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/

Narrative and critical history of America

“ALL through its early history Acadia, or Nova Scotia, suffered from the insecurity to life and property which arose from its repeated changes of masters. Neither France nor England cared much for a region of so little apparent value ; and both alike regarded it merely as debatable ground, or as a convenient make-weight in adjusting the balance of con quests and losses elsewhere. Nothing was done to render it a safe or attractive home for immigrants ; and at each outbreak of war in the Old World its soil became the scene of skirmishes and massacres in which Indian allies were conspicuous agents. Whatever the turn of victory here, little regard was paid to it in settling the terms of peace. There was hardly an attempt at any time to establish a permanent control over the conquered territory. In spite of the capture of Port Royal by Phips in 1690, and the annexation of Acadia to the government of Massachusetts in 1692, it was only a nominal authority which England had. In 1691, the French again took formal possession of Port Royal and the neighboring country. In the next year an ineffectual attempt was made to recover it ; and this was followed by various conflicts, of no historical importance, in different parts of this much-harassed territory. In August, 1696, the famous Indian fighter, Captain Benjamin Church, left Boston on his fourth eastern expedition. After skirting the coast of Maine, where he met with but few Indians and no enemies, he determined to proceed up the Bay of Fundy. There he captured and burned Beaubassin, or Chignecto, and then returned to St. John. Subsequently he was superseded by Colonel John Hathorne, a member of the Massachusetts council, and an attack was made on the French fort at Nachouac, or Naxoat, farther up the river ; but for some unexplained reason the attack was not pressed, and the English retreated shortly after they landed. “No notice,” says Hutchinson in his History of Massachusetts Bay, “was taken of any loss on either side, except the burning of a few of the enemy’s houses; nor is any sufficient reason given for relinquishing the design so suddenly.” By the treaty of Ryswick in the following year (1697) Acadia was surrendered to France.” The French were not long permitted to enjoy the restored territory. In May, 1704, Church was again placed in command of an expedition fitted out at Boston against the French and Indians in the eastern country. He had been expressly forbidden to attack Port Royal, and after burning the little town of Mines nothing was accomplished by him. Three years later, in May, 1707, another expedition, of one thousand men, sailed from Boston under command of Colonel March. Port Royal was regularly invested, and an attempt was made to take the place by assault ; but through the inefficiency of the commander it was a total failure. Reembarking his little army, March sailed away to Casco Bay, where he was superseded by Captain Wainwright, the second in command. The expedition then re turned to Port Royal ; but in the mean time the fortifications had been diligently strengthened, and after a brief view of them Wainwright drew off his forces. In 1710 a more successful attempt for the expulsion of the French was made. In July of that year a fleet arrived at Boston from Eng land to take part in a combined attack on Port Royal. In pursuance of orders from the home government, four regiments were raised in the New England colonies, and sailed from Boston on the 18th of September. The fleet numbered thirty-six vessels, exclusive of hospital and store ships, and on board were the four New England regiments, respectively commanded by Sir Charles Hobby, Colonel Tailer, of Massachusetts, Colonel Whiting, of Connecticut, and Colonel Walton, of New Hampshire, and a detachment of marines from England. Francis Nicholson, who had been successively governor of New York, Virginia, and Maryland, had the chief command. The fleet, with the exception of one vessel which ran ashore and was lost, arrived off Port Royal on the 24th of September. The garrison was in no condition to resist an enemy, and the forces were landed without opposition. On the 1st of October three batteries were opened within one hundred yards of the fort ; and twenty-four hours afterward the French capitulated. By the terms of the surrender the garrison was to be transported i to France, and the inhabitants living within cannon-shot of Port Royal were to be protected in person and property for two years, on taking an oath of allegiance to the queen of England, or were to be allowed to remove to Canada or Newfoundland.1 The name of Port Royal was changed to Annapolis Royal in compliment to the queen, and the fort was at once garrisoned by marines and volunteers under the command of Colonel Samuel Vetch, who had been selected as governor in case the expedition should prove successful. Its whole cost to New England was upward of twenty three thousand pounds, which sum was afterward repaid by the mother country. Acadia never again came under French control, and by the j treaty of Utrecht (1713) the province was formally ceded to Great Britain u according to its ancient limits.” As a matter of fact, those limits were never determined ; but the question ceased to have any practical importance after the conquest of Canada by the English, though it was reopened long afterward in the boundary dispute between Great Britain and the United States.

By the treaty of Utrecht, France was left in undisputed possession of Cape Breton ; and in order to establish a check on the English in Nova Scotia, the French immediately began to erect strong fortifications at Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, and invited to its protection the French inhabitants of Acadia and of Newfoundland, which latter had also been ceded to Great Britain. Placentia, the chief settlement in Newfoundland, was accordingly evacuated, and its inhabitants were transferred to Cape Breton ; but such great obstacles were thrown in the way of a voluntary removal of the Acadians that very few of them joined their fellow countrymen. They remained in their old homes, to be only a source of anxiety and danger to their English masters. At the surrender of Acadia to Great Britain, it was estimated by Colonel Vetch, in a letter to the Board of Trade, that there were about twenty-five hundred French inhabitants in the country ; and even at that early date he pointed out that their removal to Cape Breton would leave the country entirely destitute of inhabitants, and make the new French settlement a very populous colony, ” and of the greatest danger and damage to all the British colonies, as well as the universal trade of Great Britain.” l Fully persuaded of the correctness of this view, the successive British governors refused to permit the French to remove to Canada or Cape Breton, and persistently endeavored to obtain from them a full recognition of the British sovereignty. In a single instance — in 1729 — Governor Phillips secured from the French inhabitants on the Annapolis River an unconditional submission ; but with this exception the French would never take the oath of allegiance without an express exemption from all liability to bear arms. It is certain, however, that this concession was never made by any one in authority ; and in the two instances in which it was apparently granted by subordinate officers, their action was repudiated by their superiors. The designation ” Neutral French,” sometimes given to the Acadians, has no warrant in the recognized facts of history.

Meanwhile the colony remained almost stationary, and attracted very little notice from the home government. In August, 1717, General Richard Phillips was appointed governor, which office he retained until 1749, though he resided in England during the greater part of the time. During his absence the small colonial affairs were successively administered by the lieu tenant-governor of Annapolis, John Doucette, who held office from 1717 to I726, and afterward by the lieutenant-governors of the province, Lawrence Armstrong (1725-1739) and Paul Mascarene (1740-1749). Phillips was succeeded by Edward Cornwallis ; but Cornwallis held the office only about three years, when he resigned, and General Peregrine Thomas Hopson was appointed his successor. On Hopson’s retirement, within a few months, the government was administered by one of the members of the council, Charles Lawrence, who was appointed lieutenant-governor in 1754, and governor in 1756.

In 1744 war again broke out between England and France, and the next year it was signalized in America by the capture of Louisbourg. Immediately on learning that war had been declared, the French commander despatched a strong force to Canso, which captured the English garrison at that place and carried them prisoners of war to Louisbourg. A second expedition was sent to Annapolis for a similar purpose, but through the prompt action of Governor Shirley, of Massachusetts, it failed of success. Aroused, no doubt, by these occurrences, Shirley formed the plan of capturing Louisbourg ; and early in January, 1745, he communicated his de sign to the General Court of Massachusetts, and about the same time wrote to Commodore Warren, commanding the British fleet in the West Indies, for cooperation. His plans were favorably received, not only by Massachusetts, but also by the other New England colonies. Massachusetts voted to raise 3,250 men ; Connecticut 500 ; and New Hampshire and Rhode Island each 300. The chief command was given to Sir William Pepperrell, a wealthy merchant of Kittery in Maine, of unblemished reputation and great personal popularity ; and the second in command was Samuel Waldo, a native of Boston, but at that time also a resident of Maine.1 The chief of artillery was Richard Gridley, a skilful engineer, who, in June, 1775, marked out the redoubt on Bunker Hill. The under taking proved to be so popular that the full complement of men was raised within two months. The expedition consisted of thirteen armed vessels, under the command of Captain Edward Tyng, with upward of two hundred guns, and of about ninety transports. They were directed to proceed to Canso, where a block house was to be built, the stores landed, and a guard left to defend them. The Massachusetts troops sailed from Nantasket on the 24th of March, and reached Canso on the 4th of April. The New Hampshire forces had arrived four days before ; the Connecticut troops reached the same place on the 25th. Hutchinson adds, with grim humor, “Rhode Island waited until a better judgment could be made of the event, their three hundred not arriving until after the place had surrendered.”

The works at Louisbourg had been twenty-five years in construction, and though still incomplete had cost between five and six millions of dollars. They were thought to be the most formidable defences in America, and covered an area two and a half miles in circumference. A space of about two hundred yards toward the sea was left without a rampart ; but at all other accessible points the walls were from thirty to thirty-six feet in height, with a ditch eighty feet in width. Scattered along their line were six bastions and three batteries with embrasures for one hundred and forty-eight cannon, of which only sixty-five were mounted, and sixteen mortars. On an island at the entrance of the harbor was a battery mounted with thirty guns ; and directly opposite the entrance of the harbor was the grand battery, mounting twenty-eight heavy guns and two eighteen-pounders. The entrance to the town on the land-side was over a draw-bridge defended by a circular battery mounting sixteen cannon. It was these strong and well-planned works which a handful of New England farmers and fishermen undertook to capture with the assistance of a small English fleet.

Pepperrell was detained by the ice at Canso for nearly three weeks, at the end of which time he was joined by Commodore Warren with four ships, carrying one hundred and eighty guns. The combined forces reached Gabarus Bay, the place selected for a landing, on the morning of the 3Oth of April ; and it was not until that time that the French had any knowledge of the impending attack. Two days later the grand bat tery fell into Pepperrell’s hands through a fortunate panic which seized the French. Thus encouraged, the siege was pressed with vigor under very great difficulties. The first battery was erected immediately on landing, and opened fire at once ; but it required the labor of fourteen nights to draw all the cannon and other materials across the morass between the landing-place and Louisbourg, and it was not until the middle of May that the fourth battery was ready. On the iSth of May, Tyng in the ” Massachusetts ” frigate captured a French ship of sixty-four guns and five hundred men, heavily laden with military stores for Louisbourg. This success greatly raised the spirits of the besiegers, who, slowly but steadily, pushed forward to the accomplishment of their object. Warren’s fleet was reinforced by the arrival of three large ships from England and three from Newfoundland ; the land-gate was demolished ; serious breaches were made in the walls ; and by the middle of June it was determined to attempt a general assault. The French commander, Duchambon, saw that further resistance would be useless, and on the i6th he capitulated with the honors of war, and the next day Pepperrell took possession of Louisbourg.

By the capitulation six hundred and fifty veteran troops, more than thirteen hundred militia, and other persons, to the number in all of upward of four thousand, agreed not to bear arms against Great Britain during the war, and were transported to France in fourteen ships. Seventy-six cannon and mortars fell into the hands of the conquerors, with a great quantity of military stores and provisions. The number killed on the side of the French was three hundred, and on the side of the English one hundred and thirty ; but subsequently the latter suffered heavily by disease, and at one time so many as fifteen hundred were sick from exposure and bad weather. Tidings of the victory created great joy in New England, and the news was received with no small satisfaction in the mother country. Pepperrell was made a baronet, Warren an admiral, and both Shirley and Pepperrell were commissioned as colonels. Subsequently, after a delay of four years, Great Britain reimbursed the colonies for the expenses of the expedition to the amount of £200,000.

The capture of Louisbourg was by far the most important event in the history of Nova Scotia during the war, and the loss of so important a place was a keen mortification to France. As soon as news of the fall of Louisbourg reached the French government, steps were taken with a view to its recapture and to the punishment of the English colonists by destroying Boston and ravaging the New England coast. In June, 1/46, a fleet of eleven ships of the line, twenty frigates, thirty transports, and two fireships was despatched for this purpose under command of Admiral D’Anville ; but the enterprise ended in a disastrous failure. Contrary winds prevailed during the voyage, and on nearing the American coast a violent storm scattered the fleet, driving some of the ships back to France and others to the West Indies, and wrecking some on Sable Island. On the 10th of September D’Anville cast anchor with the remaining vessels -two ships and a few transports — in Chebucto ; and six days later he died, of apoplexy, it is said. At a council of war held shortly afterward it was determined to attack Annapolis, against the judgment of Vice-Admiral D’Estournelle, who had assumed the command. Exasperated, apparently, at this decision, he committed suicide in a fit of temporary insanity. This second misfortune was followed by the breaking out of the small-pox among the crews ; and finally after scuttling some of the vessels the officer next in command returned to France without striking a single blow. In the spring of the following year another expedition, of smaller size, was despatched under command of Admiral De la Jonquiere ; but the fleet was intercepted and dispersed off Cape Finisterre by the English, who captured nine ships of war and numerous other vessels.

Meanwhile, and before the capture of Louisbourg, the French had made an unsuccessful attempt on Annapolis, from which the besieging force was withdrawn to aid in the defence of Louisbourg, but they did not arrive until a month after its surrender. In the following year another army of Canadians appeared before Annapolis ; but the place seemed to be so strong and well defended that it was not thought prudent to press the attack. The French accordingly withdrew to Chignecto to await the arrival of reinforcements expected from France. While stationed there they learned that a small body of New England troops, under Colonel Noble, were quartered at Grand Pre, and measures were speedily adopted to cut them off. The attack was made under cover of a snow-storm at an early hour on the morning of the 4th of February, 1747. It was a complete surprise to the English. Noble, who was in bed at the time, was killed fighting in his shirt. A desperate conflict, however, ensued from house to house, and at ten o’clock in the forenoon the English capitulated with the honors of war.1 This terminated active hostilities in Nova Scotia, from which the French troops shortly afterward withdrew. By the dis graceful peace of Aix la Chapelle (1748) England surrendered Louisbourg and Cape Breton to the French, and all the fruits of the war in America were lost.

After the conclusion of peace it was determined by the home government to strengthen their hold on Nova Scotia, so as to render it as far as possible a bulwark to the other English colonies, instead of a source of danger to them. With this view an advertisement was inserted in the London Gazette, in March, 1749, setting forth “that proper encouragement will be given to such of the officers and private men, lately dismissed his Majesty’s land and sea service, as are willing to accept of grants of land, and to settle with or without families in Nova Scotia.” Fifty acres were to be allotted to every soldier or sailor, free from the payment of rents or taxes for the term of ten years, after which they were not to be required to pay more than one shilling per annum for every fifty acres ; and an additional grant of ten acres for each person in a family was promised. Larger grants, with similar conditions, were to be made to the officers; and still further to encourage the settlement of the province the same inducements were offered to ” carpenters, shipwrights, smiths, masons, joiners, brickmakers, bricklayers, and all other artificers necessary in building or husbandry, not being private soldiers or seamen,” and also to surgeons on producing certificates that they were properly qualified. These offers were promptly accepted by a large number of persons, but apparently by not so many as was anticipated.

In the following May Edward Cornwallis, then a member of Parliament, and uncle of the first Marquis of Cornwallis, was appointed captain-general and governor in chief, and at once embarked for Nova Scotia with the new settlers. On the 21st of June he arrived in Chebucto harbor, which all the officers agreed was the finest harbor they had ever seen ; and early in July he was joined by the transports, thirteen in number, having on board upward of twenty-five hundred immigrants. The shores of the harbor were wooded to the water’s edge, ” no clear spot to be seen or heard of.” But by the 23d of the month more than twelve acres were cleared, and preparations were made for building. A month later the plan of the town was fully laid out, and subsequently a line of palisades was erected around the town, a square fort was built on the hill, and a space thirty feet wide cleared outside of the defensive line. By the end of October three hundred houses had been completed, a second fort had been built, and an order had been sent to Boston for lamps to light the streets in the winter nights. Halifax, as the new town was called, had already begun to wear the appearance of a settled community ; and in little more than a year its first church was opened for religious services. From the first, the growth of Halifax was strong and healthy ; and it soon became a place of considerable importance. So early as 1752 the number of inhabitants amounted to more than four thousand. Stringent rules were adopted to insure public order and morality ; and very soon the governor and council proceeded to exercise legislative authority. But their right to do this was expressly denied by the law officers at home. Accordingly, in the early part of 1757 a plan was adopted for dividing the province into electoral districts, for the choice of a legislative body, and was sent to England for approval. Some exceptions, however, were taken to the plan ; and it was not until October, 1758, that the first provincial assembly met at Halifax, nineteen members being present.

In the mean time, in 1755, occurred the most memorable and tragic event in the whole history of Nova Scotia. Though England and France were nominally at peace, frequent collisions took place between their adherents in Nova Scotia and elsewhere in America. Early in 1755 it was determined to dispossess the French of the posts which they had established on the Bay of Fundy, and a force of eighteen hundred men was raised in New England, for that purpose, under Lieutenant-Colonels Scott and John Winslow. The chief command of the expedition was given to Colonel Robert Monckton, an officer in the .English army. The first and most honorable fruits of the expedition were the capture of the French forts at Beausejour and at Gaspereau, both of which surrendered in June. A few weeks later Winslow became a chief instrument in the forcible removal of the French Acadians, which has given his name an unenviable notoriety. It was a task apparently at which his whole nature relucted ; and over and over again he wrote in his letters at the time that it was the most disagreeable duty he had had to perform in his whole life. But he did not hesitate for a moment, and carried out with unfaltering energy the commands of his superior officers.

For more than a generation the French inhabitants had refused to take the oath of allegiance to the king of England, except in a qualified form. Upon their renewed refusal, in July, 1755, it was determined to take immediate steps for their removal, in accordance with a previous decision, ” to send all the French inhabitants out of the province, if they re fused to take the oath ; ” and at a meeting of the provincial council of Nova Scotia, held July 28th, ” after mature consideration, it was unanimously agreed that, to prevent as much as possible their attempting to return and molest the settlers that may be set down on their lands, it would be most proper to send them to be distributed amongst the several colonies on the continent, and that a sufficient number of vessels should be hired with all possible expedition for that purpose.” Accordingly orders were sent to Boston to charter the required number of transports ;and on the nth of August Governor Lawrence forwarded detailed instructions to Lieutenant-Colonel Winslow, commanding at Mines, and to Major John Handfield, a Nova Scotia officer, commanding at Annapolis, to ship off the French inhabitants in their respective neighborhoods. As the crops were not yet harvested, and there was delay in the arrival of the transports, the orders could not be executed until the autumn. At that time they were carried out with a sternness and a disregard of the rights of humanity for which there can be no justification or excuse. On the same day on which the instructions were issued to Winslow and Handfield, Governor Lawrence wrote a circular letter to the other English governors in America, expressing the opinion that there was not the least reason to doubt of their concurrence, and his hope that they would receive the inhabitants now sent ” and dispose of them in such manner as may best answer our design in preventing their reunion.” According to the official instructions five hundred persons were to be transported to North Carolina, one thousand to Virginia, five hundred to Maryland, three hundred to Philadelphia, two hundred to New York, three hundred to Connecticut, and two hundred to Boston.

On the 4th of September Winslow issued a citation to the inhabitants in his immediate neighborhood to appear and receive a communication from him. The next day, he recorded in his journal, ” at three in the after noon, the French inhabitants appeared, agreeably to their citation, at the church in Grand Pre, amounting to four hundred and eighteen of their best men ; upon which I ordered a table to be set in the centre of the church, and, having attended with those of my officers who were off guard, delivered them by interpreters the king’s orders.” After a brief preamble he proceeded to say, ” The part of duty I am now upon is what, though necessary, is very disagreeable to my natural make and temper, as I know it must be grievous to you who are of the same species. But it is not my business to animadvert, but to obey such orders as I receive, and therefore without hesitation shall deliver you his Majesty’s orders and instructions.” He then informed them that all their lands, cattle, and other property, except money and household goods, were forfeited to the Crown, and that all the French inhabitants were to be removed from the province. They were, however, to have liberty to carry their money and as many of their household goods as could be conveniently shipped in the vessels ; and he added, “I shall do everything in my power that all those goods be secured to you, and that you are not molested in carrying them off, and also that whole families go in the same vessel, and make this remove, which I am sensible must give you a great deal of trouble, as easy as his Majesty’s service will admit, and hope that in whatever part of the world you may fall you may be faithful subjects, a peaceable and happy people.” Mean while they were to remain under the inspection of the troops. Toward night these unhappy victims, “not having any provisions with them, and pleading hunger, begged for bread,” which was given them, and orders were then issued that for the future they must be supplied from their respective families. ” Thus ended the memorable 5th of September,” Winslow wrote in his journal, ” a day of great fatigue and trouble.”

Shortly afterward the first prisoners were embarked ; but great delay occurred in shipping them off, mainly on account of the failure of the con tractor to arrive with the provisions at the expected time, and it was not until November or December that the last were shipped. The whole number sent away at this time was about four thousand. There was also a great destruction of property ; and in the district under command of Winslow very nearly seven hundred buildings were burned. The presence of the French was nowhere welcome in the colonies to which they were sent ; and they doubtless experienced many hardships. The governors of South Carolina and Georgia gave them permission to return, much to the surprise and indignation of Governor Lawrence ; 2 and seven boats, with ninety unhappy men who had coasted along shore from one of the Southern colonies, were stopped in Massachusetts. In the summer of 1762 five transports with a further shipment of these unfortunate people were sent to Boston, but the General Court would not permit them to land, and they were ordered to return to Halifax.

The removal of the French Acadians from their homes was one of the saddest episodes in modern history, and no one now will attempt to justify it ; but it should be added that the genius of our great poet has thrown a somewhat false and distorted light over the character of the victims. They were not the peaceful and simple-hearted people they are commonly supposed to have been ; and their houses, as we learn from contemporary evidence, were by no means the picturesque, vine-clad, and strongly built cottages described by the poet. The people were notably quarrelsome among themselves, and to the last degree superstitious. They were wholly under the influence of priests appointed by the French bishops, and directly responsible to the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church at Quebec. Many of these priests were quite as much political agents as religious teachers, and some of them fell under the censure of their superiors for going too much outside of their religious functions. Even in periods when France and England were at peace, the French Acadians were, a source of perpetual danger to the English colonists. Their claim to a qualified allegiance was one which no nation then or now could sanction. But all this does not justify their expulsion in the manner in which it was executed, and it will always remain a foul blot on the history of Nova Scotia. The knowledge of these facts, however, enables us to understand better the constant feeling of insecurity under which the English settlers lived, and which finally resulted in the removal and dispersion of the French under circumstances of such heartless cruelty.

In May of the following year, war was again declared between France and England ; and two years later Louisbourg again fell into the hands of the English. In May, 1758, a powerful fleet under command of Admiral Boscawen arrived at Halifax for the purpose of recapturing a place which ought never to have been given up. The fleet consisted of twenty-three ships of the line and eighteen frigates, beside transports, and when it left Halifax it numbered one hundred and fifty-seven vessels. With it was a land force, under Jeffery Amherst, of upward of twelve thousand men. The French forces at Louisbourg were much inferior, and consisted of only eight ships of the line and three frigates, and of about four thousand soldiers. The English fleet set sail from Halifax on the 28th of May, and on the 8th of June a landing was effected in Gabarus Bay. The next day the attack began, and after a sharp conflict the French abandoned and destroyed two important batteries. The siege was then pushed by regular approaches ; but it was not until the 26th of July that the garrison capitulated. By the terms of surrender the whole garrison were to become prisoners of war and to be sent to England, and the English acquired two hundred and eighteen cannon and eighteen mortars, beside great quantities of ammunition and military stores. All the vessels of war had been captured or destroyed ; but their crews, to the number of upward of twenty-six hundred men, were included in the capitulation. Two years later, at the beginning of 1760, orders were sent from England to demolish the fortress, render the harbor impracticable, and transport the garrison and stores to Halifax. These orders were carried out so effectually that few traces of its fortifications remain, and the place is inhabited only by fishermen.

A year after the surrender of Louisbourg a fatal blow was struck at the French power in America by the capture of Quebec ; and by the peace of Paris, in February, 1763, the whole of Canada was ceded to Great Britain. The effects of this cession, in preparing the way for the independence of the principal English colonies, cannot easily be overestimated ; but to Nova Scotia it only gave immunity from the fear of French incursions, without in the slightest degree weakening the attachment of the inhabitants to England.”

Winsor, Justin. “Narrative and critical history of America”. Boston, New York : Houghton, Mifflin and Company; etc., etc. 1884. https://archive.org/details/narrcrithistory05winsrich

History of the United States, or Republic of America

1620:

1643:

1692:

1776:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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/

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

[Nelson, John, 1660-1721] A.L.(unsigned draft) to [Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury?]; [London?, 1696?]

434015184

“Contains chiefly correspondence of British proprietor and governor of Nova Scotia Thomas Temple and his nephew John Nelson concerning land claims in Nova Scotia and the French role in Canada”

Temple, Thomas, 1614-1674. Thomas Temple correspondence concerning Nova Scotia, 1656-1768. [Nelson, John, 1660-1721] A.L.(unsigned draft) to [Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury?]; [London?, 1696?]. MS Am 1249 (32). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:33504516?n=1

Nelson, John (draft) to the Board of Trade; [London] 12 Apr 1697

434015208

“Contains chiefly correspondence of British proprietor and governor of Nova Scotia Thomas Temple and his nephew John Nelson concerning land claims in Nova Scotia and the French role in Canada”

Temple, Thomas, 1614-1674. Thomas Temple correspondence concerning Nova Scotia, 1656-1768. Nelson, John, 1660-1721. A.L.s.(draft) to the Board of Trade; [London] 12 Apr 1697. MS Am 1249 (35). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:33504540?n=1

Thomas Temple correspondence concerning Nova Scotia, 1 Jul 1697

434015218

“Contains chiefly correspondence of British proprietor and governor of Nova Scotia Thomas Temple and his nephew John Nelson concerning land claims in Nova Scotia and the French role in Canada”

Temple, Thomas, 1614-1674. Thomas Temple correspondence concerning Nova Scotia, 1656-1768. Stamford, Thomas Gray, 2nd earl of, 1654-1720. MS.(notarial copy); [London] 1 Jul 1697. MS Am 1249 (37). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:33504550?n=2

Cobham, Sir Richard Temple, viscount, 1669?-1749. A.L.s. to [John] Nelson; [London, 23 Jul 1697.]

434015222

“Contains chiefly correspondence of British proprietor and governor of Nova Scotia Thomas Temple and his nephew John Nelson concerning land claims in Nova Scotia and the French role in Canada”

Temple, Thomas. “Thomas Temple correspondence concerning Nova Scotia. Cobham, Sir Richard Temple, viscount. A.L.s. to [John] Nelson; [London, 23 Jul 1697.]. MS Am 1249 (38).” Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.HOUGH:33504554?n=1

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