Were the Loyalists? Loyalists or Tories are portrayed
as villians in many Revolutionary War novels but in reality
they were not villians at all.
Use Primary and Secondary Sources to Show Students the Views
of the Loyalists heading into the Revolutionary War:
Sources are defined as documents produced during the timeframe
being studied. Examples can be diary entries, letters, speeches,
first-hand reports or correspondence, etc... Secondary Sources
are commonly defined as interpretations or studies of primary
sources. Local Libraries and Historical Groups/Societies are
great places to find primary and secondary sources.
activity teaches students about primary and secondary sources,
and where to find them. As a bonus they may even find something
interesting about their hometown.
is an example of how I've used Primary and Secondary Sources
to highlight the views and concerns of Redding's Loyalists:
Tories/Loyalists referred to themselves as the Redding Loyalist
Association. The Redding Loyalist Association was led by the
son of John Beach, Lazarus. In February of 1775, they and
other Tories living in Fairfield County published an article
in a New York publication proclaiming their loyalty to the
Redding Loyalist's "resolutions" (primary
source) sent to James Rivington's Gazetteer, the government
organ (paper) in New York City, proclaiming their allegiance
to the Crown of England is as follows:
Rivington: In the present critical situation of public affairs,
we, the subscribers, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town
of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County of Fairfield,
and Colony of Connecticut, think it is necessary (through
the columns of your paper) to assure the public that we are
open enemies to any change in the present happy Constitution,
and highly disapprove of all measures in any degree calculated
to promote confusion and disorder; for which purpose and in
order to avoid the general censure, incurred by a great part
of this colony from the mode of conduct here adopted for the
purpose of opposing the British Government, we have entered
into the following resolves and agreements, viz:
Resolved, that while we enjoy the privileges and immunities
of the British Constitution we will render all due obedience
to his most Gracious Majesty King George the Third, and that
a firm dependence on the Mother Country is essential to our
political safety and happiness.
Resolved, that the privileges and immunities of this Constitution
are yet (in a good degree) continued to all his Majesty's
American subjects, except those who, we conceive, have justly
forfeited their rights thereto.
Resolved, that we supposed the Continental Congress was constituted
for the purpose of restoring harmony between Great Britain
and her colonies and removing the displeasure of his Majesty
toward his American subjects, whereas on the contrary some
of their resolutions appear to us immediately calculated to
widen the present unhappy breach, counteract the first principles
of civil society, and in a great degree abridge the privileges
of their constituents.
Resolved, that notwithstanding we will in all circumstances
conduct with prudence and moderation, we consider it an indispensable
duty we owe to our King and Constitution, our Country and
posterity, to defend, maintain and preserve at the risk of
our lives and properties the prerogatives of the Crown, and
the privileges of the subject from all attacks by any rebellious
body of men, any Committees of Inspection, Correspondence,
document was signed by 141 Freeholders and Inhabitants of
the town of Reading and the adjoining parts in the County
of Fairfield but the signers were not revealed by the publisher,
Ask students research these four resolves of the Redding Loyalists:
online and offline sources students research the stated concerns
of the loyalists and then these findings are discussed in
the classroom. This enlightens the students of the "issues"
and gives them a better understanding of the loyalist position
entering the war. Below are some examples of the loyalist
Army was powerful and experienced. Many men, 40 years
of age or older, had fought along side the British soldiers
in the French and Indian War. They had experienced, first-hand,
the skill and tenacity of the enemy.
Land to the
West of the Appalachian Mountains was occupied by Indians,
the Spanish and the French, not Americans. Would the colonists
be able to defend themselves from attacks from any one
of them without the assistance of the British Army?
businesses and merchants worried that if America split
from England they would be at risk of losing their prosperity.
Tobacco farmers are an example of those who actually did
suffer as a result of the American Revolution.
plan for self-government in place how would the colonies
See if students can locate a similar Loyalist document from
their own town.
Give students a present day example of "Loyalist vs.
use the example of certain individuals in Vermont that wish
to secede from the United States to show students a present
day example of "rebellious" attitudes and how they
are viewed. Those that view talk of Secession as "silly"
are loyalists and those who are "all for it" are
is one source of information on this topic.
Discuss why religion played a role in position of the Loyalists.
written quite a bit on this topic and can provide PDFs of
this material if needed.
if not all, of Redding's Tories/Loyalists were Anglican Church
members. Anglicans were in a difficult position, their choice
of religion was tied closely to the crown of England and a
split from England left them with an uncertain future. Congregationalists
did not have these ties, so for them it was a matter of right
or wrong…did they agreed with the actions of England's leaders
confusion of the Tories/Loyalists is explained by Tim Meeker
in Chapter 2,
since I could remember, all my life in fact, there had been
discussions and arguments and debates about whether we ought
to obey His Majesty's government or whether we should rebel.
What kept confusing me about it was that the argument didn't
have two sides the way an argument should, but about six sides."
should be noted that many Anglicans were angered by the actions
of England's leaders, but felt a Rebellious split from England
was excessive and a diplomatic approach to the issues was
in the best interest of all colonists involved.
Discuss the treatment of the Loyalists during the war.
was not uncommon for loyalists to be jailed, publically humiliated
or even killed. Many loyalists fled to Canada, which is a
topic that can be researched at the web site: http://www.uelac.org.
Tories that chose not to heed the warnings and yield to the
Patriots were fined and imprisoned. Minutes of the Connecticut's
Governor and Council of Safety reveal the price paid by several
Beach, Andrew Fairchild, Nathan Lee, Enos Lee, and Able Burr
of Reading, in the county of Fairfield, being Tory convicts
and sent by order of law to be confined in the town of Mansfield
to prevent any mischievous practices of theirs, having made
their escape and being taken up and remanded back to his Honor
the Governor and this Council, to be dealt with."
and ordered by the Governor and his Council aforesaid, that
the said Lazarus Beach (etc…) be committed to the keeper of
the goal in Windham, within said prison to be safely kept
until they come out thence by due order of the General Assembly,
or the Governor and his Council of Safety, and that they pay
cost of their being apprehended and being remanded, etc…,
allowed to be 25 pounds, 3 shillings. Mittimus granted Jan.
Feb. 10, 1777, Beach, Burr, and Fairchild were ordered to
"return to Mansfield and there abide under the direction of
the Committee of Inspection of that town, while Enos and Nathan
Lee were permitted to return home on their giving bonds for
their good behavior."
Tories: Issac Drew, Ephraim DeForest, John, Joseph and Peter
Lyon, and Daniel Read, were among those whose land was confiscated
by the State courts. Many others were fined for refusing to
perform military duty but as a whole the Loyalists of Redding
were a less tortured one - before, during and after the Revolution
in comparison to others in the state, where recriminations
against British sympathizers took the form of wholesale jailing
and even murder. Lazarus Beach, most certainly a thorn in
the patriot's side in the early stages of the conflict, eventually
fell into rank and remained in Redding after the Revolution
serving as selectman from 1788-1789. Proof that extreme measures
were not taken against the Loyalists of Redding unless the
person had actually gone over to the enemy to take up arms
or screen themselves under the protection of the Ministerial
Locate letters or court documents relating to Loyalists during
February of 1778, the Justices and Selectmen of Redding informed
Rev. Beach that "in order that we may have peace and quietness
at home" it was in his best interest to omit the prayer:
Feb. 12th, 1778
Sir: We have no disposition to restrain or limit you or others
in matters of conscience. But understanding that you, in your
Public Worship, still continue to pray that the King of Great
Britain may be strengthened to vanquish and overcome all his
enemies, which manner of praying must be thought to be a great
insult upon the Laws, Authority, and People of this State,
as you and others can but know that the King of England has
put the People of these United States from under his protection,
Declared the Rebels, and is now at open war with said States,
and consequently we are his enemies.
you must have understood that the American States have declared
themselves independent of any Foreign Power - Now Sir, in
order that we may have peace and quietness at home among ourselves,
we desire that for the future you would omit praying in Public
that King George the third or any other foreign Prince, or
Power, may vanquish, etc… the People of this Land.
compliance herewith may prevent you trouble.
are, Rev. Sir, with due Respect, your obedient humble servants.
the Revd. John Beach.
Signed: Lemuel Sanford, William Hawley - Justices
Hezekiah Sanford, Seth Sanford, Thaddeus Benedict, John Grey,
William Heron - Selectmen of Redding"
Beach, however, continued to read the prayers for the King
vowing that he would "do his duty, preach, and pray for the
King till the rebels cut out his tongue."
Locate local homes that were built before the war.
histories are a great way to introduce students to local history
and can be very educational if the topic is expanded to explore
the home's past owners, their occupations and interests. If
available, town land records in the town clerks office and
property cards in the tax office are the best sources of information.
Some town libraries and historical societies have complete
house histories available to the public.
Available at the History of Redding Website:
War Research mostly Connecticut information but an excellent
American Revolution Sites Connecticut Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
the Revolution Occurred- a very good timeline of events
that led to the colonist revolt, what happenned during it
and how our nation was formed.
of the Revolutionary War- Awesome resource showing you
dates, locations and winners and losers.
of the Revolutionary War
Money and Inflation
and Death Aboard British Prison Ships
of Prisoners who died on British Prison Ships
George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington
from the original manuscript sources: Volume 13 Electronic
Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Complete General Orders of George Washington October
2, 1778 to 1780
and the Revolution The Revolution split some denominations,
notably the Church of England, whose ministers were bound
by oath to support the King, and the Quakers, who were traditionally