John Graves Simcoe (1752–1806) government official
As commander of Loyalists of the New York and Connecticut campaigns during the American Revolution (1775–83), Simcoe developed an admiration for these men. Intrepid and ambitious, Simcoe devised a plan that established a strong British military presence on the frontier with the United States and encouraged migration to Upper Canada. In addition to building roads and settlements, Simcoe issued a proclamation (February 7, 1792), offering land grants of 200–1,000 acres, subject only to minor fees, a commitment to improve the land, and an oath of loyalty to the British Crown. Although several thousand settlers took advantage of the land grants, the offer did little to attract settlers from Britain. The majority of settlers came from New York and Pennsylvania, prominently including members of pacifist groups such as the Quakers, Mennonites (see Mennonite immigration), and Dunkers, enticed by the promise of exemption from military service. Most settlement soon fell into the hands of aristocrats, most notably Colonel Thomas Talbot and Thomas Douglas, Lord Selkirk, who were seen as the foundation of a new model England.