Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next

 

102   HISTORY OF CANADA.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE MARITDIIE PROVINCES (1758-1774).

The First Canadian Parliament, 1758.-We must now turn again to the east, to Nova Scotia. Shortly after the founding of Halifax (1749), attention had been drawn by Chief Justice Belcher to the fact that the governor's commission directed him to call an assembly. Lawrence pleaded the small and scattered population as a reason for putting off this step as long as possible, feeling doubtless that an assembly would only hamper operations during the war then apparently inevitable. Finally, however, he was told by the Lords of Trade that the settlers had been promised an assembly and that one must be called. The law officers of the Crown, moreover, had given their opinion that the governor and council could not pass laws for the colony without the concurrence of an assembly. Accordingly, in the autumn of the year in which Louisbourg fell, the first parliament ever assembled in Canada met at Halifax (7th October, 17 58). It consisted of twenty-two members ; and the governor, in letters to England, expressed himself as agreeably surprised at the way in which they performed their duties.

New Settlers in Nova Scotia.—Lawrence, though himself a soldier, was shrewd enough to see that disbanded soldiers did not make the best settlers. He therefore caused a proclamation to be circulated through the New England colonies (then of course still British) promising liberal grants of land to all who would take up their abode in the new province across the Bay of Fundy. The result was a large influx of hardy yeomen, who proceeded to settle in fourteen new townships from Halifax around to the St. John River. Between 1759 and 1765 about seven thousand in all arrived from the New England colonies. A number of settlers, too, were brought out from Ireland by a somewhat noted colonizer, Alexander McNutt. The gulf shore of Nova Scotia was apparently not settled until a few years later (1767), when the Philadelphia Company took up the work of sending colonists to what is now Pictou County. There was afterwards a large immigration of Highlanders to the same region, and iu 1784 its population was given as five hundred. To the east toward Cape Breton, there was


Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next