Loyalist Research Network Paper Abstracts For Loyalism And The Revolutionary Atlantic World Conference

Loyalist Printers as Editors of Cultural Transfer

Throughout the American Revolution, printers on both sides of the political fence played a pivotal role in enabling pamphleteers, poets, satirists, essayists, broadsheet writers, and newspaper editors to circulate their passion and polemics about the issues at the heart of the conflict. At war’s end, when more than thirty thousand Loyalists moved to British North America to re-establish their lives, a number of highly skilled printers—many of them interrelated through apprenticeship or marriage—joined the exodus. Established printing names such as Mott, Howe, Sword, Hazard, and Sauer brought with them to Saint John, Shelburne, Halifax, and Charlottetown both a range of printing and publishing experience and an understanding of the literary and cultural expectations of their Loyalist readership. This paper will explore how through their establishment of local newspapers and journals (such as William Cochrane and John Howe’s The Nova Scotia Magazine, 1789-92), their selection of excerpted and local literature for publication, and their promotion of Loyalist educational institutions, theatrical performances, and book subscriptions, they played a major role in effecting the transfer of Loyalist cultural values to the Maritime Provinces in the post 1779 period.

Gwendolyn Davies
University of New Brunswick
Visiting Senior Resident, Massey College, and
Visiting Fellow, Book History /Print Culture Program
University of Toronto

"Shelburnian manners" or something more?: another look at the sociability patterns of the Loyalists in Port Roseway, Nova Scotia

Barely a month after landing in Port Roseway, Nova Scotia, a number of the Loyalist inhabitants decided to celebrate the King`s birthday by declaring June 4, 1783 as a holiday. They organized a fancy dress ball which lasted into the wee hours of the morning, and set numerous bonfires amongst the stumps, bushes and tents of the pioneer community. Throughout the early years of Port Roseway, “(t)here was…not a royal birthday or saint`s day that did not merit a party of one sort or another”. Surveyor Benjamin Marston was initially appalled by such revelry and refused to partake (although he eventually made exceptions in the right company). Similarly, James Fraser, the author of a seven-page manuscript entitled “A Sketch of Shelburnian Manners”, insisted that “The inhabitants of Shelburne from the highest to the lowest, have a pitiable passion for finery, reveling and dancing and every species of sensual gratification”. Indeed, contemporary commentators believed that Shelburne`s rapid decline was largely due to the idleness and hedonism of the inhabitants. Rather than using sociability as an explanation for Shelburne`s decline, my objective is to assess why Shelburnians felt the need for such festivities, often at the expense of material concerns. It is suggested that these celebrations were instruments of societal, cultural and communal (re)formation. They were a means by which a migrant refugee population could make sense of their sacrifices, reconstitute their political and social identities, and establish a new Loyalist order in the land of Nova Scarcity.

Bonnie Huskins
University of New Brunswick

A Gentleman in the Wilderness:Edward Winslow’s Loyalist Legacy in Colonial New Brunswick, 1783-1815

In his address to the Planter Studies Conference at Acadia University in 1997, Richard Lyman Bushman encouraged historians to explore the extent to which the New England pattern of “austere gentility” extended into the Maritime region with the arrival of the Planters before the American Revolution. Such an exploration is equally pertinent to the Loyalists whose numbers more than doubled the population of the Maritime colonies. Included in the mix of refugees who flooded the Maritime region between 1775 and 1785, was a small but significant group of elite families from the Thirteen Colonies who made a valiant effort to continue to live on the colonial frontier in the manner to which they had become accustomed in more urban settings in their former homeland. This paper will describe the often futile efforts of Massachusetts-born Edward Winslow to re-establish himself and the values he held dear in New Brunswick, a colony created in 1784 specifically to accommodate the Loyalist refugees. In one of his letters to his friend Ward Chipman, Winslow predicted that the character of Loyalist New Brunswick would be so enlightened compared to that of the United States that “many of their most respectable inhabitants will join us immediately.” Winslow was wrong in his prediction but it was not for lack of trying. His letters provide telling detail about the class, gender, and racial values that he proposed to establish in New Brunswick. Although these values were gradually being eroded throughout the Atlantic world in the late eighteenth century, they left an indelible mark on New Brunswick, which continues to wrestle with the cultural legacy left by Loyalists such as Edward

Margaret Conrad
University of New Brunswick

A Durable Legacy: The Origin And Transfer of American Loyalist Militaria From New York to New Brunswick, 1776-1783

The fall of New York to the British Army in 1776 created an instant garrison city
within a larger zone of Government control and provided those manufacturers and retail outlets which remained with a ready market for domestic and military supplies. Only 5,000 people remained when General Howe’s army arrived in lower Manhattan. Within a year this total had doubled as the willing and largely unwilling population of Loyalist Refugees crossed from areas of Patriot control. At the time of the evacuations of 1783, the civilian component of New York approached 33,000, a figure exceeded by the 35,000 British regular and Royal Provincial or Loyalist troops then in the city.

The military population attracted the attention of craftsmen and artists since the regiments and, especially the officers, had money to spend while in garrison or following arrival from a theatre of conflict. New York newspapers featured advertisements offering weapons, portraits, uniforms, metal smithing and engraving, cabinetmaking, camp equipment, leather goods and embroidery. Officials from the colonial regime and other members of the elite were also good customers but the rank and file Refugee family was less fortunate, away from home and livelihood and without means unless lucky enough to place a husband or son within a Provincial regiment.

Some of the goods and services offered were either British imports or made by relocated tradesmen from London, Dublin and Edinburgh. Lieutenant Anthony Allaire of the Loyal American Regiment, whose famous diary is in the collections of the New Brunswick Museum, had his portrait miniature painted by Irishman John Ramage who came to New York after several years in Halifax and Boston. Others were second and third generation Americans. The work of Lewis Fueter, silversmith and James Potter, cutler, are represented in the museum’s collections through a pair silver belt plates and two cavalry sabres. It is also likely that several unattributed objects ranging from campaign furniture to a drum and a cavalry guidon were produced or assembled in the city and environs. All of these objects
were brought north in 1783 by Royal Provincials or Loyalist militia and then descended through family to eventual donation.
New York thus emerges as both centripetal and centrifugal force in the creation and spread of Loyalist material culture. No other location in British controlled America offered this combination of expertise, workplace stability and opportunity of exchange. It was a core area for the creation of a Loyalist military identity in physical form which then travelled to the new province of New Brunswick after the war. Although a significant amount of this legacy disappeared during and after the conflict, those artifacts which survived to enter the museum’s collections have additional importance because some copy the British model while others exhibit varying degrees of departure from British practice and a number more closely reflect the American experience. The Provincials and militias and, indeed, civilian Loyalists would bring these cultural strands to their new home in what became Canada.

Gary Hughes
History and Technology
New Brunswick Museum