History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Transportation and Communications

Chapter 3
1 January 1770   to   31 December 1775


Boundary between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts

Map showing the boundary between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, 1758
Map showing the boundary between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, 1750s-1770s
Source: Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives (map: 11 megabytes)

Title block of the 1758 map showing the boundary between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts
Title block of the map above, "by Thomas Kitchin, Geographer"

Thomas Kitchin MostlyMaps.com
Thomas Kitchin Wikipedia (in Italian)

In the 1750s through the 1770s, Massachusetts covered a much larger territory
than it does now.  So did Nova Scotia.  During the time of the Seven Years War,
1754 - 1763,  and  continuing  through  the  American  Revolution  1776 - 1783,
Massachusetts and Nova Scotia shared a common boundary. In the map above,
the territory lying on the west side of the boundary is marked "County of York
belonging  to  the  Massachusetts  Bay  Province."   The  boundary  that  now
separates Canada and the United States (New Brunswick and Maine) is located
some  distance  eastward  from the line shown  here  as the  boundary  between
New England (Massachusetts) and Nova Scotia. At the time this map was drawn,
Nova  Scotia  and  Massachusetts  both were colonies of  Great  Britain.  In the
1740s and the 1750s, the governor of Massachusetts was responsible for the
defence of Nova Scotia.

1773 September 15

Hector Arrives

On this day, following a three-month ordeal at sea, Hector dropped anchor in Pictou Harbour, bringing about 200 immigrants from Highland Scotland.

The arrival of Hector heralded the start of a wave of Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia. The events leading to the journey of the Hector began in 1765 when thousands of acres of land, (now Pictou County), were granted to individuals or companies in the old colonies (now the United States). In particular, the Philadelphia Company, which included Benjamin Franklin as one of its shareholders, seemed serious about settlement of the terms of their grant of 200,000 acres of Pictou land.

Initial settlement efforts met with little success, a single small vessel arriving in 1767 with only six families, four of which later moved away. Some of the shares were transferred to a Dr. Witherspoon, while others were acquired by one John Pagan who had already transported Scottish immigrants to Boston in 1770 on his ship, Hector. They promptly recruited an agent named John Ross to attract other Scottish immigrants to settle on the holding in Pictou County. The offer from Ross was an attractive one indeed to the tenant Scottish farmers and included free passage, a farm lot and year's provisions. Adding to this the promise of a rich and varied land, he secured a shipload of passengers in short order.

Under the command of John Spiers as Master, Hector left Loch Broom, Rosshire, in July of 1773. They experienced a difficult voyage, including a fierce gale off Newfoundland which blew the ship so far off course that it took fully two weeks to recover their former position. Accommodations and provisions were of poor quality, and the outbreak of smallpox and dysentery resulted in the death of the eighteen children on board. Water had to be rationed during the later stage of the voyage and the food shortage was so severe that the moldy scraps of food that had earlier been discarded were eaten on the last two days of the journey. Fortunately these scraps had been collected by Hugh McLeod, who probably hadn't realised just how important they would become later in the voyage.

Finally on 15 September 1773, Hector dropped anchor in the harbour opposite what is now the town of Pictou. The hardy settlers who had endured so much, now faced the challenge of making a success in their new home. Succeed they did, and with that success came the call to relatives and friends to join them in this new land of opportunity. Despite the disruption to immigration caused during the American War of Independence, settlement resumed in 1784 and by 1803 Pictou boasted a population of some five thousand people.  A full-size replica of the ship Hector is scheduled to be launched on 16 September 2000, during special ceremonies in the Town of Pictou.

Excerpted from The Sunday Daily News, 29 August 1999, and from:

1774 September 5

First Meeting of Continental Congress

The first Congress of delegates, chosen and appointed by the several colonies and provinces in North America, to take into consideration the actual situation of the same, and the differences subsisting between them and Great Britain, was held at Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1774. On that occasion, delegates attended from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, from the city and county of New York and other counties in the province of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and from South Carolina. On the 14th of September, delegates from North Carolina took their seats.

On the 20th day of October, 1774, the non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement was adopted and signed by the Congress. This agreement contained a clause to discontinue the slave trade, and a provision not to import East India tea from any part of the world. In the article respecting non-exportations, the sending of rice to Europe was excepted. In general, the association expressed a determination to suppress luxury, encourage frugality, and promote domestic manufactures. The agreement was dated the 24th of October. On the 21st, the address to the people of Great Britain was approved, as was the memorial to the inhabitants of the British colonies, on the same day. Both these state papers contain a representation of the grievances, and a justification of the conduct, of the colonies.

Letters sent to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia...
October 22, 1774

It was determined that an address should be prepared to the people of Quebec, in like manner, and letters be sent to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia, Georgia, and East and West Florida. On the 22d of October, 1774, a letter to the colonies of St. John's, &c., was reported, approved, and signed. It recommended an immediate adoption of the measures pursued by the Congress.

On the 25th of October, 1774, a petition to the King was adopted, and was ordered to be enclosed in a letter to the several colony agents, in order that the same might be by them presented to his majesty, which letter was approved and signed by the president, on the day following. This petition recited the grievances of the colonies, and asked for a redress of them. On the 26th of October, the address to the inhabitants of Quebec was adopted and signed. It set forth the rights of the British colonists, breathed a spirit of sympathy in suffering, and invited a spirit of union in resistance. The Congress was then dissolved, having, on the 22d of October, passed a resolution recommending delegates to meet again at Philadelphia, on the 10th of May, 1775.

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Elliot's Debates)

October 22, 1774: Letter sent to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia, etc.
October 22, 1774: Letter sent to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia, etc.,
recommending they immediately adopt the measures pursued by the Congress.
Source: Page 45, Elliot's Debates
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Page 46, May 1775
May 1775
Source: Page 46, Elliot's Debates
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1775 April 19

American Revolution Begins

There was a long series of events that led to the American Revolution, but, if a single day is to be named as The Day The American Revolution Began, this day is the one chosen by most historians.  Early in the morning of 19 April 1775, British soldiers marched into Lexington, Massachusetts, to capture a rebel arsenal.  A shot was fired, and the revolution began in earnest.  It took weeks for the news to penetrate all the colonies and more than a month for the first report to reach King George III in London...
Source: (book) The Day the American Revolution Began: 19 April 1775 by William H. Hallahan, ISBN 0380976161

"I argue that the imperial crisis stemmed from the growing metropolitan conviction that Britain's American colonies represented integral parts of the British nation, which Parliament might govern in the same manner as it did England, Scotland, and Wales. As this paper suggests, this conviction proved sufficiently strong to make the American Revolution the longest colonial war in modern British history, but not so strong as to prevent Parliament from enacting legislation in 1778 that effectively abandoned the right to tax the inhabitants of Britain's outlying dependencies for revenue..."
Source: Atlantic History Seminar, 1997
The End of Greater Britain? Britain and the Federal Implications of the War of American Independence, by Eliga G. Gould

1775 June

Tantramar Flashback

The Tantramar Marsh and the Isthmus of Chignecto is now
the border area between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

During the early 1770s ... the storm clouds of revolution were beginning to form in New England. Public opinion on the Isthmus (of Chignecto) was predictably divided among those who supported the revolutionary cause, those who did not, and the remainder who wanted to maintain neutrality, as "His Majesty's Yankees." In this tense atmosphere public opinion was easily inflamed

When news of the battle at Bunker Hill, fought on June 17, 1775, reached Chignecto, supporters of the revolutionary cause "hired a chaise (carriage) and six horses, postillion (rider for the lead horse), and waving a flag of liberty, drove about the Isthmus, proclaiming the news and the blessings of freedom."

Space prevents recounting details of the unsuccessful "rebellion on the marsh" led by the two local MLAs Jonathan Eddy and John Allan. Readers interested in a full analysis are directed to Ernest Clarke's thorough and well-documented account: The Siege of Fort Cumberland 1776: An Episode of the American Revolution.

Reasons for the rebellion's failure were many, as support for the Revolution was far from unanimous. There was little interest in the rebelling thirteen colonies to support an uprising in the fourteenth. The presence of the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic made the sending of support to the Isthmus next to impossible. Raids by New England privateers helped sway public opinion against the rebels. Finally, on the Tantramar, there was a new group of pro-British Yorkshire settlers, almost none of whom had the desire to aid the American cause...

"Tantramar Flashback," by Bill Hamilton
Sackville Tribune-Post, Sackville, New Brunswick, 19 Jan. 2000


The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution, by Ernest Clarke, 304 pages, published 1995 by McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal & Kingston, ISBN 0773518673, ISBN 077351323X

Jonathan Eddy

Eddy, Jonathan, farmer, soldier; born 1726/27 at Norton, Massachusetts, son of Eleazer E. and Elizabeth (Cobb) Eddy; married 4 May 1749 to Mary, daughter of Dr. William Ware; came to Cumberland, Nova Scotia, in 1763, after serving as captain in the Seven Years' War; deputy provost marshal of Cumberland County; first magistrate on the Penobscot River; Member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly for Cumberland Township, 1770-1775; leader in the rebellion in Cumberland in 1776; served as colonel in the American Revolutionary forces, living at Sharon, Massachusetts; in 1781 granted land at Eddington, Maine, where he died in August, 1804.
The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia 1758-1983: A Biographical Directory, edited and revised by Shirley B. Elliott, 1984, ISBN 088871050X; This volume was prepared as a contribution of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia to the celebration of the bicentenary of the establishment of representative government in Canada.

...a certain John Eddy was indicted by the grand jury for treason, but escaped before he could be brought to trial. The principal offense was that of enlisting men for the British service.
Footnote 90 in Volume 7 of The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, 39 volumes, John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1931-1944; reprint, New York: Greenwood Press, 1970
This John Eddy is not to be confused with Jonathan Eddy, a resident of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, in the 1760s and 1770s, and a Member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly for Cumberland Township, 1770-1775. From the beginning, Jonathan Eddy supported the revolutionary side in the war, and certainly did not enlist men for the British service.

John Allan

Allan, John, farmer, merchant; born 3 January 1746 at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland; son of William and Isabelle (Maxwell) Allan; married 10 October 1767 to Mary, daughter of Mark Patton; elected Member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly for Cumberland Township in by-election, took seat 30 October 1775; seat declared vacant 28 June 1776 for non-attendance; served as clerk of the Sessions; Justice of the Peace, sheriff, clerk of the Supreme Court; later became a soldier in the American Revolutionary Army. As a participant in the Eddy Rebellion he fled from Cumberland County in August 1776 for political reasons; died 7 February 1805, in Maine.
The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia 1758-1983: A Biographical Directory

Colonel John Allan kept the area from
the St. Croix River to the Penobscot River
from becoming Canadian territory

One Hundred and Twentieth
Maine Legislature

First Regular Session
40th Legislative Day, Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Joint Resolution Commemorating
May First as Colonel John Allan,
American Revolutionary War Hero, Day

Joint Resolution
On motion of Representative SOCTOMAH of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the following Joint Resolution: (H.P. 1323) (Cosponsored by Senator SHOREY of Washington and Representatives: BAGLEY of Machias, BUNKER of Kossuth Township, DUGAY of Cherryfield, DUNLAP of Old Town, GOODWIN of Pembroke, HALL of Bristol, MORRISON of Baileyville, Senator: GOLDTHWAIT of Hancock)

WHEREAS, Colonel John Allan, Scottish-born patriot of the Revolutionary War, was appointed by President George Washington in 1776 as the Military Commander of the Eastern Area; and

WHEREAS, the Continental Congress in 1778 acknowledged the work of Colonel Allan in defending the District of Maine; and

WHEREAS, Colonel Allan had headquarters in Machias, Maine and defended the country during the Revolutionary War; and

WHEREAS, Colonel Allan united the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot and Micmac tribes with the Maine settlers and together they defended the Maine coast against the British; and

WHEREAS, Colonel Allan worked to fulfill promises made to the Passamaquoddy Tribe by meeting with President Washington and the Continental Congress; and

WHEREAS, Colonel Allan's service to the American colonies kept the area from the St. Croix River to the Penobscot River from becoming Canadian territory; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: That, We, the Members of the One Hundred and Twentieth Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, on behalf of the people we represent, take this opportunity to recognize Colonel John Allan as a Patriot of Maine and we proclaim that May 1st, 2001 is Colonel John Allan Day; and be it further

RESOLVED: That suitable copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to Porter Memorial Library in Machias, Peavey Memorial Library in Eastport, the Charlotte Historical Society, the Dennysville Historical Society, the Pembroke Historical Society, the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Daughters of the American Revolution, who maintain the historical memorials in honor of this important time in Maine history.

Source: The Maine House of Representatives, Augusta, Maine


The Wayback Machine
has archived copies of this document:
Joint Resolution of the
Maine House of Representatives
1 May 2001

WHEREAS, Colonel Allan's service to the American colonies
kept the area from the St. Croix River to the Penobscot River
from becoming Canadian territory...

Archived: 2002 June 17

Archived: 2004 August 05

1775 November

Proposal for Destroying Nova Scotia

November 1775, Title: Colonel Thompson's proposal for destroying Nova Scotia
Document Title: Col. Thompson proposal for destroying Nova Scotia
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

The original of this document
is among George Washington's papers
now held by the U.S. Library of Congress

November 1775: Complete document in low resolution
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

For the Expedition purpos'd one Thousand Men
Including Officers   four Arm'd Vessels & Eight
Transports.  The Men to be Rais'd at the Eastward
The Fleet to be Made up at Machias & Then
Proceed to Windsor   Captivate the Torys   Make all
The [---] we can & Then Proceed to halifax
If Possible Destroy the Kings Dockyard & Town
If Thought Proper

It May Be undertaken for five thousand Pound [Law?]
and all That can Be procured from the Torys
or Ten Thousand & the one half of what Is
Taken from them.  At Windsor we understand
there is abundance of [Goods? food?] which is the Next
Capital town to Halifax.  We are Lately Informed
that There is not to Exceed 200 Brittish Troop
In halifax.
View the whole document in high resolution (175 kby)
Source: Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Who was Col. Thompson?

On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress passed a resolution calling for the raising of six companies of expert riflement from Pennsylvania, two from Maryland, and two from Virginia.

On June 25, 1775, Congress issued a commission naming William Thompson of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the first colonel of the "Army of the United Colonies," a predecessor to the Continental Army. The commission paper was signed two days later by Congress President John Hancock and now is stored in the collection of Cumberland County Historical Society in Pennsylvania.

On June 22, 1775, Pennsylvania was directed to raise two additional companies, followed by a third. These nine companies were to form a battalion to be commanded by Colonel Thompson. Following the British practice of calling a regiment after its commander, this battalion came to be called Thompson's Rifle Battalion. When the army was reorganized on January 1, 1776, the Battalion was renamed the First Continental Regiment of Foot. On July 1, 1776, the army reorganized yet again with each state directed to supply a quota of line regiments for Continental service. Pennsylvania claimed the First Continental Regiment as its own and renamed the regiment as the First Pennsylvania Regiment.

As Thompson's Rifle Battalion, the regiment participated in the siege of Boston. Two companies also accompanied Benedict Arnold's attack on Quebec. After the British attacked at Long Island, the First Continental Regiment covered the retreat the American army. It was the last regiment to leave Long Island. The First Continentals also participated in the battles at Fort Washington, Harlem Heights, and White Plains. At Trenton, it was the First Continental Regiment (now known as the First Pennsylvania Regiment) that cut off the Hessian retreat from Trenton, causing them to surrender. Shortly afterward, the Regiment helped delay Cornwallis before the Battle of Princeton.

Thompson was appointed a general in March 1776 and led 2,000 men in the ill-fated 1776 invasion of Canada. Following the Battle of Three Rivers, Thompson surrendered his command on June 9, 1776, to the British, who kept him as a prisoner until November 7, 1780. It is believed that he was exchanged for a German general captured at the Battle of Saratoga. He died at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 1781,at the age of 45 years.


1775 November 10

U.S. Congress Votes to "Destroy"
Docks, Shipyards and Magazines in Nova Scotia

"The Congress resuming the consideration of the report of the Committee on Nova Scotia,

"Resolved, That two persons be sent at the expence of these colonies to Nova Scotia to enquire into the state of that colony, the disposition of the inhabitants towards the American cause and the condition of the fortifications, Docks, yards, the quantity of artillery and warlike stores and the number of soldiers, sailors and ships of war there and transmit the earliest intelligence to General Washington.

"Resolved, That General Washington be directed in case he should judge it practicable and expedient to send into that colony a sufficient force to take away the cannon and warlike stores and to destroy the docks, yards and magazines, and to take or destroy any ships of war and transports there belonging to the enemy."

[Note: Against these paragraphs in the Corrected Journals is written the word "Secret."]

November 10th, 1775: Destroy the docks, yards and magazines in Nova Scotia
Destroy the docks, yards and magazines in Nova Scotia
Source: Journal of the Continental Congress, 10 November 1775
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1775 November 25

Continental Congress Authorizes Privateers

Act of the Continental Congress authorizing the capture and confiscation of all British armed vessels, transports, and supply ships, and directing the issuing of commissions to captains of cruisers and privateers

25 November 1775

The Congress resumed the report of the Committee on General Washington's letter, and the same being debated by paragraphs, was agreed to as follows:

The Committee to whom so much of the letter from General Washington to the president dated the 8th Instant as relates to the disposal of the vessels and cargoes belonging to the enemy, which shall fall into the hands of or be taken by the inhabitants of the united colonies and so much of the report of the committee of Congress, which lately went to the Camp at Cambridge as related to that subject, were referred, have examined the matter thereof and directed the same, as it appears to them, together with the resolutions of the Committee thereupon to be reported as followeth.

Whereas, it appears to your Committee from undoubted information, that many vessels which had cleared at the respective custom houses in these colonies, agreeable to the regulations established by acts of the British parliament, have in a lawless manner, without even a semblance of just authority, been seized by his majesty's ships of war, and carried into the harbour of Boston and other ports, where they have been riffled of their cargoes, by orders of his majesty's naval and military officers, there commanding, without the said vessels having been proceeded against by any form of trial and without the charge of having offended against any law.

It further appears to your Committee that orders have been issued in his majesty's name, to the commanders of his ships of war, "to proceed as in the case of actual rebellion against such of the sea port towns and places being accessible to the king's ships, in which any troops shall be raised or military works erected," under colour of which said orders, the commanders of his majesty's ships of war, have already burned and destroyed the flourishing and populous town of Falmouth, and have fired upon and much injured several other towns within the United Colonies, and dispersed at a late season of the year, hundreds of helpless women and children, with a savage hope that those may perish under the approaching rigours of the season, who may chance to escape destruction from fire and sword, a mode of warfare long exploded amongst civilized nations.

It also appears to your Committee, that the good people of these colonies, sensibly affected by the destruction of their property, and other unprovoked injuries, have at last determined to prevent as much as possible a repetition thereof, and to procure some reparation for the same, by fitting out armed vessels and ships of force. In the execution of which commendable designs, it is possible that those who have not been instrumental in the unwarrantable violences abovementioned may suffer, unless some laws be made to regulate, and tribunals erected competent to determine the propriety of captures: Thereupon your Committee came to the following resolutions:

1. That all such ships of war, frigates, sloops, cutters, and armed vessels as are or shall be employed in the present cruel and unjust war against the United Colonies, and shall fall into the hands of, or be taken by the inhabitants thereof, be seized and forfeited to, and for the purposes hereinafter mentioned.

2. That all transport vessels in the same service, having on board any troops, arms, ammunition, cloathing, provisions, or military or naval stores, of what kind soever, and all vessels to whomsoever belonging, that shall be employed in carrying provisions or other necessaries to the British army or armies, or navy, that now are or shall hereafter be within any of the United Colonies, shall be liable to seizure, but that the said cargoes only be liable to forfeiture and confiscation, unless the said vessels so employed belong to an inhabitant or inhabitants of these United Colonies; in which case the said vessel or vessels, together with her or their cargo, shall be liable to confiscation.

3. That no master or commander of any vessel shall be intitled to cruize for, or make prize of any vessel or cargo before he shall have obtained a commission from the Congress, or from such person or persons as shall be for that purpose appointed in some one of the United Colonies.

4. That it be and is hereby recommended to the several legislatures in the United Colonies, as soon as possible, to erect courts of Justice, or give jurisdiction to the courts now in being for the purpose of determining concerning the captures to be made as aforesaid, and to provide that all trials in such case be had by a jury under such qualifications, as to the respective legislatures shall seem expedient.

5. That all prosecutions shall be commenced in the court of that colony in which the captures shall be made, but if no such court be at that time erected in the said colony, or if the capture be made on open sea, then the prosecution shall be in the court of such colony as the captor may find most convenient, provided that nothing contained in this resolution shall be construed so as to enable the captor to remove his prize from any colony competent to determine concerning the seizure, after he shall have carried the vessel so seized within any harbour of the same.

6. That in all cases an appeal shall be allowed to Congress, or such person or persons as they shall appoint for the trial of appeals, provided the appeal be demanded within five days after definitive sentence, and such appeal be lodged with the secretary of Congress within forty days afterwards, and provided the party appealing shall give security to prosecute the said appeal to effect, and in case of the death of the secretary during the recess of Congress, then the said appeal to be lodged in Congress within 20 days after the meeting thereof.

7. That when any vessel or vessels shall be fitted out at the expense of any private person or persons, then the captures made shall be to the use of the owner or owners of the said vessel or vessels; that where the vessels employed in the capture shall be fitted out at the expence of any of the United Colonies, then one-third of the prize taken shall be to the use of the captors, and the remaining two-thirds to the use of the said colony, and where the vessels so employed shall be fitted out at the continental charge, then one-third shall go to the captors, and the remaining two- thirds to the use of the United Colonies; provided nevertheless, that if the capture be a vessel of war, then the captors shall be intitled to one-half of the value, and the remainder shall go to the colony or continent as the case may be, the necessary charges of condemnation of all prizes, being deducted before any distribution [is] made.

8. That the captures heretofore made by vessels fitted out at the continental charge were justifiable, and that the distribution of the captor's share of the prizes by General Washington, be confirmed, which is as follows:

That the share allowed to the captors be divided among the officers and men in the following proportions, viz: Source: Journal of the Continental Congress

1775 November 28

U.S. Navy's Rules and Regulations

The Congress resumed the consideration of the rules for the regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies, and the same being debated by paragraphs, were agreed to as follows:

Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies:

The Commanders of all ships and vessels belonging to the thirteen United Colonies, are strictly required to shew in themselves a good example of honor and virtue to their officers and men, and to be very vigilant in inspecting the behaviour of all such as are under them, and to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral, and disorderly practices, and also such as are contrary to the rules of discipline and obedience, and to correct those who are guilty of the same, according to the usage of the sea.

The Commanders of the ships of the thirteen United Colonies, are to take care that divine service be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent it.

If any shall be heard to swear, curse, or blaspheme the name of God, the Commander is strictly enjoined to punish them for every offence, by causing them to wear a wooden collar, or some other shameful badge of distinction, for so long time as he shall judge proper. If he be a commissioned officer, he shall forfeit one shilling for each offence, and a warrant or inferior officer six pence. He who is guilty of drunkenness, if a seaman, shall be put in irons until he is sober, but if an officer, he shall forfeit two days' pay.

No Commander shall inflict any punishment upon a seaman beyond twelve lashes upon his bare back, with a cat of nine tails; if the fault shall deserve a greater punishment, he is to apply to the Commander in chief of the Navy, in order to the trying of him by a court martial, and in the mean time, he may put him under confinement...

The Captain is frequently to order the proper officers to inspect into the condition of the provisions, and if the bread proves damp, to have it aired upon the quarter deck or poop, and also examine the flesh casks, and if any of the pickle be leaked out, to have new made and put in, and the casks made tight and secure.

The Captain or purser shall secure the cloaths, bedding, and other things of such persons as shall die or be killed, to be delivered to their executors or administrators.

All papers, charter parties, bills of lading, passports, and other writings whatsoever, found on board any ship or ships, which shall be taken, shall be carefully preserved, and the originals sent to the court of Justice for maritime affairs, appointed or to be appointed by the legislatures in the respective colonies, for judging concerning such prize or prizes; and if any person or persons shall wilfully or negligently destroy or suffer to be destroyed, any such paper or papers, he or they so offending, shall forfeit their share of such prize or prizes, and suffer such other punishment, as they shall be judged by a court-martial to deserve.

If any person or persons shall embezzle, steal, or take away any cables, anchors, sails, or any of the ship's furniture, or any of the powder, arms, ammunition, or provisions of any ship belonging to the thirteen United Colonies, he or they shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall order...

If there shall be a want of pork, the Captain is to order three pounds of beef to be issued to the men, in lieu of two pounds of pork.

One day in every week shall be issued out a proportion of flour and suet, in lieu of beef, for the seamen, but this is not to extend beyond four months' victualling at one time, nor shall the purser receive any allowance for flour or suet kept longer on board than that time, and there shall be supplied, once a year, a proportion of canvass for pudding-bags, after the rate of one ell for every sixteen men...

There shall be allowed to each man serving on board the ships in the service of the thirteen United Colonies, a daily proportion of provisions, according as is expressed in the following table, viz.
  Sunday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips.
  Monday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, ½ pint peas, and four oz. cheese.
  Tuesday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.
  Wednesday, 1 lb. bread, two oz. butter, four oz. cheese, and ½ pint of rice.
  Thursday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, and ½ pint of peas.
  Friday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.
  Saturday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, ½ pint peas, and four oz. cheese.
  Half pint of rum per man every day, and discretionary allowance on extra duty, and in time of engagement.
  A pint and half of vinegar for six men per week...

He who first discovers a ship or other vessel which shall afterwards become a prize, shall be entitled to a double share of such prize...

He who shall first board a ship or other vessel, making resistance, which shall become a prize, shall be entitled to a triple share...

Source: Pages 378-387, Journal of the Continental Congress, November 28, 1775

1775: Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America

Note: The above Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies have little to do with the history of Nova Scotia, other than as a general indication of the life led by seamen in those days. For example, in deciding on the punishment of a seaman, a Commander acting on his own authority was restricted to a maximum of "twelve lashes upon his bare back with a cat of nine tails" and if a heavier punishment was thought to be required a court martial had to be convened.

Note about these measures:

Once a year, one ell of canvas for every sixteen men...
The "ell" is an ancient measure of length, used mainly (excusively?) for measuring fabrics. The ell is mentioned explicitly in the Magna Charta, reluctantly signed by King John on 15 June 1215. This document contains sixty-three pledges or clauses; the thirty-fifth is the "measurements" pledge. Translated from the medieval Latin into modern English, this clause reads: "Throughout the Kingdom there shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn.  Also there shall be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject; namely a width of two ells within the selvedges.  Weights also are to be standardized similarly."

One of the earliest of all tables of English linear mesures, Richard Arnold's Customs of London, c. 1503, contains the following sequence (in which we have substituted Arabic for Roman numerals):
The length of a barley corn 3 times make an ynche [inch] and 12 ynches make a fote [foot] and 3 fote make a yerde [yard] and 5 qaters [quarters] of the yerde make an elle.  5 fote make a pace.  123 pace make a furlong and 8 furlong make an English myle [mile].

Parts of this sequence of measures were included in the standard curriculum taught in Nova Scotia's public schools into the 1970s:
    12 inches make one foot
    3 feet make one yard
    220 yards make one furlong
    8 furlongs make one mile

There were several legal definitions of the length of an ell:
The Dutch ell was about 22 inches about 56 cm
The Danish ell was about 25 inches about 64 cm
The Flemish ell was about 27 inches about 69 cm
The Scottish ell was 36 inches (one yard) about 91 cm
The English ell was 45 inches (1¼ yard) about 114 cm
The French ell was about 54 inches about 137 cm

The World of Measurements, by H. Arthur Klein, 736 pages, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1974, SBN 671215655

Weights and Measures of the City of Winchester

Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measures of the United States by Thomas Jefferson
Communicated to the House of Representatives July 13, 1790

First Report (1819) of the Commissioners appointed to Consider Weights and Measures

Report (1816) from the Select Committee on the Original Standards of Weights and Measures

There is no doubt that the "ell" which appears in the U.S. Navy's Rules and Regulations, 1775, is the English ell (45 inches 114 cm).

1 lb.
"lb." was the universal short notation meaning "pound" (weight, not money)
1 lb.   =   1 pound   =   453 grams

four oz.
"oz." was the universal short notation meaning "ounce", which could be either a measure of liquid volume or a measure of weight.
"Four oz. cheese" is clearly a weight:
16 ounces   =   1 pound
4 oz.   =   4 ounces   =   ¼ pound
4 oz.   =   113 grams

A pint was a measure of liquid volume.
2 pints   =   1 quart
4 quarts   =   1 gallon
1 gallon   =   8 pints

The definition of a "pint" depends on the definition of the "gallon," and there were many different gallons in use in the 1770s.  The gallon that Congress had in mind when it wrote the 1775 Naval Rules and Regulations was the Wine Gallon of 231 cubic inches capacity, which was made official in an order signed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1601. This ancient standard measure of liquid capacity is found in many historical documents, under various names such as "Queen Anne's wine gallon", "Winchester gallon", and "Winchester measure", all being various names for the same set of standards.  [In 2011 the standard liquid measure in the United States still is the U.S. Gallon of 231 cubic inches, which is Queen Anne's wine gallon under a new name.]  Queen Elizabeth's Winchester standard bushel and gallon — which were based on those of Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) which came into widespread use during the rule of Edgar the Peaceful (reigned 959-975) — were made official in 1601 and they remained the British reference standards until 1824 when a new Imperial gallon was instituted in Great Britain and her colonies, leaving the United States with the older Queen Anne's gallon — that is, the divergence of the British gallon from the U.S. gallon occurred in 1824.

Taking Congress' 1775 gallon to be equal to 231 cubic inches 3785.4 mL, we find (rounding the results to the nearest mL):
one pint   =   1/8th gallon   =   473 millilitres
half pint of rum   =   237 millilitres
a pint and half of vinegar   =   710 millilitres

1775 November 29

The Committee of Secret Correspondence

Recognizing the need for foreign intelligence and foreign alliances, the Second Continental Congress created the Committee of Correspondence (soon renamed the Committee of Secret Correspondence) by a resolution of November 29, 1775:

RESOLVED, That a committee of five would be appointed for the sole purpose of corresponding with our friends in Great Britain, and other parts of the world, and that they lay their correspondence before Congress when directed;

RESOLVED, That this Congress will make provision to defray all such expenses as they may arise by carrying on such correspondence, and for the payment of such agents as the said Committee may send on this service.

The Committee members — America's first foreign intelligence directorate — were Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Harrison of Virginia and Thomas Johnson of Maryland. Subsequent appointees included James Lovell, a teacher who had been arrested by the British after the battle of Bunker Hill on charges of spying. He had later been exchanged for a British prisoner and was then elected to the Continental Congress. On the Committee of Secret Correspondence he became the Congress' expert on codes and ciphers and has been called the father of American cryptanalysis.

The committee employed secret agents abroad, conducted covert operations, devised codes and ciphers, funded propaganda activities, authorized the opening of private mail, acquired foreign publications for use in analysis, established a courier system, and developed a maritime capability apart from that of the Navy. It met secretly in December 1775 with a French intelligence agent who visited Philadelphia under cover as a Flemish merchant, and engaged in regular communications with Britons and Scots who sympathized with the Patriots' cause...

Intelligence in the War of Independence
A publication of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

1775 December 29

The Masssachusetts State Navy

698 ships

The Massachusetts State Navy, the state's Revolutionary War naval militia (at first called the Massachusetts Colonial Navy) came into being December 29, 1775.  The Massachusetts Navy was founded through early legislation to defend the shores against the marauding British gunboats.  It was one of eleven such state units founded in those turbulent war years.  Of the 13 original colonies, only New Jersey and Delaware did not have navies.  The Masssachusetts Navy at one time had 698 ships in its fleet and fought heroic battles as far away as the coast of Spain.  It was amalgamated into the Colonial Navy founded by General George Washington.
The Colonial Navy of Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Navy Operates off Nova Scotia

The brigantine Independence, Captain Simeon Sampson, whose instructions were issued on July 26, 1776, was directed to cruise between Nantucket and the island of Sable on the coast of Nova Scotia...
A Naval History of the American Revolution, (book) by Gardner W. Allen, published 1913

Largest Vessel in the Massachusetts Navy

The 26-gun Protector, the largest Massachusetts State Navy vessel, was captured on May 5, 1781, by the British 44-gun Roebuck.
A History of Kingston (Massachusetts) (book) by Doris Johnson Melville, published 1976

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