18 October

Sir William Alexander (c. 1567-1640)

King Offers Baronetcy

One of the greatest gifts in the history of the world was made by King James I of England in 1621. He gave William Alexander territory now known as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, and part of Quebec!

Alexander was tutor to King James' son, Prince Henry, and had some reputation as a poet. One of his works was Doomes-Day, eleven thousand lines which were very dull. King James, who authorized the revision of the Bible used by most Protestant churches today, wanted to rewrite the Psalms himself, in metric form. Alexander helped him, for the poetry tutor had an unusually good eye for business. The continent of America already contained a New England, New France, and New Spain; so he persuaded King James to give him territory that could be developed as New Scotland, or Nova Scotia.

Alexander became "Sir William" and was authorized to offer grants of land 3 by 6 miles along the sea coasts "to all such principal knights and esquires as will be pleased to be undertakers of the said plantation and who will promise to set forth six men, artificers or labourers, sufficiently armed, apparelled and victualled for two years." Alexander was to "erect cities, appoint fairs, hold courts, grant lands and coin money." He certainly would "coin money" if he owned that territory today!

The knights and esquires were slow to take up the grants of land, however, so King James provided an additional incentive on *October 18, 1624, by creating an order called "Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia." Any man could be a "Baronet of Nova Scotia" if he went to live on his grant of land, or paid a sum of 150. He would have the right to wear about his neck "an orange tawney ribbon from which shall hang pendant in an escutcheon agent a saltire azure with the arms of Scotland.

The scheme never developed to any great extent, but there are descendants of the Baronets of Nova Scotia still alive today. Headquarters of the order is in the castle of Clackmannanshire in Scotland.


18 October

-1646    The Iroquois broke their peace agreement and killed Fathers Joques and Lalande.

-1748    By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, Louisburg was restored to France in exchange for Madras, India.

-1951    Canada agreed to maintain an army and air force in Europe under NATO. 1957 The Montreal Herald stopped publication after 146 years.

-1963    Longshoremen marched on Ottawa protesting the appointment of trustees to oversee their affairs.

-1965    Abraham Okpik became the first Eskimo member of the Council of the Northwest Territories.