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Exile Destination: Pennsylvania
 
 
PENNSYLVANIA - 454 Acadians
     Though Pennsylvania was founded by Quakers seeking religious tolerance, they shunned the French Catholics that showed up on their shores.  Like Maryland, they were bordered on the west by French territory and were afraid of French invasion. 
    From November 18 to 20, 1755, 454 Acadians arrived in Pennsylvania aboard the Hannah, the Three Friends, and the Swan.  Another ship that ended up in Pennsylvania was the 95 ton schooner Boscowan, captained by David Bigham, which Beaubassin on Oct. 13, 1755.
    Due to the fear of the French, the government placed them under armed guard until the legislature could decide what to do about the Acadians.
Quarantine at Ship Island, Philadelphia, PA by Robert Dafford
QUARANTINE AT SHIP ISLAND by Robert Dafford
    Disease spread rapidly through the ships. Hearing of the problem, the Governor ordered the Acadians be unloaded on Nov. 24 onto Province Island until the diseases ran their course. After reimbursing a French Huguenot for supplying the Acadians during their stay, the legislature adjourned till spring.  By February, the expense of taking care of the Acadians caused the legislature to act.  They passed a law to spread the Acadians amount the Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia.  On March 5, 1756, four Huguenots from Philadelphia were assigned to disperse the Acadians throughout the colony. The Acadians resisted being separated, and the towns refused to accept them anyway.  So the government continued to provide welfare (a daily ration of 1 pound of bread and 1/2 pound of meat) for the Acadians.  But the welfare ran out in September 1756 and the Acadians asked for continued support or to be allowed to leave. In this request, it is noted that the Acadians "shall never freely consent to settle in this province."  But the appeal didn't work, the welfare stopped, and the Acadians were left to their poverty. 
     The earliest written record of complaint by an Acadian was printed in the Pennsylvannia in 1756. That letter, written by Jean Baptiste Galerne, it is found below.
     So they stayed in the Philadelphia area, living off of welfare. They tried to earn money by making cloth and wooden shoes, but there was no market for their products. It is said that some resorted to theft when no one would hire them. Some got a home when Anthony Benezet and others gave them small houses to live in.  These homes were located on the north side of Pine St., between 5th & 6th Streets. 
     Sickness and disease took its toll.  In a letter to the British king in 1760, it was stated that 250 of them had died .. over half of the original population.  This may have been an exaggeration, since fewer than 500 people made it to Pennsylvania.  Still, disease killed many of them. 
     When the legislature saw what was happening, it approved further assistance.  By 1757, laws had been passed so that children had to be apprenticed to craftsmen and welfare was provided for the sick, old, and handicapped.  Needless to say, the Acadians objected to their children being bound out and forced to learn English.  When the legislature refused to hear their complaint, the Acadians publicly denounced the British crown.  The Acadians tried their best to prevent losing their children, and the government was faily lax about enforcing the law. 
    When the war ended in 1763, the Acadians petitioned to be sent to France; but nothing came of this. The following year, some of them sailed to Saint Domingue where they found their numbers decimated by hard labor, disease, and an unwelome tropical climate. 
     By now, word of the Acadian resettlement in Louisiana had made its way to Pennsylvania.  The Acadians in Maryland and Pennsylvania started making plans to sail to Louisiana.  When faced with further financial support of the poor Acadians or sending them away, the colonial govenments finally came up with funds to assist them in their journey.  Between 1766 and 1767, from 150-200 Pennsylvania Acadians left for Louisiana out of Chesapeake Bay.  Instead of chartering a single vessel, they left in small groups as space became available. 

LINKS:

William B. Reed's "French Neutrals in Pennsylvania"

The 1755 Exile
The 1758 Exile
The "End" of the Exile
Exile Destinations
England | Quebec | New Brunswick | Prince Edward Island | Nova Scotia | France
St. Domingue | Martinique | French Guiana | Falkland Islands | St. Pierre & Miquelon | Louisiana
American Colonies
Connecticut | Georgia | Maryland | Massachusetts | New York | Pennsylvania | South Carolina
Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert


A RELATION OF THE MISFORTUNES OF THE FRENCH NEUTRALS,
As laid before the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania
BY JOHN BAPTISTE GALERNE, ONE OF THE SAID PEOPLE.

        ABOUT the year 1713, when Annapolis Royal was taken from the French, our Fathers being then settled on the Bay of Fundy, upon the Surrender of that Country to the English, had, by virtue of the Treaty of Utrecht, a Year granted them to remove with their Effects; but not being willing to lose the Fruit of many Years labor, they chose rather to remain there, and become Subjects of Great Britain, on Condition that they might be exempted from bearing Arms against France (most of them having near Relations and Friends amongst the French, which they might have destroyed with their own Hands, had they consented to bear Arms against them). This Request they always understood to be granted, on their taking the Oath of Fidelity to her late Majesty, Queen Anne; which Oath of Fidelity was by us, about 27 Years ago, renewed to his Majesty, King George, by General Philipse, who then allowed us an Exemption of bearing Arms against France; which Exemption, till lately, (that we were told to the contrary) we always thought was approved of by the King. Our Oath of Fidelity, we that are now brought into this Province, as well as those of our Community that are carried into the neighboring Provinces, have always inviolably observed, and have, on all Occasions, been willing to afford all the Assistance in our Power to his Majesty's Governors in erecting Forts, making Roads, Bridges, &c., and providing Provisions for his Majesty's Service, as can be testified by the several Governors and Officers that have commanded in his Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia; and this, notwithstanding the repeated Solicitations, Threats, and Abuses, which we have continually, more or less, suffered from the French and French Indians of Canada on that Account, particularly about ten Years ago, when 500 French and Indians came to our Settlements, intending to attack Annapolis Royal, which, had their Intention succeeded, would have made them Masters of all Nova Scotia, it being the only Place of Strength then in that Province, they earnestly solicited us to join with, and aid them therein ; but we persisting in our Resolution to abide true to our Oath of Fidelity, and absolutely refusing to give them any Assistance, they gave over their Intention, and returned to Canada. And about seven Years past, at the settling of Halifax, a Body of 150 Indians came amongst us, forced some of us from our Habitations, and by Threats and Blows would have compelled us to assist them in Way-laying and destroying the English, then employed in erecting Forts in different Parts of the Country; but we positively refusing, they left us, after having abused us, and made great Havoc of our Cattle, &c. I myself was sis Weeks before I wholly recovered of the Blows I received from them at that Time. Almost numberless are the Instances which might be given of the Abuses and Losses we have undergone from the French Indians, on Account of our steady Adherence to our Oath of Fidelity; and yet, notwithstanding our strict Observance thereof, we have not been able to prevent the grievous Calamity which is now come upon us, which we apprehend to be in a great Measure owing to the unhappy Situation and Conduct of some of our People settled at Chignecto, at the Bottom of the Bay of Fundy, where the French, about four Years ago, erected a fort house of our People who were settled near it, after having had many of their Settlements burnt by the French, being too far from Halifax and Annapolis Royal to expect sufficient Assistance from the English, were obliged, as we believe, more through Compulsion and Fear than Inclination, to join with and assist the French; which also appears from the Articles of Capitulation agreed on between Colonel Monckton and the French Commander, at the Delivery of the said Fort to the English, which is exactly in the following words.
     With regard to the Acadians, as they have been forced to take up Arms on Pain of Death, they shall be pardoned for the Part they have been taking. (Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1755, p. 332)  Notwithstanding this, as these People's Conduct had given just Umbrage to the Government, and created suspicions to the Prejudice of our whole Community, we were summoned to appear before the Governor and Council at Halifax, where we were required to take the Oath of Allegiance, without any exception, which we could not comply with, because, as that Government is at present situate, we apprehend we should have been obliged to take up Arms; but were still willing to take Oath of Fidelity, and give the strongest Assurances of continuing peaceable and faithful to his Britannick Majesty, with that Exception. But this, in the present Situation of Affairs, not being Satisfactory, we were made Prisoners, and our Estates, both real and personal, forfeited for the King's Use; and Vessels being provided, we were sometime after sent off, with most of our Families, and dispersed among the English Colonies. The Harry and Confusion in which we were embarked was an aggravating Circumstance attending our Misfortunes; for thereby many, who had lived in Affluence, found themselves deprived of every Necessary, and many Families were separated, Parents from Children, and Children from Parents. Yet blessed be God that it was our Lot to be sent to Pennsylvania, where our Wants have been relieved, and we have in every Respect been received with Christian Benevolence and Charity. And let me add, that notwithstanding the Suspicions and Fears which many here are possessed of on our Account, as tho' we were a dangerous People, who make little Scruple of breaking our Oaths, Time will manifest that we are not such a People: No, the unhappy Situation which we are now in, is a plain Evidence that this is a false Charge, tending to aggravate the Misfortunes of an already too unhappy People; for, had we entertained such pernicious Sentiments, we might easily have prevented our falling into the melancholy Circumstances we are now in, viz: Deprived of our Substance, banished from our native Country, and reduced to live by Charity in a strange Land; and this for refusing to take an Oath, which we are firmly persuaded Christianity absolutely forbids us to violate, had we once taken it, and yet an Oath which we could not comply with, without being exposed to plunge our Swords in the Breasts of our Friends and Relations. We shall, however, as we have hitherto done, submit to what, in the present Situation of Affairs, may seem necessary, and with Patience and Resignation bear whatever God, in the Course of his Providence, shall suffer to come upon us. We shall also think it our Duty to seek and promote the Peace of the Country into which we are transported, and inviolably keep the Oath of Fidelity that we have taken to his gracious Majesty, King George, whom we firmly believe, when, fully acquainted with our Faithfulness and Sufferings, will commiserate our unhappy Condition, and order that some Compensation be made us for our Losses. And may the Almighty abundantly bless his Honour, the Governor, the honourable Assembly of the Province, and the good People of Philadelphia, whose Sympathy, Benevolence, and Christian Charity, have been, and still are, greatly manifested and extended towards us, a poor distressed and afflicted People, is the Sincere and earnest Prayer of JOHN BAPTISTE GALERNE.