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CHAP. I.: The Case of the American Loyalists briefly stated. - Joseph Galloway, The Claim of the American Loyalists 
The Claim of the American Loyalists reviewed and maintained upon incontrovertible Principles of Law and Justice (London: G. and T. Wilkie, 1788).
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The Case of the American Loyalists briefly stated.
IN the year 1764, several tumults and insurrections against the authority of the Crown and the rights of Parliament took place in America. The houses and other property of divers persons, who had discharged their duty in attempting to carry that authority and those rights into execution, were destroyed, whereupon both Houses
Resolved, “That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to desire that he would be graciously pleased to give instructions to the Governors of the several provinces where those tumults and insurrections have happened, that they should, in his Majesty’s name, require the Assemblies of the said provinces to makea proper recompenceto those who have suffered in their persons or properties, in consequence of the said tumults and insurrections; and to assure his Majesty that they will, upon this and all occasions, support the lawful authority of the Crown, and the rights of Parliament.”
And they further
Resolved, “That all his Majesty’s subjects residing in the said colonies, who have manifested their desire to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution the Act for laying a duty on stamps, or any other Act of Parliament, in the British Colonies in North America, have acted as dutiful and loyal subjects, &c. and are therefore entitled to, and will assuredly have the favour andprotection of this House.”
In the year 1767, the insurrections in America encreasing, the House of Commons took into their consideration the state of North America; and after full deliberation, came, among others, to the following resolves, viz.
Resolved, “That tumults and insurrections of the most dangerous nature have been raised and carried on in the North American colonies, in open defiance of the powers and dignity of his Majesty’s government, and in manifest violation of the legislative authority of this kingdom.”
Resolved, “That such persons, who, on account of the desire which they have manifested to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution, any Acts of the Legislature of Great Britain, relating to the British colonies in North America, have suffered any injury or damage, ought to have full and ample compensation made to them for the same by the respective colonies in which such injuries or damages were sustained.”
Resolved, “That all his Majesty’s subjects residing in the said colonies, who have manifested their desire to comply with, or to assist in carrying into execution any Acts of the Legislature, relating to the said colonies in North America, have acted as dutiful and loyal subjects, and are therefore entitled to, and will assuredly have theprotectionof the House of Commons ofGreat Britain.”
The same House of Commons, impressed not only with a proper sense of the national justice which the Loyalists contend for, but with the policy and necessity of holding out distinguishing rewards, and marks of the national favour and approbation to those who had and should distinguish themselves by their zeal and fidelity,
Resolved, “That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to confer some marks of hisroyal favour on those Governors and Officers in the several colonies, who distinguished themselves by their zeal and fidelity in supporting the dignity of the Crown, the just rights of Parliament, and the supreme authority of Great Britain over the colonies, during the late disturbances in America.”
In the year 1775 the preceding tumults and insurrections against the authority of the Crown and the rights of Parliament, encreased to “open and avowed rebellion.” The leaders assumed the rights of independent legislation, of judicial enquiry, sentence, and execution. The prevalence of the power and violence of the insurgents was such, that, in a little time, those who appeared desirous to support the authority of the Crown and rights of Parliament, or refused to unite with the insurgents, were disarmed, tarred, feathered, and inhumanly treated. The King’s forts were dismantled. The Governors and the Officers of the Crown, who had continued faithful to their trust, together with all others who had opposed the sedition, were reduced to the alternative of escaping from the tyranny, or of being imprisoned in loathsome dungeons or polluted mines, in which situations numbers have perished. Whereupon his Majesty laid this state of the colonies before the two Houses of Parliament, who concurred in assuring his Majesty, “That it was their fixed resolution, at the hazard of their lives and properties, to stand by his Majesty, against all rebellious attempts, in maintenance of his just rights, and of the two Houses of Parliament.”—And the aids were accordingly granted for that purpose.
In pursuance of these spirited measures of the Parliament, his Majesty, on the 23d of August in the same year, published a proclamation at St. James’s, in which, after reciting that an “open and avowed rebellion existed in America,” as the reason of the proclamation, his Majesty adds, “To the end, therefore, that none of our subjects may neglect or violate their duty through ignorance thereof, or through any doubt of the protection which thelawwill afford to their loyalty and zeal, We have thought fit, by the advice of our Privy Council, to issue this proclamation, hereby declaring, that not only all our Officers, civil and military, are obliged to exert their utmost endeavours to suppress the rebellion, but that all the subjects of our realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, are bound by law to be aiding and assisting in the suppression of the rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traiterous conspiracies and attempts against our Crown and dignity. And we do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, civil and military, and all other our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion,” &c.
In the same year General Gage, Commander in Chief of the British forces in America, issued his proclamation, declaring, “that all those who should protect, assist, supply, conceal, or correspond with the insurgents, should be treated as rebels and traitors.”
The usurped legislatures of the several colonies, in their turn, passed laws, declaring, “That all persons who should aid, assist, or correspond with the subjects of Great Britain, should be adjudged guilty of high treason against their authorities.” And under these laws they attainted the persons, and confiscated the property, of all who adhered to their allegiance, or gave the least aid or assistance towards supporting “the authority of the Crown, or rights of Parliament.”
The critical and dangerous predicament in which these transactions placed the Loyalists, is not easily described. General Burgoyne, who was on the spot, has attempted to give some idea of the dreadful scene, which he declares to consist of “arbitrary imprisonment, confiscation of property, persecution and torture, unprecedented in theInquisition of Rome. These are inflicted,” continues the General, “by Assemblies and Committees, who dare to style themselves friends to liberty, upon the most faithful subjects, without distinction of age or sex, for the sole crime, often for the sole suspicion, of having adhered in principle to the government under which they were born, and to which, by every tie, human and divine, they owed allegiance.”
Notwithstanding this critical and dreadful situation into which the Loyalists were drawn by their confidence in his Majesty’s proclamation, and the assurances of Parliament; and notwithstanding many had suffered death, and numbers were languishing in dungeons and mines; the Commissioners of his Majesty and Parliament, and Commanders in Chief acting under his Majesty’s authority, did not cease to call on those who survived to adhere to their allegiance, and for their assistance.
In the year 1776, Lord Viscount Howe* published a proclamation, and as a farther and more especial encouragement expressly declared, “That due consideration should be had to the meritorious services of all persons who should aid and assist in restoring the public tranquillity, and that every suitable encouragement should be given for promoting such measures as should be conducive to the establishment of civil government and peace.”
In the same year, two other proclamations were issued by Lord and General Howe, and a declaration by the latter in the year following, calling on the people to discharge their duties as subjects.
In the year 1778, his Majesty’s Commissioners acting under the authority of Parliament, in their manifesto and letter to Henry Lawrens, President of Congress, which they afterwards published throughout America, declare, that a “regard must be paid to the many who, from affection to Great Britain, have exposed themselves to suffer in this contest, and to whom Great Britain owes support atevery expence of blood and treasure.”
In the same year the same Commissioners published their manifesto and proclamation, in which they call on the people of America in general, “to vie with each other in eager and cordial endeavours to secure their own peace, and to promote and establish the prosperity of their country, and the general weal of the empire;” and in particular, apply to and command “all Officers, civil and military, and all other his Majesty’s loving subjects whatever, to be aiding and assisting unto them in the execution of their manifesto and proclamation, and all matters therein contained.”
On the 23d of May 1780, Sir Henry Clinton issued a proclamation, wherein, in his Majesty’s name, he called on and commanded all persons whatsoever, to be aiding and assisting to his forces, whenever they should be required, in order to extirpate the rebellion; and for the encouragement of the King’s faithful and peaceable subjects, he assured them, “that they should meet with effectual countenance, protection, and support;” and the same requisition and assurances were with equal solemnity repeated in a subsequent proclamation published by Sir Henry Clinton and Vice-Admiral Arbuthnot, as his Majesty’s Commissioners to restore peace and good government in the several colonies in rebellion, on the first of June following.
In the year 1778, the Congress, desirous of weakening the British power, and of gaining over the influence and assistance of the Loyalists, by a resolve, recommended to the several States to repeal the sanguinary laws made against them, and to restore their property which had been confiscated; and overtures were made by General Washington to take them under his protection; but although they had reason to apprehend, from the evacuation of Philadelphia by order of the British government, the subsequent movement of the troops from America to the West Indies, and the numbers in both Houses of Parliament against carrying on the war in the colonies, that they were about to be deserted by the British arms; yet, with this prospect of distress, which no language can describe, they considered their allegiance to his Majesty, and their connection with their fellow-subjects, as sacred and inviolable; the infallible consequence of which was, a more general attainder of their lives, and a confiscation of their fortunes; although, had they then withdrawn from their allegiance, they might have obtained a repeal of the laws attaining their lives, and been restored to their property. Under these circumstances, painful as they were, they never complained. Their loyalty and zeal in the cause of the State remained undiminished, or rather kept pace with their encreasing distress. All the tender ties of the parent, husband, and son, were overcome by their public virtue; nor did they desert the sinking cause of their country until she deserted it herself. Thus led forth from the rest of their fellow-subjects, by their duty to the State, their obedience to his Majesty’s command, and the assurances of both Houses of Parliament, they firmly confided in the royal faith, and the honour and justice of Parliament, that they would at all events afford them the protection due to them by law, and so solemnly promised.
In the year 1781, the Loyalists, being alarmed at the distinction made in the articles of capitulation of York, in Virginia, between British subjects and the Loyalists who had rendered themselves amenable to the sanguinary laws of the New States, his Excellency William Franklin, Esq. Governor of the province of New Jersey, wrote to Lord George Germaine, then Secretary for the American department, on the subject. In answer to which letter, his Lordship wrote to the Governor on the 2d of January 1782, That “the alarm taken by the loyal Refugees at the fifth article of Lord Cornwallis’s capitulation is not to be wondered at. The King’s anxiety to remove the fears, and restore the confidence, of those zealous and meritorious subjects, has induced his Majesty to direct me further to express to Sir Henry Clinton (then Commander in Chief of all the British Forces in America) his royal pleasure, that he should, in his Majesty’s name, give them the fullest assurances of the continuance of hisaffection and regard for their happiness, and that, in all events, they may rely upon the utmost attention being shewn to their safety and welfare.”
At length, in the year 1782, a negociation for peace was opened at Paris between the contending parties. Here it will not be denied that the Loyalists, after such strong assurances of protection by his Majesty and Parliament, had good right to expect an article would be obtained for annulling the sanguinary laws which attainted their persons and confiscated their property, and that, according to all usage on similar occasions, it would be restored to them. But in this they found themselves fatally mistaken. The American Commissioners declared they had no authority from the States to make it; and besides, if they had the authority, and the restitution was insisted on, they would also insist that Great Britain should pay for all the damages done, and property taken, by the British armies during the war, which would amount to much more than the confiscated property* . The Minister, on the part of Great Britain, considering the state of the nation, the enormous expence of carrying on the war, and the necessity the Public was under of obtaining peace, gave up the point in dispute, and ceded the property of the Loyalists, as a recompence and satisfaction for those damages, and as the price and purchase of peace for the empire. He unconditionally confirmed the independent sovereignties of the usurpation, and with them the sanguinary laws by which the persons of the Loyalists were attainted and their property confiscated. This treaty was afterwards ratified by his Majesty, and confirmed by both Houses of Parliament.
Such is the unexaggerated state of the facts which make up the claim of the American Loyalists. It remains to be examined, whether those who are entrusted with the sovereign authority of the British Government, are not under the most sacred obligations to protect the subject in his person and property, in all events, while he performs the duties of allegiance and fulfils the laws of the land? Whether, in the constitution of the British state, there is no law which entitles the subject to indemnity for property lost in consequence of his fidelity to the Government, or through the want of the protection due to them by law? Whether the sovereign authority may lawfully cede, in a treaty, the property of the subject without such indemnity? And whether the rights and property of the subject are so extremely precarious, and the powers of the sovereign authority so perfectly despotic, that it is authorised by law to dispose of his property, while he fulfils the duties of a faithful citizen, without his consent, on any account or to any purpose whatever,without making a just compensation?
[* ]One of the Parliamentary Commissioners, and Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s naval forces in America.
[* ]See the Appendix.