As the French made their last defenses of New France in the late 1750s and early 1760s, New Englanders, who had long fought them, believed that the end of French influence in North America would open for settlement a band of land stretching from eastern New York across Vermont and New Hampshire and out to the Atlantic in Maine and Nova Scotia. For over a hundred years the area had served as a buffer, and at times a battleground, between British settlements in New England and New York and French settlements in New France. 1 The Mi'kmaq, Wulstukwiuk, and Wabanaki nations remained the dominant day-to-day military power in Nova Scotia and Maine, but three years of successive French defeats at Louisbourg, Quebec, and Montreal, in 1758, 1759, and 1760, respectively, made it easier for the British to exact modest and contested permission from the Mi'kmaq in 1760 and 1761 to allow some settlement on their lands in Nova Scotia, particularly those previously settled by the Acadians. 2
Native claims notwithstanding, land-hungry New Englanders responded almost immediately to the French capitulations at Louisbourg (1758) and Quebec (1759). Rather than going home after being discharged, a group of Massachusetts soldiers settled on “some of the Lands they had Conquered” in Maine. In their petition for a grant of land, they reasoned that as no English
An earlier version of this essay appeared as “Corporate Structure and Private Interest: The Expansion of New England in the 1760s, ” in They Planted Well: New England Planters in Maritime Canada, Margaret Conrad, ed. (Fredericton, NB: Acadiensis Press, 1988).
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Publication information: Book title: The Fault Lines of Empire: Political Differentiation in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, ca. 1760-1830. Contributors: Elizabeth Mancke - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 7.
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