Part 2 of 2
These refugees found great difficulty in obtaining the grants of land promised to them. They were allowed to take up their residence on certain lands, being assured that their titles were secure; and then, after they had cleared the lands, erected buildings, planted orchards, and made other improvements, they were told that their titles lacked validity, and they were forced to move. Written title-deeds were withheld on every possible pretext, and when they were granted they were found to contain onerous conditions out of harmony with the promises made. The object of the proprietors, in inflicting these persecutions, seems to have been to force the settlers to become tenants instead of freeholders. Even Colonel Edmund Fanning, the Loyalist lieutenant-governor, was implicated in this conspiracy. Fanning was one of the proprietors in Township No. 50. The settlers in this township, being unable to obtain their grants, resolved to send a remonstrance to the British government, and chose as their representative one of their number who had known Lord Cornwallis during the war, hoping through him to obtain redress. This agent was on the point of leaving for England, when news of his intention reached Colonel Fanning. The ensuing result was as prompt as it was significant: within a week afterwards nearly all the Loyalists in Township No. 50 had obtained their grants.
Others, however, did not have friends in high places, and were unable to obtain redress. The minutes of council which contained the records of many of the allotments were not entered in the regular Council Book, but were kept on loose sheets; and thus the unfortunate settlers were not able to prove by the Council Book that their lands had been allotted them. When the rough minutes were
discovered years later, they were found to bear evidence, in erasures and the use of different inks, of having been tampered with.
For seventy-five years the Loyalists continued to agitate for justice. As early as 1790 the island legislature passed an act empowering the governor to give grants to those who had not yet received them from the proprietors. But this measure did not entirely redress the grievances, and after a lapse of fifty years a petition of the descendants of the Loyalists led to further action in the matter. In 1840 a bill was passed by the House of Assembly granting relief to the Loyalists, but was thrown out by the Legislative Council. As late as 1860 the question was still troubling the island politics. In that year a land commission was appointed, which reported that there were Loyalists who still had claims on the local government, and recommended that free grants should be made to such as could prove that their fathers had been attracted to the island under promises which had never been fulfilled.
Such is the unlovely story of how the Loyalists were persecuted in the Island of St John, under the British flag.
THE LOYALISTS IN QUÉBEC
It was a tribute to the stability of British rule in the newly-won province of Québec that at the very beginning of the Revolutionary War loyal refugees began to flock across the border. As early as June 2, 1774, Colonel Christie, stationed at St Johns on the Richelieu, wrote to Sir Frederick Haldimand at Québec notifying him of the arrival of immigrants; and it is interesting to note that at that early date he already complained of 'their unreasonable expectations.' In the years 1775 and 1776 large bodies of persecuted Loyalists from the Mohawk valley came north with Sir John Johnson and Colonel Butler; and in these years was formed in Canada the first of the Loyalist regiments. It was not, however, until the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1778 that the full tide of immigration set in. Immediately thereafter Haldimand wrote to Lord George Germain, under date of October 14, 1778, reporting the arrival of 'loyalists in
great distress,' seeking refuge from the revolted provinces. Haldimand lost no time in making provision for their reception. He established a settlement for them at Machiche, near Three Rivers, which he placed under the superintendence of a compatriot and a protege of his named Conrad Gugy. The captains of militia in the neighbourhood were ordered to help build barracks for the refugees, provisions were secured from the merchants at Three Rivers, and everything in reason was done to make the unfortunates comfortable. By the autumn of 1778 there were in Canada, at Machiche and other places, more than one thousand refugees, men, women, and children, exclusive of those who had enlisted in the regiments. Including the troops, probably no less than three thousand had found their way to Canada.
With the conclusion of peace came a great rush to the north. The resources of government were strained to the utmost to provide for the necessities of the thousands who flocked over the border-line. At Chambly, St Johns, Montréal, Sorel, Machiche, Québec, officers of government were stationed to dole out supplies. At Québec alone in March 1784 one thousand three hundred and thirty-eight 'friends of government' were being fed at the public expense. At Sorel a settlement was established similar to that at Machiche. The seigneury of Sorel had been purchased by the government in 1780 for military purposes, and when the war was over it was turned into a Loyalist reserve, on which huts were erected and provisions dispensed. In all, there must have been nearly seven thousand Loyalists in the province of Québec in the winter of 1783-84.
Complete details are lacking with regard to the temporary encampments in which the Loyalists were hived; but there are evidences that they were not entirely satisfied with the manner in which they were looked after. One of the earliest of Canadian county histories, [Footnote: Dundas, or a Sketch of Canadian History, by James Croil, Montréal, 1861.] a book partly based on traditionary sources, has some vague tales about the cruelty and malversation practised by a Frenchman under whom the Loyalists were placed at 'Mishish.' 'Mishish' is obviously a phonetic spelling of Machiche, and 'the Frenchman' is probably Conrad Gugy. Some letters in the Dominion Archives point in the same direction. Under date of April 29, the governor's secretary writes to Stephen De Lancey, the inspector of the Loyalists, referring to 'the uniform discontent of the Loyalists at Machiche.' The discontent, he explains, is excited by a few ill-disposed persons. 'The sickness they complain of has been common throughout the province, and should have lessened rather than increased the consumption of provisions.' A Loyalist who writes to the governor, putting his complaints on paper, is assured that 'His Excellency is anxious to do everything in his power for the Loyalists, but if what he can do does not come up to the expectation of him and those he represents, His Excellency gives the fullest permission to them to seek redress in such manner as they shall think best.'
What degree of justice there was in the complaints of the refugees it is now difficult to determine. No doubt some of them were confirmed grumblers, and many of them had what Colonel Christie called 'unreasonable expectations.' Nothing is more certain than that Sir Frederick Haldimand spared no effort to accommodate the Loyalists. On the other hand, it would be rash to assert that in the confusion which then reigned there were no grievances of which they could justly complain.
In the spring and summer of 1784 the great majority of the refugees within the limits of the province of Québec were removed to what was afterwards known as Upper Canada. But some remained, and swelled the number of the 'old subjects' in the French province. Considerable settlements were made at two places. One of these was Sorel, where the seigneury that had been bought by the crown was granted out to the new-comers in lots; the other was in the Gaspé peninsula, on the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence and of Chaleur Bay. The seigneury of Sorel was well peopled, for each grantee received only sixty acres and a town lot, taking the rest of his allotment in some of the newer settlements. The settlement in the Gaspé peninsula was more sparse; the chief centre of population was the tiny fishing village of Paspebiac. In addition to these settlements, some of the exiles took up land on private seigneuries; these, however, were not many, for the government discouraged the practice, and refused supplies to all who did not settle on the king's land. At the present time, of all these Loyalist groups in the province of Québec scarce a trace remains: they have all been swallowed up in the surrounding French population.
The Eastern Townships in the province of Québec were not settled by the United Empire Loyalists. In 1783 Sir Frederick Haldimand set his face like flint against any attempt on the part of the Loyalists to settle the lands lying along the Vermont frontier. He feared that a settlement there would prove a permanent thorn in the flesh of the Americans, and might lead to much trouble and friction. He wished that these lands should be left unsettled for a time, and that, in the end, they should be settled by French Canadians 'as an antidote to the restless New England population.' Some of the more daring Loyalists, in spite of the prohibition of the governor, ventured to settle on Missisquoi Bay. When the governor heard of it, he sent orders to the officer commanding at St Johns that they should be removed as soon as the season should admit of it; and instructions were given that if any other Loyalists settled there, their houses were to be destroyed. By these drastic means the government kept the Eastern Townships a wilderness until after 1791, when the townships were granted out in free and common socage, and American settlers began to flock in. But, as will be explained, these later settlers have no just claim to the appellation of United Empire Loyalists.
THE WESTERN SETTLEMENTS
Sir Frederick Haldimand Offered the Loyalists a wide choice of places in which to settle. He was willing to make land grants on Chaleur Bay, at Gaspé, on the north shore of the St Lawrence above Montréal, on the Bay of Quinte, at Niagara, or along the Detroit river; and if none of these places was suitable, he offered to transport to Nova Scotia or Cape Breton those who wished to go thither. At all these places settlements of Loyalists sprang up. That at Niagara grew to considerable importance, and became after the division of the province in 1791 the capital of Upper Canada. But by far the largest settlement was that which Haldimand planned along the north shore of the St Lawrence and Lake Ontario between the western boundary of the government of Québec and Cataraqui (now Kingston), east of the Bay of Quinte. Here the great majority of the Loyalists in Canada were concentrated.
As soon as Haldimand received instructions from England with regard to the granting of the lands he gave orders to Major Samuel Holland, surveyor-general of the king's territories in North America, to proceed with the work of making the necessary surveys. Major Holland, taking with him as assistants Lieutenants Kotte and Sutherland and deputy-surveyors John Collins and Patrick McNish, set out in the early autumn of 1783, and before the winter closed in he had completed the survey of five townships bordering on the Bay of Quinte. The next spring his men returned, and surveyed eight townships along the north bank of the St Lawrence, between the Bay of Quinte and the provincial boundary. These townships are now distinguished by names, but in 1783-84 they were designated merely by numbers; thus for many years the old inhabitants referred to the townships of Osnaburg, Williamsburg, and Matilda, for instance, as the 'third town,' the 'fourth town,' and the 'fifth town.' The surveys were made in great haste, and, it is to be feared, not with great care; for some tedious lawsuits arose out of the discrepancies contained in them, and a generation later Robert Gourlay wrote that 'one of the present surveyors informed me that in running new lines over a great extent of the province, he found spare room for a whole township in the midst of those laid out at an early period.' Each township was subdivided into lots of two hundred acres each, and a town-site was selected in each case which was subdivided into town lots.
The task of transporting the settlers from their camping-places at Sorel, Machiche, and St Johns to their new homes up the St Lawrence was one of some magnitude. General Haldimand was not able himself to oversee the work; but he appointed Sir John Johnson as superintendent, and the work of settlement went on under Johnson's care. On a given day the Loyalists were ordered to strike camp, and proceed in a body to the new settlements. Any who remained behind without sufficient excuse had their rations stopped. Bateaux took the settlers up the St Lawrence, and the various detachments were disembarked at their respective destinations. It had been decided that the settlers should be placed on the land as far as possible according to the corps in which they had served during the war, and that care should be taken to have the Protestant and Roman Catholic members of a corps settled separately. It was this arrangement which brought about the grouping of Protestant and Roman Catholic Scottish Highlanders in Glengarry. The first battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York was settled on the first five townships west of the provincial boundary. This was Sir John Johnson's regiment, and most of its members were his Scottish dependants from the Mohawk valley. The next three townships were settled by part of Jessup's Corps, an offshoot of Sir John Johnson's regiment. Of the Cataraqui townships the first was settled by a band of New York Loyalists, many of them of Dutch or German extraction, commanded by Captain Michael Grass. On the second were part of Jessup's Corps; on the third and fourth were a detachment of the second battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York, which had been stationed at Oswego across the lake at the close of the war, a detachment of Rogers's Rangers, and a party of New York Loyalists under Major Van Alstine. The parties commanded by Grass and Van Alstine had come by ship from New York to Québec after the evacuation of New York in 1783. On the fifth township were various detachments of disbanded regular troops, and even a handful of disbanded German mercenaries.
As soon as the settlers had been placed on the townships to which they had been assigned, they received their allotments of land. The surveyor was the land agent, and the allotments were apportioned by each applicant drawing a lot out of a hat. This democratic method of allotting lands roused the indignation of some of the officers who had settled with their men. They felt that they should have been given the front lots, unmindful of the fact that their grants as officers were from five to ten times as large as the grants which their men received. Their protests, contained in a letter of Captain Grass to the governor, roused Haldimand to a display of warmth to which he was as a rule a stranger. Captain Grass and his associates, he wrote, were to get no special privileges,
'the most of them who came into the province with him being, in fact, mechanics, only removed from one situation to practise their trade in another. Mr Grass should, therefore, think himself very well off to draw lots in common with the Loyalists.' A good deal of difficulty arose also from the fact that many allotments were inferior to the rest from an agricultural point of view; but difficulties of this sort were adjusted by Johnson and Holland on the spot.
By 1784 nearly all the settlers were destitute and completely dependent on the generosity of the British government. They had no effects; they had no money; and in many cases they were sorely in need of clothes. The way in which Sir Frederick Haldimand came to their relief is deserving of high praise. If he had adhered to the letter of his instructions from England, the position of the Loyalists would have been a most unenviable one. Repeatedly, however, Haldimand took on his own shoulders the responsibility of ignoring or disobeying the instructions from England, and trusted to chance that his protests would prevent the government from repudiating his actions. When the home government, for instance, ordered a reduction of the rations, Haldimand undertook to continue them in full; and fortunately for him the home government, on receipt of his protest, rescinded the order.
The settlers on the Upper St Lawrence and the Bay of Quinte did not perhaps fare as well as those in Nova Scotia, or even the Mohawk Indians who settled on the Grand river. They did not receive lumber for building purposes, and 'bricks for the inside of their chimneys, and a little assistance of nails,' as did the former; nor did they receive ploughs and church-bells, as did the latter. For building lumber they had to wait until saw-mills were constructed; instead of ploughs they had at first to use hoes and spades, and there were not quite enough hoes and spades to go round. Still, they did not fare badly. When the difficulty of transporting things up the St Lawrence is remembered, it is remarkable that they obtained as much as they did. In the first place they were supplied with clothes for three years, or until they were able to provide clothes for themselves. These consisted of coarse cloth for trousers and Indian blankets for coats. Boots they made out of skins or heavy cloth. Tools for building were given them: to each family were given an axe and a hand-saw, though unfortunately the axes were short-handled ship's axes, ill-adapted to cutting in the forest; to each group of two families were allotted a whip-saw and a cross-cut saw; and to each group of five
families was supplied a set of tools, containing chisels, augers, draw-knives, etc. To each group of five families was also allotted 'one fire-lock ... intended for the messes, the pigeon and wildfowl season'; but later on a fire-lock was supplied to every head of a family. Haldimand went to great trouble in obtaining seed-wheat for the settlers, sending agents down even into Vermont and the Mohawk valley to obtain all that was to be had; he declined, however, to supply stock for the farms, and although eventually he obtained some cattle, there were not nearly enough cows to go round. In many cases the soldiers were allowed the loan of the military tents; and everything was done to have saw-mills and grist-mills erected in the most convenient places with the greatest possible dispatch. In the meantime small portable grist-mills, worked by hand, were distributed among the settlers.
Among the papers relating to the Loyalists in the Canadian Archives there is an abstract of the numbers of the settlers in the five townships at Cataraqui and the eight townships on the St Lawrence. There were altogether 1,568 men, 626 women, 1,492 children, and 90 servants, making a total of 3,776 persons. These were, of course, only the original settlers. As time went on others were added. Many of the soldiers had left their families in the States behind them, and these families now hastened to cross the border. A proclamation had been issued by the British government inviting those Loyalists who still remained in the States to assemble at certain places along the frontier, namely, at Isle aux Noix, at Sackett's Harbour, at Oswego, and at Niagara. The favourite route was the old trail from the Mohawk valley to Oswego, where was stationed a detachment of the 34th regiment. From Oswego
these refugees crossed to Cataraqui. 'Loyalists,' wrote an officer at Cataraqui in the summer of 1784, 'are coming in daily across the lake.' To accommodate these new settlers three more townships had to be mapped out at the west end of the Bay of Quinte.
For the first few years the Cataraqui settlers had a severe struggle for existence. Most of them arrived in 1784, too late to attempt to sow fall wheat; and it was several seasons before their crops became nearly adequate for food. The difficulties of transportation up the St Lawrence rendered the arrival of supplies irregular and uncertain. Cut off as they were from civilization by the St Lawrence rapids, they were in a much less advantageous position than the great majority of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick settlers, who were situated near the sea-coast. They had no money, and as the government refused to send them specie, they were compelled to fall back on barter as a means of trade, with the result that all trade was local and trivial. In the autumn of 1787 the crops failed, and in 1788 famine stalked through the land. There are many legends about what was known as 'the hungry year.' If we are to believe local tradition, some of the settlers actually died of starvation. In the family papers of one family is to be found a story about an old couple who were saved from starvation only by the pigeons which they were able to knock over. A member of another family testifies: 'We had the luxury of a cow which the family brought with them, and had it not been for this domestic boon, all would have perished in the year of scarcity.' Two hundred acre lots were sold for a few pounds of flour. A valuable cow, in one case, was sold for eight bushels of potatoes; a three-year-old horse was exchanged for half a hundredweight of flour. Bran was used for making cakes; and leeks, buds of trees, and even leaves, were ground into food.
The summer of 1789, however, brought relief to the settlers, and though, for many years, comforts and even necessaries were scarce, yet after 1791, the year in which the new settlements were erected into the province of Upper Canada, it may be said that most of the settlers had been placed on their feet. The soil was fruitful; communication and transportation improved; and metallic currency gradually found its way into the settlements. When Mrs Simcoe, the wife of the lieutenant-governor, passed through the country in 1792, she was struck by the neatness of the farms of the Dutch and German settlers from the Mohawk valley, and by the high quality of the wheat. 'I observed on my way thither,' she says in her diary, 'that the wheat appeared finer than any I have seen in England, and totally free from weeds.' And a few months later an anonymous English traveller, passing the same way, wrote: 'In so infant a settlement, it would have been irrational to expect that abundance which bursts the granaries, and lows in the stalls of more cultivated countries. There was, however, that kind of appearance which indicated that with economy and industry, there would be enough.'
Next in size to the settlements at Cataraqui and on the Upper St Lawrence was the settlement at Niagara. During the war Niagara had been a haven of refuge for the Loyalists of Pennsylvania and the frontier districts, just as Oswego and St Johns had been havens of refuge for the Loyalists of northern and western New York. As early as 1776 there arrived at Fort George, Niagara, in a starving condition, five women and thirty-six children, bearing names which are still to be found in the Niagara peninsula. From that date until the end of the war refugees continued to come in. Many of these refugees were the families of the men and officers of the Loyalist troops stationed at Niagara. On September 27, 1783, for instance, the officer commanding at Niagara reports the arrival from Schenectady of the wives of two officers of Butler's Rangers, with a number of children. Some of these people went down the lake to Montréal; but others remained at the post, and 'squatted' on the land. In 1780 Colonel Butler reports to Haldimand that four or five families have settled and built houses, and he requests that they be given seed early in the spring. In 1781 we know that a Loyalist named Robert Land had squatted on Burlington Bay, at the head of Lake Ontario. In 1783 Lieutenant Tinling was sent to Niagara to survey lots, and Sergeant Brass of the 84th was sent to build a saw-mill and a grist-mill. At the same time Butler's Rangers, who were stationed at the fort, were disbanded; and a number of them were induced to take up land. They took up land on the west side of the river, because, although, according to the terms of peace, Fort George was not given up by constitute the boundary between the two countries. A return of the rise and progress of the settlement made in May 1784 shows a total of forty-six settlers (that is, heads of families), with forty-four houses and twenty barns. The return makes it clear that cultivation had been going on for some time. There were 713 acres cleared, 123 acres sown in wheat, and 342 acres waiting to be sown; and the farms were very well stocked, there being an average of about three horses and four or five cows to each settler.
With regard to the settlement at Detroit, there is not much evidence available. It was Haldimand's intention at first to establish a large settlement there, but the difficulties of communication doubtless proved to be insuperable. In the event, however, some of Butler's
Rangers settled there. Captain Bird of the Rangers applied for and received a grant of land on which he made a settlement; and in the summer of 1784 we find Captain Caldwell and some others applying for deeds for the land and houses they occupied. In 1783 the commanding officer at Detroit reported the arrival from Red Creek of two men, 'one a Girty, the other McCarty,' who had come to see what encouragement there was to settle under the British government. They asserted that several hundred more would be glad to come if sufficient inducements were offered them, as they saw before them where they were nothing but persecution. In 1784 Jehu Hay, the British lieutenant-governor of Detroit, sent in lists of men living near Fort Pitt who were anxious to settle under the British government if they could get lands, most of them being men who had served in the Highland and 60th regiments. But it is safe to assume that no large number of these ever settled near Detroit, for when Hay arrived in Detroit in the summer of 1784, he found only one Loyalist at the post itself. There had been for more than a generation a settlement of French Canadians at Detroit; but it was not until after 1791 that the English element became at all considerable.
It has been estimated that in the country above Montréal in 1783 there were ten thousand Loyalists, and that by 1791 this number had increased to twenty-five thousand. These figures are certainly too large. Pitt's estimate of the population of Upper Canada in 1791 was only ten thousand. This is probably much nearer the mark. The overwhelming majority of these people were of very humble origin. Comparatively few of the half-pay officers settled above Montréal before 1791; and most of these were, as Haldimand said, 'mechanics, only removed from one situation to practise their trade in another.' Major Van Alstine, it appears, was a blacksmith before he came to Canada. That many of the Loyalists were illiterate is evident from the testimony of the Rev. William Smart, a Presbyterian
clergyman who came to Upper Canada in 1811: 'There were but few of the U. E. Loyalists who possessed a complete education. He was personally acquainted with many, especially along the St Lawrence and Bay of Quinte, and by no means were all educated, or men of judgment; even the half-pay officers, many of them, had but a limited education.' The aristocrats of the 'Family Compact' party did not come to Canada with the Loyalists of 1783; they came, in most cases, after 1791, some of them from Britain, such as Bishop Strachan, and some of them from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, such as the Jarvises and the Robinsons. This fact is one which serves to explain a great deal in Upper Canadian history.
COMPENSATION AND HONOUR
Throughout the war the British government had constantly granted relief and compensation to Loyalists who had fled to England. In the autumn of 1782 the treasury was paying out to them, on account of losses or services, an annual amount of 40,280 pounds over and above occasional payments of a particular or extraordinary nature amounting to 17,000 pounds or 18,000 pounds annually. When peace had been concluded, and it became clear that the Americans had no intention of making restitution to the Loyalists, the British government determined to put the payments for their compensation on a more satisfactory basis.
For this purpose the Coalition Government of Fox and North appointed in July 1783 a royal commission 'to inquire into the losses and services of all such persons who have suffered in their rights, properties, and professions during the late unhappy dissensions in America, in consequence of their loyalty to His Majesty and attachment to the British Government.' A full account of the proceedings of the commission is to be found in the Historical View of the Commission for Inquiry into the Losses, Services, and Claims of the American Loyalists, published in London in 1815 by one of the commissioners, John Eardley Wilmot. The commission was originally
appointed to sit for only two years; but the task which confronted it was so great that it was found necessary several times to renew the act under which it was appointed; and not until 1790 was the long inquiry brought to an end. It was intended at first that the claims of the men in the Loyalist regiments should be sent in through their officers; and Sir John Johnson, for instance, was asked to transmit the claims of the Loyalists settled in Canada. But it was found that this method did not provide sufficient guarantee against fraudulent and exorbitant claims; and eventually members of the commission were compelled to go in person to New York, Nova Scotia, and Canada.
The delay in concluding the work of the commission caused great indignation. A tract which appeared in London in 1788 entitled The Claim of the American Loyalists Reviewed and Maintained upon Incontrovertible Principles of Law and Justice drew a black picture of the results of the delay:
It is well known that this delay of justice has produced the most melancholy and shocking events. A number of
sufferers have been driven into insanity and become their own destroyers, leaving behind them their helpless
widows and orphans to subsist upon the cold charity of strangers. Others have been sent to cultivate the
wilderness for their subsistence, without having the means, and compelled through want to throw themselves
on the mercy of the American States, and the charity of former friends, to support the life which might
have been made comfortable by the money long since due by the British Government; and many others with
their families are barely subsisting upon a temporary allowance from Government, a mere pittance when compared
with the sum due them.
Complaints were also made about the methods of the inquiry. The claimant was taken into a room alone with the commissioners, was asked to submit a written and sworn statement as to his losses and services, and was then cross-examined both with regard to his own losses and those of his fellow claimants. This cross-questioning was freely denounced as an 'inquisition.'
Grave inconvenience was doubtless caused in many cases by the delay of the commissioners in making their awards. But on the other hand it should be remembered that the commissioners had before them a portentous task. They had to examine between four thousand and five thousand claims. In most of these the amount of detail to be gone through was considerable, and the danger of fraud was great. There was the difficulty also of determining just what losses should be compensated. The rule which was followed was that claims should be allowed only for losses of property through loyalty, for loss of offices held before the war, and for loss of actual professional income. No account was taken of lands bought or improved during the war, of uncultivated lands, of property mortgaged to its full value or with defective titles, of damage done by British troops, or of forage taken by them. Losses due to the fall in the value of the provincial paper money were thrown out, as were also expenses incurred while in prison or while living in New York city. Even losses in trade and labour were discarded. It will be seen that to apply these rules to thousands of detailed claims, all of which had to be verified, was not the work of a few days, or even months.
It must be remembered, too, that during the years from 1783 to 1790 the British government was doing a great deal for the Loyalists in other ways. Many of the better class received offices under the crown. Sir John Johnson was appointed superintendent of the Loyalists in Canada, and then superintendent of Indian Affairs; Colonel Edmund Fanning was made lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia; Ward Chipman became solicitor-general of New Brunswick. The officers of the Loyalist regiments were put on half-pay; and there is evidence that many were allowed thus to rank as half-pay officers who had no real claim to the title. 'Many,' said the Rev. William Smart of Brockville, 'were placed on the list of officers, not because they had seen service, but as the most certain way of compensating them for losses sustained in the Rebellion'; and Haldimand himself complained that 'there is no end to it if every man that comes in is to be considered and paid as an officer.' Then every Loyalist who wished to do so received a grant of land. The rule was that each field officer should receive 5,000 acres, each captain 3,000, each subaltern 2,000, and each non-commissioned officer and private 200 acres. This rule was not uniformly observed, and there was great irregularity in the size of the grants. Major Van Alstine, for instance, received only 1,200 acres. But in what was afterwards Upper Canada, 3,200,000 acres were granted out to Loyalists before 1787. And in addition to all this, the British government clothed and fed and housed the Loyalists until they were able to provide for themselves. There were those in Nova Scotia who were receiving rations as late as 1792. What all this must have cost the government during the years following 1783 it is difficult to compute. Including the cost of surveys, official salaries, the building of saw-mills and grist-mills, and such things, the figures must have run up to several millions of pounds.
When it is remembered that all this had been already done, it will be admitted to be a proof of the generosity of the British government that the total of the claims allowed by the royal commission amounted to 3,112,455 pounds.
The grants varied in size from 10 pounds, the compensation paid to a common soldier, to 44,500 pounds, the amount paid to Sir John Johnson. The total outlay on the part of Great Britain, both during and after the war, on account of the Loyalists, must have amounted to not less than 6,000,000 pounds, exclusive of the value of the lands assigned.
With the object possibly of assuaging the grievances of which the Loyalists complained in connection with the proceedings of the royal commission, Lord Dorchester (as Sir Guy Carleton was by that time styled) proposed in 1789 'to put a Marke of Honor upon the families who had adhered to the unity of the empire, and joined the Royal Standard in America before the Treaty of Separation in the year 1783.' It was therefore resolved that all Loyalists of that description were 'to be distinguished by the letters U. E. affixed to their names, alluding to their great principle, the unity of the empire.' The land boards were ordered to preserve a registry of all such persons, 'to the end that their posterity may be discriminated from future settlers,' and that their sons and daughters, on coming of age, might receive grants of two hundred acre lots. Unfortunately, the land boards carried out these instructions in a very half-hearted manner, and when Colonel John Graves Simcoe became lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, he found the regulation a dead letter. He therefore revived it in a proclamation issued at York (now Toronto), on April 6, 1796, which directed the magistrates to ascertain under oath and to register the names of all those who by reason of their loyalty to the Empire were entitled to special distinction and grants of land. A list was compiled from the land board registers, from the provision lists and muster lists, and from the registrations made upon oath, which was known as the 'Old U. E. List'; and it is a fact often forgotten that no one, the names of some of whose ancestors are not inscribed in that list, has the right to describe himself as a United Empire Loyalist.
THE AMERICAN MIGRATION
From the first the problem of governing the settlements above Montréal perplexed the authorities. It was very early proposed to erect them into a separate province, as New Brunswick had been erected into a separate province. But Lord Dorchester was opposed to any such arrangement. 'It appears to me,' he wrote to Lord Sydney, 'that the western settlements are as yet unprepared for any organization superior to that of a county.' In 1787, therefore, the country west of Montréal was divided into four districts, for a time named Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nassau, and Hesse. Lunenburg stretched from the western boundary of the province of Québec to the Gananoqui; Mecklenburg, from the Gananoqui to the Trent, flowing into the Bay of Quinte; Nassau, from the Trent to a line drawn due north from Long Point on Lake Erie; and Hesse, from this line to Detroit. We do not know who was responsible for inflicting these names on a new and unoffending country. Perhaps they were thought a compliment to the Hanoverian ruler of England. Fortunately they were soon dropped, and the names Eastern, Midland, Home, and Western were substituted.
This division of the settlements proved only temporary. It left the Loyalists under the arbitrary system of government set up in Québec by the Québec Act of 1774, under which they enjoyed no representative institutions whatever. It was not long before petitions began to pour in from them asking that they should be granted a representative assembly. Undoubtedly Lord Dorchester had underestimated the desire among them for representative institutions. In 1791, therefore, the country west of the Ottawa river, with the exception of a triangle of land at the junction of the Ottawa and the St Lawrence, was erected by the Constitutional Act into a separate province, with the name of Upper Canada; and this province was granted a representative assembly of fifteen members.
The lieutenant-governor appointed for the new province was Colonel John Graves Simcoe. During the war Colonel Simcoe had been the commanding officer of the Queen's Rangers, which had been largely composed of Loyalists, and he was therefore not unfitted to govern the new province. He was theoretically under the control of Lord Dorchester at Québec; but his relations with Dorchester were somewhat strained, and he succeeded in making himself virtually independent in his western jurisdiction. Though he seemed phlegmatic, he possessed a vigorous and enterprising disposition, and he planned great things for Upper Canada. He explored the country in search of the best site for a capital; and it is interesting to know that he had such faith in the future of Upper Canada that he actually contemplated placing the capital in what was then the virgin wilderness about the river Thames. He inaugurated a policy of building roads and improving communications which showed great foresight; and he entered upon an immigration propaganda, by means of proclamations advertising free land grants, which brought a great increase of population to the province.
Simcoe believed that there were still in the United States after 1791 many people who had remained loyal at heart to Great Britain, and who were profoundly dissatisfied with their lot under the new American government. It was his object to attract these people to Upper Canada by means of his proclamations; and there is no doubt that he was partly successful. But he also attracted many who had no other motive in coming to Canada than their desire to obtain free land grants, and whose attachment to the British crown was of the most recent origin. These people were freely branded by the original settlers as 'Americans'; and there is no doubt that in many cases the name expressed their real sympathies.
The War of the Revolution had hardly been brought to a conclusion when some of the Americans showed a tendency to migrate into Canada. In 1783, when the American Colonel Willet was attempting an attack on the British garrison at Oswego, American traders, with an impudence which was superb, were arriving at Niagara. In 1784 some rebels who had attempted to pose as Loyalists were ejected from the settlements at Cataraqui. And after Simcoe began to advertise free land grants to all who would take the oath of allegiance to King George, hundreds of Americans flocked across the border. The Duc de la Rochefoucauld, a French emigré who travelled through Upper Canada in 1795, and who has given us the best account of the province at that time, asserted that there were in Upper Canada many who falsely profess an attachment to the British monarch and curse the Government of the Union for the mere purpose of getting possession of the lands.' 'We met in this excursion,' says La Rochefoucauld in another place, 'an American family who, with some oxen, cows, and sheep, were emigrating to Canada. "We come," said they, "to the governor," whom they did not know, "to see
whether he will give us land." "Aye, aye," the governor replied, "you are tired of the federal government; you like not any longer to have so many kings; you wish again for your old father" (it is thus the governor calls the British monarch when he speaks with Americans); "you are perfectly right; come along, we love such good Royalists as you are; we will give you land."'
Other testimony is not lacking. Writing in 1799 Richard Cartwright said, 'It has so happened that a great portion of the population of that part of the province which extends from the head of the Bay of Kenty upwards is composed of persons who have evidently no claim to the appellation of Loyalists.' In some districts it was a cause of grievance that persons from the States entered the province, petitioned for lands, took the necessary oaths, and, having obtained possession of the land, resold it, pocketed the money, and returned to build up the American Union. As late as 1816 a letter appeared in the Kingston _Gazette_ in which the complaint is made that 'people who have come into the country from the States, marry into a family, and obtain a lot of wild land, get John Ryder to move the landmarks, and instead of a wild lot, take by force a fine house and barn and orchard, and a well-cultivated farm, and turn the old Tory (as he is called) out of his house, and all his labour for thirty years.'
Never at any other time perhaps have conditions been so favourable in Canada for land-grabbing and land-speculation as they were then. Owing to the large amount of land granted to absentee owners, and to the policy of free land grants announced by Simcoe, land was sold at a very low price. In some cases two hundred acre lots were sold for a gallon of rum. In 1791 Sir William Pullency, an English speculator, bought 1,500,000 acres of land in Upper Canada at one shilling an acre, and sold 700,000 acres later for an average of eight shillings an acre. Under these circumstances it was not surprising that many Americans, with their shrewd business instincts, flocked into the country.
It is clear, then, that a large part of the immigration which took place under Simcoe was not Loyalist in its character. From this, it must not be understood that the new-comers were not good settlers. Even Richard Cartwright confessed that they had 'resources in themselves which other people are usually strangers to.' They compared very favourably with the Loyalists who came from England and the Maritime Provinces, who were described by Cartwright as 'idle and profligate.' The great majority of the American settlers became loyal subjects of the British crown; and it was only when the American army invaded Canada in 1812, and when William Lyon Mackenzie made a push for independence in 1837, that the non-Loyalist character of some of the early immigration became apparent.
THE LOYALIST IN HIS NEW HOME
The social history of the United Empire Loyalists was not greatly different from that of other pioneer settlers in the Canadian forest. Their homes were such as could have been seen until recently in many of the outlying parts of the country. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick some of the better class of settlers were able to put up large and comfortable wooden houses, some of which are still standing. But even there most of them had to be content with primitive quarters. Edward Winslow was not a poor man, as poverty was reckoned in those days. Yet he lived in rather meagre style. He described his house at Granville, opposite Annapolis, as being 'almost as large as my log house, divided into two rooms, where we are snug as pokers.' Two years later, after he had made additions to it, he proposed advertising it for sale in the following terms: 'That elegant House now occupied by the Honourable E. W., one of His Majesty's Council for the Province of New Brunswick, consisting of four beautiful Rooms on the first Floor, highly finished. Also two spacious lodging chambers in the second story--a capacious dry cellar with arches &c. &c. &c.' In Upper Canada, owing to the difficulty of obtaining building materials, the houses of the half-pay officers were even less pretentious. A traveller passing through the country about Johnstown in 1792 described Sir John Johnson's house as 'a small country lodge, neat, but as the grounds are only beginning to be cleared, there was nothing of interest.'
The home of the average Loyalist was a log-cabin. Sometimes the cabin contained one room, sometimes two. Its dimensions were as a rule no more than fourteen feet by eighteen feet, and sometimes ten by fifteen. The roofs were constructed of bark or small hollowed basswood logs, overlapping one another like tiles. The windows were as often as not covered not with glass, but with oiled paper. The chimneys were built of sticks and clay, or rough unmortared stones, since bricks were not procurable; sometimes there was no chimney, and the smoke was allowed to find its way out through a hole in the bark roof. Where it was impossible to obtain lumber, the doors were made of pieces of timber split into rough boards; and in some cases the hinges and latches were made of wood. These old log cabins, with the chinks between the logs filled in with clay and moss, were still to be seen standing in many parts of the country as late as fifty years ago. Though primitive, they seem to have been not uncomfortable; and many of the old settlers clung to them
long after they could have afforded to build better. This was doubtless partly due to the fact that log-houses were exempt from the taxation laid on frame, brick, and stone structures.
A few of the Loyalists succeeded in bringing with them to Canada some sticks of furniture or some family heirlooms. Here and there a family would possess an ancient spindle, a pair of curiously-wrought fire-dogs, or a quaint pair of hand-bellows. But these relics of a former life merely served to accentuate the rudeness of the greater part of the furniture of the settlers. Chairs, benches, tables, beds, chests, were fashioned by hand from the rough wood. The descendant of one family has described how the family dinner-table was a large stump, hewn flat on top, standing in the middle of the floor. The cooking was done at the open fireplace; it was not until well on in the nineteenth century that stoves came into common use in Canada.
The clothing of the settlers was of the most varied description. Here and there was one who had brought with him the tight knee-breeches and silver-buckled shoes of polite society. But many had arrived with only what was on their backs; and these soon found their garments, no matter how carefully darned and patched, succumb to the effects of time and labour. It was not long before the settlers learnt from the Indians the art of making clothing out of deer-skin. Trousers made of this material were found both comfortable and durable. 'A gentleman who recently died in Sophiasburg at an advanced age, remembered to have worn a pair for twelve years, being repaired occasionally, and at the end they were sold for two dollars and a half.' Petticoats for women were also made of deer-skin. 'My grandmother,' says one descendant, 'made all sorts of useful dresses with these skins, which were most comfortable for a country life, and for going through the bush [since they] could not be torn by the branches.' There were of course, some articles of clothing which could not readily be made of leather; and very early the settlers commenced growing flax and raising sheep for their wool. Home-made linen and clothing of linsey-woolsey were used in the settlements by high and low alike. It was not until the close of the eighteenth century that articles of apparel, other than those made at home of flax and wool, were easily obtainable. A calico dress was a great luxury. Few daughters expected to have one until it was bought for their wedding-dress. Great efforts were always made to array the bride in fitting costume; and sometimes a dress, worn by the mother in other days, amid other scenes, was brought forth, yellow and discoloured with the lapse of time.
There was little money in the settlements. What little there was came in pay to the soldiers or the half-pay officers. Among the greater part of the population, business was carried on by barter. In Upper Canada the lack of specie was partly overcome by the use of a kind of paper money. 'This money consists of small squares of card or paper, on which are printed promissory notes for various sums. These notes are made payable once a year, generally about the latter end of September at Montréal. The name of the merchant or firm is subscribed.' This was merely an extension of the system of credit still in use with country merchants, but it provided the settlers with a very convenient substitute for cash. The merchants did not suffer, as frequently this paper money was lost, and never presented; and cases were known of its use by Indians as wadding for their flint-locks.
Social instincts among the settlers were strongly marked. Whenever a family was erecting a house or barn, the neighbours as a rule lent a helping hand. While the men were raising barn-timbers and roof-trees, the women gathered about the quilting-frames or the spinning-wheels. After the work was done, it was usual to have a festival. The young men wrestled and showed their prowess at trials of strength; the rest looked on and applauded. In the evening there was a dance, at which the local musician scraped out tuneless tunes on an ancient fiddle; and there was of course hearty eating and, it is to be feared, heavy drinking.
Schools and churches were few and far between. A number of Loyalist clergy settled both in Nova Scotia and in Upper Canada, and these held services and taught school in the chief centres of population. The Rev. John Stuart was, for instance, appointed chaplain in 1784 at Cataraqui; and in 1786 he opened an academy there, for which he received government aid. In time other schools sprang up, taught by retired soldiers or farmers who were incapacitated for other work. The tuition given in these schools was of the most elementary sort. La Rochefoucauld, writing of Cataraqui in 1795, says: 'In this district are some schools, but they are few in number. The children are instructed in reading and writing, and pay each a dollar a month. One of the masters, superior to the rest in point of knowledge, taught Latin; but he has left the school, without being succeeded by another instructor of the same learning.' 'At seven years of age,' writes the son of a Loyalist family, 'I was one of those who patronized Mrs Cranahan, who opened a Sylvan Seminary for the young idea in Adolphustown; from thence, I went to Jonathan Clark's, and then tried Thomas Morden, lastly William Faulkiner, a relative of the Hagermans. You may suppose that these graduations to Parnassus was [sic] carried into effect, because a large amount of knowledge could be obtained. Not so; for Dilworth's Spelling Book, and the New Testament, were the only books possessed by these academies.'
The lack of a clergy was even more marked. When Bishop Mountain visited Upper Canada in 1794, he found only one Lutheran chapel and two Presbyterian churches between Montréal and Kingston. At Kingston he found 'a small but decent church,' and about the Bay of Quinte there were three or four log huts which were used by the Church of England missionary in the neighbourhood. At Niagara there was a clergyman, but no church; the services were held in the Freemasons' Hall. This lack of a regularly-ordained clergy was partly remedied by a number of itinerant Methodist preachers or 'exhorters.' These men were described by Bishop Mountain as 'a set of ignorant enthusiasts, whose preaching is calculated only to perplex the understanding, to corrupt the morals, to relax the nerves of industry, and dissolve the bands of society.' But they gained a very strong hold on the Loyalist population; and for a long time they were familiar figures upon the country roads.
For many years communications both in New Brunswick and in Upper Canada were mainly by water. The roads between the settlements were little more than forest paths. When Colonel Simcoe went to Upper Canada he planned to build a road running across the province from Montréal to the river Thames, to be called Dundas Street. He was recalled, however, before the road was completed; and the project was allowed to fall through. In 1793 an act was passed by the legislature of Upper Canada 'to regulate the laying out, amending, and keeping in repair, the public highways and roads.' This threw on the individual settler the obligation of keeping the road across his lot in good repair; but the large amount of crown lands and clergy reserves and land held by speculators throughout the province made this act of little avail. It was not until 1798 that a road was run from the Bay of Quinte to the head of Lake Ontario, by an American surveyor named Asa Danforth. But even this government road was at times impassable; and there is evidence that some travellers preferred to follow the shore of the lake.
It will be seen from these notes on social history that the Loyalists had no primrose path. But after the first grumblings and discontents, poured into the ears of Governor Haldimand and Governor Parr, they seem to have settled down contentedly to their lot; and their life appears to have been on the whole happy. Especially in the winter, when they had some leisure, they seem to have
known how to enjoy themselves.
In the winter season, nothing is more ardently wished for, by young persons of both sexes, in Upper Canada,
than the setting in of frost, accompanied by a fall of snow. Then it is, that pleasure commences her reign.
The sleighs are drawn out. Visits are paid, and returned, in all directions. Neither cold, distance,
or badness of roads prove any impediment. The sleighs glide over all obstacles. It would excite surprise in
a stranger to view the open before the Governor's House on a levee morning, filled with these carriages.
A sleigh would not probably make any great figure in Bond street, whose silken sons and daughters would
probably mistake it for a turnip cart, but in the Canadas, it is the means of pleasure, and glowing
healthful exercise. An overturn is nothing. It contributes subject matter for conversation at the
next house that is visited, when a pleasant raillery often arises on the derangement of dress, which the
ladies have sustained, and the more than usual display of graces, which the tumble has occasioned.
This picture, drawn in 1793 by a nameless traveller, is an evidence of the courage and buoyancy of heart with which the United Empire Loyalists faced the toils and privations of life in their new home.
Not drooping like poor fugitives they came
In exodus to our Canadian wilds,
But full of heart and hope, with heads erect
And fearless eyes victorious in defeat.
It is astonishing how little documentary evidence the Loyalists left behind them with regard to their migration. Among those who fled to England there were a few who kept diaries and journals, or wrote memoirs, which have found their way into print; and some contemporary records have been published with regard to the settlements of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. But of the Loyalists who settled in Upper and Lower Canada there is hardly one who left behind him a written account of his experiences. The reason for this is that many of them were illiterate, and those who were literate were so occupied with carving a home for themselves out of the wilderness that they had neither time nor inclination for literary labours. Were it not for the state papers preserved in England, and for a collection of papers made by Sir Frederick Haldimand, the Swiss soldier of fortune who was governor of Québec at the time of the migration, and who had a passion for filing documents away, our knowledge of the settlements in the Canadas would be of the most sketchy character.
It would serve no good purpose to attempt here an exhaustive account of the printed sources relating to the United Empire Loyalists. All that can be done is to indicate some of the more important. The only general history of the Loyalists is Egerton Ryerson, The Loyalists of America and Their Times (2 vols., 1880); it is diffuse and antiquated, and is written in a spirit of undiscriminating admiration of the Loyalists, but it contains much good material. Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution (2 vols., 1864), is an old book, but it is a storehouse of information about individual Loyalists, and it contains a suggestive introductory essay. Some admirable work on the Loyalists has been done by recent American historians. Claude H. Van Tyne, The Loyalists in the American Revolution (1902), is a readable and scholarly study, based on extensive researches into documentary and
newspaper sources. The Loyalist point of view will be found admirably set forth in M. C. Tyler, The Literary History of the American Revolution (2 vols., 1897), and The Party of the Loyalists in the American Revolution (American Historical Review, I, 24). Of special studies in a limited field the most valuable and important is A. C. Flick, Loyalism in New York (1901); it is the result of exhaustive researches, and contains an excellent bibliography of printed and manuscript sources. Other studies in a limited field are James H. Stark, The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution (1910), and G. A. Gilbert, The Connecticut Loyalists (American Historical Review, IV, 273).
For the settlements of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the most important source is The Winslow Papers (edited by W. O. Raymond, 1901), an admirably annotated collection of private letters written by and to Colonel Edward Winslow. Some of the official correspondence relating to the migration is calendared in the Historical Manuscript Commission's Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain (1909), Much material will be found in the provincial histories of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, such as Beamish Murdoch, A History of Nova Scotia or Acadie (3 vols., 1867), and James Hannay, History of New Brunswick (2 vols., 1909), and also in the local and county histories. The story of the Loyalists of Prince Edward Island is contained in W. H. Siebert and Florence E. Gilliam, The Loyalists in Prince Edward Island (Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, IV, ii, 109). An account of the Shelburne colony will be found in T. Watson Smith, The Loyalists at Shelburne (Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, VI, 53).
For the settlements in Upper and Lower Canada, the most important source is the Haldimand Papers, which are fully calendared in the Reports of the Canadian Archives from 1884 to 1889. J. McIlwraith, Sir Frederick Haldimand (1904), contains a chapter on 'The Loyalists' which is based upon these papers. The most important secondary source is William Canniff, History of the Settlement of Upper Canada (1869), a book the value of which is seriously diminished by lack of reference to authorities, and by a slipshod style, but which contains a vast amount of material preserved nowhere else. Among local histories reference may be made to C. M. Day, Pioneers of the Eastern Townships (1863), James Croil, Dundas (1861), and J. F. Pringle, Lunenburgh or the Old Eastern District (1891). An interesting essay in local history is L. H. Tasker, The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie (Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, II). For the later immigration reference should be made to D. C. Scott, John Graves Simcoe (1905), and Ernest Cruikshank, Immigration from the United States into Upper Canada, 1784-1812 (Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth Convention of the Ontario Educational Association, 263).
An authoritative account of the proceedings of the commissioners appointed to inquire into the losses of the Loyalists is to be found in J. E. Wilmot, Historical View of the Commission for Inquiry into the Losses, Services, and Claims of the American Loyalists (1815).
For the social history of the Loyalist settlements a useful book is A 'Canuck' (M. G. Scherk), Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada (1905). Many interesting notes on social history will be found also in accounts of travels such as the Duc de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Travels through the United States of North America, the Country of the Iroquois, and Upper Canada (1799), The Diary of Mrs John Graves Simcoe (edited by J. Ross Robertson, 1911), and Canadian Letters: Description of a Tour thro' the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada in the Course of the Years 1792 and '93 (The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal, IX, 3 and 4).
An excellent index to unprinted materials relating to the Loyalists is Wilfred Campbell, Report on Manuscript Lists Relating to the United Empire Loyalists, with Reference to Other Sources (1909).
See also in this Series: The Father of British Canada; The War Chief of the Six Nations.
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