Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Jonathan Dayton, 7 December 1791

From Jonathan Dayton

Wednesday Decemr. 7th. 1791


The Committee appointed by the House of Representatives to consider, and report upon, the petition of the Canadian refugees, wish to be possessed of a list of the persons falling under that description. A return was made to the former Congress, and I am informed is at this time on the files in your office. If this be the case Sir, I will thank you to direct a copy of it to be immediately made out and sent to me. If you are in possession of any list or return of the refugees from Nova Scotia, be so good as to transmit a copy of that also.—I am Sir your very hum. servt.,

Jona: Dayton

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); endorsed by Remsen as received 7 Dec. 1791. Not recorded in SJL.

Jonathan Dayton, a maverick Federalist who had recently been elected to the first of four consecutive terms in the House of Representatives from New Jersey, was chairman of a committee to which on 29 Nov. 1791 the House had referred a petition from some Canadian refugees, “praying compensation for losses and injuries sustained in their persons and property, by adhering to the American cause, during the late war” (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 465). Both of the lists of refugees requested by Dayton were actually in the office of Secretary of War Knox (Dayton, “Report to House of Representatives,” 19 Feb. 1793, ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, Gales & Seaton, 1832–1861, 38 vols. description ends , Public Lands, i, 28). The problem of compensating the several hundred Canadian and Nova Scotian refugees for the losses they had suffered in consequence of their service in the Continental Army or their political support for the American cause during the Revolutionary War is discussed in Allan S. Everest, Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution (Syracuse, N.Y., 1976), p. 113–41; and in Carl Wittke, “Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution,” Canadian Historical Review, iii (1922), 320–33.

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