Before the Loyalists - New England Planters

As an inducement to settle in the province, the New England Planters had been promised the same religious and civic freedoms that they had enjoyed in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The most fundamental of civic freedoms, and the one from which all others flowed, was the power to allocate land. Government in eighteenth-century New England meant local government and…it scarcely mattered if the central government was in Boston or London. Power was the power of neighbours agreeing or disagreeing at the village hall or tavern, not something that descended mysteriously from above. But with local power came local responsibility: for the care of the poor, the maintenance of the roads, peacekeeping, and the support of schools the township had to fend for itself. 

For both the Acadians, who had settled in the middle reaches of the [Saint John River] valley, and the New England Planters, the approach of the Loyalists was unsettling… In the middle and lower valley [lived] the thousand or so Planters in Maugerville and the neighbouring townships. Under the spell of the evangelist Henry Alline, who made at least three visits to Maugerville, the Planters also feared contamination by the Loyalists: wantons of the “utmost dissipation.” But having settled on fabulously rich bottom or “interval” land they were not about to let “grief and discontent” precipitate a move from a place where providence had clearly smiled on them. 

- exerpts from Ronald Rees, Land of the Loyalists: Their struggle to shape the Maritimes. Halifax: Nimbus, 2000.  pp. 11-12, 56.

Ronald Rees
c. 1763
Nova Scotia, CANADA
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2000, Ronald Rees, Nimbus Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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