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BOOK IV.

PRINCE EDWARD'S ISLAND.

CHAPTER I.

GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION, AREA, AND HISTORY, ETC.

Prince Edward's Island (formerly called St. John's) is situated in a kind of recess or bay of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the parallels of 46° and 47° 10' north latitude, and of the meridians 62o and 65° west of Greenwich, bounded on the west and south by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, from which it is separated by Northumberland Strait (the breadth across the strait between Traverse and Cape Tourmentine is only nine miles); on the east by Cape Breton Isle, from which it is distant twenty-seven miles; and on the north by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Magdalen Islands. In length Prince Edward's Island is about 140 miles on a line through the centre of the territory; in its greatest breadth 34 (in some places not more than 15 miles), with an area of 1,360,000 acres, or 2134 square miles, most

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favourably situate for commerce, agriculture, or fisheries.

Charlotte town, the capital of Prince Edward's Island, is distant from the Land's End in England 2280 miles; from St. John's, Newfoundland, 550; from St. John's, New Brunswick, by sea 360 (across Nova Scotia); from Halifax, by the Gut of Canso, 240; (by Pictou 140 miles), from Pictou, 40; from Miramichi, 120; from Quebec, 580 ; and from Cape Ray, the nearest point of Newfoundland, 125 miles.

GENERAL HISTORY.—This island was discovered by Cabot, on the 24th June, 1497, being the first land seen after his departure from Newfoundland. It was named by this celebrated navigator St. John; and not being formally claimed or settled by England, the French seized upon it as a part of the territory of New France, or Canada ; and, in 1663, leased or granted it, together with the Magdalen, Bird, and Biron Islands, to the Sieur Doublett, a captain in the French navy, to be held as a feudal tenure of the company of Miscou.

The island remained as a fishing station to the Sieur and his associates (two fishing companies), until after the treaty of Utrecht in 1715, when it began to be colonized ; and in 1758 there was said to have been 10,000 settlers ; but this is doubtful, as the French Supreme Government at Quebec discouraged colonization everywhere, except around the strong fortifications which they had erected in various parts of their North American dominions. When the English possessed themselves of Nova Scotia, many French settlers took refuge here, or

located themselves for the purpose of fitting out privateers against the English.

In 1758, on the capitulation of Louisbourg, Prince Edward's Island, which had formed the granary of that fortress, was taken possession of by the English, when a considerable number of English scalps were found hung up in the French Governor's house, the island having been for the two preceding years the head-quarters of the Mic Mac Indians.

At the conclusion of the peace in 1763, on the arrangement of the conquests made from France, this island, together with Cape Breton Isle, were annexed to the government of Nova Scotia. A great number of the Acadian French on the island were still so hostile to the English, that they were included in the order to remove those of Nova Scotia. A large number were in consequence shipped off to the neighbouring continent, to the southern colonies, and to France; in which latter place they were ill received, and upbraided for their continual hostilities, which had led to the total extinction of the French dominion in North America. Prince Ed. ward's island was included in the general survey of the British empire in America in 1764, and which the commencement of the first American war put a stop to on the continent. The survey of the island being completed in 1766, various schemes for its cultiva. tion and settlement were proposed : amongst others, the Earl of Egmont, then first Lord of the Admiralty, proposed settling it on a feudal plan (his Lordship being lord paramount), with a certain number of baronies to be held of him ; each baron to erect a

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castle or strong hold, to maintain so many men at arms, and, with their under tenants, to perform suit and service, according to the custom of the ancient feudal tenures of Europe. Upon the rejection of the Earl of Egmont's impracticable scheme, it was determined to grant the whole island to individuals on certain conditions prescribed by the then Board of Trade and Plantations; but the number of applications being so great, it was thought proper that the different townships should be drawn by way of lottery, which was accordingly done, with the exception of two townships': some tickets being a prize of a whole township; others half, and others a third ; many of the fortunate holders being officers of the army and navy, who had served during the preceding war. The conditions of settlement were -twenty-six townships 2 to pay 6s. per annum for each 100 acres ; twenty-nine ditto to pay 4s. for ditto ; and eleven townships, 2s. for ditto : and the grantees were to settle their lands in the proportion of one settler to each 200 acres, within ten years from the date of their grants, otherwise the same were to be void.

The mandamus to the Governor of Nova Scotia", issued for each township, to the holders of the for

1 These were Nos. 40 and 59, then partly occupied by a fishing company, with the consent of Government.

Each township contains about 20,000 acres. 3 Prince Edward's Island was then annexed to the Nova Scotia government, and it was necessary for the government thereof to pass the grants to the holders of the tickets, or to their heirs and assigns.

tunate lottery tickets, under the King's sign manual, bear date for the greater part August, 1767 ; and thus, with exceptions scarcely worthy of note, the whole island, containing 1,360,000 acres, was given away in one day! Whatever might be the good effect of such an arrangement at the present period, when so many respectable individuals are seeking to better their condition in our colonies, the result in 1768 was any thing but satisfactory or useful to the island : many (says an able witness on this subject in 1806) 1 had never any intention of expending their time or money in settling the island. Some had not the means to undertake what they promised; and most of them merely made use of their interest to obtain what was a saleable commodity. The mandamuses were therefore very soon brought into the market, and at first sold for 1,0001. each ; but, as the supply soon exceeded the demand, they fell to half that amount; the greater number of those which were sold being also purchased by a few individuals on speculation. With the idea of promoting the settlement of the island, a large majority of the proprietors petitioned the king that the colony should be erected into a separate government from Nova Scotia; and, in order to defray the expense of an establishment, they offered to commence paying the one half of their quit rents on May 1769, which, by the terms of settlement, was only to become pay

1 John Stewart, Esq., to whose valuable observations I am indebted for much information, as I am also to his namesakes, Messrs. R. and D. Stewart, of Great Russell-street.

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