Land TensionsRead Now
By the early 1780s, the new colonial government on St John’s Island, mostly comprised of opportunists and rogues, was experiencing growing pains. Landlords made slow progress in settling the land granted to them and, without settlers to pay rent to them, were unable or unwilling to pay the quit rent relied on by the colony to cover its costs. There was mounting tension relating to land tenure with settlers demanding the right to own not just rent the land they worked. Events elsewhere added new pressures including Britain discouraging Scots and Irish from emigrating, hoping to maintain a workforce for its cottage industries, and loyalists seeking refuge in British North America after Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence. The tensions continued largely unresolved until the mid 19 century. While the colonial government succeeded in buying out a few of the absentee landlords on a willing selling-willing buyer basis in the mid 1800s. a final resolution to the absentee landlord problem wasn’t achieved until Confederation. With Confederation, PEI passed a law forcing the sale of absentee landlords lots to the provincial government, a law later upheld by the newly formed Supreme Court of Canada, and the Canadian government provided the funds to buy them out, one of several inducement to PEI to join the new country of Canada.
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