Pleas of the “Sufferers”
for Their Losses
The “Sufferers” ask for reparations
Residents of the nine Connecticut towns who had lost property due to the British raids were known as “the sufferers.” The towns sent representatives to the General Assembly to ask for help.
In 1780, Norwalk’s memorialists asked the General Assembly to their state taxes. The General Assembly agreed and, to further assist Norwalk, the number of townsmen required to serve in the Continental Army was reduced. This left extra men at home to help with the rebuilding. The other towns were granted similar requests.
But the burden of “the sufferers” losses was too heavy to be compensated with tax abatements. In 1787, the memorialists from the nine towns are forced to strengthen their pleas. The General Assembly agreed that “other humane civilized nations” compensated their subjects upon return of peace. Connecticut should do likewise. It was decided “that the only means in the power of this State at present to pay is in the Western Lands owned by this State.” This was Connecticut’s Western Reserve located in what is now Ohio.
From General Assembly Records
New Haven, Connecticut May, 1790
“Upon the Memorial of Thaddeus Burr Esqr of Fairfield in the County of Fairfield, and other Inhabitants of said Fairfield, And of Thaddeus Betts Esqr of Norwalk in said County and others Inhabitants of said Norwalk, Shewing that in the Month of July in the Year of 1779 the Buildings and other Property of the Memorialists were burnt & destroyed by the Subjects of the King of Great Britain then being Enemies at open War with the United States, that by means thereof the Memorialists have suffered great Difficulties and distresses, and many of them are reduced to Indigent Circumstances and Praying for relief.”