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/

Sir Samuel Argall: the First Englishman at Mount Desert

The missionary work among the French, undertaken simultaneously with settlement, was so associated with political and commercial interests, that the Virginia Company might well look with apprehension upon the contemplated activities of the Jesuits, of which it was informed when the Grace de Dieu with Fathers Biard and Masse on board, en route to Port Royal, was driven by stress of weather into Newport Harbor, Isle of Wight, in 1611. As a result of this important information, the Trinity term of the Virginia Court, July 11, 1612, commissioned Captain Samuel Argall as Admiral of Virginia, with instructions to prevent the French from obtaining a foothold in North Virginia. Argall, therefore, sailed from England on August 12, 1612, in his ship the Treasurer, in which he was part owner with Sir Robert Rich, afterwards Earl of Warwick, and arrived at Point Comfort on September 27; spent the fall and winter in trading, fishing and exploring and in the spring made his preparations for the trip northward to Saint Croix and Port Royal.
It was sometime in July, 1613, that Argall sailing northward, under orders from Sir Thomas Dale, happened to be in the Mount Desert region. Here he chanced upon the Jesuit settlement at Fernald’s Point, but recently removed by orders from the French sovereign, from Port Royal; made a furious attack upon the colony which should have been better defended, and after a short but sharp conflict, came off an easy victor. The colonists were removed and never again in Eastern Maine did the French make any serious attempt at colonization.

In a “New England Relation,” printed in 1625, mention is made of the abandonment of the Popham colony at the mouth of the Kennebec and that “the Frenchmen immediately tooke the opportunity to settle themselves within our limits, which being heard by those of Virginia, that discreetly tooke to their consideration that the inconvenience that might arise, by suffering them to harbour there, dispatched Sir Samuel Argall, with Commission to displace them, which he performed with much discretion, judgment, valour, and dexterity …. And hereby hee hath made away for the present hopefull Plantation to be made in Nova Scotia, which we heare his Majesty hath lately granted to Sir William Alexander*, Knight.

*Afterwards first Earl of Stirling. An echo of this grant is to be found in the records of Sir Francis Bernard’s attempts to obtain validation of the grant of Mount Desert, made to Bernard by the General Court of Massachusetts, 1762, When Charles I, at the instigation of his Queen , Henrietta Marie, gave Acadia back to France, the Earl of Stirling, to compensate him for the loss of Nova Scotia, was given the County of Canada, extending from the St. Croix to Pemaquid, together with other territory. Complications arising from these facts, prevented approval of the Bernard grant until 1771. See my Sir Francis Bernard and His Grant of Mount Desert, Publications of the Colonial Society of Mass”.

With reference to Popham’s deserted fort on the Kennebec, there is a statement made by the Jesuit Father, Pierre Biard, in a letter to the Provincial, of date January 31, 1612, which makes it clear that one of the reasons which induced Biencourt, the commander of Port Royal, to undertake a trip to the westward, accompanied by Father Biard, was “in order to have news of the English, and to find out if it would be possible to obtain satisfaction from them” (si on pourroit avoir raison d’eux).
Noting certain inherent defects in the plan and defenses of the fort, the Frenchmen evidently concluded that it would be possible to get the better of the English, even if this fortification were well garrisoned; but they were reckoning without Captain Argall, to whom Father Biard was soon to have an introduction at Saint Sauveur. Here at Mount Desert, even if the improvident commander, La Saussaye, in spite of the vehement protestations of the militant members of the colony, set up fruit trees instead of cannon, and laid out gardens rather than fortifications, had listened to Captain Fleury, Lieutenant La Motte and the Jesuits, the English Captain Argall, in his strongly armed ship of some two hundred and fifty tons, with her complement of sixty fighting men, would have proved far too powerful. Argall, by rescuing the grant of North Virginia from the French, most certainly got the better of a movement, which, as Alexander Brown has said, had it not been stopped in the beginning, it is interesting to think what might have been the history of this nation.

As sometimes related, the story of Argall’s dealings with the Jesuits at Mount Desert, leaves nothing to his credit. His stealing of La Saussaye’s commission when that chickenhearted commander, at the first signs of trouble, discreetly took to the woods in the region of Valley Cove, was a senseless bit of villainy; his turning adrift in an open boat, well provisioned to be sure, of many colonists, seems, judged by modern standards, an inhuman act; but it is to be noted that upon the arrival in Virginia, with the remnant of the Saint Sauveur colony, when Marshall Dale threatened hanging, Argall came to the rescue, confessed his duplicity and zealously argued against any such proceedings.
Father Pierre Biard, Superior of Saint Sauveur, was perhaps the greatest sufferer as the result of Argall’s conquest, in body as well as. in mind, and his estimation of a former enemy, written after he was safely back in Europe, is an encomium worthy of remark; for the Jesuit Father has said:
“Certainly this Argall has shown himself such a person that we have reason to wish for him, that from now on, he may serve a better cause and one in which his nobility of heart may appear, not in the ruin, but in the preservation of honest men.”
Turning next to an English contemporary, let us note what Ralph Hamor, one time secretary of the Virginia Company, has to say of Admiral Argall at Mount Desert: “His Norward discoveries towards Sacadehoc, and beyond to Port Royal, Sancta Crux, and thereabout may not be concealed: In which his adventure if he had brought home no commodity to the colony (which yet he did very much both of apparrell, victualls, and many other necessaries) the honour which he hath done unto our Nation, by displanting the French there beginning to seat and fortefie within our limits, and taking of their Ship and Pinnas, which he brought to James Towne, which would have rewarded enough for his paines, and will ever speake loud his honour and approved valour.”

In the investigation which followed the destruction of Saint Sauveur, Argall was vindicated. The average reader of early American history will, however, find but few references to this important detail. On the other hand many of the older histories speak of Captain Argall as a freebooter, pirate, buccaneer or marauder because he attacked the French at a time when England and France were at peace, ignoring two very important points to which attention may now be turned.
There is a clause in the Virginia Charter which conferred upon the colonies of both North and South Virginia the right “to encounter, expulse, repel and resist, as well by sea as by land,” by all ways and means whatsoever, all and every such person and persons, as without especial license of the several said colonies and plantations, shall attempt to inhabit within the said several precincts and limits of the said several colonies and plantations, or any of them.”

The second point is this: On July 11, 1612, at the Trinity term of the Virginia court, Captain Samuel Argall was commissioned as Admiral of Virginia and specially instructed to prevent the French from establishing colonies in North Virginia, and under this authority of the Virginia court, backed by the clause in the Virginia Charter, the French Jesuit settlement at Mount Desert was obliterated. Dr. Burrage, in his Beginnings of Colonial Maine has ably discussed the Saint Sauveur episode in all its various phases and it is not here necessary to go further into detail, for the above mentioned facts are quite sufficient to show that Argall by carrying out instructions should not be anathematized as a pirate or marauder, but ought to be considered an English naval officer who, from the standpoint of British interests in America, performed an act at Mount Desert, the importance of which, in Colonial history, cannot be overestimated.

Sawtelle, William Otis, “Sir Samuel Argall: the First Englishman at Mount Desert” (1923). Maine History Documents. 82. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistory/82

An historical geography of the United States

1606:

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

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

[Norumbega noted on this map].

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

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

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

Virginia East, Nova Scotia
Virginia East, Nova Scotia

1609-1620:

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

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

1640:

“French claims”

1655:

“French claims”

1660:

“Barony of New Scotland”

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

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

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

1664:

“Grants to the Duke of York”

1763:

“Massachusetts until 1696”

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

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

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

Responsible Government in Nova Scotia

This book discusses the evolution of Nova Scotia’s constitutional and legal institutions during the 18th and 19th centuries in terms of the British institutions from which it sprang. As English settlers established colonies, they carried with them differing political and constitutional views, leading to tensions and migrations. Despite this scattering, the underlying issues persisted and grew, ultimately posing challenges for the British Empire as a whole.

The American Revolution emerged from these tensions, fueled by differing interpretations of political sovereignty and governance. Colonists demanded self-government and local autonomy, rebuffing British attempts at centralized control. The Declaration of Independence asserted the rights of man and consent of the governed, principles rooted in British constitutional history but revitalized in the American colonies.

The clash between local autonomy and centralized control led to the formation of the Articles of Confederation and the principle of federalism in the new American republic. Meanwhile, the colonies sought a partnership with Britain rather than subjugation, reflecting a new conception of empire and fellowship among equals.

This period of revolution and adjustment saw the birth of new constitutional principles and governmental customs, challenging traditional notions of imperial governance. Nova Scotia’s role in this constitutional evolution is highlighted, underscoring the neglected history of its contribution to the broader imperial narrative. Extensive research into original and manuscript sources sheds light on this overlooked aspect of history, providing insight into the complexities of constitutional development during this transformative era.


“From the beginning a most important feature of English history has been the steady evolution of a constitution and the development of legal and political institutions. During the period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when her people were expanding into the new world and establishing states as offsprings of the mother country, the constitution at home was undergoing some very necessary adjustments and fundamental changes. While these transformations were wrought primarily for the purpose of meeting the changing circumstances and growing needs of the ancient island kingdom, some of the friction which resulted was profoundly instrumental in sending out to the colonies great groups and sections of her own people, who, when they arrived and settled retained the points of view and the interpretations which had made it unwise and, in some cases, impossible for them to remain at home.

The Puritans, the Cavaliers, the Catholics, and the Quakers all held political and constitutional views somewhat different, representing in those views the points of controversy and change sought before and at the time of their departure. Indeed, no question whatever was actually solved by their removal; rather the difficulties were scattered over a wider field where their growth continued apace, in some cases more virulent than ever, producing in time a more serious problem for the Empire at large than it had been originally for the more limited sphere of the mother country. The need for adjustments was only delayed by this process of scattering, and in time emerged again in a larger form for the Empire as a whole. Also the basic conditions of life in the new world were different, essentially those of the frontier, which tended strongly to bring out, to renew and to revitalize one of the deepest seated characteristics of the British stock, that of self sufficiency.

This added to the difficulty, and out of these two circumstances, — the dissenting colonists and the new life of the frontier — arose a strong sense of constitutional right and a powerful spirit of political and economic independence. This called for statecraft and adjustments of the finest sort from the side of the mother country, but as yet she had not sensed the real meaning of empire, nor was she able to cope successfully with those new problems which expansion and growth had made inevitable.

With the rapid growth and development of the older colonies, and with the acquisition after 1760 of the alien province of Quebec, the problems of political and economic adjustment in the new world became acute. Could the older institutions of the mother country be successfully adapted to the newer conditions and the widely varying circumstances of the several daughter colonies in America? Could the constitution of England in its broad historical meaning be transformed into a constitution for the whole of a vast imperial organization?

The strain was great; the demands for adjustments and change came too quickly upon the government in London; and that government in this evil hour unfortunately was more devoted to a few great private interests than to the larger problems of a growing empire. Indeed, it might be said that in this period the government of England was more a property of those private interests than it was a function of the constitution, and because of this defect it was impossible for the government to consider fairly the broader colonial policy and to preserve the whole of the growing colonial empire under a common Crown.

The deeper problems of adjustment which this British government was not able to meet successfully may be more clearly understood from a study of the constitutional issues of the American Revolution and a consideration of those principles upon which, at first, it was proposed to establish the new American Republic. The democratic life of the new world and the experience in the colonies for over a century of a large degree of self-government had not only produced reinterpretations of some of the older political and legal institutions, but had actually produced new constitutional principles and governmental customs.

The friction and circumstances following 1763 stimulated the colonial statesmen to attempt a definition of some of these new departures. By the time the disruption had been completed and the new republic established those basic principles had been given vivid and dramatic expression.

The Whig parliament in England had drifted far in its interpretation of the state and of its function in the government. Never “weary of expressing their contempt for public opinion” they “denied that members of the Commons sat as representatives of the people.” Standing in sharp contrast with this theory of an all sovereign and irresponsible parliament was the plain assertion in the Declaration of Independence of the rights of man and the “consent of the governed” as the proper basis for all just government wherever found. This broad and fundamental principle involved not only actual self-government for the people but also self-determination for a colony or a state.

But it was not a new constitutional principle, indeed it was as old as the British race and had been understood by such men as Sir Edward Coke in the time of the early Stuarts, and John Locke as he explained the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. In America this old principle, along with the British stock, had been revitalized and given a new and vigorous emphasis, while at home the Whig parliament and the Hanoverian kings had wandered far from any understanding of its constitutional importance and were unable, therefore, to make those finer adjustments demanded by the colonies prior to 1776.

As a natural corollary to the principle of self-government reasserted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, was the demand on the part of the thirteen colonies for a system of general government in which the major emphasis should rest, not as the Whigs would have it, upon the central administration, but upon the sacred sovereignty of the local state as a political unit.

The British government had been unable to understand this need but continued to assert that the parliament in London had the power to legislate for them “in all cases whatsoever” and had gone on with its attempt to modify local administration with royal prerogative and centralized control. In this clash of principle — local autonomy versus centralized control — is found the explanation in part, of the first constitution of the new republic, the Articles of Confederation, and the origin of the American principle of federalism.

Of equal importance in the period of revolution and adjustment was the theory held in the colonies of the nature of the empire and of the place of the colony in the larger organization. In harmony with the principle of self-government the colonies maintained that their local legislatures should occupy, a coordinate position under the Crown with the Parliament of Great Britain. In this they were breaking new ground and building slowly a new conception of an imperial organization. Since the people in the colonies were entitled to all the rights of British subjects the colonies could not possibly be considered as possessions of the mother country.

The alternative, therefore, was a partnership relation among them and with the United Kingdom. But again the British government, dominated by the Whig theories, could not appreciate this new interpretation of a larger fellowship as it developed in the growing life of the new world communities. Soon after the organization of the republic this new principle found expression in the definition of the colonial policy of the new American nation. Like the Declaration of Independence, the Ordinance of 1784 came from the vigorous mind of the Virginia liberal, Thomas Jefferson, and the principle of empire which it explains is quite in harmony with his conception of the place of the individual in the social and political organizations. According to this principle, which was finally embodied in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the new states, subsequently formed from this Northwest Territory, should be free and autonomous units:

“That Whenever any of the sd. states shall have of free inhabitants as many as shall then be in any one of the least numerous of the thirteen original states, such states shall be admitted by its delegates into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the said original states.” (Report to Congress, March 1, 1784. Journals of Congress Containing their Proceedings (Philadelphia, 1800), Vol. IX (April 23, 1784), pp. 109-110. In the Ordinance of 1787 “in all respects whatsoever” was added. The same principle is found in the earlier deed to the Northwest Territory given by Virginia to Congress and prepared also by Jefferson: “… and that the states so formed, shall be distinct republican states, and admitted members of the federal union; having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence as the other states.” Ibid., p. 48)

The conception here is clearly that of a union of equals freely associated together, and as such it is a definition of a new colonial policy and of a new imperial order. Upon this conception the new American “empire of liberty,” as it was called by Jefferson, was to expand indefinitely under republican institutions. Little did he realize that the older empire of Britain would also in time accept the same liberal interpretation of its own imperial bond.

A history of this political and constitutional process is the scope of this study. The field is new, for Nova Scotia and the period of her important contribution to the constitution of the newer empire has been neglected by the students of history and politics. (In June 1926, the Canadian Historical Review published the writer’s article, “The First Responsible Party Government in British North America”. Last year, 1929, since the completion of this volume, the Oxford Press published a study by Professor Chester Martin, Empire and Commonwealth, which has a section devoted to the constitutional evolution of Nova Scotia.)

The research, therefore, has involved the use and study of original, and in many cases manuscript sources, hitherto unexploited. Most of these are available in the Public Archives of Canada at Ottawa. Some are in the Provincial Archived of Nova Scotia and others are to be found only at the Public Record Office in London.”

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

The American Revolution, A History

“Rioting had long been common in England, but many of the popular uprisings of the 1760s were different from those in the past. Far from being limited to particular grievances such as high bread prices, much of the rioting was now directed toward the whole political system. The most important crowd leader was John Wilkes, one of the most colorful demagogues in English history. Wilkes was a member of Parliament and an opposition journalist who in 1763 was arrested and tried for seditiously libeling George III and the government in No. 45 of his newspaper, the North Briton. Wilkes immediately became a popular hero, and the cry “Wilkes and Liberty” spread on both sides of the Atlantic. The House of Commons ordered the offensive issue of the newspaper publicly burned, and Wilkes fled to France. In 1768 he returned and was several times elected to the House of Commons, but each time Parliament denied him his seat. London crowds, organized by substantial shopkeepers and artisans, found in Wilkes a symbol of all their pent-up resentments against Britain’s corrupt and oligarchic politics. The issue of Wilkes helped to bring together radical reform movement that shook the foundations of Britain’s narrow governing class.

Thus in the 1760s and early 1770s the British government was faced with the need to overhaul its empire and gain revenue from its colonies at the very time the political situation in the British Isles themselves was more chaotic, confused, and disorderly than it had been since the early eighteenth century. No wonder that it took only a bit more than a decade for the whole shaky imperial structure to come crashing down.

The government began its reform of the newly enlarged empire by issuing the Proclamation of 1763. The crown proclamation created three new royal governments – East Florida, West Florida and Quebec – and enlarged the province of Nova Scotia. It turned the vast-Appalachian area into an Indian reservation and prohibited all private individuals from purchasing Indian lands. The aim was to maintain peace in the West and to channel the migration of people northward and southward into the new colonies. There it was felt, the settlers would be in closer touch with both the mother country and the mercantile system – and more useful as buffers against the Spanish in Louisiana and the remaining French in Canada.
But circumstances destroyed these royal blueprints…The demarcation line along the Appalachians that closed the West to white settlers was hastily and crudely drawn, and some colonists suddenly found themselves living in the Indian reservation.


In the Quebec Act of 1774, the British government finally tried to steady its dizzy western policy. This act transferred to the province of Quebec the land and control of the Indian trade in the huge area between Ohio and Mississippi rivers and allowed Quebec’s French inhabitants French law and Catholicism. As enlightened as this act was toward the French Canadians, it managed to anger all American interests – speculators, settlers and traders alike. This arbitrary alteration of provincial boundaries threatened the security of all colonial boundaries and frightened American Protestants into believing the British government was trying to erect a hostile Catholic province in the Northwest.


In March 1765, Parliament by an overwhelming majority passed the Stamp Act, which levied a tax on legal documents, almanacs, newspapers, and nearly every form of paper used in the colonies. Like all duties, the tax was to be pain in British Sterling, not in colonial paper money. Although stamp taxes had been used in England since 1694 and several colonial assemblies had resorted to them in the 1750s, Parliament had never before imposed such a tax directly on the colonists.
It is not surprising therefore, that the Stamp Act galvanized colonial opinion as nothing ever had. “This single stoke,” declared William Smith, Jr., of New York, “has lost Great Britain the affection of all her Colonies.”


Convinced that something more drastic had to be done, the British government reorganized the executive authority of the empire. In 1767-68 the government created the American Board of Customs, located in Boston and reporting directly to the Treasury. It also established three new Vice Admiralty courts – in Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston – to supplement the one already in operation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In belated recognition of the importance of the colonies, it created a new secretaryship of state exclusively for American affairs, an office that would cap the entire structure of colonial government.”

Wood, Gordon, S. “The American Revolution, A History”. Random House, 2002.

Strayed or Stolen

 

From Mr. Thomas Hardin of Dartmouth. A glede coloured stallion, about four years old, with a white face and raw nose, black mane and tail mixed with some white hairs, and one of his hind feet white, he is supposed to have been carried away by the French below the Eastern battery. Whoever can give intelligence of him to the printer in Halifax, or to the owner in Dartmouth, so as he may have him again, shall have twenty shillings reward.

Halifax Gazette, Dec. 13 1764. Page 1, Column 1. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=4p3FJGzxjgAC&dat=17641213&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Page 1 of 4
1 2 3 4