In the spring and summer of 1784 the great majority of the refugees within the limits of the province of Quebec were removed to what was afterwards known as Upper Canada. But some remained, and swelled the number of the ’old subjects’ in the French province. Considerable settlements were made at two places. One of these was Sorel, where the seigneury that had been bought by the crown was granted out to the new-comers in lots; the other was in the Gaspe peninsula, on the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence and of Chaleur Bay. The seigneury of Sorel was well peopled, for each grantee received only sixty acres and a town lot, taking the rest of his allotment in some of the newer settlements. The settlement in the Gaspe peninsula was more sparse; the chief centre of population was the tiny fishing village of Paspebiac. In addition to these settlements, some of the exiles took up land on private seigneuries; these, however, were not many, for the government discouraged the practice, and refused supplies to all who did not settle on the king’s land. At the present time, of all these Loyalist groups in the province of Quebec scarce a trace remains: they have all been swallowed up in the surrounding French population.
The Eastern Townships in the province of Quebec were not settled by the United Empire Loyalists. In 1783 Sir Frederick Haldimand set his face like flint against any attempt on the part of the Loyalists to settle the lands lying along the Vermont frontier. He feared that a settlement there would prove a permanent thorn in the flesh of the Americans, and might lead to much trouble and friction. He wished that these lands should be left unsettled for a time, and that, in the end, they should be settled by French Canadians ’as an antidote to the restless New England population.’ Some of the more daring Loyalists, in spite of the prohibition of the governor, ventured to settle on Missisquoi Bay. When the governor heard of it, he sent orders to the officer commanding at St Johns that they should be removed as soon as the season should admit of it; and instructions were given that if any other Loyalists settled there, their houses were to be destroyed. By these drastic means the government kept the Eastern Townships a wilderness until after 1791, when the townships were granted out in free and common socage, and American settlers began to flock in. But, as will be explained, these later settlers have no just claim to the appellation of United Empire Loyalists.
THE WESTERN SETTLEMENTS