It is only within a decade of years that some historical writers in the United States have had the courage and honesty to point out the false impressions long entertained by the majority of Americans with respect to the Loyalists, who were in their way as worthy of historical eulogy as the people whose efforts to win independence were crowned with success. Professor Tyler, of Cornell University, points out that these people comprised “in general a clear majority of those who, of whatever grade of culture or of wealth, would now be described as conservative people.” A clear majority of the official class, of men representing large commercial interests and capital, of professional training and occupation, clergymen, physicians, lawyers and teachers, “seem to have been set against the ultimate measures of the revolution”. He assumes with justice that, within this conservative class, one may “usually find at least a fair portion of the cultivation, of the moral thoughtfulness, of the personal purity and honour, existing in the community to which they happen to belong.” He agrees with Dr. John Fiske, and other historical writers of eminence in the United States, in comparing the Loyalists of 1776 to the Unionists of the southern war of secession from 1861 until 1865. They were “the champions of national unity, as resting on the paramount authority of the general government.” In other words they were the champions of a United British Empire in the eighteenth century.
“The old colonial system,” says that thoughtful writer Sir J.R. Seeley, “was not at all tyrannous; and when the breach came the grievances of which the Americans complained, though perfectly real, were smaller than ever before or since led to such mighty consequences.” The leaders among the Loyalists, excepting a few rash and angry officials probably, recognised that there were grievances which ought to be remedied. They looked on the policy of the party in power in Great Britain as injudicious in the extreme, but they believed that the relations between the colonies and the mother-state could be placed on a more satisfactory basis by a spirit of mutual compromise, and not by such methods as were insidiously followed by the agitators against England. The Loyalists generally contended for the legality of the action of parliament, and were supported by the opinion of all high legal authorities; but the