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Acadia ... 1730 to 1748
    Following the conditional oath of 1730, the Acadians embarked upon a period of peace and prosperity for almost 20 years.
Peace and properity ... and then conflict
  .  The Acadians swore to the oath presented by Philipps.  It said, "I sincerely promise and swear, as a Christian, that I will be utterly faithful and will truly obey His Majesty King George the Second, whom I acknowledge as the sovereign Lord of Nova Scotia and Acadia.  So help me God."  That is all Philipps reported. 
by Nelson Surette
Signing the Oath by Nelson Surrette
     But, the oath they took continued, " ... that the inhabitants, when they have sworn hereto, will not be obliged to take up arms against France or against the Savages, and the said Inhabitants have further promised that they will not take up arms against the King of England or against its government." [Naomi Griffiths, The Acadians: Creation of a People, p. 26]     This second part, a verbal promise, was notarized ... but was not on the copy that Philipps sent to England.  [Daigle, p. 38]

     The people drew up a certificate, attested to by the priest (Charles de la Goudalie) and a notary (Alexander Bourg, called Bellehumeur). It was too late in the year to visit the other areas, but in April the Minas population had become British subjects. [Herbin, 57] 

     From 1730 on, the Acadians were known as French Neutrals.  It was the first step towards to full allegiance, but this path was messed up by future actions.  The Acadians began to realize that they were stuck with England, though England didn’t send many troops to the place. The Acadians were pretty much left to themselves for 15 years, though England was still waiting for an unconditional oath. For the Acadians, 1713 to 1744 was the most peaceful period of their existence. The population grew faster in this period that in any other. [Daigle, p. 39]
     England had banned the Acadians from developing new land.  But the rapidly increasing population forced them to do so.  At Beaubassin, for example, they spread out to the Memramcook, Petitcodiac, and Chipoudie rivers areas.  In the 1730s, England bought out the rights from the LaTour family and assumed the seigniorial system was over.  England wanted to settle the new lands with their own settlers.  England did try to collect taxes, but again the Acadians came up with a variety of excuses.  Only 30 pounds were collected in 1732, and only 15 pounds in 1745. Generally, if the Acadians had a problems they settled it amongst themselves (priests, patriarchs) without going to the English authorities. [Daigle, p. 40]
     Even though the Treaty of Utrecht allowed the practice of Catholicism "insofar as the laws of Great Britain allowed," those laws of Great Britain were stacked against Catholicism. But the Acadians' religion was not infringed upon by the English.  The English allowed them their priests, but were concerned about their influence.  They sometimes accused priests of creating an anti-English feeling ... of using the sword more than the cross.  [Micheline Dumont-Johnson, Apotres ou agitateurs: la France missionnaire en Acadie  Trois Rivieres, Boreal Express, 1970] 
     The missionaries had some degree of influence on the Indians.  But the Indians didn't give them (or even their own chiefs) complete authority.  The French officers at Louisbourg and Beausejour were jealous of their influence, and the English officers at Port Royal were wary of it. 
     The Acadians were about as literate as any isolated section of New England. They were hard-working, skilled at their tasks, traded well, and had high moral standards.  They just wanted to be left alone. For about 20 years, things were peaceful. The Acadians had put dykes in so that all of the land was available for farming. Farms were divided, since new land was reserved for Protestants. 
     Armstrong, who succeeded Philips, was governor till he committed suicide in 1739.  In 1732, he tried to contract with Rene LeBlanc to build a 26x60’ building (granary/magazine) to serve as a barracks for troops; but Indians objected and the plan was dropped.  Armstrong visited Minas in 1735 to administer the oath to those who hadn’t taken it, and to renew the treaty with the 
Indians.  One event that occurred during his tenure was that he tried to force a priest (not in good standing) on them and they refused to go to church; so he refused them any priest.   [Herbin, 61] 

    When war broke out in the 1740s (War of Austrian Succession), Louisbourg thought the Acadians would fight on their side, and England thought they might revolt also.  The Acadians were still holding fast to their 1730 oath.  Some may have gone one way or the other, but most stayed neutral. 
     Louisbourg first heard of the news that war had begun (on March 15, 1744) and attacked a fishing port at the Canso straight.  Another force from Louisbourg attacked Annapolis Royal (Port Royal) in August, but failed.  In mid-winter of 1745, New France sent Sieur de La Malgue (with 100 militiamen and 400 Indians) to Nova Scotia.  They tried to recruit help in the Acadian settlements.  They arrived at Annapolis Royal in May. [Daigle, p. 41]

     France wanted Acadia back. Mascarene (the governor's representative who was a French Huegenot) knew that the Acadians wouldn’t give France aid, though French Canada thought they would.  France invaded Acadia 4 times and supplied arms and ammunition ... but they didn’t want to fight.  They were living under a “mild and tranquil government” and didn’t want to stir the up trouble.  They even objected when the French wanted the soldiers to spend the winter at Minas. [Herbin, 63] 
     France lost Louisbourg during this period of conflict.  A large fleet was sent to recapture it and 1747. There were only 220 soldiers at Port Royal, but New England wasn’t far away.  Troops under Chevalier de Ramesay were sent from Quebec to Chebucto (Halifax) in early spring 1747.  But the fleet hadn’t arrived so he went to Port Royal.  With still no signs of 
the fleet, he returned home.  Finally, some of the fleet arrived at Chebucto.  Ramesay returned to Port Royal, but the fleet still didn’t show up and he again returned to Quebec. 
     Storms and plagues had destroyed the largest fleet France had ever sent across the Atlantic.  Mascarene sent an appeal from Port Royal to Massachusetts governor Shirley for help, and 500 volunteers (commanded by Col. Arthur Noble) were sent.  They got to Port Royal in fall 1747.  Some were sent by ship to Minas, but returned due to bad weather.  In November, about 100 marched over frozen ground to Minas and stayed with the inhabitants.  The rest tried to make it by sea, but had to land (at French Cross, or Morden) and walk the last 40 miles. 
     It took them 8 days to reach Minas.  The landing place in the mouth of the Gaspareau was one mile from Grand Pre.  The ships arrived safely with the supplies, which were left at the landing place for the winter.  The soldiers stayed in 24 houses along the highway.  To the horror of the Acadians, a British flag was hoisted on the church steeple. 
     Ramesay had built a fort on the isthmus and controlled the area.  Noble wanted to march on it and drive off the French.  Near the center of Grand Pre was a stone building, where Noble put the cannon. Upon hearing that Noble wanted to attack him (and underestimating Noble’s 
troop size), Ramesay planned a night attack on Grand Pre.  Since Ramesay had hurt his knee on the 2nd march to Port Royal, Capt. Coulon de Villiers was in charge. After 4 days of preparation, he left on Jan. 21 and led 240 Canadians and 20 Indians through 3 feet of snow.  They reached Piziquid, 15 miles from Grand Pre, on the 9th. They divided into 10 groups as they approached the Melanson village, on the banks of the Gaspereau.  They took shelter and warmth in the Acadian homes, and even found a wedding feast going on.  The prospective bloodshed brought a somber tone to the evening.  They learned that Noble’s men were in 24 houses on a 1 1/2 mile section of the main road in Grand Pre. 

     There were now 346 French, who divided into 10 groups.  It was 2 in the morning and had been snowing for 30 hours straight.  You couldn’t walk without snowshoes. They arrived at about 3.  Noble was killed.  The English surrendered a day later. 
     Of the 350 member French force, there were 7 killed and 15 wounded.  The English force of 525 had 100 killed, 15 wounded, and 50 captured.  Eleven of the 12 houses attacked were taken.   The Acadians at Minas had warned Noble that the French would attack, but he ignored them.  Coulon left on Feb. 12, after burying the dead.[Herbin, 62-72] 
     Ramesay claimed that Minas owed submission to France.  The Acadians wrote Mascarene (at Port Royal) asking what to do.  Gov. Shirley sent a brig, 2 schooners, and 300 men to Minas who stayed there 4 days.  Minas had its boats taken, so if they wanted basic goods (ie. salt), they had to make the trip 60 mile trip to Port Royal

Continue to Acadia ... 1749 to 1755

Acadia: 1632-1653 * 1654-1670 * 1671-1689 * 1690-1709 * 1710-1729 * 1730-1748 * 1749-1758
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