Selections from the public documents of the province of Nova Scotia

Advertisement.* (copy.) Whitehall, 7th March, 1749.

A proposal having been presented unto His Majesty for the establishing a civil government in the Province of Nova Scotia, in North America, as also for the better peopling and settling the said Province, and extending and improving the Fishery thereof, by granting lands within the same, and giving other encouragement to such of the officers and private men lately dismissed His Majesty’s land and sea service, as shall be willing to settle in said Province. And His Majesty having signed his royal approbation of the report of the said proposals, the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, do by His Majesty’s command, give notice that proper encouragement will be given to such of the officers and private men lately dismissed His Majesty’s Land and Sea service, as are willing to accept of grants of land, and to settle with or without families in Nova Scotia. That 50 acres of land will be granted in fee simple to every private soldier or seaman, free from the payment of any quit rents or taxes for the term of ten years, at the expiration whereof no person to pay more than one shilling per annum, for every 50 acres so granted.

That a grant of 10 acres, over and above the 50, will be made to each private soldier or seaman having a family, for every person including women and children of which his family shall consist, and from the grants made to them on the like conditions as their families shall increase, or in proportion to their abilities to cultivate the same.

That eighty acres on like conditions will be granted to every officer under the rank of Ensign in the land service, and that of Lieutenant in the sea service, and to such as have families, fifteen acres over and above the said eighty acres, for every person of which their family shall consist.

That two hundred acres on like conditions will be granted to every Ensign, three hundred to every Lieutenant, four hundred to every Captain, and six hundred to every officer above the rank of Captain. And to such of the above mentioned officers as have families, a further grant of thirty acres will be made over and above their respective quotas for every person of which their family shall consist.

That the lands will be parcelled out to the settlers as soon as possible after their arrival, and a civil government established, whereby they will enjoy all the liberties, privileges and immunities enjoyed by His Majesty’s subjects in any other of the Colonies and Plantations in America, under His Majesty’s Government, and proper measures will also be taken for their security and protection.

That all such as are willing to accept of the above proposals shall, with their families, be subsisted during the passage, also for the space of twelve months after their arrival.

That they shall be furnished with arms and ammunition as far as will be judged necessary for their defence, with a proper quantity of materials and utensils for husbandry, clearing and cultivating the lands, erecting habitations, carrying on the fishery, and such other purposes as shall be deemed necessary for their support.

That all such persons as are desirous of engaging in the above settlement, do transmit by letter, or personally give in their names, signifying in what regiment or company, or on board what ship they last served, and if they have families they intend to carry with them, distinguishing the age and quality of such person to any of the following officers appointed to receive and enter the same in the books opened for that purpose, viz : — John Pownell, Esq., Solicitor and Clerk of the Repts. of the Lords Comrs. of Trade and Plantations, at their office at Whitehall; John Russell, Esq., Comr. of His Majesty’s Navy at Portsmouth; Philip Vanburgh, Esq., Comr. of His Majesty’s Navy at Plymouth.

And the proper notice will be given of the said Books being closed, as soon as the intended number shall be completed, or at least on the 7th day of April.

It is proposed that the Transports shall be ready to receive such persons on board on the 10th April, and be ready to sail on the 20th, and that timely notice will be given of the place or places to which such persons are to repair in order to embark.

That for the benefit of the settlement, the same conditions which are proposed to private soldiers and seamen shall likewise be granted to Carpenters, Shipwrights, Smiths, Masons, Joiners, Brickmakers, bricklayers and all other artificers necessary in building or husbandry, not being private soldiers or seamen.

That the same conditions as are proposed to those who have served in the capacity of Ensign shall extend to all Surgeons, whether they have been in His Majesty’s service or not, upon their producing proper certificates of their being duly qualified.

By order of the Right Hon. the Lords Comrs. of Trade and Plantations.

Thomas Hill, Secretary.

*This advertisement was published in the London Gazette, March, 1749

His Majesty’s Commission to His Excellency Governor Cornwallis

George the Second, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. To our Trusty and well beloved, the Honorable Edward Cornwallis, Esquire, Greeting. Whereas we did by our Letters Patent under our Great Seal of Great Britain bearing date at Westminster the Eleventh day of September in the second year of Our Reign constitute and appoint Richard Philipp’s, Esquire, Our Captain General and Governor in Chief, in and over Our Province of Nova Scotia or Acadie in America, with all the rights, members and appurtenances whatsoever thereunto belonging, for and during our will and pleasure ; as by the said recited Letters patent relation being thereunto had may more fully and at large appear.

Now Know you that we have revoked and Determined and by these presents do Revoke and Determine the said recited Letters Patent, and every clause, article and thing therein Contained; and Further Know you that we reposing special trust and confidence in the prudence, courage and Loyalty of you the said Edward Cornwallis of our especial Grace certain knowledge and meer motion have thought fit to constitute and appoint you the said Edward Cornwallis to be our Captain General & Governor in Chief in and over our province of Nova Scotia or Acadie in America with all the rights, members and appurtenances whatsoever there- unto belonging, and we do hereby require and command you to do and execute all things in due manner that shall belong unto your said Command and the Trust We have reposed in you according to the several powers and authorities granted or appointed you by tins present Commission and the instructions herewith given you or by such further powers, Instructions and authorities as shall at any time hereafter, be granted or appointed you under our signet & sign manuel or by our order in our privy Council & according to such Seasonable Laws and Statutes as hereafter shall be made or agreed upon by you with the advice and consent of Our Council and the Assembly of our said province under Your Government hereafter to be appointed in such manner & form as is here- after expressed.

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

And our will and pleasure is that you the said Edward Cornwallis (after the publication of these our Letters Patent) do take the Oaths appointed to be taken by an Act passed in the first year of his late Majesty’s our Royal father’s Reign, Entitled an Act for the further security of His Majesty’s Person and Government and the succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors. As also that you make and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the Twenty fifth year of the Reign of King Charles the Second entitled an Act for preventing dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants. And likewise that you take the usual Oath for the due execution of the office and trust of Our Captain General & Governor in Chief of our said Province for the due and impartial Administration of Justice } and further that you take the oath required to be taken by Governors of Plantations to do their utmost that the several Laws relating to Trade and the Plantations be observed. All which said Oaths and Declaration Our Council in our said province or any five of the members thereof have hereby full power and authority and are required to tender and administer unto you and in your absence to our Lieutenant Governor, if there be any upon the place, all which being duly performed you shall administer unto each of the members of Our said Council as also to our Lieutenant Governor, if there be any upon the place, the said Oaths mentioned in the said Act Entitled an Act for the further security of His Majesty’s Person & Government and the succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors ; as also to cause them to make and subscribe the aforementioned declaration and to administer to them the Oath for the due execution of their places and Trusts.

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

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

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

And We do hereby give and grant unto you full power & authority with the advice and consent of our said Council from time to time as need shall require to summon and call General Assemblys of the Freeholders and Planters within your Government according to the usage of the rest of our Colonies & plantations in America. And our will and pleasure is that the persons thereupon duly elected by the major part of the Freeholders of the Respective Counties and places & so returned shall before their setting take the Oaths mentioned in the said Act entitled an Act for the further security of his Majesty’s Person and government and the succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors, as also make and subscribe the aforementioned Declaration (which Oaths & Declaration you shall commissionate fit persons under our seal of Nova Scotia, to Tender and administer unto them,) and until the same shall be so taken and subscribed no person shall be capable of sitting tho’ elected, and we do hereby declare that the persons so elected and qualified shall be called and deemed the General Assembly of that our Province of Nova Scotia.

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

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

And in case any or all of the said Laws, Statutes & Ordinances not before confirmed by us shall at any time be disallowed and not approved & so signyfied by us our Heirs or Successors under our or their sign manuel & signet or by order of our or their privy Council unto you the said Edward Cornwallis or to the Commander in Chief of our said Province for the time being then such and so many of the said Laws Statutes, and Ordinances as shall be so disallowed <fc not approved shall from thenceforth cease, determine & become utterly void & of none elect any thing to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

And to the end that nothing may be passed or done by our said Council or Assembly to the prejudice of us our Heirs & Successors We Will & ordain that you the said Edward Cornwallis shall have and enjoy a Negative Voice in the making and passing of all Laws, Statutes & Ordinances as aforesaid.

And you shall & may likewise from time to time as you shall Judge it necessary, adjourn, Prorogue & Dissolve all General Assemblies as aforesaid.

And our further will and pleasure is that you shall and may keep & use the Publick Seal of our Province of Nova Scotia for Sealing all things whatsoever that Pass the Great Seal of Our said Province under your Government.

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

And We do by these presents give and grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis full power and authority with advice and consent of our said Council to erect constitute and establish such & so many Courts of Judicature & publick Justice within our said Province and Dominion as you and they shall think fit and necessary for the hearing & determining all causes as well Criminal as Civil according to Law and Equity and for awarding of Execution thereupon with all reasonable and necessary powers, Authorities fees & Privileges belonging thereunto as also to appoint & Commissionate fit per- sons in the several parts of your Government to administer the oaths mentioned in the aforesaid Act Entitled an Act for the further security of His Majesty’s Person & Government & the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for Extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors; As also to tender & Administer the aforesaid Declaration unto such persons belonging to the said Courts as shall be obliged to take the same.

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

And We do hereby give and Grant unto you full power & Authority where you shall see cause or shall Judge any offender or offenders in Criminal matters or for any fines or forfeitures due unto us, fit objects of our mercy to pardon all such offenders and to remitt all such Offences Fines & Forfeitures, Treason & willfull murder only excepted; in which cases you shall likewise have power upon extraordinary occasions to Grant Reprieves to the offenders untill & to the intent our Royal Pleasure may be known therein.

We do by these presents Authorise and empower you to collate any Person or Persons to any Churches, Chapels or other Ecclesiastical Benefices within our said Province as often as any of them shall happen to be void.

And We do hereby give & grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis by yourself or by your Captains & Commanders by you to be authorized full power and authority to Levy, arm, muster, command & employ all persons whatso- ever residing within our said Province and as occasion shall serve to march from one place to another or to embark them for the resisting & withstanding of all Enemies, Pirates & Rebels both at Land & Sea, and to Transport such Forces to any of our plantations in America if necessity shall require for the Defence of the same against the Invasion or attempts of any of our Enemies, and such Enemies, Pirates & Rebels if there shall be occasion to pursue and prosecute in or out of the Limits of our said Province & plantations or any of them & (if it shall so please God) to vanquish, apprehend & take them & being taken, according to Law to put to death or keep & preserve them alive at your discretion & to execute Martial Law in time of Invasion or other Times when by Law it may be executed & to do & execute all & every other thing or things which to our Captain Generals & Governor in Chief Doeth or ought of right to belong.

And we do hereby give & grant unto you full power and authority by & with the advice and consent of our said Council of Nova Scotia, to Erect, Raise & Build in our said Province such & so many Forts & Platforms, Castles, Citys, Boroughs, Towns & Fortifications as you by the advice aforesaid shall Judge necessary, and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with ordinance, ammunition & all sorts of arms fit and necessary for the security and defence of Our said Province and by the advice aforesaid the same again or any of them to demolish or dismantle as may be most convenient.

And for as much as divers mutinies & disorders may happen by persons shipped and employed at sea during the time of War and to the end that such as shall be shipped & employed at sea during the time of War, may be better governed & ordered, We hereby give and grant unto you the said Edward Cornwallis full power and authority to constitute & appoint Captains, Lieutenants, Masters of Ships & other Commanders & Officers, and to grant to such Captains, Lieutenants, Masters of Ships & other Commanders & Officers Commissions in time of War to execute the Law martial according to the directions of such Laws as are now in force or shall hereafter be passed in Great Britain for that purpose and to use such proceedings, authorities, punishments and executions upon any offender or offenders who shall be mutinous, seditious, disorderly or any way unruly either at sea or during the time of their abode or residence in any of the Ports, Harbours or Bays of our said Province as the cause shall be found to require according to the martial Law and the said directions during the time of War as aforesaid.

Provyded that nothing herein contained shall be construed to the enabling you or any by your authority to hold Plea or have any Jurisdiction of any offence, cause, matter or thing committed or done upon the high sea or within any of the Havens, Rivers or Creeks of our said Province under your Government by any Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, master, officer, seaman, soldier or person whatsoever, who shall be in our actual service & pay in or on board any of our Ships of War or other Vessels, acting by immediate Commission or Warrant from our Commissioners for executing the office of our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being, under the Seal of Our Admiralty, but that such Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, master, officers, seaman, soldier, or other person so offending shall be left to be proceeded against & tryed as their offences shall require either by Commission under our great Seal of Great Britain as the Statute of the 28th of Henry the eighth directs or by Commission from our said Commissioners for executing the office of our High Admiral or from our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being, according to the aforementioned Act for the establishing Articles & orders for the Regulating and better Government of His Majesty’s Navies, Ships of War & Forces by sea and not otherwise.

Provyded nevertheless that all disorders & misdemeanors, committed on shore by any Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, master, officer, seaman, soldier or other person whatsoever belonging to any of our ships of War or other Vessels acting by Immediate Commission or Warrant from our said Commissioners for executing the office of High Admiral or from our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being under the Seal of Our Admiralty, may be tried & punished according to the Laws of the Place where any such disorders, offences and misdemeanors shall be committed on shore, notwithstanding such offender be in our actual service, & borne in our pay, on board any such our ships of war or other vessels acting by immediate Commission or warrant from our said Commissioners for executing the office of High Admiral or our High Admiral of Great Britain for the time being as aforesaid so as he shall not receive any protection for the avoiding of Justice for such offences committed on shore from any pretence of his being employed in our service at Sea.

And our further will and pleasure is that all publick money raised or which shall be raised by any Act hereafter to be made within our said province be issued out by Warrant from you by & with the advice and consent of the Council & dis- posed of by you for the support of the Government and not otherwise.

And we do likewise give & grant unto you full power and authority by & with the advice and consent of our said Council to. settle and agree with the Inhabitants of our Province for such Lands, Tenements, & hereditaments as now are or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of and them to grant to any Person or Persons upon such terms and under such moderate Quit Rents services and acknowledgements to be thereupon reserved unto us as you by & with the advice aforesaid shall think fit. Which said grants are to pass & be sealed by our seal of Nova Scotia and being entered upon Record by such officer or officers as shall be appointed thereunto, shall be good & effectual in Law against us our heirs <fc successors. And We do hereby give you the said Edward Cornwallis full power to order and appoint Fairs, Marts & Markets as also such & so many Ports, Harbours, Bays, Havens and other places for convenience & security of shipping & for the better Loading & unloading of Goods & merchandizes as by you with the advice & consent of the said Council shall be thought fit & necessary.

And We do hereby require & Command all officers & ministers Civil & Military and all other Inhabitants of our said Province, to be obedient, aiding and assisting unto you the said Edward Cornwallis in the Execution of this our Commission and of the powers & authorities herein contained, and in case of your death or abscence out of Our said province to be obedient, aiding & assisting unto such person as shall be appointed by us to be our Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of our said Province ; To whom we do therefore by these presents give & grant all & Singular the powers & authority’s herein granted, to be by him executed & enjoyed during our pleasure or untill your arrival within our said province.

And if upon your Death or absence out of our said province there be no person upon the Place commissionated or appointed by us to be our Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief of the said Province, Our Will & Pleasure is, that the Eldest Councilor, who shall be at the Time of your death or absence residing within our said Province shall take upon him the administration of the Government and execute our said Commission & Instructions and the several powers and authorities therein contained in the same manner & to all intent and purposes as either our Governor or Commander in Chief should or ought to do in case of your absence until your return or in all cases untill our further pleasure be known herein.

And we do hereby declare ordain & appoint that you the said Edward Cornwallis shall & may hold, execute & enjoy the office & place of our Captain General & Governor in Chief in & over our said Province of Nova Scotia, with all its rights, members & appurtenances whatsoever together with all & singular the Powers & authorities hereby granted unto you for & during our will & pleasure. In Witness whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made patent. Witness ourself at Westminster the Sixth day of May in the Twenty-second year of Our Reign. By Writ of Privy Seal.

(Signed) [L. S.] YORKE & YORKE.

At a Council holden at the Governour’s House at Halifax on Thursday July 11th, 1751.

Present — His Excellency the Governour. Col Horsman, Col. Gorham, B. Green, J. Salusbury, W. Steele.

His Excelly. informed the Council of the arrival yesterday of a number of palatine Settlers, and desired their opinion of the best method of disposing of them, The Council were of opinion That it would be most convenient to land them for the present at Dartmouth, and employ them in picketing in the back of the said Town.


At a Council holden at the Govrs. House at Halifax Friday June 12th, 1752.*

Present — His Excellency the Govr. Benj. Green, Wm. Steele, John Collier, Geo. Potheringham

*At a previous meeting of the Council held on the 3d of February, a public ferry was established between Halifax and Dartmouth, and John Connor of the latter place appointed ferryman, with the exclusive privilege for 3 years to keep boats constantly passing and repassing, between Sunrise and Sunset, every day in the week, except on Sunday, when the boats should pass only twice — the ferriage to be 3d., and 6d. after hours, for each Passenger, and a reasonable price to he paid for goods, other than baggage, &c., carried in the band, which passed free.

At a Council held at the Governor’s House at Halifax on Thursday 22d March 1753.

Present — His Excellency the Governor. The Ilonble. Chas. Lawrence, Benj. Green, J no. Salusbury, Willrn. Steele, J no. Collier, Willrn. Cotterell,

His Excellency having acquainted the Council that he was Instructed by His Majesty that a Militia should be raised and Established for the Service of this Province.

The Council did advise and Consent that the following Proclamation should be immediately Issued. Proclamation for the forming of a Militia By His Excellency Peregrine Thomas Hopson Esqr. Captain General and Governor in Chief and Vice Admiral of His Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia or Accadie and Colonel of One of His Majesty’s Regiments of Foot.

Whereas, I am directed by His Majesty’s Royal Instructions to cause a Militia to be Established, as well for the Defence of the Lives and Properties of His Majesty’s Subjects as the Honour and Security of this his Province. I have thought fit by and with the Advice and Consent of his Majesty’s Council, to issue this Proclamation hereby strictly requiring and enjoining All Planters, Inhabitants and their Servants between the Ages of Sixteen and Sixty residing in and belonging to this Town, Suburbs or the Peninsula of Halifax, the Town and Suburbs of Dartmouth and the Parts adjacent Excepting the Foreign Settlers, as it is intended that they shall be Formed at their Out Settlement.

That the said Planters and Inhabitants do forthwith provide themselves and Servants with proper and sufficient Fire Arms Consisting of a Musket, Gun or Fuzil not less than three foot long in the Barrell, two spare Flints, and Twelve Charges of Powder and Ball, suitable to their respective Fire Arms, which said Arms and Ammunition the said Planters, Inhabitants and their Servants are to have and appear with at such Rendezvous as shall be by Proclamation Appointed at any time on or after, the 22d day of May next in the year of Our Lord 1753 At which time the said Planters and Inhabitants to be accountable for themselves and Servants. And in Default of such.

Appearance and Provision aforesaid, they will be liable to the Penalty of Forty Shillings to be levied on the Goods and Chattels of such Offender or Offenders by Warrant of Distress and Sale under the Hand and Seal of any one or more of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Town and County of” Halifax, and for want of sufficient Distress such Offender or Offenders to suffer One Months Imprisonment and hard Labour. Such Warrant to be Granted upon Information of such Officer or Officers as shall be appointed to muster the Persons required to appear as aforesaid. Done in the Council Chamber at Halifax this 22d day of March, in the year of Our Lord 1753, and in the 26th year of His Majesty’s Reign.

(Signed) P. T. HOPSON. By His Excellency’s Command by and with the Advice and Consent of His Majesty’s Council.

(Signed) Wm. Cotterell, Secy. God Save the King.

Resolved that an Act be forthwith prepared for the Regulation of the said Militia.

P. T. HOPSON. Jno. Duport, Sec. Cone.

Governor Hopson to Lords of Trade. Halifax 23d July 1753

Your Ldships may perhaps be somewhat surprised that I should have anything to apprehend from so inconsiderable and contemptible a body when I have the command of so many troops; but exclusive of the difficulty that attends marching after Indians in a country like this, I assure your Ldships that the troops are so divided in keeping the different posts of Chignecto, Annapolis Royal, Mines, Pisiquid, Lunenburg, Dartmouth, George’s Island, Fort Sackville and Halifax that I have not at present a detachment to spare from hence even upon the most urgent occasion. In fact what we call an Indian War here is no other than a pretense for the French to commit Hostilities upon his Majesty’s subjects.

The Lords Commrs for Trade & Plantations. Remarks relative to the Return of the Forces in Nova Scotia, 30th March, 1755.

To give a more distinct Idea of the situation of his Majestys Troops in this Province it is necessary to mention the several posts they at present occupy and the necessity there is that these posts be maintained.

  • 1, Halifax in Chebucto Harbour now the chief town in the Province being so well known needs no particular description.
  • 2, George’s Island is situated within the Harbour of Chebncto and has several Cannon mounted for protecting the Harbour but the Batterys are not quite finished.
  • 3, New Battery has lately been begun likewise not finish- ed. It stands on a rising ground about two miles east across the Harbour from Halifax this is to prevent shipping entering the Harbour under the Eastern shore without reach of George’s Island.
  • 4, Dartmouth, a large place picketed in for protection of the Settlers from England that arrived in 1750 and of the Government Mills lyes to the North East about a mile and a half from Halifax on the other side of the Harbour. With these three places there is only communication by water.
  • 5, Lawrence Town is a large palisaded square and Blockhouse situated upon a point of land near the Harbour of Musquedaboit about 4 leagues by water Eastward from Halifax with which there is a Communication by land from Dartmouth, & distance about 12 or 14 miles. This is a Settlement under- taken by a Company of Gentlemen and protected by the Troops from the incursions of the Indians who live a good part of the year in that neighborhood.
  • 6, Lunenburg is the place where the Palatine Settlers have been set down it is situated upon a neck of land which forms a peninsula having the Harbour of Mirleguish on the South West and a branch of Mahone Bay on the North East, Distant from Halifax by Water about 16 leagues — we have as yet no communication open with it by land. There is great necessity for the troops at that place both to protect the Settlers and to awe those of them that are of a turbulent disposition.
  • 7, Fort Sackville is a post at the head of Chebucto Bay or Bason, about 12 miles by water and 15 miles by land from Halifax. It is by this Port that the Route lyes to the interior parts of the Province, and from which Halifax may be alarmed m case of any sudden attempt of the French or Indians upon us by land.

At a Council holden at the Governors House in Halifax on Friday the 3d Dec 1756.

Present — His Excellency the Governor, The Lieutenant Governor, Benj. Green, Councs. Jno. Collier, Robt. Grant, T Chas. Morris

Jonathan Belcher Esqr. took the Oaths as a Member of His Majesty’s Council of this Province, and his Seat at the Board. His Excellency then communicated to the Council some Proposals which Mr. Chief Justice Belcher had laid before him the last Year for Calling a House of Representatives, and which he had at that time transmitted to their Lordships.

That until the said Townships can be more particularly described the limits thereof shall be deemed to be as follows, vizt.

That the Township of Dartmouth comprehend all the Lands lying on the East side of the Harbour of Halifax and Bedford Bason, and extending and bounded Easterly by the Grant to the Proprietors of Lawrence Town & extending from the Northeasterly Head of Bedford Bason into the Country, until one hundred Thousand Acres be comprehended

Akins, Thomas B. “Selections from the public documents of the province of Nova Scotia” Halifax, N.S.: C. Annand, 1869″

Riotous Proceedings

I believe this is a reference to the Hoffman rebellion which led to the first sedition case (out of many subsequent cases) in Nova Scotia, decades before the revolution. Another subsequent note is made as to its “resolution” (their pacification).



Yesterday Capt. Taggart, in one of the Government’s Sloops, arrived here from Lunenburg, with the Officers and Soldiers belonging to Col. Warburton’s regiment, who, with the Officers and Soldiers of his Excellency the Governor’s and Col. Lascelle’s Regiments, were sent thither some time ago in order to quell some riotous proceedings among the Dutch Settlers there; and we hear they have bro’t some of them Prisoners.


Halifax Gazette, Jan 12, 1754. Page 2 Column 2.

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.

League of the Maritime Provinces


Executive Officers:
President: Hon. Joseph Howe
Vice Presidents: W.J. Stairs, Esq., Patrick Power, Esq.
Secretaries: Mr William Garvie,
Robt. L. Weatherbee Esq.,
Treasurer: Robt. Boak, Jr, Esq.

The Maritime Provinces of British America now enjoy all the blessings of self-government, controlling their own revenues, forming, controlling and removing their own Cabinets; appointing their own Judges, Councillors, and Public Officers; regulating her own Trade, training their own Militia, and discharging all the duties of loyal British Subjects in due subordination and steadfast allegiance to the Crown.

The people of these Provinces have lived in harmony with each other — have no disputes with neighboring States — no controversies with the Mother Country, have ever been prone to mutual sympathy and protection, and are ready to uphold the honor of the national flag, and the integrity of the Empire.

They are willing to promote well-considered measures for the joint construction of railways, and the establishment of Inter colonial lines of steamers— for the interchange of staple and of domestic manufactures; for the adjustment of a uniform currency; the general extension of Free Trade, and for the arrangement of such measures of mutual defence as shall place, in time of war; all the physical force of the Provinces under the control of the Military and Naval Commanders-in-chief appointed by the Queen.

But they are opposed to rash innovation and revolutionary changes. They are specially opposed to the scheme of Confederation arranged by certain gentlemen at Quebec in 1864, without any authority from the people they profess to represent; and they are equally opposed to the measure now in contemplation, by which it is intended to overthrow the established institutions of these Provinces by an Act of Parliament prepared by a secret committee, without the sanction of the loyal People, whose future it is intended to bind, and whose interests and wishes it is designed, in a most high-handed and unconstitutional manner, to override and disregard.

This League is formed to protect the institutions of the Maritime Provinces from such rash innovation — to assert the right of the people to be consulted before their revenues are swept away; and a distant authority, which they can never influence, is invested with powers of dictation and control which the Queen’s Government, for a quarter of a century, has not pretended to exercise.

The undersigned pledge themselves, each to the other, to protect the Maritime Provinces from radical changes by all lawful means and agencies, and, with this simple end in view, enroll themselves as members of this League.

League of the Maritime Provinces. Executive Officers of the League: President, Hon. Joseph Howe .. [S.l.: s.n., 186?]

Nova Scotia Gazette, Nov 21 1765.

Halifax Gazette

Since few of these old newspapers are properly scanned with OCR, being multiple columns of faded text, I’ve done my best to transcribe what seemed to be the most interesting parts of this edition. It contains a number of references to the Stamp Act as well as news from the other colonies, one being a letter from Benjamin Franklin’s son William.

The Nova Scotia Gazette: Containing the freshest Intelligence, foreign and domestic. From Thursday, November 21, to Thursday November 28, 1765. Price six pence single.

Halifax Gazette

Thoughts on Various subjects:

  1. Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few.
  2. To endeavor to work upon the vulgar with fine sense, is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor.
  3. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
  4. Our passions are like convulsion fits, which though they make us stronger for the time, leave us weaker after.
  5. A brave man thinks no one his superior who does him an injury, for he has it then in his power to make himself superior to the other, by forgiving it.
  6. To relieve the oppressed is the most glorious act a man is capable of; it is in some measure doing the business of God and providence.
  7. Superstition is the spleen of the soul.
  8. Atheists put on a false courage and alacrity in the midst of their darkness and apprehensions; like children, who, when they go in the dark, will sing for fear.
  9. An Athiest is but a mad ridiculous derider of piety: but a hypocrite makes a sober jest of God and religion; he finds it easier to be upon his knees, than to rise to do a good action; like an impudent debtor, who goes every day and talks familiarly to his creditor, without ever paying what he owes.
  10. When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.
  11. When we are young, we are sensibly employed in procuring something whereby we may live comfortably when we grow old; and when we are old, we perceive it is too late to live as we proposed.
  12. People are scandalized if one laughs at what they call a serious thing. Suppose I were to have my head cut off tomorrow, and all the world were talking of it today, yet why might not I laugh to think, what a bustle is here about my head?
  13. A man of wit is not incapable of business, but above it. A sprightly generous horse is able to carry a pack saddle as well as an ass, but he is too good to be put to the drudgery.
  14. Whereever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted, there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.
  15. Flowers of rhetoric in sermons, and ferocious discourses, are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to those who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap the profit from it.
  16. When two people compliment each other with the choice of anything, each of them generally gets that which he likes least.
  17. He who tells a lye, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes, for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.
  18. Giving advice is many times only the privilege of saying a foolish thing one’s self, under pretense of hindering another from doing on.
  19. ‘Tis with followers at court, as with followers on the road, who first bespatter those that go before, and then tread on their heels.
  20. False happiness is like false money, it passes for a crime as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions; but when it is brought to the touch, we find the lightness and alloy, and feel the loss.
  21. The vanity of human life is like a river, certainly passing away, and yet continually coming on.
  22. I seldom see a noble building, or any great piece of magnificence and pomp, but I think, how little is all this to satisfy the ambition, or to fill the idea, of an immortal soul?
  23. Is is with narrow souled people, as with narrow neck bottles; the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.
  24. Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing; more a cunning thing; but very few a generous thing.
  25. Since it is reasonable to doubt most things, we should most of all doubt that reason of ours which would demonstrate all things.
  26. To buy books as some do who make no use of them, only because they were published by an eminent printer, is much as if a man should buy clothes that did not fit him, only because they were made by some famous taylor.
  27. It is as offensive to speak within a fool’s company, as it would be ill manners to whisper in it, he is displeased at both for the same reason, because he is ignorant of what is said.
  28. Old men, for the most part, are like old chronicles, that give you dull but true accounts of times past, and are worth knowing only on that score.
  29. Men are grateful, in the same degree that they are resentful.
    The longer we live, the more we shall be convinced, that it is reasonable to love God, and despise man, as far as we know either.
  30. That character in conversation, which commonly passes for agreeable, is made up of civility and falsehood.
  31. An excuse is worse, and more terrible than a lye, for an excuse is a lye guarded.
  32. Praise is like amber grease, a little whiff of it, and by snatches, is very agreeable; but when a man holds a whole lump of it to your nose, it is a stink, and strikes you down.

Short Rules for conversation:

  1. To deceive men’s expectations generally argues a settled mind, and unexpected constancy as in manner of fear, anger sudden, joy, grief, and all things that may affect or alter the mind, on public or sudden accidents.
  2. It is necessary to use a steadfast countenance, not wavering with action, as in moving the head or hand too much; which shews a fanatical light, and fickle operation of the mind; it is sufficient, with leisure, to use a modest action of either.
  3. In all kinds of speech, it is proper to speak leisurely, and rather drawingly, than hastily; because hasty speech confounds the memory, and often drives a man to nonplus, or an unseemly stammering, whereas slow speech confirms the memory, and begets an opinion of wisdom in the hearers.
  4. To desire in discourse to hold all arguments is ridiculous, and a want of true judgement; for no man can be exquisite in all things.
  5. To have common places of discourse, and to want variety, is odious to the hearers, and shows a shallowness of thought; it is therefore good to vary, and sort speeches to the present occasion; as also, to hold a moderation in all discourse, especially of religion, the state, great persons, important business, poverty, or anything deserving pity.
  6. A long continued discourse, without a good speech of interlocution shows slowness: and a good reply, without a good set of speech, shows shallowness and weakness.
  7. To use many circumstances, before you come to the matter, is wearisome; and to use none at all, is blunt.
  8. Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man, both in uttering sentiments, and understanding what is proposed to him; it is therefore good to press forwards, with discretion, both discourse and company of the better sort.

True Virtue, What

That man is truly virtuous, who is neither proud in good fortune, nor abject in bad; who desires nothing but heaven, and fears nothing but the loss of it; who avenges affronts with favours, and injuries with pardon, who is severe to himself, and easy to his neighbour, who speaks well of all but himself, and never pardons his own defects, nor censures those of his brethren. In a word, do good, and fly from evil, is the sum of your duty. This is virtue in short hand, perfection in epitome, and heaven in reversion.

Approved Receipts

Thick ginger bread: A pound and a half of flour takes up one pound of treacle, almost as much sugar, an ounce of beaten ginger, two ounces of caraway seeds, four ounces of citron, and lemon peel candied, the yolks of four eggs; cut your sweet meats, mix all, and bake in large cakes, on tin plates.

To make a rice pudding: Grind, or beat half a pound of rice to flour, mix it by degrees with three pints of milk, and thicken it over fire with care, for fear of burning, till it is like a hefty pudding; when it is so thick, pour it out, and let it stand to cool: put to it nine eggs (but half the whites) three or four spoonfulls of orange flower water: melt almost a pound of good butter, and sweeten it to your taste. Add sweetmeats, if you please.

American Intelligence: Burlington New Jersey, Oct 5 1765.

Whereas a report has for some time past been circulated, that the governor of this province received the letter sent by the speaker of the general court of Massachusetts Bay, to the speaker of the assembly at New Jersey, detained it in his possession till the last day of the late meeting at Burlington, and, by his Management, prevailed on the assembly, not to accept of the invitation to send commissioners to New York. And whereas a Paper has been printed & published at Philadelphia, positively asserting,

“That the Governor of New Jersey has made strong efforts to subdue the spirit of liberty in his government, and arbitrary refuses to give his assembly an opportunity to join the other assemblies in decent remonstrances against the stamp law, although nine tenths of the people of the Jerseys now vehemently desire it. Nor does he confine himself to his government alone, but by assistance of Mr G_____y, is said to have practiced on the eight members of a certain county, not very remote from him, in order to get them to carry a vote against sending commissioners to New York, that the Pennsylvania Assembly might thus keep the Jersey one in countenance.”

Now this is to assure the Publick, that so far from having received and detained the above mentioned letter, I have not even yet seen it; that I never heard of any such letter being sent to, or received by, the Speaker, till the Day after the House had finished their business, and were prorogued, when I was told that they had it under consideration and had ordered an answer to be wrote at the table, acquainting the speaker of Massachusetts, that they unanimously declined complying with the proposal from the assembly of that Province, nor was the said answer ever shewn to me, though wrote the 20th of June last, until some time in the beginning of September. That from the last sessions to this present time, not a single member of the council, or house of representatives, nor any other person whatever in the province, has desired me to call another meeting of the assembly. That it is well known to several of the representatives, that I have so often declared I would always, if in my power, give the House an opportunity of meeting, when the speaker and nine or ten members should represent to me that the Business of the Publick made it necessary, -And I do likewise aver, that so far from my having practiced on the eight members of Bucks County, in order to get them to carry a vote against sending commissioners from Pennsylvania to New York, I have not, to my knowledge, seen one of them these two years past; nor have I, either through Mr Galloway or otherwise, had the least connection or correspondence with them, or any other person in the county, on any subject whatever. Nor have I, either to Mr. Galloway, or to any one Man in Pennsylvania, given the least intimation that it would, or would not, be agreeable to me, that the Assembly of that Province should send Commissions to the intended Congress.

I should not have thought it necessary to give this public Refutation of the falsehoods contained in the report and papers above mentioned, had they not been propagated and published with a view of taking advantage of the present commotions to excite a difference between me and a people for whom I have a great regard, and with whom I have lived in uninterrupted harmony ever since my arrival in the government. And I cannot help expressing my surprize that Mr. Shippen, the Deputy Governor’s Secretary, Mr. Chew, the Attorney General, and others of the principal Officers of the Government of Pennsylvania, could have given their public countenance to such a flagrant piece of injustice. This they did (as I am credibly informed) by employing the Clerk of the Court to read aloud the Paper above quoted to a large Number of people collected by their Agents for the Purpose and signifying their Approbation by loud Huzzas at the Close of every paragraph.

As to what is contained in the said Paper relative to my father’s being concerned in the planning and promotion of the Stamp Act, it is grosly false, and consequently a shameful imposition on the people. Not a Gentleman of the Proprietary Party, even among those who scruple not, can, I am convinced, be found so hardened as to avow in print, with his Name subscribed, that he believes is to be true, or to undertake to produce any Proofs in its Support. ___ My father is absent ___ but he has left Friends enough on the Spot, who are both capable and willing to clear him from any aspersions which the malice of the propriety party can suggest. To these friends I leave the defense of his reputation, if it can need any, being determined to concern myself no farther with the Disputes of Pennsylvania than as they relate to my character, or have reference to the public transactions of this Province.


From the Boston Post Bay, and Advertiser.

To the Printer, Sir, You desired in your last that ‘some Barrister or other capable gentleman would give the public ‘a definition of treason.’ I am no Barrister, nor do I pretend to be able to give a precise definition of this extensive term, agreeable to Magna Carta or the British Constitution, much less to enumerate all the senses in which it has of late been used. However if you please publish the following, which tho’ it is not a logical, is at least a formal Definition of it.


  1. It is not Treason to say the inhabitants of the North American colonies are Englishmen.
  2. It is not Treason to assert that Englishmen have rights of which no power on earth can justly deprive them.
  3. It is not Treason in Englishmen to be sensible when they are oppressed, and detest the authors of their oppression.
  4. Neither is it Treason in them to complain of their grievances and expose the wicked instrument of them:
  5. It is not Treason in any subject or body of subjects to declare what they apprehend the rights of Englishmen to be, at least when they assert none to be such but what evidently are.
  6. It is not Treason in any Legislature to pronounce declare and resolve, that those are Enemies to their country who assert and maintain doctrines diametrically opposed to the fundamental principles of the constitution.
  7. It is not Treason to suppose the most August Assembly upon Earth may be mistaken.
  8. It is not Treason to attempt to convince them of their mistake.
  9. It is not Treason to say no man can be taxed, agreeable to the British Constitution, without his consent.
  10. It is not Treason to say no man can give his consent to that which was never proposed to him or his representatives.
  11. It is not Treason to be unable to conceive how a country can in any sense, be said to be represented in an assembly where none of the members are of its election.
  12. It is not Treason so say, that all the Parts of a community are not equally free where one Part is subject to the arbitrary Power and Tyranny of another.
  13. It is not Treason in any Country charged with heavy and unconstitutional Taxes, after suitable and ineffectual Petitions Remonstrances, Struggles and efforts, to betake itself to the only possible method of paying them and subsisting – that is to say
  14. It is not Treason in the American Colonies to break off Commerce, which if carried on will inevitably prove their Ruin.
  15. It is not Treason to wish Great Britain could see what is for her own interest.
  16. It is not Treason to proceed as follows.


  1. To attempt the Subversion of the most happy constitution upon earth, is Treason.
  2. To assert and maintain that the King is not to rule for the good of his subjects, is Treason.
  3. To say the king is not bound to govern by the laws, is Treason.
  4. To maintain that the king and parliament may exact laws contrary to the fundamentals of the constitution, is Treason.
  5. To say the king is not bound to yield obedience to such laws, is Treason.
  6. To say the king is not bound to fulfil his engagements to his subjects is Treason.
  7. therefore to dissuade him from it, is Treason.
  8. To insinuate that the subject can never know what to depend on from Royal Grants, and Charters, is Treason.
  9. To make one part of his Majesty’s liege Subjects slaves to the rest, is Treason.
  10. To attempt to disaffect a great and important part of his majesty’s subjects to his Government, is Treason.
  11. To represent a virtuous and loyal people as villains and traitors, is Treason.
  12. To insinuate that the King and Parliament will be deaf to the just and grievous complaints of any of their oppressed subjects is treason.
  13. For the subject tamely to give up his Rights when it is in his power to avoid it, is Treason.
  14. Therefore to be loyal according to some people sense of the word is the blackest of Treason.
  15. To use arguments for the enslaving one part of his Majesty’s Dominions which equally tend to the enslaving of the whole is Treason.
  16. All Rebellion (which is no other than dissolving the peaceable Bonds of society by breaking over the fundamental laws of the commonwealth) whether in ruler or people, is high Treason.
  17. To aid assist abet or comfort (i.e. flatter and cringe to) Traiterers, is Treason.
  18. Whoever attempts either directly or indirectly, by himself or his substitute to introduce French politicks into the Realm of England or any other part of his Majesty’s Dominions is a Villain, a Parricide, and a Traiter.

On taking the great Guns at the Havannah, called the Twelve Apostles. By a lady.

England, for martial deeds renown’d, Has many a trophy got; And from where’er the Sun goes round, has wealth and glory brought. A great conquest now she gains, Then got by all her battles, For George the Thrids, so Fate ordains, Has won the twelve apostles. Him, Church’s Head, the pope now owns, To be without restriction, Since now he’ll give his Catholic Sons Apost’lic Benediction.

London, to the printer, Bread at seven pence three farthings the quartern loaf, and wheat rising every day!

Gentlemen, what think ye of it now? Ye advocates for exportation! Ye scoffers and deriders of the poor! Have ye bent the bow enough? Or will it bear stretching a little farther? Will it bear a good deal? Are ye not afraid of its bursting? Are ye not determined to try the utmost pitch? Then burst it must, and take the consequence. God preserve the innocent and just; let the guilty receive the due reward of their deeds! The cry of the poor having reached the ear of Government, some progress was made towards redressing their grievance, and supplying their hungry families with bread, at the first motion of the infernal hydra, the devouring mother called engrossing , trembled and shook, crouching under the dreadful hand lifted up against it; ready to lick the very dust, and to cease from its rapacious depredations? When alas! By some strange fatality, the decisive blow was withheld, and the wild beast retired unhurt, more audacious than ever, bidding defiance to government, eluding the vigilance of the subordinate officers, trampling upon undistinguished multitudes, devouring some, maiming others, distressing and disturbing the whole community, without intermission. Such is the wild beast, that has been let loose in England, and kept loose by some hands, who shall now be nameless, Those who saw the monster trembling under the potent hand of justice, and averted the blow, are accountable at least to God (if above the reach of man) for all the outrages and calamities it has brought, or may bring upon their Country.

In Turkey, if a famine threatened the land, and an Aga, a Busbaw of three tails, or even the Grand Vizier, should stand up to oppose any salutary means of averting a dearth or famine; all the Signiors’s despotic power could not protect him from the fatal consequences of the vindictive indignation of an injured, exasperated people. The bow string would soon consign him a lifeless victim into the black sea, to appease the furious vengeance of the enraged multitude! What shall we say then? Can the sons of liberty only stand still, and tamely see the bread torn from their tender wives, and helpless offspring perishing with hunger, to feed their rivals and enemies? Can they bear this with silent grief and stupid astonishment, without murmuring or decent complaining? Shall a band of Janizaries, the tools of despotic power, surrounding the Ottoman throne, dictate terms to their haughty master, on pressing occasions? And shall a nation of freemen, armed with every privilege of constitutional freedom, be totally destitute of the means to procure redress from the greatest grievance imaginable? Then may the Gaul, the Spaniards, and even the Turk, ridicule our fine spun notions of liberty starving, while they eat the bread out of our mouths? Britons, patriots undistinguished by partial knavish names, true lovers of your country, in whose honest breasts there yet remains undistinguished some parks of Attic fire, and true Roman virtue; stand up in your places, ye who are not in combination against the public welfare; shew yourselves in word and action, in every vigorous constitutional measure tending to the relief of the poor and industrious; pour out your whole souls! Exhaust your whole fund of eloquence! Leave no constitutional measure untried, until conviction shall pour irresistible upon gainsayers, and avarice itself be convinced of this great truth, that starving the present generation of poor Laborers and mechanics, does not tend to the permanent benefit of the present race of rich and their posterity. A FRIEND of the POOR.

Essay on Tea. Non anno Te—- Mart

It is certain that the poor people in England diminish there little pitance of income, and hurt their health, by indulging themselves in this expensive orimental luxury. They have now their nervous distempers; which, till within this century, were the sole prerogatives of the rich, idle, and luxurious. I see no abatement in tea drinking, though corn and meat are extremely dear. A day laborer, who earns but 5g. a week at this time of the year, in the country, and whom we suppose to have a wife and family must expend 3s. and 6d. in bread only for he cannot afford to buy meat. Thus supposing he has work, and is able to work their remains but 18d. a week to buy cloaths, candles &c.

Now supposing that this poor, honest, laborious drudge’s wife drinks tea, (and it is fifty to one but she does) that will amount to 7d. a week more; even though she be as great economist as she pleases; -and then we cannot allow her sugar nor buttered toast. Add to this the loss of time, and a certain lowness of spirit which calls for a [indecipherable], is she has an odd penny in her pocket. Hence come less of appetite, and an enfeebled constitution, and thus population is injured.

We compute in England five millions and a half of people, and, out of these three millions at least drink tea. One shilling a year upon each head, amongst the poorer sort, would (I trust in God) amount to a prohibition, We then suppose there will remain tow millions of tea drinkers, and let them pay annually 5g. a head and this will amount to 500,000 l. a year; and then tax upon their candles, or leather, or the new additional tax upon malt might be taken off. These three are properly the poor’s taxes. I am not writing here to enrich an exchequer, but to preserve it as rich as it was before, and ease the working and laborious poor. We can bleed no farther in the discussion of taxes, except they are sumptuary ones. Too heavy a tax upon malt, is the most unkind of all taxes, except upon meat. A draught of cheap good ale is heaven’s cordial to a hard working man.

But it will be objected, that a tax upon tea will hurt the colonies in their sugar trade. Agreed; in that one branch it may, but though England is a parent (and an indulgent parent) to her colonies, yet she is not oblidg’d too [indecipherable] them at the expence of her won children at home.

France has acted wiser than we have done in respect to tea? Though she has her sugars, yet she does not like the original burying her money in an East India gulph; and I dare appeal to such travellers as know England and France well if they do not believe, that more tea is used, every year, in Bristol and Bath only (or in any other English places of that size) than in all France.

France, in one respect, is the best governed nation in the world; for the French can make any thing fashionable at home, which is for the good fo their King & country; France, in the long run may be mistress of Europe, She lost money by keeping Canada. What what did she give us? A farm of Million of acres, knowing well at the same time, we had but one team of oxen to plough with. A few colonies are a blessing to a trading and maritime nation; over extensive ones (I speak at least problematically) may be hurtful. When colonies become large and populous, they may set up for their own manufacturers, or like [Indecipherable], wax fat and kick.

The peopleing of colonies is not so advantageous as most men imagine. Let us suppose twenty thousand men, and as many women (at an age of child getting and child bearing) to be sent from any mother country to a colony. The men at thirty pounds a man, are worth, fix hundred thousand pounds at home; and the woman, at ten pounds a head, are worth two hundred thousand pounds. Add to this, that the population, rising from these people in one century (and the depopulation consequently at home) will amount at least to two hundred thousand souls. Such are the expences of colony settlements. Now a political, frugal, and industrious nation can spare but a certain number of people. War, navigation, fisheries and colonies should only have one person out of nine or ten. France aims to be a compact bouy: She sets herself to promote agriculture, and population at home; and one time or other the asps nest will be so full, that they will take the liberty to settle themselves and make new nests in some neighbours fields. Sir, Your’s, Philo Rygis & Philo Patriae.


We are informed, since the Plantation Agents have taled in opposing the intended duty on American stamps, a motion is preparing to be made in the house, that the commissioner for the receipt of this duty may be appointed from the natives of each province, where the tax is to take place. The payment of a certain bounty or the importation of bugles is resolved on, for the better supply of the foreign trade. Certain regulations for the more effectual supply of the foreign trade. Certain regulations for the more effectual supply of the African export trade, buy a new contract with the East India Company, is resolved on. An account of the quantities of woolen and woolen yarn imported into Scotland from Ireland for the last fourteen years, distinguishing each year, with the ports to from which the same were imported and exported, is erected to be laid before the House. The usual bounty on the exportation of corn, &c. from England to the Isle of Man, is going to be discontinued. A petition from the boroughs of Leicester and Derby has been presented to parliament against the exportation of wheat and flour. We hear a parliamentary aid will be granted this sessions for building over the Tay in Scotland, which the Magistrates and Town Council of Perth have represented by petition will be a means of civilizing the Northern Highlanders of that kingdom, and of general benefit to trade. We are assured that the qualifications of all Proprietors of East India Stock will be regulated and fixed this session of parliament. On a late review of the fortifications in the British West India islands, upwards of five hundred pieces of iron ordinance were found to be useless and [indecipherable], which have since been replaced by sufficient artillery from England. We are well assured, that all the turnpike roads in the county of Kent will be immediately repaired. They write from Devonshire and Southampton, that several farmers in those counties are going to convert their orchards into hop ground being determined to make no more cyder or perry for the future. It is said that tow thousand pounds is the form allowed by authority, towards making experiments for discovering the Longitude at sea, over & above the reward offered for the discovery of it. Yesterday morning some hundred yards of foreign silk ribbon were seized at a Toy shop in New Send Street. It is said that application will be made to parliament to oblige Agents for prize money the property of his Majesty’s land forces to account for what forms are remaining in their hands unclaimed within a limited time.

Boston: Extract of a letter from Piscataqua.

Whatever different interests there may be, among the several province and colonies in North America, it is certain they are all firmly united in this single point, namely, to make a more opposition to the stamp act, which is justly accounted destructive of English Liberty both in Great Britain and all the American plantations. However, by letters from your Metropolis, we are informed that many among you are of opinion, that however our chief may stand effected most of our people are for tamely submitting to the reasonable hardships of the Act. In this I can inform you with great certainty, that you are mistaken. For though in the days of yore, when you’d enquire [indecipherable] it was confidently said in Boston, that the people of New Hampshire had but one privilege left them, which was a negative one not to be sold for slaves, we can now assure you, we have a more noble relish for British Liberty. Accordingly, when our Stamp Master arrived among us, had he not humbled himself, and made consideration, and solemly promised to renouce the detestable employment of distributing the stamp papers, he would immediately have felt the warm resentments of our inraged people. You have liberty to communicate these things to the public, that all North America may know the general sentiments of this province, not to submit to the Stamp Act, or to any other unconstitutional imposition.

Halifax November 28. Last Friday arrived here Capt. Allen in the Gaspee Cutter, from New York, but last from Piscataqua, who met with a storm, which carried away her bowspirit. Entered inwards, none. Cleared outwards, Sloop Sally Dunning, Virginia & North Carolina. Sloop Charming Nancy, Mullowney, Philadelphia. Sloop Nibby, Godfrey, Lisbon. Brig Chance, Brown, Liverpool G. Britain.

HALIFAX, (in NOVA SCOTIA) Printed and sold by A. Henry, at his printing office in Sackville Street, where all Persons may be supplied with a whole sheet of this paper at eighteen shillings a year, until the publisher has an 150 Subscribers, when it will be no more than twelve shillings. Advertisements are taken in, and inserted as Cheap as the Stamp Act will allow.

Nova Scotia Gazette, [Halifax, NS] Thursday Nov 21-Thursday November 28, 1765 Accessed July 3, 2021.

Nova Scotian “Sparks of Liberty”

In 1790, the Halifax House of Representatives engaged in spirited debates, particularly concerning the impeachment of Supreme Court judges and the rejection of the Council’s power to amend money bills. These actions, viewed as demonstrations of liberty by some, sparked controversy locally and garnered attention in Boston. Despite Nova Scotia’s loyalist majority, Bostonians interpreted these events through their own republican lens, seeing them as a continuation of revolutionary ideals.

The impeachment proceedings, although significant, were secondary to debates over the Assembly’s rights regarding financial matters. These debates foreshadowed political divisions that would persist over the next two decades. The pro-Council faction, supportive of royal prerogative, clashed with those advocating for colonial rights, highlighting the inadequacy of existing instructions from the British government for governing colonies like Nova Scotia.

The spirited Conduct and Debates of the Halifax House of Representatives in opposing Measures of His Majesty’s Council we offer to our Readers, as we are persuaded that the Spirit of Liberty wherever breathed, is agreeable to the Citizens of these States.

On the thirteenth of May, 1790, the above quotation appeared in a Boston newspaper. There followed an extract from the Journal of the Nova Scotia Assembly for the twenty-seventh of March of the same year. It was the representative branch of the sixth Nova Scotia Assembly that was credited with this “Spirit of Liberty”. This House, the first Nova Scotian legislature in which the United Empire Loyalists were represented, had been elected in 1785 and was now in its fifth session. The previous four had witnessed a gradually increasing hostility between House and Council, which reached a climax in 1790. The debates that called forth the Boston editor’s comment were those on impeaching the puisne judges of the Supreme Court and on rejecting the Council’s claims of power to amend money bills. Fearful of the republican tendencies which the Boston commentator saw in the Assembly’s conduct, a reactionary Haligonian published the quotation in a Halifax newspaper as a warning. In doing so, under the name of Observer, he expressed the hope “that in our future Deliberations, what now appears to the Boston Printer as the Sparks of Liberty may be extinguished by a Coalition of Interest, in promoting Peace and Concord thro’ the Province, by which, under the fostering Hand of the Mother Country, we can only be a happy People.”

It seems not to have struck the Bostonian as anomalous that he should be discerning sparks of liberty in a province whose population had lately become more than half loyalist. Perhaps, in his eagerness to find palatable food for his republican readers, he forgot the incompatibility between “liberty” and loyalism. During the early days of the revolution Bostonians had needed only the slightest pretext to find liberty brethren. Thus they had hailed Smith and Fillis, two Halifax merchants who had favoured refusing a cargo of tea in 1774, as “heroes of the revolution”. In 1790, too, the wish may have been father to the thought. It is clear that a controversy over constitutional rights was being waged in the province both in and out of the legislature, but it is doubtful whether there were republican implications. Apart from that question, it is interesting, in view of the province’s twenty thousand loyalist inhabitants, that the House was disputing the acts and claims of the upholders of the royal prerogative; the fact may, indeed, be completely at variance with the ideas of people who think “loyalist” and “conservative” are synonyms.”

“In the impeachment proceedings of 1790 most of the arguments of the previous session, sharpened by time and repetition, were again brought forward. With a majority for prosecution, Parr wrote, the matter of the judges was “thrown into the shape of a formal impeachment by the Commons of Nova Scotia as they stile themselves. The House went through the enquiry with all the form of a Court of Judicature … a Serjeant-at-arms was appointed and witnesses summoned and sworn in the House to give evidence, then examined and cross-examined with all the formality of Trial, in the Presence of almost half the town who were admitted by tickets.” Major Barclay was the prosecuting attorney. Having found evidence to sustain 10 of the thirteen charges, the House impeached the judges for “High Crimes and Misdemeanours”, and addressed the King, asking that they be given a regular trial. When they asked the Lt.-Governor to suspend the judges until after the trial, Parr took the Council’s advice and refused. The proceedings, like those of the Council in 1788, were transmitted to the Home Government.”

“It has already been indicated that the impeachment proceedings account only in part for the “sparks of liberty” credited to the 1790 session of the Assembly. Although maintained by those concerned in it, as the rock upon which the power of the Assembly would stand or fall, the impeachment was less interesting and less important to the majority of the House than their rights relative to money bills. There had been difficulties between House and Council in 1789 over the appropriation bill: the Council had objected to including in it clauses providing for the funding of the public debt, on the grounds that the plan covered more than a year. Eliciting from the House nothing more satisfactory than a declaration “that it is the inherent right of the House to Originate all Money Bills and that they cannot admit of amendments to be made therein by the Council,” the upper House capitulated and the Assembly’s bill passed.”

In the two parties which fought the battle of 1790 the political rivals of the ensuing twenty years were foreshadowed. On the one side was the pro-Council party, who supported the government and believed they were protecting the prerogative. Observer, who conjured up “sparks of liberty” to warn the unwary of the dangers of the Assembly’s course, belonged to this party. Their conception of the powers of a colonial government is concisely expressed in the following paragraph by Observer:

A Provincial Government is, in Fact, nothing more than a Corporation, instituted thro’ the Courtesy of the King, for the Convenience of His Subjects, settling in remote parts of the Empire, and to whom, thro’ the paternal and benignant exercise of His Prerogatives, he extends, by Charter, or otherwise, such essential Rights as are applicable to Colonial Establishments.

Their ultimate authority was the Royal Instructions. How inelastic and inadequate these were for guidance in carrying on government, may be gathered from an extract of a letter by Lord George Germain to the Governor of Barbados:

I … heartily wish more attention was given to review and amend the Instructions, upon every new Appointment. … It too often happens …. that the same Instruction which was given half a Century ago is carelessly copied over without variation to the present time, notwithstanding changes which have taken place in the Government.

In a royal province like Nova Scotia, the whole of the Governor’s directions were contained in the royal commission and instructions and whatever was received in correspondence with the Home Department. To commission and instructions, however obsolete, he and the Council continued to revert, as the source of their power, for the definition of their rights and for authority for their acts.”

Margaret Ells, “Nova Scotian Sparks of liberty” Dalhousie Rev., 16 (1936–37): 475–92

See also:

Constitution and by-laws of the Anglo-African Mutual Improvement and Aid Association of Nova Scotia

“Whereas, it is perfectly consistent with the dictates of prudence and the interests of self-preservation, that men, for their mutual support and protection, and the advancement of their interests, should form themselves into an Association, thereby giving unto themselves that strength and importance belonging to Unity.

Therefore, We, the Colored Men of Nova Scotia, have unanimously agreed to form ourselves into an Association to guard and cherish our social rights, and advance our Financial as well as our Political interests…”

“It shall be the duty of the Committee on Political Action to watch narrowly the Civic and Political arena, confer with, and lay before all Candidates for Civic or Political honors who many appeal to them individually or collectively for support, this Association, its objects, and our being debarred, as a people, from several public offices which we are capable of filling, and other privileges that we are justly entitled to as ratepayers.”

Anglo-African Mutual Improvement and Aid Association of Nova Scotia. Constitution And By-laws of the Anglo-African Mutual Improvement And Aid Association of Nova Scotia. [Halifax, N.S.?: s.n., 18.

Military operations in eastern Maine and Nova Scotia during the revolution, chiefly compiled from the journals and letters of Colonel John Allan

That the letter sent by Washington to the St Johns Tribe was written on the eve of the crossing of the Delaware, December 24th 1776, adds so much to the symbolism of these communications.

“In the autumn of 1852, the compiler with a few friends made an excursion to the Schoodie Lakes to enjoy a few weeks in hunting and fishing in that region. Here a part of the Passamaquoddy tribe has for centuries made its home, and it was while recording by fire-light in a tent the recollections and traditionary legends of this people and their fathers, that he first heard of their services in the revolution, and of the name and exploits of John Allan. And here too he saw the documents which have been preserved with great care and fidelity by the tribe.”

“Friends Brothers & Countrymen,

In the Spring of the year we received with Joy and Gladness, a very kind letter from our friend and brother His Ex’y George Washington. What he said therein gave us great satisfaction and Determined we were to continue in that friendship, with the same faith as he professed towards us and to keep the chain bright forever. A few days ago an alarm was spread among as that another paper was come, to require us to take up the hatchet. We met thereupon and found that some of our young men had been with you in the Character of Chiefs and made a treaty to go to war, contrary to our desire, and as we understand from them was not rightly understood.

Our situation and circumstances being such at present, our natural inclination being peace, only accustomed to hunt for the subsistence of our family, we could not comply with the terms – our numbers being not sufficient among other objections. And as it was not done by our authority & consent of the different tribes we are necessitated to return it. Still depending upon the promise of our brother Washington, and relying upon the friendship of all our brothers & friends your way we hope & trust no offense in sending it back. And protesting at the same time that the Chain of Friendship is still subsisting between us on our side & that we hope for ever – a further account of our situation will in our name be delivered our brothers & countrymen by John Allan Esq bearer of this – our love and friendship be with you all.

We are, your friends & Brothers: Joseph Sapsarouch, Chief of Miramichi, Jean Baptist Alymph Chief of Richibouctou, Augsutin Michel of Ricchibouctou, Thomas Athanage Chief of Chediac and Cocaga, Jerome Athanage of Chediac, Baptist Arguimon Chief of Chiguenictou, Jean Neol Arguimon of Chiguenictou, Charles Aleria of Cape Sable, At Coquen, September 19th 1776.”

“Brothers of the St Johns Tribe,

It gave me great pleasure to hear by Major Shaw, that you kept the chain of Friendship, which I sent you in February last from Cambridge bright & unbroken. I am glad to hear that you have made a Treaty of peace with your brothers and neighbors of the Massachusetts Bay, who have agreeable to your desire established a Truck House at St Johns out of which they will furnish you with everything you want and take your furs in return – My good friend & brother Gov Pierre Tommar and the Warriors that came with him, shall be taken good care of, and when they want to return home, they and our brothers of Penobscot shall be furnished with everything necessary for their journey –

Brothers, I have one more thing to say to you, our enemy, the King of Great Britain, endeavored to stir up all the [indigenous people] from Canada to South Carolina against us. But our brethren of the Six Nations and their Allies the Shawnese and Delawares would not listen to their advice, but kept fast hold of our ancient Covenant chain. The Cherokees and the Southern tribes were foolish enough to hearken to them and to take up the hatchet against us, upon which our warriors went into their country burnt their houses destroyed their corn and obliged them to sue for peace and to give hostages for their future good behavior – Never let the Kings wicked Counsellors turn your hearts against me and your Brethren of this country, but bear in mind what I told you last February what I tell you now – In token of my friendship for you I send this from my army on the banks of the great river Delaware this 24th day of December, 1776.

George Washington”

“So universal was the sympathy for the Americans in the county of Cumberland, that in the townships Truro, Onslow and Londonderry only five persons would take the oath of allegiance to the British government, and therefore their members were excluded from the house of assembly. In King’s county N.S., a large liberty pole was cut and made to be hoisted, when the arrival of a detachment of rangers [the King’s Orange Rangers] put a stop to the movement.”

“On the 18th (of August, 1782) arrived at my quarters, Michel Augustine, Chief of the Village of Enechebucto a Principal Sachem of the [Mi’kmaq] Tribe, also a chief of Cape Briton with other young men, the former well known in Nova Scotia for his sagacity as a Politician & abilitys as a Warrior. The business they are upon is to know the certainty of news & state of matters between America and France; as also to make complaint against the small boats for plundering the traders that live among them. “They say they would rather choose to trade with the Americans than the English, if any came among them would defend them against the English to the last, but necessity compels them to trade with somebody, and before their eyes, have seen property themselves had a right to, taken away, but from a principle of friendship to America has made no opposition.”

Allan, John, 1746-1805, Frederic Kidder, and George Hayward Allan. Military Operations In Eastern Maine And Nova Scotia During the Revolution. Albany, [N.Y.]: J. Munsell, 1867.

Letters from Nova Scotia: comprising sketches of a young country

“One or two ships are generally building on the slips at Dartmouth, on the opposite side of the harbor, varying from one to four hundred tons…”

“An ingenious and simple plan was proposed, towards the close of the last war, for constructing a dock immediately opposite the yard on the Dartmouth shore, where a little cove and ravine offer two sides of a natural basin which was to be formed into a double dock, supplied by the means of the rivulet. I know not why this plan was not adopted.”

“About forty years ago, a turnpike-gate erected within ten miles of Halifax was pulled down by the people.”

“The Legislature is very liberal in granting pecuniary aid to private undertakings which embrace public utility; for instance, a carriage ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth, in the hands of a few individuals, is annually subsidized from the treasury… In some instances, it is to be feared, a little abuse has been engendered by this method of proceeding…”

Moorsom, W. S. (William Scarth), 1804-1863. Letters From Nova Scotia: Comprising Sketches of a Young Country. London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830.

The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1776-1809

The book delves into the historical and social landscape of Nova Scotia, particularly focusing on religious movements, governance, and societal norms. It begins with a discussion on religious fervor in the late 18th century, influenced by New England revivalism, and the subsequent tensions between Anglicanism and dissenting sects. The text explores the impact of legislation on religious practices and the social dynamics between different religious communities, highlighting the presence of dissenters and the struggles they faced.

Furthermore, it describes the migration patterns from New England to Nova Scotia, emphasizing the collective nature of settlement and the adaptation of New England practices in township organization. The role of government intervention in local governance and its effect on the development of town meetings is examined. Additionally, societal issues such as slavery, education, and moral conduct are addressed, shedding light on the complexities of early Nova Scotian society.

The passage also discusses the repercussions of the American Revolution on religious institutions and the political climate of Nova Scotia, showcasing the diverse responses of ministers and communities to the conflict. It concludes with reflections on the resilience of Nova Scotians amidst uncertainty and the efforts of religious leaders like Henry Alline to provide spiritual guidance during challenging times.

“In the year 1799 the Bishop of Nova Scotia reported to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts that the Province was being troubled by “an enthusiastic and dangerous spirit” among the sect called “Newlights”, whose religion seemed to be a “strange jumble of New England Independency and Behmenism.” Through the teaching of these “ignorant mechanics and common laborers”, the people were being excited to a “pious frenzy,” and a “rage for dipping” prevailed over all the western counties. It was further believed by the Bishop and the Anglican clergy that these sectaries were engaged in a plan for “a total Revolution in Religion and Civil Government.”

“…as Bishop Inglis recognized, the movement was a continuation of the great revival of religion which occurred in New England between 1740 and 1744, it may be properly called “The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia.”

“Although laws — such as 1758’s an Act for the establishment of religious public Worship in this province, and for suppressing popery — were intended only for the proper regulation of the Church of England, and although the Assembly took care to insert a clause in the act providing for the liberty of conscience and freedom of worship for Protestant Dissenters (32 Geo. II, Cap. V, ii), the remaining sections of the act contain very stringent laws against “popish priests,” providing “perpetual imprisonment” for any offenders found within the province after Mar 25, 1759, and a fine of £50 and the pillory for any person harboring, relieving, concealing or entertaining such a priest. These harsh enactments were omitted from the revised laws of 1783, but Test Oaths were required of all Catholics until 1827. The Anglican church was not disestablished until 1851, nevertheless, there was enough of the coercive in the law to arouse the suspicion of the New Englanders… Were not these laws respecting unlicensed teachers and preachers similar to those aimed at the itinerants and exhorters in Connecticut and Massachusetts?”

“…Governor Lawrence was led to issue a second proclamation on January 11, 1759. This document contained the solemn assurances of the government upon the subject of civil and religious liberties within the province, which early won for it the title “The Charter of Nova Scotia.” (T.C. Haliburton, An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia (Halifax, 1829), I, 220. A copy of the original proclamation may be seen in the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I. It also appeared in Boston News-Letter, Feb 15, 1759.)

Regarding religion the proclamation declared:

…full liberty of conscience, both of His Majesty’s royal instructions and a late act of the General Assembly of this Province, is secured to persons of all persuasions, Papists excepted, as more fully appears from the following extract of the said act, viz: “Protestants dissenting from the Church of England, whether they be Calvinists, Lutherans, Quakers, or under what denomination soever, shall have free liberty of conscience, and may erect and build Meeting Houses for public worship, and may choose and elect Ministers for the carrying on of Divine services and administration of the sacrament, according to their several opinions, and all contracts made between Ministers and Congregations for the support of their Ministry are hereby declared valid, and shall have their full force and effect according to the tenor and conditions thereof, and all such Dissenters shall be excused from any rates or taxes to be made or levied for the support of the Established Church of England.”

“With the opening of the Ohio country in 1768, immigration from American colonies practically ceased, and Nova Scotia remained a back-water untouched by the main currents of American migration until the flood-tide of Loyalist refugees burst in upon it at the close of the Revolutionary war. Immigration from the other side of the Atlantic, however, continued.”

“The movement from New England to Nova Scotia was social and not individualistic. Associations of families and not lone pioneers, made the plans, sent their representatives… When they reached their new township they met together, chose their own officers, and laid out their own lands and town-plot. This was all done in accordance with old New England practice. (Cf., R.H. Akagi, The Town Proprietors of the New England Colonies (Philadelphia, 1924), esp. Ch. 1, 3 & 4.)”

“The term “proprietor” is very familiar in New England history. The proprietors were the owners of the land and were responsible collectively for the improvement of the new plantation. “More specifically they were responsible for inducting and enlisting newcomers, for locating home lots and dwelling houses, for building highways and streets, for subdividing the adjacent arable land, and subjecting the meadow and forest, for a time at least to a common management. Records of proprietors meetings at Falmouth, Cornwallis, and Horton show that the Nova Scotia immigrants followed the New England custom.

At the first meeting of the Falmouth proprietors, on June 10, 1760, Shubael Dimock, a former deacon of the Separate Church in Mansfield, Connecticut, was elected Moderator, and, according to custom, a standing committee of three was appointed to manage the prudential affairs of the community. This committee laid out the lands as they had been laid out for over a century in New England; two hundred acres for a Common, sixty acres for a town site and certain tracts for a meeting house, cemetery, school, and for the first resident minister.”

“In one very important respect, however, the Nova Scotian proprietors differed from those in New England. The number of lots or shares in each township was determined by the government and not by the proprietors meeting, and each proprietor received only his exact share; the lands remaining in the township then still remained in the hands of the Crown, and were granted to new proprietors by the Lands Office at Halifax and not by the local proprietors meeting.”

“In 1766 there was a remonstrance from the principal inhabitants of Halifax to the Lords of Trade because “all the scum of the Colonies” was being admitted to the province which they said had been “inundated with persons who are not only useless but burdensome,” and that the passage money of “persons from goals, hospitals and work-houses” was actually being paid by the other colonial governments… There is ample evidence, however, to show that there were among the pioneers self-reliant and socially assured leaders who, given the advantages of a new land, soon forged ahead and achieved prosperity and independence for themselves.”

“The neatly planned towns, with their regularly laid out streets and village greens, did not materialize. Instead, the shortest path across the fields of an absentee owner, or of a deserted homestead, connected the irregularly scattered dwellings of the village.

Because of direct government interference, the associations of proprietors in Nova Scotia never developed into the influential town-meetings which were so familiar in New England. As early as 1761, on the recommendation of Governor Belcher, the Lords of Trade disallowed an “Act enabling proprietors to divide lands held in common,” which had been passed by the first assembly. Belcher’s motive… was to extend the authority of the central government over the townships…

The fate of town-meetings was bound up with the intrigues of the Halifax circle. Instead of permitting the freeholders to elect their own officers, it was arranged that the grand juries of the four principal counties should nominate candidates for the local offices and then the local Justices of the Peace choose from among the nominees the men who should finally be appointed. In this way the offices of the townships were kept in the hands of the friends of the government, or at least that group of enterprising men who held key positions in council. About the only power left to the town meetings was the care of the poor. The change did not pass without protest, but on the whole the towns were too weak to defend “the rights and liberties of Englishmen.”

In 1770 the town meeting of Truro objected to the officers chosen to govern it. Liverpool and other towns also made complaints, but a warning that the Attorney-General had been instructed to prosecute persons who called “Town Meetings for Debating and Resolving on Several Questions Relating to the Laws and Government of this Province” seemed to have a quieting effect. The new settlements were too scattered to unite in any effort to preserve their liberties, and too poor to carry on the struggle. Those who might have been their leaders already held offices under the centralized system and shared in its profits.

It was this lack of leadership, organization, and experience, as well as their remoteness and poverty, which to a great extent determined Nova Scotia’s attitude during the War of Independence. There can be little doubt that Governor Belcher’s policy “prevented the formation of some twenty little republics in western Nova Scotia, and it enabled the central government to establish communications with the townships and to retain a check upon their activities. It also accelerated the moral and social decline which has already been observed.”

“Drunkenness seems to have been the most prevalent evil. Provincial statutes, comparable to the “Blue Laws” of New England, provided severe sentence for all breaches of the criminal code, and for such offenses as profanity, or absence from Church. Church wardens were ordered to walk the streets during the time of divine worship to discover the delinquents. (1 Geo. III, Cap. 1, Acts of the General Assemblies.)

Slavery was practiced by those who could afford it. The Nova Scotia Gazette from time to time carried advertisements such as the following:

Ran Away

On Monday the 10th., of June last, between the hours of 9 and 10 at night, a negro woman named Florimell, she had on when she went away, a red Poppin Gown, a blue baize outside Petticoat, and a pair of Men’s shoes, she commonly wears a handkerchief around her Head, has scars on her face, speaks broken English, and is not very black.. 1 Guinea Rwd. and all charges for their trouble. (Nova Scotia Gazette, July 9, 1776. See Also Ibid., May 28, 1776. The price of slaves varied from £20 to £75 N.S. Money. Cf., T.W. Smith, “The Slave in Canada” N.S.H.S., X, 11 ff.)

In addition to household slaves it was customary for Town meetings to farm-out the local poor. The wealthier rate-payers “bid-off” these unfortunates, who then went to work for them in return for food, lodging and clothes. The town-charges thus became a form of indentured servants, and in addition the good citizen who took them received from the town a sum of money equivalent to his “bid”. (Eaton, Kings County, 162.)”

“Henry Alline, who before his conversion was a leader among the younger set in Falmouth, has left accounts of evenings spent at neighbor’s homes, where the young people amused themselves singing “carnal songs,” telling stories, and causing great mirth by imitating the “extra-ordinaries” of the Newlights, whom some of them remembered before 1760 in Connecticut.”

“In 1765 the Assembly passed An Act Concerning Schools and Schoolmasters, which required all would be teachers to be examined by a minister or two justices of the peace, and to present a certificate of morals and good conduct, signed by at least six inhabitants. He must also take the oath of allegiance. By the same act, boards of school trustees were set up to administer the lands reserved in the original plans of every township for a school. (6 Geo. III, Cap vii, Acts of General Assemblies. The effect of the Act was to place the control of the school lands in the hands of the Anglican clergy, from which they were wrested only after a long and bitter struggle ending in an appeal to the Privy Council in the middle of the nineteenth century. Cf., Eaton, Kings County, 269,270.)”

“…the majority of the population of the province before 1784 were Dissenters. In Halifax, even before the great New England migration of 1760, settlers from the American colonies composed a large and influential part of the community. A protestant Dissenter’s meeting House, known as Mather’s Place in honor of the well-known Boston divines, was erected in 1750 and was supplied by Congregational ministers until the end of the revolution.” (Walter Murray, “History of St. Matthew’s Church,” N.S.H.S., XVI, 137-170.)

“The final blow to congregationalism in Nova Scotia was the American Revolution. (M.W. Armstrong-“Neutrality and Religion in Revolutionary Nova Scotia,” The New England Quarterly, Mar. 1946, 50-62). To the already demoralized and disintegrating churches were now added the calamities of a further loss of ministers, an increased uncertainty because of privateers and possible invasion, and the gnawing uneasiness of a divided loyalty.

By 1775, half of the Congregational pulpits were already vacant. During the war, some of the ministers evinced republican sympathies, but were instantly silenced by the government. The Rev. Benaiah Phelps of Cornwallis was accused of being “an uncompromising Whig” and left the province in 1777. The Rev. Seth Noble of Maugerville, after months of seditious activity, fled to Machias. The Rev. Arzarleh Morse of Granville seems to have been peaceable enough, but at the close of the war gave up his trying charge and returned to New England. John Frost who had been ordained by the church of Jebogue was reported to the Provincial Council in the month of August, 1775, for interfering with a muster of the militia at Argyle and for publicly expressing “his hopes and wishes that the British forces in America might be returned to England confuted and confused. (Minutes of the Council, Aug. 23, 1775. Mr. Frost was deprived of his office as justice of the peace and died shortly after.) The Rev. John Seccomb of Chester was also charged before the Council with “preaching a Sermon tending to promote Sedition and Rebellion,” and with “praying for the Success of the Rebels.” (Ibid., Dec 23, 1776, Jan. 6, 1777) He was placed under a bond of £500 for his future good behavior and henceforth had an uneventful career. Only the Rev. Israel Cheever of Liverpool, “a hard drinker,” and the Rev. Johnathan Scott, the farmer-pastor of Jebogue, avoided the political pitfalls of the times and labored to preserve the New England way in Nova Scotia.

The Presbyterian churches were not so seriously affected by the war… Only the Rev. James Lyon of New Jersey, who had once advised the patient Mr. Bruin Romcas Comingoe “To avoid a party spirit in politics,” showed republican sentiments. Migrating to Machias, Maine, he became the center of plots and schemes to capture Nova Scotian villages and plunder British shipping in the Bay of Fundy. There is some evidence that some of the Ulster settlers in Colchester County shared Parson Lyon’s views. Writing from Halifax to the Secretary of State in 1776, General Massey said, “If you Lordship will pardon me for going out of my walk … I take upon me to tell your Lordship that until Presbytery is drove out of His Majesty’s Dominions, Rebellion will ever continue, nor will that set ever submit to the laws of England.”

“In a time of greatest doubt and discouragement, Alline and his followers in every township pointed out the blessings of peace, and turned men’s thoughts away from the political issues of the day. The uncertain Nova Scotians were made to feel that in contrast with conditions in the other colonies their own lot was good, and that in escaping the horrors of war they had been the particular subjects of divine favor.”

Armstrong, Maurice Whitman, 1905-1967. The Great Awakening In Nova Scotia, 1776-1809. Hartford: American Society of Church History, 1948.

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