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HIS311 Oct 1 Retrenching the British Empire, 1783-1800

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Robert Bothwell

October 1 , 2013 Key words Notes Treaty of Paris 1784 Taxation of the colonies act 1778 (a declaratory act) That curs’d republican spirit Canadian act 1791 George III William Pitt (the younger) PM 1783-1802, 1803-1806 Grenville Burke  We start at the end of the American revolution in the 1780’s. first of all there is a the definition of a Loyalist. - we know that the loyalist: - Where did they come from? They came from all of the 13 colonies from Geroge up to New Hampshire. They represented all walks of life. - The could be any religion. - There were males and females amongst the loyalist.  The question is how did they end up in exile in Canada: - They were strongly impressed by the power of the British empire and were proud to be British. Being British conveyed status, identity, and linkage with the old country. it is part of a large conception of personal identity. - They did not like being pushed around. If you considered the revolution involved threats of violence, law breaking, it is possible to say the loyalist were people who craved security and order as represented in law.  To them revolutionaries were overthrowing the basis of society and they did not choose to go along with it.  Bear in mind that the revolution was a violent act. It is not only a violent act against ones governors, or the British from England, but also against your neighbors.  The loyalist ended up where they were because they chose not to go along with the revolutionaries. Initially they believed the British would win and later when it became apparent that that would not happen they had a further choice to make which is embodied in the Treaty of Paris 1783.  Treaties that end the revolutionary war are between Great Britain and the new United States of America, which is recognized by the Treaty of Paris. - That is perhaps the principal outcome. - But they are also between Britain and France, and the British and Spain. It is a tripartite negotiating exercise. - The British delegates to the peace conference were very conscious of trying to extract as much as positive credit from the exercise as possible. a. If you look at the British strategy it has to do with minimizing the gains from Spain. b. Americans are not immune to this. It is a complicated dance in paris, in which the british are trying to conciliate the Americans. This has an impact on Canada. -  One issue is the boundaries of the new United States. - The revolutionary delegates would have preferred the British to evacuate all of north America and hand over all territory. - However the Americans did not have the strength to take Nova Scotia or Quebec. They did not have the ships to get to Halifax or the armies to get to Quebec. Québec was defended not only by the British army, but also by a miles of wilderness between the American settlements and the Canadians  Eventually the boundary is agreed on 18 century maps. Some were not even accurate. There were parts of the Appalachians that were not well known. However, the basic boundary laid down in the 17 century is roughly where it is today.  The delegates of 17 century knew that some of their boundaries were indefinite. So there were appointed commissions that would determine precisely where the boundary would go later.  The basic boundary runs from - st. Corriand river goes into the bay of Fundy between Maine and present day New Brunswick. - Travels northward towards the height of land and then down the eastern side - Then along the St. Lawrence and through the great lakes all the way to the portage from Lake Superior to the rivers that flow into the Hudson bay. - Much of it water, which was certainly convenient. Very clear boundary if it is in the middle of the river.  That boundrey was probably more favorable to the Americans then they might have agreed to. The British interest was concluding the treaty quickly, and in dividing the Americans from the French and the Spanish. - Historians looking at the negotiations of 1783 wondered if the British delegation was as well instructed as it could have been, or as confident as it could have been, or some of them did not in fact have an interest in restoring trade with the US as quickly as possible. That certainly possible because at least one of the British delegates did come from a family that was heavily engaged in American trade. - Second, pre-revolutionary debts owed by the Americans to the British firms and individuals would be honored. - The Loyalist are mentioned in the treaty in two ways: a. They have a choice of citizenship. They can choose to be Americans or British. 1. If British they can remove themselves to British territory. 2. Their property had been confiscate by the rebels and the British urged the Americans as part of making everything peaceful that the loyalist should get their property back. This would be a way of appeasing opinion at the end of the war. 3. The Americans were not very keen on this. Some, like Benjamin Franklin were rabid on the subject. 4. The Americans agree to recommend to congress that the loyalist be compensated. That individual states could do it if they felt like it. 5. The loyalist are not going to be compensated by the new American governments 6. - In addition, New England of course had a fishing industry and the new Englanders wanted access to the fisheries off of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia as they had before the revolution. They do acquire some rights. This is an attempt on the British behalf in trying to make friends with the Americans. There is an obvious political object in these concessions. - Well, the Americans also want return of their property. That is the slave. The American delegates in 1783 are of two minds of how far to push this demand. It as not granted. The Americans kept pressing for it but it was not given by the British so none of the slaves who had been shipped out were going to return.  That is the faint idea of what was to happen to the Loyalist Blacks and the Loyalist Whites - Loyalist white: in today’s language we would call them internally displaced people. - That is what they were. They were huddled in refugee camps in Halifax, Quebec city, outside Montreal and later in Kingston and Niagara  The British recognized that they had a responsibility to the loyalist. We get one of the first exercises in state compensation for state refuges. The loyalists are asked to submit claims to what they lost in the revolution. They do so submit claims which amount to 10 million pounds at that time. - Loyalists get 3 and half million pounds. It is one of the great sources about the 18 century colonies. - It is all laid out in rooms full of papers. Commisioners sat in America and England trying to sift out the claims of the loyalists. - In addition to the 3 and half million pounds of compensations 600 loyalist who were judged to be specially meritorious received pensions for the rest of their lives.  Land grant: these were not included in the compensation. - Private were entitled to 50 acres of prime land in upper Canada (Ontario) a. If you brought your wife and children then you get more. - Officers- Letunant or Captian: a. 100 acres - Colonel: a. 200 acres - Loyalist General: there were 4 or 5 of them: a. You get much larger grants. Sir John Johnson for example.  What the British are trying to do is reestablish these some 40,000 Loyalist. Not just as they were but to give them a chance of once again establishing themselves and bettering their lives.  The British army for the first 3-4 years provided help in moving the entire Loyalist. - In the first 3-4 years all these loyalist were sustained by the army rations. - They also received other supplies such as farming equipment. As best they could the British government tried to prepare them in a life in farming. - Fortunatly the area around Ontario, where the loyalist settled was good farm land and eventually the British offer more fruit.  There are also the Iroquois loyalist and they are settled in two reserves: This was actually a very large land grab. The number of Iroquois that moved to upper Canada may have been significant in Iroquois terms, but they weren’t that large. About 2000 of them moved. - Bay of Quinte - Along the Grand river. On either side of
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