Property was troublesome enough. But people were worse. And Carleton’s difficulties increased as the autumn wore on. The first great harrying of the Loyalists drove more than thirty thousand from their homes; and about twenty-five thousand of these embarked at New York. Then there were the remnants of twenty Loyalist corps to pension, settle, or employ. There were also the British prisoners to receive, besides ten thousand German mercenaries. Add to all this the regular garrison and the general oversight of every British interest in North America, from the Floridas to Labrador, remember the implacable enemy in front, and we may faintly imagine what Carleton had to do before he could report that ’His Majesty’s troops and such remaining Loyalists as chose to emigrate were successfully withdrawn on the 25th [of November] without the smallest circumstance of irregularity.’
Thus ended one of the greatest acts in the drama of the British Empire, the English-speaking peoples, or the world; and thus, for the second time, Carleton, now in his sixtieth year, apparently ended his own long service in America. He had left Canada, after saving her from obliteration, because, so long as he remained her governor, the war minister at home remained her enemy. He had then returned to serve in New York, and had stayed there to the bitter end, because there was no other man whom the new government would trust to command the rearguard of the Empire in retreat.
FOUNDING MODERN CANADA
Carleton now enjoyed two years of uninterrupted peace at his country seat in England. His active career seemed to have closed at last. He had no taste for party politics. He was not anxious to fill any position of civil or military trust, even if it had been pressed upon him. And he had said farewell to America for good and all when he had left New York. Though as full of public spirit as before and only just turned sixty, he bid fair to spend the rest of his life as an English country gentleman. His young wife was well contented with her lot. His manly boys promised to become worthy followers of the noble profession of arms. And the overseeing of his little estate occupied his time very pleasantly indeed. Like most healthy Englishmen he was devoted to horses, and, unlike some others, he was very successful with his thoroughbreds.
He had first bought a place near Maidenhead, beside the Thames, which is nowhere lovelier than in that sylvan neighbourhood. Then he bought the present family seat of Greywill Hill near the little village of Odiham in Hampshire. As an ex-governor and commander-in-chief, a county magnate, a personage of great importance to the Empire, and the one victorious British general in the unhappy American war, he had more than earned a peerage. But it was not till 1786, on the eve of his sixty-second birthday, and at a time when his services were urgently required