indemnification has been referred to in the preceding chapter. This sum
of over $15,000,000 does not include the value of land grants,
implements and supplies of food.
Land was ordered to be
surveyed for the Loyalists in New Brunswick, and afterwards in Nova
Scotia and in Upper Canada.
These grants were free
of expense, and made on the following scale: 5,000 acres to a field
officer, 3,000 to a captain, 2,000 to a subaltern, and 200 to every
private soldier, and 200 to sons and daughters of Loyalists on coming of
In regard to Upper
Canada, however, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe, in 1792, reduced the grants
of land to be given to future settlers, still preserving the rights of
those who had settled previously. By this regulation no lot was to be
granted of more than 200 acres, except in such cases as the Governor
should otherwise agree; but no one was to receive a quantity of more
than 1,000 acres.
[It seems that, in the
few years following, many persons obtained still larger grants of land,
for in 1797 the Executive Council investigated the matter, and on the
basis of their findings, made the following recommendations to the
Legislature under date of 28th August: “(1) That all appropriations for
townships or other tracts of land heretofore made in this province be
immediately rescinded, and the townships or other tracts thrown open to
other applicants. (2) That all persons who were really and bona fide.
located in any township or tract, by the nominee, before the first of
June, 1797, and since (if there be no appearance of fraud), be confirmed
in that location to the amount of two hundred acres, but that no
recommendation made by any nominee for a greater quantity be attended
to, not precluding, however, the settler himself from exercising the
right common to all His Majesty’s subjects of making such applications
to the Executive Government for an addition as he shall think proper.
(3) That twelve hundred acres, including former grants (except on
military lands) be granted to each of the four principal nominees, in
case there should be four, whose names are subscribed to the petition
for an appropriation ; those persons, however, who happen to be nominees
of more than one township, are not to receive this donation more than
once. (4) That the unsurveyed tract be surveyed and the unlocated be
located as soon as possible.” (“Dominion Archives,” State papers Upper
Canada, Q. 285.)]
Each settler had to
make it appear that he or she was in a condition to cultivate and
improve the land. It is related of Colonel Talbot, in the settlement of
his own reservation, that he put the claimant through a somewhat severe
examination, and by this process of separation of the sheep from the
goats, obtained a very fine class of settlers for the Talbot district.
It was obligatory on
the settler to clear five acres of land, to build a house, and to open a
road a quarter of a mile long in front of his property.
The oath of alletnance
had to be taken in the following terms: “I. A. B., do promise and
declare that I will maintain and defend, to the utmost of my power, the
authority of the King and his Parliament, as the supreme Legislature of
As to provisions. The
Government had pledged itself to their support for three years; but,
despite its promise, the rations were given out spasmodically and
generally in insufficient quantities. They consisted of flour, pork,
beef, a very little butter, and a little salt. In the distribution of
these rations the commissariat officer (to avoid the appearance of
partiality), after duly weighing and tying up the provisions in bundles,
would go round with a hat, and each of the claimants present would put
into it something which he would again recognize— such as a knife,
pencil, button, or a marked chip. Then taking the articles out of the
hat as they came uppermost, he would place one on each of the piles in
rotation, and the settler would come and claim his property. To the
early settlers material for garments was given also— a coarse cloth for
trousers, Indian blankets for coats, and also shoes; but the clothing
was even more uncertain than the food.
A certain quantity of
spring wheat, peas, corn and potatoes was given for seed, and certain
agricultural implements, to wit: an axe, a hoe, a sickle for reaping,
and a spade. In regard to the axes, a grievous mistake was made in
sending out the short-handled ship axes, which, in addition to the
defect of inferior quality, strained and wearied the backs of the
colonists in the use thereof, for the short handles unfitted them for
felling trees. A letter of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe to the Home
Government (September 23rd, 1793), complains in strong terms of the axes
sent out, saying: “they are of bad quality, too short in the handle, and
altogether too blunt. They should be made like the model sent herewith.
Those that have come are absolutely useless.” (“Dominion Archives,” Q.
279, p. 325.)
In addition to the
supplies given to every family, a plough and a cow were allotted to
every two families, a whip-saw and a crosscut saw to every four
families, and a portable corn mill in every settlement or district.
A quantity of nails, a
hammer, and a hand saw for building was given to each family, and to
every five families a set of tools, which included a full set of augers
and draw-knives, and also a musket and forty-eight rounds of ammunition.
Four small panes of glass, 7x9 inches, were allowed for each house, and
a small quantity of putty.
Such were the supplies
allowed by the British Government in the early years of the Loyalist
settlement in Canada; but it must be remembered that, although the
Loyalists who came to New Brunswick enjoyed this provision which had
been made for them, yet when they made their second migration into the
wilderness of Long Point, they were dependent on their own resources,
and except the grant of land and the glass and ironware for their
houses, did not receive Government aid. Hence we have the fearful
struggle for subsistence in Norfolk County in the latter years of the
century, the cry of the children for bread and the anxious waiting for
the first harvest.