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Some Paternal Ancestors of Edwin Brown (“Big Doc”) KUGLER Sr

Loyalists


The Revolutionary War was not just a war for national independence; it was also a civil war. About one-third of the American population refused to join the patriot cause, instead remaining loyal to the English Crown. Such divided allegiances pitted neighbor against neighbor and even family members against each other.

Although the majority of British sympathizers came from the wealthy and land-owning classes, there were Tories, as they were disparagingly called, from all social divisions. Loyalist influence was strong in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, but weak in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia. When the Declaration of Independence made the pro-British stance treacherous, some 80,000 Loyalists left the country, about half of them migrating to Canada where they were assisted with a new start. But a greater number stayed to take the oath of allegiance to the United States but then to hope for a British victory. Loyalists refusing to take the oath faced employment restrictions, triple taxation, tarring and feathering, banishement, and even the threat of execution if they attempted to return. From 30,000 to 60,000 Loyalists served in the British Army during the war, while others acted as spies, guerillas, privateers and counterfeiters of continental currency. Still other remaining Loyalists provided the British forces with material and financial assistance. In 1777, the Continental Congress mandated the confiscation of Loyalist property to help finance the war. New York State, for instance, raised more than $3.6 million from the sale of Loyalist lands.

In the peace treaty ending the war Great Britain stipulated the restoration of Loyalist property. This condition was largely ignored, since American hostility toward Loyalists remained intense during the years that followed the revolution. The United States kept anti-Tory laws on the books until the end of the War of 1812.1


Note

1 Schlesinger (1983), p 100.



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