Decorous Dispossession: Legally Extinguishing Acadian Landholding Rights

Acadiensis

By Elizabeth Mancke

In August 1759, the Nova Scotia assembly passed “An Act for the Quieting of Possessions to the Protestant Grantees of the Lands, formerly occupied by the French Inhabitants, and for preventing vexatious Actions relating to the same.”  The legislation prohibited “any troublesome or vexatious Suits of Law” by Acadians trying to recover their lands and made it illegal for any courts in the province to hear cases brought “for the Recovery of any Lands” by “the former French Inhabitants.”  The text of the legislation indicated that “some Doubts have arisen . . .  concerning the Title of the said French Inhabitants to any of the said Lands,” and some New Englanders were wary of moving hundreds of kilometers north to settle on lands to which Acadians might have legal recourse to recover.[1]

Ten months earlier, in its first sitting, the assembly passed “An Act for confirming…

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