Institutionalizing Eugenics: Custody, Class, Gender And Education In Nova Scotia’s Response To The “Feeble-Minded”, 1890-1931

It’s obvious to me that the eugenicists didn’t stop after 1931, that it was used in ways that were politically motivated seems just as obvious. It was preceded by a few generations of “stirpiculture“, which just so happened to make an appearance in an institutionalized form in Nova Scotia in time for “confederation” leading to many subsequent expansions, including at the time of Dartmouth’s incorporation. Howe hinted towards this possibility in his speech at Dartmouth, “The lunatic asylum of course we must keep up, because Archibald may want it by-and-by to put Tupper and Henry into at the close of the elections“, by no means the only example of such statements. That 1868-69 featured the highest number of admission to the “Hospital for the insane” since its inception in 1859 adds further context.

I often think of this whenever I hear a member of Canada’s ruling caste — those who we are supposed to believe have the best interests of their subjects at heart — talk about “mental health” within the context of the current political environment, where they’re preparing every avenue, most especially health and education, for the application of philosophical intoxication against those who resist any of their totalitarian actions and inclinations.

It certainly brings clarity as to why we have such a highly political and ideologically focused monopoly health care system devoid of private payments or hospitals, let alone private insurers for primary care. It’s a level of control that wouldn’t have been so easy to achieve with the patchwork of jurisdictions, imbued with some measure of self government, which we enjoyed previous to this current “amalgamated” regime of hyper-centralization in terms of the administrative state.

I’m sure they’re just looking out for all of our best interests, now.


“Between 1890 and 1927 hundreds of Nova Scotian children and adults were identified as either feeble-minded or mentally deficient through investigations conducted by physicians and philanthropists in the province. The earliest of these studies were not commissioned by the provincial government but instead reflected the middle-class internalization of the eugenic discourse. Reformers, drawn often from medical, religious, educational, and philanthropic vocations, sought with ever-increasing alacrity to respond to perceived social problems, such as poverty, prostitution, venereal disease, and alcoholism, with a scientific solution. The scientific solution that they embraced was eugenics.

Eugenic ideology and programs rose to popularity in Europe and North America at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Driven by social anxiety and the medicalization of reproduction, eugenic theory expressed the concerns of the middle classes that those they deemed less fit on the basis of socio-economic class, education or heredity, were reproducing at a higher rate than the ‘desirable’ segments of the population. The application of eugenic theory was shaped by cultural assumptions about gender, class and race which resulted in the same principles finding different expression in different areas across the globe.

This dissertation seeks to understand how local circumstances shaped the Nova Scotian understanding of eugenics and its application. It examines the manner in which Nova Scotian physicians and philanthropists, with strong ties to both New England and Britain, participated in the transnational eugenic discourse through both professional and popular publications and organizations. Overall it argues that the expression of eugenics in Nova Scotia culminated in legislation that enforced the inspection, segregation and institutionalization of individuals who were assessed as feeble-minded. In doing so it also calls attention to the need to recognize outcomes other than sexual sterilization as legitimate expressions of eugenic policy. Subsequently the influential role played by regional circumstances in shaping what was considered an acceptable eugenic outcome as well as how eugenic policy was sought and implemented is examined. In investigating what reformers understood to be eugenic, and conversely what they considered dysgenic, a complex discourse surrounding the health of populations and reliant on ideas of gender, race, and class is revealed.”

Baker, Leslie Elaine. Institutionalizing Eugenics: Custody, Class, Gender And Education In Nova Scotia’s Response To The “Feeble-Minded”, 1890-1931. University of Saskatchewan, Feb. 2015. https://harvest.usask.ca/bitstream/handle/10388/ETD-2015-01-1934/BAKER-DISSERTATION.pdf

USS Augusta, USS Miantonomoh, Asylum Accomodations

The American Consulate paid an official visit to the U.S. warships in harbour today, and was saluted in due form by the Augusta.


The U.S. Monitor Miantonomoh and steamer Augusta sailed this afternoon for St. Johns, Nfld. We are informed that since their arrival here some 15 of the crew deserted, only one of whom was recaptured.


It is said that over one hundred men are employed in the extension of the Lunatic Asylum. If the Legislators Mr. Archibald set down as lunatics from Tupper down to Longley, in the Pictou railway debate, are to be accommodated there, the work cannot proceed too fast.

Halifax Citizen, May 17, 1866. Page 3, Column 4. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660517&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Hospital For The Insane

 

From the annual report of the Medical Superintendant for the Hospital for the Insane, a copy of which has just been received, we learn that the rate of recovery during the year was very high, being fifty per cent in proportion to the admissions, while the mortality rate, though beyond the ordinary average, was lower than the year before. During last year seventy seven patients were admitted, 44 males and 33 females. With two exceptions, 1868-69, this is the highest number received in any one year since the opening of the hospital. The total number under care in 1872 was 329, the daily average for the year being 258. The discharges were seventy, 36 males and 34 females, leaving on the record at the close of the year 256, including two who were absent on trial. Of those discharged 39 were recovered; and 27 died. Of those who died six were upwards of sixty years of age, two being over seventy. Several of those received were only sent to be nursed during their last illness, five having died within one month, and other five within three months after admission.

The re-admissions in 1872 of those who had formerly been residents of the Hospital and had been discharged, were fourteen, while of those “on trial”, five were returned before their period of probation had terminated.

During the fourteen years the Hospital has been in operation, eight hundred and thirty-eight have been admitted, and five hundred and seventy-nine discharged as follows, namely, one hundred and sixty-five have died; twenty have been removed unimproved; sixty-four have been sent home more or less relieved, and three hundred and thirty have been discharged as recovered.

When the extension now in progress is completed the Hospital will afford accommodation for ninety additional patients.

 

British Colonist, May 3, 1873. Page 2, Colum 4, near bottom. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=HDshCWvjkbEC&dat=18730503&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

 

Sayings and Doings

 

A man named Thos. Tobin has been arrested and committed for trial in the Criminal Court, on a charge of enticing soldiers to desert.


 

Several attendants who have recently left the Lunatic Asylum have called on us with a long statement of what they conceive irregularities and unfair treatment, which they desire published. Before publishing such a statement it would seem to us more desirable that they should represent the matter to the government. If their complaints have a good basis, and the government take no action, then they may state their case through our columns.

 

Halifax Morning Sun, Jun 2, 1865. Page 1 Column 6. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660403&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

“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/

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

Coit correspondence of 1871

coit correspondence

“This letter will give you some gleanings from Halifax — the most English of the provincial cities. It was founded in 1749, by the Lords of the Board of Trade, and named after the President, Gen. Montague, Earl of Halifax. It has ever since been the capital of Nova Scotia, — robbing that honor from Annapolis. Thirteen transports brought from England 2576 emigrants, the nucleus of the present population, which counts about 40,000 souls. The sloop of war Sphinx led the way, bearing Colonel the Honorable Edward Cornwallis as Captain General and Governor of Nova Scotia. He afterwards presented a sword to Gen. Washington at Yorktown, a circumstance which will never be forgotten. His name is more pleasantly linked with Cornwallis County, the garden of the province.

Immediately upon landing, the town was laid out in squares, with streets sixty feet wide. A fence of upright pickets or palisades enclosed the town, running up from two points in the harbor, with block houses at frequent intervals. The town of Dartmouth, on the opposite side of the harbor, began its career a year later, in 1750, and in the year following some German settlers added themselves to the colony occupying the North End, now called Dutch Town, through which we came from the depot. So late as 1780 the streets were impassable for carriages by reason of rocks and stumps. They have not yet attained the dignity and cleanliness which paving stones impart.

We linger long in the cool, breezy atmosphere of our lofty station. North is Bedford Basin, covering ten square miles and able to hold the whole British Navy. Indeed, I doubt not that in the North East arm which is nine miles long and includes the Basin, the navies of the world might assemble in grand convention and be secure as sheep in a fold. West, across the harbor, one mile, the town of Dartmouth is tilted up so as to display all her charms, most conspicuous and central among which is the Lunatic Asylum, an imposing structure of freestone.”


“The question coming oftenest to the surface of every-day speech in the Provinces, which the stranger hears discussed everywhere, is annexation. It is not easy however, to discover what the people themselves want. One will tell you the majority are for, another that it is overwhelmingly against the project. The truth seems to be that political thought in the Dominion is in a transition state, waiting for “something to turn up.” If England would disclose her intentions respecting the Provinces, the proposition would be simplified. At present, I am told opposition to annexation is not based on any conviction regarding material thrift, but is a matter of pure sentiment.

Mr, Wetmore (himself an annexationist, I believe) finely expressed the feeling which, no doubt, pervades many provincial breasts, when he said in the saloon of the steamer New Brunswick: “It is not necessary for the sake of paltry rhetoric to throw away one bit of our patriotism. We love our country, and we greet you no less cordially because we extend to you British hands.” This is all natural and right. Our forefathers were aglow with the same sort of sentiment before it was spanked out and stamped out with the maternal slipper. It does not seem likely that we shall importune the Provinces to become states of the Republic; but if in the progress of events they shall desire to link their destinies with ours, I trust we shall give them a hearty welcome.

The Dominion of Canada is about four years old. Already the Confederation is without harmony and unpopular. It is particularly distasteful to Nova Scotia. Indeed, nowhere in the Provinces we visited does there appear to be any loyalty to the Dominion as such, corresponding to that devotion to the Union among us, which is its safeguard and strength. The parts are indifferent to the whole. They are held together by clumsy carpentry, not by living processes of organic growth. Consequently there is no enthusiasm — nothing akin to a national spirit, among the people. The notion that they belong to the Dominion of Canada seems vague and unfamiliar, and the name has no magic in it.

In the Provinces farther north and west, there is a furor for independence, finding some sympathy throughout the Dominion. Men are dazzled with visions of a grand empire bounded by three oceans, and wait impatiently the snapping of the leading strings which have become “attenuated to cobwebs.” It is likely that the child will soon go alone; and not unlikely, I think, that in some crisis of croup or teething it may be turned over to the United States as to a sort of Children’s Home.”

Davis, A. H; Sawyer, Caroline M. (Caroline Mehetabel), 1812-1894. “Coit correspondence of 1871, or, The second trip to New Brunswick by the Coit family”. 1872. Worcester [Mass.] : Printed by Chas. Hamilton, Palladium Office https://archive.org/details/coitcorresponden00davi

Acadia And Thereabouts

“Then one should visit Dartmouth, across the harbor from Halifax, so picturesquely dropped among its dark hills. Ferry-boats run every quarter hour between the places. The town has some 6,000 inhabitants, a sugar refinery, a marine railway, a rope-walk, a skate factory, and – by no means least imposing feature – the great grim pile of Mount Hope Lunatic Asylum.

Back of Dartmouth, to the north, lies the beautiful chain of the Dartmouth Lakes, a famous resort of skaters, when the ice has set firmly. From these lakes runs the old Shubenacadie Canal, connecting those waters with those of Minas Basin and Fundy by way of the Shubenacadie River.”

Presbrey, Frank, 1855-1936. Acadia And Thereabouts … [New York: Seaman-Presbrey, 1896. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/yale.39002034879321

Acadia, or, A month with blue noses

“As I said before, to make the festivities complete, in the afternoon there was a procession to lay the corner-stone of a Lunatic Asylum. But oh! how the jolly old rain poured down upon the luckless pilgrimage! There were the “Virgins” of Masonic Lodge No. -, the Army Masons, in scarlet; the African Masons, in ivory and black; the Scotch-piper Mason, with his legs in enormous plaid trowsers, defiant of Shakspeare’s theory about the sensitiveness of some men, when the bag-pipe sings i’ the nose; the Clerical Mason in shovel hat; the municipal artillery; the Sons of Temperance, and the band. Away they marched, with drum and banner, key and compasses, BIBLE and sword, to Dartmouth, in great feather, for the eyes of Halifax were upon them.”

“Is this fairy land ? No, it is only poor, old, barren Nova Scotia, and yet I think Felix, Prince of Salerno, if he were here, might say, and say truly too, “In all my life I never beheld a more enchanting place ;” but Felix, Prince of Salerno, must remember this is the month of June, and summer is not perpetual in the latitude of forty-five.

“Mrs. Deer,” said I, “how long have you lived here?”
“Oh, sah, a good many yoare ; I cum here afore I had Bill dar.” “Where did you reside before you came to Nova Scotia?” “Sah?” “Where did you live?” “Oh, sah! I is from Maryland.” (William at it again.) “Did you run away?” “Yes, sah; I left when I was young. Bill, what you laughing at? I was young once.” “Were you married then-when you run away?” “Oh yes, sah!” (a glance at Bill, who was off again).”

And left your husband behind in Maryland?” “Yes, sah; but he didn’t stay long dar after I left. He was after me putty sharp, soon as I travelled;” (here Mrs. Deer and William interchanged glances, and indulged freely in mirth). “And which place do you like the best-this or Maryland?” “Why, I never had no such work to do at home as I have to do here, grubbin’ up old stumps and stones; dem isn’t women’s work. When I was home, I had only to wait on misses, and work was light and easy.” (William quiet.)

“But which place do you like the best-Nova Scotia or Maryland?” “Oh! de work here is awful, grubbin’ up old stones and stumps; ’tain’t fit for women.” (William much impressed with the cogency of this repetition.) “But which place do you like the best?” ” And de winter here, oh! it’s wonderful tryin.” (William utters an affirmative flash.)” But which place do you like the best?” “And den dere’s de rheumatiz.”

“But which place do you like the best, Mrs. Deer?” “‘Well,” said Mrs. Deer, glancing at Bill, “I like Nova Scotia best.” (Whatever visions of Maryland were gleaming in William’s mind, seemed to be entirely quenched by this remark.) “But why,” said I, “do you prefer Nova Scotia to Maryland? Here you have to work so much harder, to suffer so much from the cold and the rheumatism, and get so little for it;” for I could not help looking over the green patch of stony grass that has been rescued by the labor of a quarter century.

“Oh!” replied Mrs. Deer, “de difference is, dat when I work here, I work for myself, and when I was working at home, I was working for other people.” (At this, William broke forth again in such a series of platoon flashes, that we all joined in with infinite merriment.) “Mrs. Deer,” said I, recovering my gravity, “I want to ask you one more question.” “Well, sah,” said the lady Deer, cocking her head on one side, expressive of being able to answer any number of questions in a twinkling. “‘ You have, no doubt, still many relatives left in Maryland?” “Oh! yes,” replied Mrs. Deer, “all of dem are dar.”

“And suppose you had a chance to advise them in regard to this matter, would you tell them to run away, and take their part with you in Nova Scotia, or would you advise them to stay where they are?” Mrs. Deer, at this, looked a long time at William, and William looked earnestly at his parent. Then she cocked her head on the other side, to take a new view of the question. Then she gathered up mouth and eyebrows, in a puzzle, and again broadened out upon Bill in an odd kind of smile; at last she doubled up one fist, put it against her cheek, glanced at Bill, and out came the answer: “Well, sah, I’d let’em take dere own heads for dat!”

I must confess the philosophy of this remark awakened in me a train of very grave reflections; but my companion burst into a most obstreperous laugh. As for Mrs. Deer, she shook her old hips as long as she could stand, and then sat down and continued, until she wiped the tears out of her eyes with the corner of her apron. William cast himself down upon a strawberry bank, and gave way to the most flagrant mirth, kicking up his old shoes in the air, and fairly wallowing in laughter and blossoms. I endeavored to change the subject.

“Bill, did you catch any trout?” It was some time before William could control himself enough to say, “Not a single one, sah;” and then he rolled over on his back, put his black paws up to his eyes, and twitched and jingled to his heart’s content. I did not ask Mrs. Deer any more questions; but there is a moral in the story, enough for a day.

As we rattled over the road, after our brief dinner at Deer’s Castle, I could not avoid a pervading feeling of gloom and disappointment, in spite of the balmy air and pretty landscape. The old ragged abodes of wretchedness seemed to be too clearly defined-to stand out too intrusively against the bright blue sky. But why should I feel so much for Cuffee? Has he not enlisted in his behalf every philanthropist in England? Is he not within ten miles of either the British flag or Acadia? Does not the Duchess of Sutherland entertain the authoress of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the Black Swan? Why should I sorrow for Cuffee, when he is in the midst of his best friends?

Why should I pretend to say that this appears to be the raggedest, the meanest, the worst condition of humanity, when the papers are constantly lauding British philanthropy, and holding it up as a great example, which we must “bow down and worship?”

For my own part, although the pleasant fiction of seeing Cuffee clothed, educated, and Christianized, seemed to be somewhat obscured in this glimpse of his real condition, yet I hope he will do well under his new owners; at the very least, I trust his berry crop will be good, and that a benevolent British blanket or two may enable him to shiver out the winter safely, if not comfortably.

Poor William Deer, Sen’r, of Deer’s Castle, was suffering with rheumatism in the next apartment, while we were at his eggs and bacon in the banquet hall; but Deer of Deer’s Castle is a prince to his neighbors. I shall not easily forget the brightening eye, the swift glance of intelligence in the face of another old black man], an hostler, in Nova Scotia.

He was from Virginia, and adopting the sweet, mellifluous language of his, own home, I asked him whether he liked best to stay where he was, or go back to “Old Virginny i” “0 massa!” said he, with such a look. “you must know dat I has de warmest side for my own country!” We rattled soberly into Dartmouth, and took the ferry-boat across the bay to the city.”


Cozzens, Frederick Swartwout. “Acadia, or, A month with blue noses.” New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/AGD6191.0001.001, https://archive.org/details/acadiaoramonthw01cozzgoog

An act relating to lunatics and to the custody and estates of lunatics, 1872

Lunatics Nova Scotia hospital

“Any lunatic being at large may be apprehended under warrant from two Justices of the Peace and if his legal settlement shall be in any place within the County or District, he shall be secured within the same; and if such settlement shall not be within the County or District, he shall be sent by the Justices by order under their hands, to the place of his last legal settlement, and shall be there secured under a warrant from two Justices of the Peace for the County or District to which lie shall be so removed, and the charges of removing, maintaining and curing such person during his restraint, having been first proved on oath before two Justices, shall be paid out of the proceeds of the personal property, or the rents of the real estate of such person, if am’ he have over and above what will maintain his family ; and such property or rents may, for that purpose be seized and sold by the Overseers of the Poor of the place of such person’s last legal settlement, under a warrant from two Justices; and if such person has not any property or rents applicable therefor, then such expenses shall be borne by the inhabitants of the County or District within which such person shall have his last legal settlement.”

“The better to prevent crime being committed by insane persons, if any person shall be discovered and apprehended under circumstances denoting a derangement of mind and a purpose of committing some crime for which, if committed, such person would be liable to be indicted, it shall be lawful for any two Justices of the Peace of the County or District, before whom such person may be brought, to call to their assistance any legally qualified medical practitioner ; and if upon order and examination of such person so apprehended, or from other proof, such Justices shall be satisfied that such person is insane, or a dangerous idiot, it shall be lawful for them, by warrant under their hands and seals, to commit such person to the gaol of the County or District, there to be kept in strict custody until such person shall be discharged by the order of two Justices of the Peace, one of whom shall be one of the Justices who shall have signed such warrant, or by a Judge of the Supreme Court, or until such person shall be removed to a proper Lunatic Asylum, or to the custody of guardians appointed under this Act.”

“The financial and general management of the (Nova Scotia) Hospital (for the Insane) shall be vested in the Commissioner of Public Works and Mines. The following persons shall be ex officio visitors of the Hospital, that is to say, the Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Justice, the Provincial Secretary, the President of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Committee of the House of Assembly on Humane Institutions and the heads or authorized representatives of all the Christian churches in the Province”

“Chapter 152 of the Revised Statutes “Of Madmen and Vagrants, and of the Custody and Estates of Lunatics,” and such other portions of the existing law as are inconsistent with this Act are repealed.”

Nova Scotia House of Assembly. “An act relating to lunatics and to the custody and estates of lunatics: passed the 18th day of April, A.D. 1872” https://archive.org/details/101600523.nlm.nih.gov/mode/2up

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