Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Timeline
Timeline Home Page
home
The American Revolution
Revolutionary War: The Home Front
Tories Spread Falsehoods in Canada, February 1776

Patriot leaders discovered that loyalists (also called Tories) created no end of problems with which they had to deal. In the following report to the Continental Congress, what loyalist activities does "the gentleman from Canada" describe? What course of action does "the gentleman" suggest? What difficulties might these activities pose to the patriot cause?

View the original document from the Journals of the Continental Congress in A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


The Committee of Correspondence, who were ordered to confer with the gentleman from Canada, brought in their report, which was read:

The Committee of secret Correspondence report that they have conferred with the Person just arriv'd from Canada, and find that he was furnish'd with a Passport from Gen. Wooster, containing Orders for his Travelling at the Publick Expence; with another Pass from Gen.Schuyler to the same Purpose, and one from the Committee of Kingston, who sent a Guide with him hither. That he has been engag'd in the American Service ever since the Appearance of our Forces in that Country, of which he is a Native; and being as he says well acquainted with the Sentiments and way of Thinking of his Countrymen, his Intention in undertaking this Journey was to give the Congress true Information on that Subject. He says that when the Canadians first heard of the Dispute they were generally on the American side; but that by the Influence of the Clergy and the Noblesse, who have been continually preaching and persuading them against us, they are now brought into a State of Suspence or Uncertainty which Side to follow. That Papers printed by the Tories at New York have been read to them by the Priests, assuring them that our Design was to deprive them of their Religion as well as their Possessions. That the Letters we have address'd to them have made little Impression, the common People being generally unable to read, and the Priests and Gentry who read them to others, explain them in such a Manner as best answers their own purpose of prejudicing the People against us. That he therefore thinks it would be of great Service if some Persons from the Congress were to appear in sent to Canada, to explain vivâ voce to the People there the Nature of our Dispute with England, which they do not well understand, and to satisfy the Gentry and Clergy that we have no Intention against their Interests, but mean to leave put Canada in full Possession of Liberty, desiring only their Friendship and Union with us as good Neighbours and Brethren. That the Clergy and Gentry might, he thinks, by this means be brought over, and would be follow'd by all Canada. And unless some such Measure is taken, he is of Opinion our Affairs there will meet with continual Difficulty and Obstruction.
top of page


View the original document from the Journals of the Continental Congress in A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.