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

Extracts from the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1745

Philadelphia, June 6. 1745

As the Cape-Breton Expedition is at present the Subject of most Conversations, we hope the following Draught (rough as it is, for want of good Engravers here) will be acceptable to our Readers; as it may serve to give them an Idea of the Strength and Situation of the Town now besieged by our Forces, and render the News we receive from thence more intelligible.7

Cape-Breton Island, on which Louisburgh is built, lies on the South of the Gulph of St. Lawrence, and commands the Entrance into that River, and the Country of Canada. It is reckon’d 140 Leagues in Circuit, full of fine Bays and Harbours, extreamly convenient for Fishing Stages. It was always reckon’d a Part of Nova-Scotia. For the Importance of this Place see our Gazette, No. 858.8

As soon as the French King had begun the present unjust War against the English, the People of Louisburgh attack’d the New-England Town of Canso, consisting of about 150 Houses and a Fort, took it, burnt it to the Ground, and carried away the People, Men, Women and Children, Prisoners.9

They then laid Siege to Annapolis Royal, and would have taken it, if seasonable Assistance had not been sent from Boston.1

Mr. Duvivier 2 went home to France last Fall for more Soldiers, &c. to renew that Attempt, and for Stores for Privateers, of which they proposed to fit out a great Number this Summer, being the last Year unprovided: Yet one of their Cruisers only, took 4 Sail in a few Days, off our Capes, to a very considerable Value. What might we have expected from a dozen Sail, making each 3 or 4 Cruises a Year? They boasted that during the War they should have no Occasion to cut Fire Wood, for that the Jackstaves of English Vessels would be a Supply sufficient. It is therefore in their own Necessary Defence, as well as that of all the other British Colonies, that the People of New-England have undertaken the present Expedition against that Place, to which may the God of Hosts grant Success. Amen.


7. Here follows a “Plan of the Town and Harbour of Louisbourgh” with an explanatory key. This is the first news illustration to appear in the Gazette. Four days later, June 10, James Parker printed the same map and key in his New-York Weekly Post-Boy, apparently using the identical block. The source for the map and the maker of the cut are unknown.

8. The Gazette of May 23 devoted nearly a column to an essay by an unknown author on Cape Breton and the strategic and economic advantages to be gained by the capture of Louisbourg. The same article had appeared in Parker’s New-York Weekly Post-Boy, May 20. Internal evidence suggests that the piece may have been based on a much longer paper written in London, April 9, 1744, by Robert Auchmuty, vice-admiralty judge of Boston, entitled “The Importance of Cape-Breton to the British Nation.” 1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Colls., V, 202–5.

9. Canso, or Canseau, at the extreme northeastern tip of the Nova Scotia mainland, was an important fishing station of the British colonists. The French commander at Louisbourg, who learned of the declaration of war by France four weeks before the news reached Boston, dispatched a small expedition against Canso, about 70 miles away, which captured the place on May 24, 1744, destroyed the blockhouse, and carried the garrison and inhabitants as prisoners to Louisbourg.

1. Within a month after learning of the declaration of war Governor Shirley of Massachusetts dispatched reinforcements to Annapolis Royal on the Bay of Fundy, the principal British post in Nova Scotia. The New Englanders arrived in time to help the commander, Paul Mascarene, and his small garrison to withstand an Indian attack in July 1744, and a more formidable siege conducted by forces from Louisbourg in the late summer and early fall.

2. Captain Duvivier, aide-major of Louisbourg, led the expeditions against both Canso and Annapolis Royal.

3. The French surrendered Louisbourg June 17.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-03-02-0024

“A map of New Scotland with its dependencies and a succint account of the country”

“The Province of New Scotland in Latin Nova Scotia is properly that large Peninsula known formerly by the name of Acady; tho’ in the Charter granted by K. Charles 1st all the seacoast from New England up to the straits of St. John’s Island is included therein. Its extent from Cape Negro to Cape Canso Northeast is about 120 miles [I’m not sure what kind of miles they’re referring to here, utilizing the map’s own “English miles” as a scale would be closer to 240]; the Breadth unequal from 30 to 100 miles. It lies exceedingly well for the Fishery, being surrounded with excellent Bays & Harbors. The land abounds with Wood, such as Beech Fir Pine Elm and many other; & is very fertil in all sorts of Grain. The rivers produce variety & plenty of fish, & the Woods abound with Deer and other valuable Animals; So that the new settlers with His Majesty’s gracious encouragement need not fear supporting themselves & improving the Colony. The climate is good being in the same latitude as the South of France [haha]; and its Vicinity to Boston will procure it any supplies. Such is the state of our New Colony, though an Old Inheritance ever since the reign of Henry 7th. And tho’ Charles 1st did grant a Charter for peopling this Province, and, to give it a sort of dignity, did institute an Order of Baronets of New Scotland, yet there was no effectual Settlement made during the several Reigns of the House of Stuart, for fear of disobliging the French. (Published according to Act of Parliament, April 21, 1749)”


“A map of New Scotland with its dependencies and a succint account of the country.
Publish’d according to Act of Parliament Apr’l 21st, 1749, by Ino. Gibson engraver in Bartlet Street Clerkenwell & sold by the printsellers in London & Westminster.” [1749].
Gibson, J. (John). https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/16698407

Education in Nova Scotia before 1811

“In 1792, 400 acres (were set apart for school purposes) at Dartmouth… By surveys conducted in 1813 previous land grants for schools were supplemented by an addition of 4,625 acres comprising tracts in twelve settlements in different parts of the province. These latter parcels of land were made in favor of the Chief Justice of the province to be held in trust by the Bishop and the Secretary.

These land concessions for school purposes were made in conformity with the agreement of the Lords of Trade with the S. P. G. in 1749; the Royal Orders issued to Governor Cornwallis in 1749, and the more recent instructions given Governor Lawrence in 1756 authorizing him to reserve “a particular spot in or near each town for the building of a church and four hundred acres adjacent thereto for the maintenance of a minister and two hundred acres for a schoolmaster;” and to retain, likewise, over and above the stated amount, one hundred acres in each township free of quit rent for ten years, for the use of all schoolmasters sent out by the Society. Prior to 1766 ministers of the Church of England exercised a sort of guardianship over the school plots lying in their respective parishes pending their occupation by duly appointed teachers.

But because of a school law passed by the Nova Scotia Legislature in that year administration of all school lands in the province was vested in a board of trustees endowed with corporate powers. Usually the ministers of the parishes in which the lands were situated and the church wardens were named trustees. From this circumstance, partly, the view came to prevail that the original intention was to reserve these lands exclusively for the benefit of S.P.G. teachers although there had been no express agreement to that effect.”

Thibeau, Patrick Wilfrid, 1892-. “Education In Nova Scotia Before 1811 …” Washington, D.C., 1922. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001065201

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The history of Kings County, Nova Scotia, heart of the Acadian land”

While Nova Scotia had established a Civil Council in 1720 and a General Court by 1721, Governor Cornwallis brought with him new instructions and a new regime with courts initiated under a new constitution in 1749, leading to the establishment of County Courts and a General Court. This book asserts that in January 1757 (as do others, owing to the fact there was a revision between the initial attempt in 1757 and the finalized representative arrangements in 1758), Nova Scotia took its first steps in transitioning from being ruled solely by the Governor and Council to establishing a Representative Assembly. It was originally comprised of twelve members for the province and additional representatives for various townships, including Dartmouth. Members and voters were required to be Protestant, above twenty-one years old, and possess a freehold estate in their district. The first Assembly was convened in October 1758 (this time without a representative for Dartmouth), followed by adjustments to representation in subsequent years.

Over time, the judicial system evolved, with the introduction of Circuit Courts and changes in court jurisdictions. The New England town meeting model influenced local governance, coexisting with courts to address various civic matters, including poor relief. Dartmouth held town meetings for several decades after its incorporation as a town. The narrative also explores the growth of Baptist communities, the role of the clergy, and the social and political dynamics during the American War. Additionally, it mentions the formation of Light Infantry companies and the challenges faced by Governor Legge in maintaining loyalty during the conflict.

Following this overview, the subsequent text comprises brief biographies of prominent figures and families who are connected to Dartmouth in some capacity.


“Until January, 1757, the Governor and Council ruled alone in Nova Scotia, at that time, after long debate, it was decided that a Representative Assembly should be created, and that there should be elected for the province at large, until counties should be formed, twelve members, besides four for the township of Halifax, two for the township of Lunenburg and one each for the townships of Dartmouth, Lawrencetown (both in Halifax County), Annapolis Royal, and Cumberland. The bounds of these townships were described, and it was resolved that when twenty-five qualified electors should be settled at Piziquid, Minas, Cobequid, or any other district that might in the future be erected into a township, any one of these places should be entitled to send one representative to the Assembly and should likewise have the right to vote in the election of representatives for the province at large.

Members and voters must not be “Popish recusants”, nor be under the age of twenty-one years, and each must have a freehold estate in the district he represented or voted for. The first Assembly met in Halifax on Monday, October 2, 1758, when nineteen members—six “esquires”, and thirteen “gentlemen”, were sworn in. At a meeting of the Council in August, 1759, soon after the dissolution of the second session of the first Assembly, the Council fixed the representation of the township of Halifax at four members, and of Lunenburg, Annapolis, Horton, and Cumberland, at two each. For the newly formed counties of Halifax, Lunenburg, Annapolis, King’s, and Cumberland, there were to be two each.”

County Government, Public Officials:

“When Governor Cornwallis came to Nova Scotia in 1749, one of his earliest acts was the erection and commissioning of courts of justice for the carrying out of the principles of English common law. In pursuance of his orders from the crown he at once erected three courts, a Court of General Sessions, a County Court, having jurisdiction over the whole province, and a General Court or Court of Assize and General Jail Delivery, in which the Governor and Council for the time being, sat at judges. In 1752, the County Court was abolished, and a Court of Common Pleas similar to the Superior Courts of Common Pleas of New England erected in its place. In 1754, Jonathan Belcher, Esq., was appointed the first Chief Justice of the province, and the General Court was supplanted by a Supreme Court, in which the Chief Justice was the sole judge.

In 1829 Judge Haliburton wrote: “There is no separate Court of Common Pleas for the Province, but there are courts in each county, bearing the same appellation and resembling it in many of its powers. These courts when first constituted had power to issue both mesne and final process to any part of the Province, and had a concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court in all civil causes. They were held in the several counties by Magistrates, or such other persons as were best qualified to fill the situation of judges, but there was no salary attached to the office, and fees, similar in their nature, but smaller in amount than those received by the Judges of the Supreme Court, were the only remuneration given them for their trouble. As the King’s bench was rising in reputation, from the ability and learning of its Judges, these courts fell into disuse, and few causes of difficulty or importance were tried in them. It was even found necessary to limit their jurisdiction, and they were restrained from issuing mesne process out of the county in which they sat.

The exigencies of the country requiring them to be put into a more efficient state, a law was passed in 1824 for dividing the Province into three districts or circuits and the Governor was empowered to appoint a professional man to each circuit, as first Justice of the several courts of Common Pleas within the District, and also as President of the courts of sessions. In 1774 an act of the Legislature was passed, first establishing the circuits of the Supreme Court. At Halifax the terms were fourteen days, liberty, however, being allowed for longer terms if the number of cases to be tried demanded an extension of time. No less than eighteen or twenty acts of the legislature relative to the times of holding the courts in the province, were passed between 1760 and 1840. In 1824 an act was passed changing the constitution of the courts of Common Pleas, and dividing the province into three Judicial Districts: the Eastern District, to comprise the county of Sydney, the districts of Pictou and Colchester, and the county of Cumberland; the Middle District, the counties of Hants, King’s, Lunenburg, and Queens; the Western District, the counties of Annapolis and Shelburne. In 1841, by an act of the legislature, the Inferior Courts of Common Pleas were abolished and the administration of law was generally improved.

With the advent of the New England planters to the county, came the introduction of New England’s time honoured institution, the Town Meeting.

[An institution on the radar of those in Dartmouth long before being enacted in law in Dartmouth township, a practice which continued for the first few decades of its existence as an incorporated Town. Martin indicates the last of the “old style” (New England) Town meetings in Dartmouth was held in 1902].

“The New England town meeting was and still is”, says Charles Francis Adams, “the political expressions of the town”, and many writers have spoken of the influence the institution has had in developing and conserving that spirit of independence and sense of liberty which have been characteristic of the New England colonies and colonies sprung from New England. In all the New England settlements in Nova Scotia, the Town Meeting was from the first, in conjunction with the Court of Sessions, the source of local government. The Court of Sessions was composed of the magistrates or justices of the peace, the chairman of which was the Gustos Botulorum, and its secretary, the Clerk of the Peace. By this court, the constables, assessors, surveyors of highways, school commissioners, pound keepers, fence viewers, and trustees of school lands, were appointed. In the Town Meeting the rate-payers met to discuss freely all local affairs, not the least important matter under its jurisdiction being always the relief and support of the poor and the appointment of overseers and a clerk of overseers for carrying out the provisions for the needy the Town Meeting made. For many years it was customary for certain rate-payers to “bid off” one or more poor men, women, or children, for stipulated sums to be paid weekly by the town. In these cases, where it was possible, the rate-payers made the poor whom they bid off, useful in their homes [“parties in need of domestic servants will now have no difficulty in supplying themselves.”]; for such service, and for the sum they received, giving the unfortunates, board, lodging, and clothes. Many persons also, who became town charges were “farmed out” to men who made their living wholly or in part by boarding them. See also “The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1776-1809”, Armstrong, Maurice Whitman] .

Up to 1790, and how much later we do not know, the Town Meetings of Cornwallis were held in the Meeting-House, but after that they were held in some other convenient place. In 1839 an act was passed to enable the inhabitants of Cornwallis to provide a public Town House for the holding of elections in that township. For this building the township was to be assessed in a sum not to exceed two hundred pounds. In 1879 the three townships of the county were united in a central government, and the Town Meeting and Court of Sessions became things of the past. In place of the three townships now arose the Municipality of King’s County, the sole governing body of which is the Municipal Council. Under this new system the county is divided into fourteen wards, twelve of which elect one councillor each, and two, two councillors, for a term of two years. The Council as a whole then elects a Warden, who corresponds to the Custos Rotulorum, of the old Court of Sessions, and whatever other officers it was the duty of the Court of Sessions to elect. Under the Municipality’s control thus came all the interests that formerly pertained to both the Town Meeting and the Court of Sessions. The change of the county to a Municipality was affected at a meeting held at the court house on Tuesday, January 13, 1879, pursuant to a notice by the then Sheriff, John Marshall Caldwell.”

“Before 1888 the only towns in the Province incorporated, besides Halifax, were Dartmouth, Pictou, Windsor, New Glasgow, Sydney, North Sydney, and Kentville.”

“Barristers and Attorneys in King’s County: … James Ratchford De Wolf (long Medical Superintendent of the Insane Hospital at Dartmouth, N. S.)”

“The next rector of Aylesford was the Rev. Richard Avery, son of John and Elizabeth (Simmons) Avery, who was bom at Southampton, England, and educated there, at Warminster, and at Oxford, his brothers, the Rev. John S. Avery, M. A., and the Rev. William Avery, B. A., being chiefly his tutors. Passing the Clerical Board of the S. P. G. in London, Mr. Avery was sent out as a Deacon to Nova Scotia, and by Bishop John Inglis was given the curacy of Lunenburg. In the spring of 1842 he was called as assistant to St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, and Christ Church, Dartmouth”

“In 1827, the Rev. George Struthers, also of the Established Church of Scotland, who afterwards (the Rev. John Martin of Halifax officiating), January 28, 1830, married Mr. Forsyth’s eldest daughter, Mary, and the Rev. Morrison were sent from Scotland by the Lay Association as missionaries to Nova Scotia. At once Mr. Struthers came to Horton, Mr. Morrison going to Dartmouth, which place he afterwards left for Bermuda.”

“The Baptist body in Nova Scotia had its birth in a general religious Revival, and its growth may largely be traced through later similar revivals. Of these revivals King’s County has had always its share, and out of them have come undoubtedly a great deal of deep, continuing religious life.

In 1809 the members of the Cornwallis Baptist Church numbered sixty-five, in 1810 fifty-six, in 1811 sixty-three, in 1812 seventy-three, in 1813 sixty-five, in 1814 sixty-eight, and in 1820 a hundred and twenty-four.

Mr. Manning’s pastorate of the Church lasted until his death, which occurred, as we have said, on the 12th of January, 1851. In 1847, on account of his failing health, the Rev. Abram Spurr Hunt, a young graduate of Acadia College of 1844 (and master of arts of 1851), was chosen to assist him. “When Mr. Manning died Mr. Hunt succeeded to the pastorate, and in this office remained until November, 1867, when he resigned and removed to Dartmouth, the well known suburb of Halifax.”

“On the breaking out of the American War in 1775, Light Infantry companies were ordered by the Governor to be formed in the various townships of King’s and other counties. The number of the King’s County contingent was to be fifty men at Cornwallis, fifty at Horton, and fifty at Windsor, Newport, and Falmouth, together. Fearing sympathy on the part of the Nova Scotians who had come from New England with their rebellious kinsmen in the New England colonies, Governor Legge further ordered that all grown men in the several townships should take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. … Among the men sent from England to govern the province of Nova Scotia during nearly a century and a quarter, not one ever showed such ill-temper as Governor Legge, the incumbent of the governorship at the outbreak of the war. His charges of disloyalty towards England included, not only the inhabitants of the province who had recently come from New England, but the staunchest members of the Council at Halifax as well. As early as January, 1776, he writes disparaging letters concerning the New England settlers to the British Secretary of State. A law has been passed, he says, to raise fresh militia troops, and he has been endeavouring to arm the people, but he has just been informed from Annapolis and King’s counties that the people in general refuse to be enrolled. Though Governor Campbell ‘s report to Lord Hillsborough in 1770 had stated that he did not discover in the people of Nova Scotia any of that “licentious principle” with which the neighbouring colonies were infected, it is a well known fact that in Cumberland, in 1776, the greatest disaffection towards England did prevail. That it would have been perfectly natural if the people of the midland counties of Nova Scotia had sympathized with New England in her protest against the abuse of power on the part of the British Government from which she had long suffered must be freely admitted, that among the inhabitants of Annapolis, King’s, and Hants such sympathy was outwardly shown, remains yet to be proved.

It is a well known fact that the King’s Orange Rangers, a Loyalist corps raised in Orange County, New York, through the efforts of Lieut.-Col. John Bayard in 1776 and ’77, in October, 1778, were sent to reinforce the King’s troops in Nova Scotia, and that until the disbandment of the corps in 1783 they were employed chiefly in garrison duty in Halifax. The statement of the writer of the manuscript in question is that in King’s County symptoms of rebellion strongly showed themselves, one of these being that certain King’s County people were even preparing to raise a liberty pole. This seditious spirit in King’s being reported to the government at Halifax by Major Samuel Starr, a detachment of the Orange Rangers stationed at Eastern Battery, Halifax, was ordered to Cornwallis, under command of Major Samuel Vetch Bayard.”


Biographies:

“JAMES Fillis AVERY, M. D. Dr. James Fillis Avery, son of Cap.t. Samuel and Mary (Fillis) Avery, was born in Horton, May 22, 1794, and for three years studied medicine with Dr. Almon in Halifax. He then went to Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1821. After graduation he spent six months in the Hospital of the Royal Guard at Paris, under the superintendence of the noted Baron Larrey, the first Napoleon’s principal medical adviser. Dr. Avery practised medicine in Halifax and also founded there, in George Street, the noted drug firm, which for many years he personally conducted. From this firm, in time, sprang the firms of Messrs. Brown Brothers, and Brown and “Webb. In later life he retired from business, and for some time travelled in Europe. He was an early governor of Dalhousie College, was an elder in St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church, on Pleasant Street, and was interested in many philanthropic institutions. Among the business enterprises that he took substantial interest in was the Shubenacadie Canal, from Dartmouth to the Bay of Fundy. The first (and probably only) vessel that ever went through that canal, it is said, was called for him. The Avery. For many years, until his death. Dr. Avery’s residence was on South Street, adjoining that of Mr. George Herbert Starr, who had married his niece, Rebecca (Allison) Sawers. Dr. Avery died unmarried, universally respected, Nov. 28, 1887, and was buried near his parents at Grand Pre.

ALFRED CHIPMAN COGSWELL, D. D. S. Alfred Chipman Cogswell, son of Winckworth Allen and Caroline Eliza (Barnaby) Cogswell, was born in Upper Dyke village, Cornwallis, July 17, 1834. He married, Oct. 8, 1858, Sarah A., dau. of Col. Oliver and Sarah A. Parker, born in Bangor, Me., Oct. 10,1830, and had two sons. His residence for many years was in Halifax and in Dartmouth. Dr. Cogswell studied for two years at Acadia College, and then on account of ill health abandoned his college course. His studies in dentistry were later pursued in Portland, Me., and his first practice was in Wakefield, Mass. In 1859 he removed to Halifax, N. S., where he formed a partnership with Dr. Lawrence B. Van Buskirk. Some years later he graduated as D. D. S. at the College of Dentistry in Philadelphia. For many years Dr. Cogswell was a successful and skillful practitioner in Halifax, where he was also an elder in St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church. The younger of his sons, Arthur W., in 1884 received the degree of M. D., and was appointed Surgeon of the Halifax Provincial and City Hospital.

HON. THOMAS ANDREW STRANGE DeWOLF, M. E. G. Hon. Thomas Andrew Strange DeWolf, M. P. P., M. E. C, fourth son of Judge Elisha and Margaret (Ratchford) DeWolf, born April 19, 1795, married December 30, 1817, or March 26, 1818, his first cousin, Nancy, daughter of Col. James and Mary (Crane) Ratchford, born June 1, 1798. Mr. DeWolf represented the County of Kings from 1837 until 1848. He was made a member of H. M.(first) Executive Council, February 10, 1838, and was subsequently Collector of Customs. When a qualification bill authorizing the election of non-resident members was introduced in the legislature as a government measure, he resigned from the Executive Council. He died at “Wolfville, September 21, 1878 ; his widow died at Dartmouth, March 10, 1883. Hon. T. A. S. DeWolf had fourteen children, the most important of whom was James Ratchford DeWolf, M. D., L. R. C. S. E. and L. M., of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

THE REV. ABEAM SPURR HUNT, M. A. Eev. Abram Spurr Hunt, though not a native of King’s County, was for many years, as Rev. Edward Manning’s immediate successor, pastor of the Cornwallis First Baptist Church. He was born at Clements, Annapolis county, April 7, 1814, grad. at Acadia in 1844 (its second class), and on the 10th of Nov. of that year, was ordained over the newly formed Baptist Church at Dartmouth, N. S. In 1844 also, he married Catharine Johnstone, eldest surviving daughter of Lewis Johnston, M. D., and niece of Hon. Judge James William Johnstone, and in 1846, removed to Wolfville, where for a winter he studied theology under the Rev. Dr. Crawley. In 1847 he became assistant pastor to Rev. Edward Manning at Cornwallis, and in 1851, at Mr. Manning’s death, succeeded to the pastorate. Until 1867 he continued pastor of the Cornwallis Church, his ministry being in every sense a successful one. His field of labour, however, was so wide and his duties so arduous that at last he was obliged to seek an easier parish. When he determined to remove from Cornwallis, the Dartmouth Church recalled him, and to that Church he continued to minister till his death, which occurred, October 23, 1877. In 1870 he was also made Superintendent of Education for the Province, and the duties of this office he also discharged until his death. Mr. Hunt’s children were: Eliza Theresa, married as his 2nd wife, to the Hon. Judge Alfred William Savary, of Annapolis, so well known as a jurist and historian (see among other writings, the Calnek-Savary “History of Annapolis,” and the “Savary Family”); Lewis Gibson, M. D., D. C. L., of London, England ; James Johnstone, D. C. L., Barrister of Halifax; Aubrey Spurr; Ella Maud, m. to the Rev. Arthur Crawley Chute, D. D., Professor in Acadia University ; Rev. Ralph M., a clergyman, who died young, deeply lamented. Mrs. Abram Spurr Hunt, a woman of high breeding and exalted Christian character, survived her husband between seventeen and eighteen years. She died in Dartmouth, Halifax, May 29, 1895.

MAJOR GEORGE ELEANA MORTON Major George Eleana Morton was one of King’s County’s most excellent and enterprising sons. He was a son of Hon. John and Anne (Cogswell) Morton, was born at Upper Dyke village, Cornwallis, March 25, 1811, and was one of the pupils of the Rev. William Forsyth. Going to Halifax at about eighteen years of age he entered a drug store on Granville Street, which business he afterward purchased. In 1852 he erected the stone building at the corner of Granville and George Streets, long known as “Morton’s Comer,” where for many years he conducted a wholesale and retail drug business, at that time the largest in the province. He was the first business man in Halifax to send out a commercial traveller. About 1870 he closed his drug business and opened a book and periodical store, and a lending library of current literature. He retired from business in 1888, and died as the result of an accident, Mar. 12, 1892, and was buried in Dartmouth. Mr. Morton was a man of great intelligence, and of distinctly literary tastes, and his contributions to the press, both in prose and verse, were numerous. In 1852 he published, in conjunction with Miss Mary J. Katzmann, The Provincial, a monthly magazine. Later he published a satirical magazine called Banter. In 1875 he wrote and published the first “Guide to Halifax,” and in 1883, a “Guide to Cape Breton.” His newspaper articles appeared chiefly in the Guardian, the British Colonist, and other newspapers. He was unusually well read in English literature, and his writings contain many quotations from classical authors. He was an accomplished letter writer, and for many years kept up an interesting correspondence with friends abroad, especially with his cousin. Dr. Charles Cogswell. He was one of the original members of the N. S. Historical Society, and was always actively interested in the work of that Society. In religion he was a Presbyterian, his membership being in St. Matthew’s Church. In politics a Conservative, he was for many years a personal friend of Messrs. Johnstone, Tupper, Parker, Holmes, Marshall, and other Conservative leaders. He was an ardent supporter of confederation, and had great faith in the future of the Dominion. Nov. 23, 1859, he was appointed 1st Lieut, in the 2nd Queen’s Halifax Regt. ; Sept. 23, 1862, he was appointed Captain. On the reorganization of the militia by the Dominion Government he was retired with the rank of Major. He was one of the promoters of the N. S. Telegraph Company, was original shareholder of the N. S. Sugar Refinery, and shortly after the discovery of gold in 1860, became interested in gold-mining. He held mining claims at Waverly, Montagu, Elmsdale, and Lawrencetown. George Elkana Morton married in Halifax, in March, 1849, Martha Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Christian Conrad Casper and Martha (Prescott) Katzmann, bom Apr. 2, 1823, died Apr. 6, 1899. He had children: Annie, born Dec. 13, 1850, died Mar. 29, 1855; Charles Cogswell, born Aug. 14, 1852, married Apr. 27, 1905, Winifred, daughter of Leonard and Lucy Leadley, of Dartmouth, N.S., and now resides in Kentville. For the Katzmann Family, see the Prescott Family Sketch.”

“Of the Bishop families of Horton many members have occupied positions of trust and many have attained prominence in the communities where they lived. Such have been … Watson Bishop, of Dartmouth, N. S., Superintendent of Water Works for that town”

“THE KEMPTON FAMILY The Rev. Samuel Bradford Kempton, D. D., now of Dartmouth, N. S., but for many years the honoured third pastor of the Cornwallis First Baptist Church, in succession to the Rev. Abram Spurr Hunt, is the son of Stephen and Olivia Harlowe (Locke) Kempton, and was b. at Milton, Queen’s county, Nov. 2, 1834. He received his early education at Milton Academy, and in 1857 entered Horton Academy. In 1862 he graduated, B. A., at Acadia University. He then spent a year at Acadia under the instruction of Rev. John Mockett Cramp, D. D., in post-graduate work. In 1833 he was ordained pastor of Third Horton Baptist Church, and in 1867 became pastor of the First Cornwallis Baptist Church. In that position he remained until 1893, when he removed to Dartmouth, as pastor of the Dartmouth Baptist Church. Dr. Kempton received his M. A., from Acadia University in 1872, and the honorary degree of D. D. in 1894. Prom 1878 to 1907 he was one of the governors of Acadia, and in 1882 was appointed a member of the Senate of the University. His ministry at Cornwallis was laborious and faithful, he had six preaching stations and was obliged to travel many miles every week. He married in Horton, Oct. 1, 1867, Eliza Allison, dau. of Abraham and Nancy Rebecca (Allison) Seaman, and had two children : Rev. Austin Tremaise, b. Feb. 6, 1870, m. June 7,1893, Charlotte H. Freeman; William Bradford, b. May 29, 1885, d. July 17, 1893. Of these sons, Rev. Austin Tremaise Kempton graduated at Acadia University in 1891, and received his M. A. in course in 1894. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry at Milton, Queen’s county, N. S., in 1891, later studied at Newton Theological Seminary, and has since held pastorates in Sharon, Boston, Pitchburg and Lunenburg, Mass. He has also been a successful lecturer, his lectures on the “Acadian Country” having done much to make the charms of King’s County known throughout New England.

Of one, at least, of the Orpin grantees, and the family from which he sprang, a writer in the Halifax Herald of January 25, 1899, gave the following interesting account: Among the enterprising pioneers who first came to this part of the country to make of the wilderness a fruitful field, was Joseph Moore Orpin and his wife, Anna Johnson Orpin. Mr. Orpin ‘s father, Edward Orpin, was one of the founders of the city of Halifax. He first took up land on the Dartmouth side of the harbor, and employed men to subdue and clear it of a forest of trees and a heavy crop of stone.

One day while he was on his way with a lad, sixteen years old, named Etherton, carrying dinner to the men working on his land, he was surprised and captured by the [Mi’kmaq]. They compelled silence and began their march with their captives in the direction of Shubenacadie. They had not gone far when one of the [Mi’kmaq] gave the boy a heavy blow, felling him to the ground. Instantly his crown was scalped and he was left for dead. After travelling some distance, Mr. Orpin found that one of his shoes was unbuckled. He stopped and pointed it out to the [Mi’kmaq] walking behind him. As he stooped down to buckle it the [Mi’kmaq] stepped ahead of him. Orpin saw his chance, caught up a hemlock knot, and as quick as lightning gave the [indigenous man] a blow which brought him to the ground. He had confidence in his own fleetness of foot. Instantly he was flying for liberty.

As soon as the [Mi’kmaq] in advance discovered the trick, and recovered from their surprise, they gave him chase. But Orpin was too fleet for them. He escaped and reached home in safety. Strange to relate the boy returned to the city soaked from head to foot in his own blood. The doctors of the city did what they could to heal his scalp wound. They succeeded only in part. Directed by them a silversmith made a silver plate, which the young fellow wore over his unhealed wound. After a time he returned to England.

In the same year Mr. Orpin had still another adventure with the [indigenous] neighbors of the young colony. On this occasion, too, he was on his way to the place where his men were at work, carrying them their dinners. Again he was seized by the skulking [Mi’kmaq] , and hurried away toward Shubenacadie. After reaching one of the lakes, the [Mi’kmaq] stopped to take a meal. For a special treat, Mr. Orpin was carrying a bottle of rum to his men with their dinners. At the lake the [Mi’kmaq] drank the whole of it, and it made them helplessly drunk. This was good fortune for the captive. He reached Halifax again with the scalp safe on his head. This last experience made him more cautious for a long time. The stony ground in Dartmouth, and his trouble with the [Mi’kmaq], induced him to give up his Dartmouth lot and commence anew on the Halifax side of the harbor. Some years later, he went to the North West Arm. He never returned. Diligent and thorough search was made for him; but he could not be found. The belief at the time was the [Mi’kmaq] caught him again and took secret revenge on him in torturing him to death at their leisure.”

“…the Katzmann family of Halifax county demands notice. Lieut. Christian Conrad Casper Katzmann, b. in Eimbeck, Hanover, Prussia, Aug. 18, 1780, came to Annapolis Royal, N. S., as ensign (he is also called adjutant, 3rd Battalion) of H. M. 60th Regt. He m. (1) in Annapolis Royal (by Rev. John Millidge), June 11, 1818, Eliza Georgina Fraser (who had a sister, Mrs. Robinson, and a brother, James Fraser, Jr., Postmaster at Augusta, Georgia), who d. shortly before April 5, 1819. He m. (2), April 6, 1822, by Bishop Inglis, Martha, dau. of John and Catharine (Cleverley) Prescott, of Maroon Hall, Preston, Halifax county, and retiring from the army, bought Maroon Hall. His children by his 2nd marriage were Martha Elizabeth, b. April 2,1823, m. to George Eleana Morton ; Mary Jane (the authoress), b. Jan. 15, 1828, m. to William Lawson, of Halifax; Anna Prescott, b. Sept. 25, 1832, d. unm.. May 31, 1876. Lieut. Katzmann and his family are buried in Dartmouth, N.S. Mr. and Mrs. John Prescott are probably buried at Preston.”

“THE PYKE FAMILY The Pyke family in King’s County is descended from John Pyke, who came to Halifax with Governor Cornwallis in 1749, it is said as his private secretary, and was killed by Indians in Dartmouth, in August of the next year. His wife was Anne Scroope, b. in 1716, her grandfather or his brother, it is believed, being a baronet in Lincolnshire. Precisely how long before he came to Halifax John Pyke married, it is impossible to say, but his son (and only child, so far as is known), John George, was born in England in 1743. After her first husband’s death, Anne (Scroope) Pyke was married to Richard Wenman, another of the company that came with the Cornwallis fleet, and to her second husband she bore three daughters: Susanna, married to Hon. Benjamin Green, Treasurer of the Province; a daughter m. to Captain Howe, of the Army; another daughter m. to Captain Pringle of the army. Mrs. Anne Wenman died May 21, 1792 ; her husband, Richard Wenman, was buried Sept. 30, 1781.”

Eaton, Arthur Wentworth Hamilton. The history of Kings County, Nova Scotia, heart of the Acadian land. Salem, Mass., The Salem press company, 1910. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/10025852/

Commission to Cornwallis, May 6, 1749

George the Second, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. To our trusty and well-beloved, the Honorable Edward Cornwallis, Esquire, Greeting…..

…know you that we reposing special trust and confidence in the prudence, courage, and loyalty of you, the said Edward Cornwallis, of our special grace, certain knowledge and meer motion, have thought fit to constitute and appoint you, the said Edward Cornwallis, to be our Captain General, & Governor in Chief in and over our Province of Nova Scotia or Acadie in America, with all the rights, members, and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belonging, and we do hereby require and command you to do and execute all things in due manner that shall belong unto your said command and the trust we have reposed in you according to the several powers and authorities granted or appointed you by this present Commission and the instructions herewith given you, or by such further powers, instructions and authorities as shall at any time hereafter be granted or appointed you under our signet and sign manuel, or by our order in our privy Council, and according to such reasonable laws and statutes as hereafter shall be made or agreed upon by you with the advice and consent of our Council and the Assembly of our said Province, under your government hereafter to be appointed in such manner and form as is hereafter expressed.

And for the better administration of justice, and the management of the public affairs of our said Province, we hereby give and grant unto you, the said Edward Cornwallis, full power and authority to chuse, nominate, and appoint such fitting and discreet persons as you shall either find there or carry along with you not exceeding the number of Twelve, to be of our Council in our said Province. As also to nominate and appoint by warrant under your band and seal all such other officers and ministers as you shall judge proper and necessary for our service and the good of the people whom we shall settle in our said Province until our further will and pleasure shall be known.

And we do hereby give & grant unto you full power and authority to suspend any of the members of our said Council to be appointed by you as aforesaid from sitting, voting, and assisting therein if you shall find just cause for so doing.

And if it shall at any time happen that by the death, departure out of our said Province, suspension of any of our said Councilors, or otherwise, there shall be a vacancy in our Council (any five whereof we do hereby appoint to be a quorum), our will and pleasure is that you signify the same unto us by the first opportunity that we may under our signet & sign manuel constitute and appoint others in their stead.

But that our affairs at that distance may not suffer for want of a due number of Councilors, if ever it shall happen that there shall be less than nine of them residing in our said Province, we hereby give and grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis full power and authority to chuse as many persons out of the principal freeholders inhabitants thereof as will make up the full number of our said Council to be nine and no more; which persons so chosen and appointed by you shall be to all intents and purposes Councilors in our said Province until either they shall be corifirmed by us, or that by the nomination of others by us under our sign manuel or signet our said Council shall have nine or more persons in it.

And we do hereby give and grant unto you full power & authority, with the advice and consent of our said Council, from time to time as need shall require, to summon and call General Assemblys of the Freeholders and Planters within your Government according to the usage of the rest of our Colonies & Plantations in America.

And our will and pleasure is that the persons thereupon duly elected by the major part of the Freeholders of the respective counties and places & so returned shall before their sitting take the Oaths mentioned in the Act entitled “An Act for the further security of his Majesty’s Person and Government and the succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors,” as also make and subscribe the afore-mentioned declaration (which Oaths & Declaration you shall commissionate fit persons under our Seal of Nova Scotia to tender and administer unto them,) and until the same shall be so taken and subscribed no person shall be capable of sitting tho’ elected, and we do hereby declare that the persons so elected and qualified shall be called and deemed the General Assembly of that our Province of Nova Scotia.

And that you the said Edward Cornwallis with the advice and consent of our said Council and Assembly, or the major part of them respectively, shall have full power and authority to make, constitute, and ordain Laws, Statutes, & Ordinances for the Public peace, welfare & good government of our said province and of the people and inhabitants thereof and such others as shall resort thereto, & for the benefit of us, our heirs and successors, which said Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances are not to be repugnant, but as near as may be agreeable, to the Laws and Statutes of this our Kingdom of Great Britain.

Provyded that all such Laws, Statutes & Ordinances, of what nature or duration so ever be within three months or sooner after the inaking thereof transmitted to us under our Seal of Nova Scotia for our approbation or disallowance thereof, as also duplicates by the next conveyance.

And in case any or all of the said Laws, Statutes & Ordinances not before confirmed by us shall at any time be disallowed, and not approved & so signified by us our 1-leirs or Successors under our or their sign manuel & signet, or by order of our or their privy Council unto the said Edward Cornwallis, or to the Commander in Chief of our said Province for the time being, then such and so many of the said Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances as shall be so disallowed & not approved shall thenceforth cease, determine, & become utterly void & of none effect, anything to the contrary thercof notwithstanding.

And to the end that nothing may be passed or done by our said Council or Assembly to the prejudice of us our Heirs & Successors, we will & ordain that you the said Edward Cornwallis shall have and enjoy a negative voice in the makai;g and passing of all Laws, Statutes & Ordinances as aforesaid.

And you shall & may likewise from time to time, as you shall judge it necessary, adjourn, prorogue & dissolve all General Assemblies as aforesaid. And our further will and pleasure is that you shall and may keep & use the Publick Seal of our Province of Nova Scotia for sealing aIl things whatsoever that pass the Great Seal of our said Province under your Government.

And we do further give and grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis full power and authority fron time to time & at any time hereafter, by yourself or by any other to be authorized by you in that behalf, to administer and give the Oaths mentioned in the aforesaid Act to all and every such person or persons as you shall think fit, who shall at any time or times pass into our said Province or shall be residing or abiding there.

And we do by these presents give and grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis full power and authority, with advice and consent of our said Council, to erect, constitute, and establishi such and so many Courts of Judicature & Publick Justice witlhin our said Province and Dominion as you and they shall think fit and necessary for the hearing & determining all causes as well Criminal as Civil according to Law and Equity, and for awarding of Execution thereupon with all reasonable and necessary powers, authorities, fees & privileges belonging thereunto, as also to appoint & commissionate fit persons in the several parts of your Government to administer the oaths mentioned in the aforesaid Act, entitled “An Act for the further security of His Majesty’s Person & Government & the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors:” as also to administer the aforesaid declaration unto such persons belonging to the said Courts as shall be obliged to take the same.

And we do hereby authorise and impower you to constitute and appoint Judges, & in cases requisite Commissioners of Oyer & Terminer, Justices of the Peace, and other necessary officers & ministers in our said Province for the better administration of Justice and putting the Laws in execution, and to administer or cause to be administered unto them such oa th or oaths as are usually given for the due execution and performance of offices and places and for the clearing of truth in Judicial Causes.

And we do hereby give and grant unto you full power & authority, where you shall sec cause, or shall judge any offender or offenders in criminal matters or for any fines or forfeitures due unto us fit objects of our mercy, to pardon all such offenders and to remit all such offences, fines and forfeitures, treason & willfull murder only excepted; in which cases you shall likewise have power upon extra-ordinary occasions to grant reprieves to the offenders untill & to the intent our Royal pleasure miy be known therein.

We do by these presents authorise and empower you to collate any person or persons to any churches, chapels, or other eccleciastical benefices within our said Province as often as any of them shall happen to be void.

In witness whereof we have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness ourself at Westminster the sixth day of May in the twenty-second year of our reign.

By writ of Privy Seal.

(Signed) YORKE & YORKE.

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

Local Government in Nova Scotia

The local government history of Nova Scotia reflects a circuitous progression, from central control to increasing local autonomy and back again to centralized control. From its inception in 1605 with Port Royal, local governance was essentially an extension of central government, lacking elected councils or municipal institutions. Annapolis Royal saw early attempts at local government with the establishment of a civil council in 1720 and a general court in 1721. Halifax’s founding in 1749 marked a shift, with the establishment of Quarter Sessions, allowing for local governance with administrative and judicial functions. The system was influenced by both the Virginia and New England-style systems, with Quarter Sessions and an Inferior Court of Common Pleas.

New England settlers in Halifax demanded greater local self-government, leading to conflicts and eventual incorporation of Halifax in 1841 after a push by figures like Joseph Howe. Despite earlier attempts at incorporation, Halifax faced disallowance due to resistance from the Legislative Council. Meanwhile, outside Halifax, the Quarter Sessions system persisted until 1879 when county incorporation became compulsory, replacing the old system with elected municipal councils. Towns also sought incorporation, Dartmouth being the first in 1873, with eight towns incorporated by 1888.

Towns had to meet population and area requirements for incorporation, with mayors and councillors elected for two-year terms. The councils had broad powers, including taxation and infrastructure development. By 1954, Nova Scotia comprised 18 counties, 24 rural municipalities, 39 incorporated towns, and 2 cities, each with its own local government structure, independent of county or district authority. By 1961 Dartmouth became the third incorporated city.

Functions of local government expanded over time, responding to social and economic changes. Traditional roles included regulation and service provision, such as supporting the poor, maintaining roads, and education. However, more modern demands led to the development of new services like community planning, housing, and recreation.

Financially, municipalities initially relied on property taxes but faced challenges due to increased demands and inflation. Provincial assistance, through grants and shared responsibilities, became essential, especially during times of war and economic downturns. Tax rental agreements and conditional grants help fund services like education and social assistance, reflecting a shift towards greater Provincial and Federal involvement.

Since the 1996 amalgamation, which unilaterally consolidated several local entities into one unit in a number of (what once were) counties, local government in Nova Scotia has again undergone significant restructuring. The dissolution of distinct municipalities has reshaped the landscape, upending established institutions, the concept of local government itself and the constitutional frameworks upon which it relied.


Background:
Although there were no parliamentary institutions of any kind in the area during the French regime, local government of one sort or another has existed in Nova Scotia from the founding of Port Royal in 1605. It began not with elected municipal councils, nor with incorporated towns and cities, not even with the Court of Sessions or the Quarter Sessions. In its beginning it was essentially an extension of the arm of the central government.

…central administration at Annapolis Royal was modified and a measure of local government was provided. At Annapolis Royal a civil council was established in 1720 and a general court in 1721. The Acadians continued to choose their own deputies annually; Acadians acted as collectors of quit rents, notaries, herdsmen and overseers; and one Acadian (notwithstanding the difficulty over oaths of office) was commissioned justice of the peace in 1727. At Canso from 1720 there were justices of the peace, who were also usually captains of the militia there. Moreover, during his visits to Canso, Lieutenant-Governor Armstrong gave at least a semblance of local government to the place, by consulting the justices of the peace and a committee of the people there. “the least appearance of a Civil Government:’ he wrote, “being much more agreeable to Inhabitants than that of a Martial.”

Quarter Sessions:
With the founding of Halifax by more than 2500 people from the Old Country in 1749, the seat of government was transferred to it from Annapolis Royal, and soon a system of local government by Quarter Sessions was established in the new capital. This system had been in operation in England for a long time; it was now transplanted in Nova Scotia. The Court of Quarter Sessions, composed of Justices of the Peace appointed by the Governor and Council, enabled the central government to extend its influence into local affairs. The Quarter Sessions had administrative as well as judicial functions; these included the appointment of local officers; licensing of taverns; control over weights and measures; fixing of certain prices; levying of poor and county rates; and control over roads and bridges, prisons and hospitals, and other public works.

The first Justices of the Peace for the Township of Halifax were commissioned on July 18, 1749. In December of the same year justices of the County Court were appointed, and a commission of the peace for the appointment of justices of the town and county of Halifax was issued. The justices of the County Court took their oath of office on December 27, 1749. and the County Court met for the first time on January 2, 1750. Although the first records of the Quarter Sessions are not now available (few being extant prior to 1766), it is likely that the Quarter Sessions first met on the same day as the County Court. Thus it seems quite clear that the Quarter Sessions were established at Halifax early in 1750. A year later the people were given a direct voice in choosing certain minor town officers. On January 14, 1751 the Governor and Council ordered that the town and suburbs of Halifax were to be divided into eight wards, and that the inhabitants were to be empowered annually to choose eight town overseers, one town clerk, sixteen constables and eight scavengers, for managing such prudential affairs of the town as should be committed to their care by the Governor and Council. For several years the annual election of constables was the only part of local government in which the people directly participated, and this was afterwards taken over by the Quarter Sessions.

If settlers from Old England founded Halifax, people from New England soon constituted the most important element in the new town. They quickly arrived in considerable numbers, in order to take advantage of the opportunities in trade or of the privileges accorded to settlers. Jealousy soon arose between the New World and the Old World settlers. with those from New England insisting upon a greater measure of local self-government and upon the adoption of practices to which they had previously been accustomed. At the outset the government had been modelled after that of Virginia, and accordingly, a County Court, meeting monthly, had been established. By March 2, 1752, however, a change was made in line with New England practice. The County Court became an Inferior Court of Common Pleas, meeting not monthly, but quarterly, on the first Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday in June, the first Tuesday in September, and the first Tuesday in December. As the justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas were also Justices of the Peace, the Quarter Sessions opened the same day as the Inferior Court, and the same Jurymen attended both courts.

For a few years, until a House of Assembly was established in 1758, the Governor and the Council of Twelve at Halifax enjoyed a monopoly of power and patronage. At the first session of the Legislature, however, the Assembly (more than half of whose members were of New England origin) initiated legislation to provide a municipal council for Halifax. Rather than agree to this bill, the Council now prepared a bill of its own for erecting Halifax into a parish, with power to provide for its own poor. A conference between the two houses was held, and a compromise seemed to be reached; yet, when the Assembly embodied this agreement in a bill for choosing town officers for the town and suburbs of Halifax and for prescribing their duty, the Council continued to procrastinate. It apparently resented the Assembly’s initiative and early in the following year it rejected the bill on the ground that it was contrary to His Majesty’s instructions. It is clear that when machinery was provided in 1759 for township government in Halifax victory lay with the Council.

Strange to say, this machinery was provided by a bill entitled “An Act for Preventing Trespasses” [extended to Dartmouth in 1818 “An act to extend the provisions of c15 of 1761 relating to Trespasses, to the Town of Pictou and the Town Plot of Dartmouth, 1818 c23“, see also “For regulating the Dartmouth Common, 1841 c52“, “An Act for Preventing Trespasses“] which was introduced in the Legislative Council and afterwards amended by the Assembly and by the Council. It empowered a joint committee of the Council and Assembly to nominate four suitable overseers of the poor, two clerks of the market, two fence viewers, two hog-reeves, and four surveyors of highways for the town of Halifax to serve until the autumn when the Grand Jury should nominate, and their Court of Sessions should appoint their successors. Thereafter annual selections were to be made in this manner. This machinery became the model for township government in Nova Scotia until 1765, when the mode of appointing town officers was modified. At that time the Grand Jury, selected by lot, was empowered to nominate two or more persons for each office, and the Court of Sessions was empowered to choose and appoint the officers from these nominees. Subsequently, in 1811, it was arranged that the number nominated was to be as the justices in sessions might direct, “as the numbers before limited by law were found insufficient.”

The New England Form of Township Government:
For a brief period the New England form of township government, with the direct democracy of the town meeting, was in operation in part of Nova Scotia. It was introduced at the beginning of a substantial wave of New England migration in 1760. In an attempt to fill up land recently vacated by the Acadians or never previously occupied, the authorities had promised New Englanders central and local institutions similar to their own. Between 1760 and 1765 approximately 8,000 New Englanders migrated to the agricultural townships in the Annapolis Valley, along Minas Basin and across the Isthmus of Chignecto, and to the townships for fishermen and lumbermen along the South Shore. Those who arrived in 1760, accustomed to choosing their own officers and managing their own affairs, immediately inaugurated the same sort of township government in Nova Scotia. A provincial statute was passed to enable proprietors to divide their lands, and they appointed their own committee for this purpose until His Majesty disallowed the Act in 1761. [1760 c3, “An ACT, To Explain An Act, made and passed in the Twenty Third Year of His Majesty’s Reign, entitled, “An Act to enable Proprietors to divide their lands held in common and undivided”]

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1760 c3, “An ACT, To Explain An Act, made and passed in the Twenty Third Year of His Majesty’s Reign, entitled, “An Act to enable Proprietors to divide their lands held in common and undivided”

The Extension of the Quarter Sessions:
The local autonomy and the direct democracy characteristic of township government in the new settlements were soon replaced by the extension of central authority and by the adoption of the principle of indirect rather than direct election. The British and Virginian way of Quarter Sessions prevailed over the New England style of township government.

In 1759 the province was divided into the five counties of Halifax, Annapolis, Kings, Lunenburg and Cumberland. Two years later, after His Majesty disallowed the act passed to enable proprietors to divide their lands, committees for that purpose were appointed by the Governor and Council. In the same year the judicial organization of Quarter Sessions and Inferior Court of Common Pleas that already existed in Halifax County was extended to Lunenburg, Kings and Annapolis Counties, and provision was made for the nomination of surveyors of highways by the Grand Jury at the General Sessions of the Peace. This mode of appointment was soon expanded to include all town officers that were chosen prior to the Act of 1765. It left the choice of the officers exclusively to the Grand Jury; but by the Act of 1765 the Grand Jury could only nominate two or more persons for each office, and then the Court of Quarter Sessions those and appointed the officers from those nominees. The central government regained control over the associated proprietors of the township by a statute prescribing that township lands could be apportioned and divided into individual shares, only after a writ had been obtained for that purpose from the Supreme Court. The provost marshal or his deputy, to whom this writ was to be addressed, had to act by inquisition of a jury in the presence of two Justices of the Peace. As new counties and districts were created, the Quarter Sessions extended into them. This system of local government by Quarter Sessions was the general mode in Nova Scotia for more than a century

Personnel In the Quarter Sessions:
In the Court of Quarter Sessions the sheriff, an appointee of the Crown, was the executive officer. Prior to 1778 there had been one provost marshal for the whole province; but thereafter there was a sheriff for each county. Until 1849 the county sheriff was chosen and appointed by the Governor and Council from a list of three names prepared by the Chief Justice or the presiding Justice. An amendment in 1849 provided for the list of three names to be made by the Chief Justice and a puisne judge for, if the Chief Justice were absent, by two puisne judges, acting with two members of the Executive Council. The Justices of the Peace were also appointed by the Crown, and they held office during the pleasure of the Crown. The Grand Jury was a select few who represented the people. It was composed of residents having freehold property of a yearly value of £10 or personal of £100. Each year the sheriff prepared a list of those qualified to serve, and at a stated time the required number of names was drawn from the box.

The Incorporation of Halifax:

[There have been at least three previous attempts to incorporate Halifax: one in 1758, as noted earlier in the Quarter Sessions section, another in 1785, and a third in 1814. However, each of these endeavors faced disallowance, either from the Legislature or the Legislative Council. In later historical accounts of Joseph Howe, one aspect that has notably been removed is his involvement in the push to incorporate Halifax. This involvement primarily revolved around his confrontation with the magistrates, which, within the framework of the existing Quarter Sessions system, represented the closest semblance to a municipal institution we would recognize today.]


Abuses crept into the system, and there were criticisms of its operation in Halifax. Grand Jury after Grand Jury attacked it; there were complaints of unfair assessment, of inefficiency and neglect in the collecting of poor, and county rates, and of other forms of maladministration. The Grand Jury appealed to the Lieutenant-Governor to remedy the situation, and he requested the House of Assembly to do so. Early in 1835 a letter signed “The People”, but written by George Thompson, charging the magistrates of Halifax with misconduct, was published by Joseph Howe in The Nova Scotian. Howe was then prosecuted for criminal libel; he defended himself in a famous trial, the outcome of which was a triumphant acquittal, establishing the freedom of the press and foreshadowing reform in local government. The cry for incorporation grew more insistent. Eventually the old system was swept from Halifax, with the incorporation of the city in 1841. By the charter of that year Halifax was endowed with municipal privileges and securities. This development in local affairs took place seven years before responsible government was won in the wider field of provincial politics in 1848.

An Interlude:
Outside the city of Halifax, the system of local government by Quarter Sessions persisted relatively undisturbed for over thirty more years. In 1850, however, there was an attempt to divide Halifax County into townships and to provide each of its townships with an elected warden and councillors, who were to assume the administrative powers previously exercised by the Justices of the Peace. But a bill to achieve these ends met the disapproval of the Colonial Secretary.

In 1855-56 two provincial statutes provided machinery for the creation of municipal government in counties desiring it by majority vote. The Act of 1855 applied to the Counties of Yarmouth, Annapolis, Kings and Queens; that of 1856 to all the other counties. These acts were permissive not compulsory. They remained on the statute book until 1879, but the fear of heavier county rates prevented any County from adopting the principle of incorporation during those years.

Another Act of 1856 permitted the voluntary incorporation of townships. The municipal council of each township was to consist of five councillors, one of whom was to be the presiding officer, under the name of town reeve. It was to have power similar to that of a county council over roads, poor relief, assessment, and other matters. Only one township-Yarmouth-took advantage of this legislation and ventured upon the experiment of municipal incorporation; and it abandoned it by a majority vote of the electors, after a three years’ trial, in 1858.

As time passed, however, the larger communities sought more amenities. In order to provide them, they began to request incorporation. Thus the towns seemed more eager than the counties to obtain the privileges of self government, and especially the privileges of assessing for local purposes and of borrowing money. Prior to 1888 eight towns were incorporated. These were Dartmouth, (1873), Pictou (1874), New Glasgow (1875), Windsor (1878), North Sydney (1885), Sydney (1885), and Kentville (1886), each of which was incorporated by special Act.

A New System: Elected Municipal Councils:
By the County Incorporation Act of 1879, the incorporation of counties was made compulsory, and the old system of local government by the Quarter Sessions was at last swept away. Its principal object was to compel the Counties to tax themselves directly to keep up their roads and bridges. It provided for the incorporation of every county and sessional district in the province. Each municipal council was to consist of a warden and councillors, with the warden being chosen by the councillors. From the enactment of this statute to 1892, councillors sat for one year; since 1892, however, their term has been three years. Six of the eighteen counties are divided into two districts, making in all twenty-four rural municipalities. These are divided into polling districts, each of which is entitled according to population to at least one representative in the council. The councils have power to assess for specified purposes, including education, the support of the poor, prevention of disease, administration of justice, court house and jail, protection from fires, and so forth.

The Towns Incorporation Act of Nova Scotia was passed in 1888, revised in 1895, and embodied in the consolidation of 1900 and the revised statutes of 1954. It requires a majority vote of the ratepayers of the town in support of incorporation before it can be granted. It also requires a certain population within a specified area-in 1954 a population of over 1500 within an area of not more than 640 acres was required for any new incorporation. A mayor and not less than six councillors are elected for each town. The mayor and councillors generally hold office for two years; but one-half of the council usually retires each year. The mayor and the councillors are eligible for re-election.

The council has power to assess, collect, and appropriate all sums of money required by the town for erecting, acquiring, improving and furnishing buildings for public schools, fire department, police office, lockups, town hall or other town purpose: streets, sewers, water, town courts, police, support of the poor, salaries, and other town purposes. It appoints town officers, excepting the stipendiary magistrate. Every part of the province is contained within a city, or a town or a rural municipality. The province is divided into eighteen counties. Twelve of the counties constitute separate municipalities; and the remaining six counties are divided into two districts or municipalities each making a total of twenty-four rural municipalities. In addition, there are thirty nine incorporated towns and three cities: Halifax (1841), Sydney (1904), and Dartmouth (1961.)

Each town or city is geographically but not politically part of a county or district, and except for joint expenditures is independent of it.

Local Government in Nova Scotia:
Local government as we know it, has arisen to meet the needs of the people. but it is something more than an agency designed to provide services and to regulate private interests for the public welfare. It has a theoretical foundation as well as a practical responsibility. It is closely linked with the democratic philosophy. Consequently it must be considered not only for its efficiency but also for its place in the democratic process. Local government contributes to the strength of democratic institutions; being close to the people it makes government more responsive to local needs and enables the citizen to participate actively in the affairs of the community. It also serves as a training ground in governmental practices and procedures for those who may later serve the province or the nation.

Structure:
The basic structure of the present system of local government in Nova Scotia must now be outlined. it rests upon the County Incorporation Act of 1879. the Towns Incorporation Act of 1888, and the special Acts by which the three cities were incorporated. It has some relationship to the earlier system of local government by Quarter Sessions, in that the Act of 1879 provided for the compulsory creation of 24 rural Municipalities, based on the boundaries of the Counties and Sessional Districts. Twelve of the eighteen Counties became separate Municipalities, while the remaining six were divided into two Municipalities each. Today there are 66 municipal units: 24 rural municipalities, 39 towns and three cities. These types of municipal units are similar in certain essentials. They are self-governing. Local matters are decided and local services are provided by elected bodies directly representative of the citizens. In addition, they have School Boards, which are chosen partly by the local Council and partly by the Governor-in-Council of the Province. But there are a number of differences. Although for administrative and electoral purposes all rural Municipalities are divided into districts, not all towns are divided into wards. Generally each district in a rural municipality elects one councillor, but some choose two, and a few return three each. In 1959 each of the 24 rural municipalities had from 4 to 24 districts, with from 8 to 26 councillors-a total of 323 districts, with 361 councillors. From late in 1961, however, the Municipality of the County of Halifax has 27 districts and 27 councillors. instead of 22 districts and 26 councillors as heretofore. Municipal councillors are elected for three-year terms.

On the other band, towns may be divided into wards (or electoral purposes, although such divisions are not compulsory. Thus, in 1959, only 11 of the 40 incorporated towns were divided into wards. According to the Towns Incorporation Act, each town must elect at least 6 councillors, each for a two-year term, with half of them retiring each year. If the town is divided into 3 wards, one councillor may be elected (rom each ward per year. Six of the towns are divided into three wards each. New Waterford, North Sydney and Sydney Mines, however, have 8 councillors and 4 wards each, while Glace Bay has 12 councillors and 6 wards. The eleventh 1959 town was Dartmouth, which then had 4 wards and 8 councillors; it has since been incorporated as a city.

Another difference is seen in the way in which Wardens and Mayors are chosen. The Warden of a Municipal Council is chosen by the councillors from among themselves, whereas the Mayor of a Town or a City is elected at large. The Mayor of Halifax, who is elected for a one-year term, may not immediately re-offer after having served for three consecutive years. The Mayor of Sydney is elected at large for a two year term, as is the Mayor of Dartmouth.
The three cities are divided into wards. Halifax now has seven wards; Sydney has six; and Dartmouth has seven. Halifax elects two aldermen for each ward on three-year terms, half being elected each year. Sydney elects a council of 12, half elected each year from six wards for a two-year term. Dartmouth has two aldermen for each of seven wards, half of them elected each year, each elected for a two-year term.

Villages may provide themselves with additional local services, administered by themselves rather than by the Municipal Council. This may be done under the Village Service Act or by special legislation, by incorporating village or service commissions for that purpose. Such villages and service commissions do not constitute separate municipal unit~; only the commissions are incorporated; and the village ratepayers still remain part of the municipality. Under the Village Service Act, the commissioners may provide street lighting, fire protection, sewers, water works. streets, roads, sidewalks, police, garbage disposal, parks, and village buildings. Service commissions incorporated by special legislation may provide fire protection, street lighting, or other services. At the end of 1960 there were 16 village commissions, incorporated under the Village Service Act, in operation, and about 20 service commissions incorporated by special Acts of the Legislature.

Within towns and cities there are a few instances of a similar nature. For example, in the City of Halifax the water utility is operated by an independent body; and in the towns of Bridgewater and Glace Bay water and electric services are provided in the same way.

The school boards of the cities, towns and municipalities are in no case elective, (except (or the. Town of Berwick,) but are appointed partly by the local councils and partly by the Governor-in-Council. Within rural municipalities prior to 1956 school trustees, incorporated, and operating for the provision of school facilities under the Education Act, had power to borrow money and to impose taxation. Since then, however, the dominant control over education in the rural municipalities has passed to the Municipal School Boards. Although school trustees still exist in the rural municipalities, they act generally only as a local agent for the Municipal School Board and they no longer have power to levy taxation or to borrow money. There are no school trustees within any town or city.

Certain joint services required by municipal and urban units-such as court houses, jails, and welfare homes, or offices for the sheriff, registrar of probate, and registrar of deeds are provided by rural municipalities for themselves and for the towns and cities within their limits. They are paid for, under a Joint Expenditure scheme, by which each unit pays a proportion of the cost.

Although each of the three cities in the province has a Mayor and a Council, Halifax has adopted a variation on the basic Mayor-Council theme, a form of the Council-Manager plan. It has not only a Mayor and a Council, but also a manager or executive director of all civic departments who is appointed by the Council.

Functions:
There has been an expansion in the functions of local government. In the old days the dominant idea was that government should only control and regulate the activities of citizens in the common interest. Two things, however, have caused substantial increases in municipal expenditures. One is the fact that social and economic changes in a rapidly moving world have created a demand not only for new services but also Cor higher and more expensive standards for those services that were previously provided by municipalities. The second is the effect of inflation upon all costs, municipal or otherwise.

The day of “the little red school house”, with one teacher for eight or ten grades, is about over. Instead we have large regional schools in central locations, costing sums of money which only a few years ago would have been regarded as astronomical, both to build and to operate, with fleets of buses to convey to school those pupils who live more than a mile or so away from it.

Another instance of the change in circumstances and in attitude is seen in the subject of transportation. The automobile and the motor truck have made paved streets desirable, if not necessary; the car driver and the truck driver of this generation regard them as necessary; the driver of the horse and wagon of the previous generation would have said that they were all very fine, but he couldn’t afford them.

Community planning, now universally regarded as necessary, is a comparatively recent development. Slum clearance and low rental housing provided by the municipality, with the co-operation of other levels of government, are now being undertaken. They were almost unheard of a few years ago.

All of these developments have created financial problems for the municipal governments. There has been an expansion of their work and of their outlay. This has resulted not only in the tax levy of Nova Scotian municipalities having been multiplied by four in less than twenty years, but also in assistance from the provincial government in two ways. One form of assistance is given by cash grants, some amounts being earmarked as direct aid for specific projects, and others being general grants without specified purposes.

The traditional functions of local government included both regulatory activities and certain services provided for citizens. Municipalities have always had a good deal to do with protecting persons and property, and the Municipal Acts all contain long lists of the specific kinds of regulation with which Councils may deal. For municipalities they range from regulating the firing of guns, the management of log booms, and the restraining of domestic fowl from going at large, to controlling brush burning, “abating all public nuisances,” and licensing “hack-men, waggoners and cart-men.” For towns and cities, they include regulating halls “for preventing accidents therein”; making building by-laws; fixing closing hours for shops; licensing restaurants and trades, gasoline pumps and swinging sign-boards; and preventing “unusual noises” and loitering. All of these regulations imply some curbing of freedom in the common interest. and failure to comply with them may involve legal proceedings and penalties. Of the traditional services the most important were the support of the poor, roads, and education.

Recent developments have produced changes even in the field of regulation, as well as in the sphere of services. There are now “truck-men” in addition to “hack-men waggoners and cart-men.” “Automatic machines” have been added to the list of licensed games. Towns and cities have had to be given power to control parking and, in many cases, to install parking meters. In general, however, the lists of kinds of regulation have remained much the same. Certain phases of law enforcement, including court houses, jails, or lock-ups, besides police and other personnel, are also the responsibility of municipalities.

If social and economic changes have affected the regulatory functions of municipal governments, they have greatly increased the demands of people and tremendously expanded the social services. The community is called upon to do many things to improve the health, the welfare and the comfort of its citizens. Local government is therefore concerned with the improvement of the social, cultural and recreational environment in a wide variety of ways. These include adult education, public libraries, traffic police for schools, public concerts and plays, auditoriums, parks and playgrounds, swimming-pools and rinks, health clinics, juvenile courts, housing and slum clearance. There is a growing consciousness of the need for community planning and for zoning. Urbanization and suburbanization, and the emergence of metropolitan areas, have their attendant problems. These raise questions as to whether they are to be dealt with by annexation, by the co-operation of two or more units in matters of mutual concern, or by other means.

Although Nova Scotia passed its first planning Act as early as 1912, municipalities for a variety of reasons proceeded slowly with the work of planning. The Act was completely revised in 1939. Amendments passed in 1956 provided for planning on a regional rather than on a strictly municipal basis. Interest in the field of planning is increasing and a beginning has been made in regional planning with the formation of three Metropolitan Planning Commissions (to August 31,1961). These are (1) the Richmond Inverness Metropolitan Planning Commission, including the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the adjoining southern portion of Richmond and Inverness Counties; (2) the East River Valley Planning Commission, including the Towns of New Glasgow, Stellarton Trenton and Westville, and the adjoining area of the County of Pictou; and (3) the North Side Metropolitan Planning Commission, including the Towns of North Sydney and Sydney Mines and the adjoining area of the County of Cape Breton. Subdivision regulations to enable better control by Planning Boards over subdividing have been enacted for eleven municipal units. The number of municipal units having zoning by-laws is increasing. In the field of housing and urban redevelopment, the City of Halifax began construction of low rental housing about ten years ago, and it has recently completed a survey for slum clearance and embarked upon this project.

Finance:
When municipalities were created, they were obliged to collect money to pay for the services which they provided, including roads and bridges, education and the support of the poor. For those purposes they had to resort to the direct taxation of real and personal property. It was their aversion to this sort of taxation which delayed the establishment of municipal self-government.

For some time there was criticism of the new system in some of the municipalities. But generally they seemed to get along fairly well with the revenue from taxation on real and personal property. The services they provided were neither elaborate nor expensive, though they were reasonably adequate for the demands of the day. By the County Incorporation Act of 1879 the management of the road and bridge service was transferred to the municipal councils instituted by the Act. At that time the Provincial Government reduced its expenditure on this service and left it up to the new municipal councils to maintain the former standards by supplementing that amount out of their own revenues. Eventually this dual control proved impracticable; in 1907 the Province reassumed the expenditure of all provincial moneys for roads. For another ten years the municipal councils continued to look after the statute labour on the highways, and then they lost that control when this was ended. The coming of the automobile had created the need for change. Greatly improved highways were necessary, and the Province began to assume responsibility for this service. At the outset the Province asked the rural municipalities to make a contribution towards the cost of highways based on a fixed rate of taxation on their assessments. This provided about $250,000. In 1961, however, for highways of the standard now in existence the Legislature has appropriated $15,000,000 for maintenance and improvement, to be raised by taxation, and an additional $16,000,000 for construction, to be raised by borrowing.

If the coming of the automobile caused a change, other changes were made by the depression of the thirties and by the second World War. The depression led to a greater measure of planned regulation and to a continuing drive for a more adequate system of social services. During the war municipalities did very little in the way of capital construction or expansion of services. It would have been regarded as unpatriotic to enter the money market to borrow money j that was left for the Dominion in order to ensure necessary financing for the war. It would also have been regarded as unpatriotic to enter the labour market or to purchase material; those also were reserved for war purposes. Consequently, when the war ended municipalities found it necessary to undertake the immediate replacement of some of their capital assets. The attitude of people had also changed. No longer were they satisfied with the type of service previously provided by municipalities; they now wanted better services sometimes much better services, and handsomer buildings, including finer buildings to accommodate a larger school population. They wanted all the streets in the municipality to be paved. With the construction of many new houses, there was also a corresponding increase in the demand for water, sewer and other services which these require.

Along with new demands went higher costs. Inflation had arrived, and seemed to be here to stay. Everything the municipalities bought or built cost a great deal more than it would have cost before the war. But if costs had changed, so had the attitude of the people. All this meant that the municipalities had to provide increasingly large sums of money, and they declared that they were unable to do so from the traditional taxes on real and personal property. If these services were to be provided then the Provincial or the Federal Government would have to help.

Even earlier, as we have seen, the Province had assumed responsibility for highways. There had also been increasing Provincial participation in school administration from 1864-65, when a free school system, supported by compulsory assessment, bad been established in Nova Scotia. Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1962 require the Province to pay over $23,000,000 towards the cost of education.

The system of unconditional or unspecified grants made by the Province to the municipalities is of quite recent origin. It also arose during and because of the war. Prior to 1942 the municipalities had the right to levy a tax on income, though it had not been used a great deal in Nova Scotia. Then as the Dominion required large sums of money for war purposes, an agreement was made in 1942 between the Province and the Dominion, under which the Province for itself and for the municipalities withdrew from the income tax field so as to leave it to the Dominion alone. This was the first of what are sometimes called “tax rental agreements.” Under that 1942 agreement, the Dominion made certain payments to the Province. In order to compensate the municipalities for their potential loss because the income tax had been taken from them, the Province made cert.1.in grants to them. The major part of the grants now being paid by the Province to its cities, towns and rural municipalities is based on population. The total of these grants for 1961 is approximately $1,000,000.

Grants for specified purposes are also being paid by the Province to the municipalities in a number of fields. Those for education have already been mentioned. Another example is social assistance (formerly called “poor relief”) in which the Province and the Dominion together pay a total of two-thirds of the cost, provided certain standards are met and certain specifications are followed. Similar assistance is made to the county homes, as long as the stipulated standards are maintained. In the operation of county mental hospitals (formerly called “local asylums”), the Province pays one-half the cost, if the required standards are met. The public health scheme under which free hospital care is now provided to the general public has relieved the municipal units of practically their entire expenditure for this purpose.

Notwithstanding the greatly increased participation by the Province in these services, the municipalities have also expended increasingly large sums upon them. Their disbursements on education rose from a little over $3,000,000 in 1943 to a net total of approximately $16,600,000 in 1959. Their total tax levy increased from $8,306,543 in 1942 to $13,620,650 in 1949, and then to $31,626,165 in 1959. Their total general revenue, excluding joint expenditure boards and district or area rates, was $41,560,135 in 1959. Of that amount, about $31,000,000 was raised by taxation, while sums of $2,132,245 and $3,530,607 were received from the Federal and Provincial Governments, respectively.

It is clear, from the increased levy by the municipalities and from the increased participation by the Province and the Dominion, that the cost of providing the public with what were formerly known as municipal services has shown a very great increase indeed.

“Local Government in Nova Scotia”, Fergusson, C. Bruce. 1961. The Institute of Public Affairs, Dalhousie University. https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/11024

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