Claims & Memorials
To the Hon: The Commissioners Appointed by Act
of Parliament for Enquiring into the Losses and
Services of the American Loyalists--
The Memorial of Thomas MANSON formerly of Augusta in the Province of Georgia, Gentleman, and now an Ensign on the Half Pay of His Majesty's Royl. North Carolina Provincial Regiment, commanded by Lieut. Colonel John HAMILTON, lately Disbanded
1stly That your Memorialist begs leave to Apologize for the Length thereof which he cannot well Curtail without omitting some Particulars which he thinks is necessary to Impress the minds of the Honble Commissioners with a thorough understanding of his Case, and is best when comitted to Paper.
2dly That your Memorialist is a Native of Great Britain, and resided in the aforesaid Place with a Brother of his, (William MANSON, who is known to the Commissioners, being also Banished fm. thence for his Loyalty to this Government) and when the British Troops under the Command of Col. Archd. CAMPBELL arrived in Georgia, in the beginning of the Year 1779 a National Instinct stimulated him to make his Escape from the Repeated Insults he received from the Populace on Account of his Suspected Loyalty to the British Government, and because he did not Associate with them on Publick Occasions, and after Dangerous and Fatiguing Journeys more than Seventy miles through woods and Unfrequented Roads, a Body of the Enemy being near Augusta and on the same Side of the River, he at last arrived at Pearls's Mills the Advanced Post of the British Troops in Georgia commanded by the late Lieut. Col. MAITLAND, to whom he Communicated some Interesting Intelligence but before he reached Savannah he had the Misfortune to loose his Horse which he had purchased for the Journey, and was then under the necessity of buying another on the road, which afterwards proved to be stolen, and by that means lost the Purchase money of him also; but at that time he thought himself Happy in accomplishing his Enterprize and that he was from under the Controul of men whose Principles were so Repugnant to his.
3dly That your Memorialist afterwards had the Honor of Serving in a Volunteer Company at the Defence of Savannah in the same Year under General PREVOST; and after the Surrender of Charles Town to the King's Troops in 1780 he resided there some time in a Merchants Compling House, to which he was Bred, with a Sallary equal to One Hundred and Fifty Pounds Sterling a Year.
4thly That your Memorialists Attachment to a military Life (The Prevailing Passion of- the times) induced him to give up his Sallary much against his own Interest as well as the Approbation of his Employer, and he went a Volunteer on the Expedition to Wilmington in North Carolina under Major CRAIG 82nd, now Lieut. Col. 16th Regimt., in the beginning of 1781, and soon after the taking of that Place he accepted of an Ensigncy in the Regiment before mentioned, the better to enable him to raise a Company which twas his first Expectation, and for which he held a warrant; but not being able to raise above Half the Company, on account of the Ill Success of His Majestys Troops in a near Quarter, he was obliged to abide by his first Appointment, notwithstanding the number raised fully entitled him to a Lieutenantcy, but would Injure the older Ensigns had he been Promoted over them, which was both a Loss and Disappointment to him; but as he did not keep an account of his own Expences when recruiting it is not included in the annexed State.
5thly That your Memorialist being a married man and having his wife with him, suffered a Considerable Loss in Stores &c. laid in for the use of his Family, and Military Necessarys for the Recruits he was raising for the Service, by the Precipitate Evacuation of Wilmington aforesaid in November 1781, and the Positive Orders of the Commanding Officer, That no Officer nor Soldier should be absent from their respective Corps at the Lines on any Account whatever; by which he had the mortification to see his Baggage plundered on the wharf by Negroes, and even a Part of what was shipt thrown over Board the vessel being so Lumbered on the Decks and ready to oversett, while he was Embarked in another with his regiment, as will particularly appear by the annexed States.
6thly That your Memorialist afterwards lost Two Horses the one when on Duty at the Quarter House near Charlestown, the other left behind at the Evacuation of that Place no Conveyance being allowed to Subalterns (altho' they cannot do without one to carry their Baggage in case of being ordered on Detachment &c) when the Regiment was ordered to St. Augustine, which Rank are least able to bear tho' most liable to such Losses the Hardship of which he leaves to the Judgement of those Dissinterested.
7thly That your Memorialist remained with his regiment about Twelve Months in St. Augustine, which was then ordered to Halifax to be Disbanded, and to receive their Lands allowed by Government as a Reward for their Faithfull Services, but when we arrived there in Novemr. 1783, the Lands were not Surveyed nor Grants to be Obtained till this Summer, and then under the Express Conditions of settling them Immediately, as we were given to understand by His Excellency Governor PARRE, which was impossible for an Officer in his Situation without money to Employ Labourers; and what is more extraordinary, not allowed to dispose of our Claim to a Grant of Land as formerly to a Person who could Settle it; in which Case the value of the Lands, if ever so Good, is greatly lessen'd, and Five Guineas would be of more use to him, for which Sum Your Memorialist knows a Necessitated Subaltem who made over his whole Claim to a Grant of Lands and all Emoluments therewith, as any Person can obtain Grants of Lands on the same Conditions and paying the Fees of Office.
8thly That your Memorialist having no Possibility of Subsisting in such a Place as Halifax particularly on his Scanty Half Pay as an Ensign, much less to go to an Uncultivated Wilderness already covered with Snow and remain for the winter without the necessary Comforts of Life for want of money to provide them, he was glad with many more, to Embrace the offered Opportunity of a Passage to Britain but by Contrary winds the vessel put into Iretand where she remained a Considerable Time, and he was obliged to draw on his Agent for Six months Half Pay in Advance, besides spending the little money he brought over with him to enable him to get to London, which he Effected after a Perilous Escape from being wrecked on the Coast of Cornwall or Sciliy on his Passage from Cork to Bristol in January last; and he has ever since remained with his wife and Family at the House and Table of his Father in Law Major Daniel MANSON, an American Loyalist also, and known to the Honorable Commissioners, in Expectation of getting into some suitable Employ, but without Success, it being a Difficult matter for a Half Pay Officer, which in both their circumstances is a Situation he begs leave to refer to their Feelings, and particularly now as Major MANSON is under the necessity of Immediately Removing with his own Family into some Cheaper Part of the Kingdom.
9thly And Lastly Could your Memorialist have the last resource of a British Officer in the Army who can raise money on the Sale of his Commission, to relieve his Distresses, he should not even add one to the Hundreds who are doubtless daily moving the Humanity of the Commissioners, but his regiment not being on the British Establishment prevents that great Advantage, the Merits of which he need not here enter into: He Therefore Trusts, 1st That his being an American Loyalist (which Class all Provincial Officers do not come under) 2nd Giving up a Sallary (tho' not a Government one) equal to One Hundred & Fifty Pounds Stg. a Year, when he entered into a Military Life by which he is excluded from returning to any of the American States, where his knowledge of Business and Connections in that Country must have gained him a Competency, 3rd Raising a Number of Men, over his Quota as an Ensign at a great Expence for his Majestys Service-- 4th Sustaining an Involuntary Loss after Joining the British Army of Seventy Five Pounds Eight Shillings and three pence Stg. in Stores, Military Necessarys for recruits and Horses bought for carrying my Baggage, by the Sudden movements of the Kings Troops and such other Causes as set forth in the annexed State, being the only Specific Charge he has made. And Lastly his having a Wife and Family unaccustomed to want to provide for, without any present Dependence but his Ensigns Half Pay which is well known to every Subaltern Officer particularly, not to be sufficient to maintain the Character in the Cheapest Country at this Period whatever it may have been originally, and is besides, as already mentioned, dipt for Six Months to Come, Will entitle him to some Consideration as granted by his Country to Persons in Similar Circumstances through the recommendation of the Honble Commissioners, and which they may be assured That nothing but Necessity compells him at last to Sollicit, and therefore hopes that the lateness of his Application will not Operate against it.
Your Memorialist Therefore Prays, If the Misfortune of a Young and Tender Family claim any Compassion, That His Case may be taken under your Mature Consideration in order that he may through your Favorable Report be entitled to receive some Immediate Relief, untill he can get into some way of Providing for them, or a Final Compensation, whichever is your Wisdom shall seem meet, and Such as his Losses, Services and Peculiar Situation may be found to deserve, to enable him to proceed to Nova Scotia, and thereby prevent the Forfeiture of his Lands, and lessen the Present anxiety he otherways labours under-- And as in Gratitude bound Will ever Pray &c &c &c
London, 23rd August 1784
Great Britain, Public Record Office, Audit Office, Class 13, Volume 36, folio 634-635.
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