HALIFAX - 260 years old - since June 21, 1749

Talk about everything else here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Official historian
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:48 pm
Location: Upper Canada

HALIFAX - 260 years old - since June 21, 1749

Post by pud » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:44 pm

Twatio, Bill (Editorial Staff – 1999). Canada at war and peace: a millennium of military heritage. Volume one: the formative years 1006-1913. Webcom Limited; Esprit De Corps Books. P.26.

“ Even as England returned Louisburg to France, it took measures to neutralize it. On 21 June 1749, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Cornwallis sailed into Chebucto harbour with a dozen ships and 2000 settlers, charged with building a naval base and fortress.

At 36, Cornwallis was a well-connected career officer who had fought the French at Fontenoy and had participated in the slaughter of the Highland Scots at Culloden. Tall, slender and thoroughly aristocratic, he was unusual among contemporary governors in that he was incorruptible. If the new colony did well by its founding father, it could have done much better with its original inhabitants. "The ragtag and bobtail of London straight out of Hogarth's prints," one critic concluded. Although many were war veterans, lured by the promise of land and a year's supply of rations, once released from military discipline they degenerated into a mob of loafers, thieves and drunks. Most wanted only a chance to get to the new world, live on the King's rations and then hurry along to New England.

They stayed on the ships at first, but Cornwallis immediately ordered the men to start cutting trees along the waterfront. Within a month, they had cleared five hectares. Colonel Thomas Hopson, who had handed Louisburg over to the French, arrived with the garrison from the fortress in August and he and his men were put to work building fortifications. Ships from Boston brought lumber and shingles and huts, houses and streets took shape. During the day, the little settlement-named after the Earl of Halifax, Lord of Trade and Plantations-bustled with men and women going about their tasks. Night was given over to drunken revelries for there were makeshift taverns everywhere and rum was the staple beverage."

Cramped, dirty and subsisting on salt meat and hard-tack, hundreds of the first Haligonians died of typhus in the winter of 1749-50. But as fast as a British died or fled, New Englanders took their place and the building went on. The Yankees were not universally popular. One settler wrote of them: "Of all the people upon earth I never heard any bear so bad a character for Cheating designing people & All under Ye Cloak of religion." They were joined by more than 2000 Germans, German-speaking Swiss and French Protestants recruited from southwestern Germany and the Montbéliard District on the border between France and Switzerland in an attempt to counter of the French and Catholic presence in Nova Scotia. Some moved on to found a settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia."

Post Reply