A History of Nova Scotia Page

Book #1: Acadia.TOC
Part 5, "The Intermission"TOC
Chapter. 8, "The Settlement of
Lunenburg (1753-4)."

Cornwallis Is Pressed:

The new arrivals were piling up and were proving to be a problem.

Winthrop Bell:

"Those people had been drawn to Nova Scotia by the offer of lands and implements and the rest of it; and the original idea of an initial one year's free victualing had been to tide them over until they could begin to producing something on their promised lands. The government had been unable to perform its side of the bargain by placing them on land where they could even make a beginning toward self-sufficiency. Halifax being the sort of place it was, the government was then under moral obligation to see to it that some means of support was available to the foreigners until it could fulfil its own principal undertakings to them."1
This was not just a local problem. The question for the English authorities at London, who were obliged to turn to parliament for yet more funds, particularly pressing during the winter of 1752/53, was -- Why was it taking so long to get the new English settlements established in Nova Scotia? It was now going on four year since Edward Cornwallis, with 2,600 settlers was sent out in order to establish a stronger English presence in Nova Scotia, a presence which was to start with, "The Founding of Halifax." In the succeeding years through to 1752, as many settlers as were originally sent with Cornwallis were to arrive and be added to the population at Halifax. (See, "Foreign Protestants by the Shipload.") It was the intention of the English, as we have seen, at government expense2, to establish Protestant settlements throughout Nova Scotia in order to offset the French Catholic population, which had been the only European population in Nova Scotia for quite some period of time. (The Acadians had established themselves in the province 110 years earlier.) In addition to a major English fort and settlement at Chebucto (Halifax), settlements were to be established in outlying areas. Considered among the areas were: Minas, Whitehead, Baie Verte and La Have.3

What had happened, was, that the French through their allies were able to effectively keep the English settlers pinned down at Halifax.4 The settlers, except those that had arrived earlier and who had received lots and were expected to stay on at Halifax, were temporarily put up and maintained at government expense. It was not intended that this situation, the victualing of the settlers, should go on beyond a year; but Cornwallis could not move them into their intended settlements. The Board of Trade, the administrating authority in London, not quite understanding the depth and extent of the problem, was to put considerable pressure on Cornwallis to bring an end to the expense. Cornwallis knew that to move the "Foreign Protestants" beyond the protection of the Halifax garrison would mean certain butchery. He had to keep them at Halifax. The infertile lands in and around Halifax could not be worked so to support the numbers that were located there; and, at any rate, their labour was required to build up the necessary defences. With every ship from England there were to be official letters demanding explanations from Cornwallis; and with every ship departing for England, together with the demanded explanations, there was to be petitions for more money and supplies. Cornwallis found himself to be in an impossible position; he was neither able to satisfy the settlers who looked to him for the delivery of promises made, nor was he able to satisfy his superiors in England to cut the expense and get on with the settlement plans. He pleaded to be relieved of his position, and the Lords in London thought it best to bring him home and to put someone in place that could get the job done in Nova Scotia and who was able to understand the necessity of maintaining a proper set of books of account.

Hopson Arrives:

On August 3rd, 1752, Cornwallis, disillusioned and wearied of "his financial responsibilities and of the reiterated and detailed instructions to economize," was grateful to hand over the reins of governorship to his replacement, Colonel Pergrine Thomas Hopson.5 It will be remembered that Hopson had been the English governor of Louisbourg for that period of time that it was under the English flag, 1745-49. His duties done, he had left America for England, likely with the fall sailing of 1749, but only after he had overseen the removal of the troops and stores from Louisbourg to Halifax. Hopson, the authorities fully appreciating his experiences at both Louisbourg and at Halifax, still the colonel of the 29th Foot, was appointed to go and to take over from Cornwallis. Before leaving England, it is noted6 that he had two "long conferences" with the Board of Trade; one on the 21st of April and another on the 6th of May. Undoubtedly, it was impressed upon Hopson, that he had to out-settle the bulk of the people on the "victualing lists" at Halifax. How it was to be done and where they were to be located -- well, that was to be a matter for Hopson to decide; but, to get them on their own lands and to get them self-sufficient within a year of them being moved to their new settlement, was, paramount.

Governor Hopson's plan may have been to get the crowded settlers at Halifax out-settled as soon as possible; but it was a plan that could not be implemented late in the year. The opportune time would be early in the spring so as to have as much time as possible, to: clear land, put crops in, and erect shelters; all before, as was expected in these northern latitudes, the winter snows flew. His arrival at Halifax during August of 1752, meant that Hopson could not direct that a move be made that year. The balance of the year would be used to fix up the conditions at Halifax. The situation was bad due to the crowding of the settlers, and became extreme with the arrival of yet more settlers during August and September.7 These new arrivals were exhausted as a result of their long transatlantic voyage; they had to be housed and fed; and the sick taken care of. So too, Hopson was to immediately have his hands full because of civil unrest at Halifax as there was conflict between the newcomers from England and the newcomers (who didn't think themselves to be so new) from New England.8 Thus, it was, that Hopson was to be a very busy man9 through to the end of 1752. During the winter of 1752/53, Governor Hopson and his Council were, however, to perfect the plans to relocate the German/Swiss settlers.

Hopson was sympathetic to Cornwallis. He was to immediately recognize the huge problems which were faced by Cornwallis in bringing to fruition the 1748/49 plans of establishing a number of "English" settlements throughout Nova Scotia. We have now dealt with, in some detail, "The Indian Threat" and the resultant pile up of settlers at Halifax (see "Foreign Protestants By the Shipload"). But there were other practical problems of getting the penniless settlers out into the countryside and onto their own lands; as Hopson was to write, "whenever they are sent out, so far from nine months' provisions being sufficient for the purpose till they get rightly settled and have raised something of their own to be able to subsist upon ... a further supply of fifteen months more will be absolutely necessary to be allowed them." And further, "provisions, arms, tools, implements for clearing and cultivating the land materials necessary for building their habitations."10 Thus was Hopson to advise the Board in London by a letter dated at Halifax in December of 1752, to which he attached "a list of the estimated requirements." Hopson also wanted authority to go to Boston and charter vessels so that the immigrants might be transported by water to their new lands, a place somewhere along the eastern seaboard of Nova Scotia, a place which in the fall of 1752 had yet to be selected. By April of 1753, by which time matters ought to have been underway, Hopson had not heard from his superiors in London. Was he to get the requested supplies, or not? He met with his Council and wanted them to approve a course of action which he was willing to take without getting the final word from London. He would immediately go to Boston to secure, on his signature, "a sufficient number of blockhouses, magazines, frames for storehouses and materials necessary for the settlers habitations ... " In addition he would, on his authority, hire sufficient vessels for transports.11

The Choice of Mirligaiche:

That getting the excess people out of Halifax and into a community of their own was on the top of the new governor's agenda, is disclosed in the minutes of the governing Council dated August 10th, 1752. During this meeting, called shortly after Hopson's arrival, there was discussion as to what place might be best for a new settlement beyond Halifax.12 For some reason, which escapes me, and I find it curious, there was no discussion that led to any significant movement of the new arrivals to the farming lands in the western part of the province which we now refer to as the Annapolis Vally -- in and around the Acadians: Annapolis Royal and Minas. I made note of it earlier in this page (see footnote #3) that Shirley had sent Morris up in 1748 to survey the Acadian lands in order to see how newcomers might be best fitted in and around the existing Acadian population. (See the resulting maps: Annapolis Royal and Minas.) It ought to have been plain to everyone, from Hopson on down, that if what was wanted was to employ the newcomers as farmers (being from central Europe, they certainly had no experience in making a living from the sea) then the place for them was to be on lands known to be productive. The point is that the eastern seaboard of Nova Scotia was not the place to establish a farming community. Oh! Well, there were small patches of good land here and there; but most all of the eastern side of Nova Scotia is barren and rocky. But the question is -- Why this reluctance to move the newcomers in amongst the Acadians? I suppose, it was thought that they, the German/Swiss, would most likely be absorbed by the Acadians and become more French then English. Another important consideration, given the recent experiences with Indian raids, was that any new community should be in close communication with Halifax. Communication in those days meant traveling in order to deliver a message. Travel by sea, as uncertain as it was by times, was preferable to traveling through virgin forest the veils of which hide Indians. At any rate, during the Council meeting of August 10th, 1752, the only places under discussion were those along the Atlantic side of the province within a hundred miles or so of Halifax. It was intended that surveys should be carried out of the Chezzetcook area to the east and the LaHeve area to the west. The harbours in these two areas had at times been occupied by the French, and, indeed, there was yet to be found scattered French families in these places. To locate in an area that had been cleared and where salt marshes were nearby would be important. Time would be saved in clearing the land, and, the hay that grew naturally in the salt marshes could be harvested for the animals located both in the new community and that at Halifax. Most importantly, given the experiences that those at Halifax and Dartmouth had with Indian raids; whatever place that should be chosen, should be one that could be defended; it should be a peninsula. Thus; the place to be chosen would be one on the Atlantic, within (under normal conditions) a day's sail from Halifax, having a harbour to the west of a rising land head, with deep water just off the beach, a place which, at least in part, had been in the past cleared of large trees, which had salt marshes nearby; and which could easily be defended, a peninsula. Mirligaiche, or Lunenburg as it was to be called, qualified on all counts.

With the coming of the spring, further surveys were to be carried out of those areas which were thought to be appropriate for the settlement of the German/Swiss. In particular, the Albany (Capt. John Rous) was sent down to Mirligaiche with a contingent of rangers under Captain Lewis. They left Halifax on the April 23rd and by May 1st they were back at Halifax.13 Hopson, after taking into account the observations of Rous and Lewis, then made up his mind.14 Mirligaiche was the place at which to make the new settlement; its name was to be Lunenburg; and the chosen people together with the necessary supplies were to be sent down under a strong guard to establish the new town as soon as the Boston ships were in place at Halifax to receive them.

The Move to Mirligaiche:

The ships which the governor had arranged drifted into Halifax Harbour during the month of May. Their cargoes were shifted and sorted: supplies were needed for the new endeavour; and, so too, after a long winter, supplies were needed at Halifax. The month of May at Halifax was a busy month, the usable docks were stacked with such things as lumber, live stock, bricks, hay, etc. Red jacketed officers hovered about with their lists directing men to put this there, and that there. Loads of material were brought into the warehouses at Halifax; lighters brought material back and forth to the anchored transports. Invariably, mixups occurred; and, material on a recheck after loading were unloaded and reloaded once again. Then things seemed to have been sorted out and things quieted down: Notices went up: The listed settlers were called to a meeting at the Halifax Parade on Monday, 21st May at 7 a.m., "there to draw lots of land."15 Such an announcement was sure to cause a complete turnout. Final counts could then be made and directions given.

In the meantime, rumours had come to Governor Hopson that there were upwards of 300 hundred hostile Indians gathered in and around Piziquid (Windsor) biding their time until they get word that the settlers had left Halifax to go and build a second "English" settlement. This had to spark some hot discussions between Hopson and his advisors. To send the settlers away from Halifax in the face of a threatened attack -- well, they couldn't do that, could they. "But, the plans are set." It has been four years since the British sailed into Halifax and the intention was that they were going to spread out. The Indian raids were fresh in everyone's mind; "Why, just two years back, at Dartmouth, innocent settlers, women and children included, were butchered." But had not treaties just been signed; the one last fall; and the other, just earlier this year? And, -- the settlers, was there not strong military support being sent down with them? And, blockhouses: they were framed up and ready to be put in place, only within a matter of days of their arrival. The decision was made! "We shall go! -- And, be the wiser for this intelligence." However, Hopson determined to attempt a ruse. He would send a false message that he knew would fall into the enemy's hands. "I have sent letters by them [couriers] calculated to fall into the hands of the Indians, acquainting the officer [at Fort Edward, Piziquid] that I have sent a large party to Cobequid [Truro] to see how the Indians are disposed, and that I had deterred the expedition [to Lunenburg] until their return."16

The settlers came to Lunenburg in two waves, with the greater number coming down on the second run. The first run carried 642 of the 1,453 settlers which were to eventually disembark at Lunenburg.17 It was thought to be more important to get the military men and their armaments and supplies including the pre-framed block houses on the ground, first.

I now turn to Winthrop Bell to tell us of this first wave which set out from Halifax on the early morning of Tuesday, 29th of May, 1753:

"Protection of the first expedition was entrusted to H.M. frigate Albany, Captain John Rous; and she was to remain in the harbour at Lunenburg to guard the site with her guns until land defences could be built. She served also as a floating headquarters for Lawrence. The rangers were carried in the armed sloop Ulysses, Jeremiah Rogers, master, and the detachments from the regiments in the chartered New England sloop Rainbow, 98 tons, Wm. Montgomery, master. Two or three vessels already in provincial service (armed sloop York, Sylvanus Cobb, master; schooner Bulkeley, Cox, master; and the Halifax "pilot boat") were employed in the work. And settlers, baggage, utensils, supplies, and provisions were distributed among the ... hired New England vessels ..."18
Bell then set forth a list of the vessels:

Name of Vessel SIZE (tons) 19 Name of Master
Bedford95Benjamin Donnel
Endeavour93Richard Trivett
Swan90John Waite
Speedwell90John Horner
Industry90George Goodwin
Mary90Andrew Denning
Victory90John Roddick
Industry88John Bristoll
Dolphin81Samuel Hodgkins
Endeavour80Josiah Stover
Medford80William Nichols
Three Friends75John Simpson
Speedwell64Isaac Martin
Sally60Daniel Stickney

The Departure:

On Tuesday, May 29th, 1753, the settlers "mustered that were appointed for the first embarkation."20 The settlers, on the 29th, were placed with their "baggage" aboard,21 apparently while along side, in turn, and then put to anchor in the stream of the harbour. It took time to assemble the fleet which consisted of upwards to 20 sailing vessels. In advance of the settlers, 92 regular troops and 66 rangers were put aboard the armed vessels, the Rainbow and the Ulysses.23 They would have to wait for the right wind, viz., generally out of the north in order to clear the Sambro ledges to the south of them and then to point southwest on an easy reach of a few hours down to Lunenburg. They waited; and, they waited. For better then a week, they waited. Though the weather was generally fair, the wind continued to came out of the south. Smaller vessels were kept running back and forth to the Halifax docks but a couple of miles away in order to keep the water and foodstuffs topped up.24 The people were getting uneasy and a number were becoming seasick.25

Finally, on the early morning of the 7th, it was perceived that the winds, though light, were beginning to become fair, a signal boomed out for the ships of the fleet to weigh their anchors. No sooner their anchors were lifted, the winds died. But there was a sea breeze off shore if only they could clear the land. The naval ships lowered their deck boats and got their rowing crews busy. Off Sambro there was wind, however, while headway was made by the leaders, certain of the vessels lagged far behind. He was to write in his journal, "... the Albany [Lawrence's ship] shortened sail, and made a signal for the headmost and weathermost vessels to come under her quarter, in order to better keep company. At 8 in the evening the wind came to the northward, and we laid our course. All the vessels, except the Ulysses, being in their stations." So, it was a night's sail: and, "the wind continued fair at N.E., and the weather clear and fine. It made an easy sail all night."26 We can but imagine a star studded night, and, within hours the land which they sought was lit in the warm morning sun as it came up over the eastern sea horizon. It was June 8th, 1753.

The Arrival:

Governor Hopson was to put his most experienced man in charge of the mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Lawrence. Reporting to Lawrence was Captain Patrick Sutherland. Lawrence knew what was to be the first order of business: it was to see to the defences.27 Within the first 24 hours the frames for the first block house were floated ashore from the ships at anchor in the harbour, landing them at high tide on the shores of the future town. These frames were hauled up about a half mile to a steep rise to a place where they were to be erected. Also, within this first day a crowd of blade swinging men were turned loose and soon there was a cleared strip across the neck of the peninsula to the northwest of the present day town, in line with the blockhouse.28 So, too, on this first day, some of the lumber for the buildings to be erected were off loaded and rafted ashore; it was piled up and put under guard.29 In respect to the founding of Lunenburg, historians are indeed fortunate in that Lawrence's accounting30 of the events have come down to us. I herein next set forth Lawrence's entries of June the 8th (Friday) and the 9th, 1753, whole:

Friday 8th.
From 8 o'clock last night, (when we were abreast Samborough Island,) the wind continued fair at N.E., and ye weather clear & fine. Made an easy sail all night. At 3 this morning ye Commodore fired a Gun, to call off some of ye Vessels that were too near ye Shore. Between 4 & five we were abreast of Cross Island. At 7 came to an anchor in ye harbour in Merliguash, most of ye Vessels being 2 leagues astern. In coming in ye sloop Victory, Capt. Rodick, tailed upon a rock on ye larboard side of ye harbour. The Commodore sent boats to her assistance, and had an answer from her that she had received no damage, & as ye tide was making would be off presently. The last of ye Vessels came to an anchor at ½ an hour after 9. At 10, ye vessels being all in their berths, made a signal for all masters to come on board. Gave them orders to prepare their boats & make a disposition for landing. At 11 ordered ye Regulars & militia and Rangers on shore, directing them to wait on ye beach, till I disembarked with ye Settlers fit to bear Arms. When the settlers got on shore, ordered the Rangers to march along, near ye beach, with Captain Morris to ye head of Harbour: ordered Capt. Sutherland with ye regulars to take ye middle of ye Hill - Marched myself - (Major Lawrence) with the Militia along ye top of ye Hill; and all assembled at ye head of ye harbour. Then reconnoitred, making what remarks we could for a future disposition of ye troops. Then fixed with Capt. Morris, ye Surveyor, the situation of the Town, and also of ye blockhouses for the defence of it; which - This - being done in about the Space of 4 hours, we then marched back again, and at 4 o'clock in ye afternoon reembarked ye troops & settlers, it being too late, to encamp, to any advantage, before night. At 5 in ye evening called on board ye Captain of ye militia to consult what number of settlers might be had from each vessel to go to Work at 3 o'clock ye next morning. They agreed on 120, observing that it would be very difficult to prevail with them to work more than every other day. Gave them orders to have provisions dressed before night for ye next Day, that no time might be lost. Whereon they acquainted me, that ye week's provision served on Monday last was quite out - (expended) and that if I would allow another week to be served, they could with ye help of their pease (which have not hitherto been served) & ye abundance of herbs on shore, easily afford to have it deducted out of their future issues. Sent for ye Storekeeper, & ordered it accordingly; Directing him to charge it as extra provisions, to be hereafter accounted for. Then fixed with ye Captains to have 120 men on shore at 3 o'clock the next morning; in order to carry up ye blockhouses, But to take with them their arms; and to lodge them under ye care of a party of Rangers to be posted at ye foot of ye hill for that purpose. Then sent for Capt. Sutherland, and agreed on the following disposition of ye troops for ye next morning, Viz. The regulars & Rangers to be landed at day break. A Serjeant & 9 men of ye Rangers to be detached to ye Summit of ye Hill to ye South East. An officer & 20 Rangers to remain at the landing place. A corporal's guard to be posted at ye head of ye Harbour, on ye fresh water brook: The body of ye regulars with ye remainder of ye Rangers to march up to, & take post on ye Spot where ye upper block house is to stand., By his disposition the extremities of ye cleared land being well guarded ye Settlers may pass & repass, & do ye labour required of them in as much safety, as our numbers can afford. At 6 o'clock ordered Capt. Joseph Rouse with ye Gondula's & boats to get out ye Blockhouses & have them towed up to ye proper landing places. - The gondulas were filled with ye timbers & ye remainder made into rafts by half past 9 at night, and ye whole towed up at high water which was about 2 in ye morning. The lumber vessels were ordered up ye Harbour for ye more convenient landing ye lumber, & the Sloop York was ordered to follow to Cover them & ye blockhouses.

Saturday 9th.
Between 3 & 4 o'clock this morning, the Regulars, Rangers, & Settlers landed according to ye disposition made last night. The Settlers carried up on their Shoulders the timbers of one blockhouse, (the distance being near half a mile) by 10 in ye morning, during which time ye carpenters set up nearly ye first story. Then ye people broke off for Breakfast, and as they had worked with great willingness & so as to make extraordinary despatch, they were allowed a dram each for their encouragement, which their officers & overseers were all desirous they should have, conceiving it would be most usefully bestowed.
Then ordered the tents on shore, and directed that they should be pitched at ye foot of ye hill, that being ye most convenient place for encampment so as at once to cover ye Settlers, stores & baggage, an to secure them against any attempt from the Enemy.
The settlers growing very impatient to get on shore, have landed their wives & children without my knowledge, and seem so disposed to range about, that I am but too apprehensive of some mischief.
The lumber being now rafted, it is ordered to be landed at high water which will be at 2; when we shall endeavour to raise sheds with it; shall land ye remainder of ye settlers and their baggage, and so be prepared (if possible) to dispatch 5 or 6 Vessels for Halifax some time to Morrow.
From 11 till two ye settlers continued to work and to make great dispatch, so as by that hour to get up ye whole of ye timbers and other materials for the Blockhouses. Then broke off for an hour & dined, After which ye settlers were employed till night in opening a large avenue from ye Blockhouses to ye Water side at ye back of ye hill, which, When they had completed, they may be fairly said to have done a most extraordinary day's work, especially as it has rained hard for ye greatest part of ye day.
After this removed ye troops from ye Blockhouses to their encampment at ye foot of ye hill, leaving proper guards at such posts as tended most to secure ye environs of ye Hill. Then appointed a picket of 50 men out of ye Militia to be left on shore to Strengthen ye Camp.
Being unable to land the whole of ye Settlers and their baggage this night, as was proposed in the morning, I reembarked all that were on shore except ye 50 for ye picket.
[N.B. [Dr. Brown adds:] A day of this nature comprizes ye exertions & toil of several weeks in a settled country. Few people ever witnessed a scene of greater bustle. The whole is well describe in ye Journal of Lawrence].

We see from the subsequent entries where, on the 10th of June, the vessels31 picked to return to Halifax, in order to ferry the balance of the settlers down to Lunenburg, were cleared and made ready for sailing. Lawrence dispatched part of the fleet on the 10th. They made good time and were away again from Halifax on the 15th of June, arriving safely at Lunenburg on the 17th.

I have already set forth in a previous footnote the difficulties Lawrence was having keeping the supplies together, particularly the lumber needed for building. It became urgent that the town lots be assigned to the settlers as soon as possible, so that the supplies could be distributed and the settlers would expend their time and efforts in improving their own property rather than wondering about and causing Lawrence more trouble. As we saw there was a lot draw at Halifax; but it would be a number of days before the surveyors, Morris included, had the lots marked on the ground.32 On Tuesday, the 19th of June, 1753, the settlers were put into possession of their town lots. For the purposes of defense, a tight town surrounded with pickets and strategically placed blockhouses was what was to be built. But, it was farming to which the settlers intended to turn; so, garden lots outside of the protective defences of the town were eventually to be given to each settler. Such a division of land, however, would take time; and, in the meantime, there was much to do in getting the town and its defenses set up. Getting gardens in this first summer was not the priority, and, at any rate, it was guaranteed that the settlers would be fed33 until the expected crops of 1754 were to come in.34

A Land of Timber and Fish:

Thus, a beachhead was established. The weather was wet; in spite of it, the work went ahead. The settlers were less than cooperative35 with the authorities; but, nevertheless, the town's defences went up. The Indians, as was feared, did not attack; had they, the whole project would have been brought to an end and the settlers forced back to Halifax. Everybody's spirits were raised upon the completion of the blockhouses and a line of pickets. There was now time for everyone to look about. Lawrence was to report to the governor on June the 10th: "The more we look around us the more promising our prospect appears. We have fine land, fine timber, fine fish, & great abundance."36

Lawrence realized early that there was a need for support which was to extend much beyond the nurturing stage of those first few summer months. Knowing that Hopson was to sail for England at the end of the summer he made a compassionate plea in writing to Hopson knowing it would be passed on by Hopson to the Board of Trade. Lawrence wrote:

"The people in general are extremely necessitous and I may say without at all aggravating the circumstances, in real want of common conveniences and necessaries of life. Victuals above all things they are in absolute want of and as I observed in a former letter being unable to subsist for seven days on an allowance sufficient for four or five only. They sell off weekly what little matters they have to enable them to keep life and soul together. ... We cannot build houses, make gardens cut timber and take fish at the same time even tho: we had craft and tackling. Now that the people are barefooted and have neither money to buy more shoes, leather to make them of nor the time to make them in. What are they to do ... They were sent here not to be starved and beggar'd but to be cherished and supported, it will be then possible to guide and govern them. ... I dare not discontinue paying them twelve pence for their labour [on the public works] till I have your liberty to increase their allowance of provisions. Was I to strike off the twelve pences to day we should loose one hundred and fifty families before tomorrow ..."37
And then again, in August:
"Absurd & outrageous as these people are in their dispositions [they expected to get paid for government work, notwithstanding they owed the government for their passage] I must yet do them the justice to observe that they are indefatigable when labouring for themselves. Most of them are well under cover. All of them have gardens, & many of them good framed houses. They have cut on the whole a considerable quantity of hay. They are acquainted with the country for 10 miles round; and the more they know of it the better they seem to like it ..."38
Lawrence was due to take his leave of Lunenburg at the end of the summer, as, he was to take over the governorship duties back at Halifax.39 When Lawrence handed over responsibilities to his second in command, Capt. Sutherland, Lunenburg was in a good state. Doctor Brown:
"The most important part of the work [in respect to the settlement of Lunenburg] was now happily concluded. A town was planned and built -- a new stroke was added to the uncultivated coasts of North America. A discontented people were daily becoming more quiet and the views of government began to be accomplished."40

The Hoffman Insurrection:

It is appropriate to conclude my chapter on the founding of Lunenburg by giving a brief outline of "The Hoffman Insurrection"; it is, indeed, also an appropriate ending to an earlier chapter "Foreign Protestants By the Shipload" (1750-52). "The Hoffman Insurrection," a rebellion, lasted but a few days, and, was ended in mid-December, 1753, when Monckton with a body of regular troops was send down from Halifax at the request of the local commander (Sutherland). This show of extra force and Monckton's promise to get to the bottom of things, and his immediate investigations, was enough to quell the rebellion. Before getting into the facts of the Lunenburg rebellion which came about within months of its settlement, best we get to the roots of the problem which had its beginnings with the arrival of the Swiss/German immigrants at Halifax during the years 1750-52.

These Protestant Foreigners, these Germans, had not been treated on their arrival in Nova Scotia as well as they thought they ought to have been. They complained about their conditions in letters back home and were to present formal petitions to government. After all the suitable curtesies ("Government's judicious foresight and fatherly care") and recognizing the very good reason why they were not immediately put on their farm lands (the "wild enemy") they proceeded to point out "that on our arrival we had not time given us to recover ourselves from fatigues of such a tedious passage we were unused to, but immediately forced to hard labour with no other than salt provisions except once two pounds fresh beef each." High prices and ill treatment had reduced them to a "sad deplorable condition" and that because of it they were reduced to beg for provisions. They also, in this petition, made known that the best lands in Halifax and in Dartmouth "is chiefly given off to the New Englanders" who but refer to the German/Swiss as the "Dam Dutch Rascals"; and, as the petitioners asserted, the New Englanders did nothing to improve their lands.41

These problems of the new arrivals to which we have referred were never adequately addressed and so they continued to stew or seethe even after they were to be relocated on their allotted lands at Lunenburg. Much was promised to them and they all felt short changed. They became very suspicious that the undelivered supplies and provisions had in fact been sent from England but had been diverted to the use of others -- they became convinced of it. Rumours spread; and -- whether the stories were accurate or embroidered has little to do with how these hard pressed foreigners felt about the matter -- just like the winter snows that then started, rumours flew from one family to another as the dull days of November and early December of 1753 cast their spell. They were living in miserable little shacks with a questionable supply of fire wood (as to whether it would last the season) and victuals from government stores: salted meat, hardtack and dried peas. Guards had to be mounted because of the continuing threat of an Indian attack. They would like to cut more wood for themselves and begin clearing more land; but they were forced into the public work of cutting pickets for the ever growing fence between themselves and the promising lands beyond.

The rumour that set everyone off in the new community was that there existed a letter whom one, Jean Pettrequin, a fellow settler, had, and which had been written by a person in the know, back in Germany or England, to the effect that there were abundant supplies which the local government had been directed to disburse. Finally there was some tangible proof of some skulduggery, viz., that certain officials (whoever they may be) were fattening themselves up at the expense of the poor settlers at Lunenburg. A mob of men grabbed Pettrequin and threaten him with dire consequences if he didn't cough up the incriminating letter. The local commander, Captain Patrick Sutherland, having heard of this, immediately, with the justice of peace, Sebastian Zouberbuhler, went to Pettrequin's aid and soon saw to his release. A short time thereafter, the mob grabbed Pettrequin again and this second time locked him up in one of the blockhouses. Pettrequin, now fearing for his life blurted out that while he had the letter it was seized by Zouberbuhler. Well, there it is, so the mob thought -- Zouberbuhler is one of them and the letter would have been destroyed. Now the mob was after Zouberbuhler; who, upon seeing the mob coming, headed for another of the blockhouses and held up there with a number of Captain Sutherland's soldiers.42 It was then that Sutherland sent a message off to Halifax for help.43 Help came in the form of two ships with regular troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Monckton. Order was soon restored and Monckton called the actors to account each being interviewed. Pettrequin, likely under considerable pressure, "'fessed up." He didn't really ever see a letter; but, rather John Hoffman told him of it, "he, he actually read from a letter held in his hand." Hoffman then encouraged Pettrequin to spread the word. Now, Hoffman, as I write elsewhere, was holding a grudge which had stimulated his zeal. He had been a justice of the peace at Halifax, but, because of a residency problem, he was replaced by Sebastian Zouberbuhler. So, Monckton determined he was the instigator of the problem and promptly put him under arrest and brought him to Halifax and imprisoned on George's Island while he waited for his trial. Afterwards: Hoffman was tried, convicted and sentenced to a fine of £100 and two years imprisonment.44


And now I conclude my accounting of the founding of Lunenburg. I fear that between the difficulties that Lawrence experienced in getting the settlers to work for no pay in the building of the public works and the insurrection a few months later, might lead one to think badly of the German/Swiss that came to the shores of Nova Scotia during the years of 1750-53. This was the third (counting the Englishmen with Cornwallis in 1749, as the second) wave of Europeans that were to come to settle Nova Scotia. The first of course which had come more than a hundred years earlier was the French wave (the Acadians). The Lunenburgers had good reason to be upset with the authorities in the first few years, but they soon settled in and were to form a strong base of people with a distinct character: hardworking, no nonsense and independent people. It is this character that for years best described, more generally, Nova Scotians; it is certainly the character that describes the Lunenburgers of these days who descended from those first settlers of 1750-53. Their hard, sensible, and industrious ways were evident even in 1754 by Lawrence, who, at the best of times, was a hard man to please. He wrote of them as being,

"almost incredibly industrious and have already this year planted 700 bushels of potatoes, they have also sown some flax seed they brought with them from Germany which comes up very well and will furnish them with a sufficient quantity of seed that they propose to make use of as soon as they have properly prepared the land for it. The people have cleared and cultivated their town and garden lots, and have made some progress on their farm lots to which they seem greatly attached; they have now in the ground about 200 bushels of oats a great quantity of turnip seed and some barley. They have cut a vast quantity of timber staves and hoops and built a great number of boats and canoes."45

[NEXT: Pt. 5, Ch. 9 - The English Fortify Nova Scotia (1749-54).]

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