Archives and Historical Research in the Maritimes

The contempt shown to Nova Scotians by “the British empire” and its agents, Canadian or otherwise, in the coup of 1867 and the period following has certainly convinced me of the fact the United States is the only legitimate yardstick to be used in terms of self government.

“The Mechanics’ Institute was organized in Halifax in 1832, and during the next three decades was a real university of the people for the city of Halifax, from which the idea spread to Dartmouth, Windsor, Truro, Stewiacke, Antigonish, Sydney and other places in Nova Scotia, as well as to Charlottetown, Saint John and Fredericton. In this institute weekly lectures were given during the winter months on literary and scientific subjects; and before it some of the most inspiring addresses of Joseph Howe were given. It was as President of the Institute, in 1834, that he gave that address on love of country and faith in Nova Scotia which inspired the youth of his generation and still speaks to the heart of those who read it to-day. It was that address which suggested to me a title for the period 1837 to 1867, as the Age of Faith in Nova Scotia, of which more anon.

In attempting to analyse the period subsequent to the intellectual awakening of Nova Scotia, I made and published a number of preliminary studies, each dealing with some tributary to the general stream of history, and all pointing to the same conclusion: that in the period from 1837 to 1867 Nova Scotians were increasingly self-conscious as such, quite aware of what they were trying to do in fitting themselves for and demanding self-government, constantly comparing their institutions with those of the British Isles and the United States, striving to maintain a distinct existence on this continent and ultimately to obtain a junior partnership in the British Empire.”

Harvey, D.C. “Archives and Historical Research in the Maritimes” Dalhousie Review, Volume 23, Number 2, 1943