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Windsor,  Nova  Scotia, Canada – c. 1800
by Garth Vaughan © 2001
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T.C. Haliburton’s
NS c1800

NS 1st Historian
King’s College
Hurley on Long Pond
TCH’s Long Pond
Clifton Grove
Windsor Gypsum

Why He Wrote
Wise Saws
Works Online

Sam Slick’s Words

Related Pages

Rhode Island to NS
MacMechan Hist/Stat
Chittick Hist/Stat
TCH Explains Hist/Stat
Alexander Meets TCH


A Century of Haliburton’s Nova Scotia
by Archibald MacMechan
Pub 1930
NSARM – Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management
V/F v105 #27

Pg 1 – 3

…"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"…[Haliburton] labor[ed] for seven years at his history of this province…
…[Haliburton] was practicing law in the picturesque town of Annapolis Royal. Beautiful as it was for situation, it had no libraries, public or private. Nor was there in the whole province any collection of books on which a student of local history could draw…
…Young and untrained as he was, Haliburton had distinctly modern ideas of research. Whenever possible, he went to the original sources for his information. He had also to write to London and Boston for works of reference, or have transcripts made from them…
…[In the year] 1823…in Halifax [,there was] published a pamphlet entitled "A General Description of Nova Scotia"…
…Haliburton himself supplies the reason why it was written, – to clear the province of misrepresentation. A banquet was given in his honor in 1839. When his health was proposed, reference was made to his "History", and what he said in reply applies also to the "General Description [of Nova Scotia, published in 1823]"…the precursor of the Historical and Statistical Account [which was published in 1829. Haliburton was 33].

"You have been so good, sir as to refer in terms of approbation to an humble effort of mine – 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 wholly 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* 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 equivalent to sending him to the devil."

*Note: Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edition pub 1963
byword, a person, place, etc. taken as type of some (usu. bad) quality
refactory, to be stubborn, unmanageable, rebellious



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