Skulking for the King: A Loyalist Plot

Description

142 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
$0-919783-20-1

Author

Publisher

Year

1985

Contributor

Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is a high-school social sciences teacher and editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus.

Review

The American Revolutionary War produced a new nation, the United States of America. It also resulted in the loss of thousands of formerly solid citizens of the thirteen colonies who could not contemplate being governed by the “rebels” and who by word and deed fought for the retention of British control. Many of these sympathizers of the monarchy were forced into “skulking” the “Yankees” — leaving their homes and families behind, hiding in the nearby forests, and attempting to strike a blow for “king and country” when the opportunity presented itself. Although they experienced some successes, those supporters of the Crown who survived were destined by war’s end to move to the British colonies to the north, or suffer an uncertain fate at the hands of their former neighbours. This book is about “skulking for the king” in the area around Albany, New York. Emphasis is placed upon the role of one Daniel Fraser and his subsequent settling near Kingston, Ontario, but this is not strictly a biography of the Fraser clan. It is a thoughtful and intricately researched social history that offers plausible hypotheses for the Loyalists’ actions in addition to the narrative of events. The author, J. Fraser (possibly a descendent of Daniel Fraser, although this is only alluded to in the text), exhibits a command of the language which makes this well-documented volume read more like an adventure novel. Fraser’s careful selection of anecdotes and the inclusion of appropriately complete maps permit the reader to more easily envision the people and places portrayed.

Skulking for the King contains only 106 pages of text, but a tremendous wealth of information is included in these pages. Seventeen pages of footnotes, appendices, abbreviation table, a muster roll of Loyalist forces, and an index provide authenticity for the serious history student, but the inclusion of a bibliography would have completed an otherwise delightful contribution to our knowledge of the Loyalists.

Citation

Fraser, J., “Skulking for the King: A Loyalist Plot,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35599.