The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 2 of 2 - From 1620-1816
by Edgerton Ryerson
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FROM 1620 TO 1816.


Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada from 1844 to 1876.








ENTERED, according to the Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year One thousand eight hundred and eighty, by the REV. EGERTON RYERSON, D.D., LL.D, in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.




Alliance deferred twelve months by France after it was applied for by Congress, until the King of France was assured that no reconciliation would take place between England and the Colonies 1

Lord Admiral Howe and his brother, General Howe, Commissioners to confer with Congress with a view to reconciliation; their power limited; Congress refuses all conference with them, but the vast majority of the Colonists in favour of reconciliation 2

Reasons of the failure of the two Commissioners 4

New penal laws against the Loyalists 5

Three Acts of Parliament passed to remove all grounds of complaint on the part of the Colonists, and the appointment of five Commissioners; Lord North's conciliatory speech; excitement and opposition in the Commons, but the bills were passed and received the royal assent 6

Lord North's proposed resignation, and preparations for it 8

Opinions of Lords Macaulay and Mahon as to the success of a commission; proposed terms of reconciliation if appointed and proposed by the Earl of Chatham 8

The large powers and most liberal propositions of the five Royal Commissioners for reconciliation between the Colonies and the Mother Country 11

The refusal of all negotiation on the part of Congress; bound by treaty to the King of France to make no peace with England without the consent of the French Court 12

The three Acts of Parliament, and proposals of the five Commissioners of all that the Colonists had desired before the Declaration of Independence; but Congress had transferred allegiance from England to France, without even consulting their constituents 12

Appeal of the representative of France to the Canadians to detach Canada from England (in a note) 12

Sycophancy of the leaders of Congress to France against England 13

The feeling of the people in both England and America different from that of the leaders of Congress 14

The war more acrimonious after the alliance between Congress and the Kingof France and the failure of the British Commissioners to promote reconciliation between Great Britain and the Colonies 16



Count D'Estaing arrives in America with a powerful fleet and several thousand soldiers 17

Anchors off Sandy Hook for eleven days; goes to Long Island by Washington's advice, and sails up Newport River, whither he is pursued by the Lord Admiral Howe with a less powerful fleet; the ships, with 4,000 French soldiers and 10,000 Americans, to land and attack the British on Long Island, who were only 5,000 strong 17

The two fleets separated by a storm; only fighting between individual ships 18

Count D'Estaing, against the remonstrances and protests of American officers, determines to sail for Boston Harbour for the repair of his ships 18

Bitter feeling and riot between the American sailors and citizens and French seamen and soldiers in the streets of Boston 19

Raids in New England by British expeditions (in a note) 19

Differences between Count D'Estaing and the American officers as to the mode of attacking the British on Long Island 19

Early in November Count D'Estaing with his fleet quitted the port of Boston and sailed for the West Indies, thus disappointing the hopes of the Americans from the French alliance 20

Count D'Estaing, though strengthened by the fleet of Count De Grasse, could not be induced to come to close fight with Admiral Byron 21

The French take St. Vincent 21

Count D'Estaing complained of by the Americans to the French Court, which orders him to return to the American coasts and assist the Colonists 22

D'Estaing arrives suddenly on the American coasts with twenty-two sail-of-the-line and eleven frigates and six thousand soldiers; his magnificent plans and expectations 22

D'Estaing arranges with General Lincoln to attack Savannah and rescue the province of Georgia, and afterwards other Southern provinces, from the British 23

Account of the Siege of Savannah, and the defeat of the French and their American allies; result of the contest 24

Mutual recriminations and jealousies between the French and American officers; Count D'Estaing sails with his fleet for France 25

Why this minute account of Count D'Estaing's abortive expeditions to America; the barren results of the first two years' alliance between Congress and the King of France, by Dr. Ramsay 27

Spain joins France against England in 1779 28

Low state of the American army and finances; discouragement and despondency of the Americans in 1780 28

The degeneracy of Congress in 1778, as stated by General Washington 29

Depreciation of public credit; sale of the confiscated property of "Tories" 30



Depression of American finances 32

Weakness of Washington's army 32

La Fayette returns from France with a loan of money and reinforcements of naval and land forces 33

The British receive naval reinforcement of war ships, and become superior to the French 33

Failure of the French reinforcements 33

Sir Henry Clinton goes South; besieges and takes Charleston 34

Conditions of the surrender and treatment of the inhabitants, as stated by Dr. Ramsay and misrepresented by Mr. Bancroft 35

Sir Henry Clinton's bad administration and bad proclamation in South Carolina; his exaggerated statements of his success; re-embarks at Charleston for New York 36

Expeditions to secure the universal submission of the people; but they weakened the cause of the British in the hearts of the people 36

The military power of Congress reduced and crushed in the Southern States 37

Lord Cornwallis's antecedents, and those of Lord Rawdon (afterwards Marquis of Hastings); but their severe policy unjustifiable and injurious to the British cause 38

Military proceedings in the North also unfavourable to the Congress; its confessed weakness and gloomy prospects 40

Appeal of Congress to France for men and money as their only hope 40

Washington's despondency without French aid (in a note) 41

Mr. Hildreth, the historian, on the gloomy state of American affairs at the close of the year 1780, though the English victories and rule did not attract the hearts of the people to the British cause 41



General Washington and the French Commander plan an expedition to the South 42

Sir Henry Clinton deceived as to their design 43

Count De Grasse sails for the Chesapeake with a fleet of 28 ships and 7,000 French troops 43

Remarkable march of the allied army, five hundred miles from New York to Virginia, without committing any depredations whatever upon the inhabitants, even in the season of fruits 43

Plan of the siege of York Town 44

Earl Cornwallis's measures of defence 44

Position and strength of the allied forces, and their process of operations 45

Lord Cornwallis's courageous and protracted defence; is disappointed of promised reinforcements from New York 45

Lord Cornwallis capitulates to superior forces 45

Conditions of capitulation 46

Circumstances of the Loyalists 46

Groundless boastings of American orators and writers over the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, commanding but a small part of the British forces 47

The unrivalled skill and courage of Washington undoubted, as well as the bravery and endurance of his soldiers; but the success of the siege of York Town chiefly owing to the French, but for whose ships, artillery and land forces, Lord Cornwallis would have been the conqueror, rather than conquered, in this famous siege and battle 47

The resources of England; the peace party opposed to the continuance of the American War irrespective of the Battle of York Town 48

The war party and corrupt administration at length defeated in the House of Commons, after repeated and protracted debates and various intrigues 50

Change of Government, and end of Lord North's twelve years' administration 51

Seven years' war and bloodshed, and an unnatural alliance would have been prevented, liberty secured, and the united life of the Anglo-Saxon race saved, had Congress, in 1776, adhered to its previous professions (in a note) 52



Names of the new Ministers; death of the Marquis of Rockingham, the Premier, succeeded by the Earl of Shelburne, in consequence of which several Ministers resign, and are succeeded by others, among whom was Pitt, as Chancellor of the Exchequer (in a note) 53

Correspondence between Dr. Franklin, at Paris, and the Earl of Shelburne, which led to negotiations for peace 54

Parliament does not pass an Act to authorize peace with America until three months after the accession of the new Ministry 54

Dr. Franklin proposes to include Canada in the United States 54

English and American Commissioners meet at Paris and hold protracted negotiations, with many delays, in regard to terms of peace 56

Two most difficult questions of the treaty—The fishing grounds of Newfoundland and the Loyalists 56

It was agreed that the Americans should have the right to take fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, but not to dry or cure them on any of the King's settled dominions 56

Preamble and articles of the treaty (in a note) 56

The most important question of the Loyalists 57

They constituted the majority of the population of the Colonies at the beginning of the contest 57

It was at length agreed that the Congress should recommend to the several States to compensate the Loyalists; but Dr. Franklin anticipated no success from it, as of course he did not desire it 58

Dr. Franklin's counter-scheme to defeat the proposition of the English Commissioners, who gave way 58

Dr. Ramsay on the Loyalists being "sacrificed" to their sufferings 59

Mr. Hildreth on the same subject 61

What was demanded for the Loyalists had been sanctioned by all modern civilized nations in like circumstances 61

How honourable to the United States to have imitated such examples 62

The fallacy of the plea or pretext that Congress had no power to grant an amnesty and compensation to the Loyalists 62

Severe censure of the royal historian, Dr. Andrews, upon the English Commissioners for having agreed to sacrifice the Loyalists (in a note) 62

"All parties in the Commons unanimously demand amnesty and indemnity for the Loyalists." (Bancroft, in a note) 62

Dr. Franklin and his colleagues outwitted the English Commissioners not only in regard to the Loyalists but also in regard to immense territories 63

Deplorable condition of the Loyalists during the war; utter abandonment by the English Commissioners 64





The policy of the British Ministry in employing foreign soldiers and Indians in the war with the Colonies deprecated by all classes in England and America and throughout Europe 72

Violent opposition in Parliament to the hiring of foreign troops; exasperation in the Colonies (in a note) 73

Unreliable and bad character of the Hessian mercenaries 74

Remarks upon the bad policy of employing them, and their bad conduct, by the royal historian (in a note) 74

The employment of Indians still more condemned and denounced than the hiring of foreign troops 74

Employment of Indians by both the French and English during the war of 1755-63, between France and England 75

At the close of the war the French authorities recommended the Indians to cultivate the friendship of England 75

Both Congress and the English sought the alliance and co-operation of the Indians; misstatements of the Declaration of Independence on this subject (in a note); the advantages of the latter over the former in conciliating the Indians 75

The employment of the Indians in every respect disadvantageous to England 76

English Generals in America individually opposed to the employment of the Indians in the military campaigns 76

Failure, if not defeat, of General Burgoyne's army by the bad conduct, and desertion, of his Indian allies 76

But Washington and Congress, as well as the English Government, sanctioned the employment of the Indians in the war, and the first idea of thus employing them originated with the first promoters of revolution in Massachusetts 77

Omissions of American writers to state that the aggressions and retaliations of the Congress soldiers and their coadjutors far exceeded in severity and destruction the aggressions and retaliations of the Indians on the white inhabitants 77

Many letters and biographies of actors in the Revolution show that very much of what was written or reported during the Revolution against the English Loyalists and Indians was fictitious or exaggerated 78

Proceedings of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts (before the affairs of Concord and Lexington) to enlist and employ the Indians against the British 79

General Washington, under date of July 27th, 1776, recommends the employment of Indians in the revolutionary cause 80

The Americans have no ground of boasting over the English in regard to the employment of Indians and their acts during the war 81

Efforts of General Burgoyne to restrain the Indians, who were an incumbrance to his army, and whose conduct alienated great numbers of Loyalists from the British cause 82

The conduct and dread of the Indians roused great numbers to become recruits in General Gates' army, and thus rendered it far more numerous than the army of General Burgoyne (in a note) 83

American invasion and depredations in the Indian country the latter part of 1776, as stated by Dr. Ramsay 84

The invasion unprovoked, but professedly as a "precaution" to "prevent all future co-operation between the Indians and British in that quarter" bordering in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia 84

Complete destruction of Indian settlements; their country a desolation 84



The original inflated and imaginary accounts of the "Massacre of Wyoming" 85

Four versions of it by accredited historians 85

The account given by Dr. Ramsay 87

Remarks upon Dr. Ramsay's account 88

Description of Wyoming 88

Mr. Bancroft's account of the "Massacre" 88

Mr. Tucker's brief account of the "Massacre" 90

Mr. Hildreth's more intelligible and consistent account of the "Massacre" 90

Remarks on the discrepancies in four essential particulars of these four accounts 94

Supplementary remarks, founded on Colonel Stone's refutation of the original fabulous statements of the "Massacre," in his "Life of Joseph Brant, including the Border Wars of the American Revolution" 98



Destruction of Indian villages and settlements for several miles on both sides of the Susquehanna by the Americans 99

Attack in retaliation "by Indians and Tories" on Cherry Valley, but more than revenged by Colonel G. Van Shaick on the settlements 99

The destruction of Indian villages and other settlements to the extent of "several miles on both sides of the Susquehanna," more than an equivalent revenge for the destruction of Wyoming (in a note) 100

This only the beginning of vengeance upon the Indian settlements on the part of the "Continentals;" cruelties compared 100

General Sullivan's expedition, and destruction of the towns, settlements, crops, and orchards of the Six Nations of Indians, as stated by Dr. Andrews 100

The same expedition, as stated by Mr. Bancroft, Mr. Hildreth, Mr. Holmes, and Dr. Ramsay 102

Further examples of "retaliation," so-called, inflicted upon the Indians and their settlements (in a note) 106

The "Tories," driven among the Indians as their only refuge, treated as traitors; their conduct and duty 108

Colonel Stone's account in detail of General Sullivan's expedition of extermination against the Six Nations of Indians 108

Dr. Franklin's fictions on the massacre and scalping of the whites by Indians, in order to inflame the American mind against England; his fictions recorded as history 115

Injustice done to the Indians in American accounts of them; their conduct compared with that of their white enemies 119



Summary of the condition and treatment of the Loyalists 123

The relation of both parties before the Declaration of Independence 123

How the Declaration of Independence changed the relations of parties both in England and America 123

At the Declaration of Independence the adherents to England the largest part of the population of the Colonies 124

Elements of their affectionate attachment to England 125

Their claims to have their rights and liberties respected 125

Their position and character stated by Mr. Hildreth; abused by mobs and oppressed by new Acts and authorities 125

John Adams the prompter and adviser for hanging "Tories;" his letter to the Governor of Massachusetts on the subject 127

First scene of severity against Loyalists at Boston; new American maxim of morals for not forgiving "Tories" 127

Treatment of Loyalists in New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, and other places 128

Kindness of the French officers and soldiers after the defeat of Lord Cornwallis 129


State Legislative and Executive acts against the Loyalists 130

Rhode Island; Connecticut 130

Massachusetts 131

New Hampshire; Virginia; New York 131

New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Delaware 132

Maryland; North Carolina; Georgia 132

South Carolina 134

Remarks on the Confiscation Acts and policy of the several States mentioned 136



Impolicy of such persecuting proceedings on the part of the States, by an American writer 141


Review of the principal characteristics of the American Revolution, and remarks on the feelings which should now be cultivated by both of the former contending parties, by Mr. J.M. Ludlow 145


Reflections of Lord Mahon on the American contest; apology for George III.; unhappiness of Americans since the Revolution; unity of the Anglo-Saxon Race 154




Proceedings in Parliament; refusal of the States to compensate the Loyalists, as proposed in the Treaty of Peace, and contrary to the example and practice of civilized nations 159

In the House of Commons, Mr. Wilberforce, Lord North, Lord Mulgrave, Secretary Townsend, Mr. Burke, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Norton, Sir Peter Burrell, Sir William Bootle, and other members of Parliament, spoke on the subject 160

In the House of Lords, Lords Walsingham, Townsend, Stormont, Sackville, Loughborough and Shelburne, also advocated the claims of the Loyalists 163

Grounds of the responsibility of Parliament to the Loyalists for compensation 164

Unpopular and unprecedented omissions in the terms of Peace 164

Fallacy of the argument of advocates of the Treaty 165


Agents in England of the Loyalists; proceedings of the Parliamentary Commission; results 166-182





1. Samuel Anderson; 2. Rev. John Bethune; 3. Doanes—five brothers; 4. Stephen Jarvis; 5. Wm. Jarvis; 6. David Jones; 7. Jonathan Jones; 8. Captain Richard Lippincott; 9. The McDonalds;10. John McGill; 11. Donald McGillis; 12. Thomas Merritt; 13. Beverley Robinson; 14. Beverley Robinson, jun.; 15. Christopher Robinson; 16. Sir John Beverley Robinson; 17. Sir Charles Frederick Phillipse Robinson; 18. Morris Robinson; 19. John Robinson; 20. Roger Morris; 21. Allen McNab; 22. Luke Carscallen; 23. John Diamond; 24. Ephraim Tisdale; 25. Lemuel Wilmot

Dr. Canniff's account of the migration of the first Loyalists from Lower Canada, and settlement on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence, and in the country round and west of Kingston 204



First settlement of the first company of Loyalists at the close of the Revolutionary War, in and near Kingston, Upper Canada, by the late Bishop Richardson, D.D. 208

First settlement of Loyalists in Nova Scotia, by a gentleman of that Province 211

Colonel Joseph Robinson, his adventures and settlement, by the late Hon. R. Hodgson, Chief Justine of Prince Edward Island 213

Robert Clark, his sufferings in the Revolutionary War, and settlement in the Midland District, U.C.; by his son, late Colonel John C. Clark 216

Captain William B. Hutchinson, his sufferings and settlement in Walsingham, County of Norfolk, U.C.; by his grandson, J.B. Hutchinson, Esq. 218

Patriotic feeling and early settlement of Prince Edward County and neighbouring Townships; by Canniff Haight, Esq. 219

Colonel Samuel Ryerse, his adventures, settlement, and character, in the County of Norfolk; in letters by his son, the late Rev. George J. Ryerse; and in a memorandum, including a history of the early settlement of the County of Norfolk, and recollections of the war of 1812-1815; by Mrs. Amelia Harris, of Eldon House, London, U.C. 226

Colonel Joseph Ryerson, his adventures, sufferings, and settlement in the County of Norfolk, U.C.; by an intimate friend of the family 257

NOTE.—Colonel Samuel Ryerse and Colonel Joseph Ryerson were brothers, and both officers in the British army during the Revolutionary War; but in the commission of the former, his name was spelled Ryerse; and it being difficult at that time to correct such an error, he and his descendants have always spelt their name Ryerse, though the original name of the family, in the records of New Jersey, in Holland, and previously in the history of Denmark, is Ryerson.

Interesting piece of local history; by the Rev. Dr. Scadding 259

Loyalty and sufferings of the Hon. John Monroe; by his son 261

Sufferings of the U.E. Loyalists during the Revolutionary War; vindication of their character—including that of Butler's Rangers—their privations and settlement in Canada; by the late Mrs. Elizabeth Bowman Spohn, of Ancaster, in the County of Wentworth, U.C., together with an introductory letter by the writer of this history 264









The famous Quebec Act, 14th Geo. III.; its provisions; why and by whom opposed; opposed in the Lords and Commons, and in the Colonies; supposed to have promoted the American Declaration of Independence 281

Constitutional Act of 1791—Act 31st George III., chapter 31 285

Mr. Pitt explains the principal provisions of the Bill; provided against the imposition of taxes in the colonies by the Imperial Parliament; opposed by some members in the Commons; rupture between Burke and Fox (in a note); Pitt's defence of the Bill 285

The Bill becomes an Act; separates Upper from Lower Canada; constitutes a legislature for each province; how the two branches of the legislature were constituted; the representative form of government obtained by the United Empire Loyalists 286

The Administration of the Government and Legislation in Lower Canada under the new constitution 288

Lord Dorchester Governor-General; first session of the Legislature; Speakers of the two Houses; a Speaker elected in the House of Assembly who could speak both the French and English language 289

The Governor's first speech to the Legislature 290

The cordial and loyal response of the House of Assembly 290

Useful and harmonious legislation; a noble example and illustration of loyalty by the House of Assembly before the close of the session 292

The Governor's speech at the close of the session 294

Unjust statements against the French corrected (in a note) 294

Second session of the Legislature called by Lord Dorchester on his arrival from England; his cordial reception; beneficial legislation; Canadians recoil from the horrors of the French Revolution 295

French Republican agents endeavour to incite Canadians to revolt, and to excite hostilities against England in the United States 297

Mutual cordiality between the Governor-General and the House of Assembly 297

Visit of the Duke of Kent to Lower Canada as Commander of the Forces; his wise and patriotic counsels; beneficial influence of his visit and residence 297

Lord Dorchester lays the public accounts before the Assembly; their contents; this proceeding highly satisfactory to the Assembly; bills passed and assented to 298

Interval of quiet between the second and third Sessions of the Legislature; Lord Dorchester's practical and noble speech at the opening of the third Session; Mr. Christie's remarks upon it; cordial answer of the House of Assembly, to whom the public accounts were transmitted, even more comprehensive and complete than those sent down the previous Session 299

Commissioners first appointed to adjust the revenues between Upper and Lower Canada; their courteous and fair proceedings on both sides 301

Gratifying close of the third Session 302

Auspicious opening, useful legislation, and happy conclusion of the fourth and last Session of the first Parliament of Lower Canada 302

Termination of Lord Dorchester's thirty-six years connection with Canada; review of his conduct and character by the historian Bancroft; cordial addresses to him, and his affectionate answers 303

Meritorious conduct of the French Canadians 305



How governed and divided by Lord Dorchester before the Constitutional Act of 1791 307

The Constitutional Act of 1791, 31 George III., chapter 31, and construction of governments under it 307

General John Graves Simcoe the first Governor; character of his government; arrives at Kingston 8th July, 1792, where the members of the Executive Legislative Councils were sworn into office, and writs issued for the election of members of the House of Assembly 308

The seat of government first established at Newark, now Niagara, where a small frame house was built for the Governor, and in which also the first Session of the Legislature was held 308

Number of members of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly present at the opening of the Session; their character 309

Number and character of the population of the country, including the Mohawk Indians, headed by Joseph Brant 309

First Session of the first Parliament and its work 309

Remarkable speech of Governor Simcoe at the close of the Session, explanatory of our constitution of government 310

Change of the seat of government and reasons for it 311

Governor Simcoe's work and policy; removal to the West Indies, and abandonment of his wise policy 311

Parliament meets at Niagara until 1797; its legislation; Governor Simcoe's successor, the Hon. Peter Russell and General Hunter; population of Upper Canada in 1800 312

Legislation, progress, trade, custom-houses 313

Provision for one Grammar School Master in each of the eight districts 314

Emigration; legislation; experience of the country during sixteen years under the new constitution 314

State of the country in 1809 314

Anticipated hostilities between Great Britain and the United States; concluding remarks on this period of Canadian history 315



Introductory and general remarks; illustrations of true loyalty; war struggles of England for human liberty when the United States joined the tyrant of Europe in war and invaded Canada; comparative population of Canada and the United States; Canada, almost unaided, successfully resists the eleven invasions of the United States against her; phases of the war against her 316



The alleged and real causes of the war; the Democratic party in the United States always hostile to England and her colonies, and sympathisers with every raid against Canada 318

Two alleged causes for the war by the United States; Berlin decrees, and answers to them by British Orders in Council—results 319

Collusion between Napoleon and the President of the United States against England; seduction and desertion of British sailors (nearly 10,000) besides soldiers; the justice and acknowledged right of the British claims, and injustice and unreasonableness of the Madison Government's proceedings 319

The event between the warships Leopard and Chesapeake; American misrepresentations of it; dishonest conduct of President Madison in respect to it; noble and generous proposal of the British Government, disclaiming the conduct of the captain of the Leopard, and offering to compensate all parties for injuries done them by the Leopard 323

The "Henry Plot" affair; conduct of President Madison in respect to it; declaration of war by the United States 327



Declaration of war, June 18, 1812; votes in the House of Representatives for and against it 331

Character of the war party and its Generals 333

Opposition to the war, and reasons against it, by a State Convention of New York 333

Address of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts against the war 334

The Orders in Council, as administered, beneficial to American merchants 335



War against the Canadas being contemplated in the United States 337

Preparations by Lower Canada; Sir George Prevost succeeds Sir James Craig as Governor-General; his character and first speech to the Legislature 338

The loyal answer of the Assembly, and liberal provisions for the defence of the Province 338

Organization of militia 339

American residents allowed twenty days to leave the Province 340

Second Session of the War Legislature, 16th July, 1812; the Governor's speech, relying upon the Province, and noble reply, and further various and liberal supplies and measures of the Legislative Assembly to meet the emergency 340

Preparations in Upper Canada for self-defence 341

General Brock calls a meeting of the Legislature, July 27, 1812; his stirring speech at the opening of the session; hearty response and liberal supplies of the House of Assembly 342

Patriotic address of the Assembly to the people of Upper Canada, and remarks upon it 342



General Brock's manly and overwhelming reply to General Hull's proclamation, in an address to the people of Canada 349




1. Smallness of General Brock's army, and the manner in which he collected it 353

Preparations at Windsor for the attack upon Detroit before General Brock's arrival there 353

Crossing the river, and the surrender of Fort Detroit, &c. 354

2. General Brock's council with the Indians at Sandwich before crossing the river at Detroit; his conversation with the great chief Tecumseh; and after the taking of Detroit, takes off his sash and places it around Tecumseh, who next day placed it around the Wyandot chief, Round Head; reasons for it given to General Brock 355

General Brock's estimate of Tecumseh, and the latter's watching and opinion on the conduct of the former 356

Particulars of Tecumseh's personal history and death (in a note) 357

Surprise and taking of Michillimackinack, and other defeats, discouraging to General Hull, before his surrender of Detroit 358

Particulars of the surrender 361

General Brock's proclamation to the people of Michigan 362

Remarks on the difference in sentiment and style between this proclamation to the inhabitants of Michigan and that of General Hull to the inhabitants of Canada 363

General Brock's return to York; having in 19 days settled public legislative business, raised a little army, taken a territory nearly as large as Upper Canada, and an army three times as numerous as his own 364



Crossing of the river from Lewiston to Queenston of 1,500 regular troops, who, by a private path, gain Queenston Heights; death of General Brock; the invaders dislodged from the Heights and driven down the banks of the river; American militia refuse to cross the river; American soldiers surrender to General Sheaffe to the number of 900 men, besides officers, including General Wadsworth and Colonel Winfield Scott 365

Armistice 368

Incidents on the Niagara frontier after the death of General Brock, by Lieutenant Driscoll, of the 100th Regiment 368



A large American army assembled; confidence of its success 372

No reinforcements from England; but the sacrifice and zeal of the Canadians for the defence of their country against this third and most formidable invasion of the year 373

The Commander-in-Chief's (General Smyth) address to his army, given entire in a note 373

Its effect to bring 2,000 volunteers from the State of Pennsylvania 374

The troops embark; General Smyth does not appear; failure of the attempted invasion; General Smyth's flight from his own soldiers, who shoot off their guns in disgust and indignation 375

Three armies, altogether of 10,000 men, defeated by less than 1,000 Canadian volunteers and soldiers 378



The Canadian militia put in readiness to repel a second apprehended invasion, but General Dearborn does not venture it, and retires with his hosts into winter quarters 381

The Canadian militia allowed to retire for the winter 382

The armistice between Generals Sheaffe and Smyth injurious to Upper Canada (in a note) 382


CAMPAIGNS OF 1813 383-425

Americans determined to conquer Canada this year 383

Disadvantage of the Governor-General of Canada from the fewness of his troops, regulars and militia, compared with those of the invading armies 383

Three American invading armies—one consisting of 18,000 men, the second of 7,000 men, and the third of 8,000 men 384

General Proctor's slender force at Detroit 384

Battle of Frenchtown; victory of Colonel Proctor; American misrepresentations respecting it corrected 385

Colonel Proctor promoted to be General 388

Several American plundering raids on Brockville and neighbourhood; retaliatory raid of the British on Ogdensburg; town ordnance, arms, &c., taken, and vessels destroyed 388

Canadian preparations in the winter of 1813 for the season's campaign; U.E. Loyalist regiment comes from Fredericton, New Brunswick, to Quebec, on snow shoes 390

The American plan of campaign to invade and take Canada in 1813 390

The American fleet on Lake Ontario superior to the British fleet; attack upon York with 1,700 men, commanded by Generals Dearborn and Pike; battle, explosion of a magazine; many of both armies killed; Canadians defeated and York taken 391

Americans evacuate York and return to Sackett's Harbour, after having destroyed public buildings, and taken much booty 393

Americans attack Fort George, Newark (Niagara), by land and water, and after a hard fight take the town and fort, the British retiring to Queenston 393

General Vincent, having destroyed the fortifications on the frontier, retreats to Burlington Heights, pursued by Generals Chandler and Winder, with an army of 3,500 infantry and 300 cavalry 394

Colonel Harvey, with 700 men, surprises the whole American army at Stony Creek, captures their two generals and 150 men, &c. 395

American army retreats in great disorder towards Fort George 396

The affair at the Beaver Dams; the capture of 700 American soldiers, with their officers, by a small party of soldiers and Indians—the captured prisoners being five to one of their captors 397

The American army confined to Fort George and its neighbourhood 397

A small party of the British retaliate the marauding game of the Americans by crossing the river at Chippewa, attacking and dismantling Fort Schlosser and bringing off military stores; and seven days afterwards, 11th July, crossing from Fort Erie to Black Rock, and burning the enemy's block-houses, stores, barracks, dockyards, &c. 397

The two armies almost within gunshot of each other at Fort George; but the Americans could not be drawn out to a battle, though their numbers were two to one to the British 398

General Harrison prepares to prosecute the war for recovering the Territories of Michigan; General Proctor raises the siege of Lower Sandusky and retires to Amherstburg 399

Unsuccessful expedition of Governor-General Prevost and Sir James L. Yeo against Sackett's Harbour; Sir George Prevost orders the withdrawment of the troops, at the very crisis of victory, to the great disappointment and dissatisfaction of his officers and men 399


Second unsuccessful attempt of Commodore Sir James Yeo on Sackett's Harbour 401

Commodore Chauncey's expedition to the head of the lake to take Burlington Heights is deferred by the preparations of Colonels Harvey and Battersby to receive him 402

Commodore Chauncey makes a second raid upon York (Toronto), plunders, burns, and departs; singular coincidence 402

The British fleet, sailing from Kingston the last day of July, with supplies for the army at the head of the lake, encounters the American fleet at Niagara, and after two days' manoeuvring, a partial engagement ensues, in which the British capture two small vessels—the Julia and Growler 402

A graphic account of the naval manoeuvring and battle by the American historian of the war, Brackenridge (in a note) 402

Encounters and tactics of the British and American fleets on Lake Ontario for the rest of the season 404


Fleet fitting out by Commodore Perry at Presqu' Isle (Erie) blockaded by Commodore Barclay, who, neglecting his duty and absenting himself from Presqu' Isle, allowed the American fleet to get over the bar at the mouth of the harbour, and getting into the lake with their cannon reshipped and completely equipped 405

Commodore Barclay, the enemy too well manned and too powerful for him, sails for Amherstburg; is pursued by Commodore Perry and compelled to fight, in which he lost his fleet, though he fought bravely 406

In consequence of the loss of the fleet on Lake Erie, the British army in possession of the territory of Michigan, left without resources, evacuate the territory and Fort Detroit, before an American army of 7,000 men and 1,000 dragoons, under General Harrison 407

General Proctor retreats up the Thames; is pursued by General Harrison, with a force of 3,000 men, including 1,000 Kentucky dragoons, and overtaken near Moravian Town, where a battle ensues, in which General Proctor is defeated with heavy loss—the Indians remaining loyal, fighting longest, suffering most, with the loss of their chief, Tecumseh 408

Shameful burning of Moravian Town by the Americans 410

Americans accept Indian alliance; Americans intoxicated by these successes, but driven from every inch of Canadian territory before the end of the year 410


Defeat of an American advance invading division, and capture of two vessels, the Growler and Eagle, of eleven guns each, at the Isle-aux-Noix, by 108 men, under the command of Lieut.-Col. George Taylor 411

Attacks upon and capture and destruction of the American war materials, hospitals, barracks, &c., at Plattsburg, under Colonel Murray (General Moore retreating with 1,500 men), at Burlington (where was encamped General Hampton with 4,000 men), capturing and destroying four vessels, and afterwards at the towns of Champlain and Swanton, destroying the block-houses and barracks 412

These successes but preliminary to the Canadian victories of Chateauguay, and Chrystler's Farm 413


General Hampton, with 5,000 men, defeated by the skill and courage of Colonel De Salaberry with 300 Canadians; the battle described, and the close of it witnessed, by the Governor-General Prevost and Major-General De Watteville 413

General Hampton with his demoralized army retires into winter quarters at Plattsburg 417

Next expedition against Montreal by the St. Lawrence, under command of General Wilkinson, with a force of 10,000 men; the American soldiers promised grand winter quarters at Montreal 417

American army descends the St. Lawrence from near Kingston in 300 boats; is followed by a detachment of the British from Kingston, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, who overtakes and skirmishes with divisions of the American army on the way; at the American post, at the town of Hamilton, takes a considerable quantity of provisions and stores, and two pieces of ordnance 418


American force engaged between 3,000 and 4,000 men; the British forces were about 800 rank and file; preliminaries and description of the battle, said to be the most squarely and scientifically fought battle of the war 419

Losses; General Wilkinson's testimony as to the loyalty and courage of the Canadians 420

General Wilkinson proceeds down the St. Lawrence with his flotilla; disappointment and mortification at General Hampton's disobedience and failure to meet him at St. Regis; crosses the St. Lawrence and retires into winter quarters at Salmon River 420

The campaign of the season terminated in Lower Canada; the Canadian militia dismissed to their homes with thanks and applause 421


In December, 1813, Lieutenant-General Drummond supersedes Major-General De Rottenburgh in command of Upper Canada, and proceeds to York and the head of the Lake at Burlington Heights; despatches Colonel Murray to arrest the predatory incursions of General McClure in the neighbourhood of Fort George, of which he was then in possession 422

McClure's plundering the inhabitants; his barbarous act in burning the town of Newark (Niagara), and flight to the American side of the river 423

The British, under command of Colonel Murray, take Fort Niagara, the whole garrison, and much warlike supplies 423

Lewiston, Manchester, Black Rock and Buffalo destroyed in retaliation for the burning of Newark (Niagara), and exposure of 400 women and children, by McClure 424

Proclamation issued by General Drummond, deprecating this savage mode of warfare, and declaring his purpose not to pursue it, unless compelled by the measures of the American Government 425



Two years' expensive failures of American invasions against Canada; preparations on both sides for the third year's campaigns 426

Volunteers, soldiers and sailors, march through the woods from New Brunswick to Canada 426

Expression of Royal satisfaction and admiration of the loyalty and courage of the Canadians during the war, making special mention of the affair of Chateauguay and Colonel De Salaberry 427

First American invasion of Lower Canada in 1814; the American soldiers, crossing Lake Champlain on the ice, attack Le Colle Mill (Block-house), and are driven back by a small but heroic force of Canadians 427

General Wilkinson returns with his army to Plattsburg; and, disappointed and mortified at his failures, retires from the army 428

Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, taken by the British, and Fort Michillimackinack triumphantly defended against a large American force; and Sir John C. Sherbrook, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, reduces an extensive portion of American territory adjoining New Brunswick, and adds it to that Province 428

Peace in Europe; reinforcements of 16,000 veteran soldiers from England to Canada 430

Sir George Prevost's abortive expedition against Plattsburg censured; recalled to England to be tried by court-martial; dies a week before the day of trial 330

The estimate of Mr. Christie, the Canadian historian, of the character and policy of Sir George Prevost 431

Opening of the campaign in Upper Canada; expedition from Kingston against Oswego, which is dismantled, its fortifications destroyed, military stores, &c., seized 432

British fleet, supreme on Lake Ontario, blockades Sackett's Harbour; intercepts supplies being sent from Oswego to Sackett's Harbour, but is unsuccessful in pursuing American supply boats up the Sandy Creek; the pursuers taken prisoners and well treated by the Americans 433



Americans, in two divisions, under command of Brigadier-Generals Scott and Ripley, cross the river and land on the Canadian side above and below Fort Erie, which is commanded by Major Buck, and surrendered without firing a shot, to the great loss of the British, and to the great advantage of the Americans 435

General Brown, with a force of over 4,000 troops, advances down the river from Fort Erie, with a view of taking Chippewa; is encountered by General Riall, who is compelled to retire to the rear of his works at Chippewa; heroism of the Lincoln Militia 436

General Riall retires to Fort George, pursued by General Brown; pillage of the American soldiers and officers in the neighbourhood of Fort George 437

Both armies reinforced; General Brown in difficulties; retreats towards Chippewa; is pursued by General Riall; burns the village of St. David's; makes a stand at Lundy's Lane—called Bridgewater by the Americans 437

Battle of Lundy's Lane; preliminaries to it 438

The battle itself; protracted and bloody struggle; Americans retreat to beyond Chippewa 439

Forces engaged; losses on both sides; victory absurdly claimed on the American side 441

American army retreats to Fort Erie, pursued by General Drummond, who invests the fort 443

Storming the fort; terrible conflict; on the point of victory a magazine blown up, destroying all the British soldiers who had entered the fort—including Colonels Drummond and Scott—compelling the retirement of the assailants; British losses severe 444

The enemy shut up for a month in the fort by the British investment 445

At the expiration of a month the enemy makes a sortie, with his whole force; surprises and destroys the batteries; a bloody conflict; the enemy compelled to return to the fort with a loss of 600 men 445

Incessant rains prevent General Drummond repairing his batteries; he raises the siege and tries in vain to bring General Brown to a general engagement, but he evades it and evacuates Fort Erie 446

Thus terminates the last American invasion of Canada, without acquiring possession of an inch of Canadian territory 446

Summary review of Canadian loyalty, and the causes, characteristics, and the results of the war, in an address delivered at Queenston Heights, near Brock's Monument, by the author, at the anniversary of the Battle of Lundy's Lane, July, 1875 447



Character of the Canadian Militia 461

American invasions of Canada and their military forces 462

Notice of Colonel John Clarke and his manuscript contributions 462

The treatment of Canadians by the American invaders 463

The Royal Patriotic Society of Upper Canada and its doings in raising and distributing upwards of L20,000 to relieve Canadian sufferers by the war 466







FROM 1620 TO 1816.



It was supposed, both in America and France, that when the alliance between the King of France and Congress, referred to in the last chapter of the previous volume, became known in England, though it was not publicly avowed until February, 1778, England would be weakened and discouraged from further warlike effort, and immediately offer terms of peace, upon the ground of American independence; but the reverse was the case.

The alliance between Congress and the King of France was kept in abeyance by the latter during more than a twelvemonth after it was applied for by the agents of Congress, until after the defeat and capture of General Burgoyne and the refusal of Congress to confer with Lord and General Howe, as British Commissioners, without the previous acknowledgment by the Commissioners of the independence of the United States.[1]

Lord Admiral Howe, having spent some months with his fleet at Halifax, did not arrive at Sandy Hook until the 12th of July, eight days after the Declaration of Independence. "Besides the troops, Lord Howe had brought with him a document which it was hoped might render them unnecessary—the Royal warrant appointing himself and General Howe Commissioners under the Act of Parliament for the pacification of America. No doubt the selection of such men was most wisely made. The memory of their elder brother, who had fallen gloriously in the wars against the French in Canada, was endeared to the colonists, who had fought by his side. Both Lord Howe and the General, but Lord Howe especially, had ever since cultivated a friendly intercourse with Americans, and now entertained a most earnest wish to conclude the strife against them. But judicious as was the choice of the Commissioners, the restricted terms of the Commission were certainly in the highest degree impolitic. Lord Howe had laboured, but vainly, to obtain its enlargement; it amounted, in fact, to little more than the power, first, of receiving submissions, and then, but not till then, of granting pardons and inquiring into grievances.[2] Yet, still, since these terms had not been divulged, and were much magnified by common rumour, the name of the Commission was not ill adapted for popular effect. Had Lord Howe arrived with it a few weeks before, as he might and should have done, we are assured by American writers that an impression might have been produced by it, in some at least of the thirteen colonies, to an extent which they 'cannot calculate,' or rather, perhaps, which they do not like to own. But these few months had been decisive in another direction. During these months both the feeling and the position of the insurgents had most materially changed."[3]

"The two Royal Commissioners," says Dr. Ramsay, "Admiral and General Howe, thought proper, before they commenced their military operations, to try what might be done in their civil capacity towards effecting a reunion between Great Britain and the colonies. It was one of the first acts of Lord Howe to send on shore a circular letter to several of the Royal Governors in America, informing them of the late Act of Parliament 'for restoring peace to the colonies, and granting pardon to such as should deserve mercy,' and desiring them to publish a declaration which accompanied the same. In this, he informed the colonists of the power with which his brother and he were entrusted 'of granting general or particular pardons to all those who, though they had deviated from their allegiance, were willing to return to their duty:' and of declaring 'any colony, province, county or town, port, district or place, to be in the peace of his Majesty.' Congress, impressed with the belief that the proposals of the Commissioners, instead of disuniting the people, would have a contrary effect, ordered them to be speedily published in the several American newspapers. Had a redress of grievances been at this late hour offered, though the honour of the States was involved in supporting their late Declaration of Independence, yet the love of peace, and the bias of great numbers to their parent State, would, in all probability, have made a powerful party for rescinding the Act of Separation, and for re-uniting with Great Britain; but when it appeared that the power of the Royal Commissioners was little more than to grant pardons, Congress appealed to the good sense of the people for the necessity of adhering to the Act of Independence."[4]

It was a diplomatic blunder and an unwise policy for the English Commissioners to make known to the public the restricted authority of their commission, instead of simply stating in general terms their commission under the authority of the Act of Parliament "for restoring peace to the colonies." On such grounds and for such an object the Congress could have offered no justifiable excuse for refusing a conference with the Royal Commissioners; and when, in the course of the discussion, it should have been found that the Commissioners could not agree with, and did not feel themselves authorized to accede to, all the demands of the agents of Congress, the Royal Commissioners (both of whom were known to be friends of the colonies, and opposed to the high-handed measures of the Parliament) could have noted the points of difference, and agreed to recommend the demands made upon them to the most favourable consideration of the King's Government: at all events, friendly intercourse and negotiations would have been opened which would have been probably followed by a suspension of hostilities, if not complete reconciliation. But this was what Congress, led by John Adams and Dr. Franklin—bitter enemies to reconciliation—dreaded; and they very shrewdly saw and improved the imprudent exposure of the Royal Commissioners, by directing the publication of their circular letter and declaration in all the provincial newspapers, "that the good people of the United States may be informed of what nature are the Commissioners, and what the terms, with expectation of which the insidious Court of Great Britain had endeavoured to amuse and disarm them; and that the few who still remain suspended by a hope, founded either on the justice or moderation of their late King, might now at length be convinced that the valour alone of their country is to save its liberties."

Thus all conference with the Royal Commissioners was refused on the part of the leaders in Congress; war and bloodshed followed, and a year of disastrous defeats to the Revolutionists; but the position of the Loyalists may be inferred from the resolution of the New York Revolutionary Convention, adopted a few days after the Declaration of Independence, and before the actual commencement of hostilities, and which was as follows: "That all persons residing within the State of New York, and claiming protection from its laws, owed it allegiance; and that any person owing it allegiance, and levying war against the State, or being an adherent to the King of Great Britain, should be deemed guilty of treason and suffer death." The Convention also resolved: "That as the inhabitants of King's County had determined not to oppose the enemy, a Committee should be appointed to inquire into the authenticity of these reports, and to disarm and secure the disaffected, to remove or destroy the stock of grain, and, if necessary, to lay the whole county waste." Such treatment of adherents to the unity of the empire, and of even neutrals, at the very commencement of the war, goes far to account for the warfare of extermination in many places between the two parties in subsequent years. This mode of warfare was first instituted against the Loyalists, who acted on the defensive, and who have been loudly complained of by American historians for having afterwards, and on some occasions cruelly retaliated upon those who had driven them to desperation.

A little more than eighteen months after the Declaration of Independence, 17th of February, 1778, three Bills were introduced into and passed by the British Parliament, which entirely removed all the grounds of complaint made by the colonists in previous years, and provided for the appointment of Commissioners to settle all differences between the colonies and the mother country. The first of these Bills was entitled, "For removing Doubts and Apprehensions concerning Taxation by the Parliament of Great Britain in any of the Colonies." It expressly repealed by name the tea duty in America, and declared: "That from and after the passing of this Act the King and Parliament of Great Britain will not impose any duty, tax, or assessment whatever in any of his Majesty's (American) colonies, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of such duties to be always paid and applied to and for the use of the colony in which the same shall be levied." "Thus," says Lord Mahon, "was the claim of parliamentary taxation fully, at last, renounced."

The second Bill was "To enable his Majesty to appoint Commissioners with sufficient power to treat, consult, and agree upon the means of quieting the disorders now subsisting in certain of the colonies, plantations, and provinces of North America." The Commissioners were to be five in number, and were invested with extensive powers; they were to raise no difficulties as to the rank or title of the leaders on either side, but were left at liberty to treat, consult, and agree with any body or bodies politic, or any person or persons whatsoever; they might proclaim a cessation of hostilities on the part of the King's forces by sea or land, for any time, or under any conditions or restrictions; they might suspend any Act of Parliament relating to America passed since the 10th of February, 1763. In short, it was intimated that the Commissioners might accept almost any terms of reconciliation short of independence, and subject to be confirmed by a vote of Parliament.

Lord North introduced his Bills in an able and eloquent speech of two hours, in which he reviewed his own career and the several questions of dispute with the colonies.[5]

But though taunted from all sides, his Bills passed speedily through both Houses of Parliament. Lord Mahon remarks: "In spite of such taunts and far from friendly feelings on all sides, the Conciliatory Bills, as they have been termed, were not in reality opposed from any quarter. There was only one division on a clause moved by Mr. Powys, to repeal expressly by name the Massachusetts Charter Act. Lord North induced a large majority to vote against that clause, but agreed that the object in view should be attained by a separate measure. A Bill for that purpose was therefore introduced by Mr. Powys, and passed through Parliament concurrently with the other two. In the House of Lords the same arguments were, with little change, renewed. Lord Shelburne took occasion to declare his full concurrence in the sentiments of Lord Chatham, expressing 'the strongest disapprobation of every idea tending to admit the independence of America,' although acknowledging that future circumstances might create a necessity for such a submission. Lord Chatham himself was ill with gout at Hayes, and did not appear. There was no division; and on the 11th of March (1778), the King, seated on his throne, gave to all three measures the royal assent."[6]

Lord North and other members of his Administration were convinced that the American problem could not be solved by their own party; that such a work could be accomplished by the Earl of Chatham alone, as he had a few years before, by his skill and energy, when the affairs of America were in a desperate state after five years' unsuccessful war with France, dispossessed France, in the short space of two years, of every inch of American territory. The Duke of Richmond advocated immediate surrender of independence to the Americans, and peace with them, in order to avoid a war with France; he doubted the possibility of even Lord Chatham being able to effect a reconciliation between the American colonies and Great Britain. Three-fourths of a century afterwards, Lord Macaulay expressed the same opinion; but Lord Mahon, in his History, has expressed a contrary opinion, and given his reasons in the following words, well worthy of being carefully read and pondered:

"In the first place, let it be remembered with what great and what singular advantages Lord Chatham would have set his hand to the work. He had from the outset most ably and most warmly supported the claims of the colonists. Some of his eloquent sentences had become watchwords in their mouths. His statue had been erected in their streets; his portrait was hanging in their Council Chambers. For his great name they felt a love and reverence higher as yet than for any one of their own chiefs and leaders, not even at that early period excepting Washington himself. Thus, if even it could be said that overtures of reconciliation had failed in every other British hand, it would afford no proof that in Chatham's they might not have thriven and borne fruit.

"But what at the same period was the position of Congress? Had that assembly shown of late an enlightened zeal for the public interests, and did it then stand high in the confidence and affection of its countrymen? Far otherwise. The factions and divisions prevailing at their town of York (in Virginia, where they removed from Baltimore), the vindictive rigour to political opponents, the neglect of Washington's army, and the cabals against Washington's powers, combined to create disgust, with other less avoidable causes, as the growing depreciation of the paper-money, the ruinous loss of trade, and the augmented burdens of the war. Is the truth of this picture denied? Hear then, as witnesses, the members of Congress themselves. We find in this very month of March (1778), one of them write to another on the necessity of joint exertions to "revive the expiring reputation of Congress." (Letter from William Duer, of New York, to Robert Morris, dated March 6th, 1778, and printed in the Life of Reed, Vol. I., p. 365.) We find another lamenting that 'even good Whigs begin to think peace, at some expense, desirable.' (General Reed to President Wharton, February 1, 1778.)

"When such was the feeling in America, both as regarded Lord Chatham and as regarded the Congress, it would not certainly follow that any overture from the former would be rejected on account of the disapprobation of the latter. The provinces might, perhaps, have not been inclined to the deliberations, or even cast off the sway of the central body, and make terms of peace for themselves. At any rate, all such hope was not precluded; at least some such trial might be made.

"Nor does it appear to me, as to Mr. Macaulay, that there was any, even the slightest, inconsistency in Lord Chatham having first pronounced against the conquest of America, and yet refusing to allow her independence. After the declaration in her behalf of France, Lord Chatham had said, no doubt, that America could not be conquered. Had he ever said she could not be reconciled? It was on conciliation, and not on conquest, that he built his later hopes. He thought the declaration of France no obstacle to his views, but rather an instrument for their support. He conceived that the treaty of alliance concluded by the envoys of the Congress with the Court of Versailles might tend beyond any other cause to rekindle British feelings in the hearts of the Americans. Were the glories of Wolfe and Amherst, in which they had partaken, altogether blotted from their minds? Would the soldier-yeomen of the colonies be willing to fight side by side with those French whom, till within fifteen years, they had found in Canada their bitter hereditary foes? That consequences like to these—that some such revulsion of popular feeling in America might, perhaps, ensue from an open French alliance, is an apprehension which, during the first years of the contest, we find several times expressed in the secret letters of the Revolution chiefs; it was a possibility which we see called forth their fears; why then might it not be allowed to animate the hopes of Chatham?"[7]

But Lord Chatham was not destined even to try the experiment of giving America a second time to England; in a few days he fell in the House of Lords, to rise no more, with the protest on his lips against the separation of the American colonies from England. The Americans had no confidence in the professions of a Parliament and Ministry which had oppressed and sought to deceive them for twelve years. As low as the Congress had fallen in the estimation of a large part of the colonists, the English Ministry was regarded with universal distrust and aversion. The Congress refused even to confer with the Royal Commissioners, and had sufficient influence to prevent any province from entering into negotiations with them. All the former grounds of complaint had been removed by the three Acts of Parliament above referred to, and all the concessions demanded had been granted. The Royal Commissioners requested General Washington, on the 9th of June (1778), to furnish a passport for their Secretary, Dr. Ferguson with a letter from them to Congress; but this was refused, and the refusal was approved by Congress. They then forwarded, in the usual channel of communication, a letter addressed "To his Excellency Henry Laurens, the President, and other Members of Congress," in which they enclosed a copy of their commission and the Acts of Parliament on which it was founded; and they offered to concur in every satisfactory and just arrangement towards the following among other purposes:

"To consent to a cessation of hostilities both by sea and land;

"To restore free intercourse, to revive mutual affection, and renew the common benefits of naturalization through the several parts of this empire;

"To extend every freedom to trade that our respective interests can require;

"To agree that no military forces shall be kept up in the different States of North America without the consent of the General Congress, or particular Assemblies;

"To concur in measures calculated to discharge the debts of America, and to raise the credit and value of the paper circulation;

"To perpetuate our union by a reciprocal deputation of an agent or agents from the different States, who shall have the privilege of a seat and voice in the Parliament of Great Britain; or if sent from Great Britain, in that case to have a seat or voice in the Assemblies of the different States to which they may be deputed respectively, in order to attend to the several interests of those by whom they are deputed;

"In short, to establish the power of the respective Legislatures in each particular State; to settle its revenue, its civil and military establishment, and to exercise a perfect freedom of legislation and internal government; so that the British States throughout North America, acting with us in peace and war under one common sovereign, may have the irrevocable enjoyment of every privilege that is short of total separation of interests, or consistent with that union of force on which the safety of our common religion and liberty depends."[8]

The three Acts of Parliament and the proposals of the five English Commissioners were far in advance of any wishes which the colonists had expressed before the Declaration of Independence, and placed the colonists on the footing of Englishmen—all that the Earl of Chatham and Mr. Burke had ever advocated—all that the free, loyal, and happy Dominion of Canada enjoys at this day—all and nothing more than was required for the unity of the empire and of the Anglo-Saxon race; but the leaders of Congress had determined upon the dismemberment of the empire—had determined to sever all connection with the elder European branch of the Anglo-Saxon family—had determined, and that without even consulting the constituents whom they professed to represent, to transfer their allegiance from England to France, to bind themselves hand and foot to France—that they would make no peace with England, upon any terms, without the consent of the French Court.

It may be easily conceived what an effect would be produced upon the truly national mind of both England and America by such a transition on the part of the leaders of Congress and their representatives abroad—a transition which might be called a revolution, involving new issues and new relations of parties; for the question was no longer one of mere separation from England, much less the question of Stamp Acts, or taxation without representation, or suspension of charters—all acts and pretensions of this kind having been repealed and renounced; but the question was now one of union with the hereditary foe of England and her colonies; and the unnatural alliance contemplated the invasion of England by the French, the destruction of British commerce, the wresting from England of the West Indies as well as Canada,[9] and the possession by France of whatever islands or territory her navy and army should conquer.

All this was a different thing from mere independence of the mother country. The United Empire Loyalists and advocates of colonial rights were now subject to a new allegiance, and punished as rebels and their property confiscated if they would not unite with the French against their English forefathers and brethren. So enamoured were the leaders of Congress with their new allies, that they interrupted the reading of the official letter from the British Commissioners on account of a passage which reflected upon France, and debated three days whether they should allow the remaining part of the letter to be read.[10]

But the feelings of all classes in England, and of a large part, if not the great majority, of the colonists, were different from those of the leaders of Congress, now depleted of many distinguished men who attended its previous year's sittings.[11]

By this alliance with France the allied colonies became, as it were, a part of France, bound up in oneness with it—refusing all overtures or negotiations with the representatives of England without the approval of the French Court. The coasts, cities, towns, etc., of the American allies of France therefore became liable to the same treatment on the part of the British army and navy as the coasts, cities, and towns of France. Of this the British Commissioners informed the Congress, after the latter had declared its identity with France, and refused any further intercourse with them.[12]

The war for a short time after this period became more acrimonious and destructive on both sides than before, as between the French and English. But this policy of devastation and retaliation was disapproved of by the British Government—was confined mostly to some certain coast towns in New England, while in the South the conduct of Col. Campbell, on the subjugation of Georgia, was marked by lenity and generosity.


[Footnote 1: "While the American Commissioners were urging the Ministers of the King of France to accept the treaty proposed by Congress, they received assurances of the good wishes of the Court of France; but were from time to time informed that the important transactions required further consideration, and were enjoined to observe the most profound secrecy. Matters remained in this fluctuating state from December, 1776, till December, 1777. Private encouragement and public discountenance were alternated; but both varied according to the complexion of news from America. The defeat on Long Island, the reduction of New York, and the train of disastrous events in 1776, which have already been mentioned, sunk the credit of the Americans very low, and abated much of the national ardour for their support. Their subsequent successes at Trenton and Princeton effaced these impressions, and rekindled active zeal in their behalf. The capture of Burgoyne (October, 1777) fixed these wavering polities. The successes of the American campaign of 1777 placed them on high ground. Their enmity proved itself formidable to Britain, and their friendship became desirable to France. It was therefore determined to take them by the hand and publicly espouse their cause. The Commissioners of Congress, on the 16th of December, 1777, were informed by M. Gerard, one of the Secretaries of the King's Council of State, 'that it was decided to acknowledge the independence of the United States, and to make a treaty with them; that in the treaty no advantage would be taken of their situation to obtain terms which otherwise it would not be convenient for them to agree to; that his Most Christian Majesty desired the treaty, once made, should be durable, and their amity to subsist for ever, which could not be expected if each nation did not find an interest in its continuance as well as in its commencement.'" (Dr. Ramsay's History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap, xv., pp. 246, 247.)]

[Footnote 2: "MS. Instructions, May, 6th, 1776, State Paper Office.—It is therein required as a preliminary condition, before any province shall be declared in the King's peace, that its Convention, or Committee, or Association 'which have usurped powers,' shall be dissolved."]

[Footnote 3: Lord Mahon's History of England, Vol. VI., Chap. liii., pp. 137, 138.

Lord Mahon adds: "At the beginning of the troubles, as I have already shown, and for a long time afterwards, the vast majority of the Americans had no wish nor thought of separation from the mother country. Their object was substantially, and with some new safeguards for their rights, to revert to the same state in which they had been before the Administration of George Grenville. But the further the conflict proceeded, the less and less easy of attainment did that object seem. How hard, after what had passed, to restore harmonious action between the powers now at strife, for the people to trust the Governors appointed by the King, and for the King to trust the Assembly elected by the people. Even where the actual wrong might have departed, it would still leave its fatal legacy, rancour and suspicion, behind. Under the influence of these feelings a great number of persons in all the colonies were gradually turning their minds to the idea of final separation from the parent State. Still, in all these colonies, except only in New England, there were many lingering regrets, many deep-rooted doubts and misgivings. John Adams writes as follows: 'My dear friend Gates, all our misfortunes arise from a single source—the reluctance of the Southern colonies to republican government' (March, 1776, American Archives, Vol. V., p. 472). Here are the words of another popular leader: 'Notwithstanding the Act of Parliament for seizing our property, there is a strange reluctance in the minds of many to cut the knot which ties us to Great Britain'" (Letter of Reed to Washington, March 3rd, 1776).—Ib., pp. 139, 140.]

[Footnote 4: Dr. Ramsay's History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xi., pp. 121, 122.]

[Footnote 5: "The impression on the House that night, while Lord North was speaking, and after he sat down, is well described by the pen of a contemporary—no other, in all probability, than Burke: 'A dull, melancholy silence for some time succeeded to this speech. It had been heard with profound attention, but without a single mark of approbation to any part, from any description of men, or any particular man in the House. Astonishment, dejection, and fear overclouded the whole assembly. Although the Minister had declared that the sentiments he expressed that day had been those which he always entertained, it is certain that few or none had understood him in that manner; and he had been represented to the nation at large as the person in it the most tenacious of those parliamentary rights which he now proposed to resign, and the most remote from the submissions which he now proposed to make.'

"It may be said, indeed, that there was not a single class or section within the walls of Parliament to which the plan of Lord North gave pleasure. The Ministerial party were confounded and abashed at finding themselves thus requested to acknowledge their past errors and retrace their former steps. Some among them called out that they had been deceived and betrayed. In general, however, the majority acquiesced in sullen silence. On the other part, the Opposition were by no means gratified to see the wind, according to the common phrase, taken from their sails. They could not, indeed, offer any resistance to proposals so consonant to their own expressed opinions, but they took care to make their support as disagreeable and damaging as possible." (Lord Mahon's History of England, etc., Vol. VI., Chap. lvii., pp. 327-329.)]

[Footnote 6: History of England, etc., Vol. VI., Chap. lvii, pp. 329, 330.

Lord Mahon adds: "Only two days previously, Lord North, who had opened his Budget on the 6th, had carried through his financial resolutions in the House of Commons, involving a new loan of L6,000,000, which was contracted on advantageous terms. Thus were funds provided to pursue the war, should that be requisite. Thus was an opening made for negotiations should they be practicable. In either case the path was cleared for a new Administration. Here then was the moment which Lord North had for some time past desired—the moment when, with most honour to himself and with most advantage to his country, he could fulfil his intentions of resigning." (Lord Mahon's History of England, Vol. VI., Chap. lvii, pp. 330, 331.)]

[Footnote 7: Lord Mahon's History of England, Vol. VI., Chap. lvii., pp. 344-347.]

[Footnote 8: Dr. Ramsay's History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xv., pp. 254, 255.]

[Footnote 9: While Count D'Estaing was at Boston repairing his shattered fleet, he was not unmindful of an essential part of his commission—to detach Canada from England. "In pursuance of this design, a Declaration was published (dated the 28th of October, 1778), addressed in the name of the King of France to the French inhabitants of Canada, and of every other part of America formerly subject to that Crown. This Declaration contained the highest praises of the valour of the Americans; it laid before the inhabitants of Canada the mortification they must endure in bearing arms against the allies of their parent State; it represented to them, in the strongest terms, the ties formed by origin, language, manners, government, and religion, between the Canadians and the French, and lamented the misfortune which had occasioned a disjunction of that colony from France; it recalled to their remembrance the brave resistance they had made during the many wars they had been engaged in against England, especially the last; it reminded them of their favourite warriors and generals, particularly the valiant Montcalm, who fell at their head, in defence of their country; it earnestly entreated them to reflect seriously on their disagreeable subjection to strangers living in another hemisphere, differing from them in every possible respect, who could consider them no otherwise than as a conquered people, and would always, of course, treat them accordingly. It concluded by formally notifying, that the Count D'Estaing was authorized and commanded by the King of France to declare, in his name, that all his former subjects in North America who should renounce their allegiance to Great Britain might depend on his protection and support." (Dr. Andrews' History of the American War, Vol. III., Chap. xxxviii., p. 171.)]

[Footnote 10: The conciliatory acts of the British Parliament and the letter of the Commissioners were referred by the Congress to a Committee of three—all known to be opposed to any reconciliation with England. This Committee made, the next day after its appointment, a report which was adopted by Congress, that the British acts were merely intended to operate upon the hopes and fears of the American people, and to produce divisions among them; "that those who made any partial convention or agreement with the Commissioners of Great Britain would be regarded as enemies; and that the United States could hold no conference with such Commissioners until the British Government first withdrew its fleets and armies, or acknowledged the independence of the United States."

"This rejection of terms which they not long before would have cordially welcomed, was, no doubt, caused by the confident expectation they then had of the support and alliance of France; and accordingly the news of that alliance soon after reached them, and diffused a general joy throughout the land." (Tucker's History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap. iii., pp. 221, 222.)]

[Footnote 11: "The Declaration of Independence effected an alteration of sentiments in England. It was esteemed by many of the most judicious persons in this country, a measure wholly unnecessary, and without recurring to which America might have compassed every point proposed by continuing its resistance to Britain on the same footing it had begun. This measure occasioned an alienation from its interests in the minds of many of its former adherents. It was looked upon as a wanton abuse of the success with which it had opposed the efforts of the British Ministry to bring them to submission, and as an ungrateful return for the warmth with which their cause had been espoused in Parliament, and by such multitudes as in the idea of many amounted to a plurality."

"The Declaration of France completed the revolution that had been gradually taking place in the opinions of men on their being repeatedly apprised of the determination of Congress to break asunder all the bonds of former amity, and to unite themselves in the closest manner with that kingdom." (Dr. Andrews' History of the American War, Vol. III., Chap. xxxiv., pp. 82-84.)

The Declaration of France in favour of the independence of the American colonies, and of alliance with them, was officially communicated to the British Government the 13th of March, 1778, a few days after which the French fleet under the command of Count D'Estaing sailed from Toulon, and arrived off the coast of America in July—after a long voyage of eighty-seven days. On learning the departure of the French fleet for America, the British Government sent out, in the same ships with the Peace Commissioners, orders to Sir Henry Clinton to concentrate his forces on Long Island and at New York. "The successor of Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, was," says Lord Mahon, "in character, as upright and amiable; in skill and enterprise, much superior. Had the earlier stages of the war been under his direction, his ability might not have been without influence upon them. But it was his misfortune to be appointed only at a time when other foes had leagued against us, when the path was beset with thorns and briars, when scarce any laurels rose in view. In consequence of the impending war with France, and in conformity with the advice of Lord Amherst to the King, instructions had been addressed to Sir Henry, on the 23rd of March, to retire from the hard-won city of Philadelphia, and concentrate his forces at New York. This order reached him at Philadelphia, in the month of May, only a few days after he had assumed the chief command; only a few days before, there came on shore the British Commissioners of Peace. These Commissioners might well complain with some warmth, in a secret letter to Lord George Germaine, that an order so important, so directly bearing on the success of their mission, should have been studiously concealed from them until they landed in America, and beheld it in progress of execution. Thus to a private friend wrote Lord Carlisle (one of the Commissioners): 'We arrived at this place, after a voyage of six weeks, on Saturday last, and found everything here in great confusion—- the army upon the point of leaving the town, and about three thousand of the miserable inhabitants embarked on board of our ships, to convey them from a place where they think they would receive no mercy from those who will take possession after us.'"

"Thus from the first," says Lord Mahon, "the Commissioners had against them the news of a retreat from Philadelphia, and the news of the treaty of Paris; further, they had against them, as the Opposition in England had long foreseen and foretold, the fact of their connection with Lord North. Even at the outset, before their affairs could be known (June 14, 1778), one of the leaders in America, General Joseph Reed, answered a private note from one of them as follows: 'I shall only say that after the unparalleled injuries and insults this country has received from the men who now direct the affairs of Great Britain, a negotiation under their auspices has much to Struggle with.'" "How different," remarks Lord Mahon, "might have been his feelings, had they brought their Commission from Lord Chatham." (History of England, Vol. VI., Chap. lviii., pp. 372-374.)

Lord Mahon adds: "Not any, even the smallest opening, was afforded to these messengers of peace. They desired to despatch to the seat of Congress their Secretary, Dr. Adam Ferguson, the well-known Professor of Edinburgh, and they applied to Washington for a passport, but Washington refused it until the pleasure of Congress should be known. The Congress, on their part, had put forth a resolution declining even to hold any conference with the Commissioners unless, as a preliminary, they should either withdraw the fleets and armies, or else, in express terms, acknowledge the independence of the United States. In vain did the Commissioners address the President of the Congress, and entreat some consideration of their terms. (For the terms, see page 11.) To none of these terms, so tempting heretofore, would the Congress hearken; and after their first letter, they decided in a summary manner that no further reply should be returned."—Ib., pp. 374, 375.]

[Footnote 12: "Finding it impossible to proceed with their negotiations, the Commissioners prepared to re-embark for England. First, however, they issued a manifesto, or proclamation, to the American people, appealing to them against the decisions of the Congress, and offering to the colonies at large, or singly, a general or separate peace. This proclamation was in most parts both ably and temperately argued. But there was one passage liable to just exceptions. The Commissioners observed, that hitherto the hopes of a reunion had checked the extremes of war. Henceforth the contest would be changed. If the British colonies were to become an accession to France, the law of self-preservation must direct Great Britain to render the accession of as little avail as possible to her enemy. Mr. Fox and others in the House of Commons inveighed with great plausibility against this passage, us threatening a war of savage desolation. Others again, as friends of Lord Carlisle and Mr. Eden (afterwards Lord Auckland), asserted that no such meaning was implied. The error, whatever it might be, lay with the Commissioners, and in no degree with the Government at home; for Lord North denied, in the most express terms, that his Ministers had intended to give the least encouragement to the introduction of any new kind of war in North America." (Debate in the House of Commons, Dec. 4, 1778.)

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