A History of Nova Scotia Page

Book #2: Settlement, Revolution & War. TOC
Part 1, "Pre-Revolutionary Settlement" TOC
Ch. 8 - The 1767 Census.

The Seven Years War came to an end in 1763. To the victor go the spoils, and, in that year, France handed over her North American territorial claims. Thus there was established a new government under British control at Quebec. The existing governments of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, at the same time, were given additional territory to govern. "Labrador, from St. John's River to Hudson Bay, Anticosti, and the Magdalen Islands, were placed under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland, and the islands of St. John (Prince Edward Island), and Cape Breton (Ile Royale), with the smaller islands adjacent thereto, were added to the government of Nova Scotia."1

On September 26th, 1763, Montague Wilmot was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. It was with the arrival of Wilmot that records of civilian activities were first begun. Prior to that date, as far as the English were concerned, Nova Scotia was a military outpost consisting of three forts: Annapolis Royal, Canso (ruined by the war) and Halifax (built by the war).2

The total population of Nova Scotia, C. Bruce Fergusson was to observe, at the beginning of 1767, "computed from the returns for the townships and from estimates for the island of St. John and the settlements at Cape Sable, Miramichi and the St. John River, was 13,374." This number was broken down: 6,913, Americans; 2,165, Irish; 1,946, Germans and other foreigners; 1,265, Acadians; 912, English; and 173, Scots. Further, there was reported to be 104 Negroes.3 From the analysis carried out by Allison we see that at Halifax there was 3,022, "exclusive of the army and navy," of which 1,361 were born in America. At Lunenburg the count was 1,946; and the newly arrived New Englanders that had taken over the Acadian lands, from Annapolis to Truro amounted, by 1767, to "several hundred."4 Fergusson gives the overall view as of 1767:

"A census of Nova Scotia on January 1, 1767 provides statistics for 27 townships, in addition to the fishing establishment at Canso, the islands of Cape Breton and St. John, and the sparse settlements of Cape Sable, the St. John River, and Miramichi. The 27 townships include not only four, Halifax, Dartmouth,5 Lawrencetown, and Lunenburg, which had been established between 1749 and 1754, and the 16 settled by New Englanders between 1760 and 1763, but also seven new ones, namely, Blandford, Hopewell, Londonderry, Maugherville, Monckton, Wilmot and Windsor. Only three of these seven -- Blandford, Hopewell and Monckton -- represent an influx of new settlers subsequent to 1763, for Londonderry and Maugherville were already projected at that time, although not established as townships until 1765, and Wilmot and Windsor were both made townships in 1764, only to provide for settlers already in the province, Wilmot to take are of the overflow from Annapolis and Granville, and Windsor to accommodate Acadian and Northern Irish tenants of the landed proprietors there."6
As for Halifax, in 1760, a contemporary observer described it as being "divided into three towns." There is the downtown area first set up in 1749; to south of that, "Irish town"; and, "Dutch town" to the north. He estimated there might have been a thousand buildings many of which are used as barracks and hospitals for the army and the navy. This same contemporary observer, Rev. Dr. Stiles of Boston, noted that there were 100 licensed houses or more which served "spiritous liquors." The situation was such that the business of one half of the town was to sell rum, and the other half to drink it.7 This situation is not to be so surprising, as Halifax during the war years was full of military men a long way from home. And while Halifax has always had more then its normal share of drinking establishments, between wars -- things became sluggish and stagnant. By 1766 Halifax was "no longer the rendezvous of fleets and armies."8 A period of quiet years came, a period that lasted another dozen years to a time when the American revolutionary war broke out.9

Those who have followed the History of Nova Scotia from its earliest times would know that, up to 1749, Annapolis Royal was the capital of Nova Scotia. It, as a practical matter, was the only fortified position in peninsular Nova Scotia, indeed the only place where there was any English presence in the province. With the founding of Halifax the importance of Annapolis Royal as a military establishment was eclipsed. After the war the lands around Annapolis Royal, just as the lands at Minas and Chebucto, being lands from which the French Acadians had been so rudely ejected, were worked by newly arrived New Englanders. (The people to be found along the eastern coast of the province, including those in the communities of Lunenburg and Liverpool, involved themselves in fishing.) Calnek10 concluded from his perusal of the census results of 1768-70 that the population of Annapolis Royal in total was 513, broken down as follows: 445 protestants and 68 Roman Catholics. Three hundred and seventy were of American birth, 40 English, 8 Scotch, 20 Irish, 67 Acadian, and the rest were of foreign birth. There were in total 99 families and the people were "almost wholly devoted to agriculture pursuits." There were eight mills, "four saw and four grist mills. Of vessels there were two schooners and nineteen fishing boats."


[NEXT: Bk. 2, Pt. 1, Ch. 9 - The Early Settlement of Pictou: The Hector]

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