Dartmouth in the Legislature 1757-1867

Dartmouth has a long legislative history, more than 110 years before Confederation. Several bills specify “Dartmouth Town”, “Dartmouth Township” or the “Dartmouth Town Plot” long before it was incorporated as such (Nova Scotia actively dissuaded local self government for much of its early colonial history.)

Dartmouth’s first record of township comes on January 3rd 1757. “That the township of Dartmouth comprehend all the lands lying on the east side of the harbour of Halifax and Bedford Basin, and extending and bounded easterly by the grant to the proprietors of Lawrencetown, and extending from the north easterly head of Bedford Basin into the country, until 100,000 acres be comprehended.”

This township served as the first embodiment of our municipality, the vessel for the Sessions and Grand Jury, a number of regulations were passed, powers were delegated to appointees.

Between becoming a township and gaining its incorporation as a town proper in 1873, 23 bills (and 10 amendments) were passed in our name in the Provincial legislature. These bills make up Dartmouth’s Pre-BNA legal history, our “constitution”.