The excerpt from the Second Report below provides background to the group transcription project of Mohawk Valley area Loyalist claims. Following the report are links to other sites as well as to our transcription files as they're prepared. Keep in mind that some men may not be listed in our transcriptions as they only gave residence as "NY" and that not everyone whose property was confiscated or left behind filed a claim. The original book should be referred to if we don't have your relative.
BUREAU OF ARCHIVES
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
By Alexander Fraser, Provincial Archivist
SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR LINKS TO CLAIMS
Conforming to the general plan of publication set forth in last year's Report, the documents herewith presented come within the period from 1763 to 1791, dealing with the beginnings of British settlement in Ontario, of which the United Empire Loyalists were the pioneers.
The claims advanced by the Loyalists on account of services in connection with and arising from the Revolutionary War were investigated by Special Commissioners appointed by the British Parliament, two of whom, viz.: Col. Thomas Dundas, and Mr. Jeremy Pemberton, were sent to Canada, to meet claimants personally and obtain evidence on the spot. The evidence thus secured contained in a number of MS. volumes, found its way ... to Washington, where it now is, in the Archives of the United States. The original papers have been literally copied and form the subject matter of this Report.
The spelling, abbreviations, and phraseology, of the M.S., as is customary in such cases, have been followed without deviation, and the private marginal notes of the Commissioners, reproduced, thus preserving the character of the original as much as it is possible to do so in type.
For purposes of reference each folio of the MS. is indicated by its page number being inserted on the margin of the printed page within bracket marks, and the beginning and ending of each folio, by a short dash.
Each claim has been given a number in consecutive order as reference to the claimants...
The migration of the Loyalists to Canada, which began from New York State, as early as 1774, continued in varying degree till 1789, eight years after the close of the war and six years after the treaty of peace had been signed.
By the terms of the treaty it was stipulated that creditors on each side should "meet with no lawful impediment" to recover all good debts in sterling money, and that the Congress of the United States should "earnestly recommend" to the States the restoration of the rights and possessions of "real British subjects," and of Loyalists who had not borne arms. All other Loyalists were to be given twelve months in which to adjust their affairs and recover confiscated property. It was provided also that no future confiscations should be made, that imprisoned Loyalists should be released, and that no further persecutions should be permitted. Congress, accordingly sent recommendations to the States concerned, but without effect. Instead of due restitution, petty annoyance and persecution followed, severe ordinances and statutes were passed against the Loyalists, and an exodus from the country was the only relief left open to them.
The Loyalists resident in New York went to Britain, Nova Scotia, and Upper Canada. It is estimated that 2,000 persons crossed the Atlantic between 1775 and 1785, a number of whom, however, afterwards came to Canada. The immigrants to Nova Scotia consisted chiefly of soldiers, farmers, merchants, professional men, men of various trades and of no trade. From 1776 small parties of Loyalists began to locate there. Early in 1783 agents were sent from New York City to choose sites in the territory from Annapolis to St. Mary's and to report thereon. Emigration on a large scale then began. Companies were formed by the rich, and ships were chartered. There was difficulty in securing an adequate number of vessels and the newspapers of the day are full of notices of the departure of these vessels. By March of that year, a large number of Loyalists arrived and land surveys were made for them. On April 26th, a fleet of twenty vessels carried 7,000 from New York City, and on May 18th landed them at St. John's. On August 23rd, Governor Parr wrote that "upwards of 12,000 souls have already arrived from New York." By the end of September he estimated that 18,000 had arrived and said that 10,000 more were expected. They were located chiefly at Halifax, Annapolis, Cumberland Bay, St. John and Port Roseway, with the largest settlement at St. John. By Dec. 16th, 30,000 Loyalists were believed to be in Nova Scotia. The estimates of the whole number who settled in the province vary however from 28,347 to 40,000. Britain furnished as many as 33,682 rations and on Nov. 30th 1785, was still supplying food for 26,317 refugees. The total number who settled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Isalnd is placed at not less than 35,000, of whom 30,000 probably came from New York.
Seven general routes were taken by the Loyalists in coming to Canada. Five of these were by the Hudson river to points between Oswego and Montreal. Some went by way of the Atlantic and River St. Lawrence while others went across western New York State. In 1782 the refugees in Canada were so numerous that monthly returns were made of them, and by 1791, the English population in Lower Canada had grown to about 20,000 due very largely to the influx of Loyalists.
In Upper Canada 10,000 Loyalists arrived in 1783 alone, the next year the population had doubled and by 1791 was estimated at 25,000. Britain undertook the task of compensating them for losses, or at least to restore, to some extent their lost fortunes. The civil authorities everywhere received the Loyalists with open arms, even though their investigation of claims was rigid and sometimes severe. The general policy was to receive all Loyalists, help the needy, encourage the men to enlist in the arm, and make all as self-supporting as possible. To the refugees, therefore, lands, tools, provisions and seeds were given. To influential citizens, army officers, officials and churchmen, were given larger land grants, positions in the army, state or church, or pensions. Actual losses were made good in proportion to services rendered. All who suffered in their "rights, properties and professions" for the sake of loyalty, were recognized as having a claim to compensation. Many entered upon the new life with zest and endured privations with good feeling. Some felt the pinch...
As early as May 1782, Loyalists applied for lands in Nova Scotia. Governor Parr recommended that each family be given 500 acres of land, every single man 300 acres, and that 2,000 acres be set aside for a church and 1,000 acres for a school in each township. In 1783 it was estimated that there were 12,000,000 acres of ungranted, cultivable lands in Nova Scotia. Surveying began in the spring of that year, but there was little uniformity in the size of the grants. Two hundred acres was usually given to an individual, with 200 extra for non-commissioned officers and 50 for privates. Loyalists were exempt from fees and quit rents for ten years. By August 10th, 1784, 20,120 persons had obtained grants. Lands were given as late as June 20th, 1792. Provisions for one year were supplied to Loyalists on leaving New York. To prevent abuses, a board was formed to examine the claims for provisions and on Nov. 30th, 1785, it was reported that 26,300 men, women and children were "entitled to provisions which they fully merit." Rations were first cut off in June, 1786, but relief was given as late as September, 1792. Governor Parr, without authority from Great Britain, distributed lumber and building materials to the amount of $27,000 up to November, 1784. By order of the King, iron works for grist and sawmills, tools for the woods and farms, boats, tents and necessary farm implements, were supplied to the value of $27,000. Grains and seeds were also distributed. Altogether for surveys, lumber, tools and seeds, not less than $100,000 was spent in Nova Scotia. For transportation, clothing, provisions and governmental expenses, probably $4.500,000 additional was required. Two-thirds of this expenditure was in behalf of Loyalists from New York.
The treatment of Loyalists in Upper and Lower Canada was similar to that in Nova Scotia. So far as possible, compensation was to be made in land grants. Surveys were begun in July, 1783. There was no uniformity in the size of the grants, though the rule was to give every adult male and every widow 200 acres. Civil and military officers received larger grants, some as much as 1,200 acres. In Upper Canada 3,200,000 acres were given to Loyalists who settled there before 1787.....The movement towards the newly surveyed settlements began in March, 1784, and by July the settlers were drawing lots and locating on their lands.... By 1789 about 17,000 Loyalists were settled above Montreal. The settlement was still in progress in 1790, by which time it is estimated that at least 25,000 Loyalists were located in Upper and Lower Canada.
In addition to food, clothing and blankets were furnished the Loyalists from 1783 to 1787. The practice was generally adopted of supplying them until they could support themselves. Although Loyalists were welcomed from the United States, after 1784, they were not entitled to provisions. In their work of building houses, clearing and cultivating the land, the settlers were rendered generous assistance by the government. Requests for tools, however, although readily granted, were pronounced extravagant. At first arms were refused, but later some guns were distributed "for the messes, for the pigeon and wild fowl season". Live stock also, which was not given at first, was finally allotted - one cow to every two families....
In November, 1789, Lord Dorchester, requested the council at Quebec "to put a mark of honor upon the families who adhered to the unity of the Empire and joined the Royal Standard in America before the treaty of separation in the year 1783." The council concurred, and thereafter all Loyalists were "to be distinguished by the letter U.E. affixed to their names, alluding to their great principle, the unity of the Empire." A register of the U.E. Loyalists was ordered to be kept, and for twenty years names were added to this list. The distinction has not been assumed.
APPOINTMENT OF A COMMISSION
The British Parliament was urged by the King to treat the Loyalists with "a due and generous attention," hence that body in July, 1783, appointed a commission of five members to classify the losses and services, in accordance with the following Act of Parliament: -
The first clause of the Act appointing the Commission is as follows:
Whereas, during the last unhappy Dissentions in America, many of your Majesty's faithful Subjects have, in consequence of their Loyalty to your Majesty, and attachment to the British Government, and their obedience to your Majesty's Proclamation, and various other proclamations and manifestoes, issued by your Majesty's Commissioners, Generals, and Governors, suffered in their Rights, Properties, and Professions, insomuch that several well-deserving Persons are reduced from affluence to circumstances so straightened as to require the aid of a temporary support, which has been allotted to them by the Commissioners of the Treasury, by annual allowance made, and occasional assistance by sums of money given to them from the revenues of your Majesty's Civil List, the amount of which has hitherto been made good by Parliament; and your faithful Commons, not doubting but that your Majesty's most earnest endeavors will be employed for procuring from the United States of America restitution of or recompence for the estates and effects of those who have thus unhappily suffered, and intending to give all due aid and assistance to those who may return to America for the recovery of their former possessions under the Provisional Articles, and to extend such relief to others who may, by particular circumstances, be deprived of that advantage, as their respective Cases may require, and the publick afford; to which end, it is necessary that a diligent and impartial Enquiry should be made into the Losses and Services of all such Persons as may, within the time hereinafter limited for that purpose, claim or request such aid or relief as is intended to be given: we pray your Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that John Wilmot, Esquire, Daniel Parker Coke, Esquire, Colonel Robert Kingston, Colonel Thomas Dundas, and John Marsh, Esquire, shall be, and they are hereby constituted Commissioners for enquiring into the respective Losses and Services of all such Person and Persons who have suffered in their Rights, Properties, and Professions during the late unhappy dissentions in America in consequence of their Loyalty to his Majesty, and attachment to the British Government.
The Commission opened their investigation in October, under the following classification: -
Claimants had to state specifically in writing the nature of their losses. Claims were first ordered to be presented by March 25th, 1784, but the time was later extended till 1790. On the first date mentioned, 2,063 claims were presented, representing a loss of about $35,000,000 in real and personal property. $11,770,000 in debts and $443,000 in incomes, making a total of nearly $47,250,000. Compensation was not allowed for estates bought after the war, rents, incomes of offices received during the rebellion, anticipated professional profits, losses in trade, labor, or by the British army, losses through depreciated paper money, captures at sea and debts. By April, 1788, the Commissioners had examined 1,680 claims on which they allowed $9,448,000.
Source: "Second Report of the Bureau of Archives for the Province of Ontario", by Alexander Fraser, Provincial Archivist, 1904.
Printed by Order of The Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Toronto: L.K. Cameron, Printer to the King's Most Excellent
>5/25/02 Claims 932, 948-50, 967, 969
All of this information is new to me so I'm unable to help or advise researchers personally.
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Thank you to Anonymous Angel for contributing material in memory of E.E.
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