Monday, May 2, 2011
New York Times Literary Treat of the Week...
Jasanoff, Maya. Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. Alfred A. Knopf.
Some cynical jokester long ago defined an “historian” as one who reads ten books on a subject in order to write number eleven. Harvard history professor Jasanoff has proven she is not of that ilk in compiling a thorough account of those on the other side of the American Revolution. An estimated 60,000 people left the new nation for religious, commercial and family concerns that accompanied loyalty to George III of Great Britain. Many settled in parts of Canada, including 2000 former slaves in Nova Scotia who received British transport to Sierra Leone to establish there an abolitionist-backed colony. Many Southern loyalists wound up in Jamaica and eastern Florida, serving both as an enclave for keeping their slaves and a key outpost for the coming War of 1812. Left behind by their once British military allies were the Iroquois and Mohawk peoples who sought refuge from everyone in the Lake Ontario region.