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Description found in Archives

Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia [textual record]. 

Series consists of



Place of creation


0.2 m of textual records.

Scope and content

Series consists of records created and/or maintained in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia between 1788 and 1867. The series includes: registers of despatches sent from Nova Scotia and Cape Breton to the Colonial Office, 1788-1790; schedules of despatches sent, 1855-1867; a schedule of despatches received, 1865-1867; and a few despatches received, 1839-1867. Despatches received from the Colonial Office and copies of despatches sent were filed and preserved in each Lieutenant Governor's office, although customs in recording and filing varied from province to province, and over time. The surviving records exhibit many similarities: chronological sequences, the use of entry books and the preparation of schedules or registers to provide ready access. While many of the surviving series of records from the Lieutenant Governors' offices are incomplete, the practice of recording the text of outgoing despatches in entry books, and of providing reference copies for interested parties, has created certain overlaps between the records preserved by the governors and by the Colonial Office. Taken together, the various series provide a comprehensive record. The record which survives in this series, however, is not representative of the full extent of the record created in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. What survives in this series are only a few odd despatches and letters from the Colonial Office, the British Minister at Washington, and various other sources, along with fragmentary schedules of despatches and registers of correspondence. The main body of records created and/or accumulated by the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia (including, for example, despatches received and the text of despatches sent) was retained within Nova Scotia at Confederation and eventually deposited with the provincial archives.

Textual records
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown.
In order to protect the fragile originals, records in this series have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from circulation. The microfilm must be used for consultation and copying rather than the originals. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series descriptions.

Finding aids that relate to the contents of specific sub-series are described in the entries for those lower levels. See also the finding aids cited in the fonds-level description. Although they were prepared many years ago according to an arrangement schema which has been superseded, those finding aids continue to have descriptive value for records in this series. (Paper)

Finding aid 7-4 is a volume list relating to volumes 1-6. 7-4 90 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

The administration of Nova Scotia was led by a Governor from 1749 to 1786, when the rank was altered to Lieutenant Governor. New Brunswick and Cape Breton were made separate jurisdictions in 1784, under a Lieutenant Governor; Cape Breton was reunited to Nova Scotia in 1820. From 1786 until Confederation, the Governor-in-Chief of Quebec or Lower Canada held a Commission as Governor-in-Chief for each of these provinces in British North America. While the Royal Instructions were addressed to the Governor-in-Chief, they were carried out by the respective Lieutenant Governors.

The Governor or Lieutenant Governor of each colony in British North America may be seen to have maintained three levels of communication, which are reflected in the structure of the record-keeping systems in their offices. At the first level were despatches exchanged with the Colonial Office (for which see the description of despatches in the Correspondence with the Colonial Office series, elsewhere within this fonds). At the second level were despatches exchanged with fellow governors and senior officials who might be categorized as colleagues. The entry books demonstrate substantial variations in place and time as to who was considered a colleague. At both levels, the despatches were prepared for the governor's signature (though rarely in his own hand). At the third level were letters addressed to and received from subordinates (for which see the description of the Secretaries' correspondence, in the Civil Secretary's correspondence received sub-series in the Office of the Governor-in-Chief of the Province of Canada series, elsewhere within this fonds). Responsibility for preparing and signing correspondence at this level was delegated to the Private, Civil or Military Secretaries. Great consistency is evident in the segregation of despatches prepared in the Governor's name (first and second levels) from letters prepared at his orders but signed by his Secretaries (third level).

As a representative of the Crown in and for the colonies of British North America, each Governor or Lieutenant Governor undertook certain responsibilities for external relations and was obliged to maintain a close degree of co-operation with the British Minister at Washington. Filing practices demonstrate that the despatches were considered as communications with colleagues. The same may be said of correspondence with the Commander of the Forces.

Governors, lieutenant-governors and administrators in Nova Scotia between 1749 and 1867 include: Edward Cornwallis, Governor, 14 July, 1749-2 August 1752; Peregrine Thomas Hopson, Governor, 3 August, 1762; returned to England 1 November, 1753; Charles Lawrence, Lieutenant-Governor, 1 November 1753; Governor, 23 July, 1756; died 19 October, 1760; Jonathan Belcher, Lieutenant-Governor, Administrator, 19 October, 1760-25 September, 1763; Montague Wilmot, Lieutenant-Governor, 26 September, 1763; Governor, 31 May, 1764; died 23 May, 1766; Benjamin Green, Administrator, 23 May-22 August, 1766; Michael Francklin, Lieutenant-Governor, 23 August-26 November, 1766; William Campbell, Governor, 27 November, 1766-7 October, 1773; went to England on leave 1 October, 1767-10 September, 1768, and to Boston 4 November-4 December, 1768, during his absence Michael Francklin was Administrator. During Campbell's second visit to Boston 17 October, 1771-10 July, 1772, Benjamin Green was Administrator until 2 June, 1772, when Francklin, who had been in England, returned and took over the administration; Francis Legge, Governor, 8 October, 1773; recalled and sailed for England 12 May, 1776; Marriot Arbuthnot, Leutenant-Governor, 13 May, 1776-17 August, 1778; Richard Hughes (knighted in April, 1870), Lieutenant-Governor, 17 August, 1778-30 July, 1781; Sir Andrew Snape Hammond, Lieutenant-Governor, 31 July, 1781-8 October, 1782; John Parr, Governor, 9 October, 1782; Lieutenant-Governor, 20 May, 1786; died 25 November, 1791; Richard Bulkeley, Administrator, 25 November, 1791-13 May, 1792; John Wentworth (created baronet in 1795), Lieutenant-Governor, 14 May, 1792-22 April, 1808; Sir George Prevost, Lieutenant-Governor, 23 April, 1808-25 August, 1811; absent on military duty 6 December, 1808-15 April, 1809 during which time Alexander Croke was Administrator; Alexander Croke, Administrator, 26 August-16 October, 1811; Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, Lieutenant-Governor, 16 October, 1811-27 June, 1816. During his absence at Castine, 26 August-21 September, 1814, Duncan Darrock was Administrator. George Strachey Smyth, Administrator, 27 June-24 October, 1816; Lord Dalhousie, Lieutenant-Governor, 24 October, 1816-1 June, 1820; Sir James Kempt, Lieutenant-Governor, 1 June, 1820-23 August, 1828. During Kempt's absence in England from about 1 May, 1824 to 6 August, 1825 and also during his visit to Quebec, 3 July-18 July, 1828, Michael Wallace was Administrator. Michael Wallace, Administrator, 23 August-28 November, 1828; Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant-Governor, 29 November, 1828; went to West Indies on leave 15 October, 1829-1 June, 1830, leaving Michael Wallace as Administrator; went to England on leave 8 October, 1832 and did not return. Thomas N. Jeffery, Administrator, 9 October, 1832-1 July, 1834; Sir Colin Campbell, Lieutenant-Governor, 2 July, 1834-29 September, 1840; Lord Falkland, Lieutenant-Governor, 30 September, 1840-2 August, 1846; Sir Jeremiah Dickson, Administrator, 3 August-28 August, 1846; Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant-Governor, 29 August, 1846; died 22 March, 1852. During Harvey's visit to England (29 May-19 September, 1851) John Bazalgette was Administrator. John Bazalgette, Administrator, 12 March-5 August, 1852; Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant, Lieutenant-Governor, 5 August, 1852-5 February, 1858; Lord Mulgrave (afterwards Marquis of Normanby), Lieutenant-Governor, 5 February, 1858-17 September, 1863; Charles Hastings Doyle, Administrator, 18 September, 1863-21 June, 1864; Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell, Lieutenant-Governor, 22 June, 1864-28 September, 1865; Charles Hastings Doyle, Administrator, 28 September-7 November, 1865; Sir William Fenwick Williams, Lieutenant-Governor, 8 November, 1865-30 June, 1867. RG7 General Inventory

Additional information

Custodial and reference questions related to these records should be directed to the Canadian Archives Branch (CAB).

Custodial history
The majority of records in this series were received in 1904 from the Office of the Governor General of Canada. These records were transferred from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia to the Governor General's Office in 1867. Some records in the series, however, were among the duplicates from CO 412 that the Public Record Office (UK) transferred to the National Archives of Canada following the PRO reorganization in 1908-1910 ( for details, see the relevant sub-series descriptions).

No further accruals are expected.

Related materials
Related records may also be found elsewhere within this fonds in the series Despatches received by the Governor-in-Chief from the Lieutenant Governors. The records in the present series represent only a fraction of the records created or accumulated by the Governors and Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia. Despatches exchanged with fellow governors and with the British Minister at Washington were generally preserved with the Colonial Office despatches. The texts of despatches exchanged with authorities in England are also found in the Colonial Office records, as CO 217 (see the series CO 217, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, Original Correspondence - MG11-CO217 - in the Colonial Office fonds) and CO 218 (see the series CO 218, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, Entry Books - MG11-CO218 - in the Colonial Office fonds). Some duplicate entry books are also found with the private papers of many governors, such as Sir James Kempt (see the James Kempt fonds - R2330, formerly MG24-A18) or Sir John Harvey (see the John Harvey fonds - R2329, formerly MG24-A17). Other contemporary duplicates are found in the Lieutenant Governor's Office fonds (MG9-B2).

Arrangement note
Many of the records in this series were inherited as a historical collection of dormant records from a defunct colony by the Office of the Governor General of the Dominion of Canada. These records were originally created and/or accumulated in the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia as part of the business functions within that colony. Others were acquired by the National Archives of Canada by transfer from the Public Record Office (UK). As such, the records in this series are different in terms of the context of their creation and use and in terms of their provenance from those found elsewhere within this fonds, in the Despatches from the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia sub-series in the Despatches received by the Governor-in-Chief from the Lieutenant Governors series.

Availability of other formats note
Records in this series are available on microfilm. Microfilming was completed in 1980. Further details are provided in the relevant sub-series descriptions.

Associated material note
The despatches received and entry books of despatches sent - the records to which the schedules and registers which survive in this series relate - are not in the custody of the National Archives of Canada. They are held by the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Service in Halifax. As well, correspondence in the governor's name, carried out by the Private or Civil and Military Secretaries, must be sought in provincial archives.