Blupete's History of Nova Scotia

Key Events in the History of Nova Scotia: 1797.


§In January -- with Bonaparte having successfully invaded Italy, and Spain coming in on the side of France, and Austrian retiring from the war -- France was left without an enemy on the continent and England without an ally. England, fearing an invasion, withdrew her ships from the Mediterranean, which was thus to become a "French Lake" from January 1797 to May 1798.
§In Nova Scotia, the winter of 1796-7 was very severe.
§The second President (1797-1801) of the United States, John Adams (1735-1826) was sworn in. From New England, Adams believed, like England, in "wooden walls"; thus, the army should be kept small and ships should be built (in New England yards, of course).
§February, Battle of Cape St. Vincent. "The Spanish fleet,which had put out to sea with twenty-seven sail of the line, was met on the 14th of February, 1797, by Admiral Jervis off Cape St. Vincent with a force of but fifteen, and driven back to Cadiz with a loss of four of its finest vessels." (Green.)
§April: Crews of the Channel Fleet at Portsmouth rose in rebellion. The mutiny lasted five weeks and spread widely in the British navy. Fortunately, the Dutch or the French did not know of these naval problems. It was England's darkest hour; two invasions had been attempted and a third was pending.
§A criminal law is passed (37 George 3) whereby there is a mandatory sentence of seven year plus transportation for "unlawful oaths."
§4 July: [Halifax] "Three men of War come in, two of them disabled. The Topaz and Prevoyant dismasted, near Nantucket, in a violent gale of wind. They have a prize, loaded with wine & brandy, on the coast. The other is a Sloop of War." (Perkins.)
§July 10th, 1797: Commissioners are appointed "to determine upon a proper site" for two buildings: Government House and Province House.
§19 July: "... I settle the first draft of the militia ... after the draft of 24 gone to Halifax." (Perkins.)
§22 July: "... Shelburne militia were in our harbour this morning bound to Halifax." (Perkins.)
§September 9th, 1797: Chief Justice Strange accepted a position in India. Sampson Salter Blowers succeeded Strange and was the Chief Justice through to 1835.
§October 3rd: "Benning Wentworth [brother of Lady Wentworth] resigns the office of Treasurer, and Michael Wallace is appointed in his stead."
§8 Oct: "... News of a privateer sloop being to the eastward of Halifax, that has skuttled 7 small vessels loaded with coals. The Linx Sloop of War is gone in quest of her." (Perkins.)
§October 17th: "A warrant to impress men, not inhabitants of Nova-Scotia, granted to Admiral Vandiput, for two months."
§30 Oct: "... Lieut. Weeks, of the Princes Regiment, is here [Liverpool] in pursuit of deserters." (Perkins.)
§October: "In a bloody and obstinate battle off Camperdown the Dutch fleet, once so famous and so formidable, took its leave of history. ... defeated by Admiral Duncan at the head of the fleet which had returned to discipline; and thus this black year ended well." (Lord Rosebery.)
§It was in 1797 that the Nova Scotia Legislature allotted funds and commissioned a survey on the feasibility of the Shubenacadie Canal system.
§Tuesday, 19th Dec., 1797: "A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God" having been circulated with His Majesty's Royal proclamation, to be read this day and directed to His Majesty's Fleets, "in the course of the present war, in thanksgiving for the many and important Victories."
§By a parliamentary statute of Britain the torture of suspects and criminals was abolished.
§"Nov'r. 8 Six ships of war, commanded by Admiral Vandeput, sailed from Halifax on a cruise." Vandeput is seen to be at this station in 1799, too.
§November 23rd, wreck of HMS Tribune, 44 guns, Capt. S. Barker, struck Thrumcap Shoal at the entrance of Halifax Harbour. She got off and then drifted to the west and sunk of the mouth of Herring Cove. Of the 257 men aboard, only twelve were saved.
§4 Dec (Mon): "... The news from Halifax is, that a brig loaded with ordinance stores is cast away. She got in among the sisters [Sambro], & the men deserted her. She drifted off, & got into S.E. Passage. A ship with part of the Irish Brigade [6th Regiment] is a shore at Little Harbour, one other of the transports sunk at sea, & the convoy, & 3 more transports are missing or not arrived." (Perkins.)
§15 Dec: "... A large ship is coming into the harbour. We hoist the flag at the Fort. She anchors at Herring Cove. Mr. Newton goes on board, and returns with two officers & a chaplin of the Irish Brigade. She is the Transport Ship Briton, Jackson, Master, one of the fleet that came under convoy of the Porcupine frigate, from Cork, and is the same ship that was foul of the Fanny at sea. The Fanny received so much damage, that some days afterwards the Porcupine took the troops & seamen out of her. ... They have about 150 troops, and some women & children aboard. About 30 of them are sick with the flux, having been six months aboard, and suffered by the severity of the weather on this coast three or four weeks." (Perkins.)

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