Loyalists


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Loyalists,

in the American Revolution, colonials who adhered to the British cause. The patriots referred to them as Tories. Although Loyalists were found in all social classes and occupations, a disproportionately large number were engaged in commerce and the professions, or were officeholders under the crown. They also tended to be foreign born and of the Anglican religion. In addition, thousands of free blacks were among the Loyalists. As a whole, their motives for remaining loyal were complex and embraced both ideological and material reasons. In 1774–75, when most colonials hoped for reconciliation with the British government, the line between Loyalist and non-Loyalist was not very sharp; many Loyalists voiced opposition to the acts of Parliament. But the Declaration of Independence created a sharp dividing line between supporters and opponents of independence.

Figures on public opinion in the Revolution are obviously mere guesswork, but John Adams estimated that one third of the colonials were Loyalists; probably another third were neutral, apathetic, or opportunistic. The Loyalists were strongest in the far southern colonies—Georgia and the Carolinas—and in the Middle Atlantic colonies, especially New York and Pennsylvania. In those places particularly the fighting became bitter civil war with raids and reprisals. The Revolutionaries deeply hated the leaders of the Loyalist armed bands, such as Thomas BrowneBrowne, Thomas,
d. 1825, Loyalist commander in the American Revolution. A resident of Augusta, Ga., he was the victim of colonist violence in 1775, when he was tarred and feathered for ridiculing the Continental Congress.
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, Edmund FanningFanning, Edmund,
1739–1818, American Loyalist in the American Revolution, b. Suffolk co., Long Island, N.Y. He moved to North Carolina, practiced law, held minor political posts, and supported the royal governor, William Tryon.
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, and John ButlerButler, John,
1728–96, Loyalist commander in the American Revolution, b. New London, Conn. He served in the French and Indian Wars and distinguished himself especially by leading the Native Americans in the successful British attack (1759) under Sir William Johnson against
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.

Even before warfare began many Loyalists were seeking refuge in British-held lands. Feeling against them, in addition to natural cupidity, led the patriots to enact harsh penal laws against the Loyalists and to confiscate many of their estates. The matter of restoring these properties to their owners was discussed in negotiations for the Treaty of Paris (1783), and the treaty provided that Congress should urge the states to make restitution, but little was done, and there were stray lawsuits concerning particular properties for many years. A great many of the dispossessed Loyalists settled in the Maritime provs. of Canada, in the Bahamas, in other parts of the West Indies, and in England.

Bibliography

See W. H. Nelson, The American Tory (1961, repr. 1964); W. Brown, The Good Americans: Loyalists in the American Revolution (1969); G. N. D. Evans, ed., Allegiance in America: The Case of the Loyalists (1969); M. Jasanoff, Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (2011); studies of Loyalism in individual provinces by A. C. Flick (1901, repr. 1970; New York), O. G. Hammond (1917; New Hampshire), I. S. Harrell (1926, repr. 1965; Virginia), E. A. Jones (1927, New Jersey; 1930, Massachusetts), R. O. Demond (1940, repr. 1964; North Carolina), and H. B. Hancock (1940; Delaware).

Loyalists

 

Tory colonists; in the English colonies of North America during the War of Independence of 1775-83, supporters of the English colonialists.

For the most part, the Loyalists included monarchist-minded big landowners, a portion of the slaveholding planters, the commercial bourgeoisie tied to the metropolis by their business interests, English civil servants in the colonies, and the Anglican clergy. The Loyalists were opposed to the separation of the North American colonies from Great Britain. Tens of thousands of Loyalists fought in the ranks of the British Army, stirred up counterrevolutionary rebellions, and engaged in sabotage. By the end of the war, about 100,000 Loyalists had emigrated.

References in periodicals archive ?
One masked Loyalist said: "Just cause violence and you will get your way - that's how republicans have done it all these years.
They feared Loyalist retaliation for last week's Lisburn bombing, which killed a soldier and injured 30 others.
Loyalists have no excuse for failing to be the first to decommission.
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We celebrated each plaque with an unveiling ceremony during which the descendants of the honoured Loyalists, along with local politicians, media and members of the Hamilton Branch (usually in conjunction with the cemetery board or the appropriate church), heard of the lives and contributions of the Loyalists--men and women who came to this country with nothing and, through hard work, laid the foundations of Canada.
CHIEF Constable Hugh Orde last night met representatives of loyalist paramilitaries for the first time.
The search for the mole is believed to have been ordered by a high-profile dissident loyalist after he became concerned at the number of security force successes against his organisation in the Lurgan and Portadown areas.
In this regard Esther Clark Wright's celebrated book, The Loyalists of New Brunswick, offers some interesting observations:
There are no accusations that he was prevented from pursuing loyalist murder gangs or stemming the tide of sectarian loyalist attacks or cutting off the loyalist drug lords.
But Army experts cleared the area to allow the loyalist march to go ahead.
Keith Mason demonstrates the ever-changing way that Loyalists thought of themselves as they tried to work out a definition for what it meant to be a British subject.
Loyalists from Belfast's Shankill and Adair's friend John White were accused of trying to overthrow the leadership of the group.