Blupete's History of Nova Scotia

Key Events in the History of Nova Scotia: 1803.


§The "Louisiana Purchase": In 1764, as one of the results of The Seven Years War (1756-63), France ceded Louisiana to Spain. The territory went back to France in 1800; and, in 1803, the new nation of the United States, -- though it was tough for the purchasers to figure out what they might possibly do with the dry prairie deserts in the trans-Mississippi west -- bought the Louisiana territory for the grand sum of 60,000,000 francs. The huge territory was transferred at a ceremony at St. Louis on the 10 March 1804; to be followed up, almost immediately, on the 14th May, 1804 with the start of the three year Lewis and Clark expedition, sponsored by the United States government.
§In March the British Commons passed a resolution calling for an additional number of "10,000 men to be employed for the sea service," included in this number was the provision for 3,400 Marines. On the 18th of May, a declaration of war was laid before parliament. On the 20th,, Lord Nelson sailed from Portsmouth in the Victory, accompanied by the Amphion, to take the command in the Mediterranean.
§The winter of 1802-03 was the mildest one that the inhabitants of the province could remember. However, Governor Wentworth reports "much sickness, especially among the young people. Great distress caused by the lack of fuel." "18 Jan: ... I sent some wood in my cart to the sick widow McDonald, and sent her word I would give her some oil for the lamp." (Perkins.)
§Shipbuilding is, by 1803, well established at Pictou and their coal mines were "attracting notice." Wentworth reports There are not less than five thousand inhabitants now settled, and one thousand more have taken their passage from Scotland, and will be located and housed before November next."
§We see from Perkins, that on January 18th, four brigs sail together from Liverpool, all loaded with fish and lumber for the Barbados.
§20 Feb: "... The Brig, Rover, Capt. Joseph Freeman, arrives from Barbados & St Kitts. He has a loading of sugar ..." (Perkins.)
§21 Apr: "[A vessel] arrives from Halifax bound to Windsor for plaster & then to Portland for stoves for Halifax." (Perkins.)
§The wealth of Nova Scotia was being exported at the turn of the century using wooden sailing ships which were built by her people. "It was estimated that fifty vessels, ranging from 100 to 1000 tons each, would sail from the district this year. Some carried timber to the mother country -- others, fish, oil, cattle and lumber, to the West Indies and to Newfoundland." (Murdoch.)
§"30 April, 1803, Saturday. Press warrant for 50 men, to be in force ten days, granted Captain Bradley, H.M.S. Cambrian." (Murdoch.)
§On the 1st of June the House meets (8th general assembly, 4th session); one of the things voted upon was more money (£3000) so that Government House, should continue to be built.
§Lord Thomas Douglas Selkirk (1771-1820) settles immigrants from the Scottish highlands in Prince Edward Island (a number of years later Lord Selkirk brought settlers to the Red River Valley, Manitoba).
§A Petition is received which is recommended by Governor Wentworth, from the inhabitants Sheet Harbour, Beaver Harbour and Pope's Harbour asking for aid in opening a road which will connect these settlements with the main road to Halifax. Petitions, such as this, seem to pore into Halifax from all points throughout the province.
§The Peace of Amiens, lasting but eighteen months, comes to an end. Halifax gets the news by a circular letter, dated 16 May, 1803, from Downing Street. It was communicated to the house on Friday, June the 24th. Letters of marque and commissions to privateers were to be issued, and French ships to be captured. "The kings share of all French ships and property will be given to privateers. Homeward bound ships should wait for convoys." (Murdoch.)
§27 June: "[A captain arriving from Halifax] brings last Saturday's papers, wherein is the King's Proclamation Of War against France, and likewise an order to detain all vessels in English ports belonging to the Batavian Republic. Sir John Wentworth has also published a Proclamation for Annoying the Enemy by Letters of Marque, etc. This news prompts Perkins and his friends not to proceed to the West Indies with their loads of fish. The markets were bad, anyway, and if "we add to this we expect insurance will be very high and the risk very great. We therefore give up that voyage & conclude if a suitable crew can be got to send her to Newfoundland with lumber, or otherwise if we hear Alewives & Pollock will answer in the States to send her there." (Perkins.)
§4 July: Perkins reports on the number of vessel at Liverpool: One ship, 200 tons; 14 brigs, 1809 tons; 25 schooners, 1394 tons; and one sloop, 42 tons.
§In the legislature, four resolutions are passed "on the motion of Mr. Tonge regarding the rights of the House to control the granting of money and the passing of money bills.
§August 6th: Eight hundred and forty five, men, women and children arrived from Scotland "all in good health, having had a good passage, and well provisioned, owing to the arrangements or rules made by government for this humane purpose." (Wentworth.)
§29 Aug: "... [News] that the Admiral was arrived & had captured 4 enemies prizes & retaken two, that the Halifax privateer General Bowyer had captured two & retaken one." (Perkins.)
§13 Sept: "[The strange brig that comes in] proves to be a Spanish brig from Havana loaded with molasses, 200 punchions. Sent in by the Privateer Rover, Capt. Benjamin Collins." (Perkins.)
§"14 September. An epidemic being prevalent at New York, quarantine of all vessels from the United States was ordered ..." (Murdoch.)
§September, 1803: King's opens at Windsor.
§October 20th, Town Clock (back then it was also known as the Garrison clock) was installed in a building built for it on the eastern slope of Citadel Hill at Halifax -- it stands there, yet today. Prince Edward had, a couple of years earlier, ordered plans to be made up by the army engineers. These plans were submitted to England for approval. The clock itself was made in England and shipped over. It arrived at Halifax in HMS Dart on June 10th, 1803, and installed on October the 20th.
§Brunel in England sets up a production line for turning out great quantities of rigging blocks which fills the growing demand caused by the construction of sailing ships, especially for the British Royal Navy.
§"In the winter of 1803-4 the British nation became aware that a flotilla of 3000 craft had been collected near the camp of the Grand Army at Boulogne." (G. M. Trevelyan.) On 24th of November, 1803, Wentworth writes at Halifax, "We are daily and very anxiously waiting the event of Buonaparte's projected invasion of Great Britain."
§16 Dec: "No news from Europe, only Bonaparte was expected, as it is said, to make his invasion on England. Privateers plenty in the West Indies, and several Halifax vessels taken." (Perkins.)

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