Everyone agrees that the American Loyalists had a hard time of it. Not only were they on the losing side in a long and cruel war — in their case rendered particularly bitter by virtue of being a civil war — but when hostilities ended they found themselves deprived of possessions, forced into exile, severed from relations and friends, and obliged to adapt to unfamiliar customs and surroundings. For those who took refuge in what remained of British North America, as approximately half of them did — some 40,000 in all — starting over again involved special difficulties. Winters there were long and cold, and the territories in which they found themselves were mostly still in a state of nature, uncultivated, unmapped, and in some cases virtually unexplored. Indeed, how suitable these lands were for settlement was at first by no means clear. “ Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada,” observed William Cobbett, who visited the Maritimes shortly after the arrival of the first exiles, “ are the horns, the head, the neck, the shins and the hoof of the ox, and the United States are the ribs, the sirloin, the kidneys, and the rest of the body.” This was not entirely true, but it was a notion which must have crossed the minds of many of the refugees themselves as, wintering in their camps, they contemplated the wilderness around them.