Tag Archives: United States of America

Walkabout in Philadelphia

4 Apr

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1 Jan

eBook Eurasians Grassroots small(Cover Image)


(DOWNLOAD eBOOK FOR FREE by visiting the website with the link above)

ISBN: 9781310573545
Description: Eurasians at the Grassroots – Vol.1 is a collection of short stories regarding Eurasians and the memories of Eurasians. Its purpose is to collect and publish stories as a collective work about Eurasians, by Eurasians and for Eurasians. There are stories about Eurasians contributed from Malaysia, Singapore, as well as from Australia, The Netherlands and USA.
Word Count: 15,150 (approx.)

By Nutmeg Publishing
Co. No. SA0057587-D

**In Support of the Malaysian Dutch Descendents Project (MDDP) ‘The Eurasians at the Grassroots Projects’ under the leadership of Dennis De Witt.**

Forgotten Americans: The Loyalists Dilemma

7 Nov

Written By Simon Sundaraj-Keun


The American Revolutionary Era was a time of political turmoil and military conflict for freedom between Colonial America against an oppressive British system. Independent America was resulted with the triumph of the willing but it was also the end of a legacy for another who was known as the Loyalist. To understand the ‘Loyalists Dilemma’ is to investigate the development of Loyalists as an influential political player with strong economical holdings, and a potential but unrealized military power in Revolutionary America with allegiance to the British Crown.

            Loyalist was a term coined to describe an individual or a group of people in Colonial America who served and defended the honor of the British Crown. These Loyalists were often called Tories, King’s Men, Royalists or British North Americans by Colonists (Patriots). The American Colonies were heavily populated with people of British and European heritage that came to the Colonies in order to search for a better life or fleeing from religious persecutions. The culture and religion of pre-Independent America was similar but its political, economical, and social structures resembled the British system.

            These immigrants that came to toiled the vast lands in America with their sweat and blood were also burden by Native Americans (Native Indians), competing European powers, and the North American climate. The American Continent was divided into different colonized territories by European powers like Russia, Spain, France and Britain. There were also the Dutch and Portuguese sphere of influence in economics and slave trade. Each European power tried to spread or expand territories by direct and most of the time indirect means. The French for example has been very successful in expanding into Canada and the Louisiana territories by trading and arming of Native Indian tribes.

            To comprehend the division of political ideals or beliefs between Patriots and Loyalists is to take a glance at the Seven Years War or French-Indian War (1756-1763). The cause of the conflict was economic competition in the fur trade, territorial expansion, and religious influences. The Native Indians was excluded from any land from the two competing powers of Catholic France and Protestant Britain. The Colonists fearful of the French threat requested Great Britain to reinforce the Colonies. The French on the other hand had noted the incursion of British sponsored pioneers and settlers into the distributed frontier territories. In 1756 hostilities broke out between the two powers, North America became one of the deadliness battlegrounds in the Seven Years War.

            British troops along with the American Colonists defeated the French in 1763 by capturing French North America and other colonial possessions around the globe. France was humiliated and withdrew from actively engaging British interest in North America. In turn the British were also in a financial dilemma because it needed to settle its war debts. The mercantilism solution that the British came up with was to tax the Colonies and enforce one-sided trade deals with the British East India Company which was on the edge of bankruptcy. To anger the Colonists even more the Royal Proclamation of 1763 whereby stated that new gained territories from France were not for settlement by Colonials. It was to prevent future conflict with the Native Indians and draining the thinly stretch British Army.

            The problems of British exploitations began to strike a nerve within the Colonial population. It was also a turning point in American Colonial history where individuals and groups questioned the Crown’s authority but there were those who regard this political outburst as treason. Patriots wanted direct changed but Loyalists believed in the British system. The Revolutionary Era has arrived and divided communal lines between one’s quest for self-determination and another desire to remain loyal to a King. Patriots on the other side of the coin labeled Loyalist as traitors and collaborators to the British occupying force. The question one would ask ‘Why the Loyalist did remain loyal to a King that sits on a throne across the Atlantic Ocean?’ To answer the question one must understand the Loyalist political, economical, intellectual, and social standing within Colonial American.

Chapter One: Politics of the Rich & Economics of the Poor


            The Loyalists were influential figures within Colonial American society especially in politics and economics. These Loyalists political figures controlled churches, courts, banks, and civil services. In order to rise up the ranks of Colonial administrators’ one have to devoted a life time of allegiance to the Crown. It was easy for some whose generations prior to the Revolutionary Era established a reputation and financially invested into the Colonies. Politics and economics go hand to hand with each other in order to increase development and established social order within a society. Sometimes the failure of politics or economics could jeopardize the social order of society.

            Loyalists and Patriot alike contributed financial and political infrastructures to the Colonies. The two brought new blood into the new world by toiling the land and building cities along the Eastern seaborne. It grew as an alternate trading entity for the British which were most of the times not welcome on mainland Europe. This trading symbiotic relationship between Britain and the Colonies began to create a political and economical bond. The early settlers into the North American Colonies were escaping from religious persecutions but for the Loyalists it was the search of a better life. As the economy grew within the Colonies it also propelled individuals rise to political power and fame in the service of the British Crown.

            These individuals or groups have created a social class that mimicked the one in Great Britain. For example in order for a new comer to establish a reputation one have to marry into the system or toil the social class ladder for a couple of decades. This was a point of confrontation because the new arrivals during the Seven Year War and after had to move to frontier lands in order to start a life. This place entire communities in danger due to the lack of protection given by the British Regulars and ad hoc state sponsored Colonial militia had to be formed for the defense of frontier settlers.

            Tea Act of 1773 and other proclamations prior to the outbreak of American Revolution hampered the survival of frontier settlers or middle class working colonists. It caused those settlers and colonists to scrap whatever basic necessities in order to pay the British imposed taxes. This was not the case for established Colonial citizens who were on the upper echelon to pay the taxes with ease and there were those administrators would benefit from tax revenues. The argument that corruption existed within the colonies was a fact of life. Evidence of corruption may not be unearthed but those allegations exist in every society in that day in age. The reason may have been to gain political favors, economical preferences or improved an individual social status within a society. What the matter may have been the Loyalists had a firmed hand within Colonial society but the political winds were brewing over the horizon was about to challenge the British establishment. “It also made the Loyalists fearful of an Independent America movement than living luxuriously under a one-sided British administration.”[1]

            Loyalists were not prevalent to the upper class of society alone but it existed among commoners, estate owners, and clergymen. These individuals have benefited from the British system prior and during the Seven Years War. Loyalists preferred the sense of security struggled in choosing sides between fellow Patriots and career opportunities within the British Empire. It was a good reason why Loyalists commoners remained loyal to the Crown because it gave a better life and raised an individual social status within Colonial society.

            The other factor one has to take into consideration would be a religious or cultural one and different geographical setting that influence the notion of loyalty. For instance the religious leaders within the Colonies benefited from the British Crown and it also preaches the political stability of the Colonies was God’s blessing to the present system of governance. The issue of the ‘Divine Right Theory’ beliefs was taken strongly among Loyalists in the American Colonies. Religion and culture does not only reinforce the political belief in the British system of government but it also instills the idea of allegiance to tradition and King. Patriots like John Adams stated that “Loyalists notion of allegiance to the Crown was a cover up with greed and vanity for power over the Colonies.”[2]

            The Colonies were divided into three different administrative zones and each has its own unique inside on Loyalty to the British Crown. The Northern Colonies were evenly distributed in wealth but unequal in political outlooks on the British system. The Loyalists concentrated power base in cities, ports and towns in which were also the location of its economical and financial power.  The Middle Colonies were a similar to the North but differ in political make up due to the fact that most of its population was moving westwards. In turn the frontier settlers tend to suffer more under the heavy-handed class system. The Middle Colonies Loyalists were into farming and controlled the Colonies administration in the political arena by appeasing the British taxes. The numbers held by the Loyalists in the Middle Colonies were evenly with the Patriots but less than the people who remained neutral. The Loyalists were also spread out in the Southern Colonies and controlled the political system with a slim majority. The economic dependency in the South was heavily depended of slaves to work in cotton fields and other plantations. The British did not intervene or jeopardized its control in the Southern Colonies economical or political affairs prior to the Revolutionary War.

            There was nothing that the common man or Patriots who lived in the Colonies could do but to challenge the established system of government by voicing grievances through distribution of pamphlets or making political speeches. The outburst was regarded as treason and if caught the punishment were severe. Individuals who were caught would be severely punished by a biased court system who favored the British. The Loyalists played the role of enforcers of the British Crown in preventing change to the old system of government. Loyalists were afraid of the replacing a familiar tyrant in power and that could be negotiated rather than with many tyrants who have different agendas.

Patriots were the radicals who wanted changed from a monarchy system to an equal form of government and a competitive market that would benefit the Colonies in general.  Patriot authors and activists like Alexander Hamilton “discuses intensively about the Colonist right for economic and political freedom.”[3] Loyalists like Samuel Seabury on the other hand “calls for patience and trust in the British administration rather than resorting to violent protest.”[4]

The separation of two different groups was the failure of either side to listen and compromise from the very start of the political crisis. It also elaborates on the inability of the Loyalists to judge the situation coherently because of their ties to the British Crown. Some might consider the Revolutionary War as America’s First Civil War as two political views has its own take on the ideal government and economy. Ironically, war truly paints the picture of a divided society trying to find its true destiny.

Chapter 2: The Psychology of Obedience & Philosophy of Revolution

The sense of belonging to a group or a community would instill a personal sense of loyalty on an individual towards society as a whole. Loyalists in the Colonial America were undeniably loyal to the British Crown in the early years of the American Revolution. Loyalists remained obvious to the fact the old system of governance were coming to an end as political and economical debate occurred throughout the Colonies. The general perception was these outbursts of frustration from the so-called Patriots were minor and it would eventually subside.

Demonstrations began to occur throughout Northern Colonial cities and Boston was the catalyst for calling political and economical freedom. Every action as an equal or opposite reaction and the Loyalists tried to enforce anti-Patriots laws by cooperating with the British authorities. The Revolutionary Era was here to stayed and neither the British nor Loyalist alike knew the great storm of change that was about to decent on the American Colonies.

The Loyalists depict the cost of loyalty during Revolutionary America was to served the existing system and improved it but not changing it with an untested one. Sense of security was a huge issue that became the driving force among Loyalists to continued service within the British Crown. Even more complex were those Loyalists that illustrate the complexities of an individual by declaring oneself neutral in a time of political turmoil and insecurity. Most Loyalist never grasped the severity of the issue of independence that was discussed extensively throughout Colonial America and in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Other Loyalists were neutral in this chaotic time but decided to continue with life’s routine by serving the British Empire which was viewed by the Patriots as traitors.

Loyalists notion of defense increases as the Patriots openly defy the British system and calls for a radical change to an untested Patriot’s system. When the British Regulars arrived most Patriots went underground or detained but the Loyalists were given administrative positions within the British government. Even with the Boston Massacre (1771) Loyalists remained loyal and key political figures called on the masses to remain obedient to the British Crown. This was seen by Patriots as a traitorous act by Loyalists in selling out fellow Colonists to British Redcoats. None could blame the Loyalists in their action because most were conservatives by nature who believed in social order not anarchy.

The role of cultural similarities was a major influence on the psychology of the Loyalists in accepting direct British rule.  For one it was the British Regulars who rescued the Colonies during the Seven Years War and assisted in the expansion of settlers prior to 1756 into frontier territories. There was no major threat from any foreign power and Native Indians when the British were around. If the Patriots seized power it would meant the end of an old system that Loyalists worked hard to achieved only to be shattered by an untested Patriot’s system. The sense of self assurance could no longer exist and the future of the Colonies seems bleak if there is no one to defend it from attacks or conquests.

The Loyalists began to organize within British occupied territories but majority of the Colonies especially in the rural areas were firmly in Patriots hands. Loyalists tried using religion to push the philosophy of obedience but to no avail because the dice has been cast by Patriots and war for an Independent America has begun. As the conflict spreads throughout the Colonies the question of restoration to normalcy was still in the mind of Loyalists. The Loyalists began to organize politically by backing the British occupation forces and assist in any means possible. Loyalists author like Samuel Seabury wrote “one would rather served for a known tyrant that replacing it with many unknown tyrants in the Letters of a Westchester Farmer”[5] it was a desperate push to reason with Patriots ideological radicalism. It also enforces the belief in serving the British Crown by means sacrificing oneself and fellow Colonists who stirred up rebellions to the British.

The Boston Tea Party incident and the Siege of Boston made life harder for Loyalists living in the rural areas throughout the Colonies. The madness of the Patriot masses in revolting against the British system caused Loyalist to flee from estates and homes into British protected Colonial cities. In most Colonies Loyalists tried the direct approach in politics by implementing the will of obedience on Colonial government but it was a failure in most Colonies. The reason for Loyalists failure in gaining control was simple because the Patriots had the numbers where British Regulars were absent.

Loyalists’ political intervention on behalf of the British only fueled Patriots hatred and increased violent retaliations. Each tried to evict the other from homes, estates, and businesses throughout the Colonies. The Loyalists did no succeed in causing any major setbacks on the Patriots but its actions would further fuel the Independence movement throughout the Colonies. It also let to the mass exodus of Loyalists out of the American Colonies. While fleeing some Loyalists like Jonathan Bouchier who wrote “to George Washington about the horrors and resentment Patriots had for Loyalists who were similar in every aspect but differ in ideology.”[6] However it did not changed the Loyalists allegiance to the British Crown but it only made matter worst for refugees fleeing from Patriots persecutions and being cramp into resource stricken Colonial cities.

Chapter 3: Demographic of Conflicts & Wealth of the Mindless


The strength of the Loyalist laid in the distribution of its power centers throughout the Colonies and was also a major contribution to its demise. Another issue that plagued the Loyalists was adaptability to seize opportunities at hand and this might be related to the self-assurance of British superiority over the Patriots. As stated earlier Loyalists were located in major Colonial cities and ports but also evenly distributed in estates and farms. Each geographical location has its own Loyalists population density and in some cases it was a logistical benefit to the British but most often it was considered a tactical nightmare.

Loyalists were distributed evenly at major Northern Colonial cities and it was also a place for refugees fleeing from Patriots’ retributions. The problem with the Loyalists in the Northern Colonies was organization and awareness to the political troubles occurring around the Colonies. Most Northern Loyalists believed that the problems would subside and the British Regulars were more capable of subduing the civil unrest. These Loyalists were fleeing from estates and homes to cities were draining resources from British forces that had to care for refugees and its men.

            Northern Loyalists tend to favor on political stance against the Patriots. Patriots would illustrate the principles of common sense versus Loyalists true interest in social and economical standing. Loyalists’ notion of keeping the old guard was considered treason by the Patriots. Loyalists would align themselves with the British in order to preserve the sense of security and its economical interest. In turn the Patriots would resort to tick for tack tactics in order to drive Loyalists presence out of the Northern Colonies. These methods of seizures of property, expelling and even killings of Loyalists would give the upper hand to the Patriots.

            The conflict between Patriots and Loyalists defer in tactics throughout the Colonies. Loyalists in the Middle and Southern Colonies unlike the Northern Loyalists were generally divided and isolated in Patriot territories. The allocation of Loyalists in cities and ports were similar trend throughout the Colonies. Most Middle Colonies Loyalists were centered in New York and New Jersey. Southern Loyalists were spread out through its Colonies with Georgia being its focal point. Reason for this was the British invasion of “New York and the Southern Colonies created a protection zone for Loyalists fleeing from Patriots occupied areas and it was a well supplied”[7] compared to Northern Colonial Cities like Boston. Another contributing factor for the Middle Colonies Loyalists was the ability to regroup and joined the British Army. The Northern Loyalists were not able to actively participate in the military but it was not the case for Loyalists in the Middle and Southern Colonies. The problem faced by all Loyalists regardless of geographical location was the lost of property and businesses to the constant Patriots seizures and presences.

            One important point that would reflect the Loyalists in the Middle and Southern Colonies would be the estates and farm lands. The Loyalists had something to fight for without any insult to the Northern Loyalists who were mostly intellectuals, businessmen, or administrators. The retreat from Boston by the British caused the evacuation of the Northern Loyalists but General Howe’s return by invading New York gave him a friendly Colony to occupy. For one it was an abundance resource of information and resources but the British failed to see the Loyalists availability as manpower in the earlier part of the Revolutionary War.

            Southern Loyalists were contributing to the British occupation trough military assistance and offering supplies. The Loyalists were not well-organized in carrying out attacks on established Patriot lines and coordination with British Regulars was most often un-synchronized or non-existing. The British did not foresee the error made by freeing the slaves in Southern Colonies. First the economic life line for the Southern Colonists were depended of agriculture in which were harvest by slaves. The other factor was the South was predominantly neutral or supportive of the British occupation forces. British command in the South did not changed to new tactics or learn from previous mistakes made in the North and Middle Colonies. In turn the British indirectly accumulated more problems in the Southern Theater by losing population based of support to the Patriots and caused numerous casualties among Loyalists in failing to coordinate joined military operations.

            British Command made numerous judgmental errors in combating the Continental Army and that was to pursuit the enemy till the end. The Continental Army was given time after time again to recuperate and reestablished its legitimacy among Patriots and skeptics alike. Each time the British proved its superior tactics or were victorious in most battles against the Continental Army but it would fail overall strategically when the enemy strikes back and win over more supporters. This was the case in the Middle Colonies as the balance between Patriots and Loyalists were divided by the slimmest of margins. Loyalists took note of British failures would switch sides or leave the Colonies for good. The British authorities never did comprehend the usefulness of the Loyalists and distrusted time by logical reasoning. British officials reasoned that Loyalists were in some extend guilty as their fellow Patriots in contributing to the civil unrest and the ongoing Revolutionary War.

            The progression of the Revolutionary War created mass exodus by Loyalists from homesteads, towns, estates and cities to England or other British Colonies abroad. Survival was the order of business for Loyalists who were hunted down like traitors by Patriots. Some Loyalists kept political or ideological beliefs personal and tried to go on with life’s routine. For the most part, Loyalists were forced to leave by Patriot neighbors or militias under the threat of violence and even death. There were numerous cases of Loyalists family members beaten or tarred by Patriots Committeemen, young women were humiliated, tortured or rape, and proactive or vocal men were put to the gallows or executed. Loyalists like “Cadwallader Colden Jr was beaten, Nathaniel Gardiner was starved, and William Buirtis threaten with the penalty of death by Patriots Committeemen because of a belief or afflictions with the British Crown.” [8] This was just a few faces that who survived brutal ordeals in a time of lawless and mob justice. One should not think these atrocities were experience solely by Loyalists but it swung both ways as each side try to instill fear in one another.

            British Command began to sense tough times were ahead as the Revolutionary War dragged on and the realization of an untapped resource was the Loyalists. It was a realization on the British part that came too late in the game. The majority of Loyalists from their different locale have in fact fled to England, Canada, and the Caribbean.  However it did not deterred the British from making a final effort in exploiting the Loyalists as a valuable resource. In the early stages of the Revolutionary Era, British officials have used Loyalists as agents as spies and counter intelligence operatives. Now it was a matter to place together an effective and organized combat unit.

Chapter 4: Military Failure & Intelligence Potential

Loyalists continued to support the British occupation even after experienced with major political, economical, and military catastrophe still thought the Revolutionary War was winnable. The British felt that victory was closed at hand even when France with the steady follow of supplies began to pledge troops to the Patriots and openly aligned itself with the Colonists. This chain of external events did not change the perception of British Command to exploit the Loyalists as part of a military component.

However the Loyalists were motivated to remained faithful subjects as the promised of security and rewards waited for one at the end of Revolutionary War. British officials never allowed the Loyalists to govern a single Colony during the Revolutionary War only placed individuals as subordinates to a British figure. The British considered Loyalists similar in most aspects to Patriots only differed from the point of loyalty. This did not change the mind of Loyalists who appreciated the aid made by Britain during the Seven Years War. The other important point Loyalists throughout the Colonies took into account that there were nowhere to go because the land seizures and atrocities that were conducted by the Patriots.

There were no safe places for Loyalists but only British lines or occupational zones. British Command saw an opportunity to use these Loyalists to combat military operations. Loyalists were not accepted among British ranks because of the autocratic tradition and basically trusting an ally that looks like the enemy. It also illustrates the British reluctance in organizing early battle plans in coordinating with Loyalists during the early part of the Revolutionary War. This reluctance caused the Loyalists to give up by fleeing to England or joining the Patriots cause.

The Loyalists remained and fought for the British in an auxiliary capacity but were not fully utilized as a strategic component in the Revolutionary War. The British Command did not use Loyalists to its fullest unlike its Patriots militia counterpart by launching attacks on enemies supply lines or harassing the enemy’s units. It was considered a strategic failure in not implementing the Loyalists equation to the British tactical battle plan. The British learn that restricted mobility and threaten supply lines were due to the unfriendly neighborhood that could have been secured if proper investment were given to Loyalists militia. As for the Loyalists “it was a loosing battle but morality had nothing to do with killing fellow Colonists only loyalty to the Crown that motivated the Loyalists to keep up the fight”[9]. The British were able to get it right by finding other uses to exploit from the Loyalists since the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It was intelligence gathering that was a weapon that gave the Patriots a run for their freedom.

The complexity of Loyalists clandestine activities conducted during the Revolutionary Era was an understatement because it was rudimentary efficient. Loyalists successes came if the British authorities listen and failures turned into disasters when no one paid attention to good advice. British hired secret agents or spies were dedicated operatives in accomplishing tough mission objective mostly without incident. The Loyalists conducted intelligence operations in the Revolutionary Era were often times considered a survivalist game of cat and mouse.

            Loyalist agents started intelligence operations prior to the Revolutionary War throughout the Colonies for the British in order to get an idea of Patriots military and logistics capabilities. The ingenuity of Loyalists like Captain Brown and Ensign De Berniere “in fooling Patriots were using disguises and receiving aid from local British sympathizers.”[10] Most often the Patriots knew where the Loyalists safe houses were and waited to spring the trap on unsuspected spies. The Loyalist would deploy misinformation tactics by forcing Patriot agents on wild chases across the Colonies. The problem faced by the Loyalists was the sense being surrounded by hostile forces because rural Colonial areas were firmly in Patriots control.

            The used of women agents like Ann Bates was undeniably courageous and unorthodox at the same time its efficiency in intelligence gathering was indisputably valuable. Loyalist agents illustrate the unexpected standard of precision of intelligence collections and the foresight in obtaining the information behind enemy lines. The incentive in getting the needed sources was the used of money, but some was motivated by notion loyalty like and others were the notion of adventure. Loyalists expand on the concept of espionage cells within Colonial lines in order to carry out assassinations, misinformation or bribing Patriots like the case of “Benedict Arnold who was offered a better position and salary within the British military.”[11] The methods of these secret operations were rudimentary compared to today’s high tech world, but its effectiveness was in achieving overall mission objective. At the tail end of the American Revolutionary war Loyalists men and women continued to infiltrated all levels of military command structures in the name of total victory. Secret operatives vanished by wars end as agents miraculously appeared at its chaotic infancy.

            Then the British began to listen to the Loyalists agents and supplying allied militias but the war for the Colonies have come to an abrupt end. Loyalists were now force to flee to British Colonies abroad and abandon the norm livelihood to a future of uncertainty. The British mistake was its failure to trust one of the most valuable allies in the Colonies but for the Loyalists it was the in underestimating the human will for freedom and change.


Chapter 5: Reconstruction of a Legacy & Disintegration of a Nation


A new nation was born out of the Revolutionary War and started to rebuild itself but for the Loyalists it was pointless to return. The fear of reprisals and reliving the trauma of the Revolutionary Era were unbearable for the Loyalists. These were the toughest times for any family that were displaced during the Revolutionary War. Loyalists that fled to England, Canada, and the Caribbean had the option to return home and some did.

Home a word seem to portray a comfortable notion to many but to the Loyalists it only bring back bad memories. Most Loyalist decided instead of winning the trust of their fellow Patriots decided to move to Canada, Caribbean or England with the exception of a few like Samuel Seabury. The problems faced by Loyalists were the reconciliation process by the newly Independent American government, the difficulty by Patriots in accepting Loyalist into the new American society, and returning of confiscated real estate and businesses.

Loyalists who decided to remain away from the newly Independent America fought for compensation for lost property. It took a while for the American government to reimburse lost estates and damage businesses. The negotiation conducted by British Parliament had to be done with individual state and the Continental Congress. “Confiscated Loyalists properties have been returned by most States in Independent America but some states were trying to finite the final details.”[12] In time the Loyalists that took the payment either resettled back in America or others migrated throughout the British Empire. There were opportunities available in new British Settlements in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, and Western Canada.

There were individuals that went to Canada was given land and even pensions by the British government. Loyalists like “Samuel Farrington settled in Canada began to develop the Northwest frontier and slowly make in roads towards the Pacific Ocean.”[13] There were some who remained in England reinvest into the British economy and contributed to the expansion of the Britain’s Empire. Some Loyalists climbed the British social class and establish a reputation like “Sir Francis Baronet Laforey who became an Admiral in 1832 after a lifetime of service in the Royal Navy”[14]. Then some Loyalists with families and slaves went to the Caribbean to start-up new plantations. A few went to Sierra Lorne in Africa, Strait Settlements in Southeast Asia and British East India Company trading colonies in India. Not all Loyalists successfully rebuild lost livelihood and these unfortunate individuals “died penniless in the slums of London”[15] or like “Jolley Allen who became a stranger among family members.”[16] However the fortunate Loyalists manage to restarted new lives and developed the land that came to be called home.

Independent America lost a great portion of its intellectual and upper class of society. The economical outcome was devastating because it had to repay its war debt. Plus the lost of a productive and wealthy part of society does not aid in a nation ability to settle deficits. The seizure of Loyalists estates and businesses had to be return. Economical connections in trade that once existed between the Loyalists with the British traders were non-existing. Loyalists returned to Independent America began to rebuild the nation’s economical and intellectual infrastructure while trying to find a role within its social and political system.

            Those who chose to return were subjected to a long battle of reintegration within Independent America society. Samuel Seabury was a Loyalist “who fought for the British but reintegrated into society and became the first Episcopalian bishop in Independent America.”[17] The Loyalists had to be naturalize and adapt to the new system of government by some standard were still harboring hatred towards the returnees. The other issue was to rebuild and reclaimed lost estates, businesses, and properties. Individuals had to earned neighbors trusts and respect but continued to live on with the traitors scar. Loyalists that returned to Independent America were survivalist and courageous individuals that had to forgive Patriots who committed violence onto its fellow family members. The returnees were individuals that still believed in the New World and did whatever was necessary to contributed and rebuild Independent America.




 Loyalists for better or worst did influence the American Revolutionary War. Complex choices had to be made by Loyalists in the era of political turmoil in order to survive. Patriots may have won the war but Loyalists have created a legacy that defied the test of time. Most student of history would remember great or deceive battles during the War of Independence but none would remember the plight of a forgotten part of society that vanished at the end of a conflict.

The power of politics changes or shapes a nation when the cause civil unrest by both parties failure to compromise. Economics goes well hand in hand with politics when Loyalists blinded by the sense of security were reluctant to comprehend the implication of British taxation policies on Colonial society. The similarities of religion within the Colonies do not prevent the birth of new political philosophies. Loyalists’ idea of allegiance was the right cause of action but the Patriots believe in the freedom of self-expression. It created ideological friction that lead to open confrontation with the British.

Lessons from the early stages of the Revolutionary War were not caught by the British or Loyalists forces. The vast territory was not calculated into the grand strategy of Britain’s campaign against the Patriots. The military and political importance of the Loyalists was ignored by British Command until it was too late. The Loyalists were abandoned in throughout the Colonies to put up resistance or engaged the Patriots without any backing from British Regulars.

Loyalists were exile to London and there some still remained in denial of the American Independence till death. The Loyalists failure to conceptualize the chain of events that let up the Revolutionary War would inflict physical, emotional, and psychological decline. At the tail end of the American Revolutionary some Loyalists like “Jonathan Sewall became desperate in trying to plead with the British to make peace with the Patriots but to no avail.”[18] Most Loyalists allegiance to the Crown vanished by wars end as the drive for family reputation was replaced with survival as a major priority.

The life of Loyalists as a common man embroiled in extraordinary circumstances was an undeniable fact during the Independence War. Loyalists were individuals trapped between the old British order of business and the emergence of an independent America.

The sacrifices and misfortunes of Loyalist in Revolutionary America were regretful but it was war and people did what was perceived to be true. This caused a ‘Loyalists Dilemma’ as a person who was torn to choose between fellow Colonists and King. Loyalists reminiscences about the sense of security lost during the Revolutionary Era and hope of reconciliation in Independent America dashed in personal struggle of being loyal to the Crown.

            Finally in understanding the reasons and motivations behind an individual psyche were never simple. In history information and answers maybe found on individual Loyalists struggling with choices between King and Colony in what could be considered the First American Civil War. Loyalist and Patriots locked in conflict in the name of self-preservation and justified principles created a rupture within Colonial America society. The outcome led to a victorious Independent America for one and a forgotten legacy for another that faded into the annals of history.




Published Primary Sources


Bouchier, Jonathan. Reminiscences of an American Loyalist 1738-1789. New York: Kennikat Press, 1967.


Crary, Catherine S, ed. The Price of Loyalty: Tory Writings from the Revolutionary Era. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973.


Main, Jackson T, ed. Rebel versus Tory: The Crisis of the Revolution 1773-17776. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1963.


Seabury, Samuel. “Letters of a Westchester Farmer,” in Rebel versus Tory: The Crisis of the Revolution 1773-17776, edited by Jackson T. Main. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1963


Upton, Leslie F. S, ed. Revolutionary versus Loyalist: The First American Civil War 1774-1784. Toronto: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1968.


Cited Secondary Sources


Bakeless, John. Turncoats, Traitors and Heroes. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1959.


Berkin, Carol, Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist. New York: Columbia University Press, 1974


Brown, Wallace. The Good Americans: The Loyalist in the American Revolution. New York: William Morrow And Company Inc, 1969.


Brown, Wallace. The King’s Friends: The Composition and Motives of the American Loyalist Claimants. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1965.


Calhoon, Robert M., Barnes, Timothy M., and Rawlyk, George A. Loyalists and Community in North America. London: Greenwood Press, 1994.


Lynn, Kenneth S. A Divided People. London: Greenwood Press, 1977.


Moore, Christopher. The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile and Settlement. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc, 1994


Nelson, William H. The American Tory. Oxford: Claredon Press, 1961.


Norton, Mary Beth. The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England 1774-1789. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1972.


Sabine, Lorenzo. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Volume I. New York: Kennikat Press, 1966.


Sabine, Lorenzo. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Volume II. New York: Kennikat Press, 1966.





Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. New York: Belknap Press, 1992.


Callahan, North. Royal Raiders: The Tories of the American Revolution. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company Inc, 1963.


Calhoon, Robert McCluer. The Loyalists in Revolutionary America. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc, 1973.


DeMond, Robert O. The Loyalist in North Carolina during the Revolution. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1940.


Griffith, Samuel B.  The War for American Independence: From 1760 to the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781.  Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002.


Mackesy, Piers. The War for America, 1775-1783. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1964.


Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. London: Oxford University Press, reprint edition, 1986.


Potter, Janice. The Liberty We Seek: Loyalist Ideology in Colonial New York and Massachusetts.  Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1983.


Ranlet, Philip. The New York Loyalist. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1986.


Shy, John W.  A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, revised edition, 1990.


Smith, Paul H. Loyalists and Redcoats: A Study in British Revolutionary Policy. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1964.


Van Tyne, Claude Halstead. The Loyalists in the American Revolution. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1959.


Wood, William J. and John S. D. Eisenhower. Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781 (Major Battles and Campaigns). New York: Harper Publishing, 2003.


Zimmer, Anne Y. Jonathan Boucher: Loyalist in Exile. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1978.


[1] William H. Nelson. The American Tory. (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1961), 91.


[2]  Wallace Brown. The King’s Friends: The Composition and Motives of the American Loyalist Claimants. (Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1965), 38.


[3] Leslie F. S.Upton, ed. Revolutionary versus Loyalist: The First American Civil War 1774-1784. (Toronto: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1968), 19-24.

[4] Leslie F. S.Upton, ed. Revolutionary versus Loyalist: The First American Civil War 1774-1784. (Toronto: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1968), 24-34.

[5] Samuel Seabury “Letters of a Westchester Farmer,” in Rebel versus Tory: The Crisis of the Revolution 1773-17776, ed. Jackson T. Main. (Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1963), 25-33.


[6] Jonathan Boucher. Reminiscences of an American Loyalist 1738-1789. (New York: Kennikat Press, 1967), 140.


[7] Robert M Calhoon, Timothy M Barnes, and George A. Rawlyk. Loyalists and Community in North America. (London: Greenwood Press, 1994), 92 &105.


[8] Catherine S. Cary, ed. The Price of Loyalty: Tory Writings from the Revolutionary Era. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973), 201-210.


[9]Christopher Moore. The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile and Settlement. (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc, 1994), 99-106



[10] John Bakeless, Turncoats, Traitors and Heroes. (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1959), 39


[11] Kenneth S. Lynn. A Divided People. (London: Greenwood Press, 1977), 5-8.


[12] Lorenzo Sabine. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Volume I. (New York: Kennikat Press, 1966), 105-113.

[13] Christopher Moore. The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile and Settlement. (Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc, 1994), 247.



[14] Lorenzo Sabine. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Volume II. (New York: Kennikat Press, 1966), 1

[15] Mary Beth Norton. The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England 1774-1789. (Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1972), 247.



[16] Wallace Brown. The Good Americans: The Loyalist in the American Revolution. (New York: William Morrow And Company Inc, 1969), 152.

[17] Jackson T. Main, ed. Rebel versus Tory: The Crisis of the Revolution 1773-17776. (Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1963), 25.


[18]Carol Berkin. Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), 128-130.


Review Corner: “Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist”

23 Sep

Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist. Carol Berkin. Columbia University Press. New York. 1974. ISBN 0-231-03851-8. Bibliography. Index. Notes. Abbreviations. Pp.  xv. 200.

Reviewed By Simon S. Sundaraj-Keun

            Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist written by Dr. Carol Berkin is a book that dives into the struggles and triumphs of Jonathan Sewall during the Revolutionary Era. Professor Berkin received her doctorate from Columbia University where she won the Bancroft Dissertation Award. She is currently the Deputy Chair of the Department of History at the Graduate Center at Baruch College, New York.

            This book is based on Berkin’s dissertation which focuses on Jonathan Sewall struggle of acceptance between his fellow Colonials and career opportunities within the British Empire. The main theme is to depict an individual cost of loyalty during Revolutionary America. It also illustrates the complexities of an individual declaring oneself neutral in a time of political turmoil and insecurity.

            Berkin’s begins the book with Sewall family history about their contribution to Colonial America (Chapter 1). The author analyzes six generation of Sewall’s contribution to the Massachusetts Colony and the family’s loyalty to the British Crown (Chaps 2-3). Jonathan Sewall never grasps the severity on the issue of independence that was discussed in Colonial America. Jonathan Sewall was neutral in this chaotic time but decided to do his job for the British Empire which he was viewed by the Colonist a Loyalist (Chaps 4-6).

            The book focuses on the notion of Jonathan Sewall defense of the British system over the radical and untested Patriot’s system (Chapter 7).  Berkin discusses when the British regulars arrive Jonathan Sewall moved up the chain of command and in turn he was seen as the enemy by John Adams. Even with the Boston Massacre (1771) Jonathan Sewell never pushed for Independence but called upon the masses to remain loyal to the British system (Chapter 8). The author analyzes that Jonathan Sewall was the right man for the job but the wrong man for Revolutionary America. The Boston Tea Party incident and the Siege of Boston made Jonathan Sewall life hard in efficiently running the Massachusetts courts (Chapter 9). Berkin points that the madness of the masses in revolting against the British system caused Jonathan Swell and his family to flee to England.

            Finally, this book expands on Jonathan Sewall exile in London and his denial of the American Independence (Chapter 10). The author points out the failure of Jonathan Sewall to conceptualize the chain of events that caused his physical, emotional, and psychological decline (Chaps 11-13). At the tail end of the American Revolutionary Jonathan Sewall becomes desperate in trying to plead with the British to make peace with the Colonist. Berkin points out that Sewall’s loyalty vanished by wars end as the drive for his family reputation and survival became his major priority (Chapter 14).

Berkin’s book contains an extensive cited material along with a comprehensive end notes section. The sources contain in the bibliography section were widespread from multitudes of primary documents, letters, articles, journals, and diaries to secondary source materials along with a decent index section. This is useful in aiding historians to conduct further research on the Loyalist in Colonial America. The author displayed excellent dedication to objectivity by gathering sources from Canadian and American archives in order to filter out discrepancies in the source materials. The book contains an abbreviation section which the reader would find helpful in deciphering which sources were cited by the author.

            The strength of this book concisely portrayed Jonathan Sewall life as a common man embroiled in extraordinary circumstances. Berkin successfully presented Jonathan Sewall in her thesis as an individual trapped between the old British order of business and the emergence of an independent America.  I do recommend Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist for American historians and enthusiast in general.


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