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In order to account for the discrepant orthography of the pseudo-claimant's name, as it appears in the succeeding pages, I may mention, that in every part of the volume, except the Crown productions, I have spelt it Humphrys, and not Humphreys, at the express request of Mr Lockhart, agent for Mr Humphrys. Although the difference is immaterial, yet, for the sake of typographical accuracy, as well as from courtesy to Mr Lockhart, I think it right to notice it thus specially.
The colonization of that extensive territory, situated about the Gulf of St Lawrence, in North America, was a favourite project both of Kings James VI. and Charles I. Into this scheme Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, afterwards Secretary of State for Scotland, entered actively,* and was for his exertions rewarded by James by charter, dated 12th September, 1621, whereby he grants to the said Sir William, All and Whole the territory adjacent to the Gulf of St Lawrence, described in said charter, thenceforward to be called Nova Scotia ; and constitutes him, his heirs and assignees, hereditary Lords Lieutenant, with powers almost approaching to those of absolute sovereignty. Before this charter was ratified by the Scots Parliament, his Majesty died; when, in 1625, the grant was renewed by his successor in form of a Charter of Novodamus, proceeding upon the above narrative, and conceding, over and above, additional powers to Sir William Alexander.
* He was author of " An Encouragement to Colonies, by Sir Wm. Alexander, Knight.-Alter erit im Tiphis, altera quæ vehat Argodilectos Heroas. London, Printed by William Stansby, 1625.” Small 4to.
These charters are in the usual form of feudal conveyances as employed by the law of Scotland, but erecting Nova Scotia into a Barony, and declaring sasine at the castle of Edinburgh to be equivalent to sasine on the lands themselves. In them Sir William Alexander was infeft by sasine, dated 29th September, and recorded in the General Register of Sasines 1st October, 1625. They were all afterwards confirmed by Act of the Scots Parliament 1633, c. 28. The original documents are lost, but copies are preserved in the Register of the Great Seal.
Sir William sent to Canada one of his sons, who built forts at the mouth of the St Lawrence, and exercised other acts of authority. But the work of colonization proceeded slowly, and King James, with a view to facilitate it, fell upon the expedient of creating the order of Nova Scotia Baronets, which title was to be conferred on such individuals of good families who should engage therein. This arrangement was carried farther into effect by Charles I. who made such creations a source of revenue. The form adopted was: On receipt of a certain sum of money, to bestow a grant of sixteen thousand acres of land in Canada; this was erected into a barony, and the honours of a baronet of Nova Scotia appended thereto. The order was subsequently extended to natives of England and Ireland, provided they became naturalized Scotsmen.
Owing to his transatlantic speculations and other causes, Sir William Alexander became impoverished, and his property in Scotland became deeply involved. The French had a small colony in Canada, and he sold his entire possessions in that country to a Mons. De la Tour. The original Scots colony depended on the