Military Wiki

Britannia offers solace and a promise of compensation for her exiled American born Loyalists. (Reception of the American Loyalists by Great Britain in the Year 1783. Engraving by H. Moses after Benjamin West.)

Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain (and the British monarchy) during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution. When their cause was defeated, about 20% of the Loyalists fled to other parts of the British Empire, in Britain or elsewhere in British North America. The southern colonists moved mostly to Florida, which had remained loyal to the Crown, and to British Caribbean possessions, while northern colonists largely migrated to Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where they were called United Empire Loyalists. Most were compensated with Canadian land or British cash distributed through formal claims procedures.[1]

Historians have estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of the 2.5 million whites in the colonies were Loyalists, or about 500,000 men, women and children.[2]


The American Revolution can be seen in some ways as a civil war, in which families were often divided amongst themselves.[3] War forced Americans to choose sides in a conflict that few had wished for and the outcome of which remained for many years uncertain. Should they join the rebels or remain loyal to King and Empire?[4] Colonists, especially recent arrivals, often felt themselves to be both American and British, subjects of the Crown, still owing a loyalty to the mother country.[5] Many, like Maryland lawyer Daniel Dulaney, opposed taxation without representation, but would not break their oath to the King or take up arms against the Crown. In one of his many pamphlets, Dulany wrote: "There may be a time when redress may not be obtained. Till then, I shall recommend a legal, orderly, and prudent resentment".[6] Most hoped for a peaceful reconciliation, and were forced by the outbreak of violence to choose sides against their will.[7]

Motivations of Loyalism

Yale historian Leonard Woods Larabee has identified eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them essentially conservative and loyal to the king and Britain:[8]

  • They were older, better established, and resisted radical change.
  • They felt that rebellion against the Crown—the legitimate government—was morally wrong.
  • They were alienated when the Patriots resorted to violence, such as burning houses and tarring and feathering.
  • They wanted to take a middle-of-the road position and were angry when forced by the Patriots to declare their opposition.
  • They had a long-standing sentimental attachment to Britain (often with business and family links).
  • They were procrastinators who realized that independence was bound to come some day, but wanted to postpone the moment.
  • They were cautious and afraid that chaos and mob rule would result.
  • Some were pessimists who lacked the confidence in the future displayed by the Patriots. Others recalled the dreadful experiences of Scots who rebelled in Scotland and lost their lands when the king won.[9][10][11]

Other motivations of the Loyalists were:

  • They felt that the colonial assemblies and Parliament were the only legal channels of democracy, government and reform.[12][13][14][15]
  • They felt themselves to be weak or threatened within American society and in need of an outside defender such as the British Crown and Parliament. This group of Loyalists included linguistic and religious minorities, recent immigrants not fully integrated into American society, and blacks and Indians.[16]
  • They lived on the frontier and relied on the peaceful land negotiations and treaties that the British Government had contracted between European settlers and Native Americans.[17][18]
  • They had been promised freedom from slavery.[19][20][21]
  • They felt that being a part of the British Empire was crucial in terms of commerce and military protection.[22][23][24]

Loyalism and military operations

In the opening months of the Revolutionary War, the Patriots laid siege to Boston, where most of the British forces were stationed. Elsewhere there were few British troops and the Patriots seized control of all levels of government, as well as supplies of arms and gunpowder. These actions were not without resistance. Especially in New York, New Jersey, and parts of North and South Carolina, there was considerable ambivalence about the Patriot cause. Vocal Loyalists, often with the encouragement and assistance of royal governors, recruited people to their side. In the South Carolina backcountry Loyalist recruitment oustripped that of Patriots. A brief siege at Ninety Six in the fall of 1775 was followed by a rapid rise in Patriot recruiting and a major campaign involving thousands of partisan militia resulted in the arrest or flight of most of the backcountry Loyalist leadership. North Carolina backcountry Scots and former Regulators joined forces in early 1776, but were broken as a force at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge.

By July 4, 1776 the Patriots had gained control of virtually all territory in the 13 colonies, and expelled all royal officials. No one who openly proclaimed their loyalty to the Crown was allowed to remain, so for the moment, Loyalists fled or kept quiet. Some of those who remained later gave aid to invading British armies or joined uniformed Loyalist regiments.[25]

The British were forced out of Boston by March 17, 1776; they regrouped at Halifax and attacked New York in August, handing a convincing defeat to George Washington's army at Long Island and capturing New York City and its vicinity. The British forces would occupy the area around the mouth of the Hudson River until 1783. British forces would also seize control of other cities, including Philadelphia (1777), Savannah (1778–83) and Charleston (1780–82), as well as various slices of countryside. But 90% of the colonial population lived outside the cities, with the effective result being that the Congress controlled 80–90% of the population. The British removed their governors from colonies where the Patriots were in control, but Loyalist civilian government was re-established in coastal Georgia[26] from 1779 to 1782, despite presence of Patriot forces in the northern part of Georgia. Essentially, the British were only able to maintain power in areas where they had a strong military presence.

Numbers of Loyalists

Historian Robert Calhoon wrote in 2000, concerning the proportion of Loyalists to Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies:

Historians' best estimates put the proportion of adult white male loyalists somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. Approximately half the colonists of European ancestry tried to avoid involvement in the struggle — some of them deliberate pacifists, others recent immigrants, and many more simple apolitical folk. The patriots received active support from perhaps 40 to 45 percent of the white populace, and at most no more than a bare majority.[27]

Jury finding from Kentucky County, Virginia, confiscating lands of two men {John Connolly & Alexander McKee} adjudged to be British citizens – Daniel Boone was listed as member of jury. (July 1780)

Before Calhoon's work, estimates of the Loyalist share of the population were somewhat higher, at about one-third, but these estimates are now seen as too high by most scholars.[28] Adams did indeed estimate in another letter of that year that in the American Revolution, the Patriots had to struggle against approximately one-third of the population, while they themselves constituted about two-thirds of it; he did not mention neutrals.[29] In 1968 historian Paul H. Smith estimated there were about 500,000 Loyalists, or 16% of the white population.[30][31]

Historian Robert Middlekauff summarized scholarly research on the nature of Loyalist support as follows:

The largest number of loyalists were found in the middle colonies: many tenant farmers of New York supported the king, for example, as did many of the Dutch in the colony and in New Jersey. The Germans in Pennsylvania tried to stay out of the Revolution, just as many Quakers did, and when that failed, clung to the familiar connection rather than embrace the new. Highland Scots in the Carolinas, a fair number of Anglican clergy and their parishioners in Connecticut and New York, a few Presbyterians in the southern colonies, and a large number of the Iroquois Indians stayed loyal to the king.[32]

Johnson Hall, seat of Sir John Johnson in the Mohawk Valley.

New York City 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 of whom were refugees from other states.[33]

According to Calhoon,[33] Loyalists tended to be older and wealthier, but there were also many Loyalists of humble means. Many active Church of England members became Loyalists. Some recent arrivals from Britain, especially those from Scotland, had a high Loyalist proportion. Loyalists in the southern colonies were suppressed by the local Patriots, who controlled local and state government. Many people — including former Regulators in North Carolina — refused to join the rebellion, as they had earlier protested against corruption by local authorities who later became Revolutionary leaders. The oppression by the local Whigs during the Regulation led to many of the residents of backcountry North Carolina sitting out the Revolution or siding with the Loyalists.[33]

In areas under rebel control, Loyalists were subject to confiscation of property, and outspoken supporters of the king were threatened with public humiliation such as tarring and feathering, or physical attack. It is not known how many Loyalist civilians were harassed by the Patriots, but the treatment was a warning to other Loyalists not to take up arms. In September 1775, William Drayton and Loyalist leader Colonel Thomas Fletchall signed a treaty of neutrality in the interior community of Ninety Six, South Carolina.[34] For actively aiding the British army when it occupied Philadelphia, two residents of the city would be executed by returning Patriot forces.

Slavery and Black Loyalists

As a result of the looming crisis in 1775 the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, issued a proclamation that promised freedom to servants and slaves who were able to bear arms and join his Loyalist Ethiopian Regiment. About 800 did so; some helped rout the Virginia militia at the Battle of Kemp's Landing and fought in the Battle of Great Bridge on the Elizabeth River, wearing the motto "Liberty to Slaves", but this time they were defeated. The remains of their regiment were then involved in the evacuation of Norfolk, after which they served in the Chesapeake area. Eventually the camp that they had set up there suffered an outbreak of smallpox and other diseases. This took a heavy toll, putting many of them out of action for some time. The survivors joined other British units and continued to serve throughout the war. Black colonials were often the first to come forward to volunteer and a total of 12,000 African Americans served with the British from 1775 to 1783. This factor had the effect of forcing the rebels to also offer freedom to those who would serve in the Continental Army; however, such promises were often reneged upon by both sides.[35]

About 400 to 1000 free blacks went to London and joined the free black community of about 10,000 there. About 3,500 to 4,000 more went to the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where the British promised them land. Over 2,500 settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, instantly making it the largest free black community in North America. However, the inferior grants of land they were given and the prejudices of white Loyalists in nearby Shelburne, who regularly harassed the settlement, made life very difficult for the community.[36] In 1791 Britain's Sierra Leone Company offered to transport dissatisfied black Loyalists to the British colony of Sierra Leone in Africa, with the promise of better land and more equality. About 1,200 left Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone, where they named the capital Freetown.[36] After 1787 they became Sierra Leone's ruling elite.[citation needed]

Loyalism in Canada

Painting shows a woman on horseback, a man with a rifle and a boy fleeing town. In the distance, people are throwing rocks at them.

"Tory Refugees on their way to Canada" by Howard Pyle

Rebel agents were active in Quebec (which was then frequently called "Canada", the name of the earlier French province) in the months leading to the outbreak of active hostilities. John Brown, an agent of the Boston Committee of Correspondence,[37] worked with Canadian merchant Thomas Walker and other rebel sympathisers during the winter of 1774–1775 to convince inhabitants to support the actions of the First Continental Congress. However, many of Quebec's inhabitants remained neutral, resisting service to either the British or the Americans.

Although some Canadians took up arms in support of the rebellion, the majority remained loyal to the King. French Canadians had been satisfied by the British government's Quebec Act of 1774, which offered religious and linguistic toleration; in general, they did not sympathize with a rebellion that they saw as being led by Protestants from New England, who were their commercial rivals and hereditary enemies. Most of the English-speaking settlers had arrived following the British conquest of Canada in 1759-1760, and unlikely to support separation from Britain. The older British colonies, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, which at the time included present-day New Brunswick, also remained loyal to the crown and contributed military forces in support of the Crown.

In late 1775 the Continental Army sent a force into Quebec, led by General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold, with the goal of convincing the residents of the Quebec to join the Revolution. Although only a minority of Canadians openly expressed loyalty to King George, about 1,500 militia fought for the King in the Siege of Fort St. Jean. In the region south of Montreal that was occupied by the Continentals, some inhabitants supported the rebellion and raised two regiments to join the Patriot forces.[38]

In Nova Scotia, there were many Yankee settlers originally from New England, and they generally supported the principles of the revolution. This element was declining in relative numbers and influence due to an influx of recent immigration from the British isles, and they remained neutral during the war, and the influx was greatest in Halifax.[39] Britain in any case built up powerful forces at the naval base of Halifax after the failure of Jonathan Eddy to capture Fort Cumberland in 1776.[40][41] Although the Continentals captured Montreal in November 1775, they were turned back a month later at Quebec City by a combination of the British military under Governor Guy Carleton, the difficult terrain and weather, and an indifferent local response. The Continental forces would be driven from Quebec in 1776, after the breakup of ice on the St. Lawrence River and the arrival of British transports in May and June. There would be no further meaningful attempt to challenge British control of present-day Canada until the War of 1812.

In 1777, 1,500 Loyalist militia took part in a British expedition that eventually led to the surrender of Burgoyne after the Battles of Saratoga in northern New York. After the entry of France into the war in 1778, many English-speaking settlers with Loyalist sympathies feared that the French would attempt to reclaim their former colony on the St. Lawrence, which solidified their support for the British crown. For the rest of the war Quebec acted as a base for raiding expeditions, conducted primarily by Loyalists and Indians, against frontier communities.

During peace negotiations in Paris, negotiators from the United States made repeated attempts to acquire territory in what is now Canada. The territory that became known as the Northwest Territory, which included the British posts at Detroit and Mackinacdisambiguation needed but was mostly Indian Territory administered as part of the Province of Quebec, became part of the United States. Present-day Michigan would not come under American control until 1796.

Military service

The Loyalists rarely attempted any political organization. They were often passive unless regular British army units were in the area. The British, however, assumed a highly activist Loyalist community was ready to mobilize and planned much of their strategy around raising Loyalist regiments. The British provincial line, consisting of Americans enlisted on a regular army status, enrolled 19,000 loyalists (50 units and 312 companies). Another 10,000 served in loyalist militia or "associations." The maximum strength of the Loyalist provincial line was 9,700 in December 1780.[42][43] In all about 50,000 at one time or another were soldiers or militia in British forces, including 15,000 from the main Loyalist stronghold of New York.[44] The majority of Loyalists fought in the southern and middle colonies and few were from the north.[citation needed] In addition, a large number of Americans served in the regular British army and in the Royal Navy.

Emigration from the United States

Shelburne, Nova Scotia, a major early destination of Loyalist refugees

Prof. Maya Jasanoff, a professor of history at Harvard University, has issued new estimates of how many Loyalists departed the U.S. She calculates 60,000 in total, including about 50,000 whites. The majority of them—about 33,000—went to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while about 6,600 went to Quebec. About 5,000 white Loyalists went to Florida, bringing along their slaves who numbered about 6,500. About 13,000 went to Britain (including 5,000 free blacks). The 50,000 or-so white departures represented about 10% of the Loyalist element.[45] Loyalists (especially soldiers and former officials) could choose evacuation. Loyalists whose roots were not yet deeply embedded in the New World were more likely to leave; older people who had familial bonds and had acquired friends, property, and a degree of social respectability were more likely to remain in the US.[46] The vast majority of the half-million white Loyalists remained in the U.S. Starting in the mid-1780s a small percentage of those who had left returned to the United States. The exiles amounted to about 2% of the total US population of 3 million at the end of the war in 1783.

After 1783 some former Loyalists (especially Germans from Pennsyslvania) emigrated to Canada to take advantage of the British government's offer of free land, but many also were disillusioned by the continuing hostility to Tories and eventually decided to leave the new Republic.

The 33,000 or so who went to Nova Scotia were not well received by the Nova Scotians, who were mostly descendants of New Englanders settled there before the Revolution.[47] "They [the loyalists]," Colonel Thomas Dundas wrote in 1786, "have experienced every possible injury from the old inhabitants of Nova Scotia, who are even more disaffected towards the British Government than any of the new States ever were. This makes me much doubt their remaining long dependent."[48] In response, the colony of New Brunswick, until 1784 part of Nova Scotia, was created for the 14,000 who had settled in those parts. Of the 46,000 who went to Canada, 10,000 went to the Province of Quebec, especially the Eastern Townships of Quebec and modern-day Ontario.

Realizing the importance of some type of consideration, on November 9, 1789, Lord Dorchester, the governor of Quebec, declared that it was his wish to "put the mark of Honour upon the Families who had adhered to the Unity of the Empire." As a result of Dorchester's statement, the printed militia rolls carried the notation:

Those Loyalists who have adhered to the Unity of the Empire, and joined the Royal Standard before the Treaty of Separation in the year 1783, and all their Children and their Descendants by either sex, are to be distinguished by the following Capitals, affixed to their names: U.E. Alluding to their great principle The Unity of the Empire.

The postnominals "U.E." are rarely seen today, but the influence of the Loyalists on the evolution of Canada remains. Their ties to Britain and their antipathy to the United States provided the strength needed to keep Canada independent and distinct in North America.[citation needed] The Loyalists' basic distrust of republicanism and "mob rule" influenced .[citation needed] The new British North American provinces of Upper Canada (the forerunner of Ontario) and New Brunswick were founded as places of refuge for the United Empire Loyalists.[citation needed]

The wealthiest and most prominent Loyalist exiles went to Great Britain to rebuild their careers; many received pensions. Many Southern Loyalists, taking along their slaves, went to the West Indies and the Bahamas, particularly to the Abaco Islands.

Many Loyalists brought their slaves with them to Canada (mostly to areas that later became Ontario and New Brunswick) where slavery was legal. An imperial law in 1790 assured prospective immigrants to Canada that their slaves would remain their property.[49]

Thousands of Iroquois and other Native Americans were expelled from New York and other states and resettled in Canada. The descendants of one such group of Iroquois, led by Joseph Brant Thayendenegea, settled at Six Nations of the Grand River, the largest First Nations reserve in Canada. A group of African-American Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia but emigrated again for Sierra Leone after facing discrimination there.

Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) was a loyalist who fled to London when the war began. He became a scientist noted for pioneering thermodynamics and for his research on artillery ordnance. He expressed a desire to return to the United States in 1799 and was eagerly sought by the Americans (who needed help in fighting the Quasi-War with France). Rumford eventually decided to stay in London because he was engrossed with establishing the Royal Institution in England.[50]

Many of the Loyalists were forced to abandon substantial amounts of property to America, and restoration of or compensation for this lost property was a major issue during the negotiation of the Jay Treaty in 1794.

Return of some expatriates

The great majority of Loyalists never left the United States; they stayed on and were allowed to be citizens of the new country. Some became nationally prominent leaders, including Samuel Seabury and Tench Coxe. Alexander Hamilton enlisted the help of the ex-Loyalists in New York in 1782-85 to forge an alliance with moderate Whigs to wrest the state from the power of the Clinton faction. Several thousand of those who had left for Florida returned to Georgia. There was a small, but significant trickle of returnees who found life in Nova Scotia too difficult. Some Massachusetts Tories settled in the Maine District. Nevertheless the vast majority who did leave never returned.

Captain Benjamin Hallowell, who as Mandamus Councilor in Massachusetts served as the direct representative of the Crown, was considered by the insurgents as one of the most hated men in the Colony, but as a token of compensation when he returned from England in 1796, his son was allowed to regain the family house.[2]

Impact of the departure of Loyalist leaders

The departure of so many royal officials, rich merchants and landed gentry destroyed the hierarchical networks that had dominated most of the colonies. In New York, the departure of key members of the DeLancy, DePester Walton and Cruger families undercut the interlocking families that largely owned and controlled the Hudson Valley. Likewise in Pennsylvania, the departure of powerful families—Penn, Allen, Chew, Shippen—destroyed the cohesion of the old upper class there. Massachusetts passed an act banishing forty-six Boston merchants in 1778, including members of some of Boston's wealthiest families. The departure of families such as the Ervings, Winslows, Clarks, and Lloyds deprived Massachusetts of men who had hitherto been leaders of networks of family and clients. The bases of the men who replaced them were much different. One rich patriot in Boston noted in 1779 that "fellows who would have cleaned my shoes five years ago, have amassed fortunes and are riding in chariots." That is, new men now became rich merchants but they shared a spirit of republican equality that replaced the elitism and the Americans never recreated such a powerful upper class as had existed before.[51]

Loyalists in Art

John Singleton Copley painted many prominent Loyalists, and produced an oil on canvas depiction of a Royal Ethiopian Regiment (black Loyalist) soldier in his 1784 The Death of Major Pierson.[52] Benjamin West portrayed the ethnic and economic diversity of the Loyalists in his Reception of the American Loyalists by Great Britain in the Year 1783.[53]

Loyalists in Literature

  • The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper
  • Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving[54]
  • The Fort by Bernard Cornwell
  • The Adventures of Jonathan Corncob, Loyal American Refugee by Jonathan Corncob (London, 1787) According to Maya Jasanoff, "traveling to London to file a claim served as the opening gambit" for this "picaresque novel about the American Revolution".[55][56][57]

Notable Loyalists


  • Rev. H. Addison of Maryland was forbidden to even live in his home state after the Revolution [58]
  • Rev. John Agnew (d. 1812, New Brunswick) served a Church of England parish in Suffolk, Virgina [59]
  • Samuel Aikens, Land grant dated 2 June 1785 Guysborough, Nova Scotia Canada
  • Andrew Allen (1740–1825), Pennsylvanian Delegate to the Second Continental Congress
  • Isaac Allen (d. 1806 age 65) Trenton, New Jersey attorney indicted for treason [60]
  • William Allen (1704–1780), Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania and former mayor of Philadelphia [61]
  • Rev. Samuel Andrews (d. 1812) fled from his Patriot Church of England parishioners and died in New Brunswick at the age of 82.[62]
  • Samuel Andrews of North Carolina served as a major in the Loyal Militia [63]
  • Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, (Jan. 14, 1741 [O.S. Jan. 3, 1740/1741]–June 14, 1801) commissioned about close of 1780, originally a Revolutionary general
  • Oliver Arnold, a Connecticut native and Yale graduate relocated to Sussex, New Brunswick where he served as the local vicar [64]
  • John Askin (1739–1815), trader and land speculator at Detroit



  • Benedict Swingate Calvert (ca. 1730 to 1732–1788), Judge of the Land Office, Maryland.
  • Lt. Col. James Chalmers (d. 1806), Commander, First Battalion of Maryland Loyalists and author of anti-"Common Sense" pamphlet "Plain Truth" in 1776 [73]
  • Col. Daniel Clary's Reg. Dutch Fork Militia, 96 Brigade, South Carolina 1773-1783
  • Cheney Clow (1734-1788), a Delaware Plantation owner who had served earlier as a British Officer. He was involved in an act of hostility on the morning of April 18, 1778 which is known today as Cheney Clow's Rebellion.
  • Sir Isaac Coffin, 1st Baronet (1759–1839), Royal Navy officer and member of a prominent Massachusetts Loyalist family
  • Nathaniel Coffin, Receiver-General of HM Customs of Boston at the time of the Boston Tea Party [74]
  • Myles Cooper (1735–1785), Church of England clergyman President of King's College in New York City [75]
  • Brigadier General Robert Cunningham (died in Nassau in 1813 at the age of 74), in 1780 in command of a garrison in South Carolina [76]
  • William Cunningham (d. 1787, Nassau, Bahamas) earned the name ″Bloody Bill″ for his exploits against Backcountry South Carolina patriots [77]


  • James De Lancey (1746-1804), of Westchester County, New York, led a Loyalist unit known as "De Lancey’s Cowboys" and was known as the "Outlaw of the Bronx."
  • Brigadier General Oliver DeLancey, commanding Delancey's Brigade 1776 [78]
  • Abraham DePeyster, Officer of King's American Regiment [79]
  • Colonel Arent DePeyster (1736-1822), Officer of the 8th Regiment of Foot
  • Colonel Andrew Deveaux (1758–1812), Colonel in South Carolina Loyalist militia.[80]
  • Doan Outlaws, fallen Pennsylvania Quaker family of British spies and bandits.[81]


  • Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland (ca. 1741–1784), Provincial Governor of Maryland and last Royal Governor of Maryland.[82]


  • Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693–1781), of Virginia was the only British peer resident in Colonial America.[83]
  • David Fanning (1755-1825), commander of militia in North Carolina, and later Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick from 1791-1801.
  • Edmund Fanning (1739-1818), commanded militia in the War of the Regulation and loyalist militia in the American Revolution; later Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Saint John's Island.[84]
  • William Franklin (ca. 1730–1813), Governor of New Jersey, son of Benjamin Franklin
  • Rebecca Franks (1760-1823), prominent member of loyalist society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.
  • Shaddrick Furman, a Virginia free black, was a guide and information source for British troops. Upon his capture by Patriots, he was beaten and blinded. He received a pension of £18 per year for life from the Loyalist Claims Commission.[85]


  • Joseph Galloway (1731–1803), Member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly[86]
  • Micajah Ganey (1756-1830), Loyalist leader of the Pee Dee defeated by Francis Marion[87]
  • Simon Girty (1741-1818), British liaison with the Indians
  • Joseph Gray (1729-1803) Boston, MA Loyalist and progenator of noted Canadian family.[88]


  • John Hamilton (died 1816), commander of the Royal North Carolina Regiment, later British consul in Norfolk, Virginia[89]
  • Reuben Hankinson, Ensign, First New Jersey Volunteers, September 1780[90]
  • Harpe brothers, North Carolina bandits and allegedly America's first serial killers
  • Joseph Harris, a runaway mulatto slave of Henry King, of Hampton, Virginia smuggled supplies for the British[91]
  • John Howe (1754–1835), Printer of the Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter[92]
  • Thomas Hutchinson (1711–1780), Last royal Governor of Massachusetts


  • Charles Inglis (1734-1816), first Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia.[93]


  • Edward Jessup (1735-1816), Colonel of Jessup's Loyal Rangers near Albany, New York and his two brothers Ebenezer and Joseph.
  • Sir John Johnson (1741–1820), commander of the King's Royal Regiment of New York
  • Capt. Joseph Jones, while serving under Micajah Ganey's command, Capt. Jones led a band of raiders who hung Patriot Col. Abel Kolb in front of his wife and children, although they had just promised him his safety as a prisoner-of-war.[94][95]
  • Thomas Jones, historian



  • John Lawrence (1708/9-1791), surveyor who ran the Lawrence Line between East and West Jersey, was jailed, despite his age, for espousing support of the Crown [96]
  • Elisha Leavitt (1714-1790), Hingham, Massachusetts merchant and landowner
  • Nicholas Lechmere, Newport, Rhode Island Officer of the Customs [97]
  • Sir Egerton Leigh, 1st Baronet (1733–1781), South Carolina colonial official [98]
  • Daniel Leonard (d. June 1829 aged 89), son of a Taunton, MA Patriot, he later served as the Chief Justice of the Bermudas [99]
  • John Lovell, Headmaster of the Boston Latin School [100]
  • Isaac Low (1735–1791), Delegate for New York to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and to New York Provincial Congress and first President of the New York Chamber of Commerce [101]
  • Gabriel Ludlow, New York merchant
  • George Ludlow, New York judge


  • David Mathews, Mayor of New York City and subsequent administrator of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
  • William McCormick (businessman) (1742–1815), North Carolina merchant [102]
  • Colonel Alexander McKee (ca. 1735-1799), liaison between the British and the Shawnees
  • James Moody, Lieutenant, First New Jersey Volunteers, March 1781 [103]
  • Benjamin Moore (1748-1816), Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, New York City whose son Clement composed "A Visit from St. Nicholas", which later became famous as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." [104]



  • David Ogden (1707-1800), New Jersey Council member and Judge of the Supreme Court and brother to Robert Ogden [106]
  • Robert Ogden, Speaker of the New Jersey House of Assembly and member of the Stamp Act Congress [107]
  • Peter Oliver (1713-1791), Massachusetts judge briefly satirized in McFingal [108]


  • Willian Parker (d. 1781 age 77) Portsmouth, NH Judge of the Superior Court [109]
  • Josiah Phillips (d. 1778), led a band of Tories commissioned by Lord Dunmore who upon capture was executed [110]





  • John Taylor, Captain, First New Jersey Volunteers, January 1781
  • Sir Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) (1753–1814), of Massachusetts, Royal official and scientist,
  • William Tryon (1729-1788), Royal Governor of North Carolina [117]



  • Philip Van Cortlandt (1739-1814), New York-born Major of the Third Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers [118]


  • Sir John Wentworth, 1st Baronet (1737-1820), last Royal Governor of New Hampshire at the time of the American Revolution and also Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia [119]
  • Charles Woodmason (ca. 1720-1789) Church of England missionary in South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, diarist, poet, and corresponding member of the Royal Society of Arts, London.[120][121] He authored an article published (under the pseudonym “Sylvanus”) in the South Carolina Gazette and Country-Journal on March 28, 1769 chiding the local Patriot leaders for hypocrisy and asked pointedly how they could justly complain of “No taxation without representation!” regarding Acts of Parliament, while these very same powerful men denied the Backcountry any representation in South Carolina’s Assembly, yet, expected them to pay taxes passed by that body.[122]

X, Y, Z

  • John Joachim Zubly (1724-1781), Reformed minister and delegate from Georgia to the Continental Congress [123]

See also


  1. The Americans promised in the peace treaty to recommend that states redress the Loyalists' financial losses, but that seldom happened. Exiled loyalists received ₤3 million or about 37% of their losses from the British government. Some Loyalists who stayed in the U.S. were able to retain their property. Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole, eds, A Companion to the American Revolution (2004) pp. 246, 399, 641-2
  2. Calhoon, "Loyalism and neutrality," p. 235; Middlekauff (2005) pp. 563-564; Thomas B. Allen, Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War (2010) p. xx
  3. Jassanoff, p.21
  4. Jassanoff, p.23
  5. Jassanoff, p.24
  6. Andrews, p.284
  7. Jassanoff, p.35
  8. Leonard Woods Larabee, Conservatism in Early American History (1948) pp 164-65
  9. See also N. E. H. Hull, Peter C. Hoffer and Steven L. Allen, "Choosing Sides: A Quantitative Study of the Personality Determinants of Loyalist and Revolutionary Political Affiliation in New York," Journal of American History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Sept. 1978), pp. 344-366 in JSTOR
  10. Edwin G. Burrows and Michael Wallace, "The American Revolution: The Ideology and Psychology of National Liberation," Perspectives in American History, (1972) vol. 6 pp 167-306
  11. Mark Jodoin. Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada. 2009. ISBN 978-1-59629-726-5. The History Press, Charleston, SC.
  12. - Samuel Seabury pleads that reform must be requested of Parliament via the legal assemblies (1774)
  13. - Joseph Galloway proposes that a plan for an American 'Grand Council' be instituted by Parliament in 1774
  14. - Thomas Bradbury Chandler reminds his fellow Americans they were offered Parliamentary representation in 1774: see page 11
  15.,+they+had+been+oftentimes+TOUCHED+and+GRIEVED+with+Acts+and+Statutes+made+with%7Cin+the+said+Court,+derogatory+to+their+most+ancient+jurisdictions,+liberties+and+privileges,+and+prejudicial+to+their+quietness,+rest+and+peace&source=bl&ots=549MKoE9vL&sig=FyQAEu8JjbxpomTZ0CpOit30MnM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t5jPUPjYM8eh0QWNnIC4CA&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=liberty&f=false - William Pulteney declares in 1778 that the war in America is said to be being fought to "restore liberty to the Americans...and...rescue them from the despotism of their factious leaders...of Congress": see page 44. Also read page 65 of - The Staten Island Peace Commissioners of 1776 were mandated by the Crown to insist upon the re-establishment of democracy in the form of the traditional colonial assemblies and to compensate Loyalists adversely affected by the war
  25. Calhoun (1973)[page needed]
  26. Georgia Encyclopædia.
  27. Robert M. Calhoon, in 'A companion to the American Revolution', (2000); p 235.
  28. John Adams has sometimes been cited as having claimed, in a 1813 letter, that one-third of the American people supported the revolution and one-third were against. However, the passage in question actually refers to the French Revolution of 1789. See "Only 1/3 of Americans Supported the American Revolution?", by William Marina. 6-28-2004. Retrieved on July 14, 2008.
  29. See The American Revolution and the Minority Myth. January 1, 1975. By William Marina. Retrieved on July 14 2008; "The Works of John Adams", Volume X, p. 63: To Thomas McKean, August 1813.
  30. Ray Raphael (2012). A People's History of the American Revolution. The New Press. p. 393. 
  31. Paul H. Smith, "The American Loyalists: Notes on Their Organization and Numerical Strength," William and Mary Quarterly (1968) 25#2 pp. 259-277 in JSTOR
  32. Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 (1985), p 550.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Calhoon (1973)
  34. See online
  36. 36.0 36.1 [1]
  37. Aptheker, Herbert (1960). The American Revolution, 1763-1783. International Publishers Co. pp. 169. ISBN 0-7178-0005-9. 
  38. Mason Wade, The French Canadians (1955) 1:67–9.
  39. George Rawlyck, A People Highly Favoured Of God. The Nova Scotia Yankees. And the American Revolution (Toronto: 1972)
  40. Philip Buckner and John G Reid, eds. The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History (1995) pp 168-170
  41. J.B. Brebner, The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia (1937)
  42. Smith 264–7.
  43. Calhoon 502.
  44. Van Tyne, pp. 182–3.
  45. Maya Jasanoff (2012). Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. Random House. p. 357. 
  46. Lohrenz (1998)
  47. Neil MacKinnon, This Unfriendly Soil: The Loyalist Experience in Nova Scotia, 1783-1791 (1989)
  48. S.D. Clark, Movements of Political Protest in Canada, 1640–1840, (1959), pp. 150-51
  49. Patrick Bode, "Upper Canada, 1793: Simcoe and the Slaves." Beaver 1993 73(3): 17-19
  50. Bradley 1974
  51. Gordon S. Wood (1992). The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Random House. p. 177. 
  55. Maya Jasanoff (2011), p, 386, n. 67.
  58. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 154.
  59. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 154-155.
  60. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 159.
  61. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 157-158.
  62. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 165.
  63. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 165-166.
  64. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 184.
  65. Anne Y. Zimmer. Jonathan Boucher, loyalist in exile. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1978.
  66. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 240-241.
  67. Maya Jasanoff (2011), pp. xiv-xv,234-242, 321-323, 348.
  68. J. Leitch Wright. William Augusutus Bowles: Director General of the Creek Nation. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1967.
  69. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 245-246.
  70. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 260-265.
  71. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 278-280.
  72. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 280.
  73. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 301.
  74. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 323-324.
  75. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 335.
  76. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 346-347.
  77. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 348-349.
  78. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 363-366.
  79. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 372-374.
  80. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 377-378.
  81. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 381-383.
  82. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 402.
  83. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 408-412.
  84. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 417-418.
  85. Jasanoff (2011), pp. 127-128, 138.
  86. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 453-457.
  87. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 458.
  88. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 489-490.
  89. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 511-512.
  90. Hankinson Online: An Online Resource for Hankinson Genealogy
  91. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 519.
  92. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, pp. 548-550.
  93. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 563-565.
  94. Alexander Gregg. History of the Old Cheraws. New York: Riechardson and Co., 1867, pp. 359-364.
  95. Sabine (1864), Vol. 1, p. 595.
  96. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 2.
  97. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 8.
  98. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 9-10.
  99. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, pp. 10-12.
  100. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, pp. 29-30.
  101. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, pp. 32-33.
  102. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 55.
  103. Historical Biographies, Nova Scotia, 1800-1867
  104. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 88-100.
  105. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 118.
  106. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 123-126.
  107. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 123.
  108. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 128-129.
  109. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 148.
  110. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 184-185.
  111. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, pp. 208-209.
  112. Maya Jasanoff (2011), pp. xi, 34-36, 93-94, 123-125, 131, 134, 143, 313.
  113. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, pp. 221-225.
  114. An exercise in futility: the pre-Revolutionary career and influence of loyalist James Simpson by James Riley Hill, III. M. A. Thesis. University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 1992. viii, 109 leaves ; 28 cm. OCLC 30807526
  115. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 302.
  116. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 331.
  117. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 364-366.
  118. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 376-377.
  119. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 410-413.
  120. Richard J. Hooker, ed. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant. 1953.
  121. Joseph R. Gainey. “Rev. Charles Woodmason (c. 1720-1789): Author, Loyalist, Missionary, and Psalmodist.” West Gallery: The Newsletter of the West Gallery Music Association, Issue No. 59 (Autumn 2011), pp. 18–25.
  122. South Carolina Gazette and Country-Journal in the March 28, 1769 issue (much abridged and heavily edited). The complete text is in Hooker, pp. 260-263.
  123. Sabine (1864), Vol. 2, p. 466-468.


  • Allen, Thomas B. Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. 496 pp. ISBN 9780061241819
  • Andrews, Matthew Page, History of Maryland, Doubleday, New York (1929)
  • Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (2nd ed. 1992) pp 230–319.
  • ———. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson: Loyalism and the Destruction of the First British Empire (1974), full scale biography of the most prominent Loyalist
  • Brown, Wallace. The King's Friends: The Composition and Motives of the American Loyalist Claimants (1966).
  • Calhoon, Robert M. "Loyalism and neutrality" in Jack P. Greene and J.R. Pole, eds., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (1991)
  • ———. The Loyalists in Revolutionary America, 1760-1781 (1973), the most detailed scholarly study
  • Calhoon, Robert M., Timothy M. Barnes and George A. Rawlyk, eds. Loyalists and Community in North America (1994).
  • Doré, Gilbert. "Why The Loyalists Lost," Early America Review (Winter 2000) online, focus on ideology
  • Gray, Rev. J. W. D. A Sermon, Preached at Trinity Church, in the parish of St. John, N. B., on the 8th December, 1857, by the Rev. J. W. D. Gray, D.D., and Designed to Recommend the Principles of the Loyalists of 1783. St. John, New Brunswick: J. & A. McMillan, Printers, 1857. 15 pp. Internet Archive pdf; title incorrectly gives the year as 1847.
  • Jasanoff, Maya. Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (2011), excellent comprehensive treatment
  • Jensen, Merrill. The New Nation: A History of the United States during the Confederation, 1781-1789 1950; detailed discussion of return of Loyalists, popular anger at their return; repeal of wartime laws against them
  • Kermes, Stephanie. "'I Wish for Nothing More Ardent upon Earth, than to See My Friends and Country Again': The Return of Massachusetts Loyalists." Historical Journal of Massachusetts 2002 30(1): 30-49. ISSN 0276-8313
  • Kerber, Linda. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (1997)
  • Knowles, Norman. Inventing the Loyalists: The Ontario Loyalist Tradition and the Creation of Usable Pasts (1997) explores the identities and loyalties of those who moved to Canada.
  • Middlekauff, Robert. "The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789." (2005 edition)
  • Moore, Christopher. The Loyalist: Revolution Exile Settlement. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, (1994).
  • Mason, Keith. “The American Loyalist Diaspora and the Reconfiguration of the British Atlantic World.” In Empire and Nation: The American Revolution and the Atlantic World, ed. Eliga H. Gould and Peter S. Onuf (2005).
  • Nelson, William H. The American Tory (1961)
  • Norton, Mary Beth. The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774-1789. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1972.
  • ———. Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800 (1996)
  • ———. "The Problem of the Loyalist--and the Problems of Loyalist Historians," Reviews in American History June 1974 v.2 #2 pp 226–231
  • Peck, Epaphroditus; The Loyalists of Connecticut Yale University Press, (1934) online
  • Potter, Janice. The Liberty We Seek: Loyalist Ideology in Colonial New York and Massachusetts (1983).
  • Quarles, Benjamin; Black Mosaic: Essays in Afro-American History and Historiography University of Massachusetts Press. (1988)
  • Ryerson, Egerton. The Loyalists of America and Their Times: From 1620 to 1816. 2 volumes. Second edition. 1880.
  • Smith, Paul H. "The American Loyalists: Notes on Their Organization and Numerical Strength," William and Mary Quarterly 25 (1968): 259-77. in JSTOR
  • Van Tyne, Claude Halstead. The Loyalists in the American Revolution (1902) online
  • Wade, Mason. The French Canadians: 1760-1945 (1955) 2 vol.

Compiled Volumes of Biographical Sketches

  • Palmer, Gregory. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 1983. 998 pp. ISBN 9780313281020
  • Sabine, Lorenzo. The American Loyalists, or Biographical Sketches of Adherents to the British Crown in The War of the Revolution; Alphabetically Arranged; with a Preliminary Historical Essay. Boston, MA: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1847. Google Book vi, 733 pp.
  • ———. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an Historical Essay. 2 volumes. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1864. Google Book Volume 1—vi, 608 pp. Google Book Volune 2—600 pp.

Studies of Individual Loyalists

  •  "Boucher, Jonathan". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  • Gainey, Joseph R. “Rev. Charles Woodmason (c. 1720-1789): Author, Loyalist, Missionary, and Psalmodist.” West Gallery: The Newsletter of the West Gallery Music Association (ISSN 0960-4227), Issue No. 59 (Autumn 2011), pp. 18–25. This undocumented article is the first publication to identify Woodmason's parents, background, baptism, marriage, and burial dates and places and contains much previously unavailable information.
  • Hill, James Riley, III. An exercise in futility: the pre-Revolutionary career and influence of loyalist James Simpson. M. A. Thesis. University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 1992. viii, 109 leaves ; 28 cm. OCLC 30807526
  • Hooker, Richard J., ed. The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant. 1953. ISBN 978-0-8078-4035-1
  • Lohrenz, Otto; "The Advantage of Rank and Status: Thomas Price, a Loyalist Parson of Revolutionary Virginia." The Historian. 60#3 (1998) pp 561+. online
  • Randall, Willard Sterne. A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin & His Son Little, Brown & Co, 1984.
  • Skemp, Sheila. William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • Wright, J. Leitch. William Augusutus Bowles: Director General of the Creek Nation. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1967.
  • Zimmer, Anne Y. Jonathan Boucher, loyalist in exile. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1978.

Primary Sources and Guides to Manuscripts and the Literature

  • Allen, Robert S. Loyalist Literature: An Annotated Bibliographic Guide to the Writings on the Loyalists of the American Revolution. Issue 2 of Dundurn Canadian historical document series, 1982. ISBN 9780919670617
  • Crary, Catherine S., ed. Price of Loyalty: Tory Writings from the Revolutionary Era (1973)
  • Egerton, Hugh Edward, ed. The Royal commission on the losses and services of American loyalists, 1783 to 1785, being the notes of Mr. Daniel Parker Coke, M. P., one of the commissioners during that period. Oxford: The Roxburghe Club, 1915. Link to downloadable pdf
  • Galloway, Joseph. The claim of the American loyalists: reviewed and maintained upon incontrovertible principles of law and justice. G. and T. Wilkie, 1788. Downloadable Google Book pdf 138 pages
  • Guide to the The Loyalist Collection website, Harriet Irving Library, Fredericton campus, University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • Guide to the New York Public Library Loyalist Collection (19 pdfs)
  • Palmer, Gregory S. A Bibliography of Loyalist Source Material in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Westport, CT, 1982.
  • The Particular Case of the Georgia Loyalists: in Addition to the General Case and Claim of the American Loyalists, which was Lately Published by Order of Their Agents. February, 1783. n.p.:n.p., 1783. 16 pp. Google Book pdf

External links


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).