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

“Until January, 1757, the Governor and Council ruled alone in Nova Scotia, at that time, after long debate, it was decided that a Representative Assembly should be created, and that there should be elected for the province at large, until counties should be formed, twelve members, besides four for the township of Halifax, two for … Read more

The Church of England in Nova Scotia and the Tory clergy of the revolution

“In the United States there should be much interest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia, for that Diocese owes its existence to the Tories of the Revolution, who went in thousands from New York and Massachusetts to the “Acadian Province by the Sea,” and its first bishop was, at the outbreak of the war, the … Read more

The Great Awakening in Nova Scotia, 1776-1809

“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 … Read more

Trials For Treason In 1776-7

“The township of Cumberland was settled in 1762-3 or thereabouts, by settlers from Rhode Island. They came in four schooners, and a list of their names was formerly in the Archives of the Province. During the whole of the struggle between the mother country and her colonies, the Cumberland settlers, especially those from the old … Read more

Plural office-holding in Massachusetts, 1760-1780, its relation to the “separation” of departments of government

“The principle of organization of government on the basis of “separate” departments is not only fundamental in the structure of American Federal government, but it has been written into every one of our state constitutions in one form or another. That purpose was stated in Article XXX of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts … Read more

The Radicalism of the American Revolution

“If we measure radicalism of revolutions by the degree of social misery or economic deprivation suffered, or by the number of people killed or manor houses burned, then this conventional emphasis on the conservatism of the American Revolution becomes true enough. But if we measure the radicalism by the amount of social change that actually … Read more

Howe (1835), Dixon (1920) and McLachlan (1923): Comparative Perspectives on the Legal History of Sedition

Joseph howe province house

“Then there is Howe, who was prosecuted by the corrupt magistrates whom he exposed in his day. By the way, he successfully defended himself, and I hope to perhaps follow his glorious example. He is now proclaimed as Nova Scotia’s noblest son.” — FJ. Dixon, 1920 “When they tried Joseph Howe for sedition, they erected … Read more

Sedition in Nova Scotia: R. v. Wilkie (1820) and the Incontestable Illegality of Seditious Libel before R. v. Howe (1835)

“Writing in the posthumously published final version of his historical chronicle of early Halifax town, lawyer-archivist Thomas Beamish Akins condemned the infamous 1820 state trial, R. v. Wilkie, in these memorable words: An anonymous pamphlet was published from the press of A.H. [Anthony Henry] Holland, charging the magistrates of the town with malpractices, which caused … Read more

Sedition In Nova Scotia: R. v. Howe and the “Contested Legality” of Seditious Libel

“Nova Scotia had found [in Joseph Howe] not only its John Wilkes but also its Charles James Fox.” — W.S. MacNutt, 1965 “In a seminal article published in 1974, Kenneth McNaught described Howe as one of Canada’s “two most significant cases involving political freedom of the press” — the other being Dixon for seditious libel … Read more

Hay Party

(aa.) Admiral Graves to Mr. Stephens, Boston, 18 May.—I find that the rebellion begun in Massachusetts Bay has spread itself to New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. There is too much reason to apprehend the infection is general, since even Nova Scotia has shown symptoms in burning a quantity of hay collected for the use of … Read more

To George Washington from a Citizen of Nova Scotia

Cumberland Nova Scotia February 8th 1776 “Sir: You may Reasonably imagine that it is presumption in me to take such Liberty in writing your Excellency, still its Going from one whose principles are Actuated from A Genuine feeling of Liberty, and an Indeliable Anxiety for the happiness of his Country, Annimates an Assurance that it … Read more