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The Black Robe Regiment

Dissenting Clergy

Peter Oliver was a lawyer and by the time of the Revolution had risen to the position of chief justice of the Superior Court in Massachusetts. He was incredibily wealthy, served in a variety of community and church positions and was fiercely loyal to the crown.

His perspective on the Revolutionary War was that of a Tory. Unlike the way in which most historians present John Adams and other such Patriots as noble statesmen, Oliver saw them as deluded troublemakers.

Not long after Cornwallis’ surrender, Oliver published a book entitled, “Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion: A Tory View.” What makes his perspective valuable is that he has nothing to gain by glamorizing or exaggerating any one aspect of the American effort to win their independence, in that he views all of it as a form of sedition.

At one point, he sets aside an entire section of his text to describe the “Black Robe Regiment,” or what he refers to as the “Black Regiment.”

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