Extract from a letter of Lieut. Gov'r Belcher to the Lords of Trade.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 11 January, 1762. My Lords,—
As to the present state of all the Settlements, I beg leave humbly to refer to a full and exact Account returned me by the Chief Surveyor and which I have the honour now to transmit of every settled Township in the Province, the Number of Families and Persons, of their cleared Upland, and Marsh Acres, comprising likewise a distinct and Minute Description of the present General State of the Province, its Productions and Advantages for Commerce, what further Improvements may be yet made for the benefit of Great Britain and the Province in its Trade and Fishery. This account, My Lords, contains a proposition for introducing into the Province the Whale Fishery more particularly enlarged upon in a letter sent me by Mr. Crawley, One of His Majesty's Council, which I have the honor now to present, with my humblest Address, for the Consideration, by Your Lordships, of this Plan, so seemingly beneficial for the Mother Kingdom and this Province. With these Papers are also humbly transmitted to Your Lordships, a Chart of the Peninsula of Nova Scotia, containing delineations of the several Townships, and a Chart of the Basin of Mines and Cobequid Bay, with another of the District of Chignectou and a Plan of the Lands upon St. John's River.
I have the honor to be with the highest obedience,
Your Lordships Most Dutiful and Most Humbly Devoted Servant,
Jonathan Belcher. The Rt. Hon'ble. The Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.
Enclosure in letter of J. Belcher, Esqr., to Lords of Trade dated 11 January 1762.
A Description of the several towns in the Province of Nova Scotia with the Lands comprehended in and bordering upon said Towns, Drawn up by Order of the Honorable Jonathan Belcher, Esqr., Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the said Province.
THE TOWN OF HALIFAX.
This Town is Situated on one of the finest Harbours in the Universe, easy of Access, the Channel deep enough for Capital Ships, and Capacious enough to hold all the Navy of England.
Two Hundred Sail have anchored before the Town within George's Island, and room enough for as many more ; The Town has at present including both Suburbs, about Seven Hundred Houses, and about Twenty five Hundred Inhabitants of all sorts ; The principal Support of these Inhabitants depend on the Navy and Army stationed there, and a few Civil Officers supported by the Government at Home. The Country about it for fifteen Miles on every side is in general high Mountainous Rocky Land, incapable of being improved but at an expense which will greatly exceed the Value of such Lands when improved. Not one Family in the Town nor in the parts Circumjacent that subsist by Husbandry. In 1750 General Cornwallis ordered the Division of the Peninsula in which the Town of Halifax stands, containing about three Thousand Acres, to be divided into Five Acre Lots among the inhabitants to Improve, and at the same time by an Excise laid on Spirituous Liquors, a Bounty of Twenty Shillings per Acre was ordered to be paid for every Acre fenced and cleared of the Woods ; by this the Inhabitants encouraged, cleared and fenced about two Hundred Lots, containing about a Thousand Acres, and sowed with Grass Seed, but all the Lind being covered with fell'n Trees and the moss becoming dry by removing the Trees, was fired and with extreme Violence (as dry Moss burns like wild Fire,) destroyed all the Fences, and discovered that the Soil in general was covered with a bed of Stones, and no attempts have been made since of improving them. 1752 General Cornwallis, upon the Application of Several Inhabitants granted a Range of Farm Lots consisting of about Two Hundred Acres to each proprietor, all bordering on the Harbour of Halifax and Bedford Basin, fronting on the Water ; an Advantageous Situation for improvement, as the Trees growing on said Grants were near the Water, and a Market always for Cordwood sufficient to pay the charges of clearing : The proprietors therefore soon began to clear those parts near the Water, but when the underbrush and Moss were burnt off, the Soil was found to be covered with a bed of Stones, and nothing further has been done since towards any improvement of them, nor is it likely any one proprietor will expend anything further to prevent a Forfeiture.
The late Governor Lawrence, as the Inhabitants were obliged to purchase their Hay from the Massachusetts at excessive prices, procured an Act of Assembly giving a Bounty on the erecting Stone Wall fences (the Timber being for the most part consumed by the Fire) and also a bounty on every gross Hundred weight of English Hay raised within the Peninsula ; In Consequence of which about Seventy Acres at an expence of about eighty dollars per Acre have been enclosed, and by removing the Stones and leveling the soil, and manuring it with Dung it has produced a few Loads of Hay, and these Lands excepting some few Garden Lots, are all the Improvements in and about Halifax.
The Town of Dartmouth situated on the opposite side of the Harbour has at present two Families residing there who subsist by Cutting Wood.
In 1754, Governor Lawrence in order to promote the settling the Country granted to Twenty proprietors Twenty Thousand Acres of Land about four Leagues East of Halifax, which was erected into a Township by the name of Lawrence Town. The Proprietors obliging themselves to settle Twenty Families at their own expence, and the Government promising to build a Block-house, and to secure them by a guard. Accordingly Twenty Families were settled by the proprietors, maintained at their Ex- pence and stocked with Cattle ; the Inhabitants resided there three years, and by their Improvements had just arrived at a state of supporting themselves when General Hop- son then Commanding the Troops in Nova Scotia, ordered the Garrison to be removed, and the buildings and Stockades to be demolished whereby the proprietors sustained a Loss of Six Hundred Pounds Sterling which they had expended on promoting the Settlement, and could obtain nothing in Recompence, but an assurance that the Lands should not by this means, (as it was judged necessary for the preservation of the Province), be Subject to, a Forfeiture. All the Lands, from Jebucto [Chebucto] head stretching Westward to St. Margaret's Bay are in general of a Stony Soil, or rather Rocks covered with moss, for wherever the Inhabitants have endeavored a Settlement, upon clearing the woods and burning the moss nothing but solid Rocks appear underneath.
ST. MARGARET’S BAY
St. Margaret's Bay is a large Capacious Harbour about one mile and a half wide, at its entrance, but within is four Leagues deep, and near two Leagues wide, with many Islands within conveniently situated for the Boat fishery, with good Boat Harbours ; the Linds lying on both sides are well Timbered, but the Soil stony and in many places Barren Rocks, a few persons have attempted to settle on the Islands for the sake of tho Boat Cod Fishery, and Salmon which abound here, but at present not a single person is Settled there. Within this Bay are several small Rivers, with water enough for Sawmills, and great Quantities of Spruce &с. for Deal Boards.
The next Lands westward is the Township of Chester, this township was begun 1760. There is about Thirty Families containing about One Hundred and twenty persons settled from New England with their Stock, no Improvements but what the present Inhabitants have made. The front of this Township is situated at the Bottom of Mahone Bay, has several small Islands annex'd to it, is very conveniently situated- for the Boat Cod Fishery and having good Boat Harbours within the Islands. The Lands in this Township are well Cloathed with Timber of the Spruce and Fir kind in great Quantities. Several convenient Streams for erecting Saw-mills. The Inhabitants of this Township will soon be in a good way of supporting themselves by the Lumber Trade and Fishery.
The next Lands lying westward is the Township of Lunenburg bounded East by Mahone Bay, South on the Ocean, West by the Harbour and River of La Have. This in general is a Tract of good Land, not so Stony a Soil as the Lands to the eastward, but it is in general very thick Timbered Birch, Beach. Spruce, Fin-, Hemlock with a- mixture of some Oak, are the natural growth in general.
The Township first began its Settlement in 1753 by the Dutch and Germans who had been transported into the Colony in the two preceding years, it then contained about Four Hundred Families and proprietors consisting of about fifteen Hundred persons. These Inhabitants were furnished with materials for Building, a Thousand
», pound Sterling laid out in Cattle, and maintained by the Government wholly for nine years, and considerable quantities of Flour, and at the removal of the French, as many Cattle as they could possibly keep, and grain from year to year has been given them till the last year. They have rather diminished than increased. Some Roman Catholics both German and French deserted from the Settlement to the French : Several Families quitted their Farms and came back and settled at Halifax. The present Inhabitants have cleared and improv'd about Ten Acres, one with another. The}' supply Halifax chieflv with Roots, Cordwood, Timber and some Boards. They have no inclination for the Fishery tho well situated for that purpose. As the chief of their time is spent in clearing and improving their Lands they will soon be able to support themselves, and afford some assistance to the Neighbouring Settlements.
This Township seated upon the Harbour, and River of Le Have was granted 1760 To Two Hundred and Sixty proprietors in the Colony of Connecticut, very few have attempted to settle and those without Ability to Support themselves, these few resided there about nine months and then quitted it : It remains at present without Inhabitants. The Lands bordering on Le Have Harbour and River are Mountainous, the Soil Stony, thick Timbered with Spruce, Black Burch, Fir, and in general with the same kind of Timber as Lunenburg : The West part of the Township about Petite Riviere is of better Soil, has a great mixture of Oak with the other Timber, has a good Salmon Fishery, and the Lands more suitable for Farming. About the Harbour of Le Have are many Islands well situated for the curing and drying Cod fish, the Outward Harbour lies too open to the Sea and is full of Shaols, but the River is an excellent Harbour, very capacious and Navigable, having Nine fathom at its entrance and gradual soundings to three fathom at Nine Miles and Navigable for Sloops and Smaller Vessels to the Falls, twelve Miles from its entrance.
Liverpool is the next Town to Dublin Westward. This town was begun 1760.; Its present inhabitants amount to Ninety Families, containing rive Hundred and four persons. The present inhabitants are settled at Port Senior, they Subsist chiefly by the Fishery and by the Lumber Trade, They have built Seventy Houses, have employed v Seventeen Schooners in the Fishery and made about eight thousand Quintals of Fish besides which they have made a considerable quantity of Shingles, Clapboards, Staves, and erected a Saw mill for Sawing Boards. The Township comprehends the Lands lying on the Ocean from Port Metway four miles west of the River, and Harbour of Port Senior ; The Harbour is Barr'd having but Nine feet at low-water, but safe and convenient within the River, and good Anchoring in three fathom ; The Country and Soil much the same with Lunenburg, abounds more with Oak and some pine. High and mountainous within Land.
The Lands lying westward from Liverpool to the Township of Harrington eighteen Leagues are ungranted, except the Port of Port Roseway and circumjacent Lands which were promised by the late Governor to Mr. McNutt, and associates to be - preserved for a Township upon his procuring Settlers therefore in a limited time ; This large Tract has at present no Inhabitants : There are several Harbours for small Vessels, but no Ship Harbour except Port Mutton and Port Roseway . This land is of the same kind of Soil and natural growth of Timber as Liverpool.
TOWNSHIP OF BARRINGTON.
Comprehends the Islands commonly called Cape Sable Harbour, where formerly were settled twelve French Families who had improved about Two Hundred Acres of Land, their principal subsistence was from the Cod Fishery and Fur Trade.
The Lands in this Township are of the like quality as Liverpool, with the same natural growth, except the Island called Cape Sable, which is four Miles in length and two in breadth, Low Land, Soil Sandy and Barren. The Harbour is very safe and convenient for Fishing Schooners and other small Vessels. Their Township was granted 1760 to Two Hundred Proprietors, the most part Fishermen, at Cape Cod Plymouth -' and Nantucket in New England ; they began their Township this present year with about Twenty Families. A Hundred more Families are preparing to remove in the Spring with their Vessels to establish a Fishery, with an intermixture of some Farmers.
The Coast from Cape Sable to Long Island is about twenty Leagues fronting the West. The principal Harbours in this Tract are at Tobogue, a River and Harbour. This Tract is under promise to a Number of Fishermen from Marblehead, a Fishing Town in New England, a few Families are come down and more expected this Fall. They propose to complete their number to eighty Families in the Spring, their principal design is for the Fishery most of the proprietors being part Owners of Fishing Schooners.
Next adjoining is Pubnico and the Township of Yarmouth, granted to two hundred Proprietors, Farmers and Fishermen ; about twenty Families have removed and settled with their Stock, and many others preparing to come in the Spring. In this Township are a considerable number of Islands, called the Tuskot Islands, well situated for the Boat Fishery, hereabout a dozen French Families lived whose chief subsistence was raising Cattle, there being within the Islands and on the River a considerable quantity of Salt Marsh ; the Soil of the same Nature and like growth of Timber with the other Parts of the Coast already described.
To the Northward of Yarmouth is St. Mary's Bay, a very deep Bay, full of Rocks and Shoals, shunned by all Navigators as very dangerous. The Lands lying on both sides are high Mountainous and Rocky. The Shores inaccessible.
To the North of St. Mary's Bay is the Island called Long Island and its Harbour. This Harbour was frequented by all the French, being in the Bay of Fundy, for the Cod Fishery during the Summer Season ; and it would be very advantageous to these Settlements in time to come were this Harbour or Lands about it reserved for a Fishery in Common.
About the whole Coast from Long Island to Cape Sable, and thence East as far as Cape La Have, during all the Summer Season is a good Cod Fishery, most of the Fishing Vessels from New England, not less than Two Hundred Sail, catch their Summer Fairs , about these Coasts; and there is but little doubt, as the Harbours about this Coast are much more handy and convenient for the Fishery, that that Branch of Business will be transferred from New England to this Coast in a few years.
THE BAY OF FUNDY AND ITS SETTLEMENTS.
On the South side of the Bay of Fundy, from Long Island to Cape Fondu, is a Chain of Mountains terminated by the Basin of Minas, inaccessible on the Sea Coast, without any break except the Passage called Petite Passage and the Gut of Annapolis ; the Gut of Annapolis is the Entrance to a fine large Basin, eight Miles in length and four in breadth ; at the West end into this Basin empties the River of Annapolis, Navigable for Capital Ships to the Foot of Annapolis, and for small Vessels twenty Miles further.
On the North side of the Basin and River Annapolis is the Township of Granville, , granted to One hundred and fifty proprietors. This settlement began 1760, and Thirty Families are now settled there. This Township contains about Fifteen Hundred Acres of Marsh Lands and about One Thousand Acres of Cleared Upland, the principal part of the Lands in this Township are high mountainous unimprovable Lands, all the improvable Lands are those next to the River extending about a mile back to the foot of the Mountains. The natural growth of Timber chiefly Spruce and Fir.
|Annapolis Royal area, Morris, 1749
Click on image for larger view |
THE TOWNSHIP OF ANNAPOLIS.
This Township begun its settlement 1760 ; it was granted to Two hundred proprietors, Sixty Families of which are now settled there ; the principal part of lands in this Township are high mountainous unimprovable Lands, a Range of Mountains beginning in Pisiquid, now Falmouth, extends westward thro' the Peninsula to Cape St. Mary's, between this Range of Mountains and the Range of Mountains next the Bay of Fundy flows the River Annapolis, being the largest River in the Peninsula of Nova Scotia. The Inhabitants are settled on the borders of this River. This Township contains about Sixteen Hundred Acres of Marsh Lands, and twelve Hundred Acres of Cleared upland. The improvable Lands are next the River extending from one Mile to Two back to the foot of the Mountains. Besides the above Settlers in these two Townships, many others have been down this Summer, making preparations to bring their Families and Stock in the ensuing Spring. All the Lands lying between the aforesaid Ridges of Mountains from the Boundaries of Granville and Annapolis to the Townships of Cornwallis and Horton, a Space of thirty Miles, is chiefly a Sandy Soil and excepting a few Spots, unimprovable Lands.
Cornwallis Township was granted to One Hundred and Fifty Proprietors. This Township being the first in the Bason of Minas began its Settlement in 1760, at present it consists of One Hundred and Fifteen Families containing Six Hundred persons, it extends from the River Habitant to the Bay of Fundy ; this Township contains about Three Thousand Acres of Marsh Lands, and about two thousand Acres of Cleared upland, about two thirds of this Township consists of Mountainous unimprovable Lands ; that part bordering on the Bay of Fundy inaccessible ; the Town is situated on the River formerly called Habitant, now Cornwallis. Navigable to it at high water for Sloops and other small Craft ; the Lands unclear'd (between the Rivers and Mountains) are generally of a good Soil, free from Stones and proper either for grain or grass ; the natural growth of the Woods are Oak, Beach, Birch, Spruce and other Trees of the Fir kind, but the growth small, having suffered much by Fires ; the Inhabitants have imported large Stocks of Cattle, for which this year they have cut more than a sufficient quantity of Hay, their Crops of Corn were cut off by the Draught.
This Township begun its Settlement 1760, was granted to Two Hundred proprietors. The present Families now settled in this Township are in Number One Hundred and fifty containing Nine Hundred persons. They have imported a large Stock of Cattle cut Hay sufficient for their Stock, but their Corn mostly blasted by the excessive draught this Summer. This Township contains about Five Thousand Acres of Marsh Lands, and three thousand Acres of Cleared upland. The Proprietors have divided their Lands which they judged improvable Land, and it amounts to One Hundred Acres to each Right or Share. The remainder are unimprovable Lands, two Ridges of Mountains Running thro' the Township, the west end of this Township, Sandy barren Land, the natural growth is Spruce, Fir, White Birch, poplar and white Pine, the growth of Timber small, the Woods having been leveled by Fire about fifty years since. This Township lies on the Basin of Minas, the River Gaspero lying near the Center on which the Town is laid out, is navigable for any Vessel that can lay aground, their being Seven fathom at high Water, at low Water the Lands are in a manner dry.
This Township was granted to One Hundred proprietors, of which Eighty Families, are at present settled containing three Hundred and fifty persons, the Settlement was begun in 1760. Several other Grants of the Lands adjoining have been granted and dated to this Township, so that the whole will consist of One Hundred and fifty proprietors or Shares. This Township contains about Twenty five Hundred Acres of Marsh Land, and three Thousand Acres of cleared upland. The Proprietors having divided the cleared and improvable Land into Lots it amounts to about Eighty Аcres to each Share, the other Parts of the Township being the Termination of two long ranges of Mountains is broken Mountains and Steep precipices, and mostly unimprovable Lands. These Inhabitants have imported large Quantities of Cattle, and have this year cut Hay sufficient for supporting them, but the excessive drought of the Summer has blasted most of their Corn. The River Pisiquid running thro' this Township is navigable for Sloops to all the Settlements, there being three Fathom at high Water for Six Miles. The Town is situated in the Center of the Settlement. The Woods having suffered at the sarre time with Minas, now Horton, the growth of Timber is small of the same kind with Horton.
|Grand Pre area, Morris, 1749
Click on image for larger view
This Township granted to Seventy proprietors began its Settlement in 1761. The present Number of Families is Sixty, containing about Two Hundred and forty persons ; they imported a sufficient Number Nt. Cattle and have this Summer cut Hay sufficient for them. They have also raised a considerable Quantity of English (¡rain, but not enough to subsist them, being cut Short by the drought. They have but little improved Land in proportion to the other Townships, it contains about One Thousand Acres of Marsh Land, and Six hundred Acres of clear Lands. This Township contains in proportion to its bigness a greater quantity of improvable Lands than any of the fore- mentioned Townships. The Soil in general is rich, and great part free from Stones. It is heavy Timber'd not having suffered by Fire as the other neighboring Townships. Its natural growth is Firr, Pine, Spruce, Oak, Beach, Birch, Ac. The River Conectcook [Kenetcook] runs thro' the middle of this Township, navigable for Sloops at high Water for Ten miles, and on the South-west end the River St. Croix, navigable four miles.
To the Eastward of Newport on the Basin of Cobequid and on the River Subenaccada is a Tract of Land designed for two townships resolved by the late Governor for Mr. McNutt and his Associates. This Tract of Land contains about two Thousand Acres of Marsh and about one hundred of Cleared upland, most of this Tract is improvable land, of a rich Soil and free from Stones, some part is heavy Timbered and other parts having suffered by Fires have but a small growth of Wood, not difficult to clear. The natural growth, Spruce, Pine, Beach, Birch, Hemlock, Elm and several other Sorts. \
THE TOWNSHIP OF TRURO.
This Township is bounded Northerly on the Basin of Cobequid, and on the Township of Onslow, Westerly by the River Subenaccada East and South on ungranted Lands. These granted Lands were settled this present year by Fifty three of the proprietors transported at the Government's expence with their Stock consisting of One Hundred and Seventeen Head of Cattle and Utensils for Fanning ; having met contrary winds had a long passage and did not arrive till the Latter end of May ; their Crop of Corn being Sowed late suffered by the Drought and was finally blasted by an early Frost, they have rais'd potatoes and other Roots sufficient, have cut Hay more than enough for the Stock, and to assist them in provision the Government have lent them Six Hundred Bushels of Corn to be repaid when demanded. This Tract of Land is for the most improvable Lands of a rich Soil, free from Stones, contains fifteen Hundred Acres of Marsh, and One Hundred Acres of Cleared Upland : is designed for One Hundred and fifty Families. The Wood Lands in many places light Timbered where the Fires have prevailed formerly, in other places very heavy Timbered : the Natural Growth are Spruce, Fir, Hemlock, Pine, Beach, Birch, Maple, Ash with some oak. The Navigation very difficult, the Tides very rapid, and the Channel empty for Nine Hours between Tides.
TOWNSHIP OF ONSLOW.
This Township is situated opposite Truro on the North side of Cobequid Basin This Settlement began this present year ; the Inhabitants are transported at the public Expence ; their Number consists of Fifty two Families and heads of Families, who brought with them One Hundred and Seventeen head of Neat Cattle and Horses, they arrived the latter end of May, and set themselves immediately to raise what corn they could for their Subsistence, but the drought first, and an early Frost put an End to their Expectation. They have raised roots sufficient, have cut Hay enough for their Stock, and the Government to prevent their suffering for want of provisions have lent them Eight Hundred Bushels of Corn to be repaid on demand. This Township contains Fourteen Hundred Acres of Marsh, and Seventy Acres of clear upland, is designed for One Hundred and Fifty Families. The Soil of the Wood Land is rich Soil, and free from Stones as far as the Mountains, about one half of this Township are improvable Lands, the other Mountainous and Rocky. This Country has suffered formerly by Fire the Trees small, and the Wood not difficult to clear, the Natural Growth the same with Truro.
The Lands lying west of Onslow extending from thence to Cape Doree are Lands reserved for Mr. McNutt and associates ; this Tract of Lund from this Township of Onslow to point Conomo being eighteen Miles are considerable quantifies of Marsh, containing about two Thousand Acres Marsh and about Five Hundred Acres of Cleared Land, the principal Settlement of the French at Cobequid, proposed to be laid out into Two Townships. The first Township next to Onslow, half the Lands are improvable the other mountainous and unimprovable, the other Township will have One third improvable Lands ; at present have no Inhabitants. The Natural Growth the same with Truro. The other points from point Conomo [economy] to Cape Doree hath about Five Hundred Acres of Marsh Land, the Land interspers'd with Mountains and Low Lands to be divided into Two Townships about one Fourth improvable Lands the other Steep Rocky Mountains. The natural Growth abounding more with Spruce and Firr, but a mixture of other Wood as Beach, Birch, <&c.
From Cape Chignecto to the Coal Mines the Lauds are Mountainous, no place of embarkation but at Apple River, which is but an indifferent Harbour, open to the North and North West Winds which are violent winds. The Lands are covered with thick woods, Beach, Birch, Spruce and Fir, ¿к.
From the Coals to the Township of Amherst is a Township reserved by the late Governor for the Settling disbanded Soldiers. In this Township are comprehended the Rivers Le Planch or the River aux Mines and the River Macan oix the borders of these Rivers are very considerable Marshes, and on the Basin of Chignecto containing about Ten Thousand Acres uf marsh Land with many small Spotts of cleared upland ; the Lands of this Township are mostly improvable Lands, the Marshes extend far into the Country along the Sides of the River. The upland Country rising with a gentle ascent and those parts that have been clear d by the French .appear to be Lands very tit for a granary, and for mowing Lands, and yield good crops of English Hay ; of the same kind and Quality are the Townships of Amherst, Cumberland, Sackville, Memrimcook and the East side of Patcootyeak [PetitcodiacJ, some containing more, others a less Quantity of Marsh Lands. The Marsh next the Basin and Sea have been dik'd and drain'd by the French Inhabitants and were improved by them, but the Dykes are universally leveled and scarcely the Traces of them appear. Those Marshes that lye towards the heads of Rivers are for the most part covered with the Fresh Water, having never been drained or in any sort improved. The Upland is in general of the same kind of Soil and rich Loom and covered with the same kind of Timber Trees, such as Beach, Birch, Ash, Spruce, Firr and Pine. This Country of Cumberland when fully peopled and all the Marshes improved will be the granary of Nova ¡Scotia.
Beaubassin area, Morris, 1749
Click on image for a larger view
The Township of Cumberland and Sackville, only have any Settlement ; at Cumberland about Thirty-five Families, and at Sackville Twenty-five Families, the other Grantees for these two Townships propose Settling in the ensuing Spring, many having been down to make preparations by building for the reception of their Families : the Grantees of Amherst refuse, settling unless they can have transportation of their Stock at the expence of the Government.
The Lands lying on the West of the River of Patiostyeak have very considerable Marshes at the Turns of the River, interspersed with improvable uplands which extend from the River about the distance of two miles, in some places more, in others less, and the same at Chipodée, but the Inlands are mountainous rocky and barren, they extend as far as St. John's River ; the Coast from C'hepodé to St. John's River is mountainous, Steep Shoars, and no place of Imbarkation, the River St. John's is navigable for small Vessels to St, Ann's, about Twenty Leagues, where the French had a pitched Fort and kept a Party of Soldiers till the Fort at the Mouth of the River was taken possession of by General Monckton. Upon his approach with the English Troops they quitted both Forts and retired to Canady. About Twenty French Families only lived at St. Ann's till the French Acadians were removed out of the Peninsula, and then a considerable number tied here for refuge, where they continued till General Monckton's arrival ; about Ten Leagues above the mouth of the River the Lands are improvable and from thence to St. Ann's great part of the borders of the River are Interval Lands, overflow'd in the Spring of the Year by the Freshetts. There have been no Improvements but at St. Aim's, where about Six Hundred Acres of Land have been clear'd, no Marshes on this River. The natural growth of the Upland is Spruce, Fir, Pine, Beach, and the Intervalls, Elm, Oak, Ash, Maple, &c.
West of St. John's River about three Leagues is a harbour for small Vessels called Musquash Cove and a River—here lived about a dozen French Families who subsisted chiefly by a Trade with the Indians, very little Improvements of Land from thence to Le Proc [Lepreau] about six leagues the coast is inaccessible ; Point Le Proc forms the Eastern Point of the Bay of Passamaquody ; This is a large Bay full of Islands, under cover of which are several Commodious Harbours for Fishing Vessels within this Bay is the River St. Croix, the Western Boundaries of Sir William Alexander's Grant of the Lands called Nova Scotia, the Lands bordering upon this Bay and on the River St. Croix as well as most of the Islands are good improveable Lands. The Harbours are conveniently situated for the Summer Cod Fishery. The Natural produce are Spruce, Pine, Firr, Ash, Beach, Birch &c.
The Lands lying West from hence to Penobscot River are full of Bays, Islands and Harbours and but little known to any but Indian Traders. This Tract from the River St. Croix to Georges, a Settlement in New England was esteemed by the French part of Acadia, and so called by the French Inhabitants, and one of the Dependances on Port Royal now Annapolis ceded by the Treaty of Utrecht to the Crown of Great Britain.
LANDS ON THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE.
There was a Settlement of the French at the Bay of Gaspee for carrying on the Fishery, the Inhabitants were removed after the Reduction of Louisburg ; The Country about this Bay is Mountainous a long range call'd the Lady Mountains extending from Gaspe reach within a few Leagues at Quebec. The Coast from thence to the Bay of Verte has several Bays and Rivers emptying into the Gulf with convenient Harbours for small Vessels ; This Part of the Country is little known to the English, it having been the Retreat of the French Aeadians who have supported themselves by depredations made on the Provision Vessels bound from the Continent to Quebec ; This Coast having been well guarded this Year by His Majesty's Ships, both Indians and Acadians have been driven to great distress, The former have this Summer sent their Chiefs and made their Submission to the Government, and near Two Hundred of the Acadians have come in and submitted but many still keep out. As there are convenient Ports, and several Rivers navigable for small Vessels abounding with Salmon, and as the Sea Coast abounds with Cod Fish, this part of Nova Scotia may in time be settled.
Bay Verte was the Port of Embarkation for the French Troops, and Stores when they were in possession of Beausejour ; 'Tis an open Bay and Shoal, Ships cannot come nearer then three Leagues, the embarkation is made with Boats and Small Vessels. Tide rises about Six feet; The Townships of Cumberland and Amherst extend from the Basin of Chignecto to this Bay.
From the Bay Verte to Ramsheek is Twenty Seven Miles, no place of Embarkation, Ramsheek was a small French Settlement not above three Families who followed the Fishery, very little improvement of Land, a Harbour for small Craft, from thence to Tatmagoush is three miles across Land, here is an indifferent good Harbour, a very convenient Port for a Communication with St. John's Island, it being but Seven Leagues from this Port, to Port Joye in St. John's Island. The Soil is good, here lived about a dozen French Families who have made some considerable Improvements, which will be useful to begin a Settlement ; it is well situated for the Cod and Whale Fishery, which last in the Summer Season abound in the Bay, taking their Rout, as I conceive from the Southern Ocean, thro' the straits of Belle Isle into the Northern Sea ; Several Vessels from New England have this summer met with good Success in that Fishery in the Gulph and at the mouth of Canada River ; An advantageous Settlement might be made at this Port, as the Lands in general are good, the Roads nre now open'd thro' the Woods from this Port to Halifax, from whence it is distant as the Roads runs Ninety Miles.
From Tatmagoush to the Gut of Canso no Harbour, but a good Road under the Isle Poitee. No Inhabitants ever settled in this part of the Country, and consequently no kind of Improvement. South of the Gut of Canso is Chida Couch. This is a large Bay three Leagues over, the French attempted a Settlement at the Bottom of this Bay but it proved unsuccessful in Improvements.
South of Chidabucto lyes Cape Canso and the Islands about it, being the South eastermost promontary of the Peninsula of Nova Scotia. The Islands of Canso form an Indifferent good Harbour, it is a port in high esteem among all the Fishermen of New England ; a Block house was erected here in 1722, and a Guard kept to secure the Fishermen from the Depradations of the Indians. This drew a Vast Concourse of Fishing Schooners from New England in 17'25. Above two Hundred Schooners made their Fish, and above Twenty Topsail Vessels were loaded here with Fish for Spain and Portugal, and were the like Encouragement given for the protection of Fishermen, there's not the least doubt but it would in a year or two be restored to as much as formerly, application having been made from New England, for that and would be a great means of inducing and promoting a Settlement on the main Land. It is in the Center of the most frequented Banks for Fishery.
From Canso to Lawrence Town are several good ports for Shipping but at present known only to Coasters. The Lands are indifferent in general, being rocky, principally low Spruce and Fir but notwithstanding are intermixed with good improvable Lands. All the Ports lying Eastward of Halifax are better Situated for the Fishery than the Ports to the Westward, the Cod coming sooner upon the Banks in the Spring. Fish are caught off the Isle of Sable Bank, and the Banks East of Canso and West end of the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. As to the Inland parts of the Peninsula, as far as ] have had opportunity of seeing them, they are much broken into Mountains and Lakes which are Innumerable.
On the Settlement of the Province of Nova Scotia with British Subjects depends the Security of the Fishery both in Newfoundland and New England; but many other advantages may accrue to Great Britain upon the increase of its Inhabitants, which will appear from the following observations.
From the foregoing description of the Natural growth of Timber on the Lands of Nova Scotia, it appears that in every Township there will be found great quantities of Spruce, Fir, Pine and other Species for Masts, Spars, Deals, «.tc., and considering the extent of Nova Scotia being from Three Hundred Miles from East to West, and as many North and South there will be found a sufficient Quantity to supply Great Britain with all those Materials for Ages to come. Great part of the Supplies of those Commodities are brought to Great Britain in foreign Bottoms, and the Freight and purchase paid for principally in cash, and not with British Manufacture ; and therefore a disadvantageous Trade. The difficulties at present of transferring this Channel of Trade to the Plantations is the want of a sufficient Number of Hands to fell the Timber and saw into Boards, and the distance of the Place, and consequently a longer Voyage and higher Freight : to remedy this last, if an additional Duty was laid on Deals so as to make the Freight equal, as for instance.
Duty on Deals is 28s p. 100, equal to 1,000 feet. – ₤1 8 0
Freight of 100 Deals from Norway and and the Baltic. – ₤3 0 0
The Supposed additional Duty 12s p. 100. – ₤ 12 0
- £5 0 0
Freight from Nova Scotia, 50s p. Ton, 5 0 0
100 of Deals of 1,000 feet equal to Two Tons.
This would leave the first purchase of Deals equal at the place of Shipping, but the great number of Streams fit for erecting Saw-mills abounding in every part of the Province of Nova Scotia. The Timber in the greatest plenty near to those Streams, nothing would be wanted but a sufficient number of Hands to furnish Great Britain with those Commodities with this advantage, That their own Ships to the great increase of the British navigation, would be employed, and the original purchase made with British Manufactures. There is already Fifteen Saw Mills built and building in the New Townships, which in a year or two will cut deals more than sufficient for their own Consumption ; as the Colony is daily increasing and there is the greatest probability of having large Embarkations of Protestants from the North of Ireland, this business would not only be a ready means of giving many of them a speedy Subsistance but greatly assist them in clearing the Wood Land to cultivate for the support of their Stock. In the mean time such a duty would increase the public Revenue.
Nova Scotia abounding also in Beach, Birch, Ash, &c., whose Ashes upon repeated Trials have been found to contain a greater Quantity of Salts than the Timber growing in the Southern Colonies, the Pot Ash manufactory might be carried on with great success here. As in this manufacture great Quantities of Wood are consumed in melting and refining the Salts, as an encouragement to the erecting of proper Furnaces and to keep them with a sufficient Stock of Wood a Thousand Acres ought to be destined to each Furnace which I conceive would be a good Inducement to Gentlemen of ability to erect them in every Township for a proper Furnace with building necessary for Walts, and to store the ashes will cost the proprietor at least Three Hundred Pounds Sterling. This would be a Singular advantage to the New Settler who would find immediate employment for his Subsistence and pay for the Labour of clearing his own Lands, and furnish Great Britain with the material in exchange for her own manufactures which she now purchases with Cash.
The raising of Hemp in the Southern Colonies has fail'd principally from the excessive Heats of the Summer which Stunt it and prevents its growing to a suitable Length nor could they ever bring it to a proper growth but in grounds strongly manured, and thick sown, which forced up early by the great quantity of Dung has shaded the Lands, from the excessive heats. Hut the Air of this province being more moderate in the Summer and more subject to Rain anil Damps from the Seas surrounding it, there is great Reason to hope, This useful material will succeed here, few essays have been made here thro' the Scarcity of Seed, but what has been sowed, has been on upland without manure, and has grown this Summer, (tho' uncommonly dry) to 'the height of eight and ten feet, the Inhabitants lately arrived from Ireland are of opinion that the natural Soil of this Country is sufficiently rich to produce it in great Quantity without manure.
CHAS. MORRIS, Chief Surveyor
SOURCE: Annual Report concerning the Canadian Archives, 1904, p. 290-300