Liberty’s Exiles


The American Loyalists were not the snobbish grandees of legend, but a diverse group with different motives for loyalty to the British Empire: black slaves who knew that this was the only way in which they could gain their freedom; Indians such as the Mohawks who counted on the king and Parliament to hold back the occupation of their lands; and the great majority, who were Loyalists on principle.

Some had been peaceable and apolitical subjects, who had been shocked into taking a position by experiencing outrages, atrocities, and dispossession. Some had taken an oath of loyalty and believed that if oaths were dishonoured and laws were disobeyed, society would fall into violence and barbarism.

Whatever the motives of the last wave of Loyalists who sailed away from the hitherto solidly Loyalist New York City in 1783, they would meet varied fates and find new homes, literally all over the world. Some settled in the loyal provinces to the north, turning them into a mainly English-speaking territory that would evolve into modern Canada. Some tried unsuccessfully to move into existing old colonies in the Bahamas and Jamaica. Some famously stabilised the faltering colony of Sierra Leone. Others ended up as far away as India and Australia.

Although steadfast in their loyalty to king and Empire, they would give headaches (and earache) to more than a few colonial governors by demanding the rights and freedoms to which they believed themselves to be entitled as British subjects.

There is material for many historical novels in their story, and this book is a fascinating and instructive read.

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(US) $30.00
(UK) £30.00

(US) 9781400041688
(UK) 978000718080




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