WITH the final cession of Acadie to the British Crown by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Nova Scotia became an integral part of 'the American empire'. By the same treaty the British claims to the Hudson's Bay territories, pursuant to the Charter of 1670, were also finally confirmed. This monopolistic proprietary 'plantation' of Charles II, however, bore little resemblance to the thriving proprietary provinces of Maryland and Pennsylvania. The oldest continuously British territory on the continent of North America slumbered peacefully through the American Revolution in the swaddling charter of the Hudson's Bay Company.
It was at first proposed to annex Nova Scotia to Massachusetts. Every argument of conquest and of provincial rights seemed to warrant that expectation. More than three-quarters of Colonel Nicholson's force against Port Royal in 1710 had been colonial militiamen; and Massachusetts had contributed half as many again as all the other colonies together. Of the garrison which remained under Colonel Samuel Vetch of Boston until the signing of the peace, more than half were colonial volunteers.I Annexation to Massachusetts, in fact, had already been implied in the charter of William and Mary to that province. Stanhope himself, the Secretary of State, conceded that 'it would be a violation of the very words of that Charter to erect a new Government there'. Rivalry in trade and the fisheries, moreover, would render the two provinces 'very ill friends; tho' very near neighbours'; whereas the Governor of Massachusetts if entrusted with the government of Nova Scotia would be 'more independent, and much better able to serve the Crown that he is at present, while he draws all his subsistance from the people and has nothing but his Commission from the King'.2
The sequel for Canadian history had the boundaries of Massachusetts been extended to the Gulf of St. Lawrence would defy calculation; but the British Government decided otherwise. A separate 'royal' province was established upon the model of Vir____________________
Osgood, American Colonies in the 18th Century, i. 436 ff.