[Manuscript Copy] Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of British Forces in North America, to John Parr, Governor of Nova Scotia, seeking refuge for Nehemiah Hayden and a Band of Loyalists. Signed and attested by Sir Brook Watson, Commissary General. American Revolution. Loyalists, Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester.

[Manuscript Copy] Sir Guy Carleton, commander-in-chief of British Forces in North America, to John Parr, Governor of Nova Scotia, seeking refuge for Nehemiah Hayden and a Band of Loyalists. Signed and attested by Sir Brook Watson, Commissary General.

[New York]: 1783. [1] p. [bifolium]. Folio. A very good copy, old folds with a few small edge tears, browning (perhaps tiny burn mark) at one fold, spotting on verso. Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, IV: p. 326. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 5: G. P. Browne, "Carleton, Guy" & L. F. S. Upton, "Watson, Sir Brook" Item #44074

Sent in by George III, to replace Henry Clinton as commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America in 1782, after Clinton's surrender at Yorktown, Sir Guy Carleton (1724-1808), former Governor General of British North America, rather than fighting a war, was almost immediately tasked with "restoring peace and granting pardon to the revolted provinces in America,' and 'to reconcile and reunite the Affections and Interests of Great Britain and the Colonies' on one hand, as well as evacuating some 30,000 British troops and nearly 27,000 refugees, including loyalists, freedmen, and former slaves. In this he was aided by Sir Brook Watson (1735-1807), famous as the subject of John Singleton Copley's painting "Watson and the Shark", who "accompanied him as commissary general. Watson's principal responsibility was to oversee the evacuation of the loyalists to Nova Scotia, almost 30 years after he had helped expel the Acadians from the colony" (See: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5). To meet this crisis Carleton urged the the new governor of Nova Scotia, John Parr, to succor and settle "some 35,000 loyalists who flooded into Nova Scotia as well as grant them free land and a year’s provisions." In New York, Carleton was besieged with requests for help and recommendations to Parr: "So many were driven to the necessity of seeking fresh homes that the tonnage available at New York was wholly inadequate. Transports were collected from the West Indies and sent from England, while refugees who were able joined forces in ships of their own providing. An order issued on the 1st September attempted to restrict free passages and provisions to persons actually in want" (Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Vol. IV, p. x). Such was the case with Nehemiah Hayden and a group of fellow loyalists shipbuilders when Carleton wrote to Parr:

"His Excellency. Governor Parr.New York 4th September 1783.
"Sir. I beg leave to recommend to your excellency favorable notice and assistance the bearer Mr. Nemiah Haydon [sic] who is a zealous Loyalist and has rendered many services to government during the late war. He intended to proceed from hence with several other loyalists with him in a vessel of their own to Port Shelburne where they are desirous of settling and as they are chiefly ship carpenters and mean to enter into the business of ship building there which may prove of great benefit to that settlement. I have no doubt that they will receive that protection and countenance from your excellency so useful a body of people deserve. I am sir your excellency's most able and most humble servant. Signed/ Guy Carleton. a true copy." Signed in ink Brook Watson.

A short draft of this recommendation, absent the flourishes, was published in Vol. IV of the "Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain (London: 1909), p. 326 (Originally in Volume 49 of the manuscripts of Symmons' Collection). It was dated a day earlier, September 3, 1783, the same day the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Nehemiah Hayden (1755-1791), probably born Essex, Saybrook Colony [Connecticut], was descended from a long line of shipbuilders. There are seven other entries in the Carleton Papers (British Headquarters Papers) with his name, mostly for pay or serving in the 'Guides and Pioneers.' He appears to have settled in Chester, Nova Scotia, and was there, listed as a Captain, as late as 1786. Whether he eventually returned, or who the other shipbuilders were, is not known (though he died in British territory in St. Georges Islands, Bermuda, in 1791), but his relatives remained one of the most important and powerful families in Essex, Connecticut, carrying on the family tradition in ship building including the 'Oliver Cromwell', the largest full-rigged ship constructed for the State of Connecticut for its Navy at the beginning of the War.

Surviving letters of recommendation for loyalists are quite rare. We have not been able to locate any at auction, in sales records, bookseller catalogues, nor on OCLC or other library catalogues other than those in the Carleton Papers. Likewise for any documents composed or signed by either Carleton or Watson relating to the evacuation of America, though occasionally documents by them concerning other issues appear in the market.

Price: $5,000.00