Nova Scotia Constitutional Timeline

An expanded version of what’s put forth by the Nova Scotia legislature.

1493 – May 4, Alexander VI, Pope of Rome, issued a bull, granting the New World. Spain laid claim to the entire North American Coast from Cape Florida to Cape Breton, as part of its territory of Bacalaos.

1496 – March 5, Henry VII, King of England issued a commission to John Cabot and his sons to search for an unknown land

1498 – March 5,  Letters Patents of King Henry the Seventh Granted unto John Cabot and his Three Sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian and Sancius for the “Discouerie of New and Unknowen Lands”

1502 – Henry VII commissioned Hugh Eliot and Thomas Ashurst to discover and take possession of the islands and continents in America; “and in his name and for his use, as his vassals, to enter upon, doss, conquer, govern, and hold any Mainland or Islands by them discovered.”

1524 – Francis I, King of France, said that he should like to see the clause in Adam’s will, which made the American continent the exclusive possession of his brothers of Spain and Portugal, is said to have sent out Verrazzano, a Florentine corsair, who, as has generally been believed, explored the entire coast from 30° to 50° North Latitude, and named the whole region New France.

1534 – King Francis commissioned Jacques Cartier to discover and take possession of Canada; “his successive voyages, within the six years following, opened the whole region of St. Lawrence and laid the foundation of French dominion on this continent.”

1578 – June 11, Letters patent granted by Elizabeth, Queen of England to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, knight, for “the inhabiting and planting of our people in America”.

1584 – March 25, Queen Elizabeth renewed Gilbert’s grant to Sir Walter Raleigh, his half-brother. Under this commission, Raleigh made an unsuccessful attempt to plant an English colony in Virginia, a name afterwards extended to the whole North Coast of America in honor of the “Virgin” Queen.

1603 – November 8, Henry IV, King of France, granted Sieur de Monts a royal patent conferring the possession of and sovereignty of the country between latitudes 40° and 46° (from Philadelphia as far north as Katahdin and Montreal). Samuel Champlain, geographer to the King, accompanied De Monts on his voyage, landing at the site of Liverpool, N.S., a region already known as “Acadia.”

1606 – April 10, King James claimed the whole of North America between 34° and 45° North latitude, granting it to the Plymouth and London Companies. This entire territory was placed under the management of one council, the Royal Council for Virginia. The Northern Colony encompassed the area from 38° to 45° North latitude.

1620 – November 3, Reorganization of the Plymouth Company in 1620 as the Council of Plymouth for New England, encompassing from 40° to 48° North latitude.

1621 – September 29, Charter granted to Sir William Alexander for Nova Scotia

1625 – July 12, A grant of the soil, barony, and domains of Nova Scotia to Sir Wm. Alexander of Minstrie

1630 – April 30, Conveyance of Nova-Scotia (Port-royal excepted) by Sir William Alexander to Sir Claude St. Etienne Lord of la Tour and of Uarre and to his son Sir Charles de St. Etienne Lord of St. Denniscourt, on condition that they continue subjects to the king of Scotland under the great seal of Scotland.

1632 – March 29, Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, between King Louis XIII. and Charles King of England for the restitution of the New France, Cadia and Canada and ships and goods taken from both sides.

1632 – May 14/24 – Concession of the River and Bay of St. Croix to Commander Razilly, by the Company of New France

1635/6 – January 15/25 – Concession of Acadia to Sir Charles La Tour, By The Company of New France.

1638 Grant to Charnesay and La Tour

1647 – February – Commission To Lord D’Aulney Charnizay, By Louis XIV of France.

1651/2 – February 25th,March 7th – Letters Patent Confirming Sir Charles La Tour In Acadia, By Louis XIV. Of France.

1654 – August 16, Capitulation of Port-Royal

1656 – August 9/19, The Grant of Acadia, By Oliver Cromwell

1656 – September 17/27 – Commission to Colonel Temple, By Oliver Cromwell

1667 – July 31, The treaty of peace and alliance between England and the United Provinces made at Breda

1668 – February 17, Act of cession of Acadia to the King of France

1689 – English Bill of Rights enacted

1691, October 7, A charter granted by King William and Queen Mary to the inhabitants of the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England

1713 – March 31, Treaty of peace and friendship between Louis XIV. King of France, and Anne, Queen of Great Britain, made in Utrecht

1713 – April 11, Treaty of navigation and commerce between Louis XIV, king of France, and Anne, Queen of Great Britain

1719 – June 19, Commission to Richard Philips to be Governor (including a copy of the 1715 Instructions given to the Governor of Virginia, by which he was to conduct himself)

1725 – August 26, Explanatory Charter of Massachusetts Bay

1725 – December 15, A treaty with the Indians (Peace and Friendship Treaty, ratification at Annapolis)

1727 – July 25, Ratification at Casco Bay of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1725

1728 – May 13, Ratification at Annapolis Royal of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1725

1748, October 7–18, The general and definitive treaty of peace concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle

1749 – September 4, Renewal of the Peace and Friendship treaty of 1725

1752 – November 22, Treaty between Thomas Hopson, Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia and Major Jean Baptiste Cope, Chief Sachem of the Tribe of the MickMack Indians inhabiting the Eastern Coast…

1758 – Nova Scotia Legislature established (consisting of the Lieutenant Governor, his Council and the newly established, elected legislative assembly called the House of Assembly)

1760 – March, Treaty of Peace and Friendship concluded by the Governor of Nova Scotia with Paul Laurent, Chief of the La Heve tribe of Indians

1761 – November 9, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Jonathon Belcher and Francis Muis

1763 – February 10, France ceded, for the last time, the rest of Acadia, including Cape Breton Island (‘île Royale), the future New Brunswick and St John’s Island (later re-named Prince Edward Island), to the British (Treaty of Paris) and it was joined to Nova Scotia

1763 – October 7, Royal Proclamation

1769 – Prince Edward Island established as a colony separate from Nova Scotia

1779 – September 22, Treaty signed at Windsor between John Julien, Chief and Michael Francklin, representing the Government of Nova Scotia

1784 – Cape Breton Island and New Brunswick established as colonies separate from Nova Scotia

1820 – Cape Breton Island re-joined to Nova Scotia

1838 – Separate Executive Council and Legislative Council established

1848 – Responsible government was established in Nova Scotia (Members of the Legislature appointed a majority of those in the Legislative Council)

1867 – “Union” of provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the “self-governing” federal colony of the Dominion of Canada (British North America Act, 1867 — now known in Canada as Constitution Act, 1867) & the Parliament of Canada established (consisting of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Commons)

1928 – Abolition of the Legislative Council (leaving the Legislature consisting of the Lieutenant Governor and the House of Assembly)

1931 – Canadian “independence” legally recognized (Statute of Westminster, 1931)

1960 – Canadian Bill of Rights enacted

1982 – “Patriation” of the amendment of the Constitution of Canada & adoption of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canada Act 1982)

Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. J. Stockdale, 1787. https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/gdc/lhbcb/04902/04902.pdf

Legislature of the State of Maine. “The Revised Statutes of the State of Maine, Passed August 29, 1883, and Taking Effect January 1,1884.”, Portland, Loring, Short & Harmon and William M. Marks. 1884. https://lldc.mainelegislature.org/Open/RS/RS1883/RS1883_f0005-0017_Land_Titles.pdf

Farnham, Miss Mary Frances. “Documentary History of the State of Maine: Volume VII Containing The Farnham Papers 1603-1688”. Maine Historical Society. Portland. 1901. https://archive.org/details/documentaryhisto07main, https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/public/gdcmassbookdig/farnhampapers01farn/farnhampapers01farn.pdf

Kennedy, William P. Statutes, Treaties and Documents of the Canadian Constitution: 1713-1929. Oxford Univ. Pr., 1930. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.9_03428

Harvard Law School Library. “Description Legislative history regarding treaties of commerce with France, Spain relating to New Foundland, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton,” ca. 1715? Small Manuscript Collection, Harvard Law School Library. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HLS.LIBR:19686447, Accessed 07 June 2021

Thorpe, Francis Newton. “The Federal and State constitutions: colonial charters, and other organic laws of the States, territories, and Colonies, now or heretofore forming the United States of America” Washington : Govt. Print. Off. 1909. https://archive.org/details/federalstatecons07thor/page/n5/mode/2up

Murdoch, Beamish. “Epitome of the laws of Nova-Scotia” [Halifax, N.S.? : s.n.], 1832 (Halifax, N.S. : J. Howe) Volume One: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59437, Volume Two: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59438, Volume Three: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59439, Volume Four: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59440

Marshall, John G. “The justice of the peace, and county and township officer in the province of Nova Scotia : being a guide to such justice and officers in the discharge of their official duties” [Halifax, N.S.? : s.n.], 1837 (Halifax [N.S.] : Gossip & Coade) https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.36869, Second Edition: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.38224

Livingston, Walter Ross. Responsible Government In Nova Scotia: a Study of the Constitutional Beginnings of the British Commonwealth. Iowa City: The University, 1930. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89080043730https://archive.org/details/responsiblegover0000livi

Bourinot, John George. “The constitution of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia” [S.l. : s.n., 1896?] https://archive.org/details/cihm_10453/page/141, https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.10453/14?r=0&s=1

Laing, David, editor. “Royal letters, charters, and tracts, relating to the colonization of New Scotland, and the institution of the Order of knight baronets of Nova Scotia. -1638“. [Edinburgh Printed by G. Robb, 1867] https://archive.org/details/royallettersc11400lainuoft

Labaree, Leonard Woods. “Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors 1670–1776“. Vol. I and Vol. II. The American Historical Association. (New York : D. Appleton-Century Company, 1935) https://archive.org/details/royalinstruction0001laba, https://archive.org/details/royalinstruction0002laba

Beamish Murdoch, “On the origin and sources of the Law of Nova Scotia” (An essay on the Origin and Sources of the Law of Nova Scotia read before the Law Students Society, Halifax, N.S., 29 August 1863), (1984) 8:3 DLJ 197. https://digitalcommons.schulichlaw.dal.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=dlj

Shirley B. Elliott, “An Historical Review of Nova Scotia Legal Literature: a select bibliography”, Comment, (1984) 8:3 DLJ 197. https://digitalcommons.schulichlaw.dal.ca/dlj/vol8/iss3/12/

History of the United States, or Republic of America

1620:

1643:

1692:

1776:

“1524: Smitten by the common passion of the sovereigns of Europe, for American discovery, Francis I. of France turned aside alike from his elegant and his warlike pursuits, and one year before his defeat at Pavia, he found for his service another Italian discoverer. This was John Verrazani, a Florentine, who reached the continent in the latitude of Wilmington, North Carolina. He then sailed fifty leagues south, but finding no convenient harbor, he returned and cast anchor; being the first European who had afforded the astonished natives the spectacle of the white race. They were received with rude, but fearless hospitality. The color of the Indians, the French compared to that of the Saracens. They looked with wonder upon their wild costume, made of the skins of animals, and set off by necklaces of coral and garlands of feathers. As they again sailed northward along the coast, their senses were regaled by the verdure of the forests, and the perfume of the flowers which they scented from the shores.

At a fine harbor, supposed to be that of Newport in Rhode Island, Verrazani remained fifteen days, and there found “the goodliest people he had seen.” From thence he followed the north-eastern shore of New England, finding the inhabitants jealous and hostile. From the peninsula of Nova Scotia, he returned to France, and wrote a narrative of his voyage, which is the earliest original account of the coast of the United States.”

“1692: In none of the colonies did the Revolution in England produce a greater change than in Massachusetts. In 1692, king William, who had refused to restore its former government, granted a new charter, which, extending its limits, but restricting its privileges, commenced a new era in the history of this colony. Massachusetts now embraced, besides the former territory, Plymouth, Maine, and Nova Scotia; extending north to the river St. Lawrence, and west to the South Sea, excepting New Hampshire and New York; and including, also, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Elizabeth islands. Almost the only privilege which the new charter allowed the people, was that of choosing their representatives. The king reserved to himself the right of appointing the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary; and of repealing all laws within three years after their passage.”

“1755: General Braddock was to attack Fort du Quesne ; Gov. Shirley was to lead the American regulars and Indians against Niagara; the militia of the northern colonies were to be directed against Crown Point; and Nova Scotia was to be invaded.

Early in the spring, the French sent out a powerful fleet, carrying a large body of troops, under the Baron Dieskau, to reinforce the army in Canada.

For the expedition against Nova Scotia, three thousand men, under generals Monckton and Winslow, sailed from Boston on the 20th of May. They arrived at Chignecto, on the Bay of Fundy, the first of June. Here they were joined by 300 British troops, and proceeding against BeauSejour, now the principal post of the French in that country, invested and took possession of it, after a bombardment of five days. The fleet appearing in the river St. Johns, the French set fire to their works, and evacuated the country. Thus, with the loss of only three men, the English found themselves in possession of the whole of Nova Scotia.

Col. Washington, on his return from the Great Meadows, had public thanks voted him by the house of burgesses. He rejoined his regiment at Alexandria, and was ordered by the governor to fill up his companies by enlistments — go back immediately — conquer the French, and build a fort beyond the mountains. He wrote to a member of the council, showing the folly and impracticability of the scheme; and it was given up.”

“1756: The campaign of 1756 had been, during the preceding autumn, provided for by the colonists ; but the bad arrangements of the British cabinet palsied their efforts. Although Shirley had been appointed by the crown, commander-in-chief of the forces, yet Winslow, in consequence of his success in Nova Scotia, had the confidence of the people, without which troops could not be raised. The generous Shirley ceded his claim, and the unfinished plans of the preceding campaign were to be again attempted.”

Willard, Emma. History of the United States, or Republic of America. [ New York, Barnes, 1847] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://archive.org/details/historyofuniteds00willuoft/

Note by the Commissioner on the Sources of Land Titles in Maine

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The development of that political jurisdiction and sovereignty, which at the end of more than two centuries ripened into State Independence in 1820, is so peculiar and interesting, and the sources of land titles in Maine are so obscure as to justify a reference to some of the more important links in the intricate historical chain.

In 1493, Alexander VI, Pope of Rome, issued a bull, granting the New World, which Columbus was discovered during the preceding year by the sovereigns of Spain and Portugal. Under this title, Spain laid claim to the entire North American Coast from Cape Florida to Cape Breton, as part of its territory of Bacalaos. It has even been claimed that between 1566 and 1588, Spain took the fortified possession of Maine as a part of its grant at Pemaquid, but such possession, if effected, was abandoned before the end of the sixteenth century.

Although in that age, a Papal bull was usually regarded by British nations as a sufficient title to heathen lands, both France and England protested against the exclusion of so many Christian Princes from this wholesale grant. England, becoming Protestant, did not hesitate to plead against the bull, its legal maxim “Prescriptio sine possessione haud valebat,” [The prescription was not valid without possession] and in 1588, Drake decided the issue by his victory over the Danish Armada in the British Channel.

In 1495–6, three years after the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, Henry VII, King of England issued a commission to John Cabot and his sons “to seek out, discover, and find whatsoever Isles, Countries, Regions, or Provinces of the Heathens and infidels” hitherto unknown to all Christians; and, as vassals of the King, to hold same by his authority. (1) Under this commission, the rising Venetians discovered the Western continent more than a year before Columbus saw it, and the American coast, at least as far as Nova Scotia to Labrador. (2) (3)

In 1502, the same king commissioned Hugh Eliot and Thomas Ashurst to discover and take possession of the islands and continents in America; “and in his name and for his use, as his vassals, to enter upon, doss, conquer, govern, and hold any Mainland or Islands by them discovered.” (2)

In 1524, Francis I, King of France, said that he should like to see the clause in Adam’s will, which made the American continent the exclusive possession of his brothers of Spain and Portugal, is said to have sent out Verrazzano, a Florentine corsair, who, as has generally been believed, explored the entire coast from 30° to 50° North Latitude, and named the whole region New France. (1)

In 1534, King Francis commissioned Jacques Quartier [or Cartier] to discover and take possession of Canada; “his successive voyages, within the six years following, opened the whole region of St. Lawrence and laid the foundation of French dominion on this continent.” (1) (2)

In 1574, a petition had been presented to Elizabeth, Queen of England, to allow of the discovery of lands in America “fatally reserved to England and for the honor of Her Majesty,” and, in 1578, she gave a royal commission to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, “for planting our people in America,” authorizing himself, his heirs, and assigning them to discover’, occupy and possess such remote “heathen lands not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people, as should seem good to him or them,” and in 1584, after Gilbert’s death, she renewed the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh, his half-brother.

Under this commission, Raleigh made an unsuccessful attempt to plant an English colony in Virginia, a name afterwards extended to the whole North Coast of America in honor of the “Virgin” Queen. (3)

On November 8, 1603, Henry IV, King of France, granted Sieur de Monts, a Protestant gentleman of the King’s Bedchamber, a royal patent conferring the possession of and sovereignty of the country between latitudes 40° and 46° (from Philadelphia as far north as Katahdin and Montreal). Samuel Champlain, geographer to the King, accompanied De Monts on his voyage, landing at the site of Liverpool, N.S., a region already known as “Acadia,” May 6, 1604, but establishing their first colony of gentlemen, priests, ministers, vagabonds, and ruffians, “the best and the meanest of France,” at Neutral Island, in the St. Croix River, where they passed the winter of 1604-5. After carefully exploring the entire coast of Maine and giving names to Mt. Desert and the Isle au Haut, they abandoned its shores in 1606.(4)

“But the noble efforts of Raleigh had not passed out of thought.” (5) On the last day of March, 1605 (0. S.), Captain George Waymouth sailed from the
Downs in the Arc-angel, a ship which had been fitted out by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Governor of Plymouth, in England (to whom Waymouth on his return gave the three Maine Indians whom he kidnapped), and the Earls of Southampton and Arundel, and anchored off the coast of Maine, May 17, probably under Monhegan Island, whence he visited the mainland and from the anchorage in “Pentecost Harbor” (probably George’s Island Harbor, possibly Boothbay) explored “that most excellent and beneficial River of Sagadahoc,” and afterwards, as some have supposed, the Penobscot, returning the same season to England. (6) (7)

Early the next spring, an association of English gentlemen, prominent among whom was Gorges, obtained from James I, King of Great Britain, a grant of all that part of North America between latitudes 34° and 45° (from South Carolina to New Brunswick) “extending from the sea on the east between those parallels of latitude west, one hundred English miles inland, and the Islands within one hundred miles of the shore, to be holden by them as a corporation, and to their success in the same, and to their assigns, in free and common socage, not in capite, nor by knights’ sevice; but after the form of the royal manor of East Greenwich, in the county of Kent, for the advancement of the Christian religion and the good of God; and to replenish the deserts with people, which would be led by laws and magistrates.” (1)

By the Royal Patent, which passed the seals on April 10, 1606, the grantees were, at their own desire, incorporated into two Companies under one Council of Government, wherein Richard Hakluyt, Somers and their associates, of London, formed the London Company, Dr. First Colony of Virginia; and Lord John Popham, Chief Justice of England, Raleigh Gilbert, George Popham, Sir Ferdinand D Gorges, and others of Plymouth, in the County of Devon, and their associates, formed the Plymouth Colony, or the Second Commonwealth of Virginia. The first colony was permitted to begin a plantation anywhere South of Latitude 41° and the Second Colony anywhere North of 38°, provided that the Colony last planted should not settle within one hundred miles of the other. The government was ordained as a general “Council of Virginia,” consisting of thirteen men appointed by the crown, residing in England, with paramount jurisdiction, to be exercised according to such arrangements as should be given them under the royal sign manual; and two subordinate councils, each of thirteen members, living in America, named in the same way. The first settlement was affected by the London Company of South Virginia at Jamestown, in Virginia, April 26, 1607. (2)

On the last day of the next month, two ships “The Gift of God,” commanded by George Popham, brother of the Lord Chief Justice, and “The Mary and John,” composed by Raleigh Gilbert, son of Sir Humphrey and nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh, sailed from Plymouth with the Plymouth Company of North Virginia, arriving at Monhegan Island, August 8, at Stage Island, August 11, and landing at the site of Fort Popham, at the mouth of the Kennebec, August 18, 1607, where, with Popham for their President and Gilbert for their Admiral, the Colony built a thirty-ton vessel “The Virginia of Sagadahoc” and passed the winter. But they experienced So many misfortunes and discourages in the death of their president, the loss of their fort, storehouse and magazine, and the hostility of the natives, that the settlement was abandoned in the spring, some of the company returning to England, while Some, as there is reason to believe, may have gone to Virginia, and others probable to Monhegan and Pemaquid. (3) (4)

During the next twelve years, settlements were attempted at various points on the coast of Maine, at Mt. Desert, in 1613, by Suassaye, agent of Madame de Guercheville, a French Roman Catholic lady who had procured of De Monts a Surender of his patent, and had obtained a Charter from the French King at Monhegan, in 1614, by Captain John Smith, ex-president of the Commonwealth Council of Virginia Who gave to New England the name which was confirmed by Charles I, when Prince of Wales, by Sir Richard Hawkins, President of the Plymouth Colony in October 1615, -at Saco, by Richard Vines and his companions, whom Gorges hired to remain during the winter of 1617, and others. (5)

The General Court of Massachusetts, by a resolution of July 6, 1787, granted to ”Monsieur and Madame de Gregsire, all such parts and parcels of the island of Mount Desert, and other islands, and tracts of land particularly described in the grant or patent of his late most Christian majesty, Lewis XIV, in April 1691, to Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac, grandfather of said Madame de Gregoire, which now remain the property of this commonwealth,” not so much on account of any legal claim, “the legal title to the lands having been by Iong lapse of possession lost to said heir at law,” but as an “act of the most liberal justice” and “through the liberality and generality of this Court, which are not hereafter to be drawn into precedent.” (6) Perhaps the inlet between Mt. Desert and Gouldsborough may thus have derived the name “Frenchman’s Bay.”

In September 1619, the Leyden Pilgrims who had been in Holland since 1608, obtained a patent from the London or South Virginia Company under which they founded the first permanent Colony in New England, at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Dec. 11, 1620. (0. S.)

While the Pilgrims were on their way under their South Virginia patent, King James, on petition of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, granted to the North Virginia Company a new separate patent dated Nov. 3, 1620, and known as the great Charter of New England, conferring in fee simple all the North American continent and islands between the parallels of 40° and 48°, “throughout the mainland from sea to sea” (from the Bay of Chaleur as far south as Philadelphia). The patentees were forty noblemen, knights, and gentlemen of England, chief of whom were the Duke of Lenox, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Francis Popham, son’ of the late Chief Justice, and Raleigh Gilbert; they were styled “The council established at Plymouth in the County of Devon for planting, ruling, and governing New England in America.” (1)

Whatever may have been the original design of the Pilgrims when they embarked In the Mayflower at Plymouth, their captain landed them nearly a degree north of the extreme limit of the South Virginia patent under which they had sailed, so that the colony found itself from the start within the jurisdiction of the Great Charter of New England.

But Gorges, Chief Manager of the Council, courteously obtained the new colony a Charter issued June 1, 1621, and enlarged in 1630, on which all the legal titles of the “Old Colony” are based. (2)

On February 2, 1619, John Pierce, a London clothier, and his associates obtained a grant. “in the northern part of what was called New England.”

On Feb. 12, 1620, Thomas Weston was sent to the Pilgrims at Leyden, in Holland, to inform them of the fact and to induce them to go there, which, it is stated, they were inclined to do so for “the hope of present profit to be made by the fishing that was found in that country.”

It is recorded in the transactions of the directors of the Virginia Company that prior to June 1, 1621, John Pierce had a grant indorsed by Sir T. Gorges and had seated thereupon a company within the limits of the Northern Plantations. This colony settled in and about Muscongus, north of New Harbor of Pemaquid. This grant of 1619, located prior to February 1620 and settled before 1621, was the root of the Muscongus grant and ended in the Waldo Patent. (3)

But the authority of the Council for the affairs of New England was too remote to be referred to by the Pilgrims. Therefore, they came into a voluntary and solemn compact, dated Nov. 11, 1621, to obey the laws, which should be made by their own common consent, and for this purpose, they assumed the title of a body politic, and proceeded to a division of the land. Under this compact, or at least without other authority, John Billington, one of the original companies of the Mayflower, was executed at Plymlouth in 1630 for the murder of one Newcomin. (4) (5)

On August 10, 1622, the Council granted Gorges and Mason a patent conveying all the country between the Merrimac and Kennebec to the farthest head of said rivers, and many miles inland, with all the islands and islets within five leagues of the shore which “they intend to call the province of Maine,”

On March 19, 1627-8, the Plymouth Council, through the friendly instrumentality of Gorges and the Earl of Warwick, granted to Sir Henry Roswell, John Endicott, and others, the territory, afterwards called the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, “between the great River Merimeck and the Charles River, in the bottom of a certain bay, called Massachusetts Bay; and within three English miles to the Northward of the River Merimeck or to the Northward of any and every part thereof from the Atlantic and Western Sea and Ocean on the East Part, to the South Sea, on the West part.” (6)

To give full effect to this patent, a Royal Charter was obtained on March 4, 1628-9, by which it was erected into a colony, under the name of Massachusetts Bay, and Endicott and his associates were incorporated into a government, with the power to choose a governor, deputy governor, and assistants, annually and forever. (7)

Endicott’s colony of Puritans arrived at Salem in 1628, but the authority of the corporation was exercised under a form of government agreed upon in London on April 30 1629, whereby the sole power was delegated from time to time to thirteen of such residents on the plantation “as should be reputed the most wise, honest, expert, and discreet.” (1)

Gorges claimed that in the Royal Patent to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was expressly conditioned that the grant should contain nothing to prejudice his son Robert, who in 1622 had obtained, under the Great New England Charter, the patent of a tract extending ten miles along Massachusetts Bay. But the Massachusetts agents claimed that this grant was “void in law,”  and the colony was advised “to take possession of the chief part thereof,”  which was forthwith done. (2)

In January 1629, before the Puritan colony had been organized upon the shores of Massachusetts, the Pilgrims had received from the Plymouth Council of Gorges an advantageous grant on the Kennebec, since called the Kennebec or Plymouth Patent, comprising a territory of about 1,500,000 acres, fifteen miles in width on each side of the Kennebec River, between Woolwich and Cornville. This grant was sold by the Pilgrim Colony in 1661 for £400 sterling to four persons. In 1753, the lands passed to a company, and were thenceforward known as the Kennebec Purchase. (3)

As early as 1624, Gorges had been called to the bar of the House of Collons to defend the Plymouth Council against the charge of misuse of its charter, and was required to deliver the patent forthwith to the House.

This Gorges declined to do because he had no authority to deliver the patent without the consent of the Council and because it was not in fact in his custody. But the House, in its presentation of grievances to King James, put the Plymouth Patent at the head of the list. Nevertheless, the King refused to recall it.

The next year, James I died. His successor, Charles I, married the daughter of the French King, and stipulated in the marriage treaty to cede Acadia to France.

In 1635, D’Aulney, under Razillai, in behalf of France, took possession of Penobscot [Castine] and drove out the English who had a trading house there. (4)

The north-eastern portion of the Plymouth patent was claimed by the French King. as part of Acadia, and Gorges was again summoned to defend it—this time before the King and his Council.

As soon as the French claim had been disposed of, the Commons again moved the crown for a dissolution of the charter, which the King refused to grant. (5)

On June 7, 1635, the Plymouth Council surrendered to Charles I the Great Charter of New England, which had been granted by James I in 1620, having divided all the territory that had not been deeded by the Council into eight Royal Provinces, four of which were in Maine, and the others in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Gorges obtained Western Maine, being all the territory between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec, more than one-sixth of the present area of the state.

The Council also petitioned King Charles to revoke the Massachusetts Bay Charter alleging that it had been obtained surreptitiously and was held wrongfully, that a portion of their territory rightfully belonged to Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, who, when the governor took actual possession of it, and that the Massachusetts Bay the colonists claimed to be absolute masters of the continent from sea to sea, a distance of more than a thousand leagues. Judgement was given that the franchises of Massachusetts Bay should be seized into the King’s hands, but in the confusion of the times it was never carried into execution.

On April 28, 1634, the King had appointed eleven of his Privy Councillors, Lords Commissioners of all his American plantations, and soon afterwards he made Sir Ferdinando Gorges Governor General over the whole of New England. (6) The same year or the next, he sent over his nephew, William Gorges, as Governor of his lands in Western Maine, which he called “New Somersetshire.” Governor William Gorges
opened a court at Saco as the shire town on March 28, 1636, which was the first organized government established within the present state of Maine.

At this time, there were six permanent settlements within the province: at Agamentic (now York),  at the Piscataqua settlement from Kittery Point to Newichawannock and the Northern Isles of Shoals; at Black Point, in Scarboro; at the Lygonian Plantation, or Casco, now Portland and vicinity; and at the Pejepscot settlements, on the lower Androscoggin, besides the Kennebec patent, which was under the jurisdiction of the Pilgrims. (1)

It was not, however, until April 3, 1639, that Sir Ferdinando Gorges obtained from King Charles, in a Provincial Charter of his Territory, described “all that Parte, Purpart, and Porcon of the Mayne Lande of New England aforesaid, beginning at the entrance of Pascatway Harbor,” extending up that river and through Newichawannock and Salmon Fall rivers, “north-westward, one hundred and twenty miles, and then overland to the utmost northerly end of the line first mentioned, including the north half of the Isles of Shoals;”… “also all the islands and inlets within five leagues of the Mayne, along the coasts between the said rivers Pascatway and Sagadahock, all of which said Parte, Purpart, or Porcon of the Mayne Lande wee doe for us Our heirs and successors create and incorporate into our province or county. And wee doe name, ordeyne, and appoynt that the Porcon of the Mayne Lande and Premises aforesaid shall forever hereafter be called and named THE PROVINCE OR COUNTIE OF MAYNE.” (2)

By this memorable charter, Gorges was made Lord Palatine of a princely domain extending northerly to the mouth of the Dead River and northwesterly to Umbagog Lake, the only instance of a purely feudal possession on this continent: a charter containing more extensive powers than were ever granted by the English crown to any other subject.

Under this Charter, which made the Lord Palatine, his heirs, and assigns absolute Lords Proprietors of the Province, subject only to the supreme dominion, faith, and allegiance due to the crown and certain revenues payable thereto, with the power to erect Courts of justice, and in concurrence with a majority of the freeholders, assembled in legislation, to establish laws extending to life or members, the colony was organized March 10, 1640, by the appointment of Thomas Gorges, cousin to Sir Ferdinando, Deputy Governor, Richard Vines, five other councillors, and the first General Court for the preservation of justice throughout his province, was opened at Saco on June 25 1640. The province was divided by the Kennebunk River into two counties, “East and West,” the former gradually acquiring the name “York” with its shire to at Agamenticus, and the latter the name of “Somerset,” or ‘New Somerset,” with Saco for its shire. (3)

Prior to the surrender of its charter, the Plymouth Council in England had issued twelve land patents within the limits of Maine, in addition to the two already mentioned, viz:

In 1630.
To Lewis and Bonythan on the north side of the Saco River, four miles along the
coast and eight miles inland.
To Oldham and Vines, a similar tract in Biddeford, on the south side of the Saco.
The Muscongus Grant, a territory thirty miles square between the Muscongus and
Penobscot Rivers, aftenvards known as the Waldo patent.
The Lygonia Patent, ending from Kennebunk to Harpswell and forty miles
inland, including rights to soil and government.

In 1631.
The Black Point Patent in Scarboro’, to Cammock, 1,500 acres on the sea coast, on
the east side of the Black Point River;
The Pejypscot Patent on the North Side of the Androscoggin River, to Bradshaw;
The Agamenticus Patent, to Godfrey and others at York, 12,000 acres;
Richmond’s Island and 1,500 acres on the inainland at Spurwink, in Scarboro’, to
Bagnall;
Cape Porpoise (Kennebunk Port),  2,000 acres on the south side, to Stratton.

In 1632.
The Treiawney and Goodyear Patent “between Black Point and the River and Bay of Casco,” including the ancient town of Falmouth (Portland and vicinity), Cape Elizabeth and a part of Gorham.

The Pemaquid Patent at Bristol, between the Muscongus and Damariscotta Rivers, 12,000 acres along the seacoast and up the river, besides all three leagues of islands into the ocean, with powers of government. The Way and Purchas Patent on the lower Androscoggin, reaching Casco Bay,
The whole, embracing the entire seaboard from the New Hampshire line to the Penobscot (save the coast between Sagadahoc and Damariscotta, a tract of five leagues, including the Sheepscot plantation and the Islands, and the most even of those small strip was claimed under the Kennebec Patent. Some of these grants conflicted with each other. (1)

On April 10, 1641, Sir Ferdinando Gorge’s, by a special charter of incorporation, was erected Agamenticus into a “borough,” and by a second charter dated March I, 1642, incorporated it with a territory of twenty-one square miles into a city called Gorgeana, with a charter that allowed no appeal to England. Under this charter, in 1644, a woman was tried, convicted, and executed in Gorgeana for the murder of her husband. (2)

Encouraged by the success of Republicanism in England, Sir Alexander Rigby, a member of the Long Parliament, purchased the Lygonia Patent, taking an assignment of the charter on April 7, 1643, and claimed exclusive jurisdiction thereunder from Kennebunk to Harpswell, but agreed to submit his claim to the Magistrates of Massachusetts Bay, who, in June 1645, dismissed the case, advising the disputants to live in peace until a decision comes from the proper authority.

In March 1646, the Earl of Warwick, whom the House of Commons in 1642 had appointed Governor General and High Admiral of all the American Plantations, and sixteen Commissioners (of whom John Pym and Oliver Cromwell were two) decided that Rigby was “the lawful owner and proprietor, in fee-simple, of the Province of Lygonia, being a tract of land forty miles square, lies on the south side of the river. Sagadahock and adjoining the great ocean, or sea, called Mare del Nort,” and directed the Governor of Massachusetts Bay, in case of resistance, to afford Rigby’s officers all suitable assistance. This restricted Gorges to the Kennebunk River on the East: (3)

The next year, Sir Ferdinando Gorges died in England while in arms for King Charles I against the Parliamentary forces.

At the death of the Gorges, the present area of Maine embraced four great political
sections:
First,—the restricted Province of Gorges, extending from the New Hampshire Line
to the Kennebunk River, and one hundred and twenty miles into the interior.
Second,—Lygonia, extending forty miles east from the Kennebunk River, and forty
miles inland, including Harpswell and the Islands of Casco Bay.
Third,—the Sagadahoc Territory, extending from the Kennebec River to the Penobscot, including several detached settlements, the chief of which was the Pemaquid Patent; and
Foul’th,— The region between Penobscot Bay and the Passamaquoddy or St. Croix
River was, at the time, in substantial possession of the French and claimed by them as part of Acadia. (4)

Discouraged by the dismemberment of the province and the death of the Lord Palatine, followed in less than two years by the execution of the King, the people of Wells, Gorgeana and Kittery held a consultation at Gorgeana in July, 1649, where they formed themselves into this “Social Compact:” — “We, with our free and consent, do bind ourselves in a body political and combination, to see these parts of the Country and province regulated, according to such laws as have formerly been exercised, and such others as shall be thought meet, but not repugnant to the fundamental laws of our native country.” (5)

Two years later, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay put forth a new claim. King Charles’ Charter of 1622–9 embraced “all the lands within the space of three English miles, to the northward of the River Merrimeck, or to the northward of any and every part thereof,” meaning, as had always been supposed, three miles beyond the river, but the colonial government now contended that their charter conveyed all the territory south of the line drawn due east across the country from point three miles north of the shore of the Merrimac to the same latitude on the Maine coast.

At the May session, 1652, the claim was embodied in a Legislative Resolve, and commissioners were appointed to procure “suitable artists (1) and assistants” to take a true observation of the latitude and to make the Survey, which they accomplished in August. 1, 1652, fixing the source of the Merrimac at Lat. 43° 40′ 12″, and at the October session their report was accepted, and the jurisdiction of Massachusetts was declared to extend as far north and east as a line drawn due east from a point three miles north of the head waters of the Merrimac in Lat. 43° 43′ 12″, “touching the southernmost bend of the River Presumpscot, and touching the coast at Goose Rock” (on the line which still divides the towns of Falmouth and Cumberland) “and terminating at Split Rock, on the northern point of Upper Clapboard” (Sturdivant’s) “Island, in Casco Bay, about three miles eastward of the Casco Peninsula” (Stover’s Point). (2)

The authorities of Massachusetts Bay at once proceeded to enforce their claim as fast as practicable upon the inhabitants of the Province of Maine and of Lygonia, South of 43° 43′ 12″, Luckidly for them, Edward Rigby, son and heir of Sir Alexander who had died in 1650, was pleased, at this juncture, to address the leaders of Lygonia a letter, dated London, July 19, 1652, notifying them that he conceived that all political power derived from his father expired at his death and commanding them to desist and abstain from the full exercise thereof, thus extinguishing the Lygonia government of which Saco had made the shire. (3)

In November 1652, a commission was appointed by the General Council of Massachusetts Bay was opened at Kittery, which had been incorporated into a town under the Government of Gorges five years before. and the inhabitants were persuaded to acknowledge their subjection to the government of Massachusetts Bay in New England.

Proceeding to Gorgeana, which had been erected into a borough by Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1641, and chartered by him as a city in March 1642, abolished its charter and named it York, being the second town incorporated into the state. The next year, Wells, Saco, and Cape Porpoise (now Kennebunkport) were incorporated as towns by the Massachusetts Bay Commissioners. In July. 1658, Scarboro’ and Falmouth were incorporated out of the Lygonia territory and declared to be a part of Yorkshire. On October 27, 1658, the towns of York, Kittery, Wells, Saco, and Cape Porpoise were presented their memorial to “Lord Cromwell,” expressive of their satisfaction in the new government as administered by Massachusetts Bay, with a request for its uninterrupted continuance. (4)

At the restoration, in 1660, Ferdinando Gorges, grandson of the Lord Palatine, made claim to the Province of Maine, appealing to King Charles II in Council and to Parliament. (5)

Although the Committee of Parliament reported in favor of Gorges, it was not until January 11, 1664, that he obtained from the King an order to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts Bay forthwith to restore to him his province, or without delay assign their reasons for withholding it, and on June 11, 1664, the King addressed them a letter communicating his decision. But, notwithstanding, neither the King nor the Parliament of Charles II had any sympathy with the Massachusetts authorities, and In spite of the defects in that colony’s title, the General Council didn’t succeed in delaying final judgment for twenty years. (6)

But as early as March 12, 1664, the King granted to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany (afterwards King James II), all the Dutch territory on the Hudson River, including Long Island, together with the whole region between the St. Croix and Pemaquid, “thence to the Kennebeck and so upwards, to the ruler of Canada Northward.”

This grant was known as “The Duke of York’s Property,” “The Territory of Sagadahock, New Castle, and “The County of Cornwall.”! It was an encroachment upon the Kennebec Patent, the Pemaquid Patent, the Muscongus Patent, and others. Col. Nichols assumed the government of the ducal province as Deputy Governor under his Royal Highness, on Sept. 5, 1665, possession was taken of the Sheepscot plantation as the shire of the New County of Cornwall, the plantation being named Dartmouth or New Dartmouth . (1)

By 1670, the “Province of Maine” had been substantially reduced to the subjection of Massachusetts Bay; the interior regulations of Yorkshire had been perfected by the establishment of courts and the appointment of magistrates, commissioners, and judges, chief of whom was Thomas Danforth.

But the French, who were in full possession of Nova Scotia (including New Brunswick) and the territory west as far as the Penobscot River, boldly claimed jurisdiction over the rest of the Duke of York’s Patent, even to the Kennebec. In this aspect of affairs, both Massachusetts Bay and Duke’s colonists had reason to apprehend the sale or resignation of his entire Eastern patent to the French.

“To contravene a measure so much apprehended, the General Council in May, 1671, suspecting the accuracy of the survey of 1651,” determined to have a revision of their Northern line, which was accordingly made by Mountjoy of Falmouth in 1672, who found it six minutes further north, at 43° 49′ 12″, crossing the Kennebec near Bath, and terminating at White Head Island in Penobscot Bay. This new line, “run more suitable to the exigency,” added to the Massachusetts Bay Charter an extensive seaboard, also Arrowsic, Parker’s, and George’s Islands, with Monhegan, Matinicus, Damariscove and, in fact, all the other islands along the coast, and even the principal settlement at Pemaquid, “but happily, not embracing Dartmouth, the seat of the Duke’s Government.”

Encouraged by the recapture of the fort at New York by the Dutch armor On June 30, 1673, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay sanctioned Mountjoy’s Survey and in October 1673, proceeded to erect the easternmost section of the readjusted patent beyond Sagadahoc into a new county. In May 1674, a court was opened at Pemaquid, which was made the shire of the “County of Devonshire,” extending from Sagadahoc to Georges’ River.

But by a treaty of peace signed on February 9, 1674, Holland had already restored the Province of New York to the English, and on June 22, 1674, King Charles granted to the Duke of York a new patent comprising all the territories embraced in that of 1664. The Duke thereupon commissioned Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of both provinces, New York and Sagadahock, and Andros assumed the government in October. (2)

In 1676, Gorges and Mason, in their complaint against Massachusetts Bay, they had instituted in 1659, succeeded in persuading the King to serve legal notice of the charges against the Massachusetts Bay authorities and to require the appearance of its agents in defense.

Toward the end of the year, the Massachusetts agents appeared before a committee of the Privy Council, who gave a decision substantially extinguishing the claims of Massachusetts Bay to Maine, but leaving the rightful ownership of the province undetermined.

In consequence of this decision, the authorities of Massachusetts Bay employed John Usher, a Boston trader then in England, in behalf of the Colony, purchased all his interest in the Province. May 6, 1677, Ferdinando Gorges gave Usher an assignment of THE PROVINCE OF MAYNE for £1,250 sterling, with all “royalties, jurisdictions, ecclesiastical, civil, admiral, and military;— the privileges, governments, and liberties” that had been granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges by charter of King Charles I, April 3, 1639, covenanting that “Usher should stand seized of an absolute, perfect, and independent estate of and in the said County Palatine,” excepting the grants made by the original proprietor or his agents. (3)

The purchase of Maine by the colony of Massachusetts Bay displeased Charles II who was himself, at the time, in a treaty with Gorges for its purchase for his natural son, the Duke of Monmouth (afterwards executed by Charles’ brother James), and he remonstrated with the colonial government on their conduct, and Even required the colony’s agents to assist it to the crown upon payment of the purchase money; to this demand, little attention was paid, and at the October session, the General Court resolved to keep the province. Accordingly, in February 1680, it was determined to assume the Royal Charter granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and to frame a civil administration over the province in conformity with its provisions,” consisting of a standing Council of eight members appointed by the Massachusetts Bay Board of Colony Assistants and a House of Deputies chosen by the towns in the province, with a President chosen by the Board of Assistants: (1)

Thomas Danforth of Cambridge, Deputy Governor of Massachusetts Bay, was chosen President of Maine and at once entered upon his duties, proclaiming his authority at York in March, and at Fort Loyal at Casco Neck in Falmouth (now Portland) on September 2, 1680, where President Danforth and his two assistants gave the name of North Yarmouth to a new plantation adjoining Falmouth on the east, eighth town incorporated in Maine. (2)

But the charter of Massachusetts Bay was now so violently assailed that in 1683, the The General Court directed its agents in England to resign to the crown the title deeds of Maine provided that the colonial conflict could be saved. Their proposition was not acceptable, for a writ of quo warranto has already been brought before the court of King’s Bench on July 20, and was served on the Governor of Massachusetts Bay in October, 1683. This not proving sufficient, a writ of scire facias was sued out of the Chancery Court at Whiteball in June 1684, under which the Royal Charter was granted to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay by Charles I in 1628 was promptly adjudged to be forfeited, and the liberties of the colonies were seized by the crown. (3)

The infamous Col. Kirke was immediately appointed by Charles II, Governor of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Maine, but before his embarkation from England, the Duke of York succeeded to the throne as James II, Feb. 16. 1685, and was publicly proclaimed in York in April. He was not inclined to renew the appointment of Kirke, but commissioned Joseph Dudley, a native of Massachusetts, as President of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island, with fifteen mandamus councillors appointed by the Crown to assist him.

The last General Court under the Massachusetts Bay Court of Charles I organized May 12, 1686, but was dissolved by President Dudley on May 20. (4)

Within five months, he was superseded by Sir Edmund Andros, who arrived in Boston on December 20, 1686, and on the same day published his commission. He has been for eight years the Ducal Governor of New York and Sagadabock, and was now made captain-general and governor-in-chief of all of New England. (5)

On April 18, 1689, a revolution took place in Boston, and the populace seized and imprisoned Governor Andros and a bunch of his partisans, and Andros was finally induced to surrender the keys of government and the command of the fortifications.

A general convention of the people was assembled on April 20, and a meeting of the General Court was called in Boston on May 22, which determined to resume the government according to charter rights, a resolution was called into effect on May 24, 1689.

Two days later, news arrived from England that James II had abdicated the British throne December 12, 1688, and that William and Mary had been proclaimed King and Queen, February 16, 1689. Danforth was re-elected President of Maine and continued to govern the province of Maine under the provisions of the Charter to Gorges until May 6, 1692.

Finally, the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the Pilgrim Colony of Plymouth, the Province of Maine, together with Sagadabock and Acadia (or Nova Scotia, including New Brunswick) were all incorporated into the Royal Province of Massachusetts Bay by the charter of William and Mary, which received royal sanction on October 7 1691, and took effect May 6, 1692. But Nova Scotia (with New Brunswick) was soon after being relinquished by Massachusetts to the entire exclusive dominion of the British crown.

The present state of Maine, at the time of this consolidation, consisted of three principal divisions:


I— The original ”Province of Maine” granted by Charles I to Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1639, extending from the New Hampshire line to the Sagadahock’ or Kennebeck and one hundred and twenty miles into the interior, which his grandson Ferdinando Gorges was sold to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1677.
II.—The Province of Sagadabock, between the Kennebeck River and Nova Scotia, and extending “Northward to the River of Canada,” or latitude 48°, embracing not only the second principle in the eight great divisions of 1635, lying between the Kennebeck River and Pernaquid, but the ducal province of James II (as Duke of York) includes the rest of the whole territory between Pemaquid and St. Croix which had reverted to the crown on his abdication in 1688.
III.— The territory north of the original grant to Gorges, between the Northern limit of his patent and the Canada Line. (1)

As the Palatine Province of Maine was limited to one hundred and twenty miles from the sea, it may be asked how the Colony of Massachusetts Bay could, either by its purchase from Gorges or, under the charter of William and Mary, acquire title to that feasible territory in the north-western corner of the present State of Maine, between the northerly line of Gorges’ Province and the Canadian boundary, as conceded by the treaty of independence. Perhaps no better answer can be readily given than that of the learned attorney General of Massachusetts; in the first year of this century; the question “is not of much consequence.” (2)

The Provincial Charter of Massachusetts Bay continued to be the foundation and ordinance of civil government in Massachusetts and Maine for eighty-eight years, until the adoption of a Republican Constitution by the parent nation on October 25, 1780 (N.S.)

With the consolidation of 1692, the ephemeral counties of Somerset, Cornwall and Devonshire, and for seventy-eight years thereafter, the County of York, which was created by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Lord Palatine of the Province of Maine in 1610, and the first volume of whose records begins with the court opened at Saco, June 25, under the charter of Charles I, embraced the whole of Maine until November 2, 1760, when the counties of Cumberland and Lincoln were created by an act of the Provincial Legislature.

The formation of a Republican Constitution by the people of Massachusetts Bay and the recognition of that Commonwealth as an independent state within three years afterward seem to have inspired in the inhabitants of Maine a desire for separation. Indeed, as early as 1778, the Continental Congress had divided the United States into three districts, the Southern, Middle, and Northern, the last embracing the three Eastern counties of York, Cumberland, and Lincoln, which thus acquired a distinctive name, “THE DISTRICT OF MAlNE,” which it retained until the separation. Twelve years later, the First Federal Congress re-established the same division under the National Constitution.

Very soon after the acknowledgment of independence, separation began to be generally agitated throughout the district, and in September 1785, a notice appeared in The Falmouth Gazette, a paper that had made its appearance on New Year’s Day, calling a conference at Messrs. Smith and Dean’s Meeting House in Falmouth on October 5th to consider the proposal to erect the three eastern counties into a separate Government. Accordingly, thirty-five delegates appeared from twenty of the principal towns of each of the counties and organized a convention where William Gorham, of Gorham, was chosen President and Stephen Longfellow, Jr., of Gorham, Secretary. The convention voted to call another convention at the same place. on January 4, 1786, to consider the expediency and means of forming a separate state.


Governor Bowdoin, in his speech to the General Court, October 20, 1785, of his Council, deprecated the movement, and the General Council, in their reply, concurred in his views. The Convention, however, assembled and appointed a committee of nine whose report, stating the grievances and inconveniences under which the district labored, was signed by the President and sent to every town and settlement in Maine, and the Convention appointed another Convention to be held at the same place on September 6 1786; it was also voted to request the towns and plantations at their next March meetings to choose delegates and to certify the number of votes for and against the choice.

A convention, consisting of thirty-one members, was accordingly assembled and a committee to petition the General Court that the District of Maine be erected into a separate state and adjourned to January 3, 1787. On its re-assembling, the Convention found that of the ninety-three towns and plantations in Maine, only forty had been represented in any Convention, and of those only thirty-two had returned their votes; that was the whole number of votes returned was only 994, of which 645 were in favor of separation and 349 were opposed. Finally, the Convention, by a majority of two, directed the Committee to present or retain the petition, at their discretion, and adjourned from time to time until September, 1788, when it ejected the non-attendance of its members. The Committee finally decided to present the petition in 1788, and it was only referred to a committee of the General Court, which was the end of the agitation for nearly thirty years.

At the close of the war of 1812–15, the subject was revived, and at the January session of General Court in 1816, petitions were presented from forty-nine Maine towns in their corporate capacity, and individuals in many others, in favor of separation, wherein the Legislature directed town and plantation meetings to be held on the question throughout the district on May 20.

At the June session, it was found that out of the total number of 37,828 legal voters Only 16,891 had voted, of whom 10,393 favored separation and 6,501 opposed it. Thereupon, the Legislature of Massachusetts called for a second vote from the district in September and authorized each town to choose delegates to a convention to be held at Brunswick on the last Monday in September, which should count the votes, and if five-ninths of the votes returned were in favor of separation, they should also form a Constitution, but not otherwise.

A Convention of 185 delegates assembled and elected William King, of Bath, President, but of the 23,316 votes cast, only 11,969, a majority of less than five ninths, were for separation. Nevertheless, the Convention appointed a committee to frame a constitution and another to apply to Congress for admission into the Union and then adjourned to December.

But the General Court, convening in the meantime, dissolved the Convention. Still, the agitation continued, and at the May session of 1819, petitions for separation were presented from about seventy towns. By an act passed June 19, the General Court directed the voters of Maine to vote on the question July 24, and if the majority in favor of separation should exceed 1,500, the governor was authorized to proclaim the result and to direct the towns at the September election to choose delegates to a constitutional convention.

On August 24, Governor Brooks made the proclamation that separation had been carried out by the requisite majority of 9,959 to 7,132, and issued his call for a convention. The delegates chosen for the next month assembled at the convention in Portland on October 11 and organized by electing William King, President, and Robert C. Vose, Secretary.

The Convention completed the proposed Constitution on October 29 and adjourned to January 5, 1820, after submitting it to the people in town meetings to be held in December 6,1819.

On re-assembling, the Convention found that the Constitution had been adopted by
a large majority and announced the result to the people of Maine, as did Governor Brooks in his message to the General Court of Massachusetts. The Convention also applied to Congress for admission, which was granted by the Act of March 3, 1820, and Maine became an independent state of the Union on March 15, 1820.

During its connection with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, six new counties were included within the District of Maine, viz.—

Hancock and Washington, May 2, 1790, by act of June 25, 1789;
Kennebec, April 1, 1799; —February 21, 1799;
Oxford, —March 4, 1805;
Somerset, June 1, 1809;— March 1, 1809;
Penobscot, April 1, 1816;— February 15, 1816.

Since its independent existence, seven other counties have been organized in Maine. viz:-
Waldo, July 4, 1827, by act of February 7, 1827;
Franklin, May 9, 1838;  “March 20, 1838;
Piscataquis, May 1, 1838; March 23, 1838;
Aroostook, May 2, 1839; “”March 16, 1839;
Androscoggin, “.. March 18, 1854; March 31, 1854.”
Sagadahoc, April 5, 1854.” “April 4, 1854;
Knox, April 1, 1860,”… March 5, 1860;
being in all sixteen counties.

In conclusion, it may be said that private land titles in Maine are derived from six principal sources.

I— Possession.
II— Indian deeds.
III— The patent of the French King Louis XIV, in 1603, to Monsieur de la Motte Cadillac; substantially confirmed by a resolution of the General Court of Massachusetts Bay passed on July 6, 1787. 
IV— The Great Charter of New England, granted by James I, King of Great Britain, to the North Virginia or Plymouth Colony, issued November 3, 1620; through divers grants made by the Plymouth Council before the signing of its Charter in 1635, viz: between 1622 and 1632.
V— The Provincial Charter granted by Charles T., King of Great Britain, to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, April 3, 1639; through various grants from Gorges prior to the sale of his charter by his grandson Ferdinando Gorges to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1677, and through grants directly from the Colony of Massachusetts ‘Bay and the Province and State of Massachusetts after said sale.
VI— The Royal Charter issued by Charles I to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 4, 1628; through grants directly from the colony after its assertion of a claim, thereunder to Latitude 43° 43′ 12″ and to 43° 49′ 12″ in 1652 and 1673.

The political sovereignty and authority of government in Maine is derived of course, directly from the act of Congress admitting Maine into the Union, passed March 3, 1820, and the consent of Massachusetts expressed in the act of its General Court passed June 19, 1819. The independence of Massachusetts itself rests on the Declaration of the Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776. The Province of Massachusetts Bay, which sent its delegates to the Congress was chartered by William and Mary on October 7, 1691, which charter is, roughly speaking, the basis of the government of the States of Massachusetts and Maine.
Yet the germs of the State of Maine are to be found in the. grant of James I to the North Virginia or Plymonth Colony, issued November 3, 1620, and to the Pilgrim Colony of Massachusetts, dated June 1, 1621, and what is known as the Warwick Patent to the Pilgrim’s issued in 1629–30; in the two grants of his son Charles T, one to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, dated April 3, 1639, and purchased by Massachusetts Bay in 1677; the other to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, March 4, 1628–9; in the extinction conquest of the claim maintained by France to the eastern part of Maine until the capture of Canada by the British government in 1759, and in terms of the Treaty of Independence of September 3, 1783, by which Great Britain conceded to the United States a boundary that includes within the limits of the District of Illinois a portion of territory in the Northwest extending beyond the terms of any prior grant from the British Crown, but which was curtailed on the Northeast by releasing to Great Britain its territory northerly of the river St. John, in the settlement of the Northeastern boundary in 1842. 

Legislature of the State of Maine. “The Revised Statutes of the State of Maine, Passed August 29, 1883, and Taking Effect January 1,1884.”, Portland, Loring, Short & Harmon and William M. Marks. 1884. https://lldc.mainelegislature.org/Open/RS/RS1883/RS1883_f0005-0017_Land_Titles.pdf

“Nautical Atlas of the World, Folio 6 Recto, North Atlantic Ocean”

From Labrador to Acadia (present-day southeast Maine) seen here, only Newfoundland is identified by name (Terra Corte Regalis).

“Nautical Atlas of the World, Folio 6 Recto, North Atlantic Ocean” Holanda, António de, approximately 1480-1556 Illustrator. Homem, Lopo, flourished 1517-1565 Cartographer. Manuel I, King of Portugal, 1469-1521 Patron. Reinel, Jorge, active 16th century Cartographer. Reinel, Pedro, born approximately 1464 Cartographer. [publisher not identified], 1519. https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_18557/?r=0.474,0.02,0.309,0.18,0

“Universale descrittione di tutta la terra conosciuta fin qui”

“Cape Berton” (Breton) and “Cape Ras (Race) helps to situate this map.

“Geografia tavole moderne di geografia de la maggior parte del mondo di diversi avtori raccolte et messe secondo l’ordine di Tolomeo con i disegni di molte città et fortezze di diverse provintie stampate in rame con stvdio et diligenza.” Antoine Lafréry. Roma. 1575 [?] https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3200m.gct00410/?sp=4&r=0.307,0.07,0.223,0.121,0

History of Nova Scotia for schools

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any “firsts” listed here but it’s interesting to see what was expected to merit the attention of students around the time of “confederation”, at least compared to the kind of history I was exposed to in school a little more than a century later. We certainly never delved into Cromwell’s conquest of Nova Scotia or the proprietary regimes, perhaps because it gives perspective to the here and now of arbitrary “Canadian governance”.


“Chapter 1-2: Early settlement
Chapter 3: Sir W. Alexander, and La Tour
Chapter 4: Oliver Cromwell, and Sir Wm. Phips
Chapter 5: Louisburg – The Acadians
Chapter 6: Settlement of Halifax
Chapter 7: The Expulsion of the Acadians
Chapter 8: First Assembly in Nova Scotia – Lousibourg destroyed
Chapter 9: War with America – The Duke of Kent
Chapter 10: The Maroons, and the Chesapeake and Shannon
Chapter 11: Agricola – Colleges
Chapter 12: The Brandy Dispute – Mr. Howe and the Magistracy
Chapter 13: Steam communication, Responsible Government
Chapter 14: The Heroes of Sebastopol – Coal Mines
Chapter 15: The Indian mutiny – Telegraph, etc
Chapter 16: International exhibition, Education Bill
Chapter 17-18: Union of the Provinces
Chapter 19: Opposition to Confederation – Loss of City of Boston – Death of Mr. Howe
Chapter 20: Sketch of the life of S.G.W. Archibald
Chapter 21: Sketch of the life of Thomas C. Haliburton, M.P.
Chapter 22, Sketch of the Life of Dr. Gesner
Chapter 23: Sketch of the Life of Judge Blowers
Chapter 24: Sketch of the Life of Judge J.W. Johnston
Chapter 25: The Steamship “England”
Chapter 26: General description of Nova Scotia, etc.
Chapter 27-28: A trip to the fruit show at Somerset.

Resources of Nova Scotia:
Chapter 29: Coal and Iron
Chapter 30: The Gold mines of Nova Scotia
Chapter 31: The Fisheries of Nova Scotia
Chapter 32: Population of Nova Scotia – Manufactures – Shipbuilding
Chapter 33: The dominion of Canada, Appendix: Sable Island, La Tribune.”

“The first attempt on the part of Europeans to settle on the eastern portion of the Continent was by the Baron de Lery in the year 1518. But he arrived on the coast too late in the season, and after leaving a part of his live stock at Canso, and the remainder on Sable Island he returned to France. The animals left at Canso either perished or were destroyed by the [Mi’kmaq], while a few of those left on Sable Island survived and multiplied.

Several other attempts were made to effect a settlement, the most remarkable of which was an English expedition, at the head of which was a Mr. Hore. It was fitted out in the year 1536, under the patronage of King Henry the Eighth, and consisted of one hundred persons — of whom thirty were men of birth and education — who embarked in two ships. Two months after starting, the expedition arrived at the Island of Cape Breton.

They afterwards sailed for Newfoundland, where they failed in opening communication with the natives. They were reduced to a state of absolute starvation, depending for sustenance on roots, and such fish as the parent birds brought to their nests. In the frenzy produced by hunger one or two men were murdered by their companions, when searching for food on the Island, and their flesh devoured. That evening, some of the company agreed to cast lots who should be killed, rather than that all should perish, when lo ! a sail was seen in the distance which proved to be that of a French ship amply supplied with provisions. But to the disgrace of the English they took forcible possession of her, and sailed for England, leaving the Frenchmen, who rescued them from the very jaws of death, in possession of their dilapidated vessel.

The reckless voyagers had returned to England about the end of October, and were in a few weeks, followed by the Frenchmen whom they had robbed, and who lost no time in making a formal complaint to the King as to the injuries inflicted on them by his subjects. The King, after an examination into the facts made full reparation to the complainants, and pardoned his subjects on account of the miseries they had already endured. For forty years after the expedition of Mr. Hore no effort was made in prosecuting further discoveries in America.

In the year 1578 Sir Humphrey Gilbert got a patent from Queen Elizabeth for the discovery and settlement of new lands. Gilbert was a brave and generous man. His first voyage was unfortunate, for he lost one of the two ships with which he started, which obliged him to return to England. Determined to fit out another expedition, he sold his estate, and with the money thus obtained he fitted out five small vessels in the year 1583. He made for Newfoundland where he arrived in August. In returning to England in a vessel called the Squirrel he and all on board were lost, the vessel having foundered.”

“The English Governor of Virginia having resolved to destroy the French settlements in Acadia sent Captain Argal with several armed vessels to effect his purpose, when the son of Poutrincourt fled to the forest and lived with the [Mi’kmaq]. In the mean time Poutrincourt visited Port Royal where he found a scene of desolation. He accordingly resolved to leave it forever, which he did, returning to France, and fell fighting bravely in the service of his country, in December, 1615. His son seems to have remained in Acadia till his death, which occurred in the year 1624.”

“In the month of August, 1750, the ship Alderney arrived in Halifax with about three hundred and fifty emigrants, who were sent to the opposite side of the harbor, and founded the town of Dartmouth in the autumn of that year. In December following, the first ferry was established, and John Connor appointed ferry-man by order in Council. In the following year the [Mi’kmaq] surprised the little village at night, scalped a number of settlers, and carried off several prisoners. The inhabitants, fearing an attack, had cut down the spruce trees near the settlement, which, instead of a protection as was intended, served as a cover for the enemy.

Captain Clapham and his company of Rangers were stationed on the Blackburn Hill, and, it is said, remained within his block-house firing from the loop-holes during the whole affair. The light of the torches and the firing of musketry alarmed the inhabitants of Halifax, some of whom put off to their assistance, but did not arrive in any force till after the [Mi’kmaq] had retired. The night was calm, and the cries of the settlers and the whoops of the [Mi’kmaq] were distinctly heard on the western side of the harbor. On the following morning several bodies were brought over — [Mi’kmaq] having carried off the scalps.”

“Mr. Campbell, of Dartmouth, had panned gold in 1859, and was the first to advocate the existence of gold in quantity in the Province… Silver ore has not been discovered in the Province in any considerable quantity. Mr. Campbell, of Dartmouth, was the first to discover it in small quantity.”

“The success of the Marine Slips at Dartmouth, which is capable of accommodating only the smallest class of vessels, should inspire capitalists with confidence.”

Campbell, Duncan. History of Nova Scotia: for Schools. Montreal: Lovell, 1874. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t6m04g264

“American history: comprising historical sketches of the [indigenous] tribes”

“The [Mi’kmaq], first called by the French Souriqu’ois, held possession of Nova Scotia and the adjacent isles, and were early known as the active allies of the French.

Marquis de la Roche
In 1598, the Marquis de la Roche, a French nobleman, received from the King of France a commission for founding a French colony in America. Having equipped several vessels, he sailed with a considerable number of settlers, most of whom, however, he was obliged to draw from the prisons of Paris. On Sable island, a barren spot near the coast of Nova Scotia, forty men were left to form a settlement.

La Roche dying soon after his return, the colonists Fate were neglected; and when, after seven years, a vessel was sent to inquire after them, only twelve of them were living. The dungeons from which they had been liberated were preferable to the hardships which they had suffered. The emaciated exiles were carried back to France, where they were kindly received by the king, who pardoned their crimes, and made them a liberal donation.

De Monts
In 1603, the king of France granted to De Monts, a gentleman of distinction, the sovereignty of the country from the 40th to the 46th degree of north latitude; that is, from one degree south of New York city, to one north of Montreal. Sailing with two vessels, in the spring of 1604, he arrived at Nova Scotia in May, and spent the summer in trafficking with the natives, and examining the coasts preparatory to a settlement.

Selecting an island near the mouth of the river St. Croix, on the coast of New Brunswick, he there erected a fort and passed a rigorous winter, his men suffering much from the want of suitable provisions. ‘In the following spring, 1605, De Monts removed to a place on the Bay of Fundy; and here was formed the first permanent French settlement in America. The settlement was named Port Royal, and the whole country, embracing the present New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the adjacent islands, was called Acadia.

North and South Virginia
In 1606 James the 1st, of England, claiming all that portion of North America which lies between the 34th and the 45th degrees of north latitude, embracing the country from Cape Fear to Halifax, divided this territory into two nearly equal districts; the one, called North Virginia, extending from the 41st to the 45th degree; and the other, called South Virginia, from the 34th to the 38th.

The former he granted to a company of “Knights, gentlemen, and merchants,” of the west of England, called the Plymouth Company; and the latter to a company of “noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants,” mostly resident in London, and called the London Company. The intermediate district, from the 38th to the 41st degree, was open to both companies; but neither was to form a settlement within one hundred miles of the other.


…Early in the following year, 1690, Schenectady was burned; the settlement at Salmon Falls, on the Piscataqua, was destroyed; and a successful attack was made on the fort and settlement at Casco Bay. In anticipation of the inroads of the French, Massachusetts had hastily fitted out an expedition, under Sir William Phipps, against Nova Scotia, which resulted in the easy conquest of Port Royal.

Early in 1692 Sir William Phipps returned with a new charter, which vested the appointment of governor in the king, and united Plymouth, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia, in one royal government. Plymouth lost her separate government contrary to her wishes; while New Hampshire, which had recently placed herself under the protection of Massachusetts, was now forcibly severed from her.

In 1707 Massachusetts attempted the reduction of Port Royal; and a fleet conveying one thousand soldiers was sent against the place; but the assailants were twice obliged to raise the siege with considerable loss. Not disheartened by the repulse, Massachusetts spent two years more in preparation, and aided by a fleet from England, in 1710 again demanded the surrender of Port Royal. The garrison, weak and dispirited, capitulated after a brief resistance; the name of the place was changed to Annapolis, in honor of Queen Anne; and Acadia, or Nova Scotia, was permanently annexed to the British crown.

The most important event of (King George’s War) in America, was the siege and capture of Louisburg. This place, situated on the island of Cape Breton, had been fortified by France at great expense, and was regarded by her as the key to her American possessions, William Shirley the governor of Massachusetts, perceiving the importance of the place, and the danger to which its possession by the French subjected the British province of Nova Scotia, laid before the legislature of the colony a plan for its capture. Although Strong objections wore urged, the govenor’s proposals were assented to; Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, furnished their quotas of men; New York sent a supply of artillery, and Pennsylvania of provisions. Commodore Warren, then in the West Indies with an English fleet, was invited to co-operate in the enterprise, but he declined doing so without orders from England. This unexpected intelligence was kept a secret, and in April, 1745, the New England forces alone, under William Pepperell, commander-in-chief, and Roger Wolcott, second in command, sailed for Louisburg.

At Causcau they were unexpectedly met by the fleet of Commodore Warren, who had recently received orders to repair to Boston, and concert measures with Governor Shirley for his majesty’s service in North America. On the 11th of May the combined forces, numbering more than 4000 land troops, came in sight of Louisburg, and effected a landing at Gabarus Bay, which was the first intimation the French had of their danger. On the day after the landing a detachment of four hundred men marched by the city and approached the royal battery, setting fire to the houses and stores on the way. The French, imagining that the whole army was coming upon them, spiked the guns and abandoned the battery, which was immediately seized by the New England troops. Its guns were then turned upon the town, and against the island battery at the entrance of the harbor.

As it was necessary to transport the guns over a morass, where oxen and horses could not be used, they were placed on sledges constructed for the purpose, and the men with ropes, sinking to their knees in the mud, drew them safely over. Trenches were then thrown up within two hundred yards of the city,—a battery was erected on the opposite side of the harbor, at the Light House Point and the fleet of Warren captured a French gunship, with five hundred and sixty men, and a great quantity of military stores designed for the supply of the garrison. A combined attack by sea and land was planned for the 29th of June, but, on the day previous, the city, fort, and batteries, and the whole island, were surrendered. This was the most important acquisition which England made during the war, and, for its recovery, and the desolation of the English colonies, a powerful naval armament under the Duke d’Anville was sent out by France in the following year. But storms, shipwrecks, and disease, enfeebled the fleet, and blasted the hopes of the enemy.

In 1748 the war was terminated by the treaty of Aix la Chapelle. The result proved that neither party had gained any thing by the contest; for all acquisitions made by either were mutually restored. But the causes of a future and more important war still remained in the disputes about boundaries, which were left unsettled; and the “French and Indian War” soon followed, which was the last struggle of the French for dominion in America.

Expeditions of Monckton, Braddock, Shirley, and Sir William Johnson.
Early in 1755, General Braddock arrived from Ireland, with two regiments of British troops, and with the authority of commander-in-chief of the British and colonial forces. At a convention of the colonial governors, assembled at his request in Virginia, three expeditions were resolved upon; one against the French at Fort du Quesne, to be led by General Braddock himself; a second against Niagara, and a third against Crown Point, a French post on the western shore of Lake Champlain.

While preparations were making for these expeditions, an enterprise, that had been previously determined undertaken. upon, was prosecuted with success in another quarter. About the last of May, Colonel Monckton sailed from Boston, with three thousand troops, against the French settlements at the head of the Bay of Fundy, which were considered as encroachments upon the English province of Nova Scotia. Landing at Fort Lawrence, on the eastern shore of Chignecto, a branch of the Bay of Fundy, a French block-house was carried by assault, and Fort Beausejour surrendered, after an investment of four days. The name of the fort was then changed to Cumberland. Fort Gaspereau, on Bay Verte, or Green Bay, was next taken; and the forts on the New Brunswick coast were abandoned. In accordance with the views of the governor of Nova Scotia, the plantations of the French settlers were laid waste; and several thousands of the hapless fugitives, ardently attached to their mother country, and refusing to take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain, were driven on board the British shipping, at the point of the bayonet, and dispersed, in poverty, through the English colonies.


Nova Scotia, according to its present limits, forms a large peninsula, separated from the continent by the Bay of Fundy, and its branch Chignecto, and connected with it by a narrow isthmus between the latter bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The peninsula is about 385 miles in length from northeast to southwest, and contains an area of nearly sixteen thousand square miles. The surface of the country is broken, and the Atlantic coast is generally barren, but some portions of the interior are fertile.

The settlement of Port Royal, (now Annapolis) by De Monts, in 1605, and also the conquest of the country by Argall, in 1614, have already been mentioned. France made no complaint of Argall’s aggression, beyond demanding the restoration of the prisoners, nor did Britain take any immediate measures for retaining her conquests. But in 1621 Sir William Alexander, afterwards Earl of Stirling, obtained from the king, James I, a grant of Nova Scotia and the adjacent islands, and in 1625 the patent was renewed by Charles I., and extended so as to embrace all Canada, and the northern portions of the United States. In 1623 a vessel was despatched with settlers, but they found the whole country in the possession of the French, and were obliged to return to England without effecting a settlement.

In 1628, during a war with France, Sir David Kirk, who had been sent out by Alexander, succeeded in reducing Nova Scotia, and in the following year he completed the conquest of Canada, but the whole country was restored by treaty in 1632.

The French court now divided Nova Scotia among three individuals, La Tour, Denys, and Razillai, and appointed Razillai commander-in-chief of the country. The latter was succeeded by Charnise, between whom and La Tour a deadly feud arose, and violent hostilities were for some time carried on between the rivals. At length, Charnise dying, the controversy was for a time settled by La Tour’s marrying the widow of his deadly enemy, but soon after La Borgne appeared, a creditor of Charnise, and with an armed force endeavored to crush at once Denys and La Tour. But after having subdued several important places, and while preparing to attack St. John, a more formidable competitor presented himself.

Cromwell, having assumed the reins of power in England, declared war against France, and, in 1654, despatched an expedition against Nova Scotia, which soon succeeded in reducing the rival parties, and the whole country submitted to his authority. La Tour, accommodating himself to circumstances, and making his submission to the English, obtained, in conjunction with Sir Thomas Temple, a grant of the greater part of the country. Sir Thomas bought up the share of La Tour, spent nearly 30,000 dollars in fortifications, and greatly improved the commerce of the country; but all his prospects were blasted by the treaty of Breda in 1667, by which Nova Scotia was again ceded to France

The French now resumed possession of the colony, which as yet contained only a few unpromising settlements, the whole population in 1680 not exceeding nine hundred individuals. The fisheries, the only productive branch of business, were carried on by the English. There were but few forts, and these so weak that two of them were taken and plundered by a small piratical vessel. In this situation, after the breaking out of the war with France in 1689, Acadia appeared an easy conquest. The achievement was assigned to Massachusetts, In May, 1690, Sir William Phipps, with 700 men, appeared before Port Royal, which soon surrendered; but he merely dismantled the fortress, and then left the country a prey to pirates. A French commander arriving in November of the following year, the country was reconquered, simply by pulling down the English and hoisting the French flag.

Soon after, the Bostonians, aroused by the depredations of the French and [indigenous] on the frontiers, sent a body of 500 men, who soon regained the whole country, with the exception of one fort on the river St. John. Acadia now remained in possession of the English until the treaty of Ryswick in 1697, when it was again restored to France.

It was again resolved to reduce Nova Scotia, and the achievement was again left to Massachusetts, with the assurance that what should be gained by arms would not again be sacrificed by treaty.

The peace of 1697 was speedily succeeded by a declaration of war against France and Spain in 1702. It was again resolved to reduce Nova Scotia, and the achievement was again left to Massachusetts, with the assurance that what should be gained by arms would not again be sacrificed by treaty. The first expedition, despatched in 1704, met with little resistance, but did little more than ravage the country. In 1707 a force of 1000 soldiers was sent against Port-Royal, but the French commandant conducted the defence of the place with so much ability, that the assailants were obliged to retire with considerable loss. In 1710 a much larger force, under the command of General Nicholson, appeared before Port Royal, but the French commandant, having but a feeble garrison, and declining to attempt a resistance, obtained an honorable capitulation. Port Royal was now named Annapolis. From this period Nova Scotia has been permanently annexed to the British crown.

The [Mi’kmaq] of Nova Scotia, who were warmly attached to the French, were greatly astonished on being informed that they had become the subjects of Great Britain. Determined, however, on preserving their independence, they carried on a long and vigorous war against the English. In 1720 they plundered a large establishment at Canseau, carrying off fish and merchandise to the amount of 10,000 dollars; and in 1723 they captured at the same place, seventeen sail of vessels, with numerous prisoners, nine of whom they deliberately and cruelly put to death.

As the [Mi’kmaq] still continued hostile, the British inhabitants of Nova Scotia were obliged to solicit aid from Massachusetts, and in 1728 that province sent a body of troops against the principal village of the Norridgewocks, on the Kennebec. ‘The enemy were surprised, and defeated with great slaughter, and among the slain was Father Ralle, their missionary, a man of considerable literary attainments, who had resided among the [Mi’kmaq] forty years. By this severe stroke the [Mi’kmaq] were overawed, and for many years did not again disturb the tranquility of the English settlements.

In 1744 war broke out anew between England and France. The French governor of Cape Breton immediately attempted the reduction of Nova Scotia, took Canseau, and twice laid siege to Annapolis, but without effect. The English, on the other hand, succeeded in capturing Louisburg, the Gibraltar of America, but when peace was concluded, by the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, in 1748, the island of Cape Breton was restored to France.

After the treaty, Great Britain began to pay more attention to Nova Scotia, which had hitherto been settled relation almost exclusively by the French, who, upon every rupture between the two countries, were accused of violating their neutrality. In order to introduce a greater proportion of English settlers, it was now proposed to colonize there a large number of the soldiers who had been discharged in consequence of the disbanding of the army, and in the latter part of June, 1749, a company of nearly 4000 adventurers of this class was added to the population of the colony.

To every private was given fifty acres of land, with ten additional acres for each member of his family. A higher allowance was granted to officers, till it amounted to six hundred acres for every person above the degree of captain, with proportionable allowances for the number and increase of every family. The settlers were to be conveyed free of expense, to be furnished with arms and ammunition, and with materials and utensils for clearing their lands and erecting habitations, and to be maintained twelve months after their arrival, at the expense of the government.

The emigrants having been landed at Chebucto harbor, under the charge of the Honorable Edward Cornwallis, whom the king had appointed their governor, they immediately commenced the building of a town, on a regular plan, to which the name of Halifax was given, in honor of the nobleman who had the greatest share in funding the colony. The place selected for the settlement possessed a cold, sterile and rocky soil, yet it was preferred to Annapolis, as it was considered more favorable for trade and fishery, and it likewise possessed one of the finest harbors in America. “Of so great importance to England was the colony deemed, that Parliament” continued to make annual grants for it, which, in 1755, had amounted to the enormous sum of nearly two millions of dollars.

But although the English settlers were thus firmly established, they soon found themselves unpleasantly situated. The limits of Nova Scotia had never been defined, by the treaties between France and England, with sufficient clearness to prevent disputes about boundaries, and each party was now striving to obtain possession of a territory claimed by the other. The government of France contended that the British dominion, according to the treaty which ceded Nova Scotia, extended only over the present peninsula of the same name; while, according to the English, it extended over all that large tract of country formerly known as Acadia, including the present province of New Brunswick. Admitting the English claim, France would be deprived of a portion of territory of great value to her, materially affecting her control over the River and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and greatly endangering the security of her Canadian possessions.

When, therefore, the English government showed a disposition effectually to colonize the country, the French settlers began to be alarmed; and though they did not think proper to make an open avowal of their jealousy, they employed their emissaries in exciting the [Mi’kmaq] to hostilities in the hope of effectually preventing the English from extending their plantations, and, perhaps, of inducing them to abandon their settlements entirely. The [Mi’kmaq] even made attacks upon Halifax, and the colonists could not move into the adjoining woods, singly or in small parties, without danger of being shot and scalped, or taken prisoners.

In support of the French claims, the governor of Canada sent detachments, which, aided by strong bodies of [Mi’kmaq] and a few French Acadians, erected the fort of Beau Sejour on the neck of the peninsula of Nova Scotia, and another on the river St. John, on pretence that these places were within the government of Canada. Encouraged by these demonstrations, the French inhabitants around the bay of Chignecto rose in open rebellion against the English government, and in the spring of 1750 the governor of Nova Scotia sent Major Lawrence with a few men to reduce them to obedience. At his approach, the French abandoned their dwellings, and placed themselves under the protection of the commandant of Fort Beau Sejour, when Lawrence, finding the enemy too strong for him, was obliged to retire without accomplishing his object.

Soon after, Major Lawrence was again detached with 1000 men, but after driving in the outposts of the enemy, he was a second time obliged to retire. To keep the French in check, however, the English built a fort on the neck of the peninsula, which, in honor of its founder, .was called Fort Lawrence.Still the depredations of the [Mi’kmaq] continued, the French erected additional forts in the disputed territory, and vessels of war, with troops and military stores, were sent to Canada and Cape Breton, until the forces in both these places became a source of great alarm to the English.

At length, in 1755, Admiral Boscawen commenced the war, which had long been anticipated by both parties, by capturing on the coast of Newfoundland two French vessels, having on board eight companies of soldiers and about 35,000 dollars in specie. Hostilities having thus begun, a force was immediately fitted out from New England, under Lieutenant Colonels Monckton and Winslow, to dislodge the enemy from their newly erected forts. The troops embarked at Boston on the 20th of May, and arrived at Annapolis on the 25th, whence they sailed on the 1st of June, in a fleet of forty-one vessels to Chignecto, and anchored about five miles from Fort Lawrence.

On their arrival at the river Massaguash, they found themselves opposed by a large number of regular forces, rebel Acadians, and [Mi’kmaq], 450 of whom occupied a block-house, while the remainder were posted within a strong outwork of timber. The latter were attacked by the English provincials with such spirit that they soon fled, when the garrison deserted the block-house, and left the passage of the river free. Thence Colonel Monckton advanced against Fort Beau Sejour, which he invested on the 12th of June, and after four days bombardment compelled it to surrender.

Having garrisoned the place, and changed its name to that of Cumberland, he next attacked and reduced another French fort near the mouth of the river Gaspereau, at the head of Bay Verte or Green Bay, where he found a large quantity of provisions and stores, which had been collected for the use of the [Mi’kmaq] and Acadians. A squadron sent against the post on the St. John, found it abandoned and destroyed. The success of the expedition secured the tranquility of all French Acadia, then claimed by the English under the name of Nova Scotia.

The peculiar situation of the Acadians, however, was a subject of great embarrassment to the local government of the province. In Europe, the war had begun unfavorably to the English, while General Braddock, sent with a large force to invade Canada, had been defeated with the loss of nearly his whole army. Powerful reenforcements had been sent by the French to Louisburg and other posts in America, and serious apprehensions were entertained that the enemy would next invade Nova Scotia, where they would find a friendly population, both European and [Mi’kmaq].

The French Acadians at that period amounted to Seventeen or eighteen thousand. They had cultivated a considerable extent of land, possessed about 60,000 head of cattle, had neat and comfortable dwellings, and lived in a state of plenty, but of great simplicity. They were a peaceful, industrious, and amiable race, governed mostly by their pastors, who exercised a parental authority over them; they cherished a deep attachment to their native country, they had resisted every invitation to bear arms against it, and had invariably refused to take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain. Although the great body of these people remained tranquilly occupied in the cultivation of their lands, yet a few individuals had joined the [Mi’kmaq], and about 300 were taken in the forts, in open rebellion against the government of the country.

Under these circumstances, Governor Lawrence and his council, aided by Admirals Boscawen and Mostyn, assembled to consider what disposal of the Acadians the security of the country required. Their decision resulted in the determination to tear the whole of this people from their homes, and disperse them through the different British colonies, where they would be unable to unite in any offensive measures, and where they might in time be-come naturalized to the government. Their lands, houses, and cattle, were, without any alleged crime, declared to be forfeited; and they were allowed to carry with them only their money and household furniture, both of extremely small amount.

Treachery was necessary to render this tyrannical scheme effective. The inhabitants of each district were commanded to meet at a certain place and day on urgent business, the nature of which was carefully concealed from them; and when they were all assembled, the dreadful mandate was pronounced,—and only small parties of-them were allowed to return for a short time to make the necessary preparations. They appear to have listened to their doom with unexpected resignation, making only mournful and solemn appeals, which were wholly disregarded. When, however, the moment of embarkation arrived, the young men, who were placed in front, absolutely refused to move and it required files of soldiers, with fixed bayonets, to secure obedience.

No arrangements had been made for their location elsewhere, nor was any compensation offered for the property of which they were deprived. They were merely thrown on the coast at different points, and compelled to trust to the charity of the inhabitants, who did not allow any of them to be absolutely starved. Still, through hardships, distress, and change of climate, a great proportion of them perished. So eager was their desire to return, that those sent to Georgia had set out, and actually reached New York, when they were arrested.

They addressed a pathetic representation to the English government, in which, quoting the most solemn treaties and declarations, they proved that their treatment had been as faithless as it was cruel. No attention, however, was paid to this document, and so guarded a silence government was preserved by the government of Nova Scotia, upon the subject of the removal of the Acadians, that the records of the province make no allusion whatever to the event.

Notwithstanding the barbarous diligence with which this mandate was executed, it is supposed that the banished number actually removed from the province did not exceed 7000. The rest fled into the depths of the forests, or to the nearest French settlements, enduring incredible hardships. To guard against the return of the hapless fugitives, the government reduced to ashes their habitations and property, laying waste even their own lands, with a fury exceeding that of the most savage enemy.

In one district, 236 houses were at once in a blaze. The Acadians, from the heart of the woods, beheld all they their homes possessed consigned to destruction; yet they made no movement till the devastators wantonly set their chapel on fire. They then rushed forward in desperation, killed about thirty of the incendaries, and then hastened back to their hiding-places.

But few events of importance occurred in Nova Scotia during the remainder of the French and Indian War, at the close of which, France was compelled to the transfer to her victorious rival, all her possessions on the American continent. Relieved from any farther apprehensions from the few French remaining in the country, the provincial government of the province made all the efforts of which it was Capable to extend the progress of cultivation and settlement, though all that could be done was insufficient to fill Up the dreadful blank that had already been made.

After the peace, the case of the Acadians naturally came Under the view of the government. No advantage had been derived from their barbarous treatment, and there remained no longer a pretext for continuing the persecution. They were, therefore, allowed to return, and to receive lands on taking the customary oaths, but no compensation was offered them for the property of which had been plundered. Nevertheless, a few did return, although, in 1772, out of a French population of seventeen or eighteen thousand which once composed the colony, there were only about two thousand remaining.

In 1758, during the administration of Governor Lawrence, a legislative assembly was given to the people of Nova Scotia. In 1761 an important [indigenous] treaty was concluded when the natives agreed finally to bury the hatchet, and to accept George III, instead of the king formerly owned by them, as their great father and friend. The province remained loyal to the crown during the war of the American Revolution, at the close of which, its population was greatly augmented by the arrival of a large number of loyalist refugees from the United States. Many of the new settlers directed their course to the region beyond peninsula, which, thereby acquiring a great increase of importance, was, in 1784, erected into a distinct government, under the title of New Brunswick. At the same time, the island of Cape Breton, which had been united with Nova Scotia since the capture of Louisburg in 1748, was erected into a separate government, in which it remained until 1820, when it was re-annexed to Nova Scotia.

The most interesting portions of the history of Nova Scotia, it will be observed, are found previous to the peace of 1763, which put a final termination to the colonial wars between France and England. Since that period the tranquillity of the province has been seldom interrupted, and, under a succession of popular governors, the country has continued steadily to advance in wealth and prosperity.

In 1729 the colony (of Newfoundland) was withdrawn from its nominal dependence on Nova Scotia, from which period until 1827 the government of the island was administered by naval commanders appointed to cruise on the fishing station, but who returned to England during the winter. Since 1827 the government has been administered by resident governors; and in 1832, at the earnest solicitation of the inhabitants, a representative assembly was granted them.”

Willson, Marcius. “American history: comprising historical sketches of the Indian tribes”. Cincinnati, W. H. Moore & co.; 1847. https://www.loc.gov/item/02003669/

The precursors of Jacques Cartier, 1497-1534: A collection of documents relating to the early history of the Dominion of Canada

“Setting sail from Corunna on 3 August, 1524,6 Gomez reached Newfoundland probably in September, but having been forbidden to enter any territory in possession of the king of Portugal,7 appears to have sailed westward to Cape Breton island, which he coasted towards the south. Our Bras d’Or, on account of its double entrance was christened the river with two mouths.’8 Being ignorant of the fact that Canso Gut was a passage between Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, Gomez gave to Chedabucto bay, leading to this Gut, the name of the ‘bay with the Cove.’9 Continuing his exploration southwards he named two openings on the coast of Nova Scotia which appear to have been our Ship and Halifax harbours, Chestnut-grove river1 and the river of Mountains.2

  1. P. Martyr, Opus epistolarum, fol. CXCIII*. Letter No. DCCCIIII. Compluti, 1530 ; Oviedo, De la natural hystoria de las Indias, fol. XIVT. Toledo, 1526; and Medina, op. cit., 93.
  2. Doc. XLIVA., p. 148.
  3. Bio de Dos Bocas, in Oviedo, Historia general y natural de las Indias, II., 148. Madrid, 1852.
  4. Bahia de la Ensenada which Oviedo (Historia general, etc., II., 148) states was ten leagues wide. Chedabucto bay is 17 miles in width.
  1. Bio de Castanar in Oviedo, loc. cit. The name is also given on the Ferdinand Columbus map.
  2. Bio de Montanas in Oviedo, loc. cit. The name is also given on the Eibero map.

Biggar, Henry Percival. “The precursors of Jacques Cartier, 1497-1534 : a collection of documents relating to the early history of the Dominion of Canada”, 1911. https://archive.org/details/precursorsofjacq00bigguoft