The Acadian Exiles
Arthur G. Doughty

Part 1 out of 3

This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan.

Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 9

A Chronicle of the Land of Evangeline




The name Acadia, [Footnote: The origin of the name is
uncertain. By some authorities it is supposed to be
derived from the Micmac algaty, signifying a camp or
settlement. Others have traced it to the Micmac akade,
meaning a place where something abounds. Thus, Sunakade
(Shunacadie, C. B.), the cranberry place; Seguboon-akade
(Shubenacadie), the place of the potato, etc. The earliest
map marking the country, that of Ruscelli (1561), gives
the name Lacardie. Andre Thivet, a French writer, mentions
the country in 1575 as Arcadia; and many modern writers
believe Acadia to be merely a corruption of that classic
name.] which we now associate with a great tragedy of
history and song, was first used by the French to
distinguish the eastern or maritime part of New France
from the western part, which began with the St Lawrence
valley and was called Canada. Just where Acadia ended
and Canada began the French never clearly defined--in
course of time, as will be seen, this question became a
cause of war with the English--but we shall not be much
at fault if we take a line from the mouth of the river
Penobscot, due north to the St Lawrence, to mark the
western frontier of the Acadia of the French. Thus, as
the map shows, Acadia lay in that great peninsula which
is flanked by two large islands, and is washed on the
north and east by the river and gulf of St Lawrence, and
on the south by the Atlantic Ocean; and it comprised what
are to-day parts of Quebec and Maine, as well as the
provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward
Island. When the French came, and for long after, this
country was the hunting ground of tribes of the Algonquin
race--Micmacs, Malecites, and Abnakis or Abenakis.

By right of the discoveries of Jean Verrazano (1524) and
Jacques Cartier (1534-42) the French crown laid claim to
all America north of the sphere of Spanish influence.
Colonial enterprise, however, did not thrive during the
religious wars which rent Europe in the sixteenth century;
and it was not until after the Edict of Nantes in 1598
that France could follow up the discoveries of her seamen
by an effort to colonize either Acadia or Canada. Abortive
attempts had indeed been made by the Marquis de la Roche,
but these had resulted only in the marooning of fifty
unfortunate convicts on Sable Island. The first real
colonizing venture of the French in the New World was
that of the Sieur de Monts, the patron and associate of
Champlain. [Footnote: See The founder of New France in
this Series, chap. ii.] The site of this first colony
was in Acadia. Armed with viceregal powers and a trading
monopoly for ten years, De Monts gathered his colonists,
equipped two ships, and set out from Havre de Grace in
April 1604. The company numbered about a hundred and
fifty Frenchmen of various ranks and conditions, from
the lowest to the highest--convicts taken from the prisons,
labourers and artisans, Huguenot ministers and Catholic
priests, some gentlemen of noble birth, among them Jean
de Biencourt, Baron de Poutrincourt, and the already
famous explorer Champlain.

The vessels reached Cape La Heve on the south coast of
Nova Scotia in May. They rounded Cape Sable, sailed up
the Bay of Fundy, and entered the Annapolis Basin, which
Champlain named Port Royal. The scene here so stirred
the admiration of the Baron de Poutrincourt that he
coveted the place as an estate for his family, and begged
De Monts, who by his patent was lord of the entire country,
to grant him the adjoining lands. De Monts consented;
the estate was conveyed; and Poutrincourt became the
seigneur of Port Royal.

The adventurers crossed to the New Brunswick shore, turned
their vessel westward, passed the mouth of the river St
John, which they named, and finally dropped anchor in
Passamaquoddy Bay. Here, on a small island near the mouth
of the river St Croix, now on the boundary-line between
New Brunswick and Maine, De Monts landed his colonists.
They cleared the ground; and, within an enclosure known
as the Habitation de l'Isle Saincte-Croix, erected a few
buildings--'one made with very fair and artificial
carpentry work' for De Monts, while others, less ornamental,
were for 'Monsieur d'Orville, Monsieur Champlein, Monsieur
Champdore, and other men of high standing.'

Then as the season waned the vessels, which linked them
to the world they had left, unfurled their sails and set
out for France. Seventy-nine men remained at St Croix,
among them De Monts and Champlain. In the vast solitude
of forest they settled down for the winter, which was
destined to be full of horrors. By spring thirty-five of
the company had died of scurvy and twenty more were at
the point of death. Evidently St Croix was not a good
place for a colony. The soil was sandy and there was no
fresh water. So, in June, after the arrival of a vessel
bringing supplies from France, De Monts and Champlain
set out to explore the coasts in search of a better site.
But, finding none which they deemed suitable, they decided
to tempt fortune at Poutrincourt's domain of Port Royal.
Thither, then, in August the colonists moved, carrying
their implements and stores across the Bay of Fundy, and
landing on the north side of the Annapolis Basin, opposite
Goat Island, where the village of Lower Granville now

The colony thus formed at Port Royal in the summer of
1605--the first agricultural settlement of Europeans on
soil which is now Canadian--had a broken existence of
eight years. Owing to intrigues at the French court, De
Monts lost his charter in 1607 and the colony was
temporarily abandoned; but it was re-established in 1610
by Poutrincourt and his son Charles de Biencourt. The
episode of Port Royal, one of the most lively in Canadian
history, introduces to us some striking characters.
Besides the leaders in the enterprise, already mentioned
--De Monts, Champlain, Poutrincourt, and Biencourt--we
meet here Lescarbot, [Footnote: Lescarbot was the historian
of the colony. His History of New France, reprinted by
the Champlain Society (Toronto, 1911), with an English
translation, notes, and appendices by W. L. Grant, is a
delightful and instructive work.] lawyer, merry philosopher,
historian, and farmer; likewise, Louis Hebert, planting
vines and sowing wheat--the same Louis Hebert who afterwards
became the first tiller of the soil at Quebec. Here,
also, is Membertou, sagamore of the Micmacs, 'a man of
a hundred summers' and 'the most formidable savage within
the memory of man.' Hither, too, in 1611, came the Jesuits
Biard and Masse, the first of the black-robed followers
of Loyola to set foot in New France. But the colony was
to perish in an event which foreshadowed the struggle in
America between France and England. In 1613 the English
Captain Argall from new-founded Virginia sailed up the
coasts of Acadia looking for Frenchmen. The Jesuits had
just begun on Mount Desert Island the mission of St
Sauveur. This Argall raided and destroyed. He then went
on and ravaged Port Royal. And its occupants, young
Biencourt and a handful of companions, were forced to
take to a wandering life among the Indians.

Twenty years passed before the French made another
organized effort to colonize Acadia. The interval, however,
was not without events which had a bearing on the later
fortunes of the colony. Missionaries from Quebec, both
Recollets and Jesuits, took up their abode among the
Indians, on the river St John and at Nipisiguit on Chaleur
Bay. Trading companies exploited the fur fields and the
fisheries, and French vessels visited the coasts every
summer. It was during this period that the English Puritans
landed at Plymouth (1620), at Salem (1628), and at Boston
(1630), and made a lodgment there on the south-west flank
of Acadia. The period, too, saw Sir William Alexander's
Scots in Nova Scotia and saw the English Kirkes raiding
the settlements of New France. [Footnote: See The Jesuit
Missions in this Series, chap. iv.]

The Baron de Poutrincourt died in 1615, leaving his estate
to his son Biencourt. And after Biencourt's own death in
1623, it was found that he had bequeathed a considerable
fortune, including all his property and rights in Acadia,
to his friend and companion, that interesting and
resourceful adventurer, Charles de la Tour. This man,
when a lad of fourteen, and his father, Claude de la
Tour, had come out to Acadia in the service of Poutrincourt.
After the destruction of Port Royal, Charles de la Tour
had followed young Biencourt into the forest, and had
lived with him the nomadic life of the Indians. Later,
the elder La Tour established himself for trade at the
mouth of the Penobscot, but he was driven away from this
post by a party from the English colony at Plymouth. The
younger La Tour, after coming into Biencourt's property,
built Fort Lomeron, afterwards named St Louis, at the
place now known as Port Latour, near Cape Sable. This
made him in fact, if not in name, the French ruler of
Acadia, for his Fort St Louis was the only place of any
strength in the whole country.

By 1627 the survivors of Biencourt's wandering companions
had settled down, some of them in their old quarters at
Port Royal, but most of them with La Tour at Cape Sable.
Then came to Acadia seventy Scottish settlers, sent hither
by Sir William Alexander, who took up their quarters at
Port Royal and named it Scots Fort. The French described
these settlers as 'all kinds of vagabonds, barbarians,
and savages from Scotland'; and the elder La Tour went
to France to procure stores and ammunition, and to petition
the king to grant his son a commission to hold Acadia
against the intruders. But the elder La Tour was not to
come back in the role of a loyal subject of France. He
was returning in 1628 with the ships of the newly formed
Company of One Hundred Associates, under Roquemont, when,
off the Gaspe coast, appeared the hostile sail of the
Kirkes; and La Tour was taken prisoner to England. There
he entered into an alliance with the English, accepted
grants of land from Sir William Alexander, had himself
and his son made Baronets of Nova Scotia, and promised
to bring his son over to the English side. Young La Tour,
when his father returned, accepted the gift, and by some
means procured also, in 1631, a commission from the French
king as lieutenant-general of Acadia. Later, as we shall
see, his dual allegiance proved convenient.

The restoration of Acadia to France in 1632, by the Treaty
of St Germain-en-Laye, was to Cardinal Richelieu the
signal for a renewal of the great colonizing project
which he had set on foot five years earlier and which
had been interrupted by the hostile activities of the
Kirkes. [Footnote: See The founder of New France, chap.
v, and The Jesuit Missions, chap. iv.] Richelieu appointed
lieutenant-general of Acadia Isaac de Razilly, one of
the Company of One Hundred Associates and commander of
the Order of Malta, with authority to take over Acadia
from the Scots. Razilly brought out with him three hundred
settlers, recruited mainly from the districts of Touraine
and Brittany--the first considerable body of colonists
to come to the country. He was a man of more than ordinary
ability, of keen insight and affable manners. 'The
commander,' wrote Champlain, 'possessed all the qualities
of a good, a perfect sea-captain; prudent, wise,
industrious; urged by the saintly motive of increasing
the glory of God and of exercising his energy in New
France in order to erect the cross of Christ and plant
the lilies of France therein.' He planned for Acadia on
a large scale. He endeavoured to persuade Louis XIII to
maintain a fleet of twelve vessels for the service of
the colony, and promised to bring out good settlers from
year to year. Unfortunately, his death occurred in 1635
before his dreams could be realized. He had been given
the power to name his successor; and on his death-bed he
appointed his cousin and companion, Charles de Menou,
Sieur d'Aulnay Charnisay, adjuring him 'not to abandon
the country, but to pursue a task so gloriously begun.'

Years of strife and confusion followed. Razilly had made
La Heve his headquarters; but Charnisay took up his at
Port Royal. [Footnote: Charnisay built his fort about
six miles farther up than the original Port Royal, and
on the opposite side of the river, at the place thenceforth
known as Port Royal until 1710, and since then as Annapolis
Royal or Annapolis.] This brought him into conflict with
Charles de la Tour, who had now established himself at
the mouth of the river St John, and whose commission from
the king, giving him jurisdiction over the whole of
Acadia, had, apparently, never been rescinded. The king,
to whom the dispute was referred, instructed that an
imaginary line should be drawn through the Bay of Fundy
to divide the territory of Charnisay from that of La
Tour. But this arrangement did not prevent the rivalry
between the two feudal chiefs from developing into open
warfare. In the struggle the honours rested with Charnisay.
Having first undermined La Tour's influence at court, he
attacked and captured La Tour's Fort St John. This happened
in 1645. La Tour himself was absent; but his wife, a
woman of heroic mould, made a most determined resistance.
[Footnote: This follows the story as told by Denys (see
p. 18 note), which has been generally accepted by
historians. But Charnisay in an elaborate memoir (Memoire
Instructif) gives a very different version of this affair.]
La Tour was impoverished and driven into exile; his
remarkable wife died soon afterwards; and Charnisay
remained lord of all he surveyed. But Charnisay was not
long to enjoy his dominion. In May 1650 he was thrown by
accident from his canoe into the Annapolis river and died
in consequence of the exposure.

In the year following Charnisay's death Charles de la
Tour reappeared on the scene. Armed with a new patent
from the French king, making him governor and lieutenant-
general of Acadia, he took possession of his fort at the
mouth of the St John, and further strengthened his position
by marrying the widow of his old rival Charnisay. Three
years later (1654), when the country fell again into the
hands of the English, La Tour turned to good account his
previous relations with them. He was permitted to retain
his post, and lived happily with his wife [Footnote: They
had five children, who married and settled in Acadia.
Many of their descendants may be counted among the Acadian
families living at the present time in Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick.] at Fort St John, so far as history records,
until his death in 1666.

By the Treaty of Breda in 1667 Acadia was restored to
France, and a period ensued of unbroken French rule. The
history of the forty-three years from the Treaty of Breda
until the English finally took possession is first a
history of slow but peaceful development, and latterly
of raids and bloody strife in which French and English
and Indians were involved. In 1671 the population,
according to a census of that year, numbered less than
four hundred and fifty. This was presently increased by
sixty new colonists from France. By 1685 this population
had more than doubled and the tiny settlements appeared
to be thriving. But after 1690 war again racked the land.

During this period Acadia was under the government of
Quebec, but there was always a local governor. The first
of these, Hubert de Grandfontaine, came out in 1670. He
and some of his successors were men of force and ability;
but others, such as Brouillan, who issued card money
without authority and applied torture to an unconvicted
soldier, and Perrot, who sold liquor by the pint and the
half-pint in his own house, were unworthy representatives
of the crown.

By 1710 the population of Acadia had grown to about
twenty-one hundred souls, distributed chiefly in the
districts of Port Royal, Minas, and Chignecto. Most of
these were descended from the settlers brought over by
Razilly and Charnisay between 1633 and 1638. On the whole,
they were a strong, healthy, virtuous people, sincerely
attached to their religion and their traditions. The most
notable singularity of their race was stubbornness,
although they could be led by kindness where they could
not be driven by force. Though inclined to litigation,
they were not unwilling to arbitrate their differences.
They 'had none who were bred mechanics; every farmer was
his own architect and every man of property a farmer.'
'The term Mister was unknown among them.' They took pride
in their appearance and wore most attractive costumes,
in which black and red colours predominated. Content with
the product of their labour and having few wants, they
lived in perfect equality and with extreme frugality. In
an age when learning was confined to the few, they were
not more illiterate than the corresponding class in other
countries. 'In the summer the men were continually employed
in husbandry.' They cultivated chiefly the rich marsh-lands
by the rivers and the sea, building dikes along the banks
and shores to shut out the tides; and made little effort
to clear the woodlands. 'In the winter they were engaged
in cutting timber and wood for fuel and fencing, and in
hunting; the women in carding, spinning, and weaving
wool, flax, and hemp, of which their country furnished
abundance; these, with furs from bears, beavers, foxes,
otters, and martens, gave them not only comfortable, but
in some cases handsome clothing.' Although they had large
herds of cattle, 'they never made any merchantable butter,
being used to set their milk in small noggins which were
kept in such order as to turn it thick and sour in a
short time, of which they ate voraciously.' [Footnote:
Public Archives, Canada, Brown Collection, M 651a, 171.]

The lands which the Acadians reclaimed from the sea and
cultivated were fertile in the extreme. A description
has come down to us of what was doubtless a typical
Acadian garden. In it were quantities of 'very fine
well-headed cabbages and of all other sorts of pot herbs
and vegetables.' Apple and pear trees brought from France
flourished. The peas were 'so covered with pods that it
could only be believed by seeing.' The wheat was
particularly good. We read of one piece of land where
'each grain had produced six or eight stems, and the
smallest ear was half a foot in length, filled with
grain.' The streams and rivers, too, teemed with fish.
The noise of salmon sporting in the rivers sounded like
the rush of a turbulent rapid, and a catch such as 'ten
men could not haul to land' was often made in a night.
Pigeons were a plague, alighting in vast flocks in the
newly planted gardens. If the economic progress of the
country had been slow, the reason had lain, not in any
poverty of natural resources, but in the scantiness of
the population, the neglect of the home government, the
incessant turmoil within, and the devastating raids of
English enemies.



Almost from the first England had advanced claims, slender
though they were, to the ownership of Acadia. And very
early, as we have seen, the colony had been subjected to
the scourge of English attacks.

Argall's expedition had been little more than a buccaneering
exploit and an earnest of what was to come. Nor did any
permanent result, other than the substitution of the name
Nova Scotia for Acadia, flow from Sir William Alexander's
enterprise. Alexander, afterwards Lord Stirling, was a
Scottish courtier in the entourage of James I, from whom
he obtained in 1621 a grant of the province of New Scotland
or Nova Scotia. A year later he sent out a small body of
farm hands and one artisan, a blacksmith, to establish
a colony. The expedition miscarried; and another in the
next year shared a similar fate. A larger company of
Scots, however, as already mentioned, settled at Port
Royal in 1627 and erected a fort, known as Scots Fort,
on the site of the original settlement of De Monts. This
colony, with some reinforcements from Scotland, stood
its ground until the country was ceded to France in 1632.
On the arrival of Razilly in that year most of the Scottish
settlers went home, and the few who remained were soon
merged in the French population.

For twenty-two years after this Acadia remained French,
under the feudal sway of its overlords, Razilly, Charnisay,
La Tour, and Nicolas Denys, the historian of Acadia.
[Footnote: He wrote The Description and Natural History
of the Coasts of North America. An edition, translated
and edited, with a memoir of the author, by W. F. Ganong,
will be found in the publications of the Champlain Society
(Toronto, 1908).] But in 1654 the fleet of Robert Sedgwick
suddenly appeared off Port Royal and compelled its
surrender in the name of Oliver Cromwell. Then for thirteen
years Acadia was nominally English. Sir Thomas Temple,
the governor during this period, tried to induce
English-speaking people to settle in the province, but
with small success. England's hold of Acadia was, in
fact, not very firm. The son of Emmanuel Le Borgne, who
claimed the whole country by right of a judgment he had
obtained in the French courts against Charnisay, apparently
found little difficulty in turning the English garrison
out of the fort at La Heve, leaving his unfortunate
victims without means of return to New England, or of
subsistence; but in such destitution that they were forced
'to live upon grass and to wade in the water for lobsters
to keep them alive.' Some amusing correspondence followed
between France and England. The French ambassador in
London complained of the depredations committed in the
house of a certain Monsieur de la Heve. The English
government, better informed about Acadia, replied that
it knew of no violence committed in the house of M. de
la Heve. 'Neither is there any such man in the land, but
there is a place so called, which Temple purchased for
eight thousand pounds from La Tour, where he built a
house. But one M. le Borny, two or three years since, by
force took it, so that the violence was on Le Borny's
part.' The strife was ended, however, as already mentioned,
by the Treaty of Breda in 1667, in the return of Acadia
to France in exchange for the islands in the West Indies
of St Christopher, Antigua, and Montserrat.

Nearly a quarter of a century passed. France and England
were at peace and Acadia enjoyed freedom from foreign
attack. But the accession of William of Orange to the
throne of England heralded the outbreak of another
Anglo-French war. The month of May 1690 saw Sir William
Phips with a New England fleet and an army of over a
thousand men off Port Royal, demanding its surrender.
Menneval, the French governor, yielded his fortress on
the understanding that he and the garrison should be
transported to French soil. Phips, however, after pillaging
the place, desecrating the church, hoisting the English
flag, and obliging the inhabitants to take the oath of
allegiance to William and Mary, carried off his prisoners
to Boston. He was bent on the capture of Quebec in the
same year and had no mind to make the necessary arrangements
to hold Acadia. Hardly had he departed when a relief
expedition from France, under the command of Menneval's
brother Villebon, sailed into Port Royal. But as Villebon
had no sufficient force to reoccupy the fort, he pulled
down the English flag, replaced it by that of France,
and proceeded to the river St John. After a conference
with the Indians there he went to Quebec, and was present
with Frontenac in October when Phips appeared with his
summons to surrender. [Footnote: See The Fighting Governor
in this Series, chap. vii.] Villebon then went to France.
A year later he returned as governor of Acadia and took
up his quarters at Fort Jemseg, about fifty miles up the
St John river. Here he organized war-parties of Indians
to harry the English settlements; and the struggle
continued, with raid and counter-raid, until 1697, when
the Treaty of Ryswick halted the war between the two

The formal peace, however, was not for long. In 1702
Queen Anne declared war against France and Spain. And
before peace returned the final capture of Acadia had
been effected. It was no fault of Subercase, the French
officer who in 1706 came to Port Royal as governor, that
the fortunes of war went against him. In 1707 he beat
off two violent attacks of the English; and if sufficient
means had been placed at his disposal, he might have
retained the colony for France. But the ministry at
Versailles, pressed on all sides, had no money to spare
for the succour of Acadia. Subercase set forth with
clearness the resources of the colony, and urged strong
reasons in favour of its development. In 1708 a hundred
soldiers came to his aid; but as no funds for their
maintenance came with them, they became a burden. The
garrison was reduced almost to starvation; and Subercase
was forced to replenish his stores by the capture of
pirate vessels. The last letter he wrote home was filled
with anguish over the impending fate of Port Royal. His
despair was not without cause. In the spring of 1710
Queen Anne placed Colonel Francis Nicholson, one of her
leading colonial officers, in command of the troops
intended for the recovery of Nova Scotia. An army of
about fifteen hundred soldiers was raised in New England,
and a British fleet gathered in Boston Harbour. On October
5 (New Style) this expedition arrived before Port Royal.
The troops landed and laid siege once more to the
much-harassed capital of Acadia. The result was a foregone
conclusion. Five days later preliminary proposals were
exchanged between Nicholson and Subercase. The starving
inhabitants petitioned Subercase to give up. He held out,
however, till the cannonade of the enemy told him that
he must soon yield to force. He then sent an officer to
Nicholson to propose the terms of capitulation. It was
agreed that the garrison should march out with the honours
of war and be transported to France in English ships,
and that the inhabitants within three miles of the fort
should 'remain upon their estates, with their corn,
cattle, and furniture, during two years, in case they
are not desirous to go before, they taking the oath of
allegiance and fidelity to Her Sacred Majesty of Great
Britain.' Then to the roll of the drum, and with all the
honours of war, the French troops marched out and the
New Englanders marched in. The British flag was raised,
and, in honour of the queen of England, Port Royal was
named Annapolis Royal. A banquet was held in the fortress
to celebrate the event, and the French officers and their
ladies were invited to it to drink the health of Queen
Anne, while cannon on the bastions and cannon on the
ramparts thundered forth a royal salute.

The celebration over, Subercase sent an envoy to Quebec,
to inform Vaudreuil, the governor of New France, of the
fall of Port Royal, and then embarked with his soldiers
for France. A few days later Nicholson took away most of
his troops and repaired to Boston, leaving a garrison of
four hundred and fifty men and officers under the command
of Colonel Samuel Vetch to hold the newly-won post until
peace should return and Her Majesty's pleasure concerning
it be made known.

As far as he was able, Vetch set up military rule at
Annapolis Royal. He administered the oath of allegiance
to the inhabitants of the banlieue--within three miles
of the fort--according to the capitulation, and established
a court to try their disputes. Many and grave difficulties
faced the new governor and his officers. The Indians were
hostile, and, quite naturally in the state of war which
prevailed, emissaries of the French strove to keep the
Acadians unfriendly to their English masters. Moreover,
Vetch was badly in want of money. The soldiers had no
proper clothing for the winter; they had not been paid
for their services; the fort stood in need of repair;
and the military chest was empty. He could get no assistance
from Boston or London, and his only resource seemed to
be to levy on the inhabitants in the old-fashioned way
of conquerors. The Acadians pleaded poverty, but Vetch
sent out armed men to enforce his order, and succeeded
in collecting at least a part of the tribute he demanded,
not only from the inhabitants round the fort over whom
he had authority, but also from the settlers of Minas
and Chignecto, who were not included in the capitulation.

The first winter passed, in some discomfort and privation,
but without any serious mishap to the English soldiers.
With the month of June, however, there came a disaster.
The Acadians had been directed to cut timber for the
repair of the fort and deliver it at Annapolis. They had
complied for a time and had then quit work, fearing, as
they said, attacks from the Indian allies of the French,
who threatened to kill them if they aided the enemy.
Thereupon Vetch ordered an officer to take seventy-five
men and go up the river to the place where the timber
was being felled and 'inform the people that if they
would bring it down they would receive every imaginable
protection,' but if they were averse or delayed to do so
he was to 'threaten them with severity.' 'And let the
soldiers make a show of killing their hogs,' the order
ran, 'but do not kill any, and let them kill some fowls,
but pay for them before you come away.' Armed with this
somewhat peculiar military order, the troops set out.
But as they ascended the river they were waylaid by a
war-party of French and Indians, and within an hour every
man of the seventy-five English was either killed or
taken captive.

Soon after this tragic affair Vetch went to Boston to
take a hand in an invasion of Canada which was planned
for that summer. This invasion was to take place by both
sea and land simultaneously. Vetch joined the fleet of
Sir Hovenden Walker, consisting of some sixty vessels
which sailed from Boston in July. Meanwhile Colonel
Nicholson stood near Lake Champlain, with a force of
several thousand colonial troops and Six Nation Indians,
in readiness to advance on Canada to co-operate with the
fleet. But the fleet never got within striking distance.
Not far above the island of Anticosti some of the ships
ran aground and were wrecked with a loss of nearly a
thousand men; and the commander gave up the undertaking
and bore away for England. When news of this mishap
reached Nicholson he retreated and disbanded his men.
But, though the ambitious enterprise ended ingloriously,
it was not wholly fruitless, for it kept the French of
Quebec on guard at home; while but for this menace they
would probably have sent a war-party in force to drive
the English out of Acadia.

The situation of the English at Annapolis was indeed
critical. Their numbers had been greatly reduced by
disease and raids and the men were in a sorry plight for
lack of provisions and clothing. Vetch could obtain
neither men nor money from England or the colonies. Help,
however, of a sort did come in the summer of 1712. This
was in the form of a band of Six Nation Indians, allies
of the English, from the colony of New York. [Footnote:
Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, vol.
iv, p. 41.] These savages pitched their habitations not
far from the fort, and thereafter the garrison suffered
less from the Micmac and Abnaki allies of the French.

The Acadians were in revolt; and as long as they cherished
the belief that their countrymen would recover Acadia,
all attempts to secure their allegiance to Queen Anne
proved unavailing. At length, in April 1713, the Treaty
of Utrecht set at rest the question of the ownership of
the country. Cape Breton, Ile St Jean (Prince Edward
Island), and other islands in the Gulf were left in the
hands of the French. But Newfoundland and 'all Nova Scotia
or Acadia, with its ancient boundaries, as also the city
of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal,' passed to
the British crown.



We have now to follow a sequence of events leading up to
the calamity to be narrated in a later chapter. By the
Treaty of Utrecht the old king, Louis XIV, had obtained
certain guarantees for his subjects in Acadia. It was
provided that 'they may have liberty to remove themselves
within a year to any other place with all their movable
effects'; and that 'those who are willing to remain
therein and to be subject to the kingdom of Britain are
to enjoy the free exercise of their religion.' And these
terms were confirmed by a warrant of Queen Anne addressed
to Nicholson, under date of June 23, 1713. [Footnote:
'Trusty and Well-beloved, We greet you Well! Whereas Our
Good Brother the Most Christian King hath at Our desire
released from imprisonment on board His Galleys, such of
His subjects as were detained there on account of their
professing the Protestant religion, We being willing to
show by some mark of Our Favour towards His subjects how
kindly we take His compliance therein, have therefore
thought fit hereby to Signifie Our Will and Pleasure to
you that you permit and allow such of them as have any
lands or Tenements in the Places under your Government
in Acadie and Newfoundland, that have been or are to be
yielded to Us by Vertue of the late Treaty of Peace, and
are Willing to Continue our Subjects to retain and Enjoy
their said Lands and Tenements without any Lett or
Molestation as fully and freely as other our Subjects do
or may possess their Lands and Estates or to sell the
same if they shall rather Chuse to remove elsewhere--And
for so doing this shall be your Warrant, And so we bid
you fare well. Given at our Court at Kensington the 23rd
day of June 1713 in the Twelfth Year of our Reign.'--Public
Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. iv, p. 97.] The
status of the Acadians under the treaty, reinforced by
this warrant, seems to be sufficiently clear. If they
wished to become British subjects, which of course implied
taking the oath of allegiance, they were to enjoy all
the privileges of citizenship, not accorded at that time
to Catholics in Great Britain, as well as the free exercise
of their religion. But if they preferred to remove to
another country within a year, they were to have that

The French authorities were not slow to take advantage
of this part of the treaty. In order to hold her position
in the New World and assert her authority, France had
transferred the garrison which she had formerly maintained
at Placentia, Newfoundland, to Cape Breton. This island
she had renamed Ile Royale, and here she was shortly to
rear the great fortress of Louisbourg. It was to her
interest to induce the Acadians to remove to this new
centre of French influence. In March 1713, therefore,
the French king intimated his wish that the Acadians
should emigrate to Ile Royale; every inducement, indeed,
must be offered them to settle there; though he cautioned
his officers that if any of the Acadians had already
taken the oath of allegiance to Great Britain, great care
must be exercised to avoid scandal.

Many Acadians, then, on receiving attractive offers of
land in Ile Royale, applied to the English authorities
for permission to depart. The permission was not granted.
It was first refused by Governor Vetch on the ground that
he was retiring from office and was acting only in the
absence of Colonel Nicholson, who had been recently
appointed governor. The truth is that the English regarded
with alarm the removal of practically the entire population
from Nova Scotia. The governor of Ile Royale intervened,
and sent agents to Annapolis Royal to make a formal demand
on behalf of the Acadians, presenting in support of his
demand the warrant of Queen Anne. The inhabitants, it
was said, wished to leave Nova Scotia and settle in Ile
Royale, and 'they expect ships to convey themselves and
effects accordingly.' Nicholson, who had now arrived as
governor, took the position that he must refer the question
to England for the consideration of Her Majesty.

When the demand of the governor of Ile Royale reached
England, Vetch was in London; and Vetch had financial
interests in Nova Scotia. He at once appealed to the
Lords of Trade, who in due course protested to the
sovereign 'that this would strip Nova Scotia and greatly
strengthen Cape Breton.' Time passed, however, and the
government made no pronouncement on the question. Meanwhile
Queen Anne had died. Matters drifted. The Acadians wished
to leave, but were not allowed to employ British vessels.
In despair they began to construct small boats on their
own account, to carry their families and effects to Ile
Royale. These boats, however, were seized by order of
Nicholson, and the Acadians were explicitly forbidden to
remove or to dispose of their possessions until a decision
with regard to the question should arrive from England.

In January 1715 the accession of George I was proclaimed
throughout Acadia. But when the Acadians were required
to swear allegiance to the new monarch, they proved
obdurate. They agreed not to do anything against His
Britannic Majesty as long as they remained in Acadia;
but they refused to take the oath on the plea that they
had already pledged their word to migrate to Ile Royale.
John Doucette, who arrived in the colony in October 1717
as lieutenant-governor, was informed by the Acadians that
'the French inhabitants had never own'd His Majesty as
Possessor of this His Continent of Nova Scotia and
L'Acadie.' When Doucette presented a paper for them to
sign, promising them the same protection and liberty as
the rest of His Majesty's subjects in Acadia, they brought
forward a document of their own, which evidently bore
the marks of honest toil, since Doucette 'would have been
glad to have sent' it to the secretary of state 'in a
cleaner manner.' In it they declared, 'We shall be ready
to carry into effect the demand proposed to us, as soon
as His Majesty shall have done us the favour of providing
some means of sheltering us from the savage tribes, who
are always ready to do all kinds of mischief... In case
other means cannot be found, we are ready to take an
oath, that we will take up arms neither against His
Britannic Majesty, nor against France, nor against any
of their subjects or allies.' [Footnote: Public Archives,
Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. viii, p. 181 et seq.]

The attitude of both France and England towards the
unfortunate Acadians was thoroughly selfish. The French
at Louisbourg, after their first attempt to bring the
Acadians to Ile Royale, relapsed into inaction. They
still hoped doubtless that Acadia would be restored to
France, and while they would have been glad to welcome
the Acadians, they perceived the advantage of keeping
them under French influence in British territory. In
order to do this they had at their hand convenient means.
The guarantee to the Acadians of the freedom of their
religion had entailed the presence in Acadia of French
priests not British subjects, who were paid by the French
government and were under the direction of the bishop of
Quebec. These priests were, of course, loyal to France
and inimical to Great Britain. Another source of influence
possessed by the French lay in their alliance with the
Indian tribes, an alliance which the missionary priests
helped to hold firm. The fear of an Indian attack was
destined on more than one occasion to keep the Acadians
loyal to France. On the other hand, the British, while
loth to let the Acadians depart, did little to improve
their lot. It was a period of great economy in English
colonial administration. Walpole, in his desire to reduce
taxation, devoted very little money to colonial development;
and funds were doled out to the authorities at Annapolis
in the most parsimonious manner. 'It is a pity,' wrote
Newton, the collector of the customs at Annapolis and
Canso, in 1719, that 'so fine a province as Nova Scotia
should lie so long neglected. As for furs, feathers, and a
fishery, we may challenge any province in America to
produce the like, and beside that here is a good grainery;
masting and naval stores might be provided hence. And
was here a good establishment fixt our returns would be
very advantageous to the Crown and Great Britain.' As it
was, the British ministers were content to send out
elaborate instructions for the preservation of forests,
the encouragement of fisheries and the prevention of
foreign trade, without providing either means for carrying
out the schemes, or troops for the protection of the

Nothing further was done regarding the oath of allegiance
until the arrival of Governor Philipps in 1720, when the
Acadians were called upon to take the oath or leave the
country within four months, taking with them only two
sheep per family. This, it seems, was merely an attempt
to intimidate the people into taking the oath, for when
the Acadians, having no boats at their disposal, proposed
to travel by land, and began to cut out a road for the
passage of vehicles, they were stopped in the midst of
their labours by order of the governor.

In a letter to England Philipps expressed the opinion
that the Acadians, if left alone, would no doubt become
contented British subjects, that their emigration at this
time would be a distinct loss to the garrison, which was
supplied by their labours. He added that the French were
active in maintaining their influence over them. One
potent factor in keeping them restless was the circulation
of reports that the English would not much longer tolerate
Catholicism. [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova
Scotia A, vol. xi, p. 186.] The Lords of Trade took this
letter into consideration, and in their reply of December
28, 1720, we find the proposal to remove the Acadians as
a means of settling the problem. [Footnote: 'As to the
French inhabitants of Nova Scotia, who appear so wavering
in their inclinations, we are apprehensive they will
never become good subjects to His Majesty whilst the
French Governors and their Priests retain so great an
influence over them, for which reason we are of opinion,
that they ought to be removed so soon as the forces which
we have proposed to be sent to you shall arrive in Nova
Scotia for the protection and better settlement of your
Province, but as you are not to attempt their removal
without His Majesty's positive orders for that purpose,
you will do well in the meanwhile to continue the same
prudent and cautious conduct towards them, to endeavour
to undeceive them concerning the exercise of their
religion, which will doubtless be allowed them if it
should be thought proper to let them stay where they
are.'--Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. xii,
p. 210.] This, however, was not the first mooting of the
idea. During the same year Paul Mascarene, in 'A Description
of Nova Scotia,' had given two reasons for the expulsion
of the inhabitants: first, that they were Roman Catholics,
under the full control of French priests opposed to
British interests; secondly, that they continually incited
the Indians to do mischief or disturb English settlements.
On the other hand, Mascarene discovered two motives for
retaining them: first, in order that they might not
strengthen the French establishments; secondly, that they
might be employed in furnishing supplies for the garrison
and in preparing fortifications until such time as the
English were strong enough to do without them.
[Footnote: 'A Description of Nova Scotia,' by Paul
Mascarene, transmitted to the Lords of Trade by Governor
Philipps.--Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol.
xii, p. 118.]

It does not appear that either the English or the French
government had any paternal affection for the poor
Acadians; but each was fully conscious of the use to
which they might be put.

In a letter to the Lords of Trade Philipps sums up the
situation. 'The Acadians,' he says, 'decline to take the
oath of allegiance on two grounds--that in General
Nicholson's time they had signed an obligation to continue
subjects of France and retire to Cape Breton, and that
the Indians would cut their throats if they became

If they are permitted [he continues] to remain upon
the footing they propose, it is very probable they
will be obedient to government as long as the two
Crowns continue in alliance, but in case of a rupture
will be so many enemies in our bosom, and I cannot
see any hopes, or likelihood, of making them English,
unless it was possible to procure these Priests to be
recalled who are tooth and nail against the Regent;
not sticking to say openly that it is his day now,
but will be theirs anon; and having others sent in
their stead, which (if anything) may contribute in a
little time to make some change in their sentiments.

He further suggests an 'oath of obliging the Acadians to
live peaceably,' to take up arms against the Indians,
but not against the French, to acknowledge the king's
right to the country, to obey the government, and to hold
their lands of the king by a new tenure, 'instead of
holding them (as at present) from lords of manors who
are now at Cape Breton, where at this day they pay their
rent.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia
A, vol. xii, p. 96.]

There were signs that the situation was not entirely
hopeless. The Acadians were not allowed to leave the
country, or even to settle down to the enjoyment of their
homes; they were employed in supplying the needs of the
troops, or in strengthening the British fortifications;
yet they seem to have patiently accepted the inevitable.
The Indians committed acts of violence, but the Acadians
remained peaceable. There was, too, a certain amount of
intermarriage between Acadian girls and the British
soldiers. In those early days of Nova Scotia, girls of
a marriageable age were few and were much sought after.
There was in Annapolis an old French gentlewoman 'whose
daughters, granddaughters, and other relatives' had
married British officers. These ladies soon acquired
considerable influence and were allowed to do much as
they pleased. The old gentlewoman, Marie Magdalen Maisonat,
who had married Mr William Winniett, a leading merchant
and one of the first British inhabitants of Annapolis,
became all-powerful in the town, not only on account of
her own estimable qualities, but also on account of the
position held by her daughters and granddaughters. Soldiers
arrested for breach of discipline often pleaded that they
had been 'sent for to finish a job of work for Madame';
and this excuse was usually sufficient to secure an
acquittal. If not, the old lady would on her own authority
order the culprit's release, and 'no further enquiry was
made into the matter.' One British officer, who had
incurred her displeasure, was told that 'Me have rendered
King Shorge more important service dan ever you did or
peut-etre ever shall, and dis is well known to peoples
en autorite,' which may have been true if, as was asserted,
she sometimes presided at councils of war in the fort.
[Footnote: Knox, An Historical Journal of the Campaigns
in North America, Edited, etc., by A. G. Doughty. Vol.
i, pp. 94-6. (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1914.)]

It was with the Indians, rather than with the Acadians,
that the authorities had the greatest trouble. After
several hostile acts had been committed, the governor
determined to try the effect of the gentle art of
persuasion. He sent to England an agent named Bannfield
to purchase a large quantity of presents for the Indians.
Bannfield was thoroughly dishonest, and appropriated
two-thirds of the money to his own use, expending the
remainder on the purchase of articles of 'exceeding bad
quality.' A gorgeous entertainment was prepared for the
savages, and the presents were given to them. The Indians
took away the presents, but their missionaries had little
difficulty in showing them the inferiority of the English
gifts; and Philipps noted that they did not appear
satisfied. 'They will take all we give them,' he wrote,
'and cut our throats next day.' At length the Indians
boldly declared war against the British, an action which
Philipps attributed to the scandalous conduct of the
agent Bannfield. At the instigation of the French of Ile
Royale, they kept up hostilities for two years and
committed many barbarities. The Micmacs seized fishing
smacks, and killed and scalped a number of English soldiers
and fishermen. It was not until a more attractive supply
of presents arrived, and were distributed among the
chiefs, that they could be induced to make peace.

During the progress of the Indian war Governor Philipps
had prudently refrained from discussing with the Acadians
the question of the oath; but in 1726 Lawrence Armstrong,
the lieutenant-governor, resolved to take up the matter
again. In the district of Annapolis he had little trouble.
The inhabitants there consented, after some discussion,
to sign a declaration of allegiance, with a clause
exempting them from the obligation of taking up arms.
[Footnote: This oath applied only to the inhabitants of
the district of Annapolis.] But to deal with the Acadians
of Minas and of Beaubassin on Chignecto Bay proved more
difficult. Certain 'anti-monarchical traders' from Boston
and evil-intentioned French inhabitants had represented
in these districts that the governor had no authority in
the land, and no power to administer oaths. No oath would
these Acadians take but to their own Bon Roy de France.
They promised, however, to pay all the rights and dues
which the British demanded.

The death of George I in 1727, and the accession of George
II, made it necessary for the Acadians to acknowledge
the new monarch. This time the lieutenant-governor was
determined to do the business in a thorough and
comprehensive manner. He chartered a vessel at a cost of
a hundred pounds, and commissioned Ensign Wroth to proceed
from place to place at the head of a detachment of troops
proclaiming the new king and obtaining the submission of
the people. Wroth was eminently successful in proclaiming
His Majesty; but he had less success in regard to the
oath. Finding the Acadians obdurate, he promised them on
his own authority freedom in the exercise of their
religion, exemption from bearing arms, and liberty to
withdraw from the province at any time. These 'unwarrantable
concessions' Armstrong refused to ratify; and the Council
immediately declared them null and void, although they
resolved that 'the inhabitants... having signed and
proclaimed His Majesty and thereby acknowledged his title
and authority to and over this Province, shall have the
liberties and privileges of English subjects.'
[Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol.
i, p. 177.] This was all the Acadians wished for.

The commission of Ensign Wroth did not extend to the
district of Annapolis, which was dealt with by the Council.
The deputies of the Acadians there were summoned to appear
before the Council on September 6, 1727. But the
inhabitants, instead of answering the summons, called a
meeting on their own account and passed a resolution,
signed by seventy-one of their people, which they forwarded
to the Council. In this document they offered to take
the oath on the conditions offered by Wroth. This the
Council considered 'insolent and defiant,' and ordered
the arrest of the deputies. On September 16 Charles
Landry, Guillaume Bourgois, Abraham Bourg, and Francois
Richard were brought before the Council, and, on refusing
to take the oath except on the terms proposed by themselves,
were committed to prison for contempt and disrespect to
His Majesty. Next day the lieutenant-governor announced
that 'they had been guilty of several enormous crimes in
assembling the inhabitants in a riotous manner contrary
to the orders of government both as to time and place
and likewise in framing a rebellious paper.' It was then
resolved: 'That Charles Landry, Guillaume Bourgois and
Francis Richard, for their said offence, and likewise
for refusing the oath of fidelity to His Majesty which
was duly tendered them, be remanded to prison, laid in
irons, and there remain until His Majesty's pleasure
shall be made known concerning them, and that Abraham
Bourg, in consideration of his great age, shall have
leave to retire out of this His Majesty's Province,
according to his desire and promise, by the first
opportunity, leaving his effects behind him.' [Footnote:
Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol. i, p. 159.]
The rest of the inhabitants were to be debarred from
fishing on the British coasts. It is difficult to reconcile
the actions of the Council. The inhabitants who cheerfully
subscribed to the oath, with the exceptions made by Ensign
Wroth, were to be accorded the privileges of British
subjects, while some of those who would have been glad
to accept the same terms were laid in irons, and the
others debarred from fishing, their main support.

Shortly after this Philipps was compelled to return to
Nova Scotia in order to restore tranquillity; for his
lieutenant Armstrong, a man of quick temper, had fallen
foul of the French priests, especially the Abbe Breslay,
whom he had caused to be handled somewhat roughly.
Armstrong, seeking an alliance with the Abnakis, had been
foiled by the French and had laid the blame at the door
of the priest, demanding the keys of the church and
causing the presbytery to be pillaged. In the end Breslay
had escaped in fear of his life. It was his complaints,
set forth in a memorial to the government, that had
brought about Philipps's return. The Acadians, with whom
Philipps was popular, welcomed him in a public manner;
and Philipps took advantage of the occasion to approach
them again on the subject of the oath. He restored the
Abbe Breslay to his flock, promised the people freedom
in religious matters, and assured them that they would
not be required to take up arms. Then all the Acadians
in the district of Annapolis subscribed to the following
oath: 'I promise and swear on the faith of a Christian
that I will be truly faithful and will submit myself to
His Majesty King George the Second, whom I acknowledge
as the lord and sovereign of Nova Scotia or Acadia. So
help me God.' In the spring of 1728 Philipps obtained
also the submission of the inhabitants of the other
districts, on similar terms; and even the Indians professed
a willingness to submit. This was a triumph for the
administration of Philipps, and laid at rest for a time
the vexed question of the oath. The triumph was, however,
more superficial than real, as we shall see by and by.



When Philipps had set at rest the question of the oath
of allegiance, he returned to England, and Armstrong,
less pacific than his chief, again assumed the
administration, and again had some trouble with the
priests. Two Acadian missionaries had been expelled from
the country for want of respect to the governor; and
Armstrong informed the inhabitants that in future he must
be consulted regarding the appointment of ecclesiastics,
and that men from Quebec would not be acceptable. Brouillan,
the governor of Ile Royale, had taken the ground that
the Acadian priests, not being subjects of Great Britain,
were not amenable to the British authorities. This view
was held by the priests themselves. The president of the
Navy Board at Paris, however, rebuked Brouillan, and
informed him that the priests in Acadia should by word
and example teach the obedience due to His Britannic
Majesty. This pronouncement cleared the air; the
disagreements with the missionaries were soon adjusted;
and one of them, St Poncy, after being warned to cultivate
the goodwill of the governor, was permitted to resume
his pastoral duties at Annapolis Royal.

On the death of Armstrong, on December 6, 1739, from
wounds supposed to have been inflicted by his own hand,
John Adams was appointed lieutenant-governor and president
of the Council. In the following spring, however, Adams
was displaced by a vote of the Council in favour of Major
Paul Mascarene. 'The Secretary came to my House,' wrote
Adams to the Duke of Newcastle, 'and reported to me the
judgment of the Council in favour of Major Mascarene,
from whose judgment I appealed to His Majesty and said
if you have done well by the House of Jerubable [Jerubbaal]
then rejoice ye in Abimelech and let Abimelech rejoice
in you.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia
A, vol. xxv, p. 9.] After this lucid appeal, Adams, who
had deep religious convictions, retired to Boston and
bemoaned the unrighteousness of Annapolis. [Footnote:
Writing from Boston to the Lords of Trade, Adams said:
'I would have returned to Annapolis before now. But there
was no Chaplain in the Garrison to administer God's word
and sacrament to the people. But the Officers and Soldiers
in Garrison have Prophaned the Holy Sacrament of Baptism
and Ministeriall Function, by presuming to Baptize their
own children. Why His Majesty's Chaplain does not come
to his Duty I know not, but am persuaded it is a Disservice
and Dishonour to our Religion and Nation; and as I have
heard, some have got their children Baptized by the Popish
Priest, for there has been no Chaplain here for above
these four years.'--Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia
A, vol. xxv, p. 176.]

It was under Mascarene's administration that Nova Scotia
passed through the period of warfare which now supervened.
For some time relations between France and England had
been growing strained in the New World, owing chiefly to
the fact that the Peace of Utrecht had left unsettled
the perilous question of boundary between the rival
powers. There was the greatest confusion as to the
boundaries of Nova Scotia or Acadia. The treaty had given
Great Britain the province of Acadia 'with its ancient
boundaries.' The 'ancient boundaries,' Great Britain
claimed, included the whole mainland of the present
maritime provinces and the Gaspe peninsula; whereas France
contended that they embraced only the peninsula of Nova
Scotia. Both powers, therefore, claimed the country north
of the isthmus of Chignecto, and the definition of the
boundary became a more and more pressing question.

The outbreak of the war of the Austrian Succession in
Europe in 1741 set the match to the fuse. By 1744 the
French and English on the Atlantic seaboard were up in
arms. The governor of Ile Royale lost no time in attacking
Nova Scotia. He invaded the settlements at Canso with
about five hundred men; and presently a band of Indians,
apparently led by the Abbe Le Loutre, missionary to the
Micmacs, marched against Annapolis Royal. Towards these
aggressions the Acadians assumed an attitude of strict
neutrality. On the approach of Le Loutre's Micmacs they
went to their homes, refusing to take part in the affair.
Then when the raiders withdrew, on the arrival of
reinforcements from Boston, the Acadians returned to
their work on the fort. During the same year, when Du
Vivier with a considerable French force appeared before
Annapolis, the Acadians aided him with provisions. But
when the French troops desired to winter at Chignecto,
the Acadians objected and persuaded them to leave, which
'made their conduct appear to have been on this occasion
far better than could have been expected from them.'
[Footnote: Nova Scotia Documents, p. 147.] Once more the
Acadians resumed their work on the fortifications and
supplied the garrison with provisions. They frankly
admitted giving assistance to the French, but produced
an order from the Sieur du Vivier threatening them with
punishment at the hands of the Indians if they refused.

In May of the following year (1745) a party of Canadians
and Indians, under the raider Marin, invested Annapolis.
Again the Acadians refused to take up arms and again
assisted the invaders with supplies. By the end of the
month, however, Marin and his raiders had vanished and
the garrison at Annapolis saw them no more. They had been
urgently summoned by the governor of Ile Royale to come
to his assistance, for Louisbourg was even then in dire
peril. An army of New Englanders under Pepperrell,
supported by a squadron of the British Navy under Warren,
had in fact laid siege to the fortress in the same month.
[Footnote: See The Great Fortress in this Series, chap.
ii.] But Marin's raiders could render no effective service.
On the forty-ninth day of the siege Louisbourg surrendered
to the English, [Footnote: June 17, Old Style, June 28,
New Style, 1745. The English at this time still used the
Old Style Julian calendar, while the French used the
Gregorian, New Style. Hence some of the disagreement in
respect to dates which we find in the various accounts
of this period.] and shortly afterwards the entire French
population, civil and military, among them many Acadians,
were transported to France.

The fall of Louisbourg and the removal of the inhabitants
alarmed the French authorities, who now entertained fears
for the safety of Canada and determined to take steps
for the recapture of the lost stronghold, and with it
the whole of Acadia, in the following year. Accordingly,
a formidable fleet, under the command of the Duc d'Anville,
sailed from La Rochelle in June 1746; while the governor
of Quebec sent a strong detachment of fighting Canadians
under Ramesay to assist in the intended siege. But disaster
after disaster overtook the fleet. A violent tempest
scattered the ships in mid-ocean and an epidemic carried
off hundreds of seamen and soldiers. In the autumn the
commander, with a remnant of his ships, arrived in Chebucto
Bay (Halifax), where he himself died. The battered ships
finally put back to France, and nothing came of the
enterprise. [Footnote: See The Great Fortress, chap.
iii.] Meanwhile, rumours having reached Quebec of a
projected invasion of Canada by New England troops, the
governor Beauharnois had recalled Ramesay's Canadians
for the defence of Quebec; but on hearing that the French
ships had arrived in Chebucto Bay, and expecting them to
attack Annapolis, Ramesay marched his forces into the
heart of Acadia in order to be on hand to support the
fleet. Then, when the failure of the fleet became apparent,
he retired to Beaubassin at the head of Chignecto Bay,
and proceeded to fortify the neck of the peninsula,
building a fort at Baie Verte on the eastern shore. He
was joined by a considerable band of Malecites and Micmacs
under the Abbe Le Loutre; and emissaries were sent out
among the Acadians as far as Minas to persuade them to
take up arms on the side of the French.

William Shirley, the governor of Massachusetts, who
exercised supervision over the affairs of Nova Scotia,
seeing in this a real menace to British power in the
colony, raised a thousand New Englanders and dispatched
them to Annapolis. Of these only four hundred and seventy,
under Colonel Arthur Noble of Massachusetts, arrived at
their destination. Most of the vessels carrying the others
were wrecked by storms; one was driven back by a French
warship. In December, however, Noble's New Englanders,
with a few soldiers from the Annapolis garrison, set out
to rid Acadia of the Canadians; and after much hardship
and toil finally reached the village of Grand Pre in the
district of Minas. Here the soldiers were quartered in
the houses of the Acadians for the winter, for Noble had
decided to postpone the movement against Ramesay's position
on the isthmus until spring. It would be impossible, he
thought, to make the march through the snow.

But the warlike Canadians whom Ramesay had posted in the
neck of land between Chignecto Bay and Baie Verte did
not think so. No sooner had they learned of Noble's
position at Grand Pre than they resolved to surprise him
by a forced march and an attack by night. Friendly Acadians
warned the British of the intended surprise; but the
over-confident Noble scouted the idea. The snow in many
places was 'twelve to sixteen feet deep,' and no party,
even of Canadians, thought Noble, could possibly make a
hundred miles of forest in such a winter. So it came to
pass that one midnight, early in February, Noble's men
in Grand Pre found themselves surrounded. After a plucky
fight in which sixty English were killed, among them
Colonel Noble, and seventy more wounded, Captain Benjamin
Goldthwaite, who had assumed the command, surrendered.
The enemies then, to all appearances, became the best of
friends. The victorious Canadians sat down to eat and
drink with the defeated New Englanders, who made, says
Beaujeu, one of the Canadian officers, 'many compliments
on our polite manners and our skill in making war.' The
English prisoners were allowed to return to Annapolis
with the honours of war, while their sick and wounded
were cared for by the victors. This generosity Mascarene
afterwards gratefully acknowledged.

When the Canadians returned to Chignecto with the report
of their victory over the British, Ramesay issued a
proclamation to the inhabitants of Grand Pre setting
forth that 'by virtue of conquest they now owed allegiance
to the King of France,' and warning them 'to hold no
communication with the inhabitants of Port Royal.' This
proclamation, however, had little effect. With few
exceptions the Acadians maintained their former attitude
and refused to bear arms, even on behalf of France and
in the presence of French troops. 'There were,' says
Mascarene, 'in the last action some of those inhabitants,
but none of any account belonging to this province...
The generality of the inhabitants of this province possess
still the same fidelity they have done before, in which
I endeavour to encourage them.'

Quite naturally, however, there was some unrest among
the Acadians. After the capture of Louisbourg in 1745
the British had transported all the inhabitants of that
place to France; and rumours were afloat of an expedition
for the conquest of Canada and that the Acadians were to
share a similar fate. This being made known to the British
ministry, the Duke of Newcastle wrote to Governor Shirley
of Massachusetts, instructing him to issue a proclamation
assuring the Acadians 'that there is not the least
foundation for any apprehension of that nature: but that
on the contrary it is His Majesty's resolution to protect
and maintain all such of them as shall continue in their
duty and allegiance to His Majesty in the quiet and
peaceable possession of their habitations and settlements
and that they shall continue to enjoy the free exercise
of their religion.' [Footnote: Newcastle to Shirley, May
30, 1747.--Canadian Archives Report, 1905, Appendix C,
vol. ii, p. 47.]

Shirley proceeded to give effect to this order. He issued
a proclamation informing the inhabitants of the intention
of the king towards them; omitting, however, that clause
relating to their religion, a clause all-important to
them. The document was printed at Boston in French, and
sent to Mascarene to be distributed. Mascarene thought
at the time that it produced a good effect. Shirley's
instructions were clear; but in explanation of his omission
he represented that such a promise might cause
inconvenience, as it was desirable to wean the Acadians
from their attachment to the French and the influence of
the bishop of Quebec. He contended, moreover, that the
Treaty of Utrecht did not guarantee the free exercise of
religion. In view of this explanation, [Footnote: Bedford
to Shirley, May 10, 1748.] Shirley's action was approved
by the king.

In Shirley's proclamation several persons were indicted
for high treason, [Footnote: Canadian Archives Report,
1906, Appendix C, vol. ii, p. 48.] and a reward of 50
pounds was offered for the capture of any one offender
named. These, apparently, were the only pronounced rebels
in the province. There were more sputterings in Acadia
of the relentless war that raged between New France and
New England. Shirley had sent another detachment of troops
in April to reoccupy Grand Pre; and the governor of Quebec
had sent another war-party. But in the next year (1748)
the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, by which Ile Royale (Cape
Breton) and Ile St Jean (Prince Edward Island) were
restored to France, brought hostilities to a pause.



In Nova Scotia England was weak from the fact that no
settlements of her own people had been established there.
After thirty years of British rule Mascarene had written,
'There is no number of English inhabitants settled in
this province worth mentioning, except the five companies
here [at Annapolis] and four at Canso.' Now the restoration
to France of Cape Breton with the fortress of Louisbourg
exposed Nova Scotia to attack; and in time of war with
France the Acadians would be a source of weakness rather
than of strength. Great Britain, therefore, resolved to
try the experiment of forming in Nova Scotia a colony of
her own sons.

Thus it came to pass that a fleet of transports carrying
over twenty-five hundred colonists, counting women and
children, escorted by a sloop-of-war, cast anchor in
Chebucto Bay in July 1749. This expedition was commanded
by Edward Cornwallis, the newly appointed governor and
captain-general of Nova Scotia. He was a young officer
of thirty-six, twin-brother of the Rev. Frederick
Cornwallis, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, and
uncle of the more famous Lord Cornwallis who surrendered
at Yorktown thirty-two years later. With the colonists
came many officers and disbanded soldiers; came, also,
the soldiers of the garrison which had occupied Louisbourg
before the peace; for the new settlement, named Halifax
in honour of the president of the Lords of Trade, was to
be a military stronghold, as well as a naval base, and
the seat of government for the province.

While Cornwallis and his colonists laid the foundations
of Halifax, cleared the land, formed the streets, put up
their dwellings and defences, and organized their
government, the home authorities took up the problem of
securing more settlers for Nova Scotia. Cornwallis had
been instructed to prepare for settlements at Minas, La
Heve, Whitehead, and Baie Verte, the intention being that
the newcomers should eventually absorb the Acadians living
at these places. It had been suggested to the Lords of
Trade, probably by John Dick, a merchant of Rotterdam,
that the most effective means to this end would be to
introduce a large French Protestant element into Nova
Scotia. The government thereupon gave instructions that
the land should be surveyed and plans prepared dividing
the territory into alternate Protestant and Catholic
sections. Through intercourse and intermarriage with
neighbours speaking their own tongue, it was fondly hoped
that the Acadians, in course of time, would become loyal
British subjects. The next step was to secure French
Protestant emigrants. In December 1749 the Lords of Trade
entered into a contract with John Dick to transport 'not
more than fifteen hundred foreign Protestants to Nova
Scotia.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia
A, vol. xxxv, p. 189.] Dick was a man of energy and
resource and, in business methods, somewhat in advance
of his age. He appears to have understood the value of
advertising, judging from the handbills which he circulated
in France and from his advertisements in the newspapers.
But as time passed emigrants in anything like the numbers
expected were not forthcoming. Evil reports concerning
Nova Scotia had been circulated in France, and other
difficulties arose. After many delays, however, two
hundred and eighty persons recruited by Dick arrived at
Halifax. The character of some gave rise to complaint,
and Dick was cautioned by the government. His troubles
in France crept on apace. It began to be rumoured that
the emigrants were being enrolled in the Halifax militia;
and, France being no longer a profitable field, Dick
transferred his activities to Germany. Alluring handbills
in the German tongue were circulated, and in the end a
considerable number of Teutons arrived at Halifax. Most
of these were afterwards settled at Lunenburg. The
enterprise, of course, failed of its object to neutralize
and eventually assimilate the Acadian Catholic population;
nevertheless several thousand excellent 'foreign Protestant'
settlers reached Nova Scotia through various channels.
They were given land in different parts of the province
and in time became good citizens.

Cornwallis's instructions from the British ministry
contained many clauses relating to the Acadians. Though
they had given assistance to the enemy, they should be
permitted to remain in the possession of their property.
They must, however, take the oath of allegiance 'within
three months from the date of the declaration' which the
governor was to make. Liberty of conscience should be
permitted to all. In the event of any of the inhabitants
wishing to leave the province, the governor should remind
them that the time allowed under the Treaty of Utrecht
for the removal of their property had long since expired.
The governor should take particular care that 'they do
no damage, before such their removal, to their respective
homes and plantations.' Determined efforts should be
made, not only to Anglicize, but to Protestantize the
people. Marriages between the Acadians and the English
were to be encouraged. Trade with the French settlements
was prohibited. No episcopal jurisdiction might be
exercised in the province, a mandate intended to shut
out the bishop of Quebec. Every facility was to be given
for the education of Acadian children in Protestant
schools. Those who embraced Protestantism were to be
confirmed in their lands, free from quit-rent for a period
of ten years. [Footnote: Canadian Archives Report, 1905,
Appendix C, vol. ii, p. 50.]

Armed with these instructions, Cornwallis adopted at
first a strong policy. On July 14, 1749, he issued a
proclamation containing 'the declaration of His Majesty
regarding the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia,' and
calling on the Acadians to take the oath of allegiance
within three months. At a meeting of the Council held
the same day, at which representatives of the Acadians
were present, the document was discussed. The deputies
listened with some concern to the declaration, and inquired
whether permission would be given them to sell their
lands if they decided to leave the country. The governor
replied that under the Treaty of Utrecht they had enjoyed
this privilege for one year only, and that they could
not now 'be allowed to sell or carry off anything.' The
deputies asked for time to consult the inhabitants. This
was granted, with a warning that those who 'should not
take the oath of allegiance before the 15th of October
should forfeit all their possessions and rights in the
Province.' Deputies from nine districts appeared before
the Council on July 31 and spoke for the Acadians. The
Council deliberated and decided that no priest should
officiate without a licence from the governor; that no
exemption from bearing arms in time of war could be made;
that the oath must be taken as offered; and that all who
wished to continue in the possession of their lands must
appear and take the oath before October 15, which would
be the last day allowed them. [Footnote: Public Archives,
Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol. iv, p. 14.]

A month later they presented to Cornwallis a petition
signed by one thousand inhabitants to the effect that
they had faithfully served King George, and were prepared
to renew the oath which was tendered to them by Governor
Philipps; that two years before His Majesty had promised
to maintain them in the peaceable enjoyment of their
possessions: 'And we believe, Your Excellency, that if
His Majesty had been informed of our conduct towards His
Majesty's Government, he would not propose to us an oath
which, if taken, would at any moment expose our lives to
great peril from the savage nations, who have reproached
us in a strange manner as to the oath we have taken to
His Majesty... But if Your Excellency is not disposed to
grant us what we take the liberty of asking, we are
resolved, every one of us, to leave the country.' In
reply Cornwallis reminded them that, as British subjects,
they were in the enjoyment of their religion and in
possession of their property. 'You tell me that General
Philipps granted you the reservation which you demand;
and I tell you gentlemen, that the general who granted
you such reservation did not do his duty... You have been
for more than thirty-four years past the subjects of the
King of Great Britain... Show now that you are grateful.'
[Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol.
iv, p. 49.]

The Acadians, however, showed still a decided aversion
to an unqualified oath; and Cornwallis apparently thought
it best to recede somewhat from the high stand he had
taken. He wrote to the home government explaining that
he hesitated to carry out the terms of his proclamation
of July 14 by confiscating the property of those who did
not take the oath, on the ground that the Acadians would
not emigrate at that season of the year, and that in the
meantime he could employ them to advantage. If they
continued to prove obstinate, he would seek new instructions
to force things to a conclusion. [Footnote: Public
Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. xxxv, p. 48.] The
Acadians, used by this time to the lenity of the British
government, were probably not surprised to find, at the
meeting of the Council held on October 11, no mention of
the oath which had to be taken before the 15th of the month.

The winter passed, and still Cornwallis took no steps to
enforce his proclamation. He had his troubles; for the
French, from Quebec on the one side and from Louisbourg
on the other, were fomenting strife; and the Indians were
on the war-path. And, in February 1750, the Lords of
Trade wrote that as the French were forming new settlements
with a view to enticing the Acadians into them, any
forcible means of ejecting them should be waived for the
present. Cornwallis replied that he was anxious to leave
matters in abeyance until he ascertained what could be
done in the way of fortifying Chignecto. 'If a fort is
once built there,' he explained, 'they [the Indians] will
be driven out of the peninsula or submit. He also wished
to know what reinforcements he might expect in the spring.
Until then he would 'defer making the inhabitants take
the oath of allegiance.'

Meanwhile the Acadians were not idle on their own behalf.
In October 1749 they addressed a memorial to Des Herbiers,
the governor of Ile Royale, to be transmitted to the
French king. They complained that the new governor intended
to suppress their missionaries, [Footnote: Cornwallis
had denied the jurisdiction of the bishop of Quebec, but
had intimated that he would grant a licence to any good
priest, his objection being to missionaries such as Le
Loutre, who stirred up the Indians to commit hostilities.]
and to force them to bear arms against the Indians, with
whom they had always been on friendly terms. They therefore
prayed the king to obtain concessions from Great Britain--
the maintenance of the Quebec missionaries, the exemption
from bearing arms, or an extension of a year in which
they might withdraw with their effects. [Footnote:
Canadian Archives Report, 1905, Appendix N, vol. ii, p.
298.] Two months later they sent a petition to the Marquis
de la Jonquiere, the governor of Canada, actuated, they
said, by the love of their country and their religion.
They had refused to take the oath requiring them to bear
arms against their fellow-countrymen. They had, it is
true, appeared attached to the interests of the English,
in consequence of the oath which they had consented to
take only when exempted from bearing arms. Now that this
exemption was removed, they wished to leave Nova Scotia,
and hoped that the king would help them with vessels, as
they had been refused permission to build them. Great
offers had been made to them, but they preferred to leave.
[Footnote: Ibid., p. 301.]

In the spring of 1750, unable to obtain permission from
Cornwallis to take a restricted oath, the Acadians almost
unanimously decided to emigrate. On April 19 deputies
from several settlements in the district of Minas--the
river Canard, Grand Pre, and Pisiquid--appeared before
the Council at Halifax and asked to be allowed to leave
the province with their effects. [Footnote: Public
Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol. iv, p. 130.]
According to Cornwallis, they professed that this decision
was taken against their inclination, and that the French
had threatened them with destruction at the hands of the
Indians if they remained. [Footnote: Public Archives,
Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. xxxvii, p. 7.] On May 25 the
inhabitants of Annapolis Royal came with a like petition.

In reply to these petitions Cornwallis reminded the
inhabitants that the province was the country of their
fathers, and that they should enjoy the product of their
labours. As soon as there should be tranquillity he would
give them permission to depart, if they wished to do so;
but in the present circumstances passports could not be
granted to any one. They could not be permitted to
strengthen the hand of Great Britain's enemy.

But in spite of the prohibition, of the forts that were
built to enforce it, and of British cruisers patrolling
the coasts to prevent intercourse with the French, there
was a considerable emigration. A number of families
crossed to Ile St Jean in the summer of 1750. They were
aided by the missionaries, and supplied with vessels and
arms by the French authorities at Louisbourg. By August
1750 we know that eight hundred Acadians were settled in
Ile St Jean.



By the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle the question
of the limits of Acadia had been referred to a commission
of arbitration, and each of the powers had agreed to
attempt no settlement on the debatable ground until such
time as the decision of the commissioners should be made
known. Each, however, continued to watch jealously over
its own interests. The English persisted in their claim
that the ancient boundaries included all the country
north of the Bay of Fundy to the St Lawrence, and Cornwallis
was directed to see to it that no subjects of the French
king settled within these boundaries. The French, on the
other hand, steadily asserted their ownership in all land
north of a line drawn from Baie Verte to Chignecto Bay.
The disputants, though openly at peace, glowered at each
other. Hardly had Cornwallis brought his colonists ashore
at Halifax, when La Galissoniere, the acting-governor of
Canada, sent Boishebert, with a detachment of twenty men,
to the river St John, to assert the French claim to that
district; and when La Galissoniere went to France as a
commissioner in the boundary dispute, his successor, La
Jonquiere, dispatched a force under the Chevalier de la
Corne to occupy the isthmus of Chignecto.

About the same time the Indians went on the war-path,
apparently at the instigation of the French. Des Herbiers,
the governor of Ile Royale, when dispatching the Abbe Le
Loutre to the savages with the usual presents, had added
blankets and a supply of powder and ball, clearly intended
to aid them should they be disposed to attack the English
settlements. Indians from the river St John joined the
Micmacs and opened hostilities by seizing an English
vessel at Canso and taking twenty prisoners. The prisoners
were liberated by Des Herbiers; but the Micmacs, their
blood up, assembled at Chignecto, near La Corne's post,
and declared war on the English. The Council at Halifax
promptly raised several companies for defence, and offered
a reward of 10 pounds for the capture of an Indian, dead
or alive. Cornwallis complained bitterly to Louisbourg
that Le Loutre was stirring up trouble; but Des Herbiers
disingenuously disclaimed all responsibility for the
abbe. The Indians, he said, were merely allies, not French
subjects, and Le Loutre acted under the direction of the
governor of Canada. He promised also that if any Frenchman
molested the English, he should be punished, a promise
which, as subsequent events showed, he had no intention
of keeping.

In November 1749 a party of one hundred and fifty Indians
captured a company of engineers at Grand Pre, where the
English had just built a fort. Le Loutre, however, ransomed
the prisoners and sent them to Louisbourg. The Indians,
emboldened by their success, then issued a proclamation
in the name of the king of France and their Indian allies
calling upon the Acadians to arm, under pain of death
for disobedience. On learning that eleven Acadians obeyed
this summons, Cornwallis sent Captain Goreham of the
Rangers to arrest them. The rebels, however, made good
their escape, thanks to the Indians; and Goreham could
only make prisoners of some of their children, whom he
brought before the governor. The children declared that
their parents had not been free agents, and produced in
evidence one of the threatening orders of the Indians.
In any case, of course, the children were in no way
responsible, and were therefore sent home; and the governor
described Goreham as 'no officer at all.'

When spring came Cornwallis took steps to stop the
incursions of the savages and at the same time to check
the emigration of the Acadians. He sent detachments to
build and occupy fortified posts at Grand Pre, at Pisiquid,
and at other places. He ordered Major Lawrence to sail
up the Bay of Fundy with four hundred settlers for
Beaubassin, the Acadian village at the head of Chignecto
Bay. For the time being, however, this undertaking did
not prosper. On arriving, Lawrence encountered a band of
Micmacs, which Le Loutre had posted at the dikes to resist
the disembarkation. Some fighting ensued before Lawrence
succeeded in leading ashore a body of troops. The motive
of the turbulent abbe was to preserve the Acadians from
the contaminating presence of heretics and enemies of
his master, the French king. And, when he saw that he
could not prevent the English from making a lodgment in
the village, he went forward with his Micmacs and set it
on fire, thus forcing the Acadian inhabitants to cross
to the French camp at Beausejour, some two miles off.
Here La Corne had set up his standard to mark the boundary
of New France, beyond which he dared the British to
advance at their peril. At a conference which was arranged
between Lawrence and La Corne, La Corne said that the
governor of Canada, La Jonquiere, had directed him to
take possession of the country to the north, 'or at least
he was to keep it and must defend it till the boundaries
between the two Crowns should be settled.' [Footnote:
Canadian Archives Report, 1906, Appendix N, vol. ii, p.
321.] Moreover, if Lawrence should try to effect a
settlement, La Corne would oppose it to the last. And as
Lawrence's forces were quite inadequate to cope with La
Corne's, it only remained for Lawrence to return to
Halifax with his troops and settlers.

Meanwhile Boishebert stood guard for the governor of
Quebec at the mouth of the river St John. In the previous
year, when he had arrived there, Cornwallis had sent an
officer to protest against what he considered an
encroachment; but Boishebert had answered simply that he
was commissioned to hold the place for his royal master
without attempting a settlement until the boundary dispute
should be adjusted. Now, in July 1750, Captain Cobb of
the York, cruising in the Bay of Fundy, sighted a French
sloop near the mouth of the St John, and opened fire.
The French captain immediately lowered his boats and
landed a party of sailors, apparently with the intention
of coming to a conference. Cobb followed his example.
Presently Boishebert came forward under a flag of truce
and demanded Cobb's authority for the act of war in
territory claimed by the French. Cobb produced his
commission and handed it to Boishebert. Keeping the
document in his possession, Boishebert ordered Cobb to
bring his vessel under the stern of the French sloop,
and sent French officers to board Cobb's ship and see
the order carried out. The sailors on the York, however,
held the Frenchmen as hostages for the safe return of
their captain. After some parleying Cobb was allowed to
return to his vessel, and the Frenchmen were released.
Boishebert, however, refused to return the captain's
commission. Cobb thereupon boarded the French sloop,
seized five of the crew, and sailed away.

So the game went on. A month later the British sloop
Trial, at Baie Verte, captured a French sloop of seventy
tons which was engaged in carrying arms and supplies to
Le Loutre's Indians. On board were four deserters from
the British and a number of Acadians. Among the papers
found on the Acadians were letters addressed to their
friends in Quebec and others from Le Loutre and officers
of Fort St John and of Port La Joie in Ile St Jean. From
one of these letters we obtain a glimpse of the conditions
of the Acadians:

I shall tell you that I was settled in Acadia. I have
four small children. I lived contented on my land. But
that did not last long, for we were compelled to leave
all our property and flee from under the domination of
the English. The King undertakes to transport us and
support us under the expectation of news from France.
If Acadia is not restored to France I hope to take my
little family and bring it to Canada. I beg you to let
me know the state of things in that country. I assure
you that we are in poor condition, for we are like the
Indians in the woods.
[Footnote: A. Doucet to Mde Langedo of Quebec,
August 5, 1750.]

By other documents taken it was shown that supplies from
Quebec were frequently passing to the Indians, and that
the dispatches addressed to Cornwallis were intercepted
and forwarded to the governor of Quebec. [Footnote:
Cornwallis to Bedford, August 19, 1750.]

These papers revealed to Cornwallis the peril which
menaced him. But, having been reinforced by the arrival
from Newfoundland of three hundred men of Lascelles's
regiment, he resolved to occupy Chignecto, which Lawrence
had been forced to abandon in April. Accordingly Lawrence
again set out, this time with about seven hundred men.
In mid-September his ships appeared off the burnt village
of Beaubassin. Again the landing was opposed by a band
of Indians and about thirty Acadians entrenched on the
shore. These, after some fighting and losses, were beaten
off; and the English troops landed and proceeded to
construct a fort, named by them Fort Lawrence, and to
erect barracks for the winter. La Corne, from his fort
at Beausejour, where he had his troops and a body of
Acadians, addressed a note to Lawrence, proposing a
meeting in a boat in the middle of the river. Lawrence
replied that he had no business with La Corne, and that
La Corne could come to him if he had anything to
communicate. Acts of violence followed. It was not long
before a scouting party under the command of Captain
Bartelot was surrounded by a band of Indians and Acadians.
[Footnote: La Valliere, one of the French officers on
the spot, says that the Indians and Acadians were encouraged
by Le Loutre during this attack.--Journal of the Sieur
de la Valliere.] Forty-five of the party were killed,
and Bartelot and eight men were taken prisoners. A few
weeks later there was an act of treachery which greatly
embittered the British soldiers. This was the murder of
Captain Howe, one of the British officers, by some of Le
Loutre's Micmacs. It was stated that Le Loutre was
personally implicated in the crime, but there appears
not the slightest foundation for this charge. One morning
in October Howe saw an Indian carrying a flag of truce
on the opposite side of the Missaguash river, which lay
between Fort Lawrence and Fort Beausejour. Howe, who had
often held converse with the savages, went forward to
meet the Indian, and the two soon became engaged in
conversation. Suddenly the Indian lowered his flag, a
body of savages concealed behind a dike opened fire, and
Howe fell, mortally wounded. In the work of bringing the
dying officer into the fort ten of his company also fell.

Meanwhile an event occurred which seemed likely to promote
more cordial relations between the French and the English.
Early in October Des Herbiers returned to Halifax thirty-
seven prisoners, including six women, who had been captured
by the Indians but ransomed and sent to Louisbourg by
the Abbe Le Loutre. It is difficult to reconcile the
conduct of the meddlesome missionary on this occasion
with what we know of his character. He was possessed of
an inveterate hatred of the English and all their works;
yet he was capable of an act of humanity towards them.
After all, it may be that generosity was not foreign to
the nature of this fanatical French patriot. Cornwallis
was grateful, and cheerfully refunded the amount of the
ransom. [Footnote: Des Herbiers to Cornwallis, October
2, 1750.--Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol.
xxxix, p. 13.]

But the harmony existing between Des Herbiers and Cornwallis
was of short duration. In the same month the British
sloop Albany, commanded by Captain Rous, fell on the
French brigantine St Francois, Captain Vergor, on the
southern coast. Vergor, who was carrying stores and
ammunition to Louisbourg, ran up his colours, but after
a fight of three hours he was forced by Rous to surrender.
The captive ship was taken to Halifax and there condemned
as a prize, the cargo being considered contraband of war.
La Jonquiere addressed a peremptory letter to Cornwallis,
demanding whether he was acting under orders in seizing
a French vessel in French territory. He likewise instructed
Des Herbiers to seize ships of the enemy; and as a result
four prizes were sold by the Admiralty Court at Louisbourg.

Open hostilities soon became the order of the day. During
the winter a party of Canadians and Indians and Acadians
disguised as Indians assembled near Fort Lawrence. They
succeeded in killing two men, and continued to fire on
the British position for two days. But, as the garrison
remained within the shelter of the walls, the attackers
grew weary of wasting ammunition and withdrew to harry
the settlement at Halifax. According to the French
accounts, these savages killed thirty persons on the
outskirts of Halifax in the spring of 1751, and Cornwallis
reported that four inhabitants and six soldiers had been
taken prisoners. Then in June three hundred British troops
from Fort Lawrence invaded the French territory to attempt
a surprise. They were discovered, however, and St Ours,
who had succeeded La Corne, brought out his forces and
drove them back to Fort Lawrence. A month later the
British made another attack and destroyed a dike, flooding
the lands of the Acadians in its neighbourhood.

And during all this time England and France were
theoretically at peace. Their commissioners sat in Paris,
La Galissoniere on one side, Shirley on the other, piling
up mountains of argument as to the 'ancient boundaries'
of Acadia. All to no purpose; for neither nation could
afford to recede from its position. It was a question
for the last argument of kings. Meanwhile the officials
in the colonies anxiously waited for the decision; and
the poor Acadians, torn between the hostile camps, and
many of them now homeless, waited too.



The years 1752 and 1753 were, on the whole, years of
peace and quiet. This was largely due to changes in the
administration on both sides. At the end of 1751 the
Count de Raymond had replaced Des Herbiers as governor
of Ile Royale; in 1752 Duquesne succeeded La Jonquiere
at Quebec as governor of New France; and Peregrine Hopson
took the place of Cornwallis in the government of Nova
Scotia. Hopson adopted a policy of conciliation. When
the crew of a New England schooner in the summer of 1752
killed an Indian lad and two girls whom they had enticed
on board, Hopson promptly offered a reward for the capture
of the culprits. He treated the Indians with such consistent
kindness that he was able in the month of September to
form an alliance with the Micmacs on the coast. He
established friendly relations also with Duquesne and
Raymond, and arranged with them a cartel of exchange
regarding deserters.

Towards the Acadians Hopson seemed most sympathetic. From
the experience of Cornwallis he knew, of course, their
aversion to the oath of allegiance. In writing to the
Lords of Trade for instructions he pointed out the
obstinacy of the people on this question, but made it
clear how necessary their presence was to the welfare of
the province. Meanwhile he did his best to conciliate
them. When complaints were made that Captain Hamilton,
a British officer, had carried off some of their cattle,
Hamilton was reprimanded and the cattle were paid for.
Instructions were then issued to all officers to treat
the Acadians as British subjects, and to take nothing
from them by force. Should the people refuse to comply
with any just demand, the officer must report it to the
governor and await his orders. When the Acadians provided
wood for the garrison, certificates must be issued which
should entitle them to payment.

The political horizon at the opening of the year 1753
seemed bright to Hopson. But in the spring a most painful
occurrence threatened for a time to involve him in an
Indian war. Two men, Connor and Grace, while cruising
off the coast, had landed at Ile Dore, and with the
assistance of their ruffianly crew had plundered an Indian
storehouse. They were overtaken by a storm, their schooner
became a total wreck, and Connor and Grace alone survived.
They were rescued by the Indians, who cared for them and
gave them shelter. But the miserable cowards seized a
favourable moment to murder and scalp their benefactors.
Well satisfied with their brutal act, they proceeded to
Halifax with the ghastly trophies, and boldly demanded
payment for the scalps of two men, three women, and two
children. Their story seemed so improbable that the
Council ordered them to give security to appear in the
court at the next general session. [Footnote: Hopson to
Lords of Trade, April 30, 1753, p. 30. Deposition of
Connor and Grace, April 16, 1753, p. 30 et seq.--Public
Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. liii.] The prospect
of a permanent peace with the Indians vanished. They
demanded that the Council should send a schooner to Ile
Dore to protect their shores. The Council did send a
vessel. But no sooner had it arrived than the Indians
seized and massacred the whole crew save one man, who
claimed to be of French origin and was later ransomed by
the French.

In September the inhabitants of Grand Pre, Canso, and
Pisiquid presented a petition to the Council at Halifax,
praying that their missionaries be excused from taking
the ordinary oath. The Acadians were entitled to the free
exercise of their religion, and the bishop of Quebec
would not send priests if they were required to become
British subjects. The Council deliberated. Fearing to
give the Acadians a pretext for leaving the country on
the plea that they had been deprived of the services of
their priests, the Council decided to grant the petition,
providing, however, that the priests should obtain a
licence from the governor.

The Lords of Trade approved Hopson's policy, which appeared
to be bearing good fruit. Later in the autumn came another
delegation of Acadians who had formerly resided at Pisiquid
but had migrated to French territory, asking to be allowed
to return to their old homes. They had left on account
of the severe oath proposed by Cornwallis, but were now
willing to come back and take a restricted oath. For fear
of the Indians, they could not swear to bear arms in aid
of the English in time of war. They wished also to be
able to move from the province whenever they desired,
and to take their effects with them. Evidently they had
not found Utopia under the French flag. The Council gave
them the permission they desired, promised them the free
exercise of their religion, a sufficient number of priests
for their needs, and all the privileges conferred by the
Treaty of Utrecht.

On the whole, the situation in the autumn of 1753 was
most promising. The Acadians, said Hopson, behaved
'tolerably well,' though they still feared the Indians
should they attach themselves to the English. Of the
French on the frontier there was nothing to complain;
and an era of peace seemed assured. But before the end
of the year another page in the history of Nova Scotia
had been turned. Raymond, the governor of Ile Royale,
gave place to D'Ailleboust. Hopson was compelled to return
to England on leave of absence through failing eyesight,
and Charles Lawrence reigned in his stead.



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