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Watson, Brook (1735-1807) to Joshua Mauger

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03902.030 Author/Creator: Watson, Brook (1735-1807) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 14 March 1783 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 33 x 20 cm.

Indicates that there is still no mail from England. Reports (falsely) that the Congress has dissolved and the American people desire to reunite with England but, without word from England, his commander can do nothing to take advantage of this development. Discusses his business prospects and notes that he will embark for Nova Scotia in spring. The first ships carrying Loyalists to Nova Scotia will leave next month. He believes these people of property will form a barrier to protect the English constitution and will become the envy of their neighbors. Watson was a member of Parliament. Mauger was a loyalist merchant with business interests in British Nova Scotia.

Background: One of the Revolution's most striking consequences involved the confiscation and auctioning of lands owned by British loyalists, a policy which resulted in wider land distribution. About one hundred thousand loyalists, and many former slaves, left America mainly for Canada or other regions following the Revolution. In the following letter, Brooks Watson, a British merchant, a member of Parliament, a founder of Lloyds of London, a director of the Bank of England, and a Lord Mayor of London, describes loyalist preparations for migrating to Nova Scotia. Joshua Mauger, the recipient of these letters, was a leading Nova Scotia land owner.

Here we are without a Line from England since the first of Novem[be]r consequently in total Darkness respecting Peace or War and that at a time the most critical to the Political Interests of the two Countrys, for the power of the Congress is quite broken, nay dissolved, and the people more disposed than ever, during the war, to reconcile with the Mother Country, yet my Commander in Chief without information, without powers.
Coming the Winter my time has been fully employed in settling all my public Accounts, to the end I might be ready to move early in the Spring, this I have completed and am now under orders [as an officer] to hold myself ready to Embark for Nova Scotia....
The Loyalists of this Country, are all preparing to leave it to settle in Nova Scotia.... At least 3000 Souls will Sail hence the beginning of next month, and carry with a body of troops with Cannon...and a very considerable property, a like Number will probably sail for St. Johns at the same time. There you see my Dear friend the Province will at least be settled and that with good People of Property, carrying in their Hearts the most settled Love to the Constitution of England, they will form a Barrier against those of opposite principles, and become the envy of all their Neighbors.

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