The Glengarrian, 25 Oct 1889

Old Glengarry

Sketches illustrating the early settlement and history of Glengarry

Relating principally to the Revolutionary War 1776-83, the War of 1812-14 and the Rebellion of 1837-8

By JA Macdonnell (Greenfield)

UE Loyalists

A reference to the “Old UE List” compiled by the government by direction of Lord Dorchester shows the original UE Loyalists in the province.  In many instances, however, instead the township being given, it is merely stated that lands were allotted in the eastern district.  My only plan will, therefore, be to insert the names of all who appear to have settled in that district, showing the respective townships when given, and omitting those who are stated to have settled in townships outside Glengarry.

The list was prepared in pursuance of the order-in-council of 9th November, 1789, wherein it was stated that it was his Excellency’s desire, “to put a marke of honour upon the families who had adhered to the empire and joined the royal standard in America before the treaty of separation in the year 1783 to the end that their posterity may be discriminated from future settlers as proper objects by their persevering in the fidelity and conduct so honourable to their ancestors for distinguished benefits and privileges.”

That list is preserved of record in the Crown Lands Department, and it shows that the name of the clan which gave its name to Glengarry outranked in numbers any other individual name in the province, and that there were more Loyalists of that name than any four English names combined in the whole province. But though there were more Macdonells from Glengarry in Scotland than any others, there were representatives of almost every Highland clan.  A list of the names will prove it, and as the statement has been made by one who professes to speak authoritatively on the subject, and to know whereof he speaks, and writes that “the Scotch and Irish element in the UE Loyalists is too small as compared with the preponderating English and German to be taken into account.”  I give it:-

There were Andersons, Andrews, Armstrongs, Bethunes, Bruces, Campbells, Camerons, Carrs and Kerrs, Chisholms, Christies, Clarks, Crawfords, Cummings, Edgars, Fergusons, Frasers, Grants, Gunns, Haggarts, Hays, Malcolms, Millers, Morrisons, Munroes, Murchisons, Murrays, Macalpines, Macarthurs, Macaulays, Macbeans, Maccallums, Maccrimmons, Macdonalds, Macdonnells, Macdougalls, Macphalls, Macgillies, Macgregors, Macgruers, Macintyres, Macintoshs, Mackays, Mackenzies, Maclarens, Maclauchlans, Macleans, Maclennans, Macleods, Macmartins, Macmasters, Macmillans, Macnabs, Macnavins, Macnaughtons, Macneils, Macnishes, Macphees, Macraes, Robertsons, Ross, Roses, Scotts, Stewarts, Stuarts, Sutherlands, and Youngs.

This, I submit, is a fair representation of those who to-day comprise what the author of this essay, Mr George Sandfield Macdonald, BA of Cornwall, is pleased to designate as the “Keltic” population of the province of Ontario. For further information on the subject, and a comparison of the numbers of the “Kelts” with the English and Germans amongst the Loyalist settlers of the eastern district I refer him to Lord Dorchester’s list.

The statement to which I have referred, however, is not the only one in this singular essay, which was read before the Celtic Society of Montreal, which requires explanation and correction.  We are gravely informed that the “Keltic” settlers in Canada of the period spoken of (the early settlement of Glengarry 1783-6) had no mental qualifications to entitle them to take rank with the founders of the American Plantations”, that “unlike the Puritans of New England, the Catholics of Maryland, the cavaliers of Virginia, the Huguenots of South Carolina and the followers of William Penn, the compelling force leading to change of country was in contrast to the motives of a higher order, as in those cases,” that “long subjugation to the despotism of chiefs and landlords had numbed the finer qualities and instincts,” and that “even the physique had degenerated under oppression.” We are told, too, that an analysis is required of the generations which have succeeded the original settlers, psychological and sociological no less, to grasp the full significance of the lives and actions of those he is pleased to consider “distinguished individuals,” and the “people” among whom they deigned to move, which was a very gracious condescension on the part of these distinguished individuals, seeing that “the experience and ideas of the people were confined within the smoke of their own bush fires.” Now all of this may be very fine writing, and display a large amount of culture, but it is very grievous nonsense nevertheless, and a most uncalled for and gross calumny on the men who left Scotland and settling in Canada, after fighting through the war, were largely instrumental, not only in preserving it by their prowess, but developing it from the primeval forest to the fruitful land it is to-day.  Their descendants will neither credit nor relish the unworthy sneers at the stunted limbs and intellects and ignoble motives of those whom they have every reason to look back with pride, and who laid the foundations of the homes and institutions we now enjoy.

This, however, is a digression.  The facts are here to speak for themselves a refutation of the theories and allegations of the essayist – as well he might tell us that the men of the same generation who entered the Highland Regiments to which Pitt referred were feeble, and stunted of limb, with their finer qualities numbed and their instincts dwarfed by years of oppression and tyranny of “so called” chieftains.