New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743

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Following is a report written in 1743, describing the then British colony of Nova Scotia, which included New Brunswick. Nova Scotia had very few English settlers at the time, and the military protection force was hardly worth mention. This, and the fact that peace between England and France was forever fragile, may explain the otherwise irrational preoccupation with the Acadians as a third-force in any dispute.

John T. Bulmer noted in the introduction that this was likely part of Ward Chipman’s file supporting British claims in border disputes with the United States. The paper is older than that, of course. It is also apparent that the Peace of Utrecht did not finally settle competing British and French claims to territory. The French never accepted that they had ceded anything more than the peninsular part of Nova Scotia, and lengthy Indian wars ensued. Some of these disputes are discussed in other postings in this blog.

This is from Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society for the Years 1879-80, Volume 1, Halifax, 1878. Spelling is as found.

Treaty of Utrecht

The Treaty of Utrecht

Displayed at Fort Anne National Historic Site, Annapolis Royal. From

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743

As this description may be taken to be substantially a correct account of the Province, immediately preceding the settlement of Halifax, in 1749, it is thought worthy of publication. It was prepared a few years previous to this date by the Board of Trade, at the instance of the Lords Justices, and was doubtless one of the many documents used by the Commissioners for settling the limits of Acadia. It is presumed that it was again used for a similar purpose by the Commissioners who sat under the Jay Treaty, in 1796, and following years, to determine which was the St. Croix of the Treaty of 1783. The late Hon. Ward Chipman, at this convention, acted as the Agent of the Crown, and, as this paper came out of the possession of the Chipman heirs, it is safe to assume that it was used at the convention, in support of the British case. It came into the archives of the Historical Society through the favor of J.W. Lawrence, Esq., of St. John, N.B., the author of a valuable paper on The First Courts and Early Judges of New Brunswick.


To Their Excellencies the Lords Justices.

May it please your Excellencies.

In obedience to your Excellencies commands signified to us by Mr. Weston in his letter of the 11th instant, We lay before your Excellencies the present state and condition of Nova Scotia.

This Province during the last French War was reduced by the British Arms, and surrendered by Lewis the 14th at the Treaty of Utrecht to her late Majesty Queen Anne.

It is provided by the 12th Article of that “The most Christian King shall take care to have delivered to the Queen of Great Britain on the same day that the Ratifications of this Treaty shall be exchanged, solemn and authentick letters or Instruments, by virtue whereof it shall appear, that the Island of St. Christophers is to be possessed alone hereafter by British subjects, likewise all Nova Scotia, or Accadie, with its ancient boundaries, as also the City of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal, and all other things in those parts, which depend on the said Lands and Islands, together with the Dominion, Propriety and Possession of the said Islands, Lands, and Places, and all right whatsoever, by Treaties or by any other way obtained, which the most Christian King, the Crown of France, or any the subjects thereof, have hitherto had to the said Islands, Lands and Places, and the Inhabitants of the same are yielded and made over to the Queen of Great Britain and to her Crown for ever, as the most Christian King doth at present yield and make over all the particulars abovesaid, and that in such ample manner and form, that the subjects of the most Christian King shall hereafter be excluded from all kind of Fishing in the said Seas, Bays and other Places, on the Coasts of Nova Scotia, that is to say, on those which lye toward the East, within Thirty Leagues beginning from the Island commonly called Sable, inclusively, and thence stretching along towards the South West.”

But notwithstanding Nova Scotia was thus given up with its ancient Boundaries, and nothing is excepted out of this Cession, but Cape Breton and the other Islands lying in the mouth of the River St. Lawrence and Gulf of the same name, which by the subsequent article are given to France; yet the French have since the Treaty of Utrecht frequently set up claims to different parts of the said Province, and pretend to confine the British Title to the bare Peninsula of Accadie. Whereas the ancient Boundaries of this Province, as appears by a grant from King James the first to Sir William Alexander (aftewards Earl of Sterling) bearing date the 10th Sept. 1621, contain all the Lands and Islands lying within the Promontary commonly called Cape Sables being in forty three degrees of North Latitude or thereabouts, thence Westerly to the Bay commonly called St. Mary’s Bay and from thence Northerly in a strait line by the mouth of that great Bay (which runs easterly up the Country, and divides the two nations called Suriquois and Etichemenes) to the River St. Croix, thence Westerly to the head of that River, thence Northerly to the next Bay, which discharges itself in the River St. Lawrence, thence easterly along the coast to the Bay of Gaspe, thence South easterly to the Bacalio Islands or Cape Breton, and leaving that Island on the Right, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Newfoundland and the Islands thereto belonging on the left, thence to Cape Breton in the Latitude of forty-five degrees or thereabouts, thence South West to Cape Sables again.

The Government of this Province both Civil and Military is entirely in His Majesty, but as there are hitherto few or no English settled here, besides the Garrison of Annapolis, except two or three families at that Place, and four or five more whom the advantage of the Fishery at Canco has drawn thither, there is very little Room for the Exercise of Civil Government, neither has His Majesty any Revenue in this country, the Lands being not yet peopled nor granted out upon Quiet [sic] Rents, as in the other Colonies, except only some small Quiet Rents payable by the French Inhabitants, and purchased not many years since by His Majesty of Mrs. Campbell, a French Gentlewoman descended from the Family of LaTour, who were formerly Lords of the Soil, under the French Government there.

The Principal Town in this Province is Annapolis, but there are two others of less note, Minas and Sheganeckto both settled by French Inhabitants, who have remained there ever since the Cession of this Country to her late Majesty Queen Anne, but are entirely in the French interest, and by their communication and Intermarriages with the neighbouring Indians have gained them to their party, whereby they are enabled upon any occasion to engage the said Indians in a War against His Majesty’s subjects; and by some former accounts from Nova Scotia, there is too much reason to believe, that they have heretofore used their endeavours to instigate the said Indians against the Garrison of Annapolis, and others His Majesty’s subjects fishing at Canco, and upon the Coast of Nova Scotia. These Inhabitants at the Treaty of Utrecht were about 2500 and are very much encreased since that time.

The little Trade driven in this Country till of late years, was entirely in their hands, it consisted chiefly in Fish, which has some years been more plentifull here, than on any other Coast of America. They have likewise some Furs and cattle, but whatever Products or Merchandize the French Inhabitants have to dispose of, is generally transported by them either to Cape Breton, Quebeck, or directly to France, which is much to the prejudices of Great Britain.

It was provided by the Treaty of Utrecht, that the French Inhabitants of Nova Scotia should have a year allowed them to remove from thence with their effects, and such as remained beyond that time, which is long since elapsed, were by the Treaty to become subjects to her said late Majesty, but these People, being influenced by their Priests, did, till the year 1730, unanimously refuse to take the oaths of allegiance to His Majesty, unless they might be allowed an exception in favor of France, which would have rendered their engagements ineffectual, And tho’ they have at last been prevailed upon to take the Oaths, they have done it with great Reluctance, and in all probability would join their Countrymen, in ease of a French War against His Majesty’s subjects.

If this Country was well settled it would be capable of a very extensive Trade. There are to be had as good Masts as any in all America, in great Plenty; Pitch, Tar, Rosin and Turpentine may be made in all parts of the Country, and Hemp and Flax might be raised there without great expense. To which in our opinion all due encouragement should be given; that Great Britain may in time become Independant of her Northern Neigbours for Naval Stores.

But the Branch of Trade in this Country, which seems of most importance at present, is that of the Fishery upon the Coast from Cape Sable to the Gut of Canso, which has some years produced a very considerable Profit to His Majesty’s Subjects, and tho’ of late it has declined, yet with due Encouragement and, protection, it might very probably be recovered and augmented. But the Indians have sometimes disturbed Our Fishermen and the French from Cape Breton contrary to the Treaty of Utrecht, (by which they are expressly excluded from all kinds of fishing on the Coast, which lye towards the East beginning from the Island commonly called Sables inclusevely, and thence stretching along towards the South West) do constantly interfere with us in this valuable Fishery, to which they have set up an unreasonable Pretence, as may appear by disputes we have formerly had with them concerning the Fishery of Canso. For which reason it would be for His Majesty’s Service, that some small Forts might be built without loss of time in proper places upon the Coast Islands from Cape Sable to the Gut of Canso for the security of this trade, and particularly on St. George’s Island, which is one of those, that forms the Cape of Canso, and has the command of the little Bay there which will be more necessary in regard that there are no forts or fortifications in this Province, but one at Annapolis Royal in the Bay of Fundy, and that too, in a very bad condition.

Nor has his Majesty any forces in this Country besides Nine Companies of General Philip’s Regiment of 31 private men each, which only amount, officers and soldiers included, to three hundred and sixty men.

Five of these Companies are stationed at Annapolis, and the other four at Canco, for the defence of the Fishery. But these two Bodies are so far separated, that one of them cannot possibly support the other, nor can they even communicate their distresses for want of a small Vessel to carry Intelligence.

Whereas it appears by an authentic account from those parts, that in the year 1738, the French at Cape Breton were very strong, that they had several Forts and Batteries in that Island, whereon were mounted no less than 124 Great Guns, whereof 52 are 48 pounders, 26, 36 pounders, 24, 24 pounders and 22, 18 pounders, besides several large Cannon not yet mounted. That they then had about seven hundred Regular Troops there, besides the Civil Inhabitants, That they gave all manner of encouragement to such People as were willing to settle with them; and they have actually settled some other Islands on the Coast of Nova Scotia, particularly that of St. John in the Bay of St. Lawrence.

And as this Province is entirely flanked on another side by Canada and the River of St. Lawrence, in all probability upon a Rupture with France, the French would be able to possess themselves of it, without any great Difficulty, unless some Fortifications were built there in proper places, and a more powerful land & sea Force sent thither to protect the Country.

All which is most humbly submitted.


WHITEHALL, August 23d, 1743.


Written by johnwood1946

September 30, 2015 at 8:39 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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