Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
September 15, 1892


Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.


[Benjamin Rand, Ph. D.]

After the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755, the future of Acadia remained for five years undetermined.  There was a difference of opinion upon the question of its settlement between Gov. Lawrence and the home authorities.  A new province awaited development, and British rule required to be firmly established.  The English government were of the opinion that for this purpose the lands should be divided among the soldiers.  Gov. Lawrence, who was well acquainted with the habits of life of the soldiers, prevailed upon the government to relinquish their design, and instead to seek a people for the land from among the sturdy farmers of New England, who had learned from experience in the older colonies how to reclaim the land from the mere domain of the forces of nature.  The wishes of Gov. Lawrence in this regard having been granted, he issued a proclamation upon Oct. 12, 1758, for distribution in New England.  In this proclamation he set forth the peaceful state of the country, owing to the reduction of the enemy, and invited proposals for the settlement of the lands a description whereof accompanied the proclamation.  These proposals were to be received by Mr. Hancock, of Boston, and Messrs. Delancie and Watts, of New York.  The immediate result of the proclamation was the formation of companies of intending emigrants, and the appointment by them of agents to visit the provinces.

As the proclamation was silent upon every subject but that of the quality of the land, Governor Lawrence was asked to state in explicit terms the nature of the constitution, the guarantee afforded to the civil and religious liberties of the subject, and the extent of the elective franchise of the people.  It became therefore necessary for the governor to issue a second proclamation, explanatory of the terms upon which the province was to be settled.  This was done upon 11th Jan., 1759.  As the document thus issued contained the assurance of civil and religious liberty, it has been not inaptly styled the charter of Nova Scotia.  The various provisions of the proclamation are as follows:

That townships are to consist of one hundred thousand acres of land, that they do include the best and most profitable land and also that they do comprehend such rivers as may be at or near such settlement, and do extend as far up into the country as conveniently may be, taking in a necessary part of the sea coast.

That the quantities of land granted will be in proportion to the abilities of the planter to settle, cultivate and enclose the same.

That one hundred acres of wild wood land will be allowed to every person being master or mistress of a family, for himself or herself, and fifty acres for every white or black man, woman or child of which such person’s family shall consist at the actual time of making the grant, subject to the payment of a quit rent of one shilling sterling per annum for every fifty acres; such quit rent to commence at the expiration of ten years from the date of each grant and to be paid for His Majesty’s use to his Receiver General at Halifax, or to his deputy on the spot.

That the grantees will be obliged by their said grants to plant, cultivate, improve or enclose one-third part of their lands within the space of ten years, another third part within the space of twenty years and the remaining third part within the space of thirty years from the date of their grants.

That no one person can possess more than one thousand acres by grant on his or her own name.

That every grantee, upon giving proof that he or she has fulfilled the terms and conditions of his or her grant, shall be entitled to another grant, in the proportion and upon the conditions above mentioned.

That the Government of Nova Scotia is constituted like those of the neighboring colonies: the Legislature consisting of a Governor, Council and House of Assembly, and every township, as soon as it shall consist of fifty families, will be entitled to send two representatives to the General Assembly.  The courts of justice are also constituted in like manner with those of the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the other northern colonies.

That as to the article of religion, full liberty of conscience both by 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 may more fully appear by the following abstract 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 and [sic] may choose and elect ministers for the carrying on of divine service and the administration of the sacrament, according to their several opinions, and all contracts made between their 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.

That no taxes have hitherto been laid upon His Majesty’s subjects within this Province, nor are there any fees of office taken upon issuing the grants of lands.

That I am not authorized to offer any bounty of provisions: and I do hereby declare that I am ready to lay out the lands and make grants immediately, under the conditions above described, and to receive and transmit to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in order that that same may be laid before His Majesty for his approbation, such further proposals as may be offered by any body of people, for settling an entire township, under other conditions that they may conceive more advantageous to the undertakers.

That forts are established in the neighborhood of the lands proposed to be settled, and are garrisoned by His Majesty’s troops, with a view of giving all manner of aid and protection to the settlers, if hereafter there should be need.’


Halifax, 11 Jan., 1759.

The necessity of this second and more definite proclamation reveals clearly the excellent character of the intending emigrants.  No mere desire for places new, no emigration circulars, would suffice to tempt these people to leave their comfortable homes.  A complete charter of rights was the first desideratum of these descendants of the Puritans.  And even then these new England people did not hasten hither as a lot of adventurers.  Like the old Puritans, they moved carefully and judiciously.  Not until they they [sic] had examined the lands for themselves would they go forth to a new and uncultivated region.