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Early Nova Scotians:

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Alline, Henry (1748-1784):
Henry's father, William Alline, from Newport, came with his family together with a larger group of 113 persons to Nova Scotia. This group come up from Rhode Island and Connecticut to settle on the banks of the Piziquid (Avon) River. The Alline family established their farm in the Falmouth area. Henry was the second son in the family, and, though apparently on the sickly side, undoubtedly did his share of farm work. Young Henry had a higher level intellect then most; and, his life might have been different if he had received a formal education. However, as it was, "the isolation and poverty characteristic of rural Nova Scotia meant that there were no local religious, cultural, or educational institutions which might have offered the young man some opportunities for cultivating his natural intellectual gifts." (J. M. Bumsted's entry into the DCB.) Henry turned to religion. And, as a young man, envisioning himself to be the John the Baptist to frontier Nova Scotians, and though never very far from his aging parents, Alline set out with his message, one that would have little appeal to the average Nova Scotian -- there should be no "frolicking, drinking or horse racing." Nonetheless, Alline "traveled for six to nine months of the year by horseback, boat, snowshoe, or on foot" to the established frontier communities of Nova Scotia. In 1783, Alline determined to broaden his base and traveled down into New England. His evangelistic career, however, was cut short when he died in 1784 at North Hampton, New Hampshire.
Arbuthnot, Mariot (1711-94):
Arbuthnot joined the Royal Navy about 1727. The short biographical sketch in the DCB points out that his promotion was slow, "becoming a lieutenant in 1739, a commander in 1746, and a post-captain in 1747. Arbuthnot was, in November of 1759, with Hawke at Quiberon Bay as the captain of the 50 gun Portland, a second rate ship. He then was to see service in the last battle of the Seven Years War at Havana. (Kempt, Oxford Companion to Ships and Sea.) Arbuthnot, "after a period of command at Portsmouth" was appointed to command the Navel Dockyard at Halifax, arriving there in November of 1775. A few months later, in April of 1776, caught short because they were obliged to order Governor Legge back to England to answer charges, Arbuthnot was, by those in power at London, appointed the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia; this, at a very important time when the American colonies were in revolt. In January of 1778, Arbuthnot was recalled and at the same time promoted to Rear Admiral. In 1779 he was appointed commander of the Atlantic Station and as such was to see action in the war against the colonies. In one, the 1779 siege on Charleston, South Carolina, he was to receive praise; in another, the 1781 fight with the French fleet in Chesapeake Bay, he was to be criticized. He was recalled after the Chesapeake Bay fight, in 1781; and, then being seventy years old he pretty much went into retirement, though in 1793, in virtue of his seniority he was appointed Admiral of the Blue. Overall history has not been too kind to Mariot Arbuthnot; we read from the Dictionary of National Biography that one, "can hardly tell what principles he is of, besides of a blustering Tar. It seems he certainly suffered from chronic absentmindedness [see, "The Error of Marriot Arbuthnot" by Clarke, NSHR#8:2(1988)]. To quote Brebner, Arbuthnot was "a gullible, affable person who never seemed to learn from his mistakes ." (The Neutral Yankees, Fn at p. 296.)

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Binney, Jonathan (1724-1807):
Binney was born in Massachusetts. Thinking there were opportunities to be had in the recently (1749) founded community of Halifax, he moved to there in 1752. He involved himself in trade and became associated with Francklin and Maugher, who, as merchants, had matters pretty much tied up in Nova Scotia. For a period of time, he was the collector of provincial duties and a magistrate at Canso; he built a home there and spent his summers there. He had an idea as to what his pay might be and got into the custom of automatically deducting his pay before remitting the duties which he collected at Canso back to Halifax. The legislature thought that Binney was illegally helping himself and there was to be quite a furor over the matter, such that, Binnny was arrested in 1775, brought to Halifax, and, together with his family, put in jail. Legge at the time was the governor, and his handling of the whole affair came under much criticism, and this business of jailing the Binney family was to be but one of a number of difficulties that led to Legge's recall. As for Binney: he did not appear to stay in jail for long. Most of those in the legislature became sympathetic to Binney and determined to go over on his side as the result of a general gang up that was just then occurring against the executive, i.e., Legge. With Legge going back to London and the outbreak of the American Revolution, the "Binney Affair" was to soon recede to the background. As for Binney, himself, he continued to be embroiled in other legal difficulties stemming from his time in Canso, including certifying New Englanders to be Nova Scotians at the cost of two dollars each thus qualifying them for fishing licenses. Presumably things settled down for Binney as he became older; he died at Halifax in 1807. Professor Bumsted. in his DCB entry on the man was to conclude: "Jonathan Binney was a typical example of the first generation of New England merchants and politicians in Nova Scotia. If his affairs always seemed to teeter on the brink of the unsavory and illicit, it was because in those early times one could not be successful in the harsh climate of the Maritimes by being genteel."
Bulkeley, Richard (1717-1800):
Richard Bulkeley held numerous governmental positions in the early establishment of the British capital, Halifax, ones in which he preformed admirably, such that, he has been described as the "Father of the Province."

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Campbell, Lord William (1730-1778):
Campbell was the governor of Nova Scotia, 1766-73. One of the problems that Campbell inherited when he came to Nova Scotia, in 1766, was that of rampant smuggling. In his fight against it, Campbell was to get on the bad side of the Halifax merchants, and, their connections in London, in particular, Joshua Maugher. In 1773, Campbell accepted the position as the Governor of South Carolina, a position which due to the American Revolution, he did not hold long.
Collier, Sir George (1738-1795):
Sir George entered the navy in 1751, by 1762 he had made captain. In 1775, he was knighted (presumably because of some great service to the crown, the particulars of which I am not familiar). In 1776, Collier was sent to convoy Hessian troops to New York. In September of 1776, he was sent up to Nova Scotia so to organize its navel defence, and, by all appearances carried this duty out with considerable success. Collier was to remain on the Halifax station until 1778. In 1779 Collier assumed the command of the North American Squadron and acquitted himself quite well during the balance of the war. His post-war career was not very noteworthy. He was in command of the channel fleet for a period of time. He died, where he was born, in London.

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DesBarres, Joseph Frederick Wallet (1721-1824):
Famous for his collection of charts, The Atlantic Neptune, this publication was "a magnificent contribution to hydrography and a classic of the minor arts"; he was a long time resident of Halifax.
Deschamps, Isaac (1722-1801):
Deschamps, a Swiss, first came to Nova Scotia, likely in 1749. In the early days he was a successful merchant and ran a truckhouse at Piziquid (Windsor). In 1759, Deschamps became the first member of the Nova Scotia Assembly to represent the new county of Annapolis. During the 1760s, the 1770s and the 1780s, he received increasingly more important and far ranging public positions, both in the administration of government and on the bench, eventually to become the acting chief justice in 1785.

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Eddy, Jonathan (1727-1804):
Eddy was born in Norton, Massachusetts. He was under John Winslow when Fort Beauséjour was captured in 1755. During the months of May, 1759, through to November, 1760, Eddy was an officer stationed at Fort Beauséjour, which by then the British had renamed, Fort Cumberland. With the war as of 1760 (at least in Canada) being over, Eddy was discharged. In 1763, Eddy with his family came from his native Massachusetts along with a number of other families from New England to accept an offer from the British authority of free lands and thus was to settle near Fort Cumberland. He was to became a leading member of the Cumberland community at Chignecto, serving as a member of the House of Assembly between the years 1770 to 1775. Eddy, however, was to be caught up in the American Revolution, being, one of the few New Englanders who had earlier come to Nova Scotia to actively take up arms against the British. (See, The Eddy Rebellion.)

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Fox, Charles James (1749-1806):
During the troubles with the American colonies "Fox was the most formidable opponent of the coercive measures of government." He advocated his position with considerable skill; always on the side of the oppressed: the American, the Irishman, the Negro: he could not side with what he thought wrong against what he thought right.
Francklin, Michael (1733-82):
One of the merchant elite of early Halifax, Francklin was, in 1766, to become the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

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Gage, Thomas (1721-87):
Gage, like most of the British officer class, came from an aristocratic English family. In 1755, Gage was with Braddock and was to be one of the few officers (along with Washington) to survive the disaster that befell the British on their way to attack the French at Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). In 1757, Gage was with Lord Loudoun at Halifax where there was assembled a large force which was intended to strike at Louisbourg. In 1758, he was at Ticonderoga; in 1759, at Crown Point. In 1760 he was with Amherst at Montreal (Gage commanded the rear guard). At the end of the hostilities, after the French had surrendered, in 1760, Gage was to become the military governor of Montreal. "While at Montreal Gage was regarded as an honest, fair, and conscientious administrator ..." (DCB.) In 1763, succeeding Amherst, Gage was to become the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in America. In 1774, in the face of mounting difficulties, Gage was appointed, in addition, as the Governor of Massachusetts. It was Gage, in April of 1775, who ordered the march on Concord which led to the skirmish at Lexington, an event which has been used to mark the beginning of the American Revolution. After the Battle of Bunker Hill (June, 1775), Gage, though a very capable administrator, had lost the confidence of those both above and below in respect to his soldiering abilities; he was recalled to England "ostensibly for consultations"; he was not to return to America. In spite of tales to the contrary, General Gage, was not one to throw his weight around, on the contrary. John C. Miller in his Origins of the American Revolution was to observe: "He attempted to win over the Whigs by fair dealing: he took care to keep the military subordinated to the civil power; and he listened at all times to the complaints of the townspeople and kept the Tories awaiting in his anteroom. Indeed, in the opinion of many Tories and Englishmen, Gage was an 'old woman' who coddled the Bostonians when they merited a whipping." (Boston: Little, Brown, 1943, at pp. 397-8.)
George The Third, the King of England (1738-1820):
On October 25th, 1760, George The Third succeeded his grandfather George II (1683-1760) as the king of England. George the Second and his father before him, George the First, were more German than English. Their reigns were beneficial to England in that the first two Georges were content to play at being kings and let the English rule themselves through their democratic institutions. George the Third, however, was a different matter. He thought himself to be an English king, one to rule; and during his reign he attempted to take control. Green was to write that George The Third "had a smaller mind than any English king before him save James the Second. He was wretchedly educated, and his natural powers were of the meanest sort. Nor had he the capacity for using greater minds than his own by which some sovereigns have concealed their natural littleness. On the contrary, his only feeling toward great men was one of jealousy and hate. ... During the first ten years of his reign he managed to reduce government to a shadow, and to turn the loyalty of his subjects at home into disaffection. Before twenty years were over he had forced the American colonies into revolt and independence, and brought England to what then seemed the brink of ruin." Green concludes: "... the shame of the darkest hour of English history lies wholly at his door." In Thackeray's The Four Georges, we find, in respect to George III: "He bribed; he bullied; he darkly dissembled on occasioned; he exercised a slippery perseverance, which one almost admires, as one thinks his character over. His courage was never to be beat." Why did the English people put up with George the Third? The answer is simple: "the majority of the people remained helpless and distracted between their hatred of the house of Hanover and their dread of the consequences which would follow on a return of the Stuarts."
Goreham, Joseph (1725-90):
For a taste of Joseph's earlier life, one might turn to the page that I have prepared on his older brother, John Gorham his senior by sixteen years. We see that at his age 21, Joseph was to join his brother's Indian fighting unit, "Gorham Rangers." It was then that he was to see service in the fight against the French, just as did a couple of his brothers, and, indeed, just as his father did in the very early years of the British at Nova Scotia. During the Seven Years War, Joseph was to be in the thick of it seeing service at both Louisbourg in 1758 and at Quebec in 1759; all along, it seems, having succeeded his brother in 1751, as the head of "Goreham's Rangers." In 1762, in the last battle of the war, Joseph was to be at Havana with his rangers. With the end of the war, in 1763, Gorham seems to have taken up a civilian life in Nova Scotia; he married an army officer's daughter, Anne Spry, in 1764. For the next ten years, Joseph Goreham, this military man, seemed to be a fish out of water. He was continually petitioning London for preferment with very little result. He turned to drinking and was to run up a considerable debt. With the outbreak of the American revolution, Gorham was again to come back into his own element; he received an active commission for service in Nova Scotia. In 1776 he was sent to Fort Cumberland with the "Fencibles" and was the commander there during "The Eddy Rebellion." According to the DCB, Goreham continued on at Fort Cumberland to 1780, when, at which time, he was transferred back to Halifax. In 1783, Joseph Goreham went off to England, there, presumably, to see if he might influence the powers that be, to give him a good paying position; his efforts would not seem to have met with any success. In 1783, we see where he took himself off to France, likely to avoid his creditors, there to die in 1790 at Calais, France.
[NOTE: See the short note which Harry Piers, prepared on Joseph Goreham contained in "The 40th Regiment ..." NSHS, Vol #21 (1927) at p. 153. Piers writes that Joseph Goreham died in Halifax (likely an error); and that he married Anne Spry the sister to the lawyer William Spry and the daughter (likely) of Col. William Spry. See, also, short note in Webster's "The Forts of Chignecto" (Shediac, N.B.: Privately printed, 1930), p. 91.]
Grenville, William Wyndham (1759-1834):
William's father was George Grenville (1712-70) who had been the prime minister of England in 1763, resigning in 1765. William was sent off to Eton and then Oxford. At the age of 23 he entered parliament; by 1783 he was to be the paymaster-general; by 1789, speaker. In 1791, Grenville became foreign secretary, but, however, along with Pitt, in 1801, resigned because of George III's refusal "to assent to catholic emancipation, of which Grenville was a chief supporter." In 1806, Grenville was to form the government of "All the Talents" which was dissolved in 1807. (Chambers.)

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Holland, Captain Samuel Johannnes (1728-1801):
Holland was a British army officer who was among the leading lights in the post war (1763+) reconstruction period of Nova Scotia.

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Legge, Francis (c.1719-1783):
Legge was the governor of Nova Scotia, 1773-6. Legge upon his arrival proceeded to quarrel with all to whom he came in contact. His mission was to cut away unnecessary expenses; in his efforts to do so he proved himself a tyro. Legge's opponents piled up and certain of them had considerable power back in London. In 1776, Legge was ordered home.

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Morris, Charles (1711-81):
Morris, a Bostonian surveyor, came to layout the newly founded English community of Halifax, in 1749, and stayed on to become one of its chief citizens.

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North, Lord, Frederick, 8th Lord North and 2nd Earl of Guilford (1732-1792):
English Statesman: At the age of 22 North entered parliament and rising through a succession of important offices became the prime minister in 1770. Lord North was a man of some administrative ability but was unconnected to any political party. North did not give due regard to public opinion; he was of an easy and indolent temper which yielded against his better knowledge to the stubborn doggedness of the king, George the Third. Bagehot was to write (The English Constitution): "The minister carried on a war which he disapproved and hated, because it was a war which his sovereign approved and liked." In 1782, Lord North resigned his position.

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Parr, John (1725-1791):
Governor of Nova Scotia, 1782-91: Parr was not a young man, when, at age 58, he was to first take up his duties at Halifax. His position as a royal governor was intended to be an easy one ... Within weeks of his arrival at Halifax, however, he was to be faced with great challenges.
Pitt, William (1759-1806):
Trained by his father, Pitt, the younger, at the age of 24, was to become the Prime Minister of England. He is described in the history books as one of the most powerful ministers in English history. He was at the English helm during the latter stages of the American Revolution and also during the French Revolution.

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Marquis Rockingham (Charles Wentworth; 1730-1782):
Rockingham, a Whig, was called in 1763 to form a government. "He repealed the Stamp Act and he would have done more for progress but for court intrigues ... he resigned in 1766 and opposed Lord North and his ruinous American policy. He [Rockingham] again became premier in March 1782, but died four months later." (Chambers.) In quoting Hoffman, Russell Kirk, Edmund Burke's biographer, [Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered (Arlington House, 1967) at p. 79] writes of Rockingham: "The Marquis was a man of strong character and large experience in the world, he knew the courts and kings of Europe, had dined with Roman cardinals, charmed Italian princesses; he spoke three languages, had managed astutely a large fortune, commanded militiamen in war, ruled the politics of Yorkshire, and had been schooled for high public responsibilities by the chiefs of the Whig party. He was their head because they wished it so ..."]

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Tonge, Winckworth (1728-92):
Born in County Wexford, Ireland, Winckworth Tonge came to Nova Scotia as a young military officer; he was to participate in most all of the major North American battles during the Seven Years War; after which he joined civilian life and lived out his days in Nova Scotia. At times, he was a Justice of the Peace, the provincial surveyor, and a member of the Assembly.
Townshend, Charles (1725-67):
English Statesman: At the of 22, Townshend entered parliament. In 1763, he was appointed first lord of trade and the plantations. In 1766 he became chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the lower house. Townshend through these years carried through the taxation bills which eventually were to lead to the separation of the American colonies. He rose to the top and was just about to become prime minister, when, at the age of 42, he was to die. Townshend was described as a brilliant speaker (Chambers) and had little trouble getting the house to follow his lead. He was, however, as described by Earl Russell, "a man utterly without principle."

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Wallace, Michael (1744-1831):
Wallace was a prominent merchant at Halifax. He represented Halifax in the legislature for many years and in 1803 was appointed to Council. In as his later years, as the Provincial Treasurer, and, in the absence of the Governor, Wallace was to be at the head of the government. He resided on Hollis Street, just opposite the governor's mansion. Wallace died October 8th, 1831 and was buried in St. Paul's Cemetery.
Washington, George (1732-99):
No review of the American Revolution would be sufficient without at least a brief consideration of George Washington, the "father of the United States," its first president. He was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his fellow-countrymen. Washington was born into a wealthy Virginian family. He became a surveyor as a young man and was one of the principals of the Ohio Company, whose purpose was the exploitation of Western lands. An officer in the militia, he fought in the last of the French and Indian Wars and, in 1755 was named commander in chief of the Virginia militia with the rank of colonel. He resigned in 1759, married, and turned his attention to his plantation known as Mount Vernon. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774-75), which named him commander of the Continental forces after the outbreak of hostilities with the British. He assumed command (July 3, 1775) in Cambridge, Mass., and succeeded in capturing Boston from the British (Mar. 17, 1776). Unable to defend New York City, he was forced to retreat. He developed his military skill by trial and error as he went along. On Christmas night, 1776, with morale at its lowest ebb, he and his troops crossed the Delaware River and defeated the British at Trenton and Princeton, N.J. Less successful in his attempts to defend Philadelphia at Brandywine and Germantown, he spent the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge in great misery and deprivation. But he emerged with increased powers from Congress and a well-trained, totally loyal army. After the battle of Monmouth (June 28, 1778), his fortunes improved and subsequent victories preceded the surrender at Yorktown of General Cornwallis on Oct. 19, 1781. Washington retired to Mount Vernon, but his dissatisfaction with the new government led him back into public life. He presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where his prestige and reputation were incalculable in the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. He was chosen unanimously as the first president and took office on April 30, 1789. His efforts to remain aloof from partisan politics were unsuccessful, and the influence of Alexander Hamilton moved him increasingly toward conservatism. His second term, openly Federalist, was bitterly criticized by the Jeffersonians. Sickened by the partisan struggles, he refused a third term and retired for the last time to Mount Vernon in 1797. He died two years later, universally regarded as the man without whom the American Revolution and the new republic could not have succeeded. His wife, Martha Washington, 1731-1802, was born Martha Dandridge in New Kent County, Virginia. Her first husband, by whom she had two children, was Daniel Parke Custis, who died in 1757, leaving her one of the wealthiest women in Virginia. She and Washington had no children.
Wentworth (1737-1820):
Coming from a family that had great influence, both in England and in the colonies, Wentworth was, first, the governor of New Hampshire, then after, the governor of Nova Scotia. He had a great impact on his times, an impact which is to be remembered today by the shape of our political institutions.
Wilmot, Montague (?-1766):
Though Wilmot had military connections to Nova Scotia back to 1746, he is known to history because he was the Governor of Nova Scotia from 1763 to 1766.

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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)