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Fort Havoc (Wallace Hale)

Info The language of the text is the original used by Wallace Hale. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.

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ON THE EARLY HISTORY OF

NEW BRUNSWICK

By MOSES H. PERLEY.

A portion of a lecuture delivered before the Mechanics' Institute, St John,
in 1841, now for the first time published.

With Notes by W. F. Ganong.

——————

Introductory Note.

The indifference of the majority of our people towards our local history will inevitably be replaced in time by the deep and wide-spread interest to which its rich and varied character entitles it. In the meantime, however, material of the highest historic value is being lost, and it should be a pleasant duty for us to preserve such parts of it as may add to the glory of our people, or the knowledge of our race.

The manuscript which is to be printed in this and a few following numbers of the REVIEW, is one most worthy of preservation. Its writer was one of the truest sons that New Brunswick has yet produced; and he lived with her interests always near his heart. He was exceptionally well situated for the investigation of the period which the Ms. covers, both because of his near relationship to the leader of the first English settlement in New Brunswick, and his consequent knowledge of all the facts relating thereto, and also because he lived and was interested in these matters while many of the original Loyalists were yet living in St. John. No other man ever possesed such opportunites for the study of the early English and Loyalist Period in New Brunswick, and we cannot but feel that the manuscript below embodies but a very small part of the knowledge which, could he have written it all, would have seen so precious to us.

The manuscript includes two lectures: the first and about half of the second, treat of the period from 1492 to 1758, and having necessarily been largely compiled from printed works, contains little not to be found elsewhere. The portion printed below, and to follow, contains, we believe, material never before published; or at all events, not in an accessible form. The Ms. belongs to the author's son, Mr. Henry F. Perley, of Ottawa, and represents almost the only portion of his father's valuable papers saved from the St. John fire.

Moses Henry Perley was born at Maugerville, Dec. 31st, 1804. He was, through his mother, a grandson of Israel Perley, the leader of the Maugerville Colony as described below, and through his father, also named Moses, a grandson of Oliver, brother of Israel Perley. His early boyhood was passed at Maugerville, but [he received his primary] school education in St. John. He studied law and was called to the Bar in 1830.

From his youth he was very fond of the woods, and spent all the time he could spare from his profession with his gun and rod and Indian friends. He was a true lover of the forest, as the Indians knew when they made him their chief. He held several most responsible offices under both Imperial and Local Governments, and performed all duties in a manner most acceptable to the authorities and to the great advantage of his native country. He was a ready writer and most popular lecturer, his happiest themes being always "New Brunswick." He died in August, 1862, upon H.M.S. Desperate while engaged in official work off the coast of Labrador, and was buried with naval honors in the Episcopal burial grounds at Forteau, on the coast of Labrador, north of the Strait of Belleisle.

He had married in 1829, Jane, daughter of Isaac Ketchum, a Loyalist, and of their eight children, only one, Mr. Henry F. Perley, of Ottawa is now living.1

And now Ladies & Gentlemen, we have arrived at the period, when the settlement of this Province commenced in right earnest, and the foundation of this glorious British colony, which is daily and hourly increasing in intelligence, wealth and propsperity, was first laid in a manner not to be again disturbed.2

In 1758, at the same time the last expedition proceeded against Louisburg, a British force was sent to take possession of this Harbour [i. e., St. John.] This force, consisting of part of a regiment of Provincials & a Company of Rangers took possession of the ruins of the French fort at Carleton, and secured themselves there, in the best manner they were able, during the winter. After the winter had fairly set in, a party of the rangers under Captn. McCurdy, set out upon snow-shoes, to reconoitre the country, and ascertain the state of the French settlements, then very numerous on the River St. John. The first night after leaving here, they encamped on the side of a very steep hill near the present town plat of Kingston not far from the Belleisle. That night Captn. McCurdy lost his life, by the falling of a large birch tree, which one of the rangers cut down on the steep hill side — the tree came thundering down the mountain & killed Capt. McCurdy instantly. The party went on by the Belleisle, Washademoak Jemseg, and then along the bank of the St. John to St. Ann's Point (now Fredericton) where they found quite a Town. They set fire to the chapel, but a number of the French settlers gathered together, whereupon the rangers retreated, but being hotly pursued, they committed several atrocious acts upon people who fell in their way, to prevent their giving information. By reversing their Snow-shoes and making forced marches they got back safely to St. John. In the Spring of 1759 they rebuilt the Fort at Carleton which was then named Fort Frederick and respectable barracks were put up within it.

On the 30th Novr. 1759, Colonel Arbuthnot then commanding at Fort Frederick, wrote to the Governor of Nova Scotia, that 200 of the French inhabitants with two priests, had presented themselves to him, wishing permission to remain on their lands — their request was not however allowed.

In 1760 a party of rangers was despatched from Quebec under Captn. Rogers, to drive the French Settlers off the St. John. They performed the duty ferociously, ravaging the country & burning and destroying all before them. The French fled in all directions; Some of them making their way up the River toward Canda, were struck with the beauty and fertility of the country above the Grand Falls, and conceiving that they were not likely to be disturbed formed the settlenent of Madawaska.

From all that I have been able to learn of this foray of Captn. Rogers and his rangers, I believe that the less that is said about it, the better.3

In 1761, Fort Frederick in this Harbour was garrisoned by a Highland Regiment. In this year, the Harbour of St. John was first regularly surveyed, by Captain Bruce of the Royal Engineers, and I will now show you a large map which I have had executed from his survey.4 At this time the Provincial Governments became anxious to secure the possession of the River St. John, and prevent the French from resuming possession of its fertile banks. New England had also a particular interest in the matter, as numerous attacks upon their borders, by the Indians, were generally planned and fitted out on this River. The Governor of Massachusetts, in 1761, dispatched an exploring partry, for the purpose of ascertaining the position of affairs and the state of the country on the St. John.

The leader of that party was Israel Perley, my grandfather, who was accompanied by 12 men in the pay of Massachusetts. They proceeded to Machias by water, and there shouldering their knapsacks, they took a course thro' the woods, and succeeded in reaching the head waters of the River Oromocto, which they descended to the St. John.

They found the country a wide waste, and no obstacles, save what might be offered by the Indians, to its being at once occupied and settled, and with this report they returned to Boston. In May 1762, a party of about twenty, came to this Harbour of St. John, in a small vessel from Newburyport. Mr. Samuel Peabody, Mr. James Simonds, and Mr. James White, were the three principal persons of this party.

They arrived on the 19th day of May 1762 and landed at Portland Point, where there was a small clearing and the traces of an old French Fort.

(Mention the skeletons at Portland Point.)5

Fort Frederick was then occupied by a company of soldiers from Halifax, the Highland Regt having left. Major Gilfred Studholme was the commandant; the second in command was Captain Butler, the grandfather of Pierce Butler, the husband of Fanny Kemble. The party of adventurers who had arrived from Newburyport brought with them from that place the frame of a house. They landed and raised it on the 20th May, and on the night of the 21st they occupied it. Mr. Samuel Peabody to whom the house belonged, lived in it afterwards, and it was subsequently occupied by Mr. White (the father of our excellent sheriff,) for many years.

[Our readers will of course have noticed the abbreviations and other irregularities of Mr. Perley's manuscript. It must be remembered that the lecture was not intended for the press, but was really a running guide to the lecturer, and does not at all represent its author's syle either of writing or speech; in both of which Mr. Perley was both polished and powerful. The present editor in reproducing the manuscript simply follows the only good rule in such cases, and reproduces it verbatim et literatim.   W. F. G.]

The only cleared spots about the harbour at that time, were at and near Fort Frederick, as you perceive by the map, and the ruins of the French Fort at Portland Point. All the rest of the Harbour, & particularly where the city now stands, wore a great dreary and forbidding aspect. The party found great difficulty in penetrating into the woods in this vicinity, all the trees having been blown down, by a tremendous hurricane which swept over the country, west of the St. John, in 1758.

The general opinion of the party was against taking lands bordering on or near this Harbour, but in this opinion, Mr. Simonds and Mr. White did not concur. The party next proceeded up the river St. John, noticing as they passed, the devastated settlements of the French, and the blackened fragments of their buildings, which had been mercilessly burned. They particularly examined the remains of the celebrated old Fort of Gimisik which I have so often had occasion to mention.

(I am enabled to state, on good authority that this famous Fort, where so much fighting was done and bravery displayed, stood at the lower entrance of the Jemseg, near the residence of Charles Harrison, Esq., and on property now owned by him. Old swords, copper kettles, hatchets, and a variety of ancient articles, have been frequently ploughed up, and relics are found there to the present day.

The stumps of apple trees, planted by the French, are yet remaining, and it is well known that those trees bore fruit long after the first settlers took up their residence on the St. John.

At the close of the last lecture, Hon'ble Hugh Johnston, whose property is immediately opposite the site of the old fort, stated to me that his men ploughed up a canon ball of considerable size in his meadow last summer.)

The party pursued their course up the river from Jemseg, and on the Hill where Burton Court House now stands, they found a french settler, the last and only one who remained. On reaching St. Ann's Point (where Fredericton now stands) they found the margin of the River, along the whole of what is now the Town plat of Fredericton, cleared for about 10 rods back from the bank, and they saw the ruins of a very considerable settlement. The houses had been burned, and the cultivated land was fast relapsing into a wilderness state. At the mouth of the Nashwaak the remains of a fortress were visible. The solitary Frenchman whom they met, told them that this Fortress, was reported to have been built by a party of settlers from Scotland, long prior to the settlement of the French at St. Ann's. This statement is very likely correct, as the Earl of Stirling sent settlers to this country from Scotland, under Claude de la Tour, who probably built this Fort at Nashwaak6 at the time he built the noted Fort of Jemseg, which is fully and clearly established he did under the authority of the Earl of Stirling.

On the arrival of the party at St. Ann's they encamped and commenced a survey. While so engaged, a large party of Indian Chiefs appeared, in their war dresses, with their faces painted in a variety of colors. They were attended by about 500 warriors, and with great solemnity informed the party that they were intruders upon their rights. They said that the country belonged to them and that unless the party desisted from further operations and withdrew, they would be made to do so.

The party promised to comply with the wishes of the Indians, at the same time informing that they had full authority to survey lands on the river. The Chiefs in reply alleged that by a treaty made between them and Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia, it was stipulated that no English settlement should be made above Grimross.

The party then fell down the river about twelve miles, and then made the survey of a township which they named Maugerville.7

The next year, 1763, a party of settlers arrived from Massachusetts in four vessels. There were about 200 families, in all about 800 souls, under the charge of Israel Perley. They forthwith proceeded to the new Township of Maugerville, where they established themselves, and thus made the first permanent British settlement on the river St. John.8

[Here follow several paragraphs on the history of the North Shore, but as their substance is already in print, (in Cooney's History of New Brunswick and Gaspé), they can be omitted here.]

The settlers on the St. John, at Maugerville, in addition to the many difficulties and privations attendant on establishing new settlements in a remote part of a wilderness country, were for some time also annoyed, by threatened attacks from the Indians. But in 1765 an amicable arrangement was entered into, and a good feeling established between them and the white settlers. From that moment the decline of the Indians may be dated, and the swelling tide of civilization, as it rolls its restless course over this favored land, bids fair in a few years to sweep off the last trace of the Red man, leaving only his remembrance in the land which once belonged to him, and which for unnumbered ages he had roamed over in perfect freedom and indepedence, and in the enjoyment of a sovereign power.

On the 30th April, 1765, all the country bordering on the St. John, was erected into a county, called the county of Sunbury in the Province of Nova Scotia.

This year, 1765, was an important one to this Province. Mr. DesBarres surveyed the whole of the Bay of Fundy for the first time, and an order passed the Council of Nova Scotia directing the Honble. Charles Morris to survey the lands upon the St. John River, and between that river & the southern boundary of the Province. (St. Andrews laid out soon after this.)

On the 29th May, 1765, a writ was issued to the Inhabitants of the St. John River, in the county of Sunbury, directing them to choose a fit person to represent them in General Assembly. The Honble. Charles Morris was the first representative chosen; he served for several years, and then the late James Simonds, Esq. was elected, and he served until Sunbury was erected into a separate Province.

In consequence of the friendly relations established with the Indians, Mr. White in this year built a trading-house at St. Ann's Point, where for many years he traded with the Indians for furs, and supplied them with necessaries. The settlements on the River continued to increase slowly for some years, and a few more persons began to settle about this harbor. Messrs. Jonathan and Daniel Leavitt settled in Carleton about this time; they owned and sailed a small schooner, which they employed in trading and fishing, and that small schooner was then the only vessel owned in this harbor and the solitary keel, which cleft its waters. Think of that, ye merchants, who now send mighty ships to sea, in scores, and remember the time when the navigation of this port of St John consisted of one small schooner!

(The Messrs. Leavitt became very tired of being the only navigators, and the loneliness of the place became wearisome to them — they said to Mr. White, that they should remove to some other place, where there was a greater population and more to be done. But Mr. White encourged them to stay, concluding his observations with: "Don't be discouraged, boys, keep up a good heart! Why, ships from England will come here yet!")

In 1768 all the troops at Annapolis, Cumberland, Amherst and this place were removed to Boston, in consequence of some threatened disturbances there.

In 1772 all the country below the Oromocto, on the west side of the River, was burnt over, quite down to the coast. This fire raged with great fury, in consequence of most of the forest trees having been blown down 14 years before in the great hurricane of 1758. The Nerepis Road still bears marks of this Fire, as does all the country to the westward of us between this and the Magaguadavic. On the 4th May 1770 Wm Owen, Plato Denny and Wm. Sherwood were appointd the first Justices of the Peace in the County of Sunbury and the boundaries of the County were then defined. The County began at the St. Croix, thence along the Bay of Fundy to 20 miles above Cape Mispec, and thence extending back due north, the same breadth, to the southern bounday of Canada. All the eastern part of this Province, at that time appears to have ben considered part of the County of Cumbrerland in Nova Scotia.

Three years afterwards, in 1778, James White, James Simonds and Samuel Peabody were also appointed Justices of the Peace in the County of Sunbury.

At this time hostilities were going on between Great Britain and her revolted Colonies, now the United States, and the inhabitants in this quarter were much pressed, solicited to join the confederacy. But they stood firm in their faith to the British flag, and thereby incurred the displeasure of their western neighbours.9

In August, 1775, the rebels from Machias landed at this place, burned the fort & Barracks at Fort Frederick; and captured a brig laden with oxen and sheep for the British Army then at Boston.

The following year the Vulture, Sloop of war, was stationed in this Bay, between Annapolis and St. John, for the protection of both places, but one Sloop of war was not sufficient, for the rebels visited and plundered the Inhabitants several times in that year. In consequence of disturbances in Cumberland 50 men were sent from Halifax to keep order in that district. In Novr. a number of disaffected persons, with a number of rebels from New England, appeared before the Fort at Cumberland; they failed in their attempt upon it, and then made their way across to the Gulf Shore. Arriving suddenly at Pictou, they seized a valuable armed merchant ship, which was loading for Scotland, & with her, they made preparations for plundering St. John's Island.10 Lieut. Keppel was sent in pursuit of them — he recaptured the vessel and carried her into Charlotte Town.

On the 4th July 1776, the day on which the Americans declared their independence, Mr. Michael Franklin, the agent for Indian affairs, concluded a treaty of peace with the Indians on this River, and induced them to deliver up to him an agreement they had entered into with an agent of the rebels, to furnish them with 600 fighting men. For some time after, however, the Indians were kept in a state of ferment by emmisaries from the rebels, who were sent among them, to endeavor to excite hostilities agt. the English. The Settlers were in a state of constant alarm and uneasiness. Mr. White was appointed the Deputy of Mr. Franklin the Indian Agent, in this quarter — and to his exertions, and the great popularity he enjoyed among the Indians, may be attributed the preservation of peace with them. They called him familiarly "Wabeet," and he felt such confidence in their good feeling towards him, that he would at any time, venture alone among them; and he invariably succeeded in appeasing them, and preventing any outbreak.

In 1777 a rebel privateer visited this harbor and plundered the Inhabitants of every thing of value. From Mr. White's store alone, they carried off 21 boat loads of British merchandize. When these predatory visits, the inhabitants fled to the woods, where they remained until the plunderers departed. This last visit almost beggared them, and then, upon their urgent representations, a party of soldiers was sent from Halifax, in a transport, Dec. 1777. They were conveyed by a Sloop of war (which remained in the Harbour until the following spring) and they brought with them a Block House, ready to be put up. This they erected on the top of the high hill in Portland, which they named Fort Howe, — & thereafter a garrison was always kept there. In 1778, the indians were incited by a Colonel Allen, who resided among and had great influence over the Penobscot Indians to make an attack upon the Settlers on this harbour & also upon Fort Howe. A party of the Penobscots came thro' under their chief AU-WAH-WES to join the Milicetes under PIERRE THOMA, in the proposed attack.

A very strong force was thus assembled, at Ock-pa-haag, four miles above Fredn. where there was an Indian village11 — (Ock-pa-haag signifies "the beginning of the swift water" — the early settlers generally pronounced it Oak Park.) This force proceeded down the river in ninety canoes. Mr. White hearing of their coming, set off, in a four oared barge, unarmed, to meet them. He found them halted at the head of the Reach, opposite Wordens, and there held a long conference with the Chiefs.

Pierre Thoma, who had the Chief command was inclined to listen to Wabeit, but the other Chiefs were not. At length "the talk" was broken up, by Thoma saying that before giving a final answer he would consult his God — He then retired apart from the rest and threw himself flat upon his face, on the soft sand beach of the river. He there lay montionless nearly an hour; then rising, he again assembled the chiefs around the Council Fire. Then he informed that he had consulted his God, who had told him, that he had always recd. good treatment from King George's men; that King George had never injured him, but had given him many presents. That he knew nothing of Washington or his men, and he had determined to keep peace with King George & his people, and should return with his followers to Ock-pa-haag. This gave great dissatisfaction to the Penobscots, but they were forced to give in & Au-wah-wes & his party accompanied Mr. White to St. John, while Tomah returned to the village. This was a bold stroke of policy, and Mr. White ran a risk which few men would willingly have encountered. His exertions on this occasion were so effectual, that there was never afterwards even a threat of hostilities from the Indians, and all has remained in quiet ever since.

In 1779 Mr. White, by order of Govt. erected a building at Indian Town for the accomodation of the Indians when they came to trade.

And now Ladies and Gentlemen we come to a point of great interest in our history.

On the 16th December 1782, the governor of Nova Scotia received a letter from General Carleton, dated at New York, stating that many families, determined on maintaining their allegiance to the British Crown, would come to Nova Scotia, and settle on the ungranted lands within its extensive limits. "If the revolted Colonists were proud of their declaration of independence, well may the loyal Refugees exult with honest becoming pride in their Declaration of fidelity, fidelity proved to the uttermost."

The praises of their unflinching loyalty & devoted patriotism should sound in their aged ears, whilst yet they can hear, from the mouths of their sons & daughters; those praises should be reiterated & perpetuated at our public festivals & anniversaries as the noblest epitaphs which can hallow the acts & principles of the worthy dead, and do honor to the cause for which they endured and suffered — for which they bled and fell — that of their Sovereign and their country. In May 1783 the first fleet, with a large number of these brave spirits, who had abandoned all to maintain their loyalty, arrived in this Harbour. The point of land on which this City stands had been previously laid out in Town lots, by Paul Bedell (the Father of J. L. Bedell Esq.) and had been named Parr Town, after Gov. Parr of Nova Scotia.

The first party of Loyalists that arrived, landed at the present Market Square, cleared away the dense forest then standing upon it, & with ships sails made hurricane houses, under which, with their women & children, they got the best shelter they could. On the day of their arrival, they were all regaled with fresh salmon, which were caught in great numbers in the harbour, and which were furnished the new comers at the standard price of 7½d. each. The whole of this City was then in a perfect state of wilderness; the wood was dreadfully thick and greatly encumbered with windfalls.

Each man as he arrived drew one of our City Lots, which he forthwith proceeded to clear, and the next operation was to put up a log-house. I am indebted to David Hatfield Esq. almost the sole survivor of those who arrived here in May 1783 for many particulars connected with the arrival & settlement of the Loyalists, for which I beg to tender him my thanks.

Mr. Hatfield tells me he drew a lot in the Lower Cove, near the present Marine Hospital, and that he cut down upon it with his own hands, spruce trees 15 Inches in diameter. In June another fleet arrived, and vessels continued coming all the Season, and in the succeeding winter there could not have been less than 5,000 Inhabitants on a spot, which a few months previously had reposed in the Silence and Solitude of the primeval forest.

The disbanded soldiers of the 42d. Regt. drew their lots chiefly upon Union Street, and they erected almost a continued line of log Houses from York Point to the back Shore. At the east end of Union St., at the back of the Block House, and all around the back Shore, there was a thrifty growth of spruce, very large and handsome trees. King's Square was then a very thick Cedar Swamp, and I have heard several amusing anecdotes from persons who had been lost in its labyrinths, one in particular of an inhabitant who wandered about in it, one whole day, in search of his lost cow. King Street was partially settled the first winter. The Father of the present Messr. Sears drew the lot on King Street where the hat store now stands, and I well remember the late Mr. Sears telling me in his life-time that the surveyor went with him, to show him his lot in the bushes, and that after some search, they found the right blaze on a spruce tree at the corner of the lot; that he pulled off his coat, hung it on the corner tree, and with his own hands proceeded with a heavy heart to cut down the trees, & endeavour to establish for himself a house in the wilderness.

In 1788 Major Studholme was Commandant at Fort Howe, having under him Captain Balfour and a party of troops. Each loyalist on his arrival, was furnished by Govt. with 500 feet refuse boards, with which to make a shanty, until they could get up a log-house. With the first arrival of Loyalists Colonel Tyng came as Agent, and with him Commissary Hart — the latter occupied the House and Stores of Mr. Simonds at Portland point, where rations were furnished the new comers. But notwithstanding these and other arrangements for their comfort, great distress and misery were endured by this noble band of loyal spirits, and their suffering wives & children. Many died the first winter from the small pox, fever & other diseases, induced & aggravated by the want of shelter and other privations.

When we consider that these truly loyal men, had to brave, for the first time, the horrors of a long & bitter winter, in hovels, barely sufficient to shelter their shivering limbs from "the pelting of the pitiless storm," in a dreary region, with scarcely a human habitation to be seen, to struggle with difficulties and privations incalculably severe, & without an object on which the eye could rest, save dismal swamps, frowning cliffs and dark interminable forests, have we not reason to admire their cheerful submission, their indomitable perseverence, their devoted patriotism?

In a dispatch dated 30th Sept. 1783, Gov. Parr stated to the Colonial Minister, that the number of Loyalists who had arrived in Nova Scotia up to that time amounted to 18,000 & three weeks after he reported the arrival of 2,000 more. Major Studholme's account for furnishing lumber and erecting houses for the Loyalists, between the 1st day of June and the 31st day of December 1783, amounted to £6,721-6-6 which amount was allowed & paid him by Government.

In the summer of 1874(sic) more persons came from the United States, while many of those who had arrived the preceeding year, moved up the River from this place to farms which had been allotted them, & on which they settled. The building of wharves in the harbour was commenced this year (1784). That Spring, a weir was built from Portland Point to York Point, and the quantity of fish taken it it was almost beyond belief. On one occasion, the gaspereaux lay, knee-deep, for three rods back from the weir, all the way across from Point to Point. The weir was scuttled in three places, to let the fish out; yet of the immense quantity which remained, a large portion spoiled, from the impossibility of taking care of them, as well as for the scarcity of salt. Salmon were very abundant this year, yet the price advanced to ninepence each. For two years after this City was settled, the Inhabitants did not follow the exact line of the Streets, but used paths along the most convenient places according to the nature of the ground. The City, at that time was divided into two setlements, the upper Cove and the lower Cove, which for a long period, carried on a violent opposition to each other. The Lower Cove was almost wholly cleared up the first year; the principal business establishments were placed there & it had much the greatest population.

The two setttlements of Upper and Lower Cove were divided by forest for some time, and all the carting and carriage between the upper and lower part of this City, was carried on by the beach at low water — along by Pettingell's Yard and Reed's Point. This way was very rough & difficult, particularly where Mr. John Walker is now building the splendid new Custom House. There the beach was encumbered with large masses of rock. Dock Street was for a long time, only a narrow foot path, along the edge of a rocky cliff, and people passing along it, were obliged (particularly in winter) to hold on to the small bushes and roots which clung to the rocks to prevent them slipping off, and rolling down upon the wild & rocky beach beneath them. At low water, they went over to Portland by crossing on the flats from York Point to the Point where Messrs. Harris & Allan's Foundry now stands. It was three years before a Bridge was got across. There was no road leading out of Town for some time — the only outlet was by a path along the bank of the Marsh Creek. There were 3 or 4 houses on the marsh, and one back of Lily Lake, and one at Indian Town in 1783.

In the summer of 1784, a fire burned all the wood off the lower part of the Town as far up as Princess Street. Some log houses were burned, and the rest were saved with difficulty. (They had no water-pipes, or fire plugs then). The value of City lots at this time was from 10/ to £5. Mr. Hatfield tells me that the lot at the Coffee House corner was held at 15 Guineas, but being considered too high did not find a purchaser. Many lots on King St. were sold for a Jug of rum, and Mr. John Clark the baker, also an old loyalist, tells me, that he could have had as many lots as he wished in the Lower Cove, by paying for the deed and standing treat — and that in fact some of the valuable lots he now holds were acquired on those terms. The first vessel built in this harbour of St. John was built exactly where the New Market House now stands, and was a brig of 160 Tons. Coasters this year flocked to the St. John in tolerable numbers, and by the kindness of the Sheriff of St. John, I am enabled to show the original Custom House Book from Novr. 1783 to Oct. 1784. On 9th Feby. 1784 Wm. Tyng, James Peters & George Leonard were appointed Judges of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Sunbury.

But this vast and variable Country was not destined to remain much longer a county of Nova Scotia, the whole of which it so greatly exceeds in extent.

On the 16th Aug 1784 a Commn. issued under the Privy Seal to Thomas Carleton Esquire appointing him Captain General & Govr. in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, the boundaries of which (the same as at persent) were defined and established by Commission. On the 22nd day of Novr. 1784 this commission was received & promulgated at this place, and the first entry in our Council record is as follows,—

"Parr Town, 22 Nov. 1784."

His Majesty's Commission above recited, constituting and appointing Thos. Carleton Esq. Captn. Genl. & Govr. in Chief of this Province, having been duly published, His Excellency repaired to the Council Chamber where he took the Oaths by law required and administered the same to George Duncan Ludlow, James Putnam, Abijah Willard, Gabriel Ludlow, Isaac Allen, Wm. Hazan and Jonathan Odell, Esquires, they being the number nominated in the Kings Instrutions to be of His Majesty's Council for this Province, and then the Govr. and the members above named having taken their seats in Council, a Proclamation of the Govr. was read notifying the boundaries of the Province as established in the Kings Commn. and commanding all Officers civil & military to continue in the execution of their respective Offices.

Advised that the said Proclamation be this day published.

And here, Ladies and Gentlemen, my Lecture ought properly to cease, but I shall take you a step further without trespassing much longer on your time.

Before this was erected into a separate Province, and while it remained a county of Nova Scotia, a great number of extravagant and improvident grants had been made. Among others Sir Andrew Snape Hammond, at one period Govr. of Nova Scotia, got 100,000 acres on the Hammond River, which took its name from him. Sir John St. Clair got 100,000 acres between the Kennebeckasis and the Washademoac. Our Govr. & Council forthwith set about escheating these large grants, because the conditions of settlement were not complied with, and they acted with such spirit, determination, and high sense of duty, that nearly the whole of the lands so improvidently granted were reverted to the crown, and thus a great barrier to the settlement of the Province was removed, and a field opened to the energy, enterprise & industry of the real settler.

On the 14th Jany. 1785, regulations for the orderly and speedy settlement of New Brunswick were established & published and on the 22nd Feby. following, an order passed for the speedy building and orderly settlement of a Town at St. Ann's point, which it appears Govr. Carleton had visited in person, and selected as the site for a Town and it was ordered to be called Frederick Town after His Royal Highness the Bishop of Osnaburg.

On the 2nd March the ungranted lands on the Miramichi were ordered to be laid out for settlement. In April the following estimate for the civil service of the Province was recd. from Lord Sidney, one of the Prindipal Secretaries of the State.

Governor
Chief Justice
Atty Genl
Secy. Regr. & clerk of Council
Naval officer
Survey. Gen.
4 missionaries at £75 each
Agent
Contigencies
 
      Total
£1,000
500
50
250
100
150
300
150
500
——
£3,100

29th April, 1785, the Atty. Genl. was ordered to prepare a Charter for incorporating the Towns of Parr and Carleton into a City to be called St. John; that charter we are all well acquainted with, as we have it constantly before us. On the 23rd Aug. 1785 the first grant under the great seal of New Brunswick was passed, and bore the number one. It was a grant to Major Menzies of 500 acres of land at Musquash, and is the same property on which Archibald Menzies Esq. now resides.

On the 26th Augt. Col. Allen, Colonel Winslow, Lieut. Dougald Campbell, Lieut. Edw. Steele, and Lieut. Munson Hoyt were appointed Trustees for effecting the speedy Settlement of Fredericton.

In May 1775(sic) Letters Patent under the Great Seal were issued for ascertaining and confirming the boundaries of the several Counties within the Province, & for sub-dividing the same into Towns and Parishes, and in October following writs were issued to the Sheriffs of the Several Counties for a General Election at which every Inhabitant, who had been three months a resident was entitled to vote. The Election proceeded and it appears that there were great riots during its continuance in the City — the Poll was held at Mallards Tavern in King Street, now known as the Bonsall property, and the violent proceedings which took place there were speedily denounced by an order of the Govr. & Council.

On the 9th Jan. 1786 the first Genl. Assembly met in St. John in the old yellow wooden building, opposite the residence of the Honbl. Hugh Johnston, which was pulled down by the Hon. John Robertson last season to erect the new brick house adjoining his own residence.

His Excy. Govr. Carleton, at the opening of the Assembly, made a most excellent speech, — a part of which I must give you. He said:—

"A meeting of the Several Branches of the Legislature for the first time in the New Province, is an event of so great importance, and must prove so conducive to its stability and prosperity, that I feel the highest satisfaction at seeing His Majesty's endeavours to procure the Inhabitants every protection of a free government in so fair a way of being fully sucessful.

"The preceding winter was necessarily spent in guarding the people against those numerous wants, incident to their peculiar situation; and the summer has been employed, as well in the prosecution of this essential business as in dividing the Province, and establishing the several Offices and Courts of Justice, requisite for the security of the farmer, while engaged in raising a support for his family; and now that the season of the year renders travelling commodious and allows you leisure to attend to the public business without interruption to your private affairs, I have called you together, in compliance with the Royal Instructions, that you may put the finishing hand to the arduous taks of organizing the Province by re-enacting such of the Nova Scotia laws as are applicable to our situation, and passing such bills as you shall judge best calculated to maintain our rapid advances towards a complete establishment of this country."

After directing the attention of the Legislature to various import objects, His Excellency concludes his speech as follows:—

"The liberality of the British Govt. to the unfortunate Loyalists in general, & the peculiar munificence & parental care of our most Gracious Sovereign to those of them settled in New Brunswick, call loudly for every return that an affectionate and favored people can make, and I am persuaded that you cannot better show your gratitude on this behalf, for the many unexampled instances of National & Royal Bounty, than by promoting Sobriety, Industry, & the practice of Religion — by discouraging all factions and party distinctions amongst us, & inculcating the utmost harmony between the newly arrived Loyalists, and those of His Majesty's Subjects formerly resident in the Province. And, Gentlemen, it is with real pleasure I declare, that our prospects are so favourable, that your exertions for those beneficial purposes can scarcely fail to render this Asylum of Loyalty, the envy of the neighbouring States, & that by exercising the acts of peace, they who have taken refuge here, will not only be abundantly recompensed for their losses, but enabled to enjoy their connection with the parent State, and retain their allegiance to the best of Kings, which their conduct has proved they prize above all other considerations."

Ladies & Gentlemen, I intended to have gone somewhat further with you but the hour warns me, that I have already gone too far. We have now traced this Province thro' all its changes & mutations from the discovery of Cabot in 1497 down to the opening of the first Assembly in 1786 — nearly three centuries. We have gone over a great period of time and thro' an immense variety of incident in the brief space allotted to these lectures. I have shown you this city while a wilderness, and while the whole of its shipping (now numbering tens of thousands of tons of as splendid ships as float the ocean) consisted of ONE SINGLE SMALL SCHOONER. Ladies & Gentn. let me conclude by thanking you for your attce. and the great attention with which you have listened to my discourse.

The end of the Lecture.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES.

During the publication of this lecture we have learned from Mr. J. W. Lawrence, who was present when it was delivered, that Mr. Perley used no notes or manuscript whatever, either for this or his many other lectures. This accounts for the irregularities of this manuscript, which was undoubtedly but a series of notes for his own guidance in preparing the lecture. Mr. Lawrence and others describe Mr. Perley as a particularly pleasing and powerful public lecturer.

In two letters written by the late John Quinton of St. John, to the late G. A. Perley, of Fredericton, now in possession of Miss Perley of Fredericton, are some facts of much interest supplementing some statements in the above lecture. Mr. Quinton, who died a few years ago, was born in 1807, and was a grandson of Hugh and Eizabeth Quinton, who came to St. John with Peabody, Simonds, White, and others, in 1762. They passed the winter at Fort Frederick and moved up to Maugerville with Israel Perley's party the next year. It was from his grandmother, certainly a reliable authority, that Mr. Quinton often heard, as he says in his lettters, that the declaration of May 1776, by the Maugerville settlers, was "an act forced upon them in their defenceless state; the only chance, as it then appeared, to escape an impending and fearful calamity; a frightful Indian raid threatened, to all appearance seemed imminent. A clever ruse she always deemed it, to so tickle the ears of the rebel congress as to induce that body to hold back their Indian allies."

Mr. Quinton positively states that the Simonds-White-Peabody party of 1762 landed on the 28th of August — not in May as Mr. Perley has it — and that Fort Frederick was then unoccupied by soldiers. It was in the fort that many of the party passed the first winter. This date is also given by Mr. Lawrence in "Footprints," p. 4. Mr. Quinton says: "Fort Frederick in Carleton, then unoccupied, was where Captain Peabody, Hugh Quinton and wife, and some others, landed and took possession of the fort. Simonds, White and the balance of the little party went to the north side of the harbour, now known as Simond's Point [Portland Point] and commenced there the erection of a house, the material for which they had brought from Newburyport."

Mr. Quinton in his letter calls attention to an advertisement in the Boston Gazette and News-Letter of Sept. 20th, 1762, notifying, all the "signers under Captain Francis Peabody for a township at St. Johns River in Nova Scotia, that they meet at the house of Mr. David Ingalls, innholder in Andover, on Wednesday, the 6th day of October next, at 10 o'clock, p. m., in order to draw their lots, which are already laid out; and to choose an agent to go to Halifax on their behalf, and also to do any matters and things that shall be thought proper for them. And whereas, it was voted at their meeting, April 6th, 1762, that each signer should pay by April 20th Twelve shillings for laying out their land, and six shillings for building a mill thereon, and as some of the signers have neglected payment they must pay the amount at the next meeting or be excluded and others admittd in their place. [Signed] James Frye, John Farnum, jr., Henry Ingalls.   Andover, September 2nd, 1762." The lots were drawn and a location ticket given, which for a long time was all the settlers had to show for their rights. Grants from the Nova Scotia Government were afterwards obtained, though not in all cases, which gave rise to trouble subsequently.

W. F. G.      

——————————

  1.   For permission to publish this Ms. as well as for these particulars as to his father's life, our readers must join the present writer in thanking Mr. Perley. A more complete and more worthy sketch of Moses Perley's life will in due time appear.   W. F. Ganong.

  2.   We have throughout followed the original as closely as possible, even to retaining the punctuation and abbreviations.   W.F.G.

  3.   An interesting confirmatory reference to this same event is to be found on p. 102 of "Notitia of New Brunswick," a rare and interesting book published in St John in 1838.   W.F.G.

  4.   A copy of this map, probably the very one shown by Mr Perley, is now in the Crown Lands Office in Fredericton.   W.F.G.

  5.   Here and there through the Ms. are references like this — evidently subjects of side-remarks by the lecturer.   W.F.G.

  6.   It is now known that this fort was built by the French in 1692. It was called by them Fort St. Joseph.   W.F.G.

  7. How irreleveant a circumstance often changes history. Had the settlers been allowed to make their survey, they would doubtless have settled there, and the site of Fredericton must have been later fixed elsewhere.   W.F.G.

  8.   The facts in the last three paragraphs are of very great value as fixing the exact dates of the advent of the New Englanders to New Brunswick; the dats are wrongly given in some printed works.

Among some papers loaned the present editor by Miss Perley, of Fredericton, great granddaughter of Israel Perley, occurs one tattered old fragments of a Ms., evidently part of a much longer document, which has some additional facts of value. It is undated, but very old, and certainly written by one of the early settlers. The part torn away I have provisionally supplied in italics, and the words in small capitals are marked through with a pen in the original. It is headed, "State of Facts."

In the year 1761 a number of DISBANDED Provincial
officers and soldiers in New England
who had servd. in several Campains
During the then french war
agreed to form a settlement on St. John
River in Nova Scotia, for which Purpose
they sent one of their number to Halifax who obtained
an order of Survey for Laying out a
Township in mile squares in any Part
of St. John's River (the whole being then
a Desolate wilderness)
This Township called magerville was laid out in the year 1761
            [or 1762?]
and a number of settlers enert into it
; Encouraged by the King's Proclamation
for settling the land in Nova Scotia
in which among other things was this clause
that People emigrating from the
New England Provinces to Nova Scotia
should enjoy the same Religious Priviledges
as in New England—
and in the above-mentioned order of
Survey was the following words—viz,
"you shall Reserve four Lots in the Township
"for Publick use, one as a Glebe for the
"Church of England, one for the Dissenting
"Protestant; one for the maintenance
"of a School, and for the first
"settled minister in Place."
These orders were strictly complyd. with
IN THE YEAR 1763 but finding Difficulty
in obtaining a Grant of this Township
from the government of Noca Scotia
on account of an order from home
that those Lands should be Reservd.
for Disbanded forces, the settlers Did in
the year 1763 Draw up and forwarded a
Petition to the Lords of Trade and Plantations
setting forth the s    ervices they had Done
for government in    the last war
The encourage    ment they received
for Removing to    Nova Scotia at a
great expense, the    ir efforts for
bringing forwd. a    survey of the land
and Praying for a g    rant of land
which they had settled.
Here it ends abruptly. The present editor has had called to his notice by his friend, Dr. B. Rand, that the fact of these colonists being disbanded soldiers is important, and serves to differentiate this colony from others founded in Nova Scotia about the same time.

A writer in the Magazine of American History for February, 1891, says these colonists came from Byfield, Ipswich, Rowley, Boxford and Marblehead, and that Israel Perley was from Boxford.   W.F.G.

  9.   It is well known that in 1776, a month prior to the Declaration of Independence, the Maugerville Settlers, at a public meeting, declared themselves in sympathy with the revolted colonists. This has been made a reproach to these people, but unjustly. It must be remembered that the hardships and many sore trials of their thirteen years separation from their old homes and friends in New England, would rather strengthen than weaken their best sentiments towards the one, and their sympathy for the wrongs of the other. We should rather regret than condemn their action. Afterwards they became loyal enough to Britain.

This is the place to say, that some of the descendents of Israel Perley, and perhaps others, have been told by the old people and believe, that this action of the settlers in 1776 was not inspired by hostility to Great Britain, but was primarily an act of policy, to secure for their defenceless homes security from the attacks of the Indians, whom they well knew the colonies would endeavor to incite against everybody and every thing British. That such an effort was made is shown a little farther on in this lecture   W.F.G.

10.   [i. e. Prince Edward Island.]

11.   At Spring Hill.

 


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