Exile Destination: Liverpool, England [via Virginia]
| The 336 Acadians that arrived at Liverpool
were put up in the old potters' workshops. A few months after arriving
the Acadians were placed in a certain area of each port, except at Falmouth
where they were scattered around. The commissioner over the Acadians
at Liverpool was named Langton. The govt. gave them 6 cents (3 cents
for children under 7) a day, and $1.20 a year for lodging.
We find a few records of Acadians in the parish
of St. Mary at Wooten, Liverpool. In addition to some baptisms, there
are 2 marriage records: Etienne Darois & Francoise Trahan (Jan. 15,
1758) and Pierre Trahan & Marguerite Duon (May 9, 1758). They
can be found in V. 9 (p. 251-273) of London's Catholic Record Society.
Also see Cahier 32, Societe Historique Acadienne, V. 4, No.
2, 1971 in "Le sejour des Acadiens en Angleterre et leurs traces dans les
archives britanniques" by Regis S. Brun.
On Sept. 2, 1762, France sent a minister to
negotiate an end to the Seven Years’ War. He was Louis Jules Barbon
Mancini Mazarani, Duke of Nivernois, Grandee of Spain, Knight of the King,
Peer of France. The Acadians decided to go to him for help.
They enlisted Normand Duplessis (a French pilot from Le Havre, who’d been
ransomed from England by M. de la Touche of Martinique), who could write.
Although he promised to write up the story of their suffereings and give
it to Nivernois, he bailed out at the last minute when the English commissioner
talked him into becoming a British subject.
He thought that the king ought to rescue these
patriotic subjects. In late October 1762 he wrote to Etienne Francois
(Duke of Choiseul, France’s foreign minister) that the Acadians could be
useful in populating France’s colonies. He also began talks with
the English prime minister (Lord George Grenville) on Dec. 11, 1762 about
freeing the 300 Acadian prisoners in England. Meanwhile, while negotions
were ongoing with Grenville, Nivernois had sent his personal secretary
(de la Rochette) to visit the Acadians at Liverpool to learn about their
experiences since Acadia. He sent word to them, via La Rochette,
that he had personally told the king of their sufferings and loyalty.
The king had been moved and wanted to bring them back to France, and (after
peace) give them farm land in the most beautiful provinces and financial
help to rebuild what they lost. He promised that France would treat
them better than they could hope for.
| So the Acadians at Liverpool went ahead anyway,
though it was difficult since Langton censored everything they wrote or
received. John Turney, and Irishman who’d married an Acadian, volunteered
to take the letter to Nivernois. His wife had lost her subsidy when
they married, and John wasn’t considered a part of the Acadian community.
He agreed to make the trip if he would be allowed to join the Acadians.
They agreed and raised $20 for his expenses.
The letter told of their story. It also mentioned the English
offer (that the govt. had circulated) that if they took the English oath,
they would be returned to full possession of their homes in Nova Scotia.
England have them 18-24 months to decide. The Acadians had written
to the minister of marine, but Langton wouldn’t let them mail it.
Despite his efforts to convert them to English subjects, they said “We
wish to live under the rule of His Most Christian Majesty for whom we are
ready to shed our blood.” They asked for the ambassador’s protection.
Nivernois was moved by their petition. [“Memoire,” Correspondance
politique Angleterre, CDXLIX, f. 343-347, Archives des Affaires Étrangères]
|Acadian Prisoners of War (in England) by Robert Dafford
He also sent word assuring the Acadians
full protection. But he told them not to publicize that fact.
Thirdly, he wanted the Acadians to give La
Rochette all of the details on them and Acadians in other ports.
La Rochette left for Liverpool on Dec. 26, 1762.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Vaudreuil presented
Amherst with 55 proposed articles of peace. Article 39 stated that
the French in Canada must not be deported to England or the English colonies.
Amherst wrote in the margin, “Agreed, except as regards the Acadians.”
Article 54 guaranteed a safe return to officers, militiamen, and Acadian
prisoners in New England to their respective countries. Again,
Amherst wrote in the margin, “Accepted; but with reservation to the Acadians.”
On Jan. 20, 1763, Louis XV refused to sign
the armistice unless Amherst allowed the Acadians to return to Canada or
to France. He said no to Canada, but yielded to France.
[Les negociations pour la paix,” Correspondance politique Angleterre, CDXLIX,
f. 151-155, Archives des Affaires Étrangères]
La Rochette arrived at Liverpool on
Dec. 31, 1762. He quietly went to the Acadian prison quarters.
He had them assemble to pass along Nivernois’ message.
He told them of the king’s concern and the
promise to give them financial help and farm lands in any province they
chose. The broke out in shouts of “Long live the King.” Though
he tried to contain them (the English neighbors grew concerned), their
excitement couldn’t be contained.
They were besides themselves, clapping, raising their hands,
hitting the walls, and crying like children. ["Memoire,”
Correspondance politique Angleterre, 1763, CDXLIX, f. 345, Archives des
After they had calmed down, he recorded
Langton saw the Acadians drop from 336 to
224. He promised them work after the war if they’d become British
subjects. In early December 1762, he told them that France had abandoned
them; if they became British subjects, the king would send them back to
Acadian and give them their homes, farms, and livestock back. Still,
they said “we are French, and the king of France must decide our fate.”
After this, Langton looked upon them as rebels. He threatened imprisonment
and reduction of pay. Then he turned to attacking their faith.
He told their chaplain (a Scottish priest) that he would be appointed parochial
dean of all the Catholic villages in Acadia if got the Acadians to take
the oath. The chaplain began to give sermons to get them to do so.
This resulted in 54 Acadians (almost all old men) to volunteer to return
to Acadia, though they refused to put it in writing. Most of the
Acadians, however, thought the sermons “were scandalous.”
Duplessis argued against accepting the offer
of returning to Acadia. He said he’d bring the petition to Nivernois.
Then he himself was convinced and became a British subject!
Langton suspection La Rochette’s intentions.
He began trying to scare the Acadians. He told them that La Rochette
and his men wouldn’t show their credentials because they meant to deceive
the Acadians. They were actually trying to get the Acadians to send
them to France’s tropical colonies. If the heat didn’t kill them,
the fact that France probably wouldn’t help them financially would.
In any case, the Liverpool Acadians
elected 2 representatives to go to Nivernois, and they left under cover
of darkness to go to the French embassy in London. The delegates
had the power to accept or reject any offer.
During the discussion, the definitely wanted
an answer to a specific question ... would France claim them as her subjects?
They were even willing to give up their subsidy. Assured of this,
they told Nivernois about 600 more exiles in Southampton, Falmouth, and
Learning of these other Acadians, Nivernois
sent word for La Rochette to visit them (secretly again) to carry the same
message. Since his trip was in secret, he again could not show his
When the plan for resettlement in France was
approved, the surviving Acadians sailed to Morlaix, France aboard the king's
gabarre L'Esturgeon, captained by Belon, on June 7, 1763.
There is another list by George Langton, who brought
the 'prisoners of war' to the ship. It is of the same date (June
7). This list gives a slightly different account, and has ages.
|1 - Honore LeBlanc
2 - Charles LeBlanc
3 - Angelique LaPierre
Marie Tarsille LaPierre
4 - Jean LeBlanc
5 - Pierre LeBlanc
6 - Alexandre Aucoin
Marie Joseph Aucoin
7 - Rene Trahan
8 - Cyprien Duon
Jean Baptiste Duon
9 - Marie Rose Landry
Marie Josephe Landry
Genevieve LaLande (orphan)
10 - Pierre Trahan
11 - Claude Pitre
Jean Baptiste Benoit
12 - Joseph Trahan
Jean Joseph Trahan
13 - Isidore Trahan
Jean Baptiste Trahan
14 - Alexandre Trahan
15 - Pierre Hebert
16 - Pierre Saunier
17 - Joseph LeBlanc
| 18 - Jean Baptiste
Jean Charles Trahan
19 - Amand LeJeune
20 - Joachim Trahan
Paul Landry (orphan)
21 - Joseph LeBlanc
22 - Felix Boudrot
Marie Joseph Boudrot
23 - Pierre Richard
Jean Ignace Richard
Jean Charles Richard
24 - Amable Hebert
Anne Marie Hebert
25 - Marie Anastasie
26 - Francois Eloy
27 - Marguerite Joseph
28 - Pierre Saunier
29 - Joseph Hebert
30 - Honore Duon
31 - Jean LaBauve
32 - Silvestre Trahan
Jean Charles Trahan
33 - Pierre Trahan
34 - Louis Trahan
Marie Blanche Trahan
| 35 - Etienne Daroy
36 - Marie Prince
Marie Barbe Prince
Isabelle Anne Prince
Marine Ludovine Prince
37 - Gabriel Maurau
38 - Alexis Trahan
39 - Honore Joseph
40 - Tranquille Prince
Marie Joseph Prince
41 - Anne LeBlanc
42 - Jean Baptiste
43 - Paul LeBer
Marie Joseph LeBer
Jean Baptiste LeBer
44 - Jean Baptiste
45 - Pascal Hebert
46 - Alain Hebert
47 - Joseph Olivier
48 - Jean Hebert
49 - Madeleine Hebert
50 - Antoine Boutarit
51 - Bernard Merant
52 - Guillaume Montet
53 - Jean Tyrney
There was also a Jean Landry
that ran off and deserted.