Any Excuse For A Toast

As a former resident of Nova Scotia, I believe it is within my remit to raise a glass today and toast the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Years War.

Among other things, the treaty essentially saw the French hand over claims to Canada–particularly Nova Scotia and Cape Breton (then called Ile Royale)–to the British. The signing of the treaty marked a significant turning point in the history of the country–although you could make a pretty good argument that it just represented the official recognition of a corner that was turned some years before. If you’re wondering how something like that is done, here’s the relevant clause:

IV. His Most Christian Majesty renounces all pretensions which he has heretofore formed or might have formed to Nova Scotia or Acadia in all its parts, and guaranties the whole of it, and with all its dependencies, to the King of Great Britain: Moreover, his Most Christian Majesty cedes and guaranties to his said Britannick Majesty, in full right, Canada, with all its dependencies, as well as the island of Cape Breton, and all the other islands and coasts in the gulph and river of St. Lawrence, and in general, every thing that depends on the said countries, lands, islands, and coasts, with the sovereignty, property, possession, and all rights acquired by treaty, or otherwise, which the Most Christian King and the Crown of France have had till now over the said countries, lands, islands, places, coasts, and their inhabitants, so that the Most Christian King cedes and makes over the whole to the said King, and to the Crown of Great Britain, and that in the most ample manner and form, without restriction, and without any liberty to depart from the said cession and guaranty under any pretence, or to disturb Great Britain in the possessions above mentioned. His Britannick Majesty, on his side, agrees to grant the liberty of the Catholick religion to the inhabitants of Canada: he will, in consequence, give the most precise and most effectual orders, that his new Roman Catholic subjects may profess the worship of their religion according to the rites of the Romish church, as far as the laws of Great Britain permit. His Britannick Majesty farther agrees, that the French inhabitants, or others who had been subjects of the Most Christian King in Canada, may retire with all safety and freedom wherever they shall think proper, and may sell their estates, provided it be to the subjects of his Britannick Majesty, and bring away their effects as well as their persons, without being restrained in their emigration, under any pretence whatsoever, except that of debts or of criminal prosecutions: The term limited for this emigration shall be fixed to the space of eighteen months, to be computed from the day of the exchange of the ratification of the present treaty.

As a sort of aside, another thing that the treaty did was establish the situation with Saint Pierre and Miquelon–something most Canadians are at least dimly aware of, but which always seems to shock the Americans.

VI. The King of Great Britain cedes the islands of St. Pierre and Macquelon, in full right, to his Most Christian Majesty, to serve as a shelter to the French fishermen; and his said Most Christian Majesty engages not to fortify the said islands; to erect no buildings upon them but merely for the conveniency of the fishery; and to keep upon them a guard of fifty men only for the police.

The fact that there’s still a little piece of France there off the coast of Newfoundland has always struck me as pretty cool, actually. And you should hear the smuggling and rum-running stories that The Old Salts have about those islands from the Prohibition days…

The text of the treaty is here, if you’re interested.

  1 comment for “Any Excuse For A Toast

  1. Lachlan O'Dea
    February 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Cheers! Kicking out the French monarchy is always cause for celebration. Now what about the British one? Of course I’m in a glass house on that issue.

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This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.