The Plight of the Loyalists
THE termination of the war with England also brought to a decisive conclusion the internecine strife between whigs and tories that characterized the American Revolution. Victory for the cause of independence meant defeat for those who had openly or covertly opposed the break with the mother country. One of the immediate problems New Jersey faced, therefore, as it hailed the arrival of peace, was to determine what policies should be adopted toward those present and former citizens who had refused to participate in rebellion. Should such individuals be permitted to resume their former positions in society? What disposition should be made of the forfeited estates of avowed loyalists? The future political and civil status of the tories, too, was in doubt. It was to be more than a decade before these issues were fully resolved, and in the meantime the embers of internal dissension continued to smolder.
For many who had chosen to stand by their king, peace brought financial ruin and the dreary prospect of beginning