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every apparent opportunity for peace and progress. Could England have rested content with her loss and treated her former colonies with nobleness and justice, could America have forgotten her animosity and believed that not all Englishmen were bullies, could the spirit which actuated Oswald, Jay, and Franklin at Paris have been perpetuated, many of the trials of the future might have been avoided.
THE PROBLEM OF IMPERIAL ORGANIZATION
'HE end of the war did not end America's trials.
THE end of the war did not end America's trials.
plexities; men that could think were anxious and troubled. Before the people who had broken away from Britain and had announced their own political beliefs could take full advantage of the opportunities lying at their door, the wreckage left by the war had to be cleared away; they had to find suitable political organization, overcome the disastrous influence of civil commotion, look the toil of the future fairly in the face, and begin seriously to practise the principles of self-government, which many were apt to forget were not far different from the principles of self-control.
The Revolution, if correctly understood, was much more than a separation from Great Britain; it was more even than the establishment of so-called free institutions as over against monarchical institutions. To understand the task of political and social organization, we must remember that the Revolution had been a civil war. No notion could be
more erroneous or lead us into greater difficulties in our endeavor to appreciate the trials that ensued after the war was over than the notion that the Revolution had been merely a contest between America and Great Britain, that it was a great popular uprising of a united people indignant and righteously angered at the prospect of tyranny. As a matter of fact, while a majority of the Americans sympathized with the so-called patriot cause, only a small minority were actively interested and ready really to sacrifice their material comfort for an ideal. A large number, almost equal to the enthusiastic patriots, were stanch loyalists, willing to do service for George III., to fight, if need be, in his armies, to give up their property and go into exile rather than surrender the name of Englishmen or prove traitors to their king. A third large group, fond of the good things of this world and not anxious about the success of either side, had shown a readiness to drink British Madeira at Philadelphia or New York, or to sell their produce for bright British guineas, while the American army, hungry and cold, ill-clad - if clad at all — were starving and shivering at Valley Forge or dying of small-pox at Morristown.
An interesting glimpse of this Revolutionary struggle is obtained from Washington's letter to Congress,' in which he speaks of Howe's success in Pennsylvania (1777). Washington had been moving
Washington, Writings (Ford's ed.), VI., 80.
through a country in which it was difficult for the Americans to gain intelligence because the people were "to a man disaffected," while forced marches and rapid movements of the troops were impossible because a great number of the soldiers were without shoes. Washington, not Howe, was in the enemy's country. It was, therefore, from the distressing influences of civil strife that America had to free herself in the days of readjustment after the peace, when the troops were withdrawn, the Continental army was disbanded, and the people were left to look in upon themselves and wonder what manner of folk they were.
The loyalists were many—perhaps nearly, if not quite, a third of the population. Many of them were, moreover, or had been when the war began, men of substance and of position. On the whole, they came from the conservative classes, who disliked rebellion for itself and because they had something to lose. Men that were looking for a chance to wipe out their old debts and had hopes of getting something ahead in the general overturning were not apt to be Tories. The people that were banished from Boston were members of the old families of the commonwealth. Greene reported to Washington that two-thirds of the property in New York City
· Van Tyne, Loyalists, 94-105; Tyler, “The Party of the Loyalists in the American Revolution," in Amer. Hist. Review, I., 27-29; Flick, Loyalism in New York, 182; Van Tyne, American Revolution, chap. xiv.
• Tyler, in Amer. Hist. Review, I., 31.
and its suburbs belonged to Tories, and one is constrained to feel that in the confiscation by which loyalists' property was taken during the war there was a tinge of more than patriotic enthusiasm or even of partisan hostility; there was greed for the spoils of the enemy.
We must not understand from this that the Tories were all educated gentlemen and the Whigs miscreants and ruffians; but if we see aright the difficulty of the situation after the peace, we must at least appreciate the fact that in the war there had been a great social upheaval, that many of the wisest, ablest, and most substantial citizens had been driven into exile, and that no country could afford to lose the services of such men as moved away to England or passed over into Nova Scotia or settled in Canada to be the Pilgrim Fathers of the Dominion-no country, above all, that was forced to establish lasting political institutions and to undertake a great constructive task that might well have proved too heavy for the most efficient and the most creative nation in the world. This expulsion of tens of thousands of loyalists was well likened by a contemporary to the expatriation of the Huguenots on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. From that expatriation France has not yet recovered. Could America easily get on without the one hundred thousand men, women, and
1 Washington, Writings (Sparks's ed.), IV., 86, n. ? Grant, Memoirs of an American Lady (ed. of 1846), 283.