Cat No.: CA0182-DL: File Size 91.5 MB:
In just two volumes this book, published in 1880, covers an enormous sweep of North American history and does so while encompassing events both at the national level and at the very personal level. An absolute necessity for those tracing their Loyalist roots.
It took Egerton Ryerson, himself a descendent of Colonel Joseph Ryerson of the famous Loyalist Ryerson family, 25 years to complete this book. This was not only due to his being employed as the Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada from 1844 to 1876 but can also largely be ascribed to the enormous amount of personal research he did to determine his facts. Egerton, circulated an open letter requesting all descendants of the United Empire Loyalists to write to him, at his expense, and give him their histories and reminiscences. Many of the resulting letters are reproduced in this book.
In order that the history can be complete it picks up the thread with the persecution of the Puritans in England during the early 1600's and follows their pilgrimage to find lands where they can live in freedom. This, of course means that much of this history is actually that of the early days of what is now the United States of America. Egerton Ryerson states openly in the book that he has written this history of the Empire Loyalists from the point of view of a Canadian and he is not slow to criticize what he considers to be misleading in the written history of both the USA and Great Britain on this subject. Nor is this just empty criticism. Throughout the 1000 pages of this book he supports his facts with liberal references and with footnotes which frequently take up more of the page that the main narrative.
Having followed the development of America from the first colony at New Plymouth through to the Declaration of Independence he provides a very detailed account of the subsequent War of Independence including, of course the aftermath which included the expulsion of those who we now identify as the United Empire Loyalists. The emphasis of the narrative then shifts to the establishment of these uprooted families in the various areas of Canada.
The conclusion of the history details the Declaration of War on Britain by the United States in 1812 - while it was still heavily engaged in Europe with the French under Napoleon - and the almost immediate invasion of Canada. Again Egerton stints no detail and provides detailed accounts of both grass roots battles and grand strategy equally.
This is a wonderful history, not only in its primary purpose of detailing the origins of the United Empire Loyalists, but also in recording the history of the uneasy relationship between the United States of America and the British collonies which have become Canada. Egerton Ryerson had a genius for combining the big picture with the detailed account in such a way that the story comes to life and you can feel yourself living the experience. Many of the original Loyalists, and their descendants, are identified - with some of their individual experiences being recounted.
His accounts of the activities of the Indian warriors during the various actions has to be read to find an understanding which bypasses all of the Hollywood style hype and places their actions in a correct perspective with the actions of other, so called civilized, nations.
We thank the Penetanguishene Centennial Museum and Archive (Ontario), Curator Nicole Jackson, for allowing us to borrow the Volume 2 of this set from their collection. We subsequently purchased the Volume 1 to complete the set. We have now donated our Volume 1 to them, both for safe keeping and to provide the Archive with a complete two volume, set.
Both volumes are reproduced in a single file as high quality images of the original publication. In addition the text has been computer read so that it can be searched using the Search & Find features of freely available PDF file interpreter applications such as Adobe Reader™. We recommend Adobe Reader™ v4 or later for maximum compatibility. May be used on any computer which can run a PDF interpreter application.
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