The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile, Settlement


218 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7715-9781-9




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.


For his first major publishing venture, Louisbourg Portraits (Macmillan, 1982), Christopher Moore won the Governor-General’s Award for non-fiction. His second book, The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile, Settlement, is even better. Using a skillful mixture of political, military, and especially social history, Moore has recalled the stories of many who chose to leave the American colonies in 1783 and 1784 and venture into territories to the north that were still under the control of the British Crown. This is an appropriate topic for bicentennial celebrations in New Brunswick and Ontario, two of the areas where about 50,000 of these refugees (often referred to as United Empire Loyalists) sought a new life free from the persecutions of their former friends and neighbours in the new United States of America. In a meticulous, scholarly, and pedagogical way, Moore traces the lives of several loyalists, such as Edward White, Alexander Macdonald, James Allen, and Samuel Farrington, from their lifestyles in the colonies through the Revolution, their decisions to leave, and their attempts to settle in an often inhospitable land.

The Loyalists is divided into three distinct sections: Revolution (which reviews the reasons for the American Revolution); Exile (which explains the major events in the war and the loyalists’ reactions to these events); and Settlement (which shows the preparations made for leaving and the attempts at settling in the various parts of British North America — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Upper Canada). By the conclusion, Moore has presented a thorough outline of the loyalist era through the lives of selected individuals and families. His inclusion of many contemporary illustrations, extensive notes, bibliography, and index improves upon Louisbourg Portraits and completes an interesting, informative, and objective look at an important group in Canadian history.


Moore, Christopher, “The Loyalists: Revolution, Exile, Settlement,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,