This book, Mr. Bailyn writes, depicts the fortunes of a conservative in a time of radical upheaval and deals with problems of public disorder and ideological commitment. It is at the same time a dramatic account of the origins of the American Revolution from the viewpoint, not of the winners who became the Founding Fathers, but of the losers, the Loyalists. By portraying tThis book, Mr. Bailyn writes, depicts the fortunes of a conservative in a time of radical upheaval and deals with problems of public disorder and ideological commitment. It is at the same time a dramatic account of the origins of the American Revolution from the viewpoint, not of the winners who became the Founding Fathers, but of the losers, the Loyalists. By portraying the ordeal of the last civilian royal governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Bailyn explains what the human reality was against which the victors struggled and in doing so makes the story of the Revolution fuller and more comprehensible....
|Title||:||The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson|
|Number of Pages||:||448 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson Reviews
"Never having felt deep personal discontent -- never having passionately aspired -- never having longed for some ideal and total betterment -- never having found in some utopian vision a compelling and transformative cause, he had never understood the motivations of the miserable, the visionary, and the committed, and he was unprepared to grapple with the politics that they shaped." (34)"Everything flowed from one simple but inescapable and undeniable fact: the American colonies were too weak to survive independently in a world of rival nation-states." (91)"But what he was not prepared for, and what shocked him beyond all else, was the insidious effect the social corruption of England seemed to be having on its political behavior. It was this that explained to him the almost total indifference of the English political public to the crisis at hand, its incapacity to see the issues and problems and to sense the temper of the American people and hence to judge the consequences of actions that were taken." (327)"The loyalists faced a paralyzing dilemma in attempting to adjust to their fate. The most distressing element in their lot, G. O. Trevelyan wrote in a deeply sympathetic passage, 'was that they had always been animated, and now were tortured, by a double patriotism; for they were condemned to stand by, idle and powerless, while the two nations, which they equally loved, were tearing at each other's vitals.'" (385)
I really wish I could rate this higher, for Bailyn's overall argument is superb: the Loyalists were not cruel and traitorous men, but rather practical fellows who could not understand revolutionary passion. The trouble is Bailyn is extremely long winded and dry and seems to fail to understand just how boring Hutchinson's life was. So There you have it, an interesting book but one that leaves the reader cold.
I can see why this was an important book - it certainly changed my understanding of the intellectual background of the revolution and the views of loyalists, and developed a cogent sense of why one might have been a loyalist. A viewpoint not often heard.
The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson by Bernard Bailyn (2006)