From John Adams to Boston Patriot, 8 August 1811

““It is acknowledged, that the Earl of Sterling had made some attempts to settle the Province of Nova Scotia, according to the grant thereof in 1621, and no doubt was at great expence, but being discouraged, about the year 1630, actually sold it to the French, by which unwarrantable proceeding Latour and others possessed themselves of it, and probably facilitated the cessions of it two years after and laid the foundations of all the troubles that England have since met with, relative to it.”

“For the legality of their title the province urges, that Great Britain hath a title to the country prior and superior to any other European state; that the French hath diverse times wrested it from the possession of the English, and the English have as often recovered it from the French; that in the year 1690, in time of war the French were drove from this part of Accady, as well as from that part distinguished by the name Nova Scotia, by the forces of the Massachusetts Bay; that in the year 1691 the French not having reinstated themselves, it was incorporated together with other lands and made part of the province of Massachusetts.

It does not indeed appear that the French ever had a possession of this country after 1690.—Monsieur Villeban took possession of St. Johns again, but went no farther westward…”

“If the province then are acquired a title, how hath it been [. . .]. The only [province] is that this territory was reconquered by the French, and afterwards recovered by General Nicholson, and by the treaty of Utrecht ceded to Great Britain, and by this means the right which would otherwise [. . .] in the province, is vested in the crown. It is acknowledged, that the commission of Subercase, French governor of Accady, included all the country to Kennebeck; but supposing an actual exercise of jurisdiction, which is not admitted, yet a full answer is given to this objection by the attorney and solicitor general in his late majesty’s reign, viz. That the conquest was only a suspension of the property; that the ancient right both of the province and private persons were revived and restored, jure postliminii.”

“From John Adams to Boston Patriot, 8 August 1811,” Founders Online, National Archives,