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A Sweeping, Dramatic History of the Americans Who Chose to Side with the British in the Revolution
The American Revolution was not simply a battle between independence-minded colonists and the oppressive British. As Thomas B. Allen reminds us, it was also a savage and often deeply personal civil war, in which conflicting visions of America pitted neighbor against neighbor and Patriot against Tory on the battlefield, the village green, and even in church.
In this outstanding and vital history, Allen tells the complete story of these other Americans, tracing their lives and experiences throughout the revolutionary period. New York City and Philadelphia were Tory strongholds through much of the war, and at times in the Carolinas and Georgia there were more trained and armed Tories than Redcoats. The Revolution also produced one of the greatest—and least known—migrations in Western history. More than 80,000 Tories left America, most of them relocating to Canada.
John Adams once said that he feared there would never be a good history of the American Revolution because so many documents had left the country with the Tories. Based on documents in archives from Nova Scotia to London, Tories adds a fresh perspective to our knowledge of the Revolution and sheds an important new light on the little-known figures whose lives were forever changed when they remained faithful to their mother country.
Veteran historian Allen (Remember Valley Forge: Patriots, Tories, and Redcoats Tell Their Stories, 2007, etc.) offers a lively account of the colonists who remained loyal to King George during the Revolutionary War.
At the war's outset, George Washington believed that Tories were merely deluded, insufficiently alert to Parliament's encroachment on their liberties. By the spring of 1778, after watching Tories and their sympathizers feed the British occupiers of Philadelphia while the Continental Army starved at Valley Forge, Washington favored shooting some infamous Loyalists as a way of striking terror into those who might be similarly inclined. Sometimes we forget that America's revolt against the British was quite literally a family quarrel, a civil war that became decidedly uncivil and often descended into savagery. From prewar acts of intimidation that featured kidnapping of the king's agents, tarring and feathering and "smoking" (securing a victim in a locked, chimney-blocked room, then building a fire), to the skull breaking, scalping, massacres, terrorism and give-no-quarter battles of the war itself, Allen charts the increasing ferocity of this fight between those who remained faithful and those who opposed the king. Many Loyalists left the colonies once the war began in earnest. Others stayed and, having forfeited their land, homes and businesses, knew their only chance at restoration was for the British to win. They took up arms against their Patriot neighbors—as did many Native Americans and a number of slaves offered their freedom for fighting on the British side—and served as spies and scouts for the occupation forces. The author treats the war chronologically and reports especially well on the colonies, where loyalty to the monarch remained particularly robust. He highlights Benedict Arnold's betrayal, tells the tale of Benjamin Franklin's Tory son, examines the religious divide that mirrored the conflict among colonists and explains how colonial governors and British generals sought to enlist the aid of "good" Americans to subdue the bad.
The war's bitterness memorably recaptured.
Preface: "Little Less Than Savage Fury" xiii
1 Two Flags over Plymouth 1
2 Arming the Tories 19
3 Flee or Fight 39
4 "To Subdue the Bad" 54
5 The War for Boston 75
6 Into the Fourteenth Colony 93
7 The Farewell Fleet 110
8 Beating the Southern Drums 133
9 "Broadswords and King George!" 141
10 War in the Loyal Province 157
11 Terror on the Neutral Ground 184
12 "Indians Must Be Employed" 209
13 Treason Along the Chesapeake 235
14 Vengeance in the Valleys 252
15 Seeking Southern Friends 276
16 Despair Before the Dawn 291
17 Bloody Days of Reckoning 298
18 And They Began the World Anew 323
This book addresses the reality of those in the American Colonies who remained loyal to King George. Many returned to England if they could while others emigrated to another British colony, Canada. Still others were tormented and sometimes killed for their loyalty to the king. This is their story. The facts revealed in this book help us "rebel colonists" to understand why Canada did not want to join the US during the War of 1812. The book is written from the perspective of the Torries some of whom can also trace their ancestry to the Pilgrims. They were colonists like the early citizens of the US, but they kept their loyalty to the crown and suffered the consequences.
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Posted April 7, 2011
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