Dartmouth in the Legislature, Public Acts 1789-1867

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. Nova Scotia actively dissuaded local self government for much of its colonial history, so these bills formed the regulatory flavor of Dartmouth township until Dartmouth was incorporated as a town in 1873.

Dartmouth township came into being 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 was initially just a 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 Dartmouth’s name in the Provincial legislature.

The Initial Royal Instructions that called for two townships “at or near” the harbor of Chebucto.

For more details on Dartmouth’s legislative history you can refer to Dartmouth in the Legislature, Public Acts 1789-1996, Dartmouth in the Legislature, Private Acts 1824-1996 and Dartmouth in the Legislature, Journal & votes of the House of Assembly.