Memoir of John Parr
Governor John Parr was directly descended from Lord Parr, Baron Kendal, who was a well-known nobleman, in the north of England, in the reign of Henry VIII. The arms of their family are to be seen in the Parr Chapel of Kendal Church, Westmoreland [sic]. The eldest son of this nobleman emigrated to Ireland and settled in 1620 at Belturbet, County Cavan.
In 1641, the family in County Cavan was represented by John Parr. In that year, the most bloody of the Irish rebellion, the Protestants of the neighbourhood were driven by the Irish rebels to take refuge in Belturbet Church. The rebels surrounded the church, blocked the doors, and set fire to the building. All the Parr family?nine in number,?inside the church perished except the infant son of John Parr, who was thrown out a window, into the arms of a faithful servant. This child named John, became the father of another John Parr, born 1672, who fought at the battle of the Boyne, and also at Blenheim, Marlborough's greatest victory.
There Parr won distinction, and the notice of the great commander. Entrusted with dispatches, at a most critical moment, in that immortal fight to a distant post, directing the general commanding to hold a most doubtful position until relief could be afforded, Parr was desperately wounded, but managed to deliver his orders, thus greatly contributing to the glory of the victory. John Parr served through Marlborough's campaign, but becoming
crippled through severe wounds, he was admitted in 1739 to the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin, as a decayed, maimed and ancient officer. He died in Dublin in 1764, aged ninety-two. In 1702, he had married Eleanor, daughter of David Clements, of Rath Kenny, County Cavan, Ireland, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. All three sons went into the army, and the youngest, John, is the subject of this memoir.
John Parr, the future Governor of Nova Scotia, was born at Dublin, 20th December, 1725, and , after a moderate course of study at Trinity High School, he was on the 26th May, 1744, gazetted Ensign of the 20th Regiment of Foot (Kingsley's and Wolfe's Regiment). Parr was then in his nineteenth year, early in life, to enter upon a career of military activity, when the great powers of Europe were at war, and when a soldier's life was one of arduous and uninterrupted service.
At this period, Frederick the Great was making himself famous, by his ambitions and his aggressive campaigns, and Britain with her trammeling connections with Hanover, was often drawn most unwillingly into the Continental imbroglios. For fifty years, our country poured out its blood, and treasures, to preserve the balance of power in Europe, among nations, with whom she had but little in common. To-day we appreciate these sacrifices of our forefathers at their true value. The Marlborough campaigns and victories were to them of dazzling splendour, and even the reverses under Cumberland were condoned, by the gallantry of her troops; but time the great arbitrator now proclaims unmistakably, that as far as Britain was concerned, they were a succession of useless slaughters and barren in results.
John Parr's experience as a young subaltern in the 20th Regiment was arduous. It was a regiment continually in revolt and trouble. When it had the chance, it fought brilliantly, but at times had the misfortune of bad handling by incompetent officers. It was a mutiny in this particular regiment, which brought the hero Wolfe to the front. While encamped
at Fort Augustus in the Scotch Highlands in 1747, a mutiny broke out, in which the majority of the rand and file took part. Wolfe was selected to bring the regiment to reason. Our founder Cornwallis had to abandon his position in the regiment, to make way for Wolfe, who by judicious handling, the exercise of diplomacy, and common sense, as well as the summary execution of over twenty of the ringleaders speedily suppressed the revolt, and brought the regiment to reason. Wolfe's success won the admiration of Pitt, and resulted in his appointment to the command of the forces then mustering or the operations America.
In 1745, Parr was present with his regiment at Fontenoy, and in that obstinate and terribly contested conflict, received his baptism of fire. In 1746, he was at Culloden with the British forces, under the "Butcher" Cumberland, an was there severely wounded. For several years in the north of Scotland, he served in what was then called, the pacification of the Highlands, in which there was no glory, and much needless cruelty. For a time, he was adjutant to Wolfe then in command of the 20th Foot, and from letters still preserved by the Parr family, appears to have been on intimate terms with him. In those days when the professional attainments of most of the officers of the Army, were exceedingly meagre, and the standard of morals and manners in the service very low, it must indeed have been a very great advantage to a young subaltern, to be brought into close contact, with so cultivated and zealous a soldier, and so broad-minded and honourable a gentleman as Wolfe.
With the 20th Regiment, Parr served for eleven years, in various garrisons abroad and, on the 4th of January 1756, he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and with his corps was ordered to the relief of Minorca. In this expedition, the prestige of Britain suffered severely, for it ended in the well-merited disgrace and execution of Admiral Byng.
In 1757, Parr was with his regiment, as part of the great expedition under Sir John Mordaunt, fitted out to capture Rochefort,
which, owing to the incompetence of the commander, signally failed. In 1759, he was present with his regiment, at the glorious, but inconclusive victory of Minden.* In this great engagement, the British forces suffered severely, the 20th Regiment behaved heroically and was practically cut to pieces. Capt. Parr was severely wounded, and had to stay in hospital at Leipsie six months, before he recovered and returned to duty. In 1760, he again distinguished himself with the 20th and the British forces, in the attack on the French at Warburg. In 1762, he was with the forces, when the allied army captured Casel. In 1763, he was advanced to the rank of Major, and with his regiment received the thanks of Parliament.
After the Peace of Paris, the regiment march through Holland, embarked for England, and arrived at Plymouth, but, without being permitted to land, was dispatched to Gibraltar, at that time, considered to be, the most unhealthy station in Europe. Here Parr, with his corps, remained six years. On 26th August, 1771, he was advanced by purchase to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and placed in command of his regiment, after twenty-seven years of most laborious work, in which he distinguished himself for his patient attention to duty and his intense interest in the welfare of his comrades in arms. Parr was no carpet knight; he won his spurs by devoted attention to his profession and to his gallantry which he proved on many fields.
It may truly be said that but few men who had entered the military service with him, had survived so many risks and so much suffering. There was hardly any ill incident to a soldier's life from which he did not suffer?fever, hunger, thirst, sunstroke, broken bones, extremes of heat, cold, exposure, criminal neglect of the commissariat, these were inseparable from military
* The 20th was one of the famous six British regiments which, owing to a mistake in their orders advanced against the French calvary and defeated it. The Twentieth held the place of honor at the right of the second line and lost 322 of all ranks. "I never thought," said Contades bitterly, "to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin."
life and campaigning in those days. The battle-fields of Europe, in the middle of the 18th century form part of the history of our country and are replete in now almost forgotten records of heroism and suffering. These were the scenes of Parr's experience and exploits. The mere narration of his military career, with the 20th Foot, from ensign to colonel commanding would fill a volume. The very fact of keeping discipline under so many difficulties was an achievement of tact and skill which brought out the character of the man.
In 1761, Colonel Parr married Sara, the second daughter of Richard Walmesley of "The Hall of Ince," Lancashire, and had five children, three sons and two daughters.
From the 6th of January, 1776, until 1778, Parr resided at Dublin, his first furlough since joining his regiment in 1744. It had taken the best of his life to attain the command, and he deserves great credit for surmounting a sea of difficulties in his career, from ensign to the charge of a most difficult regiment to manage, either in garrison of field.
In 1778 by strong ministerial influence, Parr was appointed Major of the Tower of London, a position of negative importance, but with a good salary attached, one required "interest" to attain. This office, Parr held until the 13th of July, 1782, when he was superseded, and received the position of Governor of Nova Scotia.
Governor Parr with Lady Parr and family, arrived at Halifax in the transport St. Lawrence, on the 8th of October, 1782, and was sworn in as Governor and Commander-in-Chief, at a meeting of Council held on the 19th of October.
In appearance Parr was not majestic. On the contrary, he was almost insignificant, of small slight stature, withered in face, but erect, with an uncommonly bright eye, sharp metallic voice, and quick, jerky walk, with the look of one who had passed through many difficulties, and had surmounted them. Our townspeople always sharp in taking stock of a new man, at once
named him "Our Cock Robin" which stuck to him, until they buried him ten years after his arrival, under old Saint Paul's Church.
There were at least two disappointed men present at the meeting of Council at which parr took his oaths of office?Lt.-Gov. Hammond, who had been promised the position, openly expressed his chagrin and anger, and retired shortly after to Britain. The other was Lt.-Gov. Michael Francklin, who for several years had felt the resentment of the Legge faction in London, but who, conscious of his steady loyalty and trusting in the justice of the house authorities, believed up to the moment of the arrival of Parr in Halifax, that he would be re-instated in the office of which he had been so unjustly deprived. To Francklin, Parr's appointment was fatal, and he really died of disappointment, within one month after the coming of Parr to assume the position of Governor of the Province. Parr arrived on the 8th of October. Francklin died on the 8th of November, 1782.
The unpleasantness connected with his appointment did not appear to disturb Parr. It soon wore away when the Council found that the new Governor was an eminently practical man, willing to avail himself of the advice and experience of his advisors, and although not brilliant, yet possessed of a good stock of sound common sense, with an evident anxiety to discharge his duties in a prompt business-like manner, with a single eye to the comfort of all he came in contact with. He proved worthy the estimate formed of him by his advisors, and in the changing conditions of the Province, caused by the revolution in the neighbouring colonies, and the coming to Nova Scotia of a vast body of helpless loyalists, Parr with his life long experience of war, and its alarms, wants, anxieties and emergencies, was the ideal Governor.
To-day the majority of Nova Scotians, look upon this crisis in our past history with indifference. The French and American writers bring up Evangeline and mourn over an imaginary heroine
to the exclusion of all feeling of justice for the people of their own kin, who suffered for their loyalty to their country. Governor Parr has never had full justice given him for his ceaseless exertions at this period of our history. Fortunately, our provincial records bear ample evidence, of how he worked and sacrificed himself, in originating, and when necessary, seconding the Council in measures for the relief, assistance and settlement of those martyrs to their convictions,?the Loyalists of 1776-1783.
Parr was sworn in Governor in October 1782, and peace with the new republic was proclaimed on the 30th of November, 1782, and in December, a great number of ships and troops, with a large number of Loyalists, arrived from New York, and Parr's work began.
With this great work of humanity and mercy, Parr's name will be ever associated. Every day of 1783, found Parr and his Council busy in providing shelter, accommodation and food for the Loyalists. Every week brought its quota, to swell the already over-populated town. The feeding of such multitude, at that time, was a most arduous task. The flour mills at Sackville were kept at work night and day, to provide bread. Parr worked steadily, and methodically, as he had done all his life and being a seasoned veteran, it is said, was able to work at times twenty out of the twenty-four hours at the task of providing and arranging for the subsistence of such a host. The great problem was how to have them housed, before the severity of winter set in. The troops came by shiploads, and the vivid experience of Halifax at the declaration of war was repeated. Every shed, outhouse, store, and shelter was crowded with people. Thousands were under canvass on the Citadel, and at Point Pleasant, everywhere indeed where tents could be pitched. Saint Paul's and St. Matthew's churches, were crowded, and hundreds were sheltered there for months. Cabooses and cook-houses were brought ashore from the ships, and the people were fed near them on Granville and Hollis streets. There were many deaths, and all the miseries and unsanitary conditions of an overcrowded town. For four months, the bulk of these 10,000 refugees were
fed on our streets, and among them were many reared and nurtured in every comfort and luxury in the homes they had had to fly from.
In many cases these poor people had no warning but to go or die. The virulent hatred of the republicans for the loyalists can be best understood by reading the manifesto of the Boston Republicans, 9th April, 1780.
"Resolved that this town will at all times, as they have done to the utmost of their power, opposed every enemy to the just rights and liberties of mankind, and that after so wicked a conspiracy against these rights and liberties, by certain ingrates, most of them natives of these states, and who have been Refugees and declared traitors to this country. It is the opinion of this town, that they ought never to be suffered to return, but to be excluded from having lot or portion among us, and all their previous rights as citizens forfeited and divided among faithful lovers of their country, and this committee or correspondence is requested, as by the laws of this commonwealth they are, fully empowered, to write to the several towns in this commonwealth and desire them to come into the same or similar resolves, if they shall think fit."
The above resolution was carried unanimously, although the new Congress had solemnly guaranteed adequate protections to the lives and property of those who had suffered for King and Country. The different states adopted the same course as Massachusetts, and really nothing was given back. In most of the States, they had been proscribed as traitors; in all, their property had been confiscated, and Massachusetts led the van in the cruel persecution of the very best of her people. The legislators of the several States had not left the Loyalists in doubt as to their status. The laws plainly defined a traitor as one who adhered to the King of Great Britain. He who acknowledged allegiance to England, should suffer death without benefit of clergy. In Philadelphia two of the leading citizens Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Carlisle were seized on suspicion only and condemned
to be hanged. Their wives and children went before Congress, then in session and, on their knees supplicated in vain for mercy. In carrying out the sentence, the two men with halters round their necks, were marched to the gallows behind a cart attended with all the apparatus, which makes such scenes truly horrible. A guard of militia surrounded them on the march to death. At the gallows, the behavior of these martyrs to their loyalty did honor to human nature and both showed fortitude and composure. Roberts told the spectators, that his conscience acquitted him of guilt, that he suffered for doing his duty to his sovereign, and that his blood would one day be required at their hands. Turning to his children, he bade them farewell and charged them to remember his principles for which he died and to adhere to them while they had breath. A witness of his execution wrote,?"He suffered with the resolution of a Roman." After the execution, the bodies of the two men were carried away by friends, and their burial was attended, by over 4,000 of their brother Loyalists. Some of the heartless leaders of the Resolution defended this severity and thought that hanging the friends of King George would have a good effect, and give stability to the new government. Another suggested, that the Loyalists seemed designed for this purpose by Providence, as his head the King, is in England, his body the loyalists in American, and the neck ought to be stretched. All legal rights were denied a Loyalist. He might be assaulted, black-mailed, insulted, or slandered. Yet he had no recourse in law. They could neither buy nor sell. In New York alone over $3,000,000 worth of property was acquired by the State. The result was, large manors and estates were cut up into small lots and divided among the common people, thus closing out any hope to the Loyalists ever claiming their property again. Washington himself approved heartily of the confiscation and justified this act of wholesale robbery. It was in vain that the Loyalists protested and pled for justice. Such appeals fell on deaf ears. If continued protest was made, the Loyalists were adjudged offenders, and thrown into the common prisons, which in that day were places of horror. One of the most terrible of these prisons was the famous Simsbury
mine in Connecticut, in which thousands were imprisoned. In its varied horrors which shamed those of Siberia, its terrible severity and cruelty, several of the Loyalists, imprisoned in the hole, have left graphic descriptions.
On approaching the dungeons, the victims were first conducted through the apartments of the guards, then through trap-doors down to a prison, in the corner of which opened another trap-door, covered with bars and bolts of iron. This trap was hoisted by a tackle disclosing a deeper depth which the keepers called Hell. The prisoners descended a ladder down a shaft of about three feet in diameter sunk through the solid rock. Arriving at a platform, they descended another ladder, when they came to a landing; then they marched in file, until they came to a large hole, where a great number of prisoners were confined. The inmates were obligated to make use of charcoal, to dispel the foul air, which was only partially drawn off, by means of an auger hole, bored from the surface. Imagine the horror of this dungeon so overcrowded, full and dripping with moisture, and the prisoners lacking every necessary for existence. The mortality was frightful, and the unsanitary condition of the prison, a blot on humanity. The few released from this frightful captivity were compelled to give bonds never to return. Death was the penalty of returning to their homes.
In the anxiety to escape the merciless persecution of the rebels, the nature of the land they were flying to had not been studied. From Nova Scotia some of the Loyalists who had come to Halifax on the outbreak of the Revolution, sent back most favorable accounts. There were, they said, great business opportunities as well as the mere necessities for subsistence. Saw-mills could be erected, and a great business carried on, with the West Indies. The fisheries would develop into a great industry. In fact they were assured, they might in our loyal province quietly enjoy a comfortable life, freed from the detested tyranny of seditious and rebellious demagogues. Lured by these representations, over 29,000 left New York within a year. Some
endured the privations encountered, with great patience, but soon they complained of the outlook. One wrote, "All our golden promises have vanished. We were taught to believe this place was not barren and foggy, as had been represented, but we find it ten times worse. We have nothing but His Majesty's rotten pork and unbaked flour to subsist on. It is the most inhospitable climate that ever mortal set foot on. The winter is of insupportable length and coldness, only a few spots fit to cultivate, and the land is covered with a cold spongy moss, instead of grass, and the entire country is wrapt in the gloom of perpetual fog. But there is one consolation, neither Hell nor Halifax* can afford worse shelter than Boston or New York to-day." The rebels at Boston heard with delight these tales of discontent from Nova Scotia. They nicknamed our province, "Nova Scarcity." It was a land, they said, which belonged neither to this world nor the other. It was enough to give one the palsy just to look at the map. However it is no more than the Loyalists deserve.
Meanwhile in the new Republic, the career of persecution went on without pause, and violence and imprisonment and starvation awaited all, who were even suspected of loyalty to Britain. In many places, men and women were tarred and feathered, and even hanged for daring to remain or even claim their property. The Loyalists had no other course open to them, thank to leave the country, and their homes where they had hoped to die.
Halls that had rung a hundred years to the tread of their peoples feet,
The farms they had carved from the forest, where the maples and pine trees meet."
* Can this phrase refer to the old saying that coupled Hell, Hull and Halifax?
It is impossible to tell exactly, how many persons altogether became exiles. All the men who had taken an active part in the war, and were consequently most hated by the revolutionists, certainly left the United States. As we know for a fact that 20,000 men fought in the regularly organized royal regiments, we may fairly estimate, that about 100,000 men, women and children, were forced to leave and scatter throughout the world. Of this number about 35,000 came to the provinces of the present Dominion of Canada. More than two-thirds of the Loyalists settled in the Provinces of Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, the remainder in the Valley of the St. Lawrence. Most of them ended their days in poverty and exile, and as the supporters of a lost cause, history has paid but a scanty tribute to their memory.
During 1783, Parr and his council succeeded in settling several thousands of the Loyalists in the countries of Annapolis, Digby, Shelburne and Guysborough, which was so named from Sir Guy Carleton who settled several hundred of disbanded soldiers in that beautiful county. But what a host had to be attended to! The condition of the majority is thus described by Governor Parr in letters to the Home Government in August 1783. "Most wretched and helpless, destitute of everything, chiefly women and children, still on board the vessels, and he had not been able to find a place for them, though the Winter and cold was settling in very severe." Rude huts were erected during the early winter, for the temporary accommodations of these unhappy people. The British Government granted pecuniary compensation and lands to the Loyalists who had suffered for the Empire, but it took years to have these claims adjusted, and relief afforded. Many of them totally unfit for manual or farm labor, professional men, felt the keen misery of their situation in hope deferred ; several writing "That this delay of justice by the British Government, had produced the most shocking results." Eventually, the exiles who made out their claims, were voted by the British Parliament?£16,000,00 [sic] cash. Many received annuities, and half-pay officers, large grants of land, and offices in the province.
In August 1783, Parr received instructions from Governor General Carleton, to hasten, if at all possible, preparations for the reception of a further arrival of a large number of Loyalists.
"The merciless treatment of many innocent old Loyalists, by the Boston people, shamed humanity itself by the ruthless destruction of property, necessary to their support." Sir Guy also wrote to General Washington, that the utter disregard of the Vigilance Committees of Boston, and even in Philadelphia where Congress was in session, was such, that he was obliged by his relation to his government, and by humanity itself, to remove all who should wish to be removed. This removal, in view of the evacuation of New York by the British forces, had to be made in haste. Parr had this additional work to look after, and rations were issued by agents, under his direction, throughout the winter, to between nine and ten thousand persons. In September 1783, Parr received instructions from the Colonial Office, to visit and inspect and report, at once upon the position and prospects of the new town, which the Loyalists had built, on the southern shore of the province, at a place called Razoir. Parr sailed at once in the man-of-war Sophia and arrived at Port Roseway, two days afterwards. He landed and spent several days inspecting the town, and interviewing the people, He received a formal address, and in his answer, announced his instructions from England and signified his intention to name the settlement Shelburne, in honour of Lord Shelburne, afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne, Secretary of State for the Colonies. The health of the King, and prosperity of the town an district of Shelburne was drunk amid cheers from the Loyalists and a general salute from the ships. Justices of the peace were appointed, an elegant dinner was served, and a supper was given. Parr made a good impression and he sailed from Shelburne amid many testimonies of satisfaction from the inhabitants, who at this date numbered 5,000, augmented a few months after by the arrival of another 5,000.*
* See Collections of the N. S. Historical Society, Vol. VI, Watson Smith
Before the close of the year, after the evacuation of New York, 25th November, 1783, 200 more Loyalists arrived at Halifax, and 400 Negroes from New York. Many of these were slaves, and preferred following their owners to Nova Scotia; they proved a curse to the province for generations. Parr and the Secretary Bulkeley* worked night and day, without rest, in the endeavour to meet the emergency. At this day we cannot form the faintest idea of the magnitude of the task of caring for so many helpless people, almost paralysed by despair at their changed circumstances in life and ruined prospects; but Parr and Bulkeley worked well in the completion of the enormous task which circumstances had imposed upon them in sheltering and feeding, the great multitude congregated at Halifax and Shelburne, at the close of 1783. Codfish, molasses and hard biscuit, were the principal items, only a very limited supply of meat could be obtained. Meal and molasses sustained the negroes. Codfish exported to Jamaica, by our merchants, had to be sent for and bought back to sustain life in the people but in spite of all this trouble, Halifax quietly progressed. Many homes were erected on the principal streets, replacing the old shacks which had survived the early days of the settlement, the rotten material of the torn down hovels being eagerly seized by the poor people without shelter of any kind, and re-erected on the side of the Citadel Hill. There was a large amount of money sent out from England to help the refugees. Many artisans were among the newcomers. There was a great fleet in the harbour, and large garrison of troops to be fed and clothed. Great consignments of all kinds of goods were constantly arriving and although, there was much suffering and disease, Parr writes to England, that the merchants had acquired large means, although some of them had extorted as much as £3. 10s. for a hundred weight of flour.
In the autumn of 1783, Edward Fanning arrived from London and was sworn in Lieutenant-Governor of the province, to aid
* See Collections of N. S: H. S. XII, Richard Bulkely, by James S. Macdonald.
Governor Parr in the great work of settling the Loyalists. Fanning proved a popular and sensible official. He was an Irish Protestant of Ulster, possessing great estates. How he came to accept such a troublesome appointment was long a mystery, but it has since transpired that he had hopes of eventually being promoted to the position at Quebec, in other words Governor General of Canada. He proved himself a most practical official, and gave Parr great aid in the settlement of the Loyalists.
The Indians at this date had ceased to give trouble. They had given up hunting for support, and in large numbers encamped at North West Arm and Bedford Basin. Rum had already begun to play havoc with them and their usual demoralization ensued. The last of their public festivals was held this year on the 8th, of May, on the shore of the North West Arm, near the site of the Chain Rock Battery, at foot of road leading down from the Tower to Point Pleasant woods. It was the Festival of Saint Aspinquid of Mount Agamontieus, the great Indian Saint of old Acadia, falling on the day of the first quarter of the moon in May. His festival was celebrated by Indian dances, winding up by all partaking of a huge dish of clam soup, the clams being dug and cooked on the spot. A large number of Indians and townspeople attended, and the celebration was proceeding merrily and in good order, when some rebel sympathisers attempted to drink success to the new Yankee Republic in rum distributed among the people, and the festival closed in great confusion. That was the last Indian celebration of a festival, which for many years, under the directions of Francklin, had been looked forward to by Indians, and even our people, as a little holiday, for a simple and quiet amusement, but the death of Francklin, and the rebel complexion sought to be placed on the affair that day ended the matter for ever.
In January 1784, Parr writes to Lord North, that in consequence of the final evacuation of New York by the British troops, and the continued persecution of the Loyalists, a considerable number of refugee families, had followed to Halifax, and sub-
sistence for 4,000 people had to be provided for, in and about the already overcrowded town. This would cause great expense, for in the depth of winter, they could not be sent into the country. He adds, "I cannot better describe, the wretched situation of these people, than by enclosing a list of those just arrived in the transport Clinton, chiefly women and children, scarcely clothed, utterly destitute, still on board the transport, crowded like a sheep-pen as I am totally unable to find any sort of place for them, and we cannot move them by reason of the ice and snow." Again in February, Parr writes for further supplies, for the thousands who came too late to be located on lands, outside Halifax. He writes further that over 25,000 of these poor people have arrived in this unlucky season, and he expects great morality before the springs opens.
Parr's fears were well founded, as hundreds of the new-comers died from cold, exposure and fever, before the 1st of June
Several thousands of the Loyalists, who had come to Halifax in 1782, and had been forwarded to St. John River, and formed a settlement there, which they named Parr Town, in compliment to Governor Parr who had exerted himself so generously in aiding their location, were joined between 10th and the 20th of May 1783, by several thousands from New York direct. They suffered greatly during this winter of 1783, which was frightfully severe. Many lived in bark camps and tents, covered with spruce, rendered habitable only by the heavy banks of snow, piled up to keep the wind away. Many perished from the exposure. In the spring of 1784, the snow covered the ground until May, and the difficulties of the settlers were increased and aggravated by doubts as to location of their promised grants of land, and the coldness and jealousy with which they were received by the old settlers on the St. John River. However the mass of the new-comers were a clever people and worked intelligently. They represented the matter to Governor Parr and demanded a new survey of several sections held by the old settlers. Parr sent Chief-Justice Finucane over to adjust matters and to aid
in settling the people, but this created great dissatisfaction. They expected Parr to come, but, from motives of policy, he did not care to face a lot of the cleverest lawyers on the continent, and so sent the Chief-Justice. It is needless to say Finucane had a hard time to adjust the debated points. They complained of the tyranny and injustice of Governor Parr and the council at Halifax. Supplies of the necessaries of life were granted them for three years, and Finucane made every endeavour to have the survey of the appropriated lands carried out to their satisfaction, but without success. Parr writes to the Secretary of State about Finucane's efforts, to settle the people on St. John River, as speedily as possible, "I can assure your Lordship, that no attention was wanting, to procure as many surveyors as could be obtained, whilst the people, for whose services they were obtained, refused them the slighest [sic] assistance without being assured, that they were to be paid for it." During 1784 the settling of the refugees proceeded rapidly, but great suffering ensued, as the majority were utterly unfitted to help themselves.
Later on in 1784, Parr writes to the Home Office, that a total of nearly 30,000 souls, 4882 families had been located in the Provinces, on lands most suitable for occupation.
To be exact in this particular return, we must quote Colonel Mase's official report, in which he gives full particulars of the population of Nova Scotia 1783-1784.
|Old British Inhabitants. From the settlement in 1749 and
including those settlers which had come to Nova
Scotia by inducement of Lawrence after the expul-
sion of the Acadians .......................................................... 14,000
Of Loyalist and Disbanded Troops who came from 1776 to
31st Dec. 1783, Refugees called New Inhabitants .......... 28,347
French Acadians ...................................................................... 400
This return includes 3,000 Negroes who came with the Loyalists. The Indians are not given as they were not part of the settled communities.
In this letter, Parr recommends arrangements being made for additional representation in the House of Assembly. on the heels of this communication to the Secretary of State, he received a dispatch from London informing him that the Province of Nova Scotia was to be divided. The lands on the north side of the Bay of Fundy were to be erected into a new government under the New Brunswick. Colonel Thos. Carleton was to be governor of the new province, Cape Breton, and the Isle of St. John, subsequently called Prince Edward's Island were to be separate provinces under Lieutenant-Governors, subject to the control of the Governor of Nova Scotia; and a Governor-General would reside at Quebec and preside over all the British provinces in North America. Thus was Nova Scotia divided and shorn of much of her past importance and prestige.
The separation of Nova Scotia into a number of provinces went into effect without delay, and the Loyalists of St. John went fairly crazy over the inauguration of their Governor, Colonel Carleton. New Brunswick was to be the province, the home of the freemen of North America. In their address to Carleton they speak of his coming to crush the growth and arrogance of tyranny and injustice, that they were a number of insulted and oppressed Loyalists, etc. The expressions used in the address, were tinctured strongly with fierce resentment against the people and government of Nova Scotia. It would have been hard for these people to have produced any real evidence of insult, tyranny or injustice on the part of Governor Parr or his officials, or of say contempt on the part of the people of Halifax toward the newcomers, in their unfortunate plight. On the contrary, the people of Halifax, from Parr and Fanning down, exerted themselves in every way, to meet their wants, and to alleviate their distress. But great allowance must be made for people, who by the cruel events of civil war, are forced to exchange happy homes for a wilderness, a milder climate for a rugged one, and who for a long time were drifting on a current of disaster. These early traits of ingratitude in our New Brunswick friends are still apparent at times, in a
persistent belittling of Halifax and its people. But then we have to consider the better chances we have enjoyed in our broader field of action, and so overlook the little hereditary weaknesses of our sister city and its people.
In 1784, Parr opened the General Assembly with a sensible address, reviewing the troubles the Province had surmounted, during the past year. This may be called the Long Parliament of Nova Scotia, having existed over fourteen years. It had sat for seventeen sessions since it was first convened, 6th June, 1770.
For some years after the foundation of Halifax, the British authorities passed various laws, which prevented Irish or English speaking Catholics from holding titles to land, building churches, or obtaining the ministrations of their own clergy, although a large number of Irish, nearly all Roman Catholic, were living in Halifax.
In 1783, these obnoxious regulations were repealed, and in 1784, a small church was erected on west side of Barrington St., near the head of Salter St., close to the spot now occupied by the Cathedral of St. Mary. When completed it was painted red, and had a steeple at the western end. The Rev. James Jones, the first Irish priest in Nova Scotia, was in charge of the parish.
In 1784, Parr greatly interested himself in the inauguration of a new industry, which at the time looked promising. Messrs. Cochran and Holmes, leading merchants, had a whaler fitted out at Bristol, England, in January, and on 12th September, she arrived at Halifax with her first cargo of sperm oil and whale-bonne, taken on coast of Labrador, which realised at auction £2500, ($12,500.) The success of the enterprise encouraged the firm to fit out other vessels, and for a number of years, gave good employment here, and splendid returns of the management. It was a great success until an number of Quakers from Nantucket, interfered and undertook to settle Dartmouth with
a company of whalers. They bought out Cochran and Holmes, and prospered for a time, but finding Halifax a poor centre for distribution, they removed the plant to Wales, and so an industry disappeared, which promised well and did well for years, until interfered with by outsiders. This was an early object lesson, but it failed to warn or teach our people. In recent years, have we not seen the same repeated,?good sound companies selling out to foreigners, and in a short time, from various causes, again sold out, or merged with most unprofitable undertakings, to the detriment of our citizens and city.
This year £500 sterling was voted to Governor Parr, for the support of his table, on account of the unusual number of strangers he had to entertain daily at his residence. The disbanding of several regiments, at this date, gave Parr and his council, a great amount of work and anxiety in regard to their support and subsistence, before their lands could be made sustaining. The commander of the Hessian regiment, Baron de Scitz, died in Halifax. He was a gallant officer and an honest man, and was buried under St. Paul's with great ceremony. Instead of the ordinary shroud, he was clothed in full regimentals; his sword by his side, his spurs upon his feet, and an orange in his hand according to the old feudal custom in Germany, when the last baron of a noble house dies. His hatchment hangs in St. Paul's. The memorial runs thus:?
"in memory of Fritz Carl Godman, Baron de Scitz, Colonel and Chief of Hessian Foot, and Knight of the order pour la verlu militaire, in the 65th year of his age." His property was sold in Halifax, a ring with eleven diamonds, coach and three horses, etc. The vault under St. Paul's, in which he was buried, was broken open, and rifled of sword, spurs and jewellery, insignia of his order, etc. A reward was offered, for arrest of the perpetrators, but without result.
In the close of 1784, Halifax presented the appearance of a town that had suffered by the inroads of an invading army.
Collections of old shacks on the shores, or beach, which had sheltered the Loyalists, remnants of old tents, and spruce wigwams, on the common, which had been erected, and subsequently abandoned, as their owners were removed, to their new holdings throughout the Province, bore silent evidence of the poverty and suffering of the great multitude, which in its passage, had made our town a resting place. Still matters were not all in decay. The established merchants had been successful. Enormous quantities of fish, lumber, rum and bread-stuffs had been imported, and sold to good advantage. Many of the mercantile men were becoming wealthy.
The Scottish Guild of Merchants of 1761, had been reinforced in numbers by many Scotch Loyalists who at the beginning of the troubles leading up to the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, had for the past eight years, been gradually settling in Halifax. With Scottish prudence, they could only fore-east disturbance and ruin, for many years ahead, for communities in revolt, and so came from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore to this great centre of loyal Britons, where they could find a field for their enterprise and energies. Among them was Anthony Stewart, from Baltimore, father of Hon. Jas. Stewart, for many years Solicitor-General of the Province. Anthony Stewart was a leading importer, and most enterprising merchant of our city, a man possessed of great intellectual abilities, which he devoted to the public good. With him came Charles Adams, William Shaw, William Cater, the Vieths, the Gordons, Mensons and Gibbons, the Sloans of New York, followed by the Benvies and Gordons of Boston. These Scottish merchants were all well settled here in trade, before the great migration of Loyalists in 1783, and so were in a position to advise and give a helping hand in the arrangements, for the aiding and settling of their friends crossing the border to our loyal town and province. Many of these men came with considerable funds. At the very commencement of the outbreak, they began quietly to realise on their holdings and so came to Halifax in a position to take advantage at once,
of the circumstances surrounding them. They were accused of being clannish, to an extreme degree. Certain it is, that if one missed a chance to make a profitable hit in trade, another Scot was always handy to prevent the chance passing into alien hands. The North British Society, our oldest national institution, was founded in Halifax in 1768 and absorbed the entire Scottish Mercantile Guild of Halifax. The greater number of the wealthy Loyalists became members, and at the celebration of St. Andrew in 1784, a most joyous dinner was held at the Great Pontac Hotel, at which one hundred were present. Anthony Stewart, the great Loyalist merchant presiding, surrounded by the Halliburtons [sic], the Benvies, the Thomsons, the Gordons, the Lennoxes and the Copelands, all like the president, patriotic Scots, who had come to Halifax for King and Country, and it may be added, to make considerable fortunes. Governor Parr, Lieutenant-Governor Fanning and the Council were present and the celebration was one noted for the number of talented speakers who enlivened the proceedings. With all our prejudices in favor of the advancement in intellectual efforts of the present day, we fear our speakers to-day would cut a sorry figure in competition with these worthies of 120 years ago, were it possible to have such a tournament of culture, wit, and expression.
In 1785, Parr and Fanning with Bulkeley, were busy in attending to the settlement of the Loyalists on the various lands selected over the province, and in forwarding rations to those already settled. It was a work of great magnitude, as the settlers would not afford the slightest assistance to the surveyors, sent to lay off their allotments. Chief Justice Finucane who had also been a hard worker with Parr, in settling the new comers, died this year, from anxiety and over-work. He was buried under St. Paul's. His escutcheon hangs in the church. The late Chief-Justice was greatly esteemed in Halifax as an upright judge and accomplished gentleman.
This year Lieutenant-Governor Fanning, had a residence built at the Point Pleasant, just below the old tower, opposite the
present government wharf. He entertained there for a number of years. He had a first-class garden, and his flowers and fruit, were long talked of. It was near the favorite walk of the town, and the roads at this date were kept in excellent condition. John Howe, father of the greatest of Nova Scotians, who had lately come to Halifax with the Loyalists, and had established a newspaper, and was appointed post-master in succession to Mr. Stevens, lived north of Governor Fanning, with whom he was very intimate. These were the first residences on the eastern side of the North West Arm. Parr often visited at the two houses, and was very friendly with post-master Howe.
Governor Parr had a set-back to his popularity this year. A petition was presented by the inhabitants of Halifax, praying for a charter of incorporation for the town, but Parr by the unanimous voice of the Council led by Bulkeley, refused this request, on the grounds, that it was neither expedient, nor necessary. The existence of a separate body, having the sole control of town affairs, would have in a great measure the effect of depriving the Council, of the supervision, which they no doubt deemed for the interests of the community, should remain with the Government. It led to a great discussion among our people, and several public meetings at the Pontac, at which Bulkeley and Parr were severely criticized. The St. John people had a charter of incorporation granted them, by Governor Carleton, 18th May, 1785. By its provisions, St. John was divided into six wards, with mayor, recorder, six aldermen and six assistants, chamberlain, sheriff, marshal, treasurer and coroner, a facsimile of New York charter. There was no trouble in working it. It went on without any delay, and it is not to be wondered at, that our Halifax people should feel aggrieved, at being so shabbily treated by Parr and Council, when our town contained so much wealth and intelligence. But as usual, we have been famous for protests, but easily dropping them. We allowed fifty years to elapse, before we insisted upon a charter, which we had asked for in 1785.
Among matters of note we find that in 1785, Edward How was appointed a Justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, for Annapolis County. He was second son of the Capt. How, assassinated by the noted Acadian, Beausoleil, by instigation of Le Loutre while negotiating with the French under a flag of truce, near Fort Lawrence in 1750. Another item worthy of remembrance, was the appointment of James Boutineau Francklin, eldest remaining son of the late Governor Michael Francklin, to the position of Clerk of the House of Assembly, which he held until his death in 1826. He was the father of Mrs. R. F. Uniacke, the wife of Rev. Robt. Fitzgerald Uniacke, of St. George's Church,?the Round Church, Halifax.
One bad sign of domestic matters in old Halifax in 1785 may be noted. In the course of twelve months, no fewer than twenty criminals were hanged, mostly for minor offences and petty robberies; three were negro slaves, who had only lately arrived from New York with Loyalist families. One suffered death for theft of a bag of potatoes. The cruelty of the age and indifference to the taking of a human life for so slight an offence, as it was proved the poor wretch was starving, was a stain on the humanity of our so called Christian people. The process of justification in the light of mercy or compassion must have been a curious one with judge and jury. They were no doubt honest men, acting up to their lights. In looking back to-day, we can only regret that the men were dull, and the lights dim.
In 1786 Governor Parr by Royal Warrant ceased to be Governor of the province and received the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor, under Governor-General Sir Guy Carleton, residing at Quebec. Thus Parr was the last Governor and Captain-General of Nova Scotia.
At same time, as was intimated by private advices form Colonial Office, it was the intention of King, to bestow upon Parr a baronetcy, in recognition of his services to the Loyalists, and his good work as Governor of Nova Scotia, This honour
Parr, begged leave to refuse, on the score of not being well enough of, to support it, another instance of his good sense and judgment.
During 1786, the town began to look quiet. War excitement had ceased. The coming of Loyalists, was a thing of the past. The floating population had disappeared. The overcrowded streets of the past years, looked almost deserted, but our merchants were prospering and sending many vessels abroad. The province was being opened up. Great roads were laid out, and the influx of the Loyalists, many of whom were men of family and education, was in the main advantageous, although the influence they wielded, owing to their great favor in the eyes of the King, gave them a growing ascendency, calculated to throw in the back-ground the merits and services of those families who had originally founded the British colony here, and who had largely contributed to the defence of the land in the French wars.
Still Halifax wanted change. For a long generation it had been the centre for large speculations. War, which for a space had failed, had been almost continuous since the founding of the town. It had attracted great members to participate in the benefits offered by the prizes brought in by the fleet and privateers, and condemned and sold by the Court of Admiralty. Vast fortunes had been made in this manner, and Halifax had become famous the world over for the success of its merchants. Its population during these times of war and peace had come and gone like the tide. If war was active, and the Court of Admiralty busy, and prize money plenty, thousands of cormorants were attracted to the plunder,?if a brief breathing spell of peace came, the population faded away like a dream, and our streets became empty. With Parr came a long peace, 1782 finished a long war. Thence on to his death in 1791, Halifax had ample time to turn a new leaf, from the feverish and turbulent activities of its past, to the more enduring work of building up and consolidating the varied interests of peace
and progress. The ten years of Parr's administration of government marked the disappearance of thousands, who were but the flotsam and jetsam of an excited period of our history: men who had no living interest in the welfare of our province, who had come for plunder alone, and swelled the demoralization of a garrison and naval station.
During Parr's administration, several important settlements were made through the province, notably Shelburne in 1784, and Parrsboro in 1786. Guysborough was also settled under the guidance of Sir Guy Carleton, with several disbanded regiments of veteran soldiers. Our exports of lumber and dried fish increased. Our merchants, particularly Brymer and Belcher, Michael Wallace, Black, Forsyth & Co., and the Scottish Guild of Mercantile men, sent large consignments to teh Mediterranean and the East. The deep-sea voyages were founded. The trade for sugar and indigo was begun. The profitable and long monopolised trade with Mauritius was inaugurated by our leading men. The Charitable Iris, the St. George's, the High German Societies were founded during this term of office. The streets were improved and Halifax put on the semblance of a quiet British town, instead of the swaggering improvident and dissipated rendezvous appearance, which had marked its make-up since its foundation in 1749. In the interval, a large number of wealthy men had left Halifax for Britain. They had accumulated wealth and retired from business, but at this time there were many who had been fortunate, and preferred to remain. The greater part of the large fleet and garrison was ordered home, and the inhabitants having time to spare, engaged in a ceaseless round of dissipation. It began with a levee and reception on January 1st, 1786,
The 5th January, Queen Charlotte's birthday, was celebrated by universal drinking, and by a grand ball at the Pontac. The description in the Gazette two days after, will serve for about ten other social events, which took place between New Year's day, and the 14th of February. It runs thus,?
A brilliant assembly was opened at the Pontac, where the splendid array of the Cytherian train, and the confectionary preparations of Signor Lenzi, exhibit a most celestial appearance. The ball began at half after eight and considering the numerous concourse of subscribers, who were chiefly dancers, and the consequent confusion of so crowded a company, the whole was conducted with that necessary good order and impartial regulation that afforded additional pleasure to everyone present, and honor to the gentlemen who officiated as managers. At the close of the fifth country dance, supper was announced in the most romantic manner by the sudden elevation of a curtain that separates the two rooms, and displayed to the enraptured beholders a complete masterpiece of pastry work. In the middle of the table sprung up an artificial fountain, in defiance were erected pyramids, obelisks and monuments with the temples of Health and Venus at the top and bottom. During the course of the repast, the music attended to delight the ear and pleased the more delicate senses, while the great variety of most exquisite dishes served to gratify the palate."* Dancing was resumed at 12 o'clock and continued without lull or abatement until 5 when the company retired and in a brief time the disposal of the toast list to the number of twenty was engaged in. The healths of the after meeting by the gentlemen were superb. The toast of the evening was Miss Sarah Gray, the beauty of the Assembly, a New York lady here on a visit to the Newtons. The tradition is that 700 bottles of different brands and vintages of fine wines were consumed at this rout. The gentlemen retired at 11 o'clock on the morning of January 6th. This little scene of enjoyment and relaxation was designated at that day in Halifax "the lively abandon of harmless mirth."
During the summer of 1786, Prince William Henry, afterwards William IV, the immediate predecessor of Queen Victoria, arrived in Halifax. He was then styled the "Sailor Prince." In after years, he was known to his subjects as the "Cocoanut-headed King." Grenville in the satirical memoirs at the court has described him well. When in Halifax he appeared to be a good-natured nonentity, but was feted and flattered and slobbered over by officials to that degree, that he could
*Murdock, III, 47f.
not help fancying at times, he must be a creature of superior intelligence, "as they all told him so, and they could not be all wrong." The Prince landed from the frigate Pegasus at the King's Wharf, which was crowded with the numerous officials. Governor Parr was there with General Campbell, and Admiral Byron, and the usual number of loyal and devoted admirers, who conducted him up the wharf, to Government House, then situated on the spot where the Province Building is at present. There is a little lane, running up from the King's Wharf, south of the present Custom house, and its opening as a thoroughfare, was to give the Prince a short cut, from his ship, moored near the wharf, to Government House.
Here the Prince was bored to death with numerous addresses. At last the young man, sick of the endless speeches, begged Parr to let him off easy, and expressed a desire to be considered as only a naval commander. The request was granted, and several long addresses were merely handed unread to the Prince. The streets were crowded with people anxious to get a glimpse of a live Prince. He stayed here a week and sailed for Jamaica.
The next week the town was again in a social uproar. The Governor-General, Sir Guy Carleton, lately elevated to the peerage as Lord Dorchester, and suite, arrived from Quebec. Balls were given, address presented and a general fuddle indulged in. Assemblies, dinners, receptions and card-parties at the Pontac, Golden Ball, Mrs. Sutherland's Assembly Rooms, Roubelot's and Morris's, formed one gay and tireless round of frivolities. These routes and dinners were no doubt pleasing, but they were exceedingly costly, as all the above named places of festivity and fashion made fortunes for their owners.
Early in 1787, Dr. John Haliburton, a Loyalist, who had come from New York in 1782, was elevated to the Council. This created a mild sensation in Halifax, as there were several of our old and influential townsmen who had better claims to position, and Parr came in for an amount of most undeserved censure. He was only acting under strict instructions from the
Home Government to give the Loyalist settlers preference in all future appointments to office. It became the opinion among our old and settled inhabitants, that these damned Refugees." as they were popularly styled at that time, were in the swim for any or all the appointments offering. This was emphasized by the fact, that r. Haliburton had already received a very lucrative office, as director of the Medical Department of the Navy on the station. Another refugee, Blowers, had recently been made Attorney-General of Nova Scotia and Speaker of the House of Assembly. They were coming in for all the best offices available, and of course there was dissatisfaction among the people who had borne the heat of the day in building up our province and keeping it loyal to the Crown.
On August 11th, 1787, His Majesty by letters-patent created the Province of Nova Scotia an Episcopal See. The coming of the Loyalists gave a great impulse to the growth of the Church of England, as nearly all of the 28,000 who found their way to the Maritime Provinces belonged to that faith, and on the 12th of August, 1787, the Rev. Dr. Charles Inglis who had been Rector of Trinity Church, New York, and forced to fly from the country, when the revolution was successful, was consecrated at Lambeth, as the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, and of the colonies, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Bermuda and Newfoundland. He was also member of the executive Council, and exercised great influence in the government of the Province. He was the founder of King's College in 1789. The Halifax people would have greatly preferred a leading cleric, who had for years been a great favorite in the Province, or failing him, some leading divine from England direct, instead of one of these New York office-grabbers, but soon after this event there were appointments made which were even less satisfactory to our Halifax people, and the grumbling continued. The newly appointed Bishop was a most interesting man, and he was grand-
father of Sir John Inglis, the defender of Lucknow, whose portrait adorns the Legislature Council Chamber.
On the 28th June, 1787, Prince William Henry again visited Halifax, and was received with great enthusiasm by our Halifax people. A live Prince is always an object of adoration in Halifax. The Governor and Council took him to Government House, and presented the usual addresses. The clergy followed. The town had its turn. Then the grand jury, and justices fell down and worshipped the Royal Calf. Then he dined with a select few, and it was so arranged that the artillery, in front of the present building, saluted after each toast was given. In the afternoon a most bibulous reception was held at the Golden Ball, followed by a ball at the Pontac. The latter was a magnificent affair. Dancing was continued with great spirit until midnight, when the company were conducted to the supper room upstairs, where tables were laid for 200 persons. The Prince occupied with the Governor and Bishop an elevated dais under a white satin canopy. The after fuddle was long remembered in Halifax. The toast-list embraced almost everything imaginable. Thirty-five toast were duly and heartily honoured and the company adjourned at 7 o'clock next morning.
It is related that the Prince was overcome by the sentiments and hospitalities of his numerous entertainers, and was finally put to bed, royally drunk, as a Prince could be, and should be, in that drinking age, at Government House.
Late in November 1787 the Prince and the fleet came back from Quebec, and there was another display. The Governor and Council, Bishop Inglis, General, Admiral and all the notables were at his reception at King's Wharf. The royal standard was hoisted and addresses were presented rivalling even those presented a few months before in sycophancy and adulation. The House of Assembly was present and in its address exhausted every known term of eulogium. Fulsome, sickening drivel was its chief characteristic. How sensible hard-headed men could descend to such depths of unmanly servility is
almost beyond conception. We have to-day most certainly made a little advance in this line. After the slobber was over, the march was resumed over a carpeted street between double lines of troops to the Golden Ball, S. W. corner of Sackville and Hollis Streets, cannon firing from batteries and ships, bands playing, etc. Another address at the tavern and the inevitable dinner to a large concourse of officials, House of Assemble, 185 in all. Only thirty bumper toasts were drunk by half-past sex, pretty slow work for a public dinner; but we must explain the function was not half over, perhaps the company were only half sears over. The Prince and Parr retired. In the evening at 9 o'clock the Prince and suite entered the ball-room of the British Coffee-House, a new and elegant tavern that day opened by Mr. A. Callendar adjoining the north end of the Ordnance Wharf, Upper Water Street. Here dancing was continued till daylight.
Next day the Members of Legislature voted £700 to defray the cost of entertaining the Prince, and this it must be remembered passed unanimously by members who could not obtain a £100 each for their much wanted country roads and bridges, of that early day in Nova Scotia.
The same day, they declared during a discussion on the want of public schools, that they must express apprehensions of evil to our youth, if sent to the United States for instruction, where they would imbibe principles unfriendly to the British constitution. They could not but be conscious that Nova Scotia, in point of situation, climate, salubrity of air and fertility of soil, was inferior to no country. They could not be jealous of its honour. The dinner, ball and supper had no doubt made them proud of British institutions.
In September the Governor of New Brunswick, lately appointed Commander of the Forces in Nova Scotia, arrived in Halifax to inspect the garrison, but was not honored with a public reception, which called down the wrath of the St. John people, who greatly complained of our bad feeling and jealousy.
In 1788, our floating population lessened, but the merchants flourished by their exports, and the town slowly improved in appearance. The success of the great promenade on Barrington and Pleasant Streets, called "The Mall" and from which advertisers in the Royal Gazette and the Weekly Chronicle began to date their notices of goods for sale, instead of from Pleasant and Barrington Streets, induced the merchants on Granville Street to make improvements on that thoroughfare. A broad planked platform was placed on the lower or eastern side-walk, which extended from the corner of Buckingham Street along Granville, to Hartshorn & Boggs' corner on George St., then the board walk extended to Hart's corner, where the Royal Bank now stands. This walk was the resort of the merchants, and between eleven and twelve every day, it was the custom, if fine, for many of them to congregate, and for years it was preferred to the Guild of Merchants offices in the Pontac tavern, corner Duke and Water Streets.
Two theatres added to the amusements in Halifax, at this time. The Grand was on Argyle Street, near Duke. The New Grand was on Grafton St., lower side near Prince St. They were well patronized by our people. The prices of admission were Box 5/?, Pit 3/?, Gallery 2/?, Characters were taken by a limited number of professionals, assisted by amateurs,?gentlemen of the Army, Navy and Town. This year the advertisements of the theatres particularly request the ladies to dress their heads as low as possible, otherwise the people sitting behind cannot have a view of the stage. The town at this date found full enjoyment for four friseurs [sic]. The "head" was an important make-up for ladies and gentlemen in that age of wigs, cues and powdered hair dressing. Hair-dressing was an important and lucrative profession. Messrs. Clarke, Kinnear, Osborne and Holmes were leaders of fashion at this time. Then came a dozen barbers, but they were not on the same level as hair-dressers.
In 1788 there was a number of the English aristocracy in Halifax, who with their wealth and lavish entertainments, con-
duced to injure the tone of society. The presence of the Prince and the fleet on the station, drew them here for amusement. The Earl of Eglinton, Lord Montmorris, and other wealthy noblemen, with a host of younger sprigs of nobility, and needy relatives, filled the hotels. Drinking, gambling, and kindred vices followed in their train. They departed with the Prince, and our little town was the better for their going.
From a moral standpoint, Nova Scotia, especially Halifax, at this date, did not occupy in the eyes of the world a very enviable position. A looseness of conduct and an open indifference to moral, as well as religious law prevailed to a fearful extent. In social life the greatest laxity of conduct had sprung up. Sacred ties were broken without remorse, and men learned to smile and applaud the most unhallowed scenes of dissipation. Our proximity to these days is even yet too close to admit of a searching scrutiny into the morals of the community, but it would be unfair to pass over in silence a subject of so much moment.
Bishops Inglis shortly after his arrival to take charge of the Diocese of Nova Scotia, was so impressed with the fearful condition of the community, the general tone of society and the debasing examples of open immorality, that in taking his seat in Council, he urged that steps be taken by the Government to erect barriers against the impetuous torrent of vice and irreligion which threatened to overwhelm the morals of the entire province and community. The knowledge of these facts is enough. The particulars are unnecessary. It is needless to recall the vices of this particular phase of our history. Happily that period of indifference has passed away, never to return.
By the advice of his Council, seconded by his own desire for the comfort of the new settlers, Parr this year made repeated visits to the different settlements of Loyalists throughout the Province. Thus he went to Guysborough in the Dido in 1788 and 1789. He visited Parrsborough in 1790 and was several times at Annapolis and Weymouth, and especially Windsor.
Shelburne he visited, and he corresponded with several of the settlers.
His general administration of public affairs had been most satisfactory, and he had become popular; but at this time there arose a great difficulty which had the tendency to make great divisions and turmoil throughout the province, and to give the action of Parr and his Council a most partizan character in the eyes of a portion of the people. In the Legislature a motion was carried to investigate the administration of justice in the superior court, which resulted in the impeachment of the Judges Isaac Deschamps and James Brenton, for maladministration of justice. The charges were investigate and found correct on every count. The matter was referred to the Council, and the examination was conducted by Parr and Council behind closed doors. While the investigation was going on, Judge Deschamps struck the names of the attorneys who made the charges, off the roll of attorneys, and great excitement ensued. This may be regarded as the period when party divisions were first experienced in Nova Scotia. The attack, or rather charges, on the judges were made by two lawyers, Sterns and Taylor, who were Loyalists. The judges belonged to the original settlers, or old inhabitants, and so the division began. In January 1788, Attorney-General Blowers, another Loyalist, was made member of the Council, which created a vacancy in the representation of the county of Halifax. In February an election was held. Sterns the Loyalist, had 374 votes, and Morris who represented the old inhabitants, obtained 415. A great riot ensued, the Loyalists acting most violently. Many were beaten badly. One man was killed, and several were severely injured. Riotous mobs for three days paraded the streets, and attacked all whom they suspected of being on the opposite side. At last, the military were called out, and quelled the disturbance. This was the first division in politics, and it was called "old comers" and "new comers." The party divisions thus originated, existed for years, extended to the House of Assembly, and for twenty years the battle was fought out in each election, and
at all meetings of the Legislature. The debates which for the first time were printed, are of the most lively description. The Governor was blamed for being influenced by the voice of his Privy Council. Finally Parr and his Council declared the judges innocent of the charge preferred against them, but afterwards decided to refer the entire case to the Privy Council. Meanwhile the press was busy publishing accounts of the affair in language most brutal and offensive, and Sterns and Taylor collected all the letters written by their friends, and combining them with the very serious charge they had made, and indeed proved to the satisfaction of the Legislature, published hundreds of copies of a pamphlet, which is getting rare. Another pamphlet supposed to be published by Bulkeley, entitled "a Vindication of Governor Parr and Council in re the Impeachment of the Judges, by a Halifax Gentleman," was issued in London, and much read in Britain. Finally after an interval, the Privy Council justified the Governor and Council in their action, in exonerating the Judges, in the following dispatch from the House Office:
"The Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council before whom the charges exhibited by the House of Assemble against the Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court have been heard, have reported to His Majesty that after mature consideration of the subject, they cannot find any cause of censure against those gentlemen and consequently have fully acquitted them, which report His Majesty has been pleased to confirm."
A whitewashing of the most glaring kind.
In 1790-91 there was scarcity of bread in Halifax. A famine existed throughout Canada, and flour and bread-stuffs went up in fabulous prices. Fish and potatoes saved Halifax, supplemented by hard sea-biscuit imported from England, Newfoundland and Jamaica. These articles of coarse provender, saved many from starvation as they had done on many previous occasions. Rum was to be had in abundance, and that active
agent appeared to balance the scarcity of flour. We look in vain through old files of our papers for a scarcity of the ardent. What a calamity it would have been considered, did that good consoler fail. The famine continued in severity for nearly two years. Meanwhile the revenue from licenses to sell rum increased, and it was proved before a committee of the Assembly, that most of the roads within fifteen miles of Halifax, had been made and kept in order from the funds obtained from the licenses granted.
During the autumn of 1791 a number of negroes were collected from the counties outside Halifax, to be shipped to Sierra Leone. They were a shiftless lot, many of them slaves, who had come to the province during the revolution. The expense was borne by an English philanthropic association, called the Sierra Leone Company, which had interested itself in the welfare of the negro.
On the 17th of November, 1791, Governor Parr held a meeting on Council, to ask advice in arranging for the shipping and removal of these negroes from the province, as the Secretary of State had directed him to hire vessels for the purpose.
It prove Governor Parr's last meeting with the Council, as he died on Friday 25th of November, 1791, at one A. M., of apoplexy, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.
On Tuesday the 29th of November, the funeral took place. Governor Parr had been Grand-Master of Free Masons and the several Lodges attended. The 20th Regiment, which Parr had commanded and which was in garrison when he died, also attended. All the forces were under arms. The officers of the fleet were present, headed by Sir Richard Hughes, a former Lieutenant-Governor. The Royal Artillery and the 16th and 21st Regiments lined the streets. The ships and batteries fired minute guns. At the entrance of St. Paul's Bishop Inglis received the body, which was placed near the altar, and the funeral service proceeded, after which the coffin was lowered into the vault, under
the middle aisle of the church. The 20th Regiment fired the entombing volleys. The popularity of Parr was exhibited in the unbounded regrets of the immense number of Halifax people present.
Parr died poor. He had exhausted much of his means by purchasing his successive steps in rank, at that time reaching several thousand pounds sterling. Those were the days of purchase, and no brilliancy of service could balance a want of influence and money at the war-office. Parr's widow and two daughters left almost immediately after his decease for London. His eldest daughter, Catherine, a youthful widow of the late Capt. Dobson, of the 20th Regiment, was married to Hon. Alex. Brymer, a former paymaster of the forces in Halifax garrison, on January 1st, 1796, in London.
Two of the sons went into the army and died without issue. The third son, Thomas, went into the East India Company's service and was assassinated when resident at Sumatra in 1807. Two of his children, a boy and a girl, had been sent to England, but his widow and two younger children embarked for England in the East Indiaman Georgina in 1807, and were lost at sea. The surviving son, Thomas Clements Parr, went to Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and was for some time in the National Ecclesiastical Commission. He married in 1836, Melice, eldest daughter of Sir Chas. Elton, Bart. of Clevedon Court, and had three sons and five daughters. Of his three sons, his eldest, Thomas Rowatt Parr, served some years in the Rifle Brigade and died 1906. His second son died young, and his third son living is Maj. Gen. Henry Hallam Parr, C. B. and C. M. G., now residing in England, to whom the writer of this paper is greatly indebted for necessary data for compilation.
The family of Governor Parr is now represented by Major Clements Parr, late Oxfordshire Light Infantry, son of Thomas Rowatt Parr.
During Parr's administration of nine years from 1782 to 1791, the welfare of the people was his study and care. His name will be ever associated with the coming of the Loyalists to Halifax and the province in 1783. His deep solicitude for their relief, welfare and settlement should never be forgotten by their descendants. He was not brilliant, but was the very man to suit the time he lived in, a plain, upright soldier, who prided himself on his attention to duty, and who endeavoured to discharge the obligations of a distinguished position with integrity and honour.
IN ST. PAUL'S CHURCH
Rector and Church Wardens, St. Paul's,
The portrait of Governor John Parr, which appears in this Volume of Transactions, is a copy from a picture on vellum painted in London in 1780, which subsequently became the property of Lt. Gen. Earl Dalhousie, who in 1816, when St. Governor of Nova Scotia presented it to Matthew Richardson, and influential and wealthy merchant of Halifax, then residing at Studley, and who there, often entertained the Earl. The picture passed into the hands of W. M. Richardson, Esq., who held it for over 60 years and shortly before his death, presented it to Jas. S. Macdonald who had it copied to illustrate the memoir of one of the most popular rulers of Nova Scotia in the 18th century.
Celebration of 32nd Anniversary of Formation of Society.
On 21st June, 1910, the Society held a special meeting to celebrate the 32nd Anniversary of the foundation of the institution, and also to honour the Natal Day of Halifax, which was founded by Hon. Edward Cornwallis, 21st June 1749. The meeting held at the Province Building was marked by a splendid attendance and great enthusiasm. A number of interesting historical addresses were delivered. The President of the Society James S. Macdonald presided, and in his opening remarks, gave a brief and lucid idea of the work and successful progress of the Institution. He was followed by Judge Longley, Senator Roche, Senator Ross, Archdeacon Armitage, Rev. Dr. MacMillan of St. Matthews Church, Frederick Campbell of London, and Mr. Justice Russell, all of whom gave patriotic and spirited addresses suitable to the occasion, which greatly interested the audience. The good work by the Society of reviving an old custom that prevailed generations ago, of holding an historical meeting on the evening of the Natal Day of Halifax, was thus restored with great success, and was the first at which any music was provided, Samuel Crawford sang, Joseph Howe's "Hail to the day when the Britons came over, to the setting by Halls in 1849, and the reunion was pronounced by all a splendid success.
LIST OF PAPERS,
READ BEFORE THE NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY JUNE 21, 1878,
TO JUNE 21, 1910.
History of St. Paul's Church. Part I......
Autobiagraphy [sic] of Revd. Wm. Cochran.......
Telegraphy in Nova Scotia and neighboring
Hon. A. G. Archibald
Rev. Dr. Hill ............
Rev. Dr. Cochran .....
G. E. Morton, Esq.....
|Vol. i. p. 18.
|Early Settlement of Shubenacadie..................
Journal of Colonel Nicholson at Siege of An
Translation from the French, relating to
the religious beliefs of the Indians prior
to the discovery by Cabot.............................
Journey to Yarmouth in 17? by Mather
|Miss E. Frame ........
T. B. Akins, Esq......
Robt. Morrow, Esq...
Hon. Dr. Almon.........
Vol. i. p. 59.
|Early Journalism in Nova Scotia.....................
History of St. Paul's Church. Pts. II, III.
Governor Cornwallis and the first Council
Witherspoon's Journal of the Siege of
Walter Bromley and his labors in the cause
of Education, by late John Young,
Sketches of the Winniett, DeLancy, and
Revolutionary Incidents in Nova Scotia,
Sketch of Brook Watson, by Revd. Hugh
Brook Watson's account of the Expulsion
of the Acadians.............................................
|J. J. Stewart. Esq......
Rev. Dr. Hill .............
T. B. Akins, Esq.......
J. T. Bulmer, Esq........
W. A. Caluck, Esq.....
J. T. Bulmer, Esq.......
|Vol. vi. p. 91.
Vol. ii. p. 63.
Vol. ii. p. 17.
Vol. ii. p. 31.
Vol. ii. p. 135.
Vol. ii. p. 129.
|Early History of the Dissenting Church in
Biographical Sketch of Re. Jas. Murdoch
Biographical Sketch of Alexander Howe........
Account of the Manners and Customs of the
Acadians, with remarks on their remo-
val from the Province; by Moses Deles-
Letter (dated June 27, 1751) from Surveyor
Morris to Governor Shirley, with a plan
for the removal of the Acadians.................
Extracts from the Boston News Letter.
1704-1760, and from Halifax Gazette
Judge Croke (a Biography)............................
Chapter from the life of S. G. W. Archibald.
Nicholas Perdue Olding. (a biography)........
Petitions to the Council of Massachusetts
Bay from residents of Yarmouth, and
from Council of Cumberland........................
Proposal of Capt. John Allen as to capture
of Halifax and conquest of Nova Sco-
Rev. Dr. Patterson ......
Miss E. Frame ..........
W. A. Caluck, Esq....
T. B. Akins, Esq.........
Miss E. Frame ........
Hon. Sir A. Archibald
Israel Longworth, Esq.
Hon. Sir A. Archibald
Rev. Dr. Patterson ...
T. B. Akins, Esq.......
Vol. ii. p. 100.
Vol. ii. p.110.
Vol. iii. p. 197.
Vol. ii. p. 11.