At the Sign of the Hand and Pen: Nova-Scotian Authors (Classic Reprint)
Olwhich they were so well established for the comparatively un' settled regions in which they were offered homes. Most of them were compelled by official or unofficial persecution to leave the Old Colonies: and they looked forward persistently to the time when they could return. Jacob Bailey who was associated with the Loyalist settlement at Shelburne and whose Journal is one of the important records of Loyalist experi' ence, writes: When American Independence was announced to me, I was sitting in my study reading: but the instant this dis' agreeable sound struck my ears l continued motionless, frozen with horror, for the space of ten minutes During the night I enjoyed but little repose. Interrupted slumbers, distressing dreams, and visions of terror were my constant attendants till the morning opened with a sullen and malignant light to renew a train of melancholy reflections. Again he writes: The thoughts of being driven from our country, our much loved home, and all those endearing connections we had been forming so many years, and, if we escaped the angry vengeance of the ocean, the expectation of landing on a strange and unknown shore depressed our spirits beyond measure. Bailey's later records show that the anticipation did not exceed the first cruel reality, the suffering from hunger, cold, and disease.
The writings of the Loyalists are full of the homesickness of a people who regard themselves as exiles in an inhospitable climate. They are also full of a threefold despair: despair at the past be, cause they had been defeated in what they regarded as a right' ecus cause: despair at the present because they were dissatisfied with each other, with the treatment they received from the British administration, and, in many cases, with the ideals of the Puritan settlers: despair at the future because the Prospective Acts passed by the revolted colonies destroyed all hope of return to the land of their birth, and they had yet no vision of happy homes in the land of their forced adoption.
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