The first Nova Scotia election was held in 1758*. In that year, inhabitants of the various settlements went to the polls and named representatives to the first House of Assembly at Halifax. It has met regularly ever since. Previously, the laws had been made by a Governor and his chosen Councils
Most of those early Councillors obtained extensive grants of land in Dartmouth township. This partiality seems to have aroused criticism, especially among Halifax settlers who had come up from New England. One of the latter, writing to a Boston merchant in 1757, made the caustic comment that Cornwallis’ Council had been “composed of military officers and a few dependent on him for the advantageous places he gave them”.
Governor Cornwallis, however, did not appropriate any lands for himself; but before his departure from Halifax in 1752, he granted a large island (McNab’s) to his brothers in England. The comment of the above letter was . . . he gave to his family the very best island in the harbor of Chebucto, called Cornwallis’ Island, which in my opinion should have been given in small farms to the many settlers of Halifax, instead of cooping them up on a small isthmus”.
* The Memorial Tower at North West Arm commemorates this event.