Dalhousie Law Journal


Nova Scotia, courts, Cumberland Rebellion, legal history, loyalists, policy, Supreme Court


This article examines a series of cases launched in the Nova Scotia courts following the Cumberland Rebellion of 1776. In these cases loyalists sued former rebels, including those granted amnesty by the authorities, for losses sustained during the rebellion. The article traces the history of the cases and places them in the context of post-rebellion government policy. It argues that such proceedings were without precedent and effectively took the place of official schemes of expropriation of rebel land and compensation to loyalists. It also suggests that the use of civil courts in this way prolonged and exacerbated the social and political tensions in a county badly split in its reactions to the American Revolution. Finally, it links this litigation, and particularly some questionable decisions by judges of the Supreme Court, to criticisms of the administration of justice in late eighteenthcentury Nova Scotia.

Included in

Legal History Commons