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T.C. Haliburton
NS c1800

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Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Nova Scotia’s First Historian

Thomas Chandler Haliburton Thomas Chandler Haliburton

"…the History of Nova Scotia. On that subject permit me to say that early in life I twice visited Great Britain , and was strangely, and I may say painfully, impressed with a conviction that has forced itself upon the mind of every man who has gone to Europe from this country – namely that this valuable and important Colony (of Nova Scotia) was not merely wholy unknown, but misunderstood and misrepresented. Every book of Geography, every Gazetteer and elementary work that mentioned it, spoke of it in terms of contempt and condemnation. It was said to possess good harbours, if you could find them for the fog, and fisheries that would be valuable if you only had sun enough to cure the fish – while the interior was described as a land of rock and barren, and doomed to unrelenting sterility. Where facts were wanting, recourse was had to imagination; and one author stated that these woods were infested with wolves. Not content with the introduction of these savage animals, he represents them as being endowed by Providence with the remarkable power of ascending trees in pursuit of their prey…In short…(Nova Scotia) had become a bye word 1 and a proverbial term of reproach. It’s name was a name of terror, in the nurseries, and the threat of sending a refactory child to Nova Scotia was equivilent to sending him to the devil."*

"Shortly after the History of Nova Scotia was written I retired from public life, and, having more leisure time than before, I felt I had not accomplished all I wished [in writing the history], that though something had been attained there was still much more to be done. It occurred to me that it would be advisable to resort to a more popular style, and, under the garb of amusement to call attention to our noble harbors, our great mineral wealth, our healthy climate, our abundant fisheries, and our natural resources and advantages…I was also anxious to stimulate my countrymen to exertion, to direct their attention to the development of those resources, and to works of internal improvement, especially to that great work which I hope I shall live to see completed, the rail road from Halifax to Windsor, to awaken ambition and substitute it for that stimulus which is furnished in other but poorer countries than our own by necessity. For this purpose I called in the aid of the Clockmaker."**

Thomas Chandler Haliburton


1 byword, a person, place, etc. taken as type of some (usu. bad) quality, refactory, to be stuborn, unmanageable, rebellious

*Excerpt From –
A Century of Haliburton’s Nova Scotia by Archibald MacMechan
Pub 1930
PANS V/F v105 #27
Pg 1 – 3

**Excerpt From –
Thomas Chandler Haliburton : A Study in Provincial Toryism
by Victor Lovitt Oakes Chittick, P.H.D., Professor of Liturature and Language at Reed College
New York, Columbia University Press 1924
HRL SG 921 H 172c
Pg 179…(as) reported in the Nova Scotian…June 13, 1839, in an account of a public dinner given Haliburton at Halifax…

See Also –
An Historical and Statistical Account of Nova-Scotia
In two volumes. Illustrated by a map of the province, and several engravings.
By Thomas C. Haliburton, Esq.
Barrister at Law and Member of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia
(originally) Printed and Published by Joseph Howe, Halifax 1829
Edition consulted – Candiana Reprint Series No. 51
Mika Publishing Belleville, Ontario 1973
HRL SG ADULT 971.6 H172 h 1973

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