The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

The Arrival of the Loyalists

Tension between Old and New Inhabitants

Tensions could be expected between the Loyalists and the Canadians of French descent. And indeed such tensions appeared from the very outset - and they persist to the present day. The British governors attempted to play down the mutual prejudices, and in this were somewhat successful. After all, the two groups, although they had their differences, had certain affinities. The Loyalists had suffered a terrible defeat that forced them to flee their homeland, and the French Canadians had been turned over to the British following a similar defeat. Both groups had a strong military tradition, because they consisted largely of veterans - militiamen or soldiers. Above all, each group in its own way suspected the Americans of harbouring plans to invade Canada.

Each group mistrusted the Americans for different reasons. For the English Canadians of Loyalist descent, it was their distaste for a republican political system and their collective painful memory of their former fellow citizens. The French Canadians were neither seduced by British royalty nor very hostile to the Americans; their principal interest lay in keeping their language, their religion and their laws, which the British guaranteed them. Thus beyond prejudice and rivalries, each group knew that they had to work together to help the British troops repel American invasion attempts.

Lastly, the Loyalists were not all of British descent; among them were Iroquois left at the mercy of the Americans at the end of the war because their traditional territory had been in New York State. Chief Joseph Brant convinced Governor Haldimand to cede to them the Grand River Valley (near Brantford, Ontario), and in 1784 approximately 400 Mohawk left their ancestral lands to settle there. Others moved to eastern Ontario and the Montreal area. They too had their reasons to mistrust the Americans.