“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 Constitution to be the achievement of “a government of laws, and not of men.” In another article the same purpose was stated more fully in the following words: “Government is instituted for the common good;—and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any …

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

“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 took place – by transformations in the relationships that bound people to each other – then the American Revolution was not conservative at all, on the contrary; it was as radical and revolutionary as any in history. Of course, the American Revolution was very different …

The Radicalism of the American Revolution More…

“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 a monument to him in the shadow of the County jail [sic: Province House yard].” — J.B. McLachlan, 1924 “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I tell you that what happened to Howe will happen to McLachlan.” — J.S. …

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

“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 much excitement. It was discovered to have been written by Mr. William Wilkie, of Halifax. He was indicted for libel, tried at the Easter term of the Supreme Court [17 April 1820] and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor in the House of …

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

“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 arising from the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. McNaught failed to mention an important early New Brunswick case (Hooper, 1830), where the proprietor-editor of the British Colonist (Saint John) was prosecuted for seditious libel after publishing, under the author’s suggestive Puritan nom-de-plume (“Hampden”), a letter …

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

Our couriers between Quebec and Montreal depart from hence twice a week. The letters they carry scarce defray the expense of the riding work; but, seeing that the conveniency of the posts weekly is felt by the mercantile body, and in short by the whole province, and saves the expense of many expresses to Government, I shall continue it as long as it does not bring the office in debt. In all probability we shall be shut out from all communications from any one part of the world after the middle of November until the middle of May, unless letters …

“There’s many Whigs (as they are called) in Nova Scotia” More…