From Benjamin Franklin to Isaac Norris, 19 March 1759

“As to the Board of Trade, you know who presides and governs all there (George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax (1716–1771), was president of the Board of Trade, 1748–61), and if his Sentiments were no other ways to be known, the fruitless Experiment he has try’d at the Nation’s Cost, of a military Government for a Colony, sufficiently shows what he thinks would be best for us.

(In 1749, Halifax had sponsored the colonization of Nova Scotia with British subjects and the establishment of a civil government there. The new colony had a distinctly military flavor, most of its early governors were army or navy officers, and it had no elective assembly until October 1758—an omission which led some settlers to leave in discontent. Yet the colony was not ruled by martial law and its settlers were promised “all the liberties, privileges and immunities enjoyed by His Majesty’s Subjects in any other of the Colonies and Plantations in America.” Thomas B. Atkins, ed., Selections from the Public Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia, I (Halifax, 1869), 709–42; John B. Brebner, New England’s Outpost Acadia before the Conquest of Canada (N.Y., 1927), chap. 7.)”

“From Benjamin Franklin to Isaac Norris, 19 March 1759,” Founders Online, National Archives,