New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly met at Halifax

leave a comment »

From the blog at

The article below is from a very old history of Nova Scotia written in 1823 by Thomas Haliburton, and entitled A General Description of Nova Scotia. This excerpt describes the province’s political history up to 1758, and begins with a sentence that appeals to me: “No Part of the British American Settlements, has occasioned so many contests, or has been so often granted and purchased, conquered and ceded as Nova Scotia.”

My only problem with the history is Haliburton’s description of the expulsion of the Acadians. He first appears to justify the event, and then offers regrets for it. This sort of hand-wringing was common, even among people who were writing at an earlier date and were involved in the expulsion.

Charles Lawrence

Charles Lawrence,

First Governor of Nova Scotia, between 1758 and 1761. From Wikipedia

Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly met at Halifax

No Part of the British American Settlements, has occasioned so many contests, or has been so often granted and purchased, conquered and ceded as Nova Scotia. It has been several times alternately possessed by the French and English; the former claiming it by priority of possession, the latter by discovery. It was originally regarded by the English as part of Cabot’s discovery of Terra Nova; and was afterwards comprehended within the boundary of a large portion of America called North Virginia. The first settlement of the French in Acadia was made at a very early period, being four years before the smallest hut was erected in Canada. In 1603, Monsieur De Monts was ordered by Henry the fourth of France to explore the country and select a suitable place for settlement. De Monts, after having met with many disasters incident to a Navigation, where there were no charts to direct, and where the shoals, banks and harbours were totally unknown, completed his examination of the eastern, southern, and western coasts. Instead of fixing towards the east of the peninsula, where the emigrants would have had larger seas, and easy navigation, and an excellent cod fishery, he chose a small bay, afterwards called the French Bay, which had none of these advantages. It has been said, that he was induced by the beauty of Port Royal, where a thousand ships may ride in safety from every wind, where there is an excellent bottom, at all times four or five fathom of water, and eighteen at the entrance. It is most probable that he was led to choose this situation, from its vicinity to the countries abounding in furs. This conjecture is confirmed by the following circumstance; that the first monopolisers took the utmost pains to divert the attention of their countrymen, whom restlessness or necessity brought into these regions, from clearing the woods, breeding cattle, fishing, and from every kind of culture, choosing rather to engage the industry of these adventurers, in hunting or in trading with the savages. Port Royal therefore, since called Annapolis, soon became the Capital of all the French settlements in the Province. In these voyages of discovery, the object pursued by the Sovereign was dominion, but gain stimulated the subjects. As compensation for this hazardous enterprise, and important service, the King of France made a grant to De Monts, of all the country from the 40th to the 46th degree of northern latitude. This Territory had the general appellation of New France, or Acadia, and is the same which was afterwards called Nova Scotia, comprehending the present Province of that name, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton. The French however were prevented by the English settlers from crossing the Kenebec River. Thus by the extreme points of national strength and exertion, a boundary seemed to be settled, not as the line of peace and concord, but as the place of future controversies. All the lands from the river Kenebec to the Narragansett country, being granted to the company called the Council for the affairs of New England, and being reduced to possession under the grants of that company, assumed the name of New England by common consent. It is singular that the offspring of these two rival nations, no longer acknowledged their former patrons. New France belongs to Great Britain and New England is an independent state. The French have preserved in their records a great variety of incidents, which took place while they were in the progress of discovering and settling Acadia. A minute detail of all these events, so similar to the early history of most of the American Colonies, would not be interesting to every reader, and from the circumstantial detail, with which they are related, would far exceed the limits of this chapter, which is designed, rather as a sketch of the political changes of the country, than a history of its settlement. In 1618, Sir Samuel Argall, then Governor of Virginia, made a cruising voyage along the coast, as far north as Cape Cod. There he was informed of De Monts’ Fort at Port Royal, in the south-west part of Acadia, which he soon afterwards conquered and destroyed. About this period. Sir Ferdinand Gorges, President of the New England Company, recommended to Sir William Alexander, to procure from the English Government a particular grant of New France, or of a portion of that country to the northward of their Patent. Sir William, accordingly applied, and obtained it of King James the first in 1621, and named the territory contained in his grant Nova Scotia. The next year he sent a ship with passengers to settle there, but it being late in the autumn, they were compelled to winter in Newfoundland, and to wait until the next season, before they could get away. As soon as the weather permitted they set sail, and landed in what they afterwards called Luke’s Bay. Owing to various misfortunes and difficulties, this attempt to colonize the country proved abortive. Sir William Alexander, but little affected by the disasters attending this expectation, published a very flattering description of the country, on his return to Europe, and placed it in so favourable a view, that his Sovereign created a new order, called the Knights of Nova Scotia, to facilitate its plantation. He attempted to make another settlement in 1630, but out of seventy Scotchmen whom he had sent to Port Royal, thirty died during the following winter, for want of accommodation. There was afterwards another grant made of the northern part of this country to Sir David Kirk, which was purchased by the king of France for the sum of £5000. Sir William, sometime afterwards, sold his property to Claude De La Tour, a French Nobleman. By the treaty of St. Germains in 1632, Acadia was relinquished by the English, and La Tour became dependent on the French government. Wishing to strengthen his title, La Tour obtained a grant from the king of France, of the bay and river St. Croix, the islands and lands adjacent, twelve leagues upon the sea, and twenty leagues into the land: also a grant of the Isle of Sables; another of ten leagues upon the sea, and| ten into the land, at La Have; another at Port Royal of the same extent; and one at Menis; with all the adjacent islands included in each grant.

The French being now in possession, by purchase and treaty, re-established their former settlements with great activity, and sent out a considerable number of emigrants with very ample equipments. A strong fort was erected at La Have, and the fortifications at Port Royal were enlarged and rebuilt. A person by the name of Daunley, having obtained a very extensive grant of Acadia from the French government, and a commission of commander in chief over the country, set sail from France with a great force, and a large amount of property, in merchandise, suitable for the trade with the Indians. Daunley had scarcely arrived there, when La Tour, considering him an intruder upon his possessions, declared war against him. Various were the battles and skirmishes between these two petty territorial lords, and various the success. La Tour generally proved the weaker, and was finally routed, his fort destroyed, and all his property to the amount of £10,000 carried off by his successor rival. Daunley died soon after his victory, and La Tour married his widow, and thereby became reinvested with the possession and title of Nova Scotia.

Oliver Cromwell in 1654, sent a force under the command of a Major Sedjeworth to dislodge the French from Port Royal, which he effected, and took possession of the whole country for the British government. After this conquest, Charles De St. Estina or Estienne, son and heir to Claude De La Tour, went to England, and on making out his title to Nova Scotia, under Sir William Alexander, then Earl of Stirling, Cromwell allowed his claim. On the twentieth of September 1656, St. Estina sold and conveyed his property in the said country to Sir Thomas Temple and William Browne, who divided their purchase by deed of partition. Sir Thomas afterwards, in the year 1662, obtained a patent for it from the crown, not only for the territory, but for the government thereof, during his natural life, and the sole monopoly of the fishery and trade with the Indians. He did not however long continue to enjoy his property and privileges, for by the treaty of Breda in 1667, this country was again ceded to the French, and in 1670 the possession was delivered to them by Sir Thomas pursuant to the said treaty, and in obedience to the express orders of the Earl of Arlington, then secretary of state. The sum of £16,200 was stipulated to be paid him, in recompense for his disbursements in building forts, maintaining garrisons, and for debts due him from the natives, but this amount was never paid to him by the court of France. In 1690, on the 28th of April, Sir William Phipps, by order of the Massachusetts government, fitted out an expedition for the reduction of this country, which he effected without much loss, and having appointed a Governor he returned to New England, on the 30th of May following. The English remained masters of Acadia till 1697, when, by the treaty, of Ryswick, it was once more restored to the French. By this treaty the French and English attempted to establish the boundary line between New England and Acadia. The eastern boundary of the British dominions was fixed at the river St. Croix, but still it remained a question which of two rivers this was. The French contended that the river now lying on the east side of the settlement of St. Andrews, called Makagadawick, was the boundary; but the English contended for a large and respectable stream, twenty league east of that, which is now called the St. John. The truth was that when the French landed on the west bank of what is now the Bay of Fundy, they erected a cross on the land, and gave the whole country the name of the Holy Cross. The rivers had no name at that time, but such as were expressed in the Indian language, and therefore among the Europeans, they took the general name of the country and were all called St. Croix. This subject has since proved a fruitful source of dissention. In 1710, Nava Scotia was again reconquered by the forces of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Anne, sent from New England under the command of General Nicholson, and by the treaty of Utrecht in 1712, it was finally ceded and secured to Great Britain, and it has for ever since continued in her possession. By that event, the court of Versailles is forever deprived of a colony, of which it had never known the value. The Acadians, who in submitting to a new yoke, had sworn never to bear arms against their former standards, were called the French neutrals. There were twelve or thirteen hundred of them settled in the capital, the rest were dispersed in the neighbour country. No magistrate was ever set over them, and they were never acquainted with the laws of England. No rents or taxes of any kind were exacted from them. Their former sovereign had relinquished and forgot them, and their new one was a total stranger to them. From this period, Annapolis continued to be the capital of the country until 1749, when the seat of government was removed to Halifax. At this time Great Britain perceived of what consequence the possession of Acadia might be to her commerce. The peace, which necessarily left a great number of men without employment, furnished opportunity, by the disbanding of the troops, for peopling and cultivating the vast and fertile territory. The British ministry offered particular advantages to all who would go over and settle there. They engaged to advance, or reimburse the expenses of passage, to build houses, to furnish all the necessary instruments for fishing or agriculture, and to defray the expenses of subsistence for the first year. They also offered grants of land, the quantity of which was apportioned, according to the rank or family of the emigrant. These encouragements determined 3,750 persons, in the month of May 1749, to emigrate to Nova Scotia. The new colony was intended to form an establishment to the south-east of Nova Scotia, in a place which the Indians had formerly called Chebucto, but the English Halifax. This situation was preferred to several others, where the soil was better, for the sake of establishing in its neighbourhood an excellent cod fishery, and fortifying one of the best harbours in America. But as it was the spot most favourable for the chase, the English were obliged to dispute the possession with the Mickmac [sic] Indians, who mostly frequented it. These savages, instigated, as was supposed, by the French neutrals, defended with obstinacy the territory they held from nature, and it was not until after very great losses, that the English drove them out of their former hunting grounds. Halifax will always continue to be the principal place of the Province, an advantage it owes to the encouragement lavished upon it by the mother country. The sum expended upon, this settlement for several years amounted to more than £3937 10 0 per annum. Such favours were not ill bestowed upon a place, which from its situation, is the natural rendezvous of both the land and sea forces, which Great Britain is obliged to maintain there, as well for the defence of her fisheries, and the protection of the West India Islands, and for the purpose of supporting her connections with the Canadas. About this time, considerable agitation was discovered among the neutral French, the hostility of the Indians continued unabashed, and repeated outrages were committed by their joint exertions upon the English settlers. The French, whose manners were so simple, and who enjoyed such liberty, entertained serious apprehensions, that their independence would be materially affected or abridged, by the introduction of these new colonists. To this alarm they added the fear of having their religion endangered. Their Priests, either heated by their own enthusiasm, or secretly instigated by the Governors of Canada, persuaded them to credit everything they chose to suggest against the English, whom they called heretics. This word, which has so powerful an influence on deluded minds, impelled some to secret acts of violence, and determined others to quit their habitations, and remove to Canada, where they were offered lands. The constant state of irritation in which they kept the Indians, and the extreme aversion which they manifested to the English, induced the British government to adopt the severe resolution of sending them out of the country under the pretext of exacting a renewal of the oath, which they had taken at the time of their becoming British subjects, they assembled a number of  them together at different posts, and when they had secured them, immediately embarked them on board of ships, which conveyed them to Mississippi and Louisiana. Transporting them like convicts to a distant clime was perhaps unnecessary, and certainly injurious to these unfortunate people. Had more conciliatory measures been used, a large, industrious and useful population might have been saved to the country. In 1784, the territory was divided into three governments, and all that country to the north-west of fort Cumberland was created a distinct province, and called New Brunswick. Cape Breton was also made a separate government.

Following is a list of the Governors of Nova Scotia since 1758, at which time the first General Assembly of the Province met at Halifax: 1758 Charles Lawrence, Esquire, Governor, and Robt. Monkton, Lieutenant Governor; 1761 Jonathan Belcher; 1763 Montague Wilmott; 1766 Benjamin Green, Administrator; 1766 Michael Francklin; 1767 Lord William Campbell; 1767 Michael Francklin, (absente Campbell); 1769 Lord Wm. Campbell; 1772 Michael Francklin, (absente Campbell); 1773 Francis Legge, Esquire; 1776 Marriot Arbuthnot; 1779 Sir Richard Hughes; 1781 Sir Andrew Hammond; 1784 John Parr; 1792 Sir John Wentworth; 1808 Sir Geo. Provost; 1812 Sir John C. Sherbrooke; 1817 The Right Hon. Geo. Earl of Dalhousie; 1820 Sir James Kempt.


Written by johnwood1946

April 20, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: