When the American Revolution broke out, East Florida, a British colony since 1763, supported the mother country and offered refuge to those in other American colonies who were loyal to the crown. East Florida became a loyalist haven when George III ordered Governor Patrick Tonyn to issue a proclamation in November 1775 inviting them to come to St. Augustine. Tonyn was also authorized “for the encouragement of such persons as may under these cruel Circumstances be induced to seek a happy Asylum in the Province, to make out for them gratuitous Grants of Land exempt from Quit Rents for Ten Years” Copies of this proclamation were distributed in the southern colonies and posted in Charleston and Savannah.
Williams, Linda K.
"East Florida as a Loyalist Haven,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 54:
4, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol54/iss4/6