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Glimpses of the Past by W. O. Raymond

The year the Loyalists arrived


The

enforcement of the regulations for the protection and preservation of White Pine trees was entrusted to Sir John Wentworth,[116] Surveyor of the King's Woods in North America. He was a discreet and able man, of polished manners and amiable disposition, but the office he filled was by no means a popular one, and brought him into conflict not only with individual owners of the soil, but on one occasion, at least, with the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.

[116] John Wentworth was the last Royal Governor of New Hampshire. He was a classmate and friend of John Adams, at Harvard. He was an active Loyalist, and at the close of the Revolution, came to Nova Scotia. He was made a baronet and for sixteen years filled the position of Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. He died at Halifax in 1820 in the 84th year of his age.

It was not many years after the establishment of the province that Lt. Gov'r Carleton wrote the English Secretary of State:--

"Under the regulations for preserving masting timber the deputies appointed by the surveyor of the woods have, or assume to have, authority to seize all the pine timber which they find in the possession of any one, though it may have been cut on his own ground. * * * I feel it my duty to submit it to the consideration of his Majesty's ministers whether it may not be expedient to relinquish

these restrictions on private property, which have an evident tendency to discourage the advancement of cultivation and settlement in the province."

Sir John Wentworth justified the enforcement of the regulations as a matter of national importance. He quoted the experience of New England where, after the restrictions of the surveyor general's office were removed, the mast timber had been so largely destroyed that it was scarcely possible to procure a cargo of large masts, and those that were to be had were held at enormous prices. Even if the government should grant all the land available for settlement, it did not follow, he argued, that the efficiency of the navy should be imperilled or the mast timber pass into the hands of speculators; nor did he think that its preservation should be left entirely to the discretion of the owners of the soil.

Wentworth's representation to the Home Government proved effectual at the time; his deputies continued to range the woods, and many a tall, stately pine bore the mark of the "broad-arrow" in token that it was reserved for the royal navy. It was not until about the year 1811 that the reservation of White Pine trees was no longer insisted upon by the crown.

The masting business was a very important one in the early days of New Brunswick. Vessels were built expressly for the trade, and, being of large size, and usually sailing under protection of a man-of-war, soon became the favorite passenger ships.

The development of the masting industry proceeded very rapidly after the arrival of the Loyalists, but even before that date it had attained considerable proportions. Sir Richard Hughes wrote to Lord Germaine on the 30th April, 1781, that upwards of 200 sticks for masts, yards and bowsprits had been cut, squared and approved by the King's purveyor at the River St. John in the course of the last fall and winter, and that one of the navy transports was then at Fort Howe loading a cargo of masts.

The year the Loyalists arrived, Captain John Munro, in reporting to General Haldimand the state of settlement of the country, said:--


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