Planter 2010 Celebration
in Nova Scotia

250th Anniversary

New England Planters
Questions about Vacant Lands

Governor Lawrence proclamation
1759 January 11

Home Governor's
1757  '58  '59

Policy for Awarding Land Grants
in Nova Scotia

This is an image of the original Proclamation issued by Nova Scotia Governor Lawrence in January 1759.
The original Proclamation issued by Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence in January 1759 – "Questions about the Vacant Lands"



(King George the Second)



Captain-General and Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty's Province of Nova-Scotia or Accadie in America, Vice Admiral of the same, &c. &c. &c.


WHEREAS since the issuing of the Proclamation dated the Twelfth Day of October 1758, relative to Settling the vacated lands in this Province, I have been informed by Thomas Hancock, Esq; Agent for the Affairs of Nova-Scotia, at Boston, That sundry Applications have been made to him in Consequence thereof, by Persons who are desirous of settling the said Lands, and of knowing what particular Encouragement the Government will give them ; Whether any Allowance of Provisions will be given at their first Settlement ; What Quantity of Land will be given to each person ; What Quit Rent they are to pay ; What the Constitution of the Government is ; Whether any and what Taxes are to be paid ; And, Whether they will be allowed the free Exercise of their Religion ?

I HAVE therefore thought fit, with the Advice of His Majesty's Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby declaring in Answer to the said Enquiries, That by His Majesty's Royal Instructions to me, I am impowered to make Grants in the following Proportions, Viz.

THAT Townships are to consist of One Hundred Thousand Acres of Land, or about Twelve Miles square ; That they do include the best and most profitable Land ; and also, That they do comprehend such Rivers as may be at or near such Settlement ; and do extend as far up into the Country as conveniently may be, taking in a necessary Part of the Sea Coast.

THAT the Quantities of Land granted will be in Proportion to the Abilities of the Settlers to plant, cultivate or inclose the same, viz. That One Hundred Acres of wild Wood-Lands, will be allowed to every Person, being Master or Mistress of a Family, for himself or herself ; and Fifty Acres for every White or Black Man, Woman or Child, of which such Person's Family shall consist, at the actual Time of making the Grant, subject to the Payment of a Quit Rent of One Shilling Sterling per Annum for every Fifty Acres ; such Quit Rent to commence at the Expiration of Ten Years from the Date of each Grant ; and to be paid for His Majesty's Use, to His Receiver-General at Halifax, or to His Deputy upon the spot.

THAT the Grantees will be obliged by their Grants to Plant, Cultivate, improve, or inclose, one third Part of their Lands within the Space of Ten Years ; another third Part within the Space of Twenty Years ; and the remaining Third within the Space of Thirty Years, from the Date of their Grants.

THAT no one Person can possess more than One Thousand acres (by Grant) in his or her own Name.

THAT every Grantee, upon giving Proof that he or she has fulfilled the Terms and Conditions of his or her Grant, shall be intitled to another Grant, in the Proportion and upon the Conditions above-mentioned.

THAT the Lands proposed to be settled situated on the Bay of Fundi, as expressed in the formed Proclamation, will be distributed with such Proportions of interval Plow-Land, Mowing-Land, and Pasture, as will be sufficient to maintain the respective Families that shall be established thereon : Which Plow-Lands, &c, produce Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Hemp, Flax, &c. and have been culitvated for more than one Hundred Years past, never failing of Crops, not needing to be manured.

THAT the Government of Nova-Scotia is constituted like those of the Neighbouring Colonies ; the Legislature consisting of Governor, Coucil, and Assembly ; and every Township, so soon as it shall consist of Fifty Families, will be intitled to send Two Representatives to the General Assembly.  The Courts of Justice are also constituted in like manner with those of the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the other Northern Colonies.

THAT as to the Article of Religion, full Liberty of Conscience, both by His Majesty's Royal Instructions, and a late Act of the General Assembly of this Province, is secured to Persons of all persuasions, Papists excepted, as may more fully appear by the following Abstract of the said Act, viz.

“PROTESTANTS dissenting from the Church of England, whether they be Calvinists, Lutherans, Quakers, or under what Denomination soever, shall have free Liberty of Conscience ; and may erect and build Meeting-Houses for Publick Worship, and may choose and elect Ministers for the carrying on Divine Service, and Administration of the Sacraments, according to their several Opinions ; and all Contracts made between their Ministers and their Congregations, for the support of the Ministry, are hereby declared Valid, and shall have their full Force and Effect, according to the Tenor and Conditions thereof : And all such Dissenters shall be excused from any Rates or Taxes to be made and levied for the Support of the Established Church of England.

THAT no Taxes have hitherto been laid upon His Majesty's Subjects within this Province ; nor are there any Fees of Office taken upon issuing the Grants of Land.

THAT I am not Authorized to offer any Bounty of Provisions.

AND I do hereby declare, That I am ready to lay out the Lands, and to make Grants immediately, under the Conditions above described ; or to receive and transmit to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in order that the same may be laid before His Majesty for His Approbation, such further Proposals as may be offered by any Body of People for setling an entire Township, under other Conditions that they may conceive more advantageous to the Undertakers.

THAT Forts are established in the Neighbourhood of the Lands proposed to be settled, and are garrisoned by His Majesty's Troops, with a view of their giving all manner of Aid and Protection to the Settlers, if hereafter there should be any need.

GIVEN in the Council-Chamber at Halifax, this Eleventh Day of January 1759, in the Thirty-second Year of His Majesty's Reign.

Cha's Lawrence

By His Excellency's Command,
with the Advice of His Majesty's Council,
    Jno Duport, Secr' Conc'

God Save the KING.

BOSTON in NEW-ENGLAND:     Printed by John Draper, 1759.

Note: In the above transcription, the original punctuation and spelling have been preserved — except for the “long-s”, a letter of the English alphabet then in common use but now unknown.  Where the long-s appears in the original proclamation, it is replaced here by the modern “s”.


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