December 9, 1781

Loyalist Despairs at British Defeat

Greater Boston

On this day in 1781, Loyalist lawyer Ward Chipman of Boston wrote despairingly to his friend Jonathan Sewall who had gone into exile in London. Chipman confessed, "the mortification of seeing our Enemies . . . triumphant in such a cause is too much for my Spirits." Chipman, Sewall, and many others in Massachusetts did not support the war for independence. Some abandoned estates and fortunes and "quit America" when war broke out, seeking to escape, as Sewall said, "bombs, great guns, . . . battles, sieges, murder, plague, . . . famine, rebellion, and the Devil." They expected to return when the British troops had suppressed the rebellion. The Sewalls spent 12 years in England before moving to Canada in 1787.


Related Moments

Mass Moments is a project of Mass Humanities, whose mission is to support programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout the Commonwealth.

Please consider helping us towards our goals with a donation today.

Interested in sponsoring Mass Moments?

Please calculate 3 plus 1.