, which showed a total of about three


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