Petition for the Canal, 1798

Halifax , N.S. 16 July 1798


The House of Assembly in their late session, had under consideration a petition of Wm. Forsyth, Andrew Belcher and Richard Kidston, Esq. praying for Legislative assistance, to erect a canal navigation from the Harbour at Dartmouth; to the navigable water in the River Shubenacadie, and thereupon resolved to address me, requesting a patent might be issued toward carrying it into effect the purposes intended in the said Petition - Being at all times desirous to promote the views of the House Of Assembly for the good of the Province, I shall give the necessary orders to expedite such Patent, for the advice and consent of His Majesty’s Council. For the better completing whereof, and effecting the good ends proposed, I shall name in the Patent Eight Directors, and one Secretary and one Cashier. Viz.

William Forsyth, Esq. Chairman
Andrew Belcher, Esq. Deputy Chairman
William Cochran Esp.
Laurence Hartshorne Esg.                      


Charles Hill Esq.
Richard Kidston Esq.
John Bremner, Esq.
Sabattier, Esq.
Michael Wallace Esq. Secretary and Cashier.

The Chairman or Deputy Chairman presiding, to have a Casting Vote, in case of an equality of Votes, upon any measure. I am now to recommend that would convene to consider and report to me, such terms and conditions as you may think expedient to be granted in the Patent that the best measures may be adopted.

I am persuaded that the greatest benefits be derived from carrying the Plan into execution- To the Revenue and Morals of the Country, by making it the interest and convenience and increasing inhabitants to purchase of the fair trader, in or thro' Halifax whence the frauds - lying - violences, and perjuries attendant on illicit commerce will naturally vanish.

To the Commerce of the Province, by facilitating — rendering safe, and reducing the expense of all commodities and produce upon that extensive fertile and productive Country to which such a Canal, as is proposed immediately communicates.

Fuel and provisions, now too dear would be plentifully supplied, at half the present prices, and with better profit to those who sell. Timber for all the purposes of building — for all public use, and for exportation. Hay, and other bulky articles, now immensely dear from its freight from Countries that have less to spare, than those which would employ the proposed navigation, may then be plenty and at a moderate price in our Markets — In fine — The Benefits are so many — so obvious and sapient, that I think they demand the best exertions, and will greatly reward the Zeal of every Friend to the Province — upon such Principles, my best services shall be faithfully applied. As the most prominent proof whereof, I request you, Gentlemen, to commence the Trust - in your wisdom public spirit, experience, and perseverance, confiding such fair hopes of success, as precludes all apprehension of disappointment or Failure. I have the honour to be with great esteem and respect.


Your obedient Servant,

J. Wentworth