German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres
Since the capture of Louisbourg, France had held constantly in view, as an object of prime importance, the recovery of her lost colony of Acadia. And to make assurance still more sure, German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres large body of Canadians, under M. They returned when the news came that D'Anville was at Chibucto, and Ramesay, with a part of his command, advanced upon Port Royal, or Annapolis, in order to support the fleet in its promised attack on that place. He encamped at a little distance from the English fort, till he heard of the disasters that had ruined the fleet, [Footnote: If France was bent on recovering Acadia, Shirley was no less resolved to keep it, if he could.
In his belief, it was the key of the British American colonies, and German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres and again he urged the Duke of Newcastle to protect it. But Newcastle seems scarcely to have known where Acadia was, being ignorant of most things except the art of managing the House of Commons, and careless of all things that could not help his party and himself. Hence Shirley's hyperboles, though never without a basis of truth, were lost upon him. Once, it is true, he sent three German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres men to Annapolis; but one hundred and eighty of them died on the voyage, or lay helpless in Boston hospitals, and the rest German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres better have been spared, some being recruits from English jails, and others Irish Catholics, several of whom deserted to the French, with information of the state of the garrison.
The defence of Acadia was left to Shirley and his Assembly, who in time of need sent companies of militia and rangers to Annapolis, and thus on several occasions saved it from returning to France. Shirley was the most watchful and strenuous defender of British interests on the continent; and in the present crisis British and colonial interests were one. He held that if Acadia were lost, the peace and safety of all the other colonies would be in peril; and in spite of the immense efforts made by the French court to recover it, he felt that the chief danger of the province was not from without, but from within.
The Governor and Intendant of Canada wrote to the colonial minister: While the greater part remained attached to France, some leaned to the English, who bought their produce and paid them in ready coin. Money was rare with the Acadians, who loved it, and were so addicted to hoarding it that the French authorities were led German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres speculate as to what might be the object of these careful savings. They German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres not supply Ramesay's force with provisions in exchange for his promissory notes, but demanded hard cash. He wrote to Shirley: France claimed them on one side, and England on the other, and each demanded their adhesion, without regard to their feelings or their wrelfare.
The banditti of whom Mascarene speaks were the Micmac Indians, who were completely under the control of their missionary, Le Loutre, and were used by him to terrify the inhabitants into renouncing their English allegiance and actively supporting the French cause. Thus they were British subjects; but as their oath had been accompanied by a promise, or at least a German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres understanding, that they should German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres be required to take arms against Frenchmen or Indians, they had become known as the "Neutral French. Their illiteracy was extreme. Few of them could sign their names, and a contemporary well acquainted with them declares that he knew but a single Acadian who could read and write.
Ignorant of books and isolated in a wild and remote corner of the world, the Acadians knew nothing of affairs, and were totally incompetent to meet the crisis that was soon to come upon German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres. In activity and enterprise they were far behind the Canadians, who looked on them as inferiors. Their pleasures were those of the humblest and simplest peasants; they were contented with their lot, and asked only to be let alone. They had the German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres equality which can exist only in the humblest conditions of society, and presented the phenomenon of a primitive little democracy, hatched under the wing of an absolute monarchy.
Each was as good as his neighbor; they had no natural leaders, nor any to advise or guide them, except the missionary priest, who in every case was expected by his superiors to influence them in the interest of France, and who, in fact, constantly did so. While one observer represents them as living German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres a state of primeval innocence, another describes both men and women as extremely foul of speech; from which he draws inferences unfavorable to their domestic morals, [Footnote: As is usual with a well-fed and unambitious peasantry, German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres were very German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres, and are said to have doubled their number every sixteen years.
In they counted in the peninsula of Nova Scotia between twelve and thirteen thousand souls. The appearance of D'Anville's fleet caused great excitement among the Acadians, German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres thought that they were about to pass again under the Crown of France. Fifty of them went on board the French ships at Chibucto to pilot them to the attack German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres Annapolis, and to their dismay found that no attack was to be made. When Ramesay, with his Canadians and Indians, took post at Chignecto and built a fort at Baye Verte, on the neck of the peninsula of Nova Scotia, the English power in that part of the colony seemed at an end.
The inhabitants cut off all communication German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres Annapolis, and detained the officers whom Mascarene sent for intelligence. From the first outbreak of the war it was evident that the French built their hopes of recovering Acadia largely on a rising of the Acadians against the English rule, and that they spared no efforts to excite such a rising. Early in a violent and cruel precaution against this danger was suggested. William Shirreff, provincial secretary, gave it as his opinion that the Acadians ought to be removed, being a standing menace to the colony. Gould, agent of Phillips's Regiment, March, He means those of Chignecto, who were kept in a threatening attitude by the presence of Ramesay and his Canadians, and who, as he thinks, had forfeited their lands by treasonable conduct.
Shirley believes that families from New England might be induced to take their place, and that these, if settled under suitable regulations, would form a military frontier to the province of Nova Scotia "strong enough to keep the Canadians out," and hold the Acadians to their allegiance. While Knowles and others called for wholesale expatriation, he still held that it was possible to turn the greater part of the Acadians into safe subjects of the British Crown; [Footnote: Shirley says that the indiscriminate removal of the Acadians would be "unjust" and "too rigorous". Knowles had proposed to put Catholic Jacobites from the Scotch Highlands into their place.
Shirley thinks this inexpedient, but believes that Protestants from Germany and Ulster might safely be trusted. The best plan of all, in his opinion, is that of "treating the Acadians as subjects, confining their punishment to the most guilty and dangerous among 'em, and keeping the rest in the country and endeavoring to make them useful members of society under his Majesty's Government. The garrisons, he thought, would not only impose respect, but would furnish the Acadians with what they wanted most,--ready markets for their produce,--and thus bind them to the British by strong ties of interest.
Newcastle thought the plan good, but wrote that its execution must be deferred to a future day. Three years later it was partly carried into effect by the foundation of Halifax; but at that time the disaffection of the Acadians had so increased, and the hope of regaining the province for France had risen so high, that this partial and tardy assertion of British authority only spurred the French agents to redoubled efforts to draw the inhabitants from the allegiance they had sworn to the Crown of England. Shirley had also other plans in view for turning the Acadians into good British subjects. He proposed, as a measure of prime necessity, to exclude French priests from the province.
The free exercise of their religion had been insured to the inhabitants by the Treaty of Utrecht, and on this point the English authorities had given no just cause of complaint. A priest had occasionally been warned, suspended, or removed; but without a single exception, so far as appears, this was in consequence of conduct which tended to excite disaffection, and which would have incurred equal or greater penalties in the case of a layman. There was afterwards sharp correspondence between Shirley and the Governor of Canada touching the Acadian priests. Mascarene to account for expelling the missionary from Minas for being guilty of such treasonable practices within His Majesty's government as merited a much severer Punishment.
Shirley's plan of excluding French priests from the province would not have violated the provisions of the treaty, provided that the inhabitants were supplied with other priests, not French subjects, and therefore not politically dangerous; but though such a measure was several times proposed by the provincial authorities, the exasperating apathy of the Newcastle Government gave no hope that it could be accomplished. The influences most dangerous to British rule did not proceed from love of France or sympathy of race, but from the power of religion over a simple and ignorant people, trained in profound love and awe of their Church and its ministers, who were used by the representatives of Louis XV.
He was a fiery and enterprising zealot, inclined by temperament to methods of violence, detesting the English, and restrained neither by pity nor scruple from using threats of damnation and the Micmac tomahawk to frighten the Acadians into doing his bidding. The worst charge against him, that of exciting the Indians of his mission to murder Captain Howe, an English officer, has not been proved; but it would not have been brought against him by his own countrymen if his character and past conduct had gained him their esteem. The other Acadian priests were far from sharing Le Loutre's violence; but their influence was always directed to alienating the inhabitants from their allegiance to King George.
Hence Shirley regarded the conversion of the Acadians to Protestantism as a political measure of the first importance, and proposed the establishment of schools in the province to that end. Thus far his recommendations are perfectly legitimate; but when he adds that rewards ought to be given to Acadians who renounce their faith, few will venture to defend him. Newcastle would trouble himself with none of his schemes, and Acadia was left to drift with the tide, as before. And he proceeds to ask, "as a proper Scheme for better securing the Subjection of the French inhabitants and Indians there," that the Governor and Council at Annapolis have special authority and direction from the King to arrest and examine such Acadians as shall be "most obnoxious and dangerous to his Majesty's Government;" and if found guilty of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, to dispose of them and their estates in such manner as his Majesty shall order, at the same time promising indemnity to the rest for past offences, upon their taking or renewing the oath of allegiance.
The most pressing danger, as he thought, rose from the presence of Ramesay and and his Canadians at Chignecto; for that officer spared no pains to induce the Acadians to join him in another attempt against Annapolis, telling them that if they did not drive out the English, the English would drive them out. He was now at Mines, trying to raise the inhabitants in arms for France. Shirley thought it necessary to counteract him, and force him and his Canadians back to the isthmus whence they had come; but as the ministry would give no soldiers, he was compelled to draw them from New England. The defence of Acadia was the business of the Home Government, and not of the colonies; but as they were deeply interested in the preservation of the endangered province, Massachusetts gave five hundred men in response to Shirley's call, and Rhode Island and New Hampshire added, between them, as many more.
Less than half of these levies reached Acadia. It was the stormy season. The Rhode Island vessels were wrecked near Martha's Vineyard. A New Hampshire transport sloop was intercepted by a French armed vessel, and ran back to Portsmouth. Four hundred and seventy men from Massachusetts, under Colonel Arthur Noble, were all who reached Annapolis, whence they sailed for Mines, accompanied by a few soldiers of the garrison. Storms, drifting ice, and the furious tides of the Bay of Fundy made their progress so difficult and uncertain that Noble resolved to finish the journey by land; and on the 4th of December he disembarked near the place now called French Cross, at the foot of the North Mountain,--a lofty barrier of rock and forest extending along the southern shore of the Bay of Fundy.
Without a path and without guides, the party climbed the snow-encumbered heights and toiled towards their destination, each man carrying provisions for fourteen days in his haversack. Ramesay and his Canadians were gone. On learning the approach of an English force, he had tried to persuade the Acadians that they were to be driven from their homes, and that their only hope was in joining with him to meet force by force; but they trusted Shirley's recent assurance of protection, and replied that they would not break their oath of fidelity to King George. The village consisted of small, low wooden houses, scattered at intervals for the distance of a mile and a half, and therefore ill fitted for defence.
The English had the frame of a blockhouse, or, as some say, of two blockhouses, ready to be set up on their arrival; but as the ground was hard frozen it was difficult to make a foundation, and the frames were therefore stored in outbuildings of the village, with the intention of raising them in the spring. The vessels which had brought them, together with stores, ammunition, five small cannon, and a good supply of snow-shoes, had just arrived at the landing-place,--and here, with incredible fatuity, were allowed to remain, with most of their indispensable contents still on board.
The men, meanwhile, were quartered in the Acadian houses. Noble's position was critical, but he was assured that he could not be reached from Chignecto in such a bitter season; and this he was too ready to believe, though he himself had just made a march, which, if not so long, was quite as arduous. Yet he did not neglect every precaution, but kept out scouting-parties to range the surrounding country, while the rest of his men took their ease in the Acadian houses, living on the provisions of the villagers, for which payment was afterwards made.
Some of the inhabitants, who had openly favored Ramesay and his followers, fled to the woods, in fear of the consequences; but the greater part remained quietly in the village. At the head of the Bay of Fundy its waters form a fork, consisting of Chignecto Bay on the one hand, and Mines Basin on the other. At the head of Chignecto Bay was the Acadian settlement of Chignecto, or Beaubassin, in the houses of which Ramesay had quartered his Canadians. Here the neck of the Acadian peninsula is at its narrowest, the distance across to Baye Verte, where Ramesay had built a fort, being little more than twelve miles.
Thus he controlled the isthmus,--from which, however, Noble hoped to dislodge him in the spring. Meanwhile his Canadians busied themselves with making snow-shoes and dog-sledges for the march. Ramesay could not command the expedition in person, as an accident to one of his knees had disabled him from marching. Coulon de Villiers commanded in Ramesay's place; and on the 21st of January he and the other officers led their men across the isthmus from Beaubassin to Baye Verte, where they all encamped in the woods, and where they were joined by a party of Indians and some Acadians from Beaubassin and Isle St. On the next morning they marched again at daybreak. There was sharp cold, with a storm of snow,--not the large, moist, lazy flakes that fall peacefully and harmlessly, but those small crystalline particles that drive spitefully before the wind, and prick the cheek like needles.
They had hoped to make a long day's march; but feet and faces were freezing, and they were forced to stop, at noon, under such shelter as the thick woods of pine, spruce, and fir could supply. In the morning they marched again, following the border of the sea, their dog-teams dragging provisions and baggage over the broken ice of creeks and inlets, which they sometimes avoided by hewing paths through the forest. After a day of extreme fatigue they stopped at the small bay where the town of Wallace now stands. On one hand the English were more numerous than had been reported; on the other, they had not set up the blockhouses they had brought with them. Some Acadians of the neighboring settlement joined the party at this camp, as also did a few Indians.
On the next morning, January 27th, the adventurers stopped at the village of Tatmagouche, where they were again joined by a number of Acadians. After mending their broken sledges they resumed their march, and at five in the afternoon reached a place called Bacouel, at the beginning of the portage that led some twenty-five miles across the country to Cobequid, now Truro, at the head of Mines Basin.
German escorts in saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-coudres courageously spoke his mind to the ministry, on saint-louis-de-lisle-aux-ciudres favor he was dependent. He encamped at a little distance from the English fort, till he heard of the disasters that had ruined the fleet, [Footnote: Hence the sallying party floundered helpless among the drifts, plunging so deep in the dry snow that they could not use their guns and could scarcely move, while bullets showered upon them from La Corne's men in the house and others hovering about them on snow-shoes.
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On this day, the 3d, they made five leagues; on the next only two, which brought them within half a league of Le Loutre's Micmac mission. Meanwhile his Canadians busied themselves with making snow-shoes and dog-sledges for the march. Noble's position was critical, but he was assured that he could not be reached from Chignecto in such a bitter season; and this he was too ready to believe, though he himself had just made a march, which, if not so long, was quite as arduous. Shirley says that the indiscriminate removal of the Acadians would be "unjust" and "too rigorous".