Notes on the Acadian French, by Andrew Brown
[NSHS V.2, p. 129-160 ]
The Rev. Andrew Brown, D.D., was Born in Biggar, in Lanarkshire, and graduated at the University of Edinburgh. In 1787 he accepted a call from St. Matthew's Church, in this city, and remained here up to 1795. After leaving Halifax he was presented to the parish of Lochmaben, Dumfrieshire, and soon after was translated to the New Greyfriars Church Edinburgh, from which he was promoted to the Old Church in the same city. In 1801 he succeeded Dr. Blair as professor of rhetoric and belle-letters. He died in 1834. He was a man of great intellectual vigor, and it is said of him while in Nova Scotia he outstripped all others in genius and acquirements.
While in the Province he must have given considerable time and labor to the preparation of a history – as his efforts cover a period between 1790 and 1815, and are quite extensive. All, or at least a part, of his papers were found in a small shop in Scotland, where they were used in wrapping up cheese and butter. They were purchased by an agent of the British Museum – a Mr. Grosart – for a small sum, and deposited in the National Collection in London. Some of them are originals belonging to the Province, and all are of value — as in most instances they were prepared by eye-witnesses and actors of the events they describe.
The items include several letters, an account of the Duke William and Violet, Acadian hymns, and 2 reports by Judge Morris.
HON. BROOK WATSON TO REV. DR. BROWN.
London, 1st July, 1791.
REV. SIR, —
I have been favored with your letter bearing date ye 13th November last, wherein you inform me of your having been employed for some years in collecting materials for compilating a History of Nova Scotia, and that conceiving from my knowledge of the country which commenced at an early period of my life, and my connections with it continued up to the present time, I should be able to aid your endeavors; you express a desire to receive from me information respecting the most interesting events which have occurred to my observation. It is true, sir, that I knew the Province in the year 1750, and my connection with it has from that period been uninterruptedly continued up to the present day, but it must be remembered that my whole life has been spent in one continued scene of mercantile business, consequently I am but ill qualified to aid your labors. I will, nevertheless, evince my respect and regard to the recorders of truth for the benefit of mankind by giving you the best account in my power of those occurrences to which your letter seems more immediately to point.
In the sixteenth century Acadie, or Acady, was first settled by people from Normandy, they were placed under the Government of Canada, but so remote their situation from Quebec, little communication could be held with them; they were, therefore, suffered to possess this extensive and fertile country with little or no control; their chief settlements were made on the borders of navigable rivers emptying into the Bay of Fundy, where marsh, or interval, lands abounded, and which, when dyked to keep off the water occasioned by high tides, produced excellent pastures, and without manure abundance of fine grain and pulse; hence the country soon became plentifully stocked with neat cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, and poultry of all sorts; the people left to themselves, without burthens on their property, or restraints on their industry, increased rapidly, possessing the means essential to substantial happiness. Luxuries they did not covet, to ambition they were strangers; bigoted Catholics they were, no doubt, governed by their priests, but these were few in number and moderate in their views, till the year 1750, when one of their order, Monsieur LaLoutre, from Canada, laid the foundation for the miseries they experienced in 1755.
Acadie was ceded by England to France by the Treaty of Breda, in 1661, but afterwards taken by the English. It was acceded to them by the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, under the express stipulation that the inhabitants might remain with their possessions subjects to the crown of Great Britain, with a right to the free exercise of their religion according to the usage of the Church of Rome, and thenceforth they were called Neutrals. Their principal settlement was Annapolis Royal. Here the English built a fort and garrisoned it with English troops, changing the name of the Province from Acadie to Nova Scotia; but they took no measures for settling it with other inhabitants till the year 1749, when Colonel Cornwallis was appointed its first Governor, and carried from England a number of people who he settled at Chebucto, which he named Halifax, after the noble Earl who was then First Lord for Trade and Plantations. France, seeing the steps taking by England in settling the country, and dreading the influence it would give us with the savages in the neighborhood of Canada, took every measure in their power to retard its progress. To this end they sent an officer with some troops from Quebec, in 1750, to encourage and support the Acadians and savages in impeding the English settlers. In this design they succeeded so well that in 1755 they became hardy enough openly to take part with the French in defending their garrison of Beausejour, which had been built in 1751 on a hill at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy, within three miles of Fort Lawrence, fortified by the English the preceding year. The former was taken the end of May or beginning of June, 1755, by four hundred British and two thousand Provincial troops, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Robert Monckton. The French garrison were allowed to go to Louisburg; the Acadians to their respective homes. But Admiral Boscawen, then commanding a considerable fleet at Halifax, with Colonel Lawrence, the Governor of the Province, soon after determined on sending all the Acadians out of the country, and sent orders to Lieut.-Colonel Monckton to embark them. He, in consequence, issued a proclamation commanding them all to appear at Beausejour (now Fort Cumberland) on a given day when, not suspecting the purpose, they were surrounded by troops and the men shut up in the fort, the women and children suffered to return home, there to remain till further notice should be given them. In the meantime transports were preparing to carry them out of the country. In September I was directed to proceed with a party of Provincials to the Baie Verte, then a considerable and flourishing settlement, there to wait further orders, which I received on the following day, to collect and send to Beausejour, for embarkation, all the women and children to be found in that district, and, on leaving the town, to fire it; this painful task performed, I was afterwards employed in victualling the transports for their reception; the season was now far advanced before the embarkation took place, which caused much hurry, and I fear some families were divided and sent to different parts of the globe, nothwithstanding all possible care was taken to prevent it. These wretched people, given up by France without their consent, were for adhering to those principles which the liberal mind must deem praiseworthy, plucked from their native soil, cast out by the nation who claimed their obedience, and rejected by that from whence they sprang, and to whose religion, customs and laws they had evinced the strongest attachment. Many of the transports having on board were ordered to France, about thirteen hundred perished by shipwreck on the voyage, those who arrived, France would not receive; they were landed at Southampton and other ports where, taking the small-pox, they were carried off in great numbers. Of those who went to the French West India Isles the greater part died for want of food, a famine at that time prevailed in the island, the people could not support them, the Governor-General said that they were not French subjects. Those who survived the calamity were sent to join their remaining brethren who had been sent to the British colonies from New England to Georgia; they were here more fortunate, for notwithstanding the rancor which generally prevailed against all Roman Catholics, their orderly conduct, their integrity, sobriety and frugality secured to them the good-will of the people and gained them comfortable support. But still longing for their native country, all their industry was stimulated, all their hopes supported by that landmark of their former felicity, many of them built boats, and taking their families, coasted the whole American shore, from Georgia to Nova Scotia; others dreading a tempestuous sea, went up the Mississippi and, crossing the lakes to Canada, descended the River St. Lawrence and so regained their former settlements. But alas! what did they find? all was desolated for the more effectually to drive them out of the country, all their houses had been burnt, all their cattle killed by order of Government, hence they found no shelter, still they persevered with never-failing fortitude, with unremitting industry, and established themselves in different remote parts of the Province, where they had been suffered to remain, but without any legal property, at least I have not heard of any land having been granted to them; their numbers, I am told, have increased about two thousand, and am informed they still continue, what I know them to be in their prosperous state, an honest, sober, industrious, and virtuous people; seldom did any quarrels happen amongst them. The men were in the summer constantly employed in husbandry, in the winter in cutting timber-fuel and fencing — and in hunting; the women in carding, spinning and weaving wool, flax and hemp, of which this country furnished abundance; these with furs from bears, beaver, foxes, otter, and martin, gave them not only comfortable, but in many instances, handsome clothing, and wherewith to procure other necessaries and conveniences from the English and French who carried on a trade of barter with them; few houses were to be found that had not a hogshead of French wine on tap, they had no dye but black and green, but in order to obtain scarlet-of which they were remarkably fond — they procured the English scarlet duffil which they cut, teized, carded, spun, and wove in stripes to decorate the women’s garments. Their country abounded with provisions, that I have heard people say they bought an ox for fifty shillings, a sheep for five, and wheat for eighteen pence per bushel. Their young people were not encouraged to marry till the maid could weave a web of cloth, the youth make a pair of wheels; their qualifications were deemed essential to their well doing and little more was necessary, for whenever a marriage took place the whole village set about establishing the young couple, they built them a log house, and cleared land sufficient for their immediate support, supplied them with some cattle, hogs, and poultry, and nature, aided by their own industry, soon enabled them to assist others. Infidelity to the marriage bed I never heard of amongst them. The winters long and cold were spent in cheerful hospitality, having fuel in abundance their houses was always comfortable, the rustic song and dance made their principal amusement. Thus did they live, so have they been visited. In 1755 I was a very humble instrument in sending eighteen hundred of those suffering mortals out of the Province. In 1783, as Commissary General to the army serving in North America, it became my duty, under the command of Sir Guy Carleton, now Lord Dorchester, to embark thirty-five thousand loyalists at New York to take shelter in it, and I trust all in my power was done to soften the affliction of the Acadians and alleviate the sufferings of the loyalists who were so severely treated for endeavoring to support the union of the British empire; they have great reason to bless the considerate mind and feeling heart of Lord Dorchester, under whose directions and providential care, ever awake to their wants, I had the pleasing task of liberally providing for them everything necessary to their transportation and settlement with provisions for one year after their arrival, and this allowance was still longer continued to them by the Public ——— to the eternal honor of the nation will be the record of their having considered the particular case of every individual who claims to have suffered by their loyalty, and after a ruinous war which added one hundred and twenty millions to the public debt, granted compensation for their losses and relief for their sufferings to the amount of between three or four millions, besides annuities amounting to sixty thousand pounds a year.
You will perceive I have not noticed the division of the Province, which took place in 1784 or 5, when the line was drawn from Cumberland to the Baie Verte, leaving the former and all to the north of it in the newly erected Province of New Brunswick, on which lands the loyalists had generally settled.
If aught which I have communicated, may in any degree prove useful to your work my feelings will be gratified. I give you thanks for having recalled to my mind transactions which were nearly obliterated, but being awakened, may be the means of producing some good to the poor Acadians who still remain in the Provinces, and they may have cause to bless you for recording their sufferings.
I am, sir, Your most humble servant,
BROOK WATSON. [Note: Brook Watson was a resident of Fort Lawrence in 1755]
REV. MR. BROWN,
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
LONDON, 12th August, 1791.
REVD. SIR, —
Under date ye 1st July I had the pleasure of writing you a pretty long letter in reply to one I had received from you, dated ye 13th November, preceding. I do not trouble you with a duplicate, although for fear of miscarriage I had a copy of my letter taken. Yesterday Dr. Breynton dined with me, when in order to avail myself of his better knowledge, and with a view to correct aught which I might therein have improperly stated, I read the letter to him. He perfectly agreed to all the facts which I had written, but thought the Acadians, in the year 1755, had their option to take the oaths of allegiance and remain, or to be sent out of the country. This point is of moment and ought to be ascertained. I much fear that was not the case, for although I entertain a very high opinion of their firmness, yet I doubt whether a people ever existed who possessed, to a man, spirit enough to leave everything dear and plunge themselves and families into a state of inexpressible wretchedness, rather than swear allegiance to a Prince, who held them and their country most completely in his power.
Mr. Secretary Bulkeley, who was the Secretary to the Province, and I think acting secretary to Governor Lawrence, can best inform you on this head, as he has never quitted the Province, and is in possession of the public papers to which reference may be had.
I am, sir,
Your most humble servant,
REV. MR. BROWN,
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
REV. HUGH GRAHAM TO REV. DR. BROWN.
CORNWALLIS, March, 1791.
MY DEAR SIR,
The repeated proofs of your friendly attention arose in me the glow of gratitude and the blush of shame. Your indulgent approbation of my slender services should, surely before this, have awakened me to the renewed calls of duty and have exerted me to much more vigorous exertions of friendship, and yet I had but just taken the pen in my hand when I laid it down and that to receive your favor of March 7th, an additional proof of my friends steady and much valued attachment.
The first particular in my engagement to which I now recur, shall be a detail of some minutes, and yet not altogether such, in the history of the Hon. Brook Watson, Esq.
He is a native of London. His father was a very considerable merchant in the Hamburg trade. During a certain period of his life he was in very flourishing circumstances; but a few years before his death a reverse of fortune took place, It was in early life, and in adverse circumstances, that Watson lost both his parents by the untimely stroke of death. He was left an orphan at the age of 8 or 10 years. It was thought advisable by his friends, of whom he had but few, to have him placed under the patronage and employed in the service of a Mr. Levens, a distant relation of his own, formerly of Hull, then of Boston. With this view he was sent out to Mr. Levens, and as Levens traded very extensively at sea, Watson set out as a young adventurer a board a ship in which his friend was chiefly concerned, and it was while this ship lay in Havana harbor that the accident of the shark happened — that as it was an excellent subject for a painting has had great justice done it in the masterly performances of Copely — in consequence of which accident he was taken into the Havana hospital and treated by the Spaniards with the greatest humanity, and after a cure was effected he found means of returning to Boston. But in his absence his friend Levens had failed in trade and left the place; this, you will easily conceive, was not small disappointment to him (young Watson) whose whole dependence here was on his friend now gone. Think now on the mortifying blank of disappointment and the dreary scene of indigence disclosing upon him when he expected the open hand of liberality and the tender consolations of friendship, and how all that fancy had framed out, and that the heart panted for, vanished like the baseless fabric of a night vision, and all the fortitude of his little breast was put to the trial by the unhappy manner in which this fresh misfortune was communicated to him. He scarcely had got into the house where Mr. Levens had formerly resided (a house of entertainment) when the mistress of the house broke out full well and in the most inconsiderate and unfeeling manner ran over the history of Mr. Levens' failure and misfortunes — “La Brook," exclaimed the oddity, " is this you, with a wooden leg, too? Your friend Levens has been so unlucky, has done so-and-so and now he is gone the Lord knows "where. But there is nothing for you here; I can see nothing for you but to have you bound out to be a saylor. I believe I shall send immediately for the select men and was all with them in the business." “The Lord help me," says poor Brook, “for I wish the shark had finished the business he began." The woman talked with such vociferation as to arrest the attention and awaken the curiosity of a gentleman in an adjacent room. He left his room and led the violent talking noise, he stepped into a scene where distress was bearing the lash of insensibility. Here stood young Watson agitated in the very crisis of his eventful fortune, standing in the middle of the room was the first object that caught Capt. Huston's eye — for that was the gentleman's name — and the old woman was in such a hurry to salute him with the tale of wo, and to pour in upon him the first tide of misfortunes, that she had neither asked nor given him time to sit down. She was just about making a cessation in the thundering lecture of evils, and meant to wind up the whole by depriving the youth of his liberty and to subject him, without his consent, to the lowest of occupations, when Mr. Huston interfered and made some little enquiry into the case — “ at leisure," said the worthy gentleman, “don't be in such a furious haste, give the young man time to draw his breath, and please let me know something of his circumstances;" upon which the old woman told him “this was a nephew or relation of that bankrupt Levens," and meant to resume the whole history of Levens' misfortunes, but Mr. Huston interrupted her and desired her to say no more on that subject, but to pay the youth every possible attention and he would satisfy her before he left the town. In the course of a few days Capt. Huston accomplished his business, and leaving Boston took Watson along with him. He was on his way to this Province, and Watson lived with him rather as a son in the family than as a servant of the house. For he soon found that he had in him much of the great and good, honest and honorable, ever attentive and obliging, apt to learn and to improve, he conceived, therefore, a particular regard for the boy. It was in the year 1750 that Huston, where he tarried, one season — and after a trip to Boston, on business, he accompanied Col. Lawrence, afterwards Gov. Lawrence, on an expedition to Cumberland.
The detachment of troops sent on this expedition consisted of about 400, including officers and attendants. The design of this measure was to keep in awe the neutral French, to secure the British frontiers, and to keep an outlook on the Canadians who practised on the neutrals, and the design in so far accomplished; the French troops were dispersed, Fort Lawrence was built. For some time, however, the French held a place of considerable strength called by them Beausejour, but by the English Fort Cumberland. It is about three miles to the westward of Fort Lawrence, with the River Missaquash (Migagousek) running between them. The enemy, for so they might now be called, after a feeble resistance, gave up Beausejour. This took place in the beginning of these troubles which brought on the late French war. At this time Messrs. Huston and Winslow, a very worthy gentleman, too, now Paymaster General of the troops at Quebec, carried on Commissary trade. This Mr. Winslow being a most complete accomptant, more so than Mr. Huston, in his goodness reckons himself; from him Watson acquired much of his knowledge in business. He was honored with a very particular degree of attention from Major Monckton, who then commanded at Fort Cumberland. The Major would frequently have Watson with him, employ him in adjusting the books, and in transacting his business; this was also a means of improvement, and Watson was apt to learn and much susceptible of improvement, availed himself of every help and privilege that a good Providence afforded. Here, it is true, the range of observation was confined, and the objects scanty and inconsiderable, the flowers of life he passed away in a shade, but it was a friendly shade. Here the healthy plant took deep root and imb'd nothing but what tended to its nourishment, and not a little of this was supplied and improv'd. For here he had the company and example of men of sense and honor, virtue and religion, so that whatever secondary and adventitious help might be awaiting, yet he had the necessary and best help for laying a good foundation, and was in a situation far from being unfavorable while the character is a forming. In this situation he continued 11 or 12 years.
It is an observation made by Plutarch — that as the small features about the eyes are the most expressive and do most to distinguish the complexion of the individual, so the little incidents of life are of great account in making up a judgment of a person's real character. In great actions persons may out-do themselves, but in little actions they act themselves. With this observation I shall introduce an instance or two of the manliness and capacity of young Watson:—
Some time after the English forces had taken possession of Fort Cumberland and the French had retreated to the west side of the river, a number of English cattle had one day cross'd the river at low water and strolled on the French side. This, not observed on the English side till after the tide had begun to make, and then it it was much queried if it might be practicable to bring them back. None was forward to make the attempt, only Watson said he should go for one, and, indeed, they all stood back and let him go alone. He stripped, swam over the river-side and all got round the cattle and was driving them towards the river when a party of the French were at his heels. One of them called out, “Young man, what have you to do upon the King of France's land?" To which Watson replied that “his present concern was neither with the King of France, nor about his land, but he meant take care of the English cattle.” The French officer who headed the party diverted with the oddity of the sight, and pleased with the manliness of the reply, ordered his men to stop and to give him no further molestation in taking away the cattle. This little feat of Watson was talked of with a good deal of pleasantry on both sides, and gained him not a little credit.
To this I shall add an instance of his address and presence of mind.
One day 3 or 4 French people came into Mr. Huston's store, and while they were looking at this and that, asking the prices sometimes, buying, and sometimes not, and chattering away. One of them, pretty light-fingered, slipt 2 (two) silk handkerchiefs into her pocket, unnoticed as she expected; it did not, however escape Watson's eagle eye. In the meantime he said nothing. But when the bills were drawn he very justly charged the silk handkerchiefs to the account of the possessor. The bill is presented to her and read. She objects. “Non handkerchiefs, monsieur.” “0 yes, surely.” “Non, non.” Meanwhile Watson skips about and, observing the corner of one out of her pocket, whirls it out. “Why, ma'am, here is the handkerchief.” “0, monsieur, me forgot.” Thus while Watson made the best of the little fraud, the culprit's companions did teaze her at no allowance, “certe satis —“
When he was of an age to act for himself he entered into trade and became a co-partner with a Mr. Slater, then of Halifax. After this he tarried only about 2 years in this Province, most of which time he resided at Cumberland, trading there, while Slater did the business in Halifax, and now it was that he returned to England, where a prospect soon opened upon him much diff — from that which had urged his departure. A person of the name of Mauger or May, — then lately returned from Halifax, a gentleman of great property, advanced for him a considerable sum and procured for him a partnership in that mercantile house at the head of which he now presides, and another who holds a place in the Queen's household has been of considerable service towards his promotion. But his own growing capacity has rendered him equal to the duties of every office to which he has been appointed, and enabled him to fill with respectability every place which had been allotted him, And yet as such an elevation in the scale of society and that once again from the hated brink of desperation is rather a singular event much surely is here to be attributed to the hand of Providence, under the management of a wise and over-ruling Providence, what turnings and windings and merging prospects there are in the maze of life, and the lives of some are much more diversified than the lives of others. Few, perhaps, have seen greater changes or more sudden transitions in life than Brook Watson; who among men could have predicted that he who, at one time was almost entomb'd in the bowels of a shark and buried in the depths of the sea, and escaped but with the loss of a hinder quarter should, in a future day, be an alderman of the city of London, that he who was admitted as an object of charity, or forlorn child of wretchedness, into the Havana hospital, and when cured was set adrift to seek his fortune in the wide world, guided only by a faint ray of hope to Boston and that also soon extinguished, should at length step from the cloud and take his seat in the British Parliament as the Representative of that little world, the metropolis of Great Britain, and should at pleasure command the attention and applause of that august senate. In this instance, I presume, we may apply the words of the prophet without exposing ourselves to the imputation or enthusiasm, or the dangers of misapplication, viz:— This who cometh from the Son, who is excellent in Council, and wonderful in working. “For as the Heavens are high above the Earth so are God's thoughts high above our thoughts, and His ways high above our ways,”
I understand that you purpose visiting Cumberland this summer, the scene of Watson's youthful years-for he was only between 10 and 12 years of age when he came under Capt, Huston's patronage and lived just about so many in his family. As I have a transient view of that part of the Province, I shall take the liberty of just mentioning a few objects that will naturally engage your attention, excite your enquiries, and more especially as you asked some time ago the notice of my Cumberland tour.
After leaving Partridge Island 17 miles in the rear, for I presume you will travel by land, you will mount what is properly called the “Boar's Back,” a narrow ridge of land 7 miles in length, and in a few places more than 20 rods in breadth. It stands between a continued narrow swamp on the south-west side, and between swamps, lakes and a river on the north-east side. It is of no great height. It seems to be an entire bed of gravel, and serves as an excellent road. In this instance, as in many others, the hand of nature hath saved man a hard task. Quitting the Boar's Back you will soon reach the head of the river of Herbert Bear. This takes its rise in the lakes on the north-east side of the Boar's Back. It begins to flow by the upper hump and runs about due west. The tide also makes up to the head of the river, so that the Boar may alternately drink salt water and fresh in the course of every day; a branch of this river called “Napana” was the scene of one of those barbarous outrages which created a distant likeness between “Scotia junior and Scotia senior.” A party of rangers of a regiment chiefly employed in scouring the country of the deluded French who had unfortunately fallen under the bann of British policy, came upon 4 Frenchmen who had all possible caution, ventured out from their skulking retreats to pick some of the straggling cattle or hidden treasure, The solitary few, the pitiable four, had just sat down weary and faint on the banks of the desert stream in order to refresh themselves with some food and rest, when the party of Rangers surprised and apprehended them, and as there was a bounty on Indian scalps, a blot, too, on England's escutcheon, the soldiers soon made the supplicating signal, the officer's turned their backs, and the French were instantly shot and scalped. A party of the Rangers brought in one day 25 scalps, pretending that they were Indian's, and the commanding officer at the fort, then Col. Wilmot, afterwards Governor Wilmot (a poor tool) gave orders that the bounty should be paid them. Capt. Huston who had at that time the charge of the military chest, objected such proceedings both in the letter and spirit of them. The Colonel told him, that according to law the French were all out of the French; that the bounty on Indian scalps was according to “Law, and, that tho' the Law might in some instances be strained a little, yet there was a necessity for winking at such things.” Upon account Huston, in obedience to orders, paid down L250, telling them that the “curse of God should ever attend such guilty deeds.” A considerable large body of the French were one time surprised by a party of the Rangers on Peticodiac River; upon the first alarm most of them threw themselves into the river and swam across, and by ways the greater part of them made out to elude the clutches of these bloody hounds, tho' some of them were shot by the merciless soldiery in the river. It was observed that these Rangers, almost without exception, closed their days in wretchedness, and particularly a Capt. Danks, who even rode to the extreme of his commission in every barbarous proceeding. In the Cumberland insurrection (late war) he was suspected of being “Jack on both sides of the bush”; left that place, Cumberland, in a small jigger bound for Windsor, was taken ill on the passage, thrown down into the hold among the ballast, was taken out at Windsor, is half dead, and had little better than the burial of a dog. He lived under a general dislike and died without any to regret his death. Excuse this digression. My zeal to be of some service to you makes me write several things which, upon reflection, I am apt to think can be of little or no service. At the head of Bear River you will find one solitary house of entertainment. It may afford some pleasure after you have rode 8 miles without having seen the habitation of man, and when you take into the view that you must ride 10 miles before you come to another. Here you ride along a continued strait of marsh land, about a mile beyond the first house you now pass, occupied by a Lieut. McKecachran, from Isla, lives, Mr. Glenie, brother to Capt. Glenie, late of the artillery department. The captain studied divinity in Edinburgh Hall, and is said to be a gentleman of very shining abilities. Perhaps you know the character. At the rate L1500 he bought that large tract of land lying in 12 miles square on both sides of Bear River, and extending from the head of ye river to the foregoing place. His brother has the charge and management of his improvements. You will find him a sensible, frank, and open-hearted farmer, who will be exceedingly glad to entertain you at his house, and will make you very happy. Below his house, more than a mile, there is a French settlement called Men eu die (Meneudie). In this village there is between 20 and 30 houses and a chapel. There you will find a fragment of the stile and manners of other times, after this you will cross the river in a log canoe, or rather in Glenie's boat upon which you enter the township of Amherst. The 2nd house on your way is occupied by one emphatically called Forrest, the rich man. It will not be amiss to give him a call. He is a curiosity. He is the unpolished rustic; has, however, a large share of natural sense blended with a very gross vein of drollery. He is one of a small congregation of Irish Pbns. who will gladly and gratefully attend on your salutory instructions on the sacred day when the call is “Let us go up to the House of the Lord.” There is among them a Mr. McGowan, an elder, a worthy and agreeable man. They have built a decent little meeting-house, have made several attempts to get a minister, and after repeated disappointments, it is said one will be sent them from Scotland this summer — one of Mr. McGregor's class. But if he does come I fear it will be too late to do much good, or to live with any manner of comfort in that place. There are not now above a dozen of professed Pbn. families in the whole settlement. After leaving Amherst the remains of Fort Lawrence by the roadside will attract your attention for a short space. From that you will pass on to Fort Cumberland. There you will meet with a friendly welcome from Mr. William Allan.
In your tour thro' this part of the country, the relative situation of the 3 Provinces will engage your particular attention. Take the following hints: — Between the heads of Cumberland Bay and Bay de Verte, the distance is near 8 miles, the course direct and the surface level. But it is only 2 miles and a half between a branch of Vert Bay and the River Missiquash, and the intervening space one continual swamp. This neck is about 5 or 6 miles to the north-east of Fort Cumberland, and is particularly to be noted that there is 4 hours of difference between the time of the tide in Cumberland Bay and Vert Bay. The tide has begun to flow and rise 4 hours in the former before it turns in the latter. Query — Might not a canal be opened thro' that neck of land? In Cumberland Bay, it is true, tide rises to an amazing height, as much as 60 feet, and in Vert Bay not more than 6 feet. But perhaps the difference in the time of tides may serve to balance this disproportion, and it is possible that the height of tide on this side might thus be reduced without occasioning any material inconvenience on ye other.
As to the religious opinions and professions of the inhabitants I shall only observe, in general, that a few, and but a very few, belong to the Established Church, a few, but I believe more than the former, are Pbn. Dissenters. The Methodists hear the sway-most all of them Yorkshire — in general, they are an ignorant, vulgar race, and then the means and opportunities of information are very unfavorable. Those of the original settlers from N. England, who remain, have chiefly become New Lights. Without prejudice it may be said of both sectaries that, being unenlightened by knowledge and misled by delusion, animated by party spirit, and carried away by a religious-like zeal, they seem to vie with each other in the wildness and absurdity of their opinions and practices, and they seem to breathe fire and vengeance against each other and against everybody else. “Let us turn our eyes” from these wandering stars and quit these fire brands of contention to look after the harmless and useful inhabitants of the great deep, which do mankind much good and no evil. In this heterogeneous piece I shall tack a short account of the average amount of the shad taken in Cornwallis yearly:
Amount of Shad caught in Habitants River :
N. B. — I have fished on them.
2 years with a seine in Hab. River, yearly average, 95,000. Began to fish Canard River in the year 1787, caught in
1787 upwards of 100,000
1788 " 100,000
1789 about 70,000
1790 " 70,000
Canard River yearly average, 85,000
Yearly average of ye Creeks taken by wires 25,000
Was planted in Cornwallis River 90 a seine, but did not succeed well. Caught about 15,000
This one is not likely to succeed, as the force of the current is too great for the seine. But on a moderate calculation there is upwards of
150 ordinary shad fill a barrel, not salted, 15 shillings; salted, L1 5 shillings.
The codfishery might also be much more productive could it be more attended to. For tho' the settlers all alongshore, from the mouth to the head of the Bay, go out to fish by times, yet few make a business of it. They have got their farms to attend to. I could not possibly give a guess at the amount of the codfishery in the Bay; and I don't know that any individual here can. The cod suit exceedingly for export, but the shad don't; most of the shad, therefore, are consumed at home, and a great benefit they are; new settlers and the poor, especially which class are numerous. By my next or by the time you are here we shall have a calculation of the average amount of gaspereaux; tho' that is more difficult to find out, as they are fished, not by company's, but everyone for his own hand. In my next I expect to trace the footsteps of spring, the Queen of Flowers and Lady and Mistress of the Song. I am still in your debt; I beg you will not retaliate. Tho' two for one gives me some pain yet the pleasure exceeds the pain — much so selfish a mortal himself. But I shall now wind off with a few queries. Can you tell me what month, not the very week, I may expect you here? I shall be glad to know a month or two before, that I may not be out of the way. Whether do you propose coming here or going to Cumberland first? I am exceedingly happy that it will be so convenient for you to leave home this summer. I shall expect two weeks of your company; that you proposed one and not two, I charge upon your memory and not your heart. But I can help your memory; of the yearly visits we had none last summer. It would be of real service to you to tarry, were it a month, in the country. By this means you would see the state of things with your own eyes. How do you come on with the representation of the state of the Dissn. interest in Nova Scotia? I should also be glad to know a little more than I do of the state fund for the aid of the Dissn. clergy, not that I mean to be over curious, nor to beg too soon. What I told of my situation in my last, I disclosed entirely in the confidence of friendship, and I beg, if you value the peace of my mind in the least, it may not transpire. Things have not been in the best state, but I have a rational prospect this will change to the better. I am contented and easy, and I don't believe now but as it is best for me, in a state of trial and discipline, if I had not just the greatest confidence in your friendship and prudence, I should not have made so free as there was no necessity in the case, nor do I regret that I did. For I rely on my friend's right to know my real situation. By and by the formalists of writing things either delicate will give place to the easiness of taking it in and over. A word is enough to the wise.
With every sentiment of
Esteem and wish of Friendship,
I am, R.D.B., yours irrevocably,
This has been on the stocks these two weeks, waiting a launching. I had an eye to the hand it comes by.
For the REV. DR. ANDREW BROWN, Halifax.
Honored by MR. M. COGSWELL.
½ past 8 o'clock, taken up at Gallagher's and forwarded by
Your very obed’t. servant.
REV. HUGH GRAHAM TO REV. DR. BROWN.
CORNWALLIS, Sept. 9th, 1791.
REV. DR. BROWN,
My Dear Sir,
Your friendly and farewell epistle was duly received. I had only heard the concerning notice of your sickness a few days before it came to hand. I was, therefore, in weekly expectation of seeing you here from the end of July till, I may say, the end of August; owing to this I deferred writing. I pleased myself with the hopes of having the honor of leading you to the fountain head of my intelligence respecting Acadian affairs, I still owe you something on this score. However much I owe, it is little that I can pay, and I really think that I can produce nothing that is new or of any great consequence. In general, I may say, as you already know, that the French Acadians lived in the dft. settlements like so many great families, “happily united in their views and interests.” If a young couple married — conarried off, a New England man would say — scarcely any separation took place between the parent stock and the branches. Now this voluntary marriage union of the branches was not supposed to interfere with nor to break off the original and natural connexion between the parent stock and both branches. In this mode of life the two branches of connexion naturally braced and strengthened each other. Accordingly upon the occasion of a marriage settlement of a young couple not only the immediate parents, but the whole community, contributed in various proportion as the ability of the donors could, and as the exigencies of the case required. By this means the young people were in this very first outset in life placed in a state of independence, with all the satisfaction and ease which arise from a competency already possessed; they must have labored afterwards and taken proper methods to increase their fortunes, more with the generous views of being able to help others in their turn, than with the covetous wish of amassing riches — the charms of riches had not the same effect upon them as upon others. With an abundance of the necessaries, they were strangers to the luxuries of life. Their wants and other wishes were few, and their deficiencies and disputes were still fewer. They had no courts of law — because they had no need of them. If any difference arose it was soon allayed and settled by the interference and counsel of two or three of the most judicious and best respected in the neighborhood. But whosoever mediated the peace the priests superadded their influence to confirm it. This was sound policy and good conduct, without exposing themselves to the suspicions and jealousies which are ever incurred less or more by arbitrators, they enjoyed this unalloyed satisfaction of peace-makers. In all their public works everyone did as much as he could-as in building abattiaux, and dykes, in erecting chapels, and in enclosing burying grounds, and the like. The interest of the community had ever its due preponderancy over the interest of the individual. This obtained not only among acquaintances in the same neighborhood, and in the same settlement, but extended to the slightest acquaintance and the remotest situation. It was not affected nor lessened by the slightness of acquaintance or remoteness of situation. If, for instance, an abbitaux had given way, or a dyke had been broken at Cumberland, upon such an emergency as many hands were sent from Cornwallis as could be spared with any degree of conveniency. Simplicity and friendliness, were very prominent features in their character.
In all this I am convinced that I have said nothing really new. But it eases my conscience a little to have done something towards discharging my duty to you. It might have been better to have talked over these matters with some of the antients here who knew the place when occupied by the French — a variety of things are brought out in the course of a free conversation which one would scarcely think of committing to paper, and yet necessary in order to a thoro' knowledge of the subject. But I am satisfied that by this, time you are not wanting in this respect.
I congratulate you upon the restoration to health, enhanc'd in its value by the spiritual gains, and heightened in its relish by the, salutary bitters of sickness, and I pray for the continuation of your life — and us if all not usefulness — the very life of life itself. It is with great regret that I must deny myself the happiness of visiting you in Halifax before you leave it; as the case is circumstanc'd it is unhappily out of my power. I mov'd into my own house but a few days ago, and am only getting things put to rights, at the same time I am beginning to prepare for the administration of the Sacrament of the Holy Supper, which was intimated last Sabbath (prior to the reception of your letter) and is to take place on the 1st Sabbath of October. I expect Messrs. Cook and Munro between this and then. I can, therefore, bid you in the way — farewell.
I take exceedingly kind of your offer of service which will be accompanied with a small packet of which you will take the charge — is with, — and if anything can be done at home for the support and furtherance of the Pbn. interest in N. Scotia, I expect you will avail yourself of every opportunity which Providence may grant, and by every means which Providence may dictate. And now may the Lord who sitteth on the Flood grant you a safe and comfortable conveyance to Brittain's blissful hospitable shore, crown with success your designs, and after many happy meetings with your friends in old Scotland, may you be restored to the longing wishes of your friends in new Scotland, you carry my grateful respects and best wishes to all inquiring friends. I must repeat it tho' it is painful in the repetition — “Vale longum vale eterumque vale.” May the Eternal God be thy refuge and continueth thee the everlasting arms. May the grace of Jehovah Jesus be the source of your highest improvement, and the blessing of the Eternal the spring of your sweetest enjoyments. All at present from your constant friend and affectionate brother.
REV. DR. ANDREW BROWN, Halifax.
A REMARKABLE CIRCUMSTANCE RESPECTING THE FRENCH NEUTRALS, OF THE ISLAND OF ST. JOHN, RELATED BY CAPT. PILE, OF THE SHIP “ACHILLES.”
A Capt. Nichols, commanding a transport belonging to Yarmouth, was employed by ye Government of Nova Scotia to remove from the Island of St. John about 300 French neutrals with their families. He represented to the agent before he sailed the situation of his vessel, and the impossibility there was of his arriving safe in Old France at that season of the year.
He was nevertheless compelled to receive them on board and proceed upon the voyage. After getting within 100 leagues of Scilly, found the ship so leaking that, with all hands employed, they were not able to prevent her sinking. Finding that she must in a few minutes go down, and that all on board must perish if the French did not consent to the master and crew taking to the boats, by which means a small number had a chance of being saved.
Capt. Nichols sent for their priest and told him the situation, and and pointed out to him the only probable means of saving the lives of a few, among which the priest was one.
He accordingly harangued the Frenchmen for half an hour on the ships deck, and gave them absolution, when they, with one consent, agreed to the master, crew, and priest taking the boats, and themselves to perish with the ship. One Frenchman only went into the boat, on which his wife said “will you thus leave your wife and children to perish without you.” Remorse touched him, and he returned to share their fate. The ship in a few minutes went down, and all on board perished.
The argument made use of by the priest for leaving the Frenchmen was that he hoped to save the souls of other heretics (meaning the English) and bring them to God along with him. The boats, after a series of distress, arrived at a port in the west of England, and Capt. Nichols afterwards commanded one of the Falmouth packets.
VINDICATION BY SECRETARY BULKELEY AND JUDGE DESCHAMPS OF THE ACADIAN REMOVAL.
[On every appearance of a public discussion of the events of the war of 1756 — so far as related to the Province of Nova Scotia — the old servants of the government manifested their apprehensions and disquietude, and particularly when the case of the Acadians was mentioned.
When the translation of Raynal's history first arrived in the Province, the article Nova Scotia was inserted entire in one of the newspapers, for the information and entertainment of the inhabitants. An alarm was taken by Mr. Bulkeley and Judge Deschamps; the publication was considered a personal injury, and an answer or refutation was immediately agreed upon between them. It was given with great ostentation in some of the following newspapers, which were put into my hands by the Judge, as a complete and satisfactory vindication of that measure.
When Messrs. Cochran and Howe began their magazine, in 1789, — not aware of the soreness of these people on the subject — they re-published the offensive piece. Mr. Bulkely and Judge Deschamps complained and were as displeased as if it had been a personal attack. An answer, as formerly, was resolved upon. At that time I had the foresaid above mentioned newspapers; and one morning, long before 7 o'clock, I was roused by a servant with a card from Judge Deschamps, requesting, in a very urgent manner, that I would deliver to him the papers and all other documents he had given me relative to the subject.
By the aid of these the following paper was drawn up, which, as I understood, was sent to the printing office in the handwriting of Mr. Bulkeley. As it was not Mr. Cochran's wish to create any enemies (and indeed his situation at the time would not admit of it), he prefaced Mr. Bulkeley's paper with the softening ,paragraph enclosed in the parenthesis — and without having traced the evidence, intimated a suspicion of Raynal's fidelity. Tho' I can take upon me — from a painful examination of the whole matter — to assert that Raynal neither knew nor suspected the tenth part of the distress of the Acadians. And that, excepting the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, I know of no act equally reprehensible as the Acadian removal, that can be laid to the charge of the French nation. In their colonies nothing was ever done that approaches it in cruelty and atrociousness.
A. B. ]
——————, Saturday, Aug. 18th, 1791.
The case of the Acadians stated.
(In our magazine for February last we inserted that part of the Abbe Raynal's history of the settlement in the East and West Indies — which relates to Nova Scotia. That author was certainly fonder of indulging a very happy and vigorous imagination than of searching with patience after the truth. This has led him to give a high and poetical coloring to every event that could interest the passions. Among many others of this sort, we apprehend, his fidelity may be somewhat questioned, in the account he has given of the removal of the French Neutrals, as they were called, from the Province. We, therefore, readily admit the following statement of the transaction, which we have received without any signature : — W. C.)
In 1713 Nova Scotia was solemnly ceded to the crown of Great Britain by France, together with the inhabitants, reserving the liberty to those who chose it, of removing with their effects, provided such removal took place within 12 months; otherwise to remain the subjects of Great Britain. In 1720 General Philips was appointed Governor; and the inhabitants having remained beyond the limited time, were called on to take the oath of allegiance: many scrupled this, and declared they would not take arms against the French. It is said that many who at last took the oath of allegiance did it under a promise that provided they behaved peacebly, they should not be required to bear arms against the French, but of this assertion there is no proof-nor could any Governor assume to himself such a dispensing power: however from this, they were usually stiled French neutrals, and so called themselves. In the meantime they enjoyed the free exercises of their religion; they had priests in every district, and were suffered to govern themselves by their own usages and customs.
In the French war of 1744 they joined the Indians in the .attacks made against the inhabitants and garrison of Annapolis Royal, and supplied the Indians with provisions: to this purpose they were instigated, in some measure, by the Governor and the Bishop of Quebec and their priests, who were indefatigable in poisoning their minds with disaffection and enmity to the English.
When the settlement was made at Halifax, in 1749, before the people had erected their huts, they, with their priests, excited the Indians to disturb the progress making in building the town, .and twice within the space of two years the Indians, with one of the Acadians (named “Beau-Soleli”) at their head, attacked Dartmouth, and put many people to death. The town of Halifax was palisadoed to prevent their irruptions, and no person was in safety who ventured one mile from the town; and it was to prevent such incursions that a palisadoed block house was erected on the hill near this town, so called from thence; and, as a further security a line of palisadoes, with guard-houses, was extended to the head of the North-West Arm.
From this time until the end of the year 1755 this country was kept in an uninterrupted state of war by the Acadians who, following the dictates of the Governors of Quebec and Cape Breton, to break up the English settlements, excited and assisted the Indians to cut off all communication between Halifax and the different parts of the Province; and in these days letters from the Governor at Halifax to the garrison at Windsor, and the reports of the officer commanding there, could not be conveyed with a less escort than an officer and thirty men.
In the year 1755 when the French were driven by the English troops from Beausejour — afterwards called Fort Cumberland — six hundred French Acadians appeared in arms against the King's troops. During all the time from 1749, and long before, these people were treated with the utmost lenity, and frequently called on to take the oath of allegiance — for no advantage could be expected from a country unpeopled — but every effort of this kind was in vain.
At length in the middle of the year 1755 the French sent out a considerable squadron of men-of-war with troops on board to Cape Breton. This squadron was commanded by Mons. Hocquart who, with his own ship and another ship of the line, was taken and brought into Halifax by Vice-Admiral Boscawen. In these two ships some thousands of scalping knives were found, which were evidently for no other purpose than to be used against the English — a reward for every English scalp having been paid at Quebec.
At this time Cape Breton, St. John's Island, Canada, and the St. John's River, were in possession of the French; and it was discovered and ascertained by undeniable proof, that detachments were to be made of French troops from the places above mentioned against this Province; and they were in conjunction with the French Acadians, amounting to 8000 men, together with the Indians, to make an attack on Halifax and burn it.
The number of troops in the different parts of the Province, at this time, did not exceed 3000 men — part of which were troops raised in New England.
However, after this discovery the French Acadians were repeatedly called on to give testimony of their fidelity to government; to which requisitions they more than ——— usually ostensibly refused. In this situation self-preservation was necessarily to be consulted; and they were sent to the different provinces then under the King's Government, with letters of recommendation: where they were treated with humanity and kindness. Several of them went afterwards to France, where the Minister severely reprehended them for quitting a country under such mild government, where they enjoyed the toleration of their religion. Of these people many returned here and received offers of lands, on condition of becoming good subjects; but they peremptorily refused acknowledging any other than the French king, and on the invitation of the Count d'Estaing, then Governor of Martinique, they hired vessels and transported themselves to that Island.
Besides the knowledge of several persons now living, who can attest the truth of what has been related, there are records to prove it.
The Abbe Raynal writes in the spirit of a Frenchman disposed to :find fault with the English Government, and proud of making historical discovery. But how had he his information? From a French Acadian who complains that he had been treated as a rebellious subject, and with such lenity as is not known under the Government of France.
[The three hymns which the Acadians sung on the last days of their stay in Nova Scotia, in the original French from a stray leaf in the handwriting of Dr. Brown, in the Nova Scotia manuscripts in the British Museum.]
Faux plaisirs, vous sonneurs, bien frivoles
Ecoutez aujourdhui nos adieux:
Trop long temps vous futes nos idoles:
Trop long temps vous charmetz nos yeux —
Loin de nous la fidele esperence,
De trouer en vous notre bonheur,
Avec vous heureux en apparence,
Nous portens la chagrin dans le coeur.
Tout passe —
Sous le firmament —
Tout n'est que changement —
Tout passe —
Ainsi que sur la glise —
Le monde va roulant,
Et dit en s'ecoulant —
Tout passe —
C'est la merite
Tout passe —
Faisons valoir la grace
Le temps est precieux
Ouvrez devant nos yeux —
Tout passe —
Les champs, les rangs
Les petits et les grands —
Tout passe —
D'autres frequent la place
Et s'en vout a leur tour
Dans a mortel sejour
Avec la croix son chere portage —
Dans la coeurs de tous les elus —
Sa croix de son coeur — est le gaye —
Futil au plus bel heritage
Vive Jesus —
Portens la croix —
Sans choix, sans ennuie, sans murmure.
Portens la croix —
Quand nous en servons aux choix
Quoique tres amere et tres dure —
Malgre le sous et la nature
Portens la croix.
JUDGE MORRIS' ACCOUNT OF THE ACADIANS, DRAWN UP IN 1753,WITH CAUSES OF THE FAILURE OF THE BRITISH SETTLEMENT IN NOVA SCOTIA, 174.9, 50, 53.
In the first place it must be allowed that the causes which have retarded the settlements have been owing, principally, to the disturbances given by the Indian enemy. The advantage a wild people having no settlement or place of abode, but wandering from place to place in unknown and, therefore, inaccessible woods, is so great that it has hitherto rendered all attempts to surprise them ineffectual; another advantage of retreating under the protection of the French, at their fort at Chignecto, where they cannot be pursued without giving umbrage to the French, nor unless without danger of exposing any party should it be attempted, to be cut off to a man, the French inhabitants, and their neighborhood of Chignecto with the French troops, being always under arms to oppose any attempt that way, so that when they have done mischief they can always retreat there to a place of security. Nor can it be supposed they will be wearied out with such attempts, seeing their subsistence depends upon it, — being wholly supported by the French, and further encouraged by a provision for every scalp and prisoner. The province, therefore, must instead of increasing notwithstanding the constant importation of men decreased as suddenly, for as soon as they have expended the bounty of provisions, the people, for want of employ, to get something for their subsistence, will naturally take the first opportunity to abandon the colony, and embark for the neighboring colonies which abound with plenty of provision, have employment for many more hands than they have, and where they can earn their bread in peace and security.
The living in inclosed towns can give bread to no other than to manufacturers and tradesmen, and not to them unless there be a number of farmers to take their work off their hands, nor even to fishermen unless there be more of substance to employ them, which happens only where is a general trade to procure it.
It is well known as many having left it as have been imported this year, and many more would have done it had it not been for the bounty given for the improvement of lands in and about Halifax, on the peninsula, where they could work with some security — the Indians having never attempted to come so near so numerous a garrison, which has been a support to many laborers.
It is also well known that a wild country, abounding in woods, without any other difficulties to grapple with, can but be a miserable support to its possessors at first, and nothing but an invincible industry, after a number of years, will make their circumstances tolerable, this is a known truth, that among all the settlers there is not one who supports himself by farming, nor will they be able to do it till they can, by taking up those pieces of land which are easy to cultivate, and have advantage of some meadows or marshes, where they can raise hay for the support of a small stock; and no person has had the courage to attempt this, because this would require their dispersing and living at a distance from each other, and, therefore, while the Indian war subsists, subject to their inhuman murders. This, therefore, being the case, unless some effectual method be taken to curb the Indians, this colony will labor under insuperable difficulties, and be deserted by its inhabitants, or be very expensive to Government in the support of them, for unless they be maintained in this situation they cannot subsist.
Were the French troops removed from the neighborhood of Chignecto, which port they detain contrary to all their treaties, the affair would be at once settled, for the Indians have not means nor cannot support themselves without their assistance, but as this is a matter in dispute between the two Crowns till that difficulty is removed some other expedient will be found necessary.
The manner of intrusting themselves and the course the Indians take to make their inroads on the settlements and fishery being explained, may give some light to a proposal which, if not effectually to deter them from making their attempts, would put them to such inconveniences and difficulties they would be encouraged to attempt but rarely.
The Indians being supplied with provisions at Bay Verte, proceed along the shore of the sea till they come to Tatamagouch, which is ten leagues, they then enter the River Tatamagouch, which is navigable 20 miles for their canoes, where they leave them, and taking their provisions travel about ten miles, which bring them to Cobequid. This takes up about two, sometimes three, days. At Cobequid they are supplied with provision by the French, and where they have canoes concealed by them in which they embark, enter the mouth of Subenaccadie River, and proceed up that river, which is navigable for their small craft about 40 miles, and within ten miles of Dartmouth, here they leave their canoes and proceed by land till they come to the English settlements, and then destroy and captivate the people, or by any other branch which goes within a few miles of the sea coast, and in the harbors of which they wait for the fishing schooners — which either shelter them in a storm, or are necessitated to go for wood and water — whose crews are surprised by them and murdered, as many have been this summer. The River Subenaccada arises from several lakes, some of them situate within two or three miles of Fort Sackville, and from whence such light craft can embark and proceed through several lakes with two or three carrying places, not half a mile, over into the Subenaccada and from thence down the river into the Basin of Minas. This was always the Indian route when they passed from Cobequid to Gebucto.
The tide flows in the Subenaccada from, its mouth about seven leagues, and then divides itself into two branches, one coming from the before recited lakes, near Fort Sackville, the other from near the sea, not far from great Jedue, about ten leagues eastward of Gebucto, and this is their communication from one side of the country to the other.
It is very evident if a fort was built upon the Subenaccada, below where the two rivers form, it would cut off their communication both with the sea coast and with the English settlements.
It is also evident that if the inhabitants were removed from Cobequid, their means of support among them would cease, they would have none to take care of and secure their canoes, and, consequently, must pass from Tatamagouch River, by land, through the woods, which are almost impossible, above 60 miles, and carry their provisions both for their support out and home, which would put them to such difficulties they would be induced very seldom, if ever, to attempt it, besides such a fort would be a curb and put them in fear of discovery and suprise which so cautious a people will scarce run the hazard of.
A small body of regular troops — a subaltern and 20 men — will always be a sufficient guard for the fort, with part of the Rangers and a number of whale boats to range the river and that part of the bay or, when necessary, they might range the woods also. 'Tis well known that the forts of Minas and Pizaquid have broke the haunts of the Indians on that side, and no attempt has been made that way, but the only difficulty is supplying the fort with provision, the river Subenaccada, when the tides flow, being extremely rapid and dangerous, but as the provision must be always guarded on account of the narrowness of the river, two large, strong, row boats might answer both ends,
JUDGE MORRIS' REMARKS CONCERNING THE REMOVAL OF THE ACADIANS.
[This paper was digested in July, 1755, at the period when the measure was first proposed — probably before it was sanctioned in Council by the approbation of Boscawen and Mostyn. Mr. Morris' remarks concerning the removal of the French inhabitants, the difficulties to be apprehended, and the means of surmounting them. A. B.]
Some reflections on the situation of the inhabitants, commonly called neutrals, and some methods proposed to prevent their escape out of the colony, in case upon being acquainted with the design of removing them, they should attempt to desert over to the French neighboring settlements, as their firm attachment to them may he conjectured to raise in them a strong effort, desire to attempt it.
The greatest district and that which comprehends the most families is that of Minas, to whom belong the inhabitants of the Gaspero. In 1748 they were reported to be in number, upwards of 200 families, of which 180 families live at Minas, 30 on the Gaspero, and about 16 in two small villages on the River Habitants. These all dwell within in the compass of six miles, and occupy for their livelihood and subsistence these marshes which are situated on the Basin of Minas called Grand Pre, on the north of the River Habitants and on the River Gaspero.
The River Canard settlement lies to the south west, and contains about 150 families, of whom 50 live on a point of land lying between the River Habitants and the River Canard; 60 live on the west side of the river in a compact village about two miles from its mouth, and 25 more up the river along the banks on both sides (for the convenience of the marsh) to Penus Mills, which are near the road coming from Annapolis to Minas, and distant from Grand Pre nine miles from the mouth of the Canard to the River of the Neiux Habitants, are settled 10 families and 4 or 5 families more at the River Pero. All these inhabitants have by the river aforesaid a communication by water with the Basin of Minas, and some live contiguous to it. Pezaquid is a settlement south-easterly of Minas, they are scattered in many small villages, the principal of which are those settled on the River Pezaquid, above the confluence of the River St. Croix. On the River St. Croix these are situated between Fort Edward and the district of Minas and southerly towards the road to Halifax. A few small villages belonging to this district are to the east and northward of Fort Edward, and a few families at Cape Fondu — “Fondu” which makes the east head of the great river of Pezaquid. These have all communication by water with the Basin of Minas, and are, in the whole, upwards of 150 families.
Cobequid, it is at present uncertain as to the number of inhabitants, as some have quitted that settlement and gone over to the North Shore, but the several settlements in 1748 were as follows — on the south side of Coopigate Basin — Petit Riviere — 4 families; Nela Noel, 7 families; there are west of the Suberaccada, upon the River Suberaccada, two small villages, one near the mouth on the west side, the other on the east side near the confluence of Sherwraick (Stewiack) River, 14 families; east of the Suberaccada Villa Perce Burke, 8 families (in a later copy 10 families); Ville –Michael Oguin, 10 families. These are all the families south of the Basin in an extent of several leagues. On the north side of the Basin Ville Jean Doucet, 4 families; behind Isle Gros., 4 families; at Point Economie from thence to village Ville Jean Burke, 3 leagues east, where is 10 families; another river 2 leagues, called Ville, 9 ; Burke, 12 families; thence one league to Cove d'Eglise, where is 17 families; ½ league further is the River Chaginois, where are 15 families — by this river is one passage by which they go to to Tatamagouch, a port on the Gulf of St. Lawrence — distant from these houses 30 miles, 12 miles of which they go by water on the River Chaganois; between this and the head of Copegate Basin, which is 2 leagues, dwell about 20 families more. The extent of these north settlements is near 12 leagues — all these have a communication with the Basin of Minas. To this district belonged two small settlements at Tatamagouch, 12 families; and 8 miles westward, at Ramshuk, 6 families. The whole number of families in Coopegate district, 142 families.
The district of Annapolis contains about 200 families, they live on both sides of the river from Goat Island to the distance of 24 miles, according to the course of the river, in small villages, the biggest of which is Bell Isle, 10 miles above Annapolis, where are about 25 families; all these inhabitants live near the banks of the river and have no settlements back.
The passages by which they may desert the Colony, and the means of blocking them up.
1st. The inhabitants of Annapolis have but two ways by water through the Gut of Annapolis to the North Shore — 2 by land. But if they attempt it by land they must first come to Canard, Minas or Pezaquid. One of the sloops in the government service with whale boats, anchored at the mouth of the Basin of Annapolis would effectually prevent their escape by water, and the road by land is almost, if not altogether, impracticable for families and cattle and effects.
CANARD, PIZAQUID, MINAS & COBEQUID
From the Basin of Minas they must pass either thro' the Gut or pass over the River Chignecto on the other side of the Basin, near the Gut, where there is a communication by water by two rivers and a small carrying place into the Basin of Chignecto.
Another vessel anchored in Cove Sabellist would prevent them going either out of the Gut or into the river — because they must pass near them, and could easily be prevented.* The other passages by water must be into the Cobequid Basin to the river Cheganois, a plain beaten road to the Inhabitants on one of the rivers of tatmagoush, & thence to tatmagoush & from that village by a road cut by Mr. Le Corn 1746 to the Bason of Cheignecto, distant from thence about 40 miles or else to the head of the Bason to what is called Cobequid Village. These are the only known passages of communication the Inhabitants have through the country; from the peninsula to the north shore & from the Inhabitants of Minas &c. to St. John’s Island. As it may be necessary to have a strong party to apprehend the Inhabitants of Cobequid, who have always been the most disaffected, and who, if any of this side the Isthmus are to be suspected, of making a resistance – it is they; especially if they know of any other safe ways for an escape which are at present unknown to the English. If the body of that party were stationed at the river Chaganois & at ville Coopequid they would prevent their escape in their usual passages & that might perhaps so disconcert them as to oblige them to submit. This station would also serve to apprehend those who may attempt to go from the other west settlements, as those of Pizgate Minas &c.
If the western Inhabitants, those of Pizaquid, Minas etc., attempt to remove their stock, there is but one passage they can effect it by ; they must cross the road between fort Edward & fort Sackville first, in some place where the river St. Croix is fordable, & then parties patroling along that river to the great lake would deter them, but if they should by chance pass these, & it should be judged necessary, a party may be detached after for they would be very slow in their march, for they must pass again between the river Stewiack and the Grand lake of Shubenaccada, that river not being fordable safely but in a drought till you are above the Stewiack, and through these passages they must pass, if they carry off their cattle, whether they intend for Cobequid or the Eastward, if for Cobequid they must bo obstructed by the detachment at Chigonois, or for Cape Breton, for thither the Indians may conduct them in the summer season, & if they take their stock with them they can easily subsist themselves : if they take this course it must be with an intent to cross the Gut of Canso for Cape Breton, if they should arrive there, the inhabitants are provided with a great number of small boats wherewith they carry on their fishing, and could easily transport them.
A Ship stationed at the Gut of Canso would prevent their passing over, and at this time would be well stationed to prevent provision or recruits going from Canada or St. John's Island to St. Peter, from whence they can be easily carried to Louisbourg, and it is most likely they will attempt to relieve it through the Gut of Canso, because of His Majesty's Ship at present cruising before Louisbourg, & in the East passage of St. Lawrence's Gulph.
CHIGNECTZO DISTRICTS &c.
As to the Inhabitants of the North Shore as they dwell in that part of the Country lying between the English fort & Canada, there are several ways they may pass & English troops cannot well prevent it. The western & common passage to Canada is by the river Patcootycak, which is navigable for boats within 6 miles of St. John's River, which is a carrying place; & some settlements of Inhabitants, from thence up St. John's river navigable for boats up to the Lady mountains, thence 10 miles carrying places to a river emptying itself into Canada river. This passage is well known to them; they have gone express from Cheignecto & reached Quebec in 7 days, and most all the grown people have gone the way to Quebec to the Bishop for confirmation. The Bay of Vert being stopt they have still another passage open to Chediac which lies north westerly of Memramcook; distant about 10 leagues. At this post there live a few Inhabitants & here they land and distribute their Guns, Stores &c" to the Indians. There is a constant intercourse between this Post & the inhabitants of Gaspe. At Gaspe, which makes the South entrance into the river St. Lawrence, the French have fort & town, & carry on a considerable fishery, here they have Ships & other Vessels, which could with case carry them from Chediac to Gaspe & from thence to Canada by every Vessel bound thither, for the Vessels bound to Canada frequently touch at that Port, if they should attempt to pass that way His Majesty's Ship cruising in the bay Vert by stretching above the port of Chediac would stand a fair chance to intercept them. As these Inhabitants are so far out of the way of the English troops it will be difficult to apprehend them, but by some stratagem. But they are at all adventures to be rooted out, and the most effectual way is to destroy all these settlements by burning down all the houses, cutting the dikes, and destroy all the Grain now growing, for it will be impossible to save any of their grain, except that growing near the fort, without great loss of men unless there be a firm peace with the Indians" which is not likely while the French continue there, and the Indians will bo always induced to listen to them, because their dependence for pro- vision will be on them a manifest advantage will arise therefrom '"' for all the Indians on the North shore will then be obliged to depend on the English for subsistence, & we shall find them after this not only in a disposition to make peace but to continue it, especially if a Truck house were established at Cheignecto to supply them with all neccssarys, & another at St.John's for that tribe. And I cant help remarking that the most lucky conjuncture has happened to put in execution such a project : the fort the French have forsaken" is not so damaged but it may be repaired in a few days, & when made defensible 40 men would bo sufficient to guard it, for it would not bo in the power of the French ever to bring cannon or other stores of war to retake it, for tho' S' John's river is navigable for Canoes almost to its head, yet it is full of falls, & they can only use birch Canoes, which can be carried on men's Shoulders till they pass a fall : that tho carrying place between the two rivers is ten miles over very steep mountains and impassible but on foot, and therefore they never can bring warlike Stores that way to annoy that Garrison, & a few men would bo able to defend it. against any musquetry & could soon be relieved if attacked from tho other Post in the bay: this would be a great curb on that tribe and the advantages of plenty of provisions and other supplys will soon gain them to our interest, & this, in time, would become a trade of considerable 9 profit to this Colony.
If this were done before the Inhabitants were removed it would cut off all hopes of escaping there especially to those of Annapolis, and from the circumstances that fort is in at present as I am informed, one Sloop load of Picquots with some plank for Gate," would effectually repair it, & for tho present till barracks or two or three of the houses of the inhabitants could be sent, the Soldiers might lodge in tents with one large one or a few boards to cover their stores.
OF TROOPS NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE MEASURE
Tho number of men necessary to remove the Inhabitants, and the places to post them " will depend much on the behavior of tho French & it will much facilitate their readiness; to go if a persuasion could obtain among them that they are to be removed to Canada " could it be propogated by common report for 'tis natural to think they will be unwilling to quit their possessions, & to offer themselves willingly to be transported they know not whither. I apprehend such a persuasion would greatly facilitate the enterprize. If they can possibly be persuaded to surrender themselves willingly' or be apprehended by any stratagem, the others might submit willingly but if they prove obstinate & take to the woods, & take up arms, it will require the whole force in the Colony to suhdue them, & take up a considerable time to reduce them : It is difficult to conjecture how this may be effected... "
THIS MODE ADOPTED
If strong detachments were placed in the Villages of Minas, Pizaq d & Canard, at a certain day they might be all summoned to attend, and then seize on all those that attend ; or whether to invest their Churches on a Sunday to be agreed on & to seize on all present ; or whether to invest their Villages in the night & seize them in bed ; their living in such scattering situation will render this difficult; a number of whale boats would be absolutely necessary if this were concluded on to seize all those contiguous to the Bason, which would be best stationed at Minas, as being near the centre of the settlements from whence they may be sent out. In short it is difficult to conjecture how it may bo accomplished but the circumstances as they arise will afford the best information of the most effectual methods of dealing with them. Happy would it be if they in general come in of their accord? Is it not possible to employ some person who can be confided in, & who has been among them, to sound their present disposition & intention, & from thence to take measures accordingly ?
Includes Cassegrain's correction as printed in RSC V. 6 (1888)