HMS Halifax was a schooner built for merchant service at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1765 that the British Royal Navy purchased in 1768 for coastal patrol in North America in the years just prior to the American Revolution. She is one of the best documented schooners from early North America.
The schooner was built by a group of Halifax merchants with government support as the Nova Scotia Packet, to establish a reliable packet service of mail and passengers between Halifax and Boston in 1765. The managing owner was, Joseph Grey, the son in law of the commissioner of the Halifax Naval Yard where the schooner was likely built. Launched in late September 1765, the schooner made her first voyage on 15 October 1765 under the command of Benjamin Green Jnr. Weather permitting, the packet sailed every eight days between Halifax and Boston and made 23 round trips during her merchant career. In July 1768, the Nova Scotia Packet was chartered by Commodore Samuel Hood in Halifax to take dispatches to Portsmouth, England. Hood also recommended that the schooner be purchased by the British Royal Navy.
The Royal Navy purchased the schooner on 12 October 1768 and renamed her Halifax; she met a need for more coastal patrol schooners to combat smuggling and deal with colonial unrest in New England. The careful record of her lines and construction by Portsmouth dockyard naval architects, and the detailed record of her naval service, make the schooner a much-studied example of early schooners in North America.
After an active career on the coast on North America she was wrecked on 15 February 1775 at Foster Island near Machias, Maine. she was reportedly intentionally run aground by a local pilot. The court martial of Nunn, his officers, and crew, attributed the loss to the pilot's ignorance; nothing came of this as the pilot had disappeared while Nunn was arranging transport from Sheep's Island to Boston for his crew with a local shipowner, Mr. Beale.
The wreck played a role in the Battle of Machias later that year, when Admiral Samuel Graves ordered that her guns be recovered. A later schooner named Halifax serving in North America was recorded as being purchased in 1775, though her lines were identical to the Halifax sunk that year, and she may therefore have been salved and returned to service.