CHRONICLES OF CANADA Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton In thirty-two volumes
THE ACADIAN EXILES A Chronicle of the Land of Evangeline
By ARTHUR G. DOUGHTY TORONTO, 1916
THE FOUNDERS OF ACADIA
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 stands.
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.
THE BRITISH IN ACADIA
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 crowns.
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.
THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
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 liberty.
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 country.
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 Englishmen.'
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.
IN TIMES OF WAR
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.
CORNWALLIS AND THE ACADIANS
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.
THE 'ANCIENT BOUNDARIES'
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.