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1799 “Thomas Barclay” Acting British Consul General in New York City a Prior "Loyal American Regiment" British Tory Major & Attorney Signed “Loyalty Oath of Military Service” American Patriot Col. James Holmes, 4th NY Regt.

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THOMAS BARCLAY (1753-1830). Colonial New York Attorney, Protg of New York Governor and Continental Congress President John Jay, who had served in the British Tory “Loyal American Regiment” through the Revolutionary War. Barclay was removed to Nova Scotia as a Loyalist, later led the British Committees to Determine United States and Canadian Border.

June 24, 1799-Dated Federal Period, Unique Partly-Printed Document Signed, “TH. Barclay” as Witness, on an Oath of Military Service, measuring about 5” x 9.5”, 1 page on fine quality laid, watermarked period paper, Choice Extremely Fine. This extremely rare original Signed “Loyalty Oath” Document is executed to the British Crown by the former noted Revolutionary War American Patriot and Soldier Thomas Barclay, who was previously fighting for the Patriot American side during the Revolutionary War.

Here, Thomas Barclay is the Acting Boundary Commissioner for Britain, when deciding the border between the United States and New Brunswick, as was settled in Jay's Treaty. Although Barclay was appointed to the British Council for Nova Scotia in 1799, he was given the post of British Consul General in New York City later that year, succeeding Sir John Temple.

Colonel James Holmes, previously Commanding the 4th New York Regiment, gives his renewed current “Oath of Allegiance” to Britain, June 14th, 1799, signing before Consul General Thomas Barclay. This Document reads, in full:

“Lieutenant Colonel James Holmes... maketh Oath that he had not between 24 December 1798 and 24th June 1799 any other Place or Employment of Profit, Civil or Military, under his Majesty, besides his Military Allowance as a Provincial Officer. - (Signed) James Holmes -- Sworn before me 24th Day of June - in the year of our Lord 1799 - (Signed) Tho. Barclay - I do Attest and Declare, that I verily believe the above Affidavit to be Genuine and Authentic.”

Lieutenant Colonel James Holmes of New York is recorded as being a Colonel in the 4th New York Regiment from June 30th, 1775 and serving to December 1775, when his NY Regiment of the Continental Army enlistment expired (December 31st), he then renewed his obligations to Great Britain, (Died July 8th, 1824). Colonel Holmes is well known to have tried to properly supply his New York Patriot troops, as documented in the following: “An anonymous letter in the New York Provincial Congress proceedings from October 4th 1775 noted: “All our troops are furnished with belts a nd pouches for nineteen cartridges, bayonet belts, musket slings, blankets, coats, canteens, haversacks, &c.” Yet arming his Regiment proved to be Colonel Holmes’ hardest task.”


Apparently greatly frustrated with lack of supply and military action, Colonel James Holmes decided to switch sides during the War and is recorded as doing so in December 1799. We have never before offered any document where a noted American officer as Colonel Holmes of the 4th New York, would later change sides and his loyalties during the Revolutionary War.

With the exception of General Benedict Arnold, this American Officer changed his loyalty in a more forthright and straightforward manner. This impressive “Oath” Document is nicely printed and fully executed, signed in rich brown ink on bright clean attractive paper. There are two minor hidden mounting hinges on the blank reverse top edge. The 4th New York Regiment exemplified the struggle to equip its soldiers to be ready for warfare. Ironically, it was the lack of clothing and arms for Holmes’ men, which left them relegated to the rear and frsutrated, although in the right place and time to play a crucial role in the service of General Henry Knox. Without deliveries of small arms, soldiers of the 4th New York Regiment at Ticonderoga were able to help deliver the big cannons, which ultimately delivered Boston’s freedom from British occupation. A remarkable rarity where an prior American New York patriot and military officer, later declares his “Loyalty Oath” to serve Great Britain.
Colonel James Holmes' Fourth New York Regiment - The 4th New York Regiment of 1775, was Commanded by James Holmes, including men from Dutchess and Westchester Counties, and also men from Queens, Kings, and Richmond Counties, for Service in the Canada campaign.

During the Revolution, The New York Provincial Congress, under instructions from the Continental Congress, several times organized and reorganized the arrangement of New York regiments of the Continental Army. The first "establishment" (as it was called) was in June of 1775, with four regiments. The enlistments for these regiments were set to expire on December 31st 1775, after which new regiments were formed at various times.

After the taking of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10th 1775, the Continental Congress called on New York and the New England Colonies to raise troops for a campaign into Canada. The New York Provincial Congress authorized to supply four Regiments totaling 3,000 soldiers under the command of General Philip Schuyler.

Unlike the first three New York regiments which embarked at the end of August, 1775 down Lake Champlain into Canada, the Fourth New York Regiment spent the most time between Albany and Ticonderoga. Colonel James Holmes’ effort to clothe and equip his men never came to full fruition, leaving the 4th Regiment posted in rear area garrisons. None-the-less, the Fourth New York Regiment played the important role of forwarding supplies to aid the invasion of Canada. This vital chain in the supply line meant the regiment saw the entire campaign at Ticonderoga or up Lake George.

By virtue of just being there in December 1775, the Fourth New York was the main man power and muscle to aid Henry Knox in his Noble Train of Artillery to remove the cannons to Boston, creating the Patriot’s Siege of Boston with those heavy cannon.


Thomas Henry Barclay (October 12, 1753 - April 21, 1830) was an American lawyer who became one of the United Empire Loyalists in Nova Scotia and served in the colony's government.

Shortly after his marriage in 1775, his career was interrupted by the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Barclay served with distinction, as a Major in the "Loyal American Regiment" in the British Loyalist forces in New York throughout the war. With the Confiscation of his New York Property and having been named specifically in a Bill of Attainder in that New York state, Barclay chose to join the Loyalists leaving New York City evacuating to Canada.

homas Henry Barclay opted for Nova Scotia where the forces were given land grants. At one point, he had moved to Annapolis Royal and began a law practice.

In 1785, he was elected to the 6th General Assembly of Nova Scotia representing Annapolis County while Edmund Fanning was governor. The next year, John Parr became governor. In 1793, Barclay was elected for Annapolis Township and served as speaker for the assembly. He also served as lieutenant-colonel in the colony's militia and was boundary commissioner for the British when the border between the United States and New Brunswick was settled in Jay's Treaty. Although he was appointed to the Council for Nova Scotia in 1799, he was given the post of British consul general in New York City later that year succeeding Sir John Temple. Barclay was recalled to London for the duration of the War of 1812.

Following the War of 1812, he became a member of another boundary commission dealing with another section of the border with the United States. In 1822, he settled at a country home back in New York City in Manhattan. Thomas Henry Barclay died there in 1830 and was buried in the Bowery.

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