On June 29, 2005, David Wilkins became the 21st United States Ambassador to Canada. Prior to taking office, the Ambassador enjoyed a long and distinguished career in law and politics in his home state of South Carolina. Ambassador Wilkins helped to resolve several long-standing issues between Canada and the United States during his tenure in Ottawa and earned a reputation north and south of the border as an honest broker. The Ambassador’s work had a positive impact on millions of citizens in both countries and his ‘Foreword’ in Shadow Soldiers demonstrates his insight into the shared histories of the United States and Canada.


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Foreword


by Ambassador David Wilkins

If here was one thing I discovered during the three and a half years I was privileged to serve my country in Canada, it was this: most Canadians think they know everything about America, and most Americans think they know enough about Canada. The truth is, Americans and Canadians alike would be well served to know and understand one another a lot better. This book is one wonderful way to bridge that learning gap.

I served as the United States ambassador to Canada during a pivotal time in history for our two great democracies. In a post-9/11 world, our nations’ heroes stood shoulder to shoulder fighting terrorists in Afghanistan; we worked to protect and enhance our trade relationship (the world’s largest and most productive); and we confronted daunting economic challenges.

The work was supremely rewarding. Canadians are dynamic, generous people who made me and my wife, Susan, always feel at home. Their generosity (and in the case of the Vancouver Rescue Squad, their bravery) in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is etched on our hearts forever. This is the essence of the American-Canadian bond. Regretfully, however, the demands of modern-day cynicism and politics cause many of our citizens to reflect more on the negative than on our long and positive shared history which predates the American War of Independence of the 1770s and ’80s.

As a boy growing up in South Carolina, I learned of the American
victory over the British in the Revolutionary War how it led to the expulsion and exile of many Tories who remained loyal to England and King George III. Many of these British-American Loyalists left for Canada, the Bahamas or other nearby outposts of England.

As ambassador to Canada, I had the privilege of living in the beautiful city of Ottawa, which is less than an hour’s drive from the New York border. There is rich history in and around this area. Veterans of the Revolutionary War opened up what soon became Upper Canada—an eighteenth-century frontier inhabited by Canada’s First Peoples. Known as Ontario since Canada’s Confederation in 1867, it is the country’s most populous province.

This book is all about the original ties that bind our two nations. You’ll read about Ira Honeywell—the first settler on the Ottawa River—and about his father, Sergeant Rice Honeywell, who served as an officer in the United States Continental army and saw much action during several significant battles in New York during the Revolutionary War. He fell in love with the daughter of a Loyalist and spy and followed her and her family to Canada at the end of the Revolutionary War. After a brief spell in a Kingston prison
on suspicion of being an American sympathizer (which he was), he went on to marry and become a successful entrepreneur and land speculator on the Canadian shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Colonel Joel Stone was a Connecticut Yankee who spent much of the war fighting for the British on Long Island and in New York. Stone survived stints in Patriot prisons, being wounded in battle and being shipwrecked in Long Island Sound as he made his way north to settle the pretty town of Gananoque, the gateway to the Thousand Islands and the annual summer playground to thousands of Canadian and American tourists and vacationers.

There are many more such stories contained in Mark Jodoin’s Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada. Mr. Jodoin casts light on many British Americans who fought with valor and honor equal to American Patriots but have remained, for many, in the shadows of North American history.

I write this as a South Carolinian devoted to the American-Canadian relationship and I take great pleasure in the fact that this book will be brought to market by a South Carolina publisher. My country has long been blessed by Canada’s friendship. This is a partnership that has stood the test of time. Mark Jodoin’s fine work of heritage writing helps us better understand our shared histories. I hope it leads us to better appre,ciate our shared stake in tomorrow.

David Wilkins
U.S. Ambassador to Canada, 2005–09
Greenville, South Carolina
April 2009