The sense that the new community and its settlers needed powerful, paternal leadership gave the impetus to another plan that complemented Winslow’s vision. In June, 1783, fifty-five loyalists at New York City, many of whom had been landowners or community leaders in various parts of the Thirteen Colonies, sent a petition to General Guy Carleton. The object of this petition was land: the fifty-five wanted Carleton to recommend that each one of them be granted 5,000 acres of land, for a total grant of 275,000 acres, in the new regions of loyalist settlement.

Among the fifty-five were individuals who had lost much or had served valiantly during the war, but their petition hardly stressed their need or right of compensation. Rather, the petitioners suggested that the new colony was going to need an elite to lead and organize the mass of poorer loyalists who were now heading out of New York. The fifty-five saw themselves as likely candidates for the role of the elite, and title to land was all they needed to fulfil their responsibilities. By opening their new estates to scores of tenants and providing roads and mills and community leadership in general, the fifty-five Read More
The sense that the new community and its settlers needed powerful, paternal leadership gave the impetus to another plan that complemented Winslow’s vision. In June, 1783, fifty-five loyalists at New York City, many of whom had been landowners or community leaders in various parts of the Thirteen Colonies, sent a petition to General Guy Carleton. The object of this petition was land: the fifty-five wanted Carleton to recommend that each one of them be granted 5,000 acres of land, for a total grant of 275,000 acres, in the new regions of loyalist settlement.

Among the fifty-five were individuals who had lost much or had served valiantly during the war, but their petition hardly stressed their need or right of compensation. Rather, the petitioners suggested that the new colony was going to need an elite to lead and organize the mass of poorer loyalists who were now heading out of New York. The fifty-five saw themselves as likely candidates for the role of the elite, and title to land was all they needed to fulfil their responsibilities. By opening their new estates to scores of tenants and providing roads and mills and community leadership in general, the fifty-five would create the social structure that the new country and its leaderless people needed, and the rents they earned would provide them with the investment capital they would need.

Edward Winslow, already entitled by his military rank to a land grant of five thousand acres, was not one of the fifty-five petitioners, but his close friend Ward Chipman was, and the attitude behind the petition meshed with Winslow’s. Winslow wanted a new colony established on the St. John so that a paternal leadership could more effectively lead the settlers toward the successful creation of a new society. By proposing that great landed estates should dominate that society, the fifty-five were indicating where the leaders would come from.

The petition of the fifty-five clearly foresaw a society of landlords and tenants in the new colony. The 5,000 acre grants would be useless without labour, and the allocation of 275,000 acres of prime land to fifty-five owners was likely to mean that thousands of others would not acquire good land of their own… The petitioners foresaw a highly organized and structured society that gave both privileges and responsibilities to a landed elite. Winslow and the fifty-five petitioners doubtless felt that the challenge of creating a new society out of nothing demanded such a system, and they were ready to accept both the privileges and the responsibilities.

- Christopher Moore, The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile, Settlement, Toronto: Macmillan, 1984. pp. 143-144.

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Learning Objectives

Learners will understand the desire of an elite group of Loyalists to mould the type of society that would develop in New Brunswick.

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