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American Loyalists Get No Respect

Jacob Ellegood, a Virginia planter who remained loyal to Britain, is depicted in the Yorktown Victory Center’s Witnesses to Revolution Gallery.

Jacob Ellegood, a Virginia planter who remained loyal to Britain, is depicted in the Yorktown Victory Center’s Witnesses to Revolution Gallery.

American Loyalists Get No Respect

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Lots of people on both sides of the American Revolution didn’t think much of Loyalists.  Patriots persecuted them, driving them from their homes and confiscating their property.  Even though thousands of Loyalists fought for the King in America, the British government never thought the Loyalist contribution to war effort was large enough.  The British army in North America resented the fact that it had to allocate scarce manpower for the purpose of protecting Loyalist civilians.

Here are some contemporary perspectives on Loyalists:

“filthy grovelling vermin, formed only to be trampled upon by tyrants” – The Virginia Gazette, January 15, 1774

“Damnation to Tories and Success to American Liberty” – Patriot toast, 1775

“How can you be called friends of the King if you won’t venture anything for the right cause? Look at your Opposition Party: they abandon wife, child, house, and home, and let us lay waste to everything.  They fight without shoes and clothing with all passion, suffer hunger, and gladly endure all the hardships of war.  But you loyalists won’t do anything!  You only want to be protected, to live in peace in your houses.  We are supposed to break our bones for you, in place of yours, to accomplish your purpose.  We attempt everything, and sacrifice our own blood for your assumed cause.” – Captain Johann Ewald, German officer serving with the British Army in America, 1781


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