The paper was founded as the Nova Scotian or Colonial Herald, by George R. Young, in 1824. Joseph Howe took control of it in 1827, establishing the paper's motto: "The free constitution which guards the British press." Published as a weekly, the paper played a key role in the intellectual and political life of Nova Scotia. A letter published in the Novascotian in 1835 led to charges of libel against Howe. When acquitted, he proclaimed: "the Press of Nova Scotia is free."
With a circulation of 3000 subscribers, the Novascotian became the leading provincial newspaper in the 1840's. A well-known contributor was Thomas Chandler Haliburton, creator of the immensely popular character, Sam Slick. Howe's entry into politics necessitated selling the paper. Nevertheless, the Novascotian remained a liberal voice in the province until the First World War, reaching a peak circulation of 20,000. Later it was published as the Nova Scotian and then Nova Scotia's Farm and Home Journal. It was discontinued in the 1920s after years of dwindling circulation following a change of its political allegiances to the Union Government.