WROTH, ROBERT, officer in the 40th regiment at Annapolis Royal, N.S., 1720–29; d. c. 1735.
Appointed adjutant on 7 May 1719, Wroth crossed the Atlantic to Boston later that year, and when he reached Annapolis Royal in January 1719/20 he brought the welcome news of Governor Richard Philipps*’ arrival at Boston. Wroth was commissioned ensign on 25 July 1722, and his commission was renewed in 1727.
On 27 Sept. 1727 Wroth was appointed by Lieutenant-Governor Armstrong to proclaim King George II in the Acadian settlements up to the Bay of Fundy (Baie Française) and to tender the oath of allegiance. Wroth was to assure the Acadians that if they took the oath they would enjoy the free exercise of their religion and continued possession of their lands would be confirmed. He was directed to go first to the Saint John River and to proceed from there to Minas, Cobequid (Truro), Pisiguit, and afterwards to Chignecto, and to keep an exact journal of his expenses and of all his public transactions.
Having transported Chief Joseph Nepomoit and two other Indians to the Saint John River, Wroth proclaimed George II there on 4 October. The Indians signed a proclamation declaring that the French were great obstacles and that they were now resolved to keep the peace they had made with the British. At Chignecto, on 10 October, Wroth was greeted by more than 100 inhabitants, “Every one shewing their Loyalty, & Affection; in Low’d Husas, of God Preserve King George the Second, frequently Drinking to his Royall Health, and fireing severall Vollys of small arm’s.” Wroth found the Acadians at Chignecto obdurate concerning the oath, however, so he consented on his own authority to certain concessions: the free exercise of their religion, with priests sufficient to practise it, exemption from bearing arms, and continued enjoyment of their property.
At Minas on 23 October the inhabitants gave similar marks of their loyalty and affection for the king. But when it came to the oath they insisted on conditions similar to those granted at Chignecto and added a fourth: the freedom to withdraw when they thought fit, sell their goods, and be quit of their oath. At their insistence Wroth also agreed to modify the oath by translating it in such a way as to omit the word “obey.” The inhabitants at Pisiquit subscribed to the oath in the same way. Not having received a reply to his letter to Cobequid, Wroth did not go there. Instead, he sent a proclamation to be posted on the church door, leaving the oath to be taken at the first suitable opportunity.
When Wroth reported on 13 Nov. 1727, the council condemned his concessions as “unwarrantable & dishonourable to His Majestys authority & Government & Consequently Null & Void” and advised Armstrong not to ratify or confirm them. The council declared, moreover, that the inhabitants who had acknowledged George II’s authority over the province should have the liberties and privileges of English subjects, and that there should be free trade until the king’s pleasure was known.
Eventually, on 24 June 1729, because of ill health, Wroth resigned his appointment, as adjutant in favour of Lieutenant Otho Hamilton*. Wroth returned to England that year, and apparently transferred later to Lucas’ regiment in the West Indies. He had died by 1735, when the widow of Ensign Wroth of that regiment was drawing a pension of £16 per annum.
PANS, MS. docs., XXII. PRO, C.O. 217/3, f.26; 217/4, ff.322, 359; 217/5, ff.49–50, 58–59, 61–65, 146–51, 153–69, 199–200; 217/30, ff.34–35; 217/38, ff.110, 134–36, 186–94, 196, 200–1; 217/39, f.13. Coll. doc. inédits Canada et Amérique (CF), I (1888), 175–88. The Fulham papers in the Lambeth palace library, ed. W. W. Manross (Oxford, 1965), 341. NS Archives, III, 16, 19, 161–63, 168–69. PRO, CSP, Col., 1726–27, 1728–29, 1730. Brebner, New England’s outpost. Dalton, George the First’s army, II, 322. Murdoch, History of Nova-Scotia, I, 445.