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Aboriginals
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1749 - 1759
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Lithograph: The founding of Halifax, 1749 - NAC/ANC C-000125
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1749 - 1759: Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia was the first part of what is now Canada to win representative government. Settlers there set the stage for future struggles in other parts of British North America.

Topics in this section:

The Founding of Halifax and the Agitation of the Settlers
The First Representative Government
Other Interesting or Important Documents

The Founding of Halifax and the Agitation of the Settlers
Many of the settlers in the newly founded town of Halifax were from New England and expected representative government. They began agitating for an elected assembly.

The Colonial Office in Britain agreed, and instructed the governor, Colonel Edward Cornwallis, to take the necessary steps. He did not do so, however, as he believed the colony was still too endangered by the French in Louisbourg and Mi'kmaq attacks.

The First Representative Government
The next governor, Charles Lawrence, was also reluctant to grant representative government. The settlers and the Colonial Office continued to press the issue however, and ultimately, the first assembly was formed in 1758.

Painting: Nova Scotia Assembly which met for the first time in the Court House, Halifax, 1758 - NAC/ANC C-013955
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The tug-of-war over the issue is reflected in the documents below.

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William Murray and Richard Lloyd to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, April 29th, 1755
(Authors seek an elected assembly.)

READ the summary
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Governor Lawrence to Lords of Trade and Plantations, 8th December, 1755
(Governor indicates that he does not believe it practical to form an assembly.)

READ the summary
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Lords of Trade to Governor Lawrence, March 25th, 1756
(Lords of Trade believe it a greater evil not to have an elected assembly.)

READ the summary
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Lords of Trade to Governor Lawrence, July ye 8th, 1756
(Repeats importance of forming an assembly.)

READ the summary
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Governor Lawrence to Lords of Trade, 3rd November, 1756
(Restates his objections to forming an assembly.)

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At a Council holden at the Governor's House in Halifax on Monday the 3rd Jany, 1757
(Laying the groundwork for elective assembly.)

READ the summary
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Lords of Trade to Governor Lawrence, March 10th, 1757
(The Lords leave the formation of the assembly at Lawrence's discretion.)

READ the summary
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Governor Lawrence to Lords of Trade, 9th November, 1757
(Lawrence happy that the Lords agree that time not right to form an assembly.)

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Lords of Trade to Governor Lawrence, Feby 7, 1758
(The Lords state that an assembly should be formed in as short a period of time as possible.

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At a Council holden at the Governors House in Halifax on Saturday the 20th May 1758
(More preparations for election.)

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Governor Lawrence to Lords of Trade, 26 September, 1758
(Sanction needed for rules and laws of the assembly.)

READ the summary
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Governor Lawrence to Lords of trade, 26 December 1758
(Announces that an assembly has been formed.)

READ the summary
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To learn more about the history of Nova Scotia:

Etching : The Governor's House and St. Mather's Meeting House, Hollis Street... Halifax, 1764 - NAC/ANC C-002482
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Other Interesting or Important Documents:

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