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Samuel Vetch (December 9, 1668, Edinburgh, Scotland – April 30, 1732) was an Scottish soldier and former colonial governor of Nova Scotia.

Born to a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, Samuel Vetch was sent to the Dutch Republic, and studied at Utrecht until the Nine Years' War broke out. He then joined the army of William of Orange, rising to the rank of captain. He then joined a short-lived Scottish attempt to establish a colony in Central America, whose remnants ended up in New York.

Vetch then established a highly profitable but illegal trade with New France. With the outbreak of Queen Anne's War in 1702, public outcry over his trading activities with Acadia led to his trial and conviction on charges by the government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1706. He went to England, and, using his knowledge of New France, proposed to Queen Anne the conquest of all of New France. With the support of political allies and sympathetic colonial governors, the queen gave Vetch a military commission and promised him a governorship and military support for the 1709 campaign season. Along with Francis Nicholson, Vetch traveled to Boston in 1709 to raise colonial militia and supplies. However, the promised military force never arrived (having been diverted to the European theater of the War of the Spanish Succession), and the effort collapsed. Nicholson immediately returned to London, and secured a new promise of support for 1710.

The 1710 expedition succeeded in capturing the Acadian capital of Port Royal, although little of the surrounding countryside was pacified. Vetch was named the first governor of Nova Scotia, and the town was renamed Annapolis Royal in honor of the queen. The garrison that was left there was woefully undersupplied, and Vetch apparently funded at least some of its expenses, although he did get some official assistance from Massachusetts. However, some of his underlings also complained that he was grossly mismanaging the affairs of the colony. Nicholson capitalized on these complaints to have himself appointed governor in Vetch's place in 1713.

Vetch then returned to England to recover his reputation and his lost funds. With the accession of George I to the throne, he succeeded, and was reappointed governor in 1715. However, he never returned to North America, as he was called on to advise on matters of North American trade and politics. He was replaced as governor in 1717, and fell into debt. He died in King's Bench Prison, where he had been sent because of his debts, in 1732.

Vetch was married to Margaret Livingston, a member of the prominent Livingston family of New York; they had two children.




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