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Reflections 2011
Series 17
June 23
American Revolution: Loyalists & US/Canadian History


Loyalism   We have recently discussed the American Revolution, defining it as a change of government accompanied by the American Revolutionary War, which ran for a shorter period within the Revolution and was an attempt to justify the governmental change. As with any political issue, among the colonists of the 13 colonies there were some for and some against the change. In 2011/16 we quoted these estimates by historians: 40-45% of the colonists were for a new (self-)government, while 15-20% wanted to keep the old (British) government, the remainder being neutral. It’s easy to picture the satisfaction of those that got their wish, and very compelling to consider those that did not.


We saw in 2011/16 how history can be twisted in an attempt to demonize the losing side, showing the choices simplistically as black and white. It’s never like that. It seems the easiest way to try to picture the revolutionary conflict in meaningful terms for today is to consider a major election, such as a presidential one. We’ve all experienced the feeling of having our candidate lose, and that other scoundrel getting into office. You may have heard people say that if that scoundrel gets in, I’m leaving the country. Exactly. Of course, you may, or may not, literally do so.


We must be careful about terminology. Those colonists that sided with the British--as was their right to do--think again presidential elections--can be called tories or royalists, but the term loyalist seems most appropriate as describing the political inclination of these “reluctant Americans”. The awkwardness arises in what to call those that wanted to become Americans. There are several terms for these colonists. I’ve varied between calling them revolutionaries and rebels. I’m satisfied with both terms, although “rebels” implies to me a more forceful rejection of the status quo and “revolutionaries” might imply more interest in governmental change, but both terms seem acceptable.


It is a fact that history is written by the victors, but there is no excuse to show blatant bias when relating that history. Probably the most common term American textbooks use in place of “revolutionary” is “Patriot”. It is an unfair term to apply to only one side. It carries with it a flashing red light saying “good guy” wearing a white hat, while the “loyalist” wears the proverbial black hat. Certainly the revolutionary colonists were patriotic, but so were the loyalist colonists, although to a different cause. I will not relate biased history by using the word “Patriot” to describe one side, just because that side won. It’s just unfair.


Before reviewing the facts we need to consider why people would leave their country voluntarily. Maybe it seems unusual because we’re talking about the 18C, but in the 20C it becomes perhaps more understandable. In 1947 when India became independent, Britons there short-term went home, but so did some of those that had been born there figuratively “return”. The best example is when Southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. Should established people of British origin, perhaps with large ranching estates, stay there, or leave? The ones that stayed there, given the disastrous history of the country in recent decades, made a bad choice. Those that “returned” to Britain, even if they’d been born in Africa, and those that moved to nearby British areas such as South Africa, are probably better off today. Similarly, the loyalists who left the United States didn’t want to take a chance with an untried government and yearned for the status quo.


A hypothetical example would be Northern Ireland. If Ireland were ever to be unified, probably most Catholics in the north would be satisfied, many Protestants in the north might accept it, but many would not, and would consider “going back” to Great Britain, even if they’d been born in Ireland. Change in government forces difficult decisions.


Loyalists in the 13 Colonies   Leaders on both sides of colonial politics were men of educated, propertied classes. But while people leaning toward the revolutionaries were small merchants, craftsmen, and farmers in the back country, the people that tended to be loyalists in the 13 Colonies were people in the establishment, those with position and status, with social and economic connections with British business and government, such as prominent merchants in major cities. Those with family connections in Britain wanted to maintain them, and of course, government officials and their staffs had a vested interest in the status quo. And there was always the sentimental, cultural attachment of the Anglophile.


What made loyalists conservative was that they were older and better established, and they resisted innovation. They thought resisting the legitimate government was wrong, and resented being placed in a contrary position to the majority. They may have realized that independence from Britain would come some day (as it did eventually with Canada, as well), but they wanted to postpone the moment. And of course they were rightly concerned about the potential of anarchy and tyranny--à la Southern Rhodesia later on. Also, those of Scottish background had the negative memory of what can happen after rebellion, including being dispossessed from their lands. However, others saw these pessimistic views as lacking confidence in the future.


It seems to me possible that the greatest animosity between the sides as the war progressed could have been in New York, including Long Island (remember the reference to Brigadier General Nathaniel Woodhull being captured and killed in Hollis [2011/10]). There would be a buildup of animosity and resentment if for no other reason than the area was occupied for seven years, much, much longer than anywhere else. New York and Long Island were the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783, and had a large concentration of loyalists, many being refugees from other provinces/states. Picture again the period after a presidential election, when the winners and losers eye each other carefully, but here, given the animosity of seven years, raise that exponentially. And also, the British, the protectors of the loyalists, were going home. So how would you feel as a loyalist? What would you do?


In recent years I wrote in passing about the Philipse and Delancey families in New York, and how they left the United States after the war. (They left in exile, most who left did so voluntarily.) Curiosity has led me to follow up on those wealthy New York loyalist families (below), but then I also stumbled across a third, more mundane item, but one that illustrates the mindset of the time.


Hempstead & North Hempstead   I first mentioned in 2005/18, in regard to Dutch place names in New York, the town on Long Island originally named Heemstede, after a municipality in the Netherlands, west of Amsterdam and south of Haarlem, whose name was altered under British rule to Hempstead. We referred to it again in 2011/9 in reference to the ancient origins of Jamaica Avenue running through Jamaica Pass across the Hempstead Plains, which covered the entire center of Nassau County.


It takes an effort today, over two centuries after the end of the hostilities, to assess the animosity between the revolutionaries and the loyalists at the time. Possibly one way is to try is to visualize liberals and conservatives at a social function today heatedly arguing opposite sides of a political point, such as a presidential candidate. But it’s also hard to visualize people whose presidential candidate loses deciding to exile themselves.


But we can still find traces of the result of this sort of animosity. Nassau County, which is the first county on Long Island east of New York City, consists of three towns (townships). On its east side, the Town of Oyster Bay runs all the way from Long Island Sound in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south. On the west side of the county, what had once been the unified Town of Hempstead, settled in 1644, at one time did the same, but is now divided in two. The part facing Long Island Sound broke away to become the Town of North Hempstead, leaving the part facing the Atlantic Ocean, at first referred to as “South Hempstead”, to retain the original name of the Town of Hempstead. Why would a township split itself in two? The fact that the split happened in 1784 when the original township was already 140 years old, might give a clue, especially when considering that the Treaty of Paris a year earlier, in 1783, officially ended the American Revolutionary War.


Even before the start of the war, the majority of people in the southern part of the original township (today’s Hempstead) were loyalists, while, the majority of those living in the northern part (today’s North Hempstead) supported the revolution. This northern part runs from Old Country Road, still forming much of the border between the two separated townships, north to two peninsulas, called “necks”, jutting into the Sound, Great Neck and Cow Neck.


Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, ran a series of articles called “Our History”, which included the following information:

 “In September, 1775, almost a year before the future nation declared its independence from George III, the people of Great Neck, Cow Neck and other areas north of Old Country Road[, passionately pro-independence,] signed their own Declaration of Independence. The signers . . . declared their independence from the Town of Hempstead, which, in their opinion, had the bad habit of pledging allegiance to the king. Therefore, the northern necks declared themselves “an entire separate and independent . . . district”[, which] would officially become the Town of North Hempstead in 1784. During the Revolution, the northern[ers] . . . had their own militia headed by Capt. John Sands of Cow Neck [Village] (now Port Washington), which invaded South Hempstead in search of arms. [The northern tip of Cow Neck is now called Sands Point.] The rift caused a north-south animosity that would take years to heal. The first North Hempstead Town Board . . . had to cope with an impoverished area, devastated by an avenging British occupation. The councilmen met in Roslyn taverns and didn't get a permanent home until 1907, when the present town hall opened in Manhasset.”

Cow Neck had been settled in 1643 by 18 English families from Stamford, Connecticut, who gave the peninsula that name after the common pasture they all used. The settlement became Cow Neck Village. It kept that name until the end of the 19C when the LIRR arrived, making the village its branch terminus. At this point, Cow Neck Village was renamed a perhaps more elegant Port Washington (and the rail branch the Port Washington Branch). Although this name change evoking Washington came a century after the Revolution, one can speculate that it might have been in the back of some peoples’ minds to once again evoke the old revolutionary ties.


Philipse   We first talked about the Philipse family in 2005/18 “December Time Travel”, where I referred to historic properties on the Hudson maintained today as historical museums. One was Philipsburg Manor that I was visiting again that December, named after the Anglo-Dutch family whose main residence was on Pearl Street at Wall, in lower Manhattan. Philipsburg Manor was a working mill and farm way up in the country, from which they shipped goods up and down the river. I speculated that the Philipses could possibly gone by boat upstream to visit this and other properties, or otherwise ridden up Broadway on the Albany Post Road, which to this day goes right by Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow NY, opposite which is the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow of Headless Horseman fame, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.


Further research now shows how many generations of the Philipse family were involved in the properties. Frederick Philipse (1626-1702), Lord of Philipse Manor, owned the vast stretch of land bordering the east side of the Hudson starting at Spuyten Duyvil between Manhattan and the Bronx up the Hudson perhaps a third of the way to Albany, today consisting of much of Westchester and Putnam Counties. He had been an immigrant from the Netherlands during the Dutch period who made his fortune in New Amsterdam/New York. Once the British took over, he swore allegiance to the King and was later granted his manorship. He was the one who built the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, completed in 1685, and is buried there. He built a residence in Yonkers NY which was later expanded by his descendants into a mansion, Philipse Manor, another historical property today. He was the one who built the King’s Bridge in 1693 leading out of Manhattan to the north, since it connected New York (Manhattan) to his property. I mention all this to show the long roots of the Philipse family in New York.


Ownership of all this land and the title moved down in time to Frederick’s great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, who sided with the British during the Revolution. I have not found out to what extent, but do know he left New York City for England in 1783, the year of the peace treaty and the year the British left, and that New York State then confiscated the Philipse properties, which were divided up into almost 200 different parcels of land within today’s Westchester and Putnam Counties.


However, note that a Philipse descendant was John Jay (1780–1829), delegate to and president of the Continental Congress, drafter of the US Constitution, US Ambassador to France and Spain, and first Chief Justice of the US.


Delancey   After seeing the descendants of a Dutch immigrant going into exile and losing properties, we now have an example of the descendants of a French immigrant doing the same, although perhaps a bit more spectacularly. We have recently (2011/2) been discussing the Ratzer map of New York (1776), which we can look at again. Notice the large piece of property to the northeast that was apparently meant to be an early land development for a suburb, and which is labeled “New Buildings Not Finished”. They presumably never were. Although later streets were laid out roughly in this pattern, “Delaneys [sic] New Square” does not exist. This was seemingly a planned development of the wealthy Delancey family on their lands, whose name is misspelled on the map.


Étienne de Lancey (1663-1741) was a Huguenot that fled France in 1686 for colonial New York, where he anglicized his name to Stephen Delancey and in time became one of its most successful merchants and a major figure there. The name has come down to us just as Stephen had changed it, although other family members varied as to whether it was one or two words, and as to the capitalization of either the D or L or both. Of Stephen’s three sons, we’ll follow two: James Sr, and HIS son James Jr, as well as Oliver.


James DeLancey Sr (1703-1760) became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the Province of New York, and also served as Lieutenant Governor of New York. From his dates it can be seen that he was not involved in the Revolution, so we now instead move down to his eldest son, who WAS involved, Captain James DeLancey Jr (1732-1800), who was nephew to James Sr’s brother Oliver (1718-1785). Or let’s put it this way: when hostilities broke out in 1775, James Jr was 43 and Uncle Oliver was 57.


James Jr was born in New York City, but had studied in England and became a commissioned officer in the British army. On the death of his father in 1760, Captain DeLancey resigned his commission and returned to New York City to maintain the family's lucrative drygoods business. He established his residence on his father’s sprawling estate along the east side of the Bowery, the property shown on the Ratzer map. He ran for office and won a seat in the New York Assembly. During a contentious political campaign, though a royalist, he solidified his majority position by making promises to, and getting the support of, the pro-independence Sons of Liberty, the very group that undertook the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Eventually it became more and more apparent that he had been speaking out of both sides of his mouth, telling the Sons of Liberty what they wanted to hear, yet assuring the Crown of his loyalty. The matter came to a head in February 1775, just two months before Lexington and Concord, when the legislature demanded he reveal his royalist stance. Worse, during those next two months, DeLancey secretly sold off some of his assets, anticipating the outbreak of war. He left New York City on 5 May 1775 and never returned.


After the war, his properties in New York were formally confiscated by the Commission of Forfeitures for the State of New York, and were sold at auction in 1787, when his estate was valued at about £50,000. However, he sought compensation for his loyalty to the Crown and petitioned the British government, eventually obtaining £26,000, the third largest sum the British government ever paid to anyone for service and losses during the Revolution. He died in England in 1800.


It was James Sr’s farm that had been inherited by James Jr as the eldest son, so it was this property that was declared forfeit when James Jr went to England in 1775. The property subsequently developed into New York’s Lower East Side, later known for its tenements and immigrant working-class status. Two streets, Delancey Street and particularly Orchard Street became known for discount and bargain clothing stores. Delancey Street, shown here at its intersection with the Bowery (note the Empire State Building), from which it runs east to the Williamsburg Bridge, became a main thoroughfare of eight lanes and a median. A major cross street, long known for discount shopping, is tenement-filled Orchard Street, which had been the road leading to the Delancey orchard. However, both streets, and indeed the entire neighborhood, today are showing signs of gentrification.


[At 97 Orchard Street is the Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site, owned by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The 1863 building housed over 7000 people from 20 nations until the floors above the shops were closed off in 1935, making them a time capsule of tenement life. It staggers the mind to consider the elegance of the Delancey country estate, including the road to its orchard, as later developing into a crowded living space for working-class immigrants.]


While James Sr (and James Jr) went into politics, his younger brother Oliver (Sr) went into the military, becoming a Brigadier General in the British Army during the Revolution. In 1773 he was put in charge of the Southern Military District, and was therefore a senior loyalist officer. He joined General Howe on Staten Island in 1776, and he raised, equipped, and commanded DeLancey’s Brigade of three battalions consisting of 1,500 loyalist volunteers from New York State. While one battalion then remained in New York, the other two fought in Savannah and Charleston in 1778-9, and returned to New York in 1782. After the peace treaty, all three battalions went to New Brunswick, where they were disbanded in 1783.


Oliver Sr’s mansion was plundered in November 1777, and confiscated in October 1779. He left New York for England in 1783, where he died two years later.


Oliver Sr’s son Oliver Jr was also a British army officer. He was the head of British intelligence based in New York. He was General Gage's aide-de-camp and was accused of striking Nathaniel Woodhull after his surrender at Hollis, near Jamaica. General Woodhull was a leader of the New York Provincial Congress and a Brigadier General of the New York Militia. It was after the Battle of Brooklyn that he was captured and struck multiple times with a sword in the arm and head for not saying “God save the King” but instead saying “God save us all”. Woodhull died of his wounds shortly thereafter.


Just reviewing the Delancey family’s history during this period indicates the degree of animosity between the sides at the time.


I specifically went into such detail about Delancey’s Brigade so I could present this reenactor’s group in Saint John, New Brunswick. They state the Brigade was formed on 21 September 1776, so that would be right after the invasion of Manhattan at Kip’s Bay on 15 September. I enjoy the fact that, as Canadians, they are recreating activity that is the “other aspect” of the American Revolutionary War. The website says that Saint John, which refers to itself as Canada’s Loyalist City, and was not surprisingly founded in 1783 as the War ended, wanted to celebrate, seven years after the US Bicentennial, the Bicentennial of the Loyalist Landings, so this recreator group, which is now independent, was established. They decided on recreating the second of the three battalions when they found that Saint John’s first mayor had commanded that unit.


[While this website favours Loyalists, it also has links to non-Loyalist-specific reenactment groups. One favorite of mine is The Brigade of the American Revolution, which claims reenactors in all Thirteen Colonies, Canada, and the UK. Click on Membership and find that you can represent US, Loyalist, British, German (Hessian), French, Spanish, and Native American units. You can also “take the King’s shilling” on another favourite, which allows reenactors across the US, Canada, and the UK to join the British Brigade (actually it has American units, as well, and at least one German one). If you look at this website, take it up on listening to God Save the Queen, and have a smile at the second verse. I used to think as reenactments as a little odd, but I now recognize it as a type of performance art, or even street theater. Still I remain impressed realizing the extent to which the American Revolution played a central role shaping the future of two North American countries.]


The above Delancey’s Brigade website makes this statement:

 At the war's end in 1783, the men of DeLancey's were among the thousands of Loyalists evacuated, along with their families, to the mouth of the St. John River. In reward for their loyalty and service the men were granted land along the St. John River, mainly in the area around modern day Woodstock, NB. . . . During this mass relocation, one shipload of these families was tragically lost. The Martha went down off the coast of Nova Scotia, some say within sight of the refugees' new home.

While the city of Saint John, at the mouth of the Saint John River, is some 115 km (71 mi) along the coast from the international border at Calais ME, since the river flows at a sharp angle from the northwest, Woodstock upriver is a mere 16 km (10 mi) from the international border at Houlton ME. It was surely just a coincidence, but there almost seems to be some symbolism there. The statement “thousands of Loyalists” implies to me they are speaking of both civilian Loyalists and military Loyalists, which strikes me as appropriate. But this website, which even in its name says it’s dedicated just to the Military Loyalists of the American Revolution, still seems a little harsh in its evaluation, saying:

 For our purposes, we define a Loyalist as any inhabitant of North America . . . , plus the islands of the West Indies, Bermuda and Jamaica, who served in a military capacity for the British. . . There were, of course, Loyalist Civilians, in numbers probably greater than the military, but the material contained within is geared predominately towards the military.

They certainly have a right to celebrate just the military, but their exclusion of the majority of loyalists bothers me, almost as a stratification of loyalism. For instance, they have a section on genealogy, but limited within the military. It would seem to be much more useful if it covered civilian loyalists as well.


Whither the Loyalists?   We have in the first paragraph above an estimate of the political leanings in the 13 Colonies at the time of the Revolution, where 40-45% were in favor of revolutionary change and some 15-20% were loyalist to the traditional government, the rest being neutral. One has to assume that the neutrals swayed with the wind toward change, since the number of loyalists remained roughly the same at war’s end. But we can try to define that further.


It is estimated that the population of the 13 Colonies in 1780, roughly midway through the war, was 2,780,400. The official population figure of the first official census of 1790 was 3,929,214, which would appear to be an amazing increase of 41%. Since the below figures are all estimates anyway, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to use a round number of three million for the population of the US at the time of the peace treaty in 1783, using that year as our point of calculation even though we know that the first large group of loyalists left with General Howe for Halifax after the siege of Boston in 1776.


The estimated numbers I’ve seen for the number of loyalists at the time of the Revolution is 450,000 to 500,000, which, based on a population of 3 million, means that loyalists constituted from 15% to almost 17% of the entire population.


So, all our discussion to this point now begs the question: what happened to them, or to most of them? Think about it. But if your planned answer starts with a C, it will be wrong, so think it over again, logically, and with perhaps less emotion.


The answer is that the vast majority of loyalists stayed put at the end of the Revolution, remaining just where they had lived during and after the war. They resumed normal lives, and didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get figures, since estimates vary widely. I’ve reviewed highly varying raw figures, and it seems most likely that about 70K-78K left, which falls in the 14%-17% range of the loyalist population, a figure within reason, and between 2.3% and 2.6% of the entire 3 million population.


Since these are estimates anyway, one can picture a “mid-to-upper-teens” percentage for BOTH the number of loyalists in the entire 3 million population (450K-500K) AND for the percentage of those loyalists who left (perhaps in the seventy thousands). On the other hand, of every 100 people in the entire United States at that time, 2 or 3 left, and of every 100 loyalists, 14 to 17 left. Again, these are all estimates, and these figures may or may not add up to other figures for individual destinations that I’ll mention below, which I’ll give merely for their value as a RATIO to each other.


We discussed earlier loyalists who left, Philipse and Delancey. Of those that stayed, some became nationally prominent leaders. I’ve found two names, Tench Coxe and Samuel Seabury.


Tench Coxe of Philadelphia was initially a loyalist, and left the Pennsylvania militia in 1776 to join the British Army under General Howe in 1777. He was later arrested and paroled, but then joined the revolutionary cause and supported the new government. He became a political economist and a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1788-1789.


Samuel Seabury of Groton CT was a leading loyalist in New York City. His father was a rector in Hempstead, Long Island NY (!!! -- see above!), where the Seabury family had extensive history, then and afterward. Between 1754 and 1775 he was an Episcopal rector and supported the legitimate British government, which he felt essential to the preservation of the church. In April 1775 he supported suppressing all unlawful congresses and committees and incurred additional animosity by writing open letters opposing the Continental Congress. This resulted in his professing his pro-British views in an open letter exchange with Alexander Hamilton. Seabury was arrested in November 1775 by local rebels, and was kept in prison in Connecticut for six weeks. After his release, he felt he could no longer stay at home, and sought refuge behind the British lines in New York City, where in 1778 he was appointed chaplain to the King's American Regiment during the British occupation. Still, at the end of the war he did not leave, but stayed in the United States, moved to Connecticut and was loyal to the new government. He eventually became the first American Episcopal bishop and the first Bishop of Connecticut.


So we now return to our question: whither the loyalists who DID leave? Now is when the best answer starts with a C, but that’s still not the only answer, so let’s work our way up to that. What were the choices?


Obviously, Britain, which was the destination of some 7,000 loyalists. One can assume that primarily the wealthy and most prominent could afford to transfer across the ocean, particularly those who had been born in Britain, but also others, especially if they’d been educated there. Still, Britain seems to have been a minority destination. Most apparently wanted to remain on the same side of the ocean, somewhere in North America. Picture here those in Southern Rhodesia (independent in 1965; “Africanized” in 1980) who chose nearby South Africa above Britain as well.


The “local”, that is, North American, choices of the loyalists lay to the south or to the north, as can be seen by this map of British Colonies in North America around 1750. This earlier date is very helpful since the map is simpler, and doesn’t yet confuse with the Florida and Canada changes of 1763. In addition to the 13 Colonies (#3), the choices to the south and north become apparent.


Furthest to the south and most tropical are British Honduras (today Belize) (#6), Jamaica (#7), and Barbados (and the British Leeward Islands, such as the BVI) (#8). Closer in and perhaps more similar in climate to the southern (US) colonies are the Bahamas (#5) and Bermuda (#4). As to mindset, the elected assemblies of Jamaica, Barbados, and Grenada formally declared their sympathies for the cause of the 13 Colonies. However, little could be acted upon because of the overwhelming power of the Royal Navy. Local leaders in the Bahamas and in Bermuda were angry at the food shortages caused by the British blockade of American ports, and there was sympathy for the cause in both, who could have been considered unofficial allies of the 13 Colonies. But still, they were small, and there was the Royal Navy. One can speculate how things might have been if these two island groups had become affiliated with the US, something like Puerto Rico or the American Virgin Islands. That never happened, and apparently couldn’t because of the Navy, yet today, the Bermuda dollar, which circulates only domestically, is pegged at par to the US dollar, which circulates freely in Bermuda. But in any case, some 9,000 loyalists went south to all these islands, more than the 5,000 that went to Britain.


Before we review those who went north, we have to update changes beyond the above map. In 1783, with the end of the Seven Years War (called in North America the French and Indian War), there were territorial changes north and south. The southern change was that both East and West Florida were transferred to Britain. This accounts why Tampa is on the very British-sounding Hillsborough River and in Hillsborough County, and why another larger river in eastern Florida is called the Saint John’s River. East Florida in particular became a major base for the British war effort in the South. But Florida flip-flopped, and was British only two decades, exactly. At the 1783 peace treaty, Britain gave East and West Florida back to Spain. More confusing still, just 36 years later, in 1819, Spain turned Florida over to the US. The above figure of 9,000 who went “south” included some who went to the new British colony of Florida, particularly from neighboring Georgia, only to find they were suddenly no longer in Britain but in Spain, and before long, would be in the US after all! Many of those who went to Florida from Georgia ended up returning home.


Two further comments about the Bahamas and Florida from 2011/14: I’ll remind that I found a Delancey Street in Nassau in the Bahamas, the story behind which I do not know, and will also remind of the architectural influence of Virginia and Carolina in the Bahamas, some of which was later brought to Florida, to Key West specifically, by second-generation loyalists who wanted to return, but chose this area.


We finally come to the destination north, which was of course, the destination for most who DID leave, given the concentration of population in the northern US, the shorter distances to reach northern destinations, the similarity of climate,. On the earlier map, #1 is Newfoundland and #2 is (most of today’s) Nova Scotia. But at this point, that is clearly not enough, and, as Florida changed in the south, we have to expand our horizons in order to understand what happened in the north.


1713 - 1763 - 1783   After reviewing the materials I’ve seen, I’m more amazed than ever how Canadian and American history is so intertwined, particularly in this period. That’s starkly illustrated by the international nature of the reenactors of the American Revolution, Canadians, Americans, even Europeans. I was going to review Canadian history at the time of my trip back to Canada this October, and already have plenty of material prepared, but it becomes very clear now that I have to use some of that material now, since there is so much overlap between American history in this period of revolution and loyalist movement, and the history that later BECAME Canadian history. It must be realized that it’s simplistic to talk about Canada as we know it when discussing the 18C. There was no (modern) Canada until Canadian Confederation in 1867. All areas we discuss north of the 13 Colonies-cum-US in the 18C are British colonial territory known as British North America, divided into several separate colonies, just as the 13 Colonies further south were separate until 1776. British North American-cum-Canadian history not discussed here will be discussed as part of my trip back to Canada in October.


I will add at this point that I’m also convinced that modern Canada, which many picture as primarily an anglophone country, although with a significant francophone minority, is today an independent country primarily because of those French speakers. If all of eastern North America had been British from the first settlements with no New France, a possibility could have existed that all the colonies in North America, being under those circumstances of the same age, would have had similar grudges and might have all become independent together. But Acadia-cum-Nova Scotia-cum-the Maritimes was newly British with little time for grievances to build up and the St Lawrence Valley (under several names--see below) was populated with francophones that were pleased with British rule because of the (very wise) 1774 Quebec Act that gave them their language, religion, and civil code, plus a handful of newly arrived Britons. There was no way these two areas would merge with the 13 Colonies, and Canada’s destiny as an independent country was well on its way, since these areas had been French, and British for such a short time period as of the 1770’s.


To clarify this, we need to keep three dates in mind, two of which have already come up frequently. They are easy to remember, since they all end in a 3 and are therefore decimally spaced: 1713, then 50 years to 1763, then 20 years to 1783.


For completeness, we’ll mention the treaties involved, but for our purposes here, just being aware of the territorial changes that came about because of each treaty year will suffice. The 1713 Treaty was the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of Spanish Succession. The 1763 Treaty was the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ended the Seven Years War/French & Indian War. The 1783 Treaty was the Treaty of Paris (1783), which formally ended the American Revolutionary War. We have already made some reference to these last two dates. But now let’s specify territorial changes from these treaties, which affected Canadian/US history and loyalist history.


Let’s look now at this map that reflects the territorial changes north of the 13 Colonies following the 1713 Treaty. In 1713, the 13 Colonies, in pink, are huddled along the coast. No changes have yet affected Florida, in orange. Nouvelle-France/New France, in blue, itself consisting of five colonies, is spectacularly spread across the map. It is not unreasonable to assume that, without the territorial changes from France to Britain just barely starting here, that the US would today still be an entity clustered along the Atlantic coast, just as it had started, almost completely surrounded by French (and some Spanish) territory. But in 1713, changes begin: two “and a half” of New France’s five colonies became British in 1713.


We don’t often hear about the fact that New France consisted of five separate colonies: Louisiana, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, Acadia, and Canada. Louisiana had its separate history, and is the only colony in New France that never became British. In 1803, however, it did become American via the Louisiana Purchase. Of the remaining four, Hudson Bay, as the map shows, in purple, did become British at this point (and eventually Canadian), but doesn’t affect our loyalist studies. Of the three remaining provinces, Newfoundland, Acadia, and Canada, the other two purple transfers to Britain now are Newfoundland and part of Acadia, consisting of most of today’s Nova Scotia, the peninsular part. The rest of Acadia, and Canada, had to wait another half-century. Still, we’ll see that the roots of modern Canada will be defined in two areas, not merely in a coastal strip as the 13 Colonies were, but in both a coastal strip further to the northeast at the mouth of the Saint Lawrence, in what had been the New France colony of Acadie/Acadia, and also--and primarily--in a riparian (riverside) area along the Saint Lawrence River itself, in what had been the New France colony of Canada.


But first, Newfoundland. Although Newfoundland had first become a British colony in 1610, by 1655, France had colonized it. Still, the 1713 Treaty turned it back from France to Britain. As of the hostilities starting in 1775, Newfoundland stayed loyal to Britain without question. It had been British again for 62 years, but hadn’t been bothered with restrictions and shared none of the grievances the 13 Colonies had. It was bound to Britain by the Royal Navy, and had no assembly anyway that could present grievances, so it remained safely in the British column. I have found no statistics of loyalists that went as far away as Newfoundland to resettle, and suspect any possible numbers were minimal, so we can exclude Newfoundland from our review at this point. We can mention now, however, that Newfoundland, which is now called Newfoundland and Labrador, remained a colony separate from Canada for a very long time, and didn’t join Canada until 1949.


Acadia-cum-Nova Scotia-cum-The Maritimes   Therefore, the only place we should be paying attention to as of now for loyalist purposes now is Nova Scotia. But 1713 is still too early, so we first have to look further into Acadia to see what still developed. Acadia originally was quite large and included a part of the present US State of Maine. (Note that the only National Park in Maine is Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, and that Castine, over on Penobscot Bay west of the park, was considered the westernmost reach of Acadia. The easternmost reach of New England, that is, Massachusetts, since Maine was still part of Massachusetts, was considered Bristol, beyond Portland but still west of the Bay.) But beyond Maine, we can describe Acadia as consisting of four areas, which became three Canadian provinces, now called the Maritimes. These areas can be distinguished on the above 1713 map, but can be seen much more clearly on this map of Acadia in 1754, the year before the expulsion of 6K-7K Acadians to Louisiana, at the other end of New France (but what a climate difference!) and nine years before the changes of the 1763 Treaty.


Note the Acadian Peninsula, with Halifax. This is the only part of Acadia that went to Britain in 1713. (Everything else here went in 1763.) For the intervening half-century, France retained Île Royale as a separate colony, which included the nearby Île Saint-Jean, and it also retained Continental Acadia. When Britain did get these three areas in 1763, it renamed Île Royale Cape Breton Island and Île Saint-Jean Saint John Island. But since that name was overused elsewhere, in 1798 it changed it again, naming it Prince Edward Island, after a son of George III (Edward was later Queen Victoria’s father). Britain then indulged in a mix-and-match over a number of years, first merging three of these four colonies (all except PE) into a greater Nova Scotia. In this sense, Nova Scotia was the virtual successor to Acadia. But then it reversed itself again in 1784, dividing NS into its three components, again adding up to four with PE. Finally, in 1820, it merged Cape Breton Island with peninsular Nova Scotia, and so it remains today (there is still the occasional grumble that Cape Breton Island should be its own province, just like PE). So in what is now called the Maritimes today there are four components forming three provinces, NS, PE, and--ta-da!--New Brunswick (NB). Peninsular Acadia was specifically separated the year after the 1783 Treaty to accommodate loyalists from the US. (See below.)


“Canada”-cum-“Québec”-cum-Ontario & Québec   In discussing Acadia we got a few years ahead of ourselves and now need to show the changes that took place in the 1763 Treaty. First in red, are the British territories from earlier, the 13 Colonies that have been British for up to a century and a half, plus the three “newer” areas that had been British for just 50 years, the Hudson Bay area (Rupert’s Land), Newfoundland, and a mini-Nova Scotia. Added in 1763 are Mainland Acadia, here still labeled NS but later becoming NB, plus Cape Breton Island and PE. Florida has done its first of three flip-flops and has been transferred from Spain to Britain for what turned out to be just 20 years. Louisiana, in yellow, is still not an issue, but all the rest of New France, in pink, is now British. This “rest”, the one “and a half” colonies remaining, is the balance of Acadia, plus Canada.


If the two different meanings of “Canada” have not yet become apparent, note now that we are not talking about modern Canada running between the Pacific and Atlantic and up to the Arctic Ocean. This is the much smaller New France riparian (riverside) province of Canada, running along the Saint Lawrence River Valley and backing up to the Great Lakes, so clearly shown on this map, and in contrast to coastal Acadia. This “little” Canada is the one referred to in the unsuccessful 1755 Invasion of “Canada”, which did not include Acadia, and certainly not Canada in the modern sense. Now, take note of the nearness of Boston, New York, and other cities to Halifax, and Montréal/Québec City, and you’ll see why these two areas of British North America--they were not yet Canada!--were principal loyalist destinations.


The word “Québec” has also had two different meanings. The historical “Canada” is smaller than modern Canada, but the historical “Québec” is larger than modern Québec. Note the word “Québec” to the left of the Great Lakes on the last map, and you’ll see that the part of New France running from the Mississippi to Labrador, which had been the French colony/province of Canada, in 1763 was renamed by the new British owners the colony/province of Québec. This was a mega-Québec. This map also shows this large area. On this map, one must understand that both “Canada” and “Québec” are the historic designations for areas, and not current ones. You can also see that Newfoundland and PE are separate colonies, that Nova Scotia includes three areas, and that the border between NS (ex-Arcadia) and Maine is still classed as indefinite in 1774.


Either under the name (mini-) Canada or (mega-) Québec, it was divided up into three areas. As can be seen on the last map, all of it south of the Great Lakes up to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers became US territory, which is why Détroit and Sault Ste Marie, both in Michigan, and Terre Haute, Indiana, all have French names. Terre Haute is French for “High Land”, referring to the bluffs along the Wabash River, which at one point were considered the border between the New France colonies of Canada (!!!) and Louisiana.


The region of (mini-) Canada or (mega-) Québec north of this area, which remained in British North America, was further divided in two in 1791 (once again favoring the “Canada” name) into Upper Canada (meaning further up the St Lawrence) and Lower Canada (further down it), sometimes collectively called the Canadas (Upper is orange; Lower is green). Upper Canada was specifically created at this time for arriving loyalists from the United States. This was changed again exactly fifty years later (North American history seems to like round numbers) in 1841, when Upper and Lower Canada were united into the Province of Canada. Did this last? No, since Canada seems to like to keep historians on their toes. At the time of Confederation in 1867, the Province of Canada (only 26 years old--not a round number) was once again split in two as earlier, but what had been Upper Canada earlier was now called Ontario, presumably after the Great Lake its eastern section adjoins, and Lower Canada saw the revival of the name Québec, as we know it today. With “Québec” now recycled into its modern significance, the same was done with the name “Canada”, which became the national designation.


Finally, for completeness’s sake, this map shows in brown the westward extension of the US at the time of the 1783 Treaty. It also shows the Floridas in their second flip-flop, from Britain back to Spain. The third one from Spain to the US wouldn’t happen until the next century, along with Louisiana, and more.


Northbound Loyalists   Most loyalists stayed in the US; of those that left, some moved south, but the majority moved north primarily to two areas of British North America. They used the same routes that had been available during the War, the sea route to the Maritimes and the land route to “Québec”.


It is very difficult to determine numbers, which are based on historical estimates, some of which do not add up with others. They are presented here to show ratios between each other and between the 7K figure to Britain and the 9K figure to points south, which themselves might be somewhat suspect.


One figure says that 62K loyalists went to British North America (BNA, present-day Canada). This figure combines with the 7K and 9K ones to total 78K, which was one end of the 70K-78K range we mentioned earlier for total loyalist departures.


Another figure says it was 46K that went to BNA, broken down to 34K to Nova Scotia/New Brunswick, 2K to PE, and 10K to “Québec” (Ontario & Québec). This lower figure would add up to 62K total departures, lower than our 70K-78K range.


Another says that not 34K, but only 30K went to (greater) Nova Scotia, separating into 14K to NB and 16K to NS.


We can use this estimated raw data to draw conclusions about ratios.

 1) We said earlier that, of every 100 people in the United States at the time of the American Revolution, 2 or 3 left.
2) Of every 100 loyalists, 14 to 17 left.
3) We see now that far more loyalists went north to BNA (Canada) than went south or to Britain. Of every 100 loyalists who left, based on the above varying figures, between 65 and 74 went north to what became Canada. Again, this may be because the US population was concentrated in the north, the shorter distances, the similar climate.
4) We also see that, of those that went to the future Canada, far more went to the Maritimes, 78%, than to what later became Ontario/Québec, 22%. Rather than adhering to such precise percentages based on weak data, let’s say of every loyalist who went to Ontario/Québec, three went to the Maritimes. I would speculate this would be because “Québec” was barely British (only 20 years since 1763), while at least part of the Maritimes had been British for 70 years, since 1713, even though the balance became British later.
5) Of those that went to the Maritimes, PE was a minor destination. Even though NB was purpose-established for loyalists, about as many loyalists settled in NS as in NB.

The arrival of the loyalists in what became Canada marked the beginning of the predominantly English-speaking regions both west and east of present-day Québec. Still, the two regions they inhabited had both been established much earlier as parts of New France, and this foundation, I assert, is the reason that Canada is an independent nation today.


THE SEA ROUTE TO THE MARITIMES Just as Howe had left Boston after the siege (with loyalists) to Halifax, this same sea route to the northeast from Boston and beyond was used by loyalists to reach ex-Arcadia, which at this point consisted of Nova Scotia, the purpose-established New Brunswick, the still separate Cape Breton Island, and Saint John Island, not yet renamed PE.


There was a surprising Yankee element in Nova Scotia. In the decade-and-a-half before the War, covering roughly the 1760’s and first half of the 1770’s, there were some amazing migrations out of southern New England. Some 66K people emigrated to the NW and NE to populate the Mohawk Valley of New York, west of Albany and also Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Numerous new towns were established in these places at this time. It was caused by the scarcity of land where they left, plus the attraction of free land where they were going. The timing is because of the end of French power in North America as of the 1763 Treaty. Nova Scotia, noting this migration, invited these New Englanders to populate the lands left vacant by the expulsion of the 6K-7K Acadians a few years earlier. This is not strange, since Nova Scotia was just another British colony inviting other British colonials. There was no difference between someone from Massachusetts going to New Hampshire or to Nova Scotia, all British colonies, and 8K accepted the invitation, mostly farmers and fishermen. They arrived between 1759 and 1768 and were then known in NS as the New England Planters. They were the first major group of English-speaking immigrants in what became Canada that did not come directly from Britain. They were also Protestants replacing Catholics.


Therefore, Nova Scotia had at the start of the War a recently-arrived, large Yankee element that shared the sentiments of the American revolutionaries. The royal government reluctantly allowed them some leeway, but the peninsular isolation of Nova Scotia from the 13 Colonies and the presence of the Royal Navy base in Halifax (Howe’s destination) made the thought of any resistance impossible. Still, when the loyalists arrived, they were not necessarily well received by the many Planters sympathetic to the US cause. This was a major reason for New Brunswick being established purposely for the loyalists. When they arrived in 1783 in what is today Saint John NB, they felt no allegiance to Halifax and wanted to separate from NS in order to isolate themselves from what they felt were republican influences there, sympathetic to the US.


There is loyalist symbolism throughout the new naming. George III was of the House of Hanover (German: Hannover), which is connected to the city of Braunschweig in what is today Lower Saxony. (You know the name because of Braunschweiger liverwurst.) The standard (High) German name Braunschweig in the local Low German is Brunswiek, and in English Brunswick. There are numerous Brunswicks around the world, and among the best-known ones in the US are Brunswick GA, Brunswick ME, and New Brunswick NJ. And so, to honour the House of Hanover, the new Province also became New Brunswick. (And yes, it’s called in German Neubraunschweig.) Although Saint John became the largest city, the capital of NB is Fredericton, also named in honour of a son of George III (as was PE, above).


THE LAND ROUTE TO “QUÉBEC” At the time the loyalists went north in the early 1780’s, it was still all called Québec, that former large entity, not being renamed The Canadas until 1791. But still, Upper Canada (Ontario) was then purpose-established for the arrival of the loyalists. Most arrived by land, and we can try to analyze where. It was unlikely they went north from Maine or New Hampshire, since even today, those heavily wooded routes are remote. They were more likely to go via New York State (possibly, but not necessarily, using the Hudson and Champaign Valley battle route), or Vermont--except that, at that time, Vermont was still part of New York. So we can assume it was usually a matter of crossing from (a larger) New York State to “Québec”.


While the Maritimes changed hands in two periods a half-century apart, Britain gained control of “Québec”, essentially a strip of populated territory along the Saint Lawrence River, all at once, in 1793, so it was quite “new” at the time of the American Revolution. It had a population of about 54K French-speaking Catholics, but nothing similar to the expulsions of 6K-7K Acadians in 1755 would be repeated. Instead, the Québec Act of 1744 did just the opposite, giving them formal cultural autonomy (language, religion, civil code). In addition, they didn’t sympathize with a rebellion they saw as being led by New England Protestants, who were their commercial rivals and traditional enemies. In addition to the French speakers, following Britain’s takeover after the 1763 treaty, English-speaking settlers started arriving, many of which were British-born and not disposed to support separation from Britain, so this was in no way similar to the situation in NS with the New England Planters. Loyalists arrived here in friendlier territory.


The reason for establishing a separate province for the loyalists was also different. The loyalists in NB were more royalist than the potentially republican Nova Scotians so the divide there was political, but in “Québec”, loyalists soon petitioned to be allowed to use the British legal system they were used to in the American colonies, and not the French civil code--to say nothing of the English language and Protestantism--so Upper Canada (Ontario) was created to be distinct from Lower Canada (Québec) not for political reasons, but for cultural ones. Still, many loyalists (and later-arriving, non-loyalist New Englanders looking for free land) settled not in Ontario, but in southern Québec, especially in the lush lands south of the river discussed in 2006/12 “Les Cantons de l’Est” (Eastern Townships).


The two provinces purposely established for loyalists each have interesting mottoes, although both are heavily obfuscated from the general public by having being composed in Latin. Although not a Latinist, I can rework some translations I’ve seen that I don’t fully care for. The motto of New Brunswick is spem reduxit. Spem is “hope” in an objective form; the rest is a verb that apparently means “restore”. It seems to mean, speaking of New Brunswick, “It restored hope”, although some like to rephrase it as “Hope restored”. It’s a beautiful thought in any case, given loyalist sensibilities.


Ontario’s motto is ut incepit fidelis sic permanet. The eye (even a modern-language eye) is grabbed by “fidelis”; comparing it to “fidelity”, it would mean “faithful, loyal”, an appropriate start. Thinking “inception” and “permanent” but noting verb endings, I see instead “it begins”--let’s make it logically “it began”--and “it remains” (I saw a “she persists” translation, but I don’t like either word here). My translation is, speaking of Ontario, “As it began loyal, so it remains”, another appropriate loyalist sentiment.


Some additional information culled from extensive reviewing of loyalist events:

 1) The northbound loyalists received from the British government land grants per person of 200 acres (81 hectares).

2)Some of the northbound emigrants from the US, especially later on, might have been less politically minded and more practically so, and simply desired to take advantage of the British government’s offer of free land. I saw this further asserted in some information on Québec’s Eastern Townships.

3) Loyalist refugees began leaving at the end of the War whenever transport was available. 30,000 departed from New York alone (presumably in all directions), which could be explained by the fact that, as NYC was occupied by the British for seven years, it became a magnet for loyalists, who then dispersed.

4) By far, the vast majority of loyalists that emigrated stayed put, but homesickness was common, and for some, the new life was difficult and they couldn’t establish themselves. So, starting in the mid 1780’s and lasting to the turn of the century, a small percentage returned home to the US.

5) Numerous Loyalists were forced to abandon substantial amounts of property in the United States. Either restoration of or compensation for, this property was a major issue of negotiation at the time. The Americans promised in the peace treaty to recommend that states redress the loyalists' financial losses, but that seldom happened. Some exiled loyalists received ₤3 million or about 37% of their losses from the British government. Some were compensated with Canadian land or British cash, distributed through formal claims procedures. More than two centuries later, some of the loyalists’ descendants still assert claims to their ancestors' property in the United States. On the other hand, When the British invaded and took over New York, revolutionaries fled, and their abandoned properties were confiscated for loyalists. As they say, war is hell.

6) Contemporary Canadian descendants of the original loyalist refugees sometimes use the term “United Empire Loyalist” as an honorific title, on occasion even writing (an unofficial) “UE” after some names. It’s rare today, even in original loyalist strongholds like southeastern Ontario, but historians and genealogists still use it as a kind of shorthand for identifying the ancestry of families descended from loyalists. This is a UEL Monument in Hamilton, Ontario. The plaque says in part: “This Monument is dedicated to the . . . UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS, who, after the Declaration of Independence, came into British North America from the seceded American colonies and who . . . largely laid the foundations of this Canadian nation as an integral part of the British Empire. . . .” I find this an impressive, pleasantly romanticized statue and a beautiful sentiment, I smile at the use of the word “seceded”, and I wonder whither the British Empire . . . Here we have another Loyalist Monument in Saint John, New Brunswick, in the form of a fountain. The use of the beavers is a simple, but very effective, Canadian touch.

Did the Loyalists Find what they Wanted?   If the goal was to remain British, only those that went to Britain were totally successful, for themselves and for their descendents. As for those who sought the British Empire elsewhere than in Britain itself, well . . .


If they went south, you can consider the extent to which they and their descendants can be considered British in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, and elsewhere. But since most went north to British North America to remain British, let’s again concentrate there. I’d say they were successful for themselves, but less so for their descendants. After Canadian Confederation in 1867, Canadians weren’t British anymore, but the loyalists themselves were by then long gone, so it’s a matter of what their descendants’ situation is. But then, “being British” will have to be redefined, not as the reasonable goal of “being Canadian”, as that has evolved, but being--we have to say it--an English-speaking Canadian with British traditions. Here we enter the realm of narrow-mindedness, given that Canada’s English-speaking house lies on a French-speaking foundation, which has been my point since discussing the American Revolution earlier.


Especially in recent decades, Canada has gone, at least nominally, bilingual, which by definition, is not “British”, so the 1783 loyalists would not be all that pleased. Let’s review where they settled and what the ethnic situation--really, language situation--is today, whether their descendents still live there, or not.


The national figures I have for Canada are based on the 2006 census, which calculates that, in a total population of some 31 million, 58.8% have English as their mother tongue, and 23.2% French. That’s about 2.5 English speakers for each French speaker. That leaves a large “other” category of 18%, which covers speakers of a number of European and Asian languages. Nationally, indigenous languages, which are in decline, cover less than 1%.


Although Canada is officially bilingual (government, legal system), the provinces and territories each have their local policies: all have only English as their official language except for two: Québec’s only official language is French, and New Brunswick is unique, in that it has BOTH English and French as official languages. This might seem magnanimous until one realizes the reason why. Only about 2/3 of New Brunswick speakers speak English, and 1/3 speak French. In other words, French has a very strong presence, not only in Québec, but also in New Brunswick, the loyalist history of New Brunswick notwithstanding. Let’s review the four provinces that were loyalist goals, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, and New Brunswick.


NOVA SCOTIA Most provinces and territories today have percentages of English speakers in the 80’s and 90’s, and of French speakers in the 1’s and 2’s. Nova Scotia is typical: 96.2% English, 1.9% French. The loyalists would have been pleased.


ONTARIO Ontario, though purpose-established for loyalists, while still primarily anglophone, has a percentage in the lower range as compared to others: 81.4%, with 2.5% French. There are over a half million francophones in Ontario, which is the largest francophone community in Canada outside Québec in absolute numbers (NB has larger percentages). It could also be described as the largest francophone community west of Québec. This is a map of the part of Ontario known as Eastern Ontario, shown in both pink and green and including county lines. Eastern Ontario abuts both Québec and New York State across the Saint Lawrence. That northeasternmost county adjoining Québec is Prescott-Russell, unique as being the only county west of Québec with a francophone majority (66%, but something that is common in northern New Brunswick). Three other counties are heavily francophone, the two bordering Prescott-Russell and the larger one to the west. Curiously, all the other counties in Eastern Ontario shown here, pink and green, beyond the four heavily francophone ones happen to be the ones showing the heaviest influence of the United Empire Loyalists.


QUÉBEC Québec’s 2006 figures are 81.8% francophone and 10.6% anglophone, but adding to those native francophones speakers of other languages (including English) who speak French as a second, or even third, language, the francophone figure in Québec rises to about 95%.


One finds more on this subject in French Wikipedia than English Wikipedia, including this interesting graph (in French). It shows the evolution of languages in Québec over time (click to enlarge), from 1844 to the 2006 census. Canadian French uses the term “allophone” for speakers of other European and Asian languages (but not indigenous languages). While French has remained relatively stable over a century and a half, English in Québec has shown a steady decline; but this decline also seems to be inversely proportional to the rise in the number of speakers of other language, and not to any noticeable increase in French.


The first year graphed, 1844, would have been at the end of the first generation of loyalists. Although the graph then jumps a century, it can be seen that their descendants are less “British” then they might have hoped. In addition, today, only 3.67% of Canada’s English-speakers reside in Québec, mostly in Montréal.


NEW BRUNSWICK Of the two provinces purpose-established for the loyalists, New Brunswick is today less “British” (English-speaking) than the loyalists might have hoped for their descendants. As of the 2006 census, 64.83% were anglophone, and 32.61% francophone, which, as a rule of thumb, is 2/3 English, 1/3 French. But there is a concentration of francophones, which is located both along the northern border of NB with Québec, and along the east coast. Very revealing is this language map of the Maritimes. Red and gold show counties with an anglophone majority (red LESS than 1/3 francophone minority, gold MORE than 1/3). Similarly, blue and green show a francophone majority (blue LESS than 1/3 anglophone minority, green MORE than 1/3.)


What do we see here? NS and PE are, as we said, overwhelmingly anglophone, each with only a touch of francophone areas. NB on the other hand is strongly anglophone in the south, where NB borders Maine on the left and the Bay of Fundy on the right, which is the location of Saint John, directly up the coast from New England whence came the loyalists. But NB is strongly francophone in the north, along the Québec border, and also on the east coast, facing PE. It becomes apparent why NB is the only province where both English and French are official. It is also ironic that NB, purpose-established for loyalists, is less “British” (English speaking) than Nova Scotia, which many rejected for non-British (pro-American) leanings.


We could leave it at that analysis. After all, we’ve discussed all four provinces that were the goal of the loyalists. And that concludes all evidence found in English Wikipedia. But if one is talking about the French language in Canada, it behooves one to take a peek in French Wikipedia, and watch the plot thicken.


We are all aware of nationalist tendencies in Québec. So far it’s asserted itself in the form of language and legal changes, but there has been talk about a further sovereignty within Canada, and even independence. But what surprised me is the extent to which there had been discussion in the past about also reestablishing Acadia as a separate province within Canada, that is, separating francophone New Brunswick from anglophone NB. This is historically curious, given that Acadia was centered in what is today Nova Scotia, where the expulsions took place. But that is not where the concentration of Acadian descendants is located. I also understand that Acadian French is a little different from Québec French, so francophones can apparently tell who’s who. This is a map of where the Acadians are considered to live. [This map is not in English Wikipedia. I was about to use the French-language one, but began looking around. I found this map in Italian, and even in Catalán, but I had to go to Danish Wikipedia (and some others) to find the English version. I wonder why.]


Yellow shows the Acadian regions with a francophone majority, which, as we know, correspond to northern NB and the east coast. But the surprise is, Acadians are also considered to be just over the border in Québec (above Chaleur Bay) and in Québec’s Magdalen Islands. Another surprise for me is that a strip of northern Maine is considered to be within this language and cultural community. I checked the statistics on Fort Kent, Maine, and found it is economically and culturally connected to NB towns over the international border. 62% of the residents of Fort Kent habitually speak French, and many have US-Canadian dual citizenship.


Some of the places indicated on the earlier map in blue also appear in NS and PE, plus a few more. In addition, a few towns that no longer speak French are referred to in lighter yellow as being “anglicized”.


Finally in this regard, we find a map, only on French Wikipedia, as proposed by the former minority party Parti Acadien / Acadian Party, which was active in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and which for a time proposed a new Canadian province of Acadie / Acadia, dark blue areas being to their mind more francophone than the light blue. Their stance was based strongly on the argument that francophone NB was at an economic disadvantage from anglophone NB. However, many francophone centrist voters moved to the Conservative Party when it promised to promote francophone rights. But the Conservatives’ policies angered some anglophone NB voters, who founded a party at the time to make NB officially anglophone. All this political information is presented only to show that historical divisions still exist that continue to affect the descendants of the loyalists.


Incidentally, the cultural influence of Acadia still remains in the Maritimes, with cultural links to Louisiana (and also to Acadians in France). While English calls those in Canada Acadians, but those in Louisiana Cajuns (Acadians > ‘Cadians > Cajuns, similar to Indians > Injuns) French calls them Acadiens and Cadiens, respectively, the only difference being the “A”. The Cajun region of Louisiana is called in English Acadiana, and in French Acadiane.


Canadian Population Density and Language Distribution   The largest country in the world is (1) Russia, with 11.5% of the world’s land area. Then come five countries whose percentages are clustered closely together, all roughly about half of Russia’s: (2) Canada with 6.7%, (3) the United States 6.5%, (4) China 6.4%, (5) Brazil 5.7%, and (6) Australia 5.2%. There is then another jump, since the figures after that start with less than half of Australia’s size.


But the population figures are quite different. Listing only the above six countries in population rank, we have (1) China with 19.35% of the world’s population, (3) the United States 4.5%, (5) Brazil 2.75%, (9) Russia 2.06%, (36) Canada 0.5%, (50) Australia 0.33%.


This now brings us to population density, which is most interesting here. Given the disparity between population and land area of the last two on the population list, Canada and Australia, let’s look into their population density, but with the United States as well for comparison. The population density of the US is 32 people per square kilometer (83 per square mile). The figures for Australia are 3/km² (7.8/mi²) and Canada 3.4/km² (8.8/mi²). Pick a hypothetical square kilometer at random in either country, and you’d have trouble finding a fourth for bridge. The old joke about the open spaces of Texas is that it consists of “miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles”, yet its density (37.2/km² [96.3/mi²]) is somewhat more than that of the US as a whole.


We know that the population density of Australia’s 22.6 million people is lowered substantially by the size of the sparsely-populated Outback, and suspect that the density of Canada’s 31.2 million is lowered by the size of its Arctic region. But this language map of Canada is most revealing.


The map (yellow: anglophone; dark brown: francophone) wants to show where people are concentrated, so it leaves blank any area where there is 0.4 of a person per square kilometer, or less. Rephrased, that would be one person per 2.5 km². Forget bridge, that would be make it hard to find a chess partner. It can be seen that not only is the Canadian Arctic sparsely populated, the area of low population plunges south to the Great Lakes and also covers the Canadian Rockies to the US border (and probably beyond). British Columbia’s large population (BC: 4.5M) seems to be severely concentrated around Victoria and Vancouver, since it’s not very spread out. The lower part of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (AB: 3.7M; SK: 1.0M; MB: 1.2M) shows the population that I would have expected to cover the country west to east, but instead peters out as soon as Western Ontario starts, opposite Minnesota and Michigan.


When you hear that the arriving British in 1763 found a francophone population of 54K along the Saint Lawrence River Valley, although the numbers today are much higher (QC: 7.9M), that’s pretty much where most francophones still live today. And anglophones, other than in the central prairie provinces, are concentrated (severely) in southern and eastern Ontario (ON: 13.1M) and the Maritimes, which are pretty much the two places the loyalists went in the first place (NS: 0.9M; NB: 0.8M; PE 0.1M; also NL: 0.5M).


But actually, this map was drawn to call attention to the light brown areas, referred to by Richard Joy as the “bilingual belt”, which is a frontier zone, a region of contact, between English and French. Richard Joy was an expert on Canadian language demographics, who demonstrated in 1967, based on the 1961 census, a number of points that ran counter the current accepted thinking: (1) birth rates in QC were plunging, meaning French couldn’t keep up with English merely through natural increase; (2) English was in decline everywhere in QC outside Montréal; (3) French was in serious decline outside of QC and its bilingual belt. He reached this conclusion: a Canada will develop where the two languages retain similar strengths nationally, but which will be ever more segregated between QC and the rest of the country. In other words, Montréal might retain its bilingual character, but the anglophone population elsewhere within QC will decline, not only in percentage, but in actual number, eventually making QC unilingually French. In the same way, outside QC and its bilingual belt, French will virtually disappear from Southern Ontario, the Atlantic region, and the western provinces, making the rest of Canada unilingually English.


Joy pointed out that the 19C pattern of intermingled language communities now existed only in this bilingual belt that separates QC from the rest of anglophone North America. At first, he seems to consider this belt in two sections. (1) Coming from across Ontario, it is concentrated between Ottawa and Cornwall (where the international border leaves the Saint Lawrence and becomes an eastbound land border). (2) Its other section runs in NB between Edmonston and Moncton. Both of these are clearly shown on the map. However, in contrast to the map, Joy also declares as bilingual a strip of southern QC, starting with Pontiac County, contiguous with, and just north of, the Ontario francophone counties, and running via Montréal to the Eastern Townships of QC, that largest of the brown areas to the south or the St Lawrence. He apparently doesn’t include this in is belt, since his purpose is apparently to give consideration to the bilingual belt outside Québec.


However, he does refer to QC being separated from the rest of anglophone North America, and, from an international standpoint, I think his belt can be considered continuous. To investigate this, I’ve reviewed US border counties in the Northeast to see to what degree they show francophone influence.


Starting opposite Cornwall ON, New York State’s four border counties show some, but minimal francophone influence, with percentages reaching a maximum of 2.8%. It would be hard to state that the bilingual belt coming from Ottawa via Cornwall crossed the international border yet, and continues instead on the QC side to Montreal and the Eastern Townships. But the change seems to come at Lake Champlain, which perhaps can be counted as the point where the belt crosses into the US, since the four Vermont counties following have percentages increasing west to east of 3.8%, 4.8%, 7.72%, 8.87%, and New Hampshire’s only border county reaching an amazing 16.67%. These five counties are all opposite the southern border of the Eastern Townships, and I’m convinced they should be included in the continuous line of our belt. However, as we reach the first counties of northern Maine, the percentages drop again to a maximum of 2.9%, so there the belt then is primarily on the Eastern Townships side. However, the big surprise comes with Maine’s very large Aroostook County that wraps around the state’s northern edge, where the francophone population again rises, reaching 22.37%, and including the Fort Kent area we discussed earlier. While these US percentages don’t reach the Canadian ones, they still indicate a transition point between languages. I will then propose that the international bilingual belt showing a transition between English and French is as follows:

 Starting with a cluster of four counties in eastern Ontario from Ottawa to Cornwall;
Continuing into Québec at Pontiac County and thence through Montréal and the Eastern Townships;
Extending south from the Eastern Townships over the US border at Lake Champlain to include sections of northern Vermont and New Hampshire, then returning to Canada before western Maine;
Recrossing into the US after western Maine to include Maine’s Aroostook County;
Returning to Canada in New Brunswick between Edmonston and Moncton.

Joy recognized the continued existence in Canada of residual isolated francophone communities such as Manitoba’s Saint Boniface, a SE suburb of Winnipeg, and several villages near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as shown at the southern end of the above map of The Acadians. But he also recognized that they are diminished because of their isolation and very small size and are on the way to extinction as francophone communities. He had the same comment about isolated anglophone pockets within Québec.


In describing the bilingual belt (within Canada), Joy starts in East Ontario with those counties along the QC border, and states those bilingual counties average being 30% francophone. In QC the belt is 70% francophone and 30% anglophone. He reported bilingualism in 40% of the francophone community, but about 30% within the anglophone community. In NB, the string of counties in the north and northeast were on an average 59% francophone, and that bilingualism was high among them, but that French “is spoken by practically none” of the anglophones within this part of the bilingual belt.


From this we can assume that, among the descendants of the loyalists (plus other immigrants, English-speaking or otherwise, who joined the anglophone community), southern New Brunswick, along with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, even as integral parts of Canada, remain the “British” bastion the original loyalists had hoped for, as well as populous central and southern Ontario. On the other hand, the descendants of those loyalists who settled in the area of Québec’s Eastern Townships (Estrie), reaching over to Montréal, live today in a world different from the loyalists’ original vision when they departed the United States.

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