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/

An historical geography of the United States

1606:

King James’ Patent of 1606, Dividing Virginia into two parts.

The patents of the Plymouth and London companies in 1606 extended 100 miles from the coast and overlapped each other three degrees of latitude (from 38° to 41°.) Neither company however was to make a settlement within 100 miles of one already made by the other.”

[Norumbega noted on this map].

[Reading the patent itself it states “situate, lying, and being all along the Sea Coasts, between four and thirty (34°) Degrees of Northerly Latitude from the Equinoctial Line, and five and forty (45°) Degrees of the same Latitude, and in the main Land between the same four and thirty and five and forty Degrees, and the Islands thereunto adjacent, or within one hundred Miles of the Coast thereof”.

Hinted on the map, though not shaded along with the rest of the Plymouth Company lands unlike in earlier works, is the fact that 45° latitude also traverses across Nova Scotia, which, despite being a peninsula, is undoubtedly a part of the mainland. Is this revision meant to satiate those to the north, or their proprietors, after their “Confederation”? If this were a one-off I’d more less likely to attribute it to any kind of an arrangement, but there are other sources which confirm this earlier view. Even if Nova Scotia were an island and not connected to the mainland, it would still be within 50 miles of the seacoast of the shaded area, let alone 100 miles.]

[This might provide insight into the rationale behind naming conventions used for certain communities in Nova Scotia, such as “Virginia East”.]

Virginia East, Nova Scotia
Virginia East, Nova Scotia

1609-1620:

“Reorganization of the Plymouth Company in 1620 as the Council of Plymouth for New England.

The Virginia charter of 1609 bounded the London Company to the land between points 200 miles north and 200 miles south of Point Comfort, throughout from sea to sea, “west and northwest.” The Plymouth charter of 1620 fixed the limits of Plymouth Company between 40° and 48°.”

1640:

“French claims”

1655:

“French claims”

1660:

“Barony of New Scotland”

“Council of Plymouth, of New England. Grants by the Council:

1621 To Sir W. Alexander, Lordship and Barony of New Scotland (Nova Scotia)

1635 To Sir W. Alexander, Pemaquid and Islands of Long, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.”

1664:

“Grants to the Duke of York”

1763:

“Massachusetts until 1696”

[There were other English colonies that existed in 1763 not included in this map. While they did not go on to become part of the United States, they were fellow colonies, at least up until ‘the commencement of hostilities’.]

Maccoun, Townsend. An historical geography of the United States. [New York, Boston etc. Silver, Burdett & company, 1911] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/11031776/

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

The history of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, from the first settlement thereof in 1628, until its incorporation…in 1691

Not just any old moldering title, but that of the second last royalist governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson. Written in 1765, at a time when all of the colonies were kindred, just previous to the implementation of the Stamp Act. Although specifically written on the history of Massachusetts, that Nova Scotia was once affixed ensures the inclusion of numerous details.


It is observable that all the colonies, before the reign of King Charles the second, Maryland excepted, settled a model of government for themselves. Virginia had been many years distracted under the government of presidents and governors, with councils in whose nomination or removal the people had no voice, until in the year 1620 a house of burgesses broke out in the colony; the King nor the grand council at home not having given any powers or directions for it.

— The governor and assistants of the Massachusetts at first intended to rule the people, and, as we have observed, obtained their consent for it, but this lasted two or three years only; and although there is no colour for it in the charter, yet a house of deputies appeared suddenly, in 1634, to the surprize of the magistrates and the disappointment of their schemes for power. — Connecticut soon after followed the plan of the Massachusetts. — New-Haven, altho’ the people had the highest reverence for their leaders and for near 30 years in judicial proceeding submitted to the magistracy (it must however be remembered that it was annually elected) without a jury, yet in matters of legislation the people, from the beginning, would have their share by their representatives. — New Hampshire combined together under the same form with Massachusetts, — Lord Say tempts the principal men of the Massachusetts, to make them and their heirs nobles and absolute governors of a new colony; but, under this plan, they could find no people to follow them. — Barbadoes and the leeward islands, began in 1625, struggled under governors and councils and contending proprietors for about 20 years. Numbers suffered death by the arbitrary sentences of courts martial, or other acts of violence, as one side or the other happened to prevail. At length, in 1645, the assembly was called, and no reason given but this, viz. That, by the grant to the Earl of Carlisle, the inhabitants were to enjoy all the liberties, privileges and franchises of English subjects, and therefore, as it is also expressly mentioned in the grant, could not legally be bound or charged by any a without their own consent. This grant, in 1627, was made by Charles the first, a Prince not the most tender of the subjects liberties. After the restoration there is no instance of a colony settled without a representative of the people, nor any attempt to deprive the colonies of this privilege, except in the arbitrary reign of King James the second. The colonies, which are to be settled in the new acquired countries, have the fullest assurance, by his Majesty’s proclamation, that the same form of government shall be established there. Perhaps the same establishment in Canada, and the full privileges of British subjects conferred upon the French inhabitants there, might be the means of firmly attaching them to the British interest; and civil liberty tend also to deliver them by degrees from their religious slavery.

The inhabitants of Acadie or Nova-Scotia lived, above forty years after the reduction of Port Royal under the government of their priests. No form of civil government was established, and they had no more affection for England than for Russia. The military authority served as a watch to prevent confederacies or combinations. The people indeed chose more or less deputies from each canton or division, but their only business seems to have been to receive orders from the governor, and to present petitions to him from the people. Temporal offences, unless enormous, and all civil controversies were ordinarily adjudged and determined by their spiritual fathers. I asked some of the most sensible of the Acadians, what punishment’s the priests could inflict to answer the ends of government. They answered me by another question. What can be a greater punishment than the forfeiture of our salvation? In no part of the Romish church the blind persuasion, of the power of the priest to save or damn, was ever more firmly riveted; and although these Acadians have, for eight years past, been scattered through the English colonies, yet I never could hear of one apostate or so much as a wavering person among them all: and if the Canadians are treated in the same manner, they will probably remain under the same infatuation.”


About this time [1644], much division and disturbance in the colony was occasioned by the French of Acadie and Nova-Scotia. It is necessary to look back upon the state of those countries. After Argall dispossessed the French in 1613, they seem to have been neglected both by English and French, until the grant to Sir William Alexander in 1621. That he made attempts and began settlements in Nova-Scotia has always been allowed, the particular voyages we have no account of. It appears from Champlain, that many French had joined with the English or Scotch, and adhered to their interest. Among the rest, La Tour was at Port Royal in 1630, where out of seventy Scots, thirty had died the winter before from their bad accommodations. La Tour, willing to be safe, let the title be in which it would, English or French, procured from the French King a grant of the river St. John, and five leagues above and five below, and ten leagues into the country; this was in 1627.

This appears from a list of the several grants made to La Tour, communicated to governor Pownall by Monsieur D’Entremont a very ancient French inhabitant of Acadie descended from La Tour, and who was removed to Boston in 1756 and died in a few years after. At the same time he was connected with the Scotch, and first obtained leave to improve lands and build within the territory, and then, about the year 1630, purchased Sir William Alexander’s title. La Tour’s title is said to have been confirmed to him under the great seal of Scotland, and that he obtained also a grant of a baronettage of Nova-Scotia. It is probable the case was not just as represented. King Charles in 1625 confirmed Alexander’s grant, under whom La Tour settled Penobscot, and all the country westward and southward, was at this time in the possession of the English. In 1632, La Tour obtained from the French King a grant of the river and bay of St. Croix and islands and lands adjacent, twelve leagues upon the sea and twenty leagues into the land. The French commissaries speak of this grant as made to Razilly.

By the treaty of St. Germains, the same year, Acadie was relinquished by the English, and La Tour became dependent upon the French alone. In 1634, he obtained a grant of the isle of Sables ; another of ten leagues upon the sea and ten into the land at La Have; another of Port Royal the fame extent; and the like at Menis, with all adjacent islands included in each grant. Razilly had the general command, who appointed Monsieur D’Aulney de Charnify his Lieutenant of that part of Acadie west of St. Croix, and La Tour of that east. In consequence of this division, D’Aulney came, as has been related, and dispossessed the English at Penobscot in the year 1635. Razilly died soon after, and D’Aulney and La Tour both claimed a general command of Acadie and made war upon one another. D’Aulney, by the French King’s letter to him in 1638, was ordered to confine himself to the coast of the Etechemins, which in all his writings he makes to be a part of Acadie. La Tour’s principal fort was at St. John’s. As their chief views were the trade with the natives, being so near together, there was a constant clashing of interest. In November 1641, La Tour sent Rochet, a protestant of Rochel, to Boston from St. John’s, with proposals for a free trade between the two colonies, and desiring assistance against D’Aulney; but not having sufficient credentials, the governor and council declined any treaty, and he returned. The next year, October 6, there came to Boston a shallop from La Tour, with his Lieutenant and 14 men, with letters full of compliment, desiring aid to remove D’Aulney from Penobscot, and renewing the proposal of a free trade. They returned without any assurance of what was principally desired, but some merchants of Boston sent a pinnace after them to trade with La Tour at the river St. John. They met with good encouragement, and brought letters to the governor, containing a large state of the controversy between D’Aulney and La Tour, but stopping at Pemaquid in their way home, they found D’Aulney upon a visit there, who wrote to the governor and sent him a printed copy of an arrêt he had obtained from France against La Tour, and threatened, that if any vessels came to La Tour he would make prize of them. The next summer (June 12) La Tour himself came to Boston, in a ship with 140 persons aboard, the matter and crew being protestants of Rochel. They took a pilot out of a Boston vessel at sea, and coming into the harbour saw a boat with Mr. Gibbon’s lady and family, who were going to his farm. One of the Frenchmen, who had been entertained at the house, knew her, and a boat being manned to invite her aboard, she fled to Governor’s island and the Frenchmen after her, where they found the governor and his family, who were all greatly surprized, as was the whole colony when they heard the news.

The town was so surprized, that they were all immediately in arms, and three shallops filled with armed men were lent to guard the governor home. Had it been an enemy, he might not only have secured the governor’s person, but taken possession of the castle opposite to the island, there not being a single man at that time to defend the place . This occasioned new regulations for the better security of the place. The castle was rebuilt in 1644, at the charge of the six neighbouring towns.

La Tour acquainted the governor, that this ship coming from France, with supplies for his fort, found it blocked up by D’Aulney his old enemy, and he was now come to Boston to pray aid to remove him. La Tour had cleared up his conduct, so as to obtain a permission under the hands of the Vice Admiral and Grand Prior, &c. for this ship to bring supplies to him, and in the permission he was stiled the King’s Lieutenant General in Acadie. He produced also letters from the agent of the company in France, advising him to look to himself and to guard against the designs of D’ Aulney. The governor called together such of the magistrates and deputies as were near the town, and laid before them La Tour’s request. They could not, consistent with the articles they had just agreed to with the other governments, grant aid without their advice; but they did not think it necessary to hinder any, who were willing to be hired, from aiding him, which he took very thankfully ; but some being displeased with these concessions, the governor called a second meeting, where, upon a more full debate, the first opinion was adhered to.

Some of the magistrates, deputies and elders, were much grieved at this proceeding. A remonstrance to the governor was drawn up and signed by Mr. Saltonstall, Mr. Bradstreet, and Mr. Symonds of the magistrates, and Mr. Nath. Ward, Ezekiel Rogers, Nathanael Rogers and John Norton of the elders ; wherein they condemn the proceeding, as impolitic and unjust, and set forth “that they should expose their trade to the ravages of D’AuIney, and perhaps the whole colony to the resentment of the French King, who would not be imposed upon by the distinction of permitting and commanding force to assist La Tour ; that they had no sufficient evidence of the justice of his cause, and in causa dubia bellum non est suscipiendum ; that La Tour was a papist attended by priests, friars. Sec. and that they were in the case of Jehoshaphat who joined with Ahab an idolater, which act was expressly condemned in scripture.

La Tour hired four ships of force, and took 70 or 80 volunteers into his pay, with which assistance he was safely landed at his fort, and D’Aulney fled to Penobscot, where he ran his vessels ashore; and although the commander of the ships refused to attack him, yet some of the soldiers joined with La Tour’s men in an assault upon some of D’Aulney’s men, who had intrenched themselves; but were obliged to betake themselves to flight, having three of their number slain. The ships returned in about two months, without any loss. The governor excused the proceeding to D’Aulney, as not having interested himself in the quarrel between them, but only permitted La Tour, in his distress, as the laws of Christianity and humanity required, to hire ships and men for his money, without any commission or authority derived from the government of the colony. D’Aulney went to France, and, being expected to return the next summer 1644, with a great force, La Tour came again to Boston, and went from thence to Mr. Endicot, who was then governor and lived at Salem, and who appointed a meeting of magistrates and ministers to consider his request. Most of the magistrates were of opinion that he ought to be relieved as a distressed neighbour, and in point of prudence, to prevent so dangerous an enemy as D’Aulney from strengthening himself in their neighbourhood; but it was finally agreed, that a letter should be wrote to D’Aulney, to enquire the reason of his having granted commissions to take their people, and to demand satisfaction for the wrong he had done to them and their confederates, in taking Penobscot, and in making prize of their men and goods at the Isle of Sables; at the same time intimating, that although these people who went the last year with La Tour, had no commission, yet if D’Aulney could make it appear they had done him any wrong (which they knew nothing of) satisfaction should be made ; and they expected he should call in all his commissions, and required his answer by the bearer. They likewise acquainted him, that their merchants had entered into a trade with La Tour, which they were resolved to support them in. La Tour being able to obtain nothing further, returned to his fort. Some of the province of Maine going this summer (1644) from Saco to trade with La Tour, or to get in their debts, put in at Penobscot in their way, and were detained prisoners a few days ; but for the fake of Mr. Shurt of Pemaquid, one of the company, who was well known to D’Aulney, they were released. La Tour afterwards prevailed upon Mr. Wanneston, another of the company, to attempt, with about twenty of La Tour’s men, to take Penobscot, for they heard the fort was weakly manned and in want of victuals. They went first to a farm house of D’Aulney ’s about six miles from the fort. They burned the the house and killed the cattle, but Wanneston being killed at the door, the rest of them came to Boston. In September, letters were received from D’Aulney informing that his master the King of France understanding that the aid allowed to La Tour, the last year, by the Massachusetts, was procured by means of a commission which he shewed from the Vice-Admiral of France, had given in charge that they should not be molested, but good correspondence should be kept with them and all the English, and that, as soon as he had settled some affairs, he intended to let them know what further com-mission he had, &c. Soon after, he lent a commissioner, supposed to be a friar, but dressed in lay habit, with ten men to attend him, with credentials and a commission under the great seal of France, and copy of some late proceedings again! La Tour, who was proscribed as a rebel and traitor, having fled out of France again against special order. The governor and magistrates urged much a reconciliation with La Tour, but to no purpose. La Tour pretended to be a Huguenot, or at least to think favourably of that religion, and this gave him a preference in the esteem of the colony to D’Aulney; but as D’Aulney seemed to be established in his authority, upon proposals being made by him of peace and friendship, the following articles were concluded upon, viz,. The agreement between John Endicott, Esq; governor of New-England, and the rest of the magistrates there, and Monsieur Marie commissioner of Monsieur D’Aulney, Knt. governor and lieut. general for his Majesty the King of France in Acadie, a province of New France, made and ratified at Boston in the Massachusetts aforesaid, October 8, 1644.

“The Governor and all the rest of the magistrates do promise to Mr. Marie, that they, and all the rest of the English within the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts, shall observe and keep firm peace with Monsieur D’Aulney, &C. and all the French under his command in Acadie. And likewise, the said M. Marie doth promise in the behalf of Monk D’Aulney, that he and all his people shall also keep firm peace with the governor and magistrates aforesaid, and with all the inhabitants of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts aforesaid; and that it shall be lawful for all men, both the French and English to trade with each other , so that if any occasion of offence should happen, neither part shall attempt any thing against the other in any hostile manner, until the wrong be first declared and complained of, and due satisfaction not given. Provided always, the governor and magistrates aforesaid be not bound to restrain their merchants from trading with their ships with any persons, whether French or others, wheresoever they dwell. Provided also, that the full ratification and conclusion of this agreement be referred to the next meeting of the commissioners of the united colonies of New-England, for the continuation or abrogation, and in the mean time to remain firm and inviolable. This agreement freed the people from the fears they were under of ravages upon their small vassals and out plantations. La Tour was suffered to hire a vessel to carry a supply of provisions to his fort ; which vessel he took under his convoy and returned home.

The agreement made with D’Aulney was afterwards ratified by the commissioners of the united colonies, but he proved a very troublesome neighbor notwithstanding. In 1645 he made prize of a vessel, belonging to the merchants of Boston going to La Tour with provisions, and sent the men home (after he had stripped them of their cloaths and kept them ten days upon an island) in a small old boat, without either compass to steer by or gun to defend themselves. The governor and council dispatched away a vessel with letters to expostulate with him upon this action, complaining of it as a breach of the articles, and requiring satisfaction; but he wrote back in very high and lofty language, and threatened them with the effects of his master’s displeasure. They replied to D’Aulney, that they were not afraid of any thing he could do to them ; and as for his master, they knew he was a mighty prince, but they hoped he was just as well as mighty, and that he would not fall upon them without hearing their cause, and if he should do it, they had a God in whom to trust when all other help failed. With this ship D’Aulney made an attempt the same year upon La Tour’s fort while he was absent, having left only 50 men-in it; his lady bravely defended it, and D’Aulney returned disappointed and charged the Massachusetts with breach of covenant in entertaining, La Tour and sending home his lady. They excused themselves in a letter, by replying, that La Tour had hired three London ships which lay in the harbour. To this letter D’AuIney refused at first to return any answer, and refused to suffer the messenger, Capt. Allen, to come within his fort; but, at length, wrote in a high strain demanding satisfaction for his mill which had been burnt and threatening revenge. When the commissioners met in September, they agreed to send capt. Bridges to him, with the articles of peace ratified by them, and demanding a ratification from him under his own hand. D’Aulney entertained their messenger with courtesy and all the state he could, but refused to sign the articles, until the differences between them were composed ; and wrote back, that he perceived their drift was to gain time, whereas if their messengers had been furnished with power to have treated with him and concluded about their differences, he doubted not all might have been composed, for he stood more upon his honour than his interest, and he would sit still until the spring expecting their answer.

The general court, upon considering this answer, resolved to send the deputy governor Mr. Dudley, Major Demson and Capt. Hawthorn, with full powers to treat and determine, and wrote to D’AuIney, acquainting him with their resolution, and that they had agreed to the place he desired, viz. Penobscot or Pentagoet, and referred the time to him, provided it should be the month of September. This was opposed by some, as too great a condescension, and they would have had him come to the English settlement at Pemaquid; but his commission of lieutenant-general for the King or France was thought by others to carry so much dignity with it, that it would be no dishonour to the colony to go to his own home ; but it seems he was too good a husband to put himself to the expense of entertaining the messengers, and wrote in answer that he perceived they were now in earnest and desired peace, as he did also for his part, and he thought himself highly honored by their vote to send so many of their principal men to him; but desired he might spare them the labour, and he would fend two or three of his to Boston, in August following (1646) to hear and determine, &c. On the 20th of September, Messrs. Marie, Lewis, and D’Aulney’s secretary, arrived at Boston in a small pinnace, and it being Lord’s day, two officers were sent to receive them at the water side and to conduct them to their lodgings without any noise, and after the public worship was over, the governor sent Major Gibbons, with other gentlemen and a guard of musketeers to attend them to his house, where they were entertained. The next morning they began upon business, and every day dined in public, and were conduced morning and evening to and from the place of treaty with great ceremony. Great injuries were alleged on both sides, and after several days spent, an amnesty was agreed upon.

One Capt. Cromwell had taken in the West Indies a rich sedan made for the Vice Roy of Mexico, which he gave to Mr. Winthrop : This was sent as a present to D’Aulney, and well accepted by his commissioners, the treaty renewed, and all matters amicably settled. In the mean time, D’Aulney effectually answered his main purpose, for by his high language he kept the colony from assisting La Tour, took his fort from him, with ten thousand pounds sterling in furs and other merchandise, ordnance stores, plate, jewels, &c. to the great loss of the Massachusetts merchants, to one only of whom (Major Gibbons) La Tour was indebted 2500l. which was wholly lost. La Tour went to Newfoundland, where he hoped to be aided by Sir David Kirk, but was disappointed, and came from thence to Boston, where he prevailed upon some merchants to send him with four or five hundred pounds sterling in goods to trade with the Indians in the bay of Fundy. He dismissed the English, who were sent in the vessel, and never thought proper to return himself or render any account of his consignments. D’Aulney died before the year 1652, and La Tour married his widow, and repossessed himself, in whole or in part, of his former estate in Nova Scotia ; and in 1691, a daughter of D’Aulney and a canoness at St. Omers dying, made her brothers and fillers La Tours her general legatees. Under them, and by force of divers confirmations of former grants made by Lewis the 14th, between the peace of Ryswick and that of Utrecht, D’Entremant aforementioned claimed a great part of the province of Nova Scotia and of the country of Acadie. Of part of those in Nova Scotia he was possessed, when all the French inhabitants were removed by order of admiral Boscawen and general Lawrence.

Sir Thomas Temple came first to New-England in 1657, having, with others, obtained from Oliver a grant of lands in Acadie or Nova Scotia, of which he was made Governor. He was recommended by Nathaniel Fiennes, son to Lord Say. Mr. Fiennes calls him his near kinsman. The King having recommended, by a letter Feb. 22d 1665, to the governor and council, an expedition against Canada, the court in their answer to Lord Arlington, July 17th 1666, say that “having consulted with Sir Thomas Temple, governor of Nova Scotia, and with the governor of Connecticut (Mr. Winthrop, who had lately been in England) they concluded it was not feazable at present, as well in respect of the difficulty, if not impossibility of a land march over the rocky mountains, and howling deserts, about four hundred miles, as the strength of the French there, according to reports.

From 1666 to 1670 Mr. Bellingham was annually chosen governor, and Mr. Willoughby deputy governor. Nova-Scotia and the rest of Acadie, which had been rescued from the French by Cromwell, were restored by the treaty of Breda. The French made little progress in settling this country. The only inconvenience the Massachusetts complained of, until after the revolution, was the encouragement given to the Indians to make their inroads upon the frontiers. Sir Thomas Temple who, with others had a grant of the country first from Cromwell, and afterwards from King Charles, thought he had reason to complain, and the King’s order was repeated to him, to give up his forts to the French, some pretense being made for not complying with the first order.

Hutchinson, Thomas. The History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. 1765. https://archive.org/details/historyofcolonyo00hutc/page/94/mode/2up

“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 Charter of New England: 1620

“…And for asmuch as We have been certainly given to understand by divers of our good Subjects, that have for these many Years past frequented those Coasts and Territoryes, between the Degrees of Fourty and Fourty-Eight, that there is noe other the Subjects of any Christian King or State, by any Authority from their Soveraignes, Lords, or Princes, actually in Possession of any of the said Lands or Precincts, whereby any Right, Claim, Interest, or Title, may, might, or ought by that Meanes accrue, belong, or appertaine unto them, or any of them.”

“Wee therefore, of our especiall Grace, mere Motion, and certaine Knowledge, by the Aduice of the Lords and others of our Priuy Councell have for Us, our Heyrs and Successors, graunted, ordained, and established, and in and by these Presents, Do for Us, our Heirs and Successors, grant, ordaine and establish, that all that Circuit, Continent, Precincts, and Limitts in America, lying and being in Breadth from Fourty Degrees of Northerly Latitude, from the Equnoctiall Line, to Fourty-eight Degrees of the said Northerly Latitude, and in length by all the Breadth aforesaid throughout the Maine Land, from Sea to Sea, with all the Seas, Rivers, Islands, Creekes, Inletts, Ports, and Havens, within the Degrees, Precincts and Limitts of the said Latitude and Longitude, shall be the Limitts; and Bounds, and Precints of the second Collony: And to the End that the said Territoryes may forever hereafter be more particularly and certainly known and distinguished, our Will and Pleasure is, that the sa.ne shall from henceforth be nominated, termed, and called by the Name of New-England, in America; and by that Name of New-England in America, the said Circuit, Precinct, Limitt, Continent, Islands, and Places in America, aforesaid, We do by these Presents, for Us, our Heyrs and Successors, name, call, erect, found and establish, and by that Name to have Continuance for ever.”

“And Wee do further of our especial Grace, certaine Knowledge, and meere Motion for Us, our Heirs and Successors for and in Respect of the Considerations aforesaid, and for divers other good Causes and Considerations, us thereunto especially moving, and by the Advice of the Lords and Others of our said Privy Councill have absolutely giuen, granted, and confirmed, and do by these Presents absolutely give, grant, and confirm unto the said Councill, called the Counceil established att Plymouth in the County of Devon for the planting, ruling, and governing of New-England in America, and unto their Successors for ever, all the aforesaid Lands and Grounds, Continent, Precinct, Place, Places and Territoryes, viz, the aforesaid Part of America, lying, and being in Breadth from ffourty Degrees of Northerly Latitude from the Equinoctiall Line, to ffourty-eight Degrees of the said Northerly Latitude inclusively, and in Length of, and within all the Breadth aforesaid, throughout the Maine Land from Sea to Sea, together also, with the Firme Lands, Soyles, Grounds Havens, Ports, Rivers, Waters, Fishings, Mines, and Mineralls, as well Royall Mines of Gold and Silver, as other Mine and Mineralls, precious Stones, Quarries, and all, and singular other Comodities, Jurisdictions, Royalties, Priveliges, Franchises, and Preheminences, both within the same Tract of Land upon the Maine, and also within the said Islands and Seas adjoining: Provided always, that the said Islands, or any of the Premises herein before mentioned, and by these Presents intended and meant to be granted, be not actually possessed or inhabited by any other Christian Prince or Estate, nor he within the Bounds, Limitts, or Territoryes, of that Southern Collony Heretofore by us granted to be planted by diverse of our loving Subjects in the South Parts, to have and to hold, possess and enjoy, all, and singular, the aforesaid Continent, Lands, Territoryes, Islands, Hereditaments and Precincts, Sea Waters, Fishings, with all, and all Manner their Commodities, Royalties, Liberties, Preheminences and Profitts, that shall arise from thence, with all and singular. their Appertenances, and every Part and Parcell thereof, and of them, to and unto the said Councell and their Successors and Assignes for ever, to the sole only and proper Use, Benefit and Behooffe of them the said Council and their Successors and Assignes for ever, to be holden of Us, our Heires, and Successors, as of our Manor of East-Greenwich, in our County of Kent, in free and common Soccage and not in in Capite, nor by Knight’s Service; yielding and paying therefore to Us, our Heires, our Successors, the fifth Part, of the Ores of Gold and Silver, which from time to time, and aft all times hereafter, shall happen to be found, gotten, had, and obtained, in or within any the said Lands, Limitts, Territoryes, and Precincts, or in or within any Part or Parcell thereof, for, or in Respect of all, and all Manner of Dutys, Demands, and Services whatsoever, to be done, made, or paid to Us, our Heires, and Successors.”

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/federalstatecons03thoruoft/page/1828/mode/2up

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/mass01.asp

A Plan of National Colonization

dartmouth royal instructions 1749

More time is spent describing Dartmouth here than in many other similar books of its kind, yet another instance of 1756 being given as the date of Dartmouth’s “destruction” at the hands of the Mi’kmaq.

The timing of the attack, 1756, as it relates to the delay of the institution of representative government at Halifax until 1758; the requirement of a population of 25 electors in 1757 in order to qualify for a representative in the legislature, which become 50 electors by 1758; all these points, when put together, have always struck me as curious.

Earlier events, such as the arrival and settlement of various “wastrels” as well as the “King’s bad bargains” at Halifax not to mention French hostilities has led me to question whether it was really the Mi’kmaq who were to blame for the “destruction of Dartmouth” at all.

I’m not sure how far those intent on advancing their position would go — whether it would include the removal of people situated across the harbor by any means necessary, to prevent any additional representation which would compete with Halifax — or in furtherance to claims for land located there. That the imposition of the BNA and “amalgamation” were repeats of this scenario in many ways, at least in terms of administrative capture and the furtherance of land claims, means that I can’t help but give the possibility of this scenario credence, especially considering differing descriptions of these events in various sources and the revisionism that has taken place since.

Of further interest in this “Plan for National Colonization” was that the partisan affiliations of each of the newspapers published in Halifax at the time are listed, the disdainful attitude of the author towards the black people settled here (perhaps due primarily to their American origin) is also apparent. Whether that was the prevailing attitude of the British more broadly at the time is an interesting question, especially with respect to today’s 1619 project era of presentism which operates as if British attitudes towards blacks were more benevolent in nature in comparison to Americans, when it was British law that served as the basis for slavery to begin with.

In earlier chapters especially, but even when describing the people of Nova Scotia, we see many attempts to extol the virtues of Anti-Americanism, to showcase the loyalty of Nova Scotians towards the crown and to stress they weren’t disaffected; no chance is wasted to cast Americans as uncivilized throughout.

Page 342: “(Nova Scotians) are entirely British in their feelings, and loyal to a degree that reminds one of the reign of George the Third, and the threatened invasion of England by Napoleon, when it was not enough to be loyal, but every one was expected to make constant profession of his being so, to prevent his being classed among the disaffected.

Following there is a note about Joseph Howe and his compatriots efforts at reform.

Here, as in Canada there is a large class of Reformers, who contend for the necessity of Responsible Government; — by which is simply meant, that while the Sovereign at home shall have the appointment of the Governor, and the nomination of the Legislative Council— the members of the Executive Council, corresponding to our Cabinet Ministers in England, shall be selected from that party which has the majority in the House of Representatives, so that the acts of the Executive shall be somewhat in harmony with the public opinion, as expressed by the choice of their delegates.”

Also included here is the book’s timeline of historical events concerning Nova Scotian colonization, since it delves into the Baronets and baronetcies in a manner I haven’t seen in other sources — an institution that I’m not at all sure has actually faded into the history books. The anecdote shared by the author which attempts to rationalize the ad hoc and arbitrary nature of the British monarchy (“for ever”) is revealing, where it was thought at first it must have been an issue with translation and not the totalitarianism of the British crown that led to a “misunderstanding”. The crown’s perpetual redefinition of words and terms as it suits the crown as an institutional affect, the “royal prerogative”, is something which might seem familiar to Canadians today — it’s a story that helps to explain some of the impetus for the American revolution, from the perspective of American colonists in terms of rule of law and the desire for a written Constitution.

It helps to explain the feelings of the New Englanders who formed the majority of settlers in the province initially. Almost all were dissenters, until a push of loyalists in the 1780s changed the political landscape. Those New Englanders had settled in Nova Scotia thanks in large part to assurances that they could enjoy local self government — township government in the New England form — and that their rights to enjoy religious liberties would be respected, that which would otherwise serve as the basis for the Bill of rights a few miles away. Both were yanked out from underneath them in order to concentrate even more power within the Halifax establishment.

Over the generations what was an initial radical Whig interpretation and reaction to the revolution, and in some cases republican sympathies, has been morphed into what’s derisively called “conservatism” by those who aren’t. This can be seen in Wilkie and Howe’s time as they were more finely tuned against the magistrates in what was still being governed as Virginia had been a century earlier, by quarter session, a process which wasn’t interrupted in the slightest, regardless of the many protestations and prayers of the people until 1841. The effort to recast “conservatism” as “Tory’s” exclusively is in my opinion a way to prevent any kind of fusion like that which John Adams’ identified as the basis for the spirit of the revolution. A regime of philosophical intoxication against republicanism by proxy exists today, as any number of thought crimes against woke intersectionality, gender and/or climate confusion. It’s present regardless of party and in many ways identifies the uni-party, used to assuage anything other than the default government orthodoxy of “global equity” and “diversity”, in everything but political ideology.


Opposite to Halifax, on the eastern shore of its harbour, is the small town of Dartmouth, the soil around which is more fertile than on the west, and is advantageously cultivated chiefly by German settlers. The breadth of the harbour here is about a mile and half, and a steam ferry-boat goes across every half hour. It is of nearly as early a date as Halifax, having been founded in 1750; but about six years after its foundation it was destroyed by [Mi’kmaq], and the greater number of its inhabitants massacred. It was revived in 1784 by some families from Nantucket, among whom were some of the Quebec family of the Roches, related to the wealthy merchants of that name in New Bedford. They carried on the whale-fishery here with great success till 1792, when a branch of them removed to Milford Haven in Wales. The town has now a population of 1,500 only; but if the projected canal, called the Shubenacadie – intended to pass through a chain of small lakes behind the town towards the river Shubenacadie, which falls into the Bay of Fundy – should ever be completed, it would no doubt greatly advance the prosperity of Dartmouth.

It is from this point of view that the town of Halifax, with its crowning hill and fortifications, its busy wharves lined with shipping below, the spires of its churches and the general mass of dwellings, is seen to the greatest advantage.


Newspapers appear to be as numerous here, as in any town of a similar size in America. None of them are published daily; but there are large weekly papers-the Times, Conservative; the Nova Scotian, Reformer; the Royal Gazette, official; the Journal and the Acadian Reporter, neutral. These are all conducted with great care, and respectable talent. There is also a religious paper in the Baptist interest, called the Christian Messenger; and another in the Methodist interest, called the Guardian. Besides these, there are three penny papers published twice and thrice a week – the Herald, the Morning Post, and the Hailgonian, which furnish only the heads of news, without exercising much influence on public opinion.

There is a Theatre in Halifax; but, like most of these establishments in the Colonies, it is so little frequented by the higher and even middle classes, that its support is left to strangers, and the lowest class of the population, so that it is constantly in debt and embarrassment, and will ultimately, no doubt, be abandoned.

The Commerce of Halifax is confined chiefly to the United States, the West Indies, and the Brazils, in America; and to Great Britain and the Mediterranean, in Europe. It consists chiefly of the export of timber, dried fish, wheat, flour, oats, salted pork, butter, and fish-oil; and in the import of manufactured goods from England, wines from the Mediterranean, and sugar, molasses, logwood, mahogany, coffee, cigars, and rum, from the West Indies. The aggregate amount of exports and imports on an average of several years past, is about £750,000 annually for each; though for the whole Province of Nova Scotia, including the few other ports, it is about £1,000,000.

The population of Halifax is estimated at 16,000 persons, including at least 1,000 black people], and a few [Mi’kmaq] of the [Mi’kmaq] tribe. These last are rather occasional visitors than permanent residents; but, like the black people], being seen frequently in the streets, and attracting attention from their fantastic dress and colours, they give an impression to the stranger of their being more numerous than they really are. The black people] settled here are chiefly from the United States and the West Indies. During the American war, the British squadron, under Sir Alexander Cochrane, after ravaging the shores of the Chesapeake, and going up to Washington to burn the Capitol, and destroy the public records there, brought away a great many black people] from Maryland and Virginia, as prisoners of war; and these becoming free as soon as they were landed here, had no disposition to return. Ships arriving from the West Indies also brought, from time to time, runaway slaves, who sometimes secreted themselves in the shipsholds, till they got to sea, and sometimes entered on board vessels as cooks or stewards, and finding many of their own colour here, joined them as residents. The greater number of them appear to have made little or no improvement in their condition, being poor, ignorant, dirty, and indolent; while no pains seems to be taken, either by the Government or by any Benevolent Society, to elevate them, by education and training, above their present state.


The history of Nova Scotia may be briefly told. It was first discovered by the Cabots in 1497; was visited by the Marquis de la Roche in 1598; and was first colonized by the French, under De Monts, in 1604, when it was called Acadia. In 1613, however; the English sent a small expedition [–Argal, from Virginia] to expel the French, and take possession of Acadia, on the ground of their navigators having been the first to discover the territory. This practice of claiming a property in every land discovered, as if there were no higher title, is happily ridiculed by one of the writers of the day, in this quaint couplet-

“For these were the days – to all men be it known, That all a man sailed by, or saw, was his own.”

But even this was not literally true, for it was rather the monarchs of the hardy navigators, than the territories because their subjects had discovered them. Accordingly in 1621, King James the First granted the whole of this country of Acadia to Sir William Alexander, and changed its name to Nova Scotia. The boundary line then fixed for the territory was one drawn from the river St. Croix to the St. Lawrence, so that it included all the present colony of New Brunswick, as well as a part of Lower Canada from Bic Island to Gaspe. In conformity with the usage of the times, this grant was made on the royal word “for ever;” but in treaties, grants, and diplomatic documents, the words “eternal peace and amity,” and “perpetual and undisturbed possession,” have a very limited meaning; their true signification being only just as long as may suit the convenience or interest of the parties to let this “eternity” continue, which may be twenty years, or ten, or only one, as circumstances may render expedient.*

* I remember an anecdote so strictly in point to illustrate this, that I cannot refrain from mentioning it. When I was at Shiraz, in Persia, in 1816, I lived in the house of an exiled Indian prince, named Jaffier Ali Khan, who was very much attached to the English, and who had, before this kindly entertained the estimable Henry Martyn, the lamented Church of England Missionary, under the same roof, and was delighted to hear that we were both natives of the same county, Cornwall. The father of Jaffier Ali Khan had ceded some territory among the Northern Circars, under the Presidency of Madras, to the East India Company; in consideration of which, the Company, through the Madras government, undertook to pay, to himself and the dependent members of his family, certain fixed annuities, which were to be guaranteed to them “in perpetuity for ever.” After a few years had elapsed, however, the Prince found his annuity considerably reduced in amount; and no reason being assigned for this, he wrote, first to India, and then to England, but could get no satisfactory explanation on the subject. He then thought it possible that the words “perpetuity” and ”for ever” might have a different meaning in English, from their equivalents in Persian, or that some change had taken place in the general acceptation of the terms; as words sometimes grow obsolete and change their meaning. He therefore sent to England for one of the latest and best editions of the most generally approved dictionary of the English language, which he spoke imperfectly, but which he could read pretty well; and on turning, with great eagerness and anxiety, to the words in question, he found that ”perpetuity” meant exactly as he had supposed, “without change or cessation;” and that “for ever” was only another and stronger mode of expressing the same “continual duration.” But he found that at the India House, as in the courts of other monarchs, “perpetual and everlasting” meant only “as long as might be expedient, and no longer.”

Charles the First, therefore, soon put an end to the “for ever” of his predecessor James; and shortly after his accession, this monarch sold what his royal parent had previously given away. This was done by the institution of a new order of Nova Scotia baronets, which were limited to 150 in number. To each of these baronetcies, a grant of land in the province was attached, and the titles and territory were sold to such persons as would undertake to make certain payments to the crown, in aid of settlement, as it was called, but in reality to replenish the King’s privy purse.

Many of the original French settlers, however, remained in Acadia; when Cromwell, in 1654, sent a force to dislodge them, and was successful. In the reign of Charles the Second, it was again ceded to France, by the treaty of Breda, in 1667, and remained in her possession till 1689, when it was taken by the English, with an expedition from Massachusetts, then a British Colony, under the command of Sir William Phipps. The leader of this expedition was one of the most remarkable men of his day. He was the son of a very humble blacksmith, and was brought up as a shepherd’s boy. At the age of eighteen, he was first apprenticed to a shipwright; and before he was twenty-one, he built a small vessel, with which he offered to raise some treasure, sunk in a Spanish ship, that was wrecked some years before at the Bahamas. His offer was made to the English court, and was accepted; and with the assistance he received from thence, he succeeded in recovering 300,000l. from the wreck. Of this he retained a portion sufficient to enrich himself, and the rest was given to his patron, the Duke of Albermale, who had assisted him in the equipment of the ship in which he performed this expedition. He was afterwards made a knight by King James the Second; and subsequently Governor of Massachusetts, in 1691, by the authority of William the Third.

Another change took place in the possession of Nova Scotia, when it was ceded a second time, by the Treaty of Ryswick, in 1696, to France, who held it till 1710, when it was again captured by the English, with an expedition from Boston; it was finally ceded to the British in the reign of Queen Anne, in 1713, since which it has remained in our undisturbed possession.

Halifax from Dartmouth
Halifax from Dartmouth near the gazebo on the bluff at Dartmouth Common, the church with steeple at left is undoubtedly the first St. Peter’s at the corner of Ochterloney and Edward Streets.

 

Buckingham, James Silk, 1786-1855; Bartlett, W.H. (William Henry), 1809-1854. “Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the other British provinces in North America : with a plan of national colonization”. 1843. https://archive.org/details/McGillLibrary-130149-5095

Baronia anglica concentrata, or, A concentrated account of all the baronies commonly called baronies in fee

“The pages of this work are … compiled to show the origin of every barony, from its first commencement by writ of summons to parliament, to the time it became (as presumed) extinct, or terminated in an heir general in dormancy; or in coheirs general in abeyance between them; accompanied with such remarks as appear explanatory of their course of descent.”

“Heralds and critics, that abusive throng; May as they please, speak of me right or wrong; Their praise will never give me any pride, Their spite, I heed not, and their snarls deride.”

“In the Appendix to the second volume is an account of the first settlement of the Scots in Nova Scotia, the occupation of the country by them, and the institution of the Order of Knights Baronets therein. No similar account has ever before been published; and, indeed, the several writers who have attempted to show the said first settlement, have made most erroneous representations in asserting that Sir William Alexander, after his grant from the crown, ever sold the country to the French, and that king Charles I, by the treaty of St. Germains, ceded it to them. The contrary of all this will be substantiated by the Documents herein set forth.”


“After this institution, and not long before his death, king James formed the idea of founding a similar order of rank for his Scottish subjects; and inasmuch as the one just mentioned, was for the security and defence of the kingdom of Ireland, and for encouraging persons of ambition, wealth, and consideration to make settlement therein, so the institution of Nova Scotia; baronets was intended for the advancing the plantation of that district of country in America, which he had recently annexed to his kingdom of Scotland, and for establishing a colony there, to the aid of which these knights were designed. His majesty, by charter dated at Windsor the 10th day of September, 1621, made a grant to Sir William Alexander, of Menstrie, knight, his favorite counsellor and secretary of state for Scotland, of a certain extent of territory in America, contained within particular boundaries recited in a copy of the said charter, set forth in No. I. of the appendix hereto attached, which territory in all time therefrom, and thence ensuing, was to be denominated Nova Scotia; and annexed to his majesty’s kingdom of Scotland; the said name being given in contradistinction to that other territory of country, which had theretofore been granted by special charter (situate also in America), to certain persons incorporated by the name of the Plymouth company, and which territory was then designated new England.

King James having deceased shortly after this grant to Sir William Alexander—and his son Charles having succeeded to the throne, he was pleased to carry out the intententions of his royal father; and for that purpose, by another charter, called de Novo Damus, dated at Oatlands, the 12th day of July, 1625, re-gave and confirmed to Sir William Alexander, his heirs and assignees all the said territory of Nova Scotia;, to be enjoyed by him and them in full regality, hereditarily for ever; with very special previleges, rights, and immunities, as detailed in a copy of the charter printed in No. 2, of the appendix hereto.

And Sir William had seisin under the said charter given to him at the castle of Edinburgh, soon after, as therein mentioned No. 15. and ordained. On reference to the first charter, in 1611, it will appear that notice is therein made of the knights baronets of Nova Scotia; but in the subsequent charter of Nova Scotia, in 1625, they will be found particularly alluded to; and that the groundwork of the by agreeing with Sir William Alexander, for a certain district of land in that country, to be erected into a barony, to be holden either of Sir William, or of the king, as might be agreed on by the party; and having thus qualified, a patent of creation should be then passed free of any compensation to be made by the said baronet, for the obtainment thereof from the crown: for this purpose the charter thus recites, viz.:

“And that men of honorable birth may be incited to the undertaking of that expedition, and the settling of planters in the said lands, We for us and our heirs and successors, with advice and consent aforesaid, in virtue of our present charter, give and grant free and full power to the said Sir William Alexander, and his foresaids, of conferring favors, privileges, offices, and honours on the deserving, with plenary power of disponing and overgiving to them, or any of them, who shall happen to make the aforesaid agreements or contracts for the said lands, with him, Sir William, and his aforesaids, under his subscription, or theirs, and their seal, any portion or portions of the said lands, &c., as to him shall seem fit, &c.”

Further, the charter recites, viz. : “Therefore that this our present charter, may be more effectual, and that seisin thereupon may be more conveniently taken, it is necessary that seisin of all and sundry the aforesaid lands, of the said country and lordship of Nova Scotia; be taken within our said kingdom of Scotland, and on the grounds and lands of the same in the most eminent place thereof, which can neither conveniently nor lawfully be done without an express union of the said country and lordship of Nova Scotia; to the said kingdom of Scotland. Wherefore for the advantage and readier convenience of the aforesaid seisin, we with the advice aforesaid, have annexed, united and incorporated, and by our present charter, unite, annex, and incorporate with our said kingdom of Scotland, all and sundry the aforesaid country and lordship of Nova Scotia;, with the teinds and teind sheaves thereof included, and all and sundry parts, purtinents, privileges, jurisdictions, and liberties of the same, and others generally, and specially above mentioned; and by our present charter, will, declare, decern, and ordain, that one seisin now to be taken at our castle of Edinburgh, as the most eminent and principal place of our said kingdom of Scotland, of all and sundry the said lands, country, and lordship of Nova Scotia;, or any part of the same, with the teinds and teind sheaves thereof included, respectively, is, and shall be sufficient seisin for all and whole the aforesaid lands, country, and lordship of Nova Scotia;, notwithstanding the said lands, country, and lordship of Nova Scotia; are far distant, and lie discontiguous from our said kingdom of Scotland, as to which, we, with advice and consent aforesaid have dispensed, and by our present charter for ever dispense, without prejudice and derogation always to the said privilege and prerogative granted to the aforesaid Sir William Alexander, and his heirs, and assignees, of making and establishing laws, acts, and statutes concerning all and sundry the aforesaid lands, country, and lordship of Nova Scotia;, as well by sea as by land; and by our present charter we declare, that notwithstanding the said union, which is declared to be granted solely for the advantage and convenience of seisin, the said country and lordship of Nova Scotia; shall be judged, ruled, and governed by the laws, and statutes made, and to be made, constituted and established, by the said Sir William Alexander, and his heirs and assignees, relating to the said country and lordship of Nova Scotia;, in like manner, and as freely in that respect as if the said union had never been made, or hitherto granted.”

“And further, notwithstanding the aforesaid union, it shall be lawful to the aforesaid Sir William Alexander and his heirs, and assignees, to give, grant, and dispone any parts, or portions of the said lands, country, and lordship of Nova Scotia;, heritably belonging to them, to and in favour of whatsoever persons, their heirs and assignees, heritably, with the teinds, and teind sheaves thereof included (provided they are our subjects) to be holden of the said Sir William Alexander, or of us, and our successors, either in blench farm, fee farm, or in ward and relief, at their pleasure, and to intitle and denominate the said parts and portions by whatsoever stiles, titles, and designations shall seem to them fit, or be in the will and option of the said Sir William Alexander and his aforesaids, which infeftments and dispositions shall be approved and confirmed by us, or our successors, freely, without any composition to be made therefor. ”

“Moreover we and our Successors shall receive whatsoever resignations shall be made by the said Sir William Alexander, and his heirs and assignees, of all and whole the aforesaid Lands and Lordship of Nova Scotia;, or of any part thereof in our hands and (those) of our successors, and commissioners aforesaid, with the teinds and teind sheaves thereof included, and others generally and specially above mentioned, to and in favour of whatsoever person or persons (provided they are our subjects, and live under our obedience) and they shall pass infeftments thereon, to be holden in free blench farm of us, our heirs and successors, in manner above mentioned, freely without any composition.”

“Further we for us, and our successors, with advice aforesaid, have given, granted, ratified, and confirmed, and by our present charter, give, grant, ratify, and confirm to the said Sir William Alexander, and his heirs and assignees, all places, privileges, prerogatives, preeminences, and precedencies whatsoever, given, granted, and reserved to the said Sir William Alexander, and his heirs and assignees, and his successors, lieutenants of the said country, and lordship of Nova Scotia;, on behalf of the Knights Baronets, and remanent portioners, and associates of the said plantation, so as the said Sir William Alexander, and his heirs male descending of his body, as lieutenants aforesaid, shall and may take place, prerogative, preeminence, and precedence, as well before all Esquires, Lairds, and Gentlemen of our said kingdom of Scotland, as before all the aforesaid Knights Baronets of our said kingdom, and all others, before whom the said Knights Baronets in virtue of the privilege granted to them, can have place and precedency, for the advancement of which plantation and colony of Nova Scotia;, and in respect of it, especially the said Knights Baronets were, with advice aforesaid, created in our said kingdom of Scotland, with their state and dignity, as a special token of our favour conferred upon such gentlemen, and honourably born persons, portioners of the aforesaid plantation and colony; with this express provision always, that the number of the aforesaid never exceed one hundred and fifty.”

Thus far the charter, under which the Nova Scotia; Baronets were primarily created, and grants of lands conceded to be made to them, to constitute their respective qualifications, and to enable them to further out the intention of colonizing the plantation, and of sustaining their title and dignity. The repugnance to recognise the order, may account for the few persons who came forward to accept of it; so that Sir William Alexander was left chiefly to his own means, and the king’s countenance, to carry on his undertaking: In 1629, however, Sir William had so far succeeded, as to have a thriving colony in Nova Scotia;, and his eldest son and heir apparent, Sir William Alexander, had gone there as his lieutenant. This being the case, his majesty king Charles, to give stronger encouragement to persons of honour and character to join their assistance; and also to render the dignity of baronet more inviting to seek, was pleased to confer upon the order the special distinction, that the said baronets and their heirs male, should thenceforth wear, and carry about their necks, an orange tawny silk ribbon, whereon shall hang pendant in an Escutcheon Argent, a Saltier Azure, thereon, an Escutcheon of the Arms of Scotland, with an imperial crown above the Escutcheon and encircled with this motto, “Fax mentis honeste gloria.”

It is here to be observed that the right of creating the baronets, did not rest in the king, but in his grantee, Sir William Alexander,—the institution of them was not like a peerage flowing from the grace of the crown for the mere purpose of conferring honour; but it was specially erected to carry into effect a particular object, which object was made a stipulation to give an interest to the baronet thereupon created, to promote it;—thus the king having granted away the whole country of Nova Scotia; had divested himself of the lands and territories comprehended in his charter, and this charter was confirmed (as before mentioned) by the parliament of Scotland, his majesty himself being present therein.”

Banks, T. C. (Thomas Christopher), 1765-1854. Baronia Anglica Concentrata, Or, A Concentrated Account of All the Baronies Commonly Called Baronies In Fee: Deriving Their Origin From Writ of Summons, And Not From Any Specific Limited Creation, Shewing the Descent And Line of Heirship As Well of Those Families Mentioned by Sir William Dugdale, As of Those Whom That Celebrated Author Has Omitted to Notice, (interspersed With Interesting Notes And Explanatory Remarks), Whereto Is Added the Proofs of Parliamentary Sitting, From the Reign of Edw. I to That of Queen Anne, Also, a Glossary of Dormant English, Scotch And Irish Peerage Titles, With Reference to Presumed Existing Heirs. [England]: The author, 1843-4. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015025951651, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015025951867

New England, New Scotland (Nova Scotia), and Newfoundland

nova scotia map

See also:

“New Scot Lande”

Stirling, William Alexander, Earl Of, 1567 Or , Cartographer, and William Alexander Stirling. New England, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. [London: Publisher not indicated, ?, 1624] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2018590035/>

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