A History of Nova Scotia Page

Book #1: Acadia.TOC
Part 1, "Early Settlement & Baronial Battles: 1605-90."TOC
Chapter 10 - "Acadia (1654-1684)"

It was in 1660 that Chouart Des Groseilliers (1618-c1696) and his younger companion, brother-in-law Pierre-Esprit Radisson (c1640-1710) - superb woodsmen and traders, both - arrived at Montreal with a flotilla of canoes "so great a number of boats that did almost cover the whole River." The first significant tap had been placed into a huge north American territory drained by the Great Lakes: a drainage system which included countless lakes and rivers over which trading goods flowed. European goods were much valued and were traded as much by the redmen as they were by whitemen - maybe more, as they went from hand to hand generally westward through countless tribes. In went knives, hatchets, pots and cloth: out came furs in exchange.1

Company of New France, Dissolved: State Control (1663):
With private companies or persons, such as Radisson and Groseilliers, hauling in such riches; well, it just didn't seem right. Courtiers, like all politicians through the ages, thought they should cut themselves in and spend it on the "business of the state." Thinking, it seems, that those who legally earned the money did not know how to spend it. In 1663, at the urging of Governor d'Avaugour, the French territories in North America passed from under the control of trading corporations to the direct control of the French government: and the furs of Radisson and Groseilliers played no little role.2 This was accomplished by a royal decree dissolving the Company of New France. In the process, the Company was to lose title to its lands not actually cleared, or cleared within the ensuing six months.

Le Borgne Occupies La Have (1658):
In these years, Acadia was English territory, having been captured by Sedgwick in 1654. But the conquest did nothing to change the way of the budding Acadian colony at Port Royal; they continued to express themselves in their French tongue, in their French habits, and in their French religion. Indeed, in parts, the French Acadians took charge.
Le Borgne's son, together with fifty men, in 1658, occupied La Have and rebuilt the fort that de Razilly had established there in 1632 and abandoned after his death, c. 1640.3 In 1664, notwithstanding that the territory was conquered English territory, France had granted Emmanuael Le Borgne (Bourge) Du Coudray a seigneury at La Heve.4 Thus, Le Borgne thought himself legitimately in charge at La Heve; Thomas Temple, the English Governor, likely considered him but a mere tenant at will.

Temple, The Second Anglo-Dutch War & Marquis de Tracy:
Thomas Temple was in charge of Acadia for a nine-year period, which extended from the time he bought his rights from
La Tour in 1656, to the time that he was ordered by the British crown to hand over his rights to the French by the Treaty of Breda in 1667. He made his headquarters at Penobscot, from there maintaining garrisons at Port Royal and at the St. John. It was during this time that the La Tour fort at the mouth of the St. John River was abandoned in favour of a new fort at Jemseg, fifty miles or so up the St. John River. There, at Jemseg, the occupiers were tucked out of the way of marauding, seagoing pirates; and, likely too, it was a better place at which to trade with the descending river Indians.5

In 1664, the English - The Second Anglo-Dutch War having broken out - conquered the settlements that had been established by the Dutch within the areas that we now know as New York and New Jersey, future territories which, by the Treaty of Breda in 1667, would be retained by England. This would put the English in charge of most all the North American eastern coast, including Acadia. It must be remembered that the center of French influence in North America was Quebec: it never was to be Acadia.

In the meantime, a high level French military officer, Marquis de Tracy, was sent out from France with a substantial contingent in order to shore up its position at Quebec. The French at Quebec were safe enough from an overland attack by the New Englanders, for between them stood an effective barrier, the Alleghenies. What was required was to smash the Iroquois threat. Tracy and his troops, veterans of the Turkish wars, travelled into Mohawk territory and "the savages fled before this great European engine of war, leaving to Tracy their wooden villages, their stores of food and the crops standing in the fields. The French burned them all ..." By this action, the French, centered at Quebec, were finally and completely rid of the menace which had been a continuing threat to their very existence since their arrival fifty years earlier. Thus, at Quebec, new times were to arrive for the French settler and the French trader.6

Acadia is Passed Back to the French: The Treaty of Breda:
In 1667, by The Treaty of Breda, Acadia was once more transferred to France.
7 While the treaty was signed on July 31st, 1667, the formal hand over did not take place until 1670. The English colonial governor, Thomas Temple at Penobscot, was not about to just simply hand over his command without double-checking with his masters back in England, a process in the days of sailing ships which could take years. Nonetheless, the French were clear in their own minds that Acadia was once more to be under the French flag and didn't think that there should be too much delay about the matter.

In 1668, Alexander Le Borgne, who assumed his father's, Emanmanuel's, noble title of Belleisle, was of course delighted with the news that Acadia was to be in "French hands" once again. That year, Le Borgne was to sail the entire coast of Acadia with the news. History is unclear in this, but Le Borgne arrived at Boston late in October of 1668. He intended to show his papers to Governor Temple, who was apparently temporarily away from his command post at Penobscot entertaining himself with his friends at Boston. Temple himself was not at all impressed and had some indication from his own sources that King Charles of England was not yet ready to give up Acadia. Temple dismissed Le Borgne and sailed for Acadia and immediately took the place back8 by presumably going to the town square at Port Royal and unceremoniously tearing down the French flag and running up the English one.9

The Governorship of Grandfontaine (1670-73):
There now comes to the historical stage of Acadia, Hector Andigné De Grandfontaine (1672-96); he was to be the French governor of Acadia between 1670-73. He had strict orders from Colbert
10 that he was not to act on his own; he was to take his orders from the intendant at Quebec. This "subordination to multiple authorities, in France and in Canada, made action on his part difficult." Overall, however, the historical conclusion seems to be, that, though hampered, Grandfontaine did much for Acadia during the three years he was in charge, 1670-73. During this period we have the first new French settlers to come to Acadia since d'Aulnay brought settlers over from his mother's seigneury, circa 1640.11 Further, in 1671, it was under Grandfontaine that the first census in Acadia was carried out.

To the extent that Grandfontaine spent anytime in Acadia, it seems he spent it at Penobscot.12 "The fort which he had made his residence was a paltry work, incapable of resisting any serious attack, and only fit to be used as an Indian trading station." But even at that, it was likely that Penobscot was the best defended position in all of Acadia. The fort at Jemseg, as Hannay points out, was in a worst state than the fort at Penobscot. Fort Latour at the mouth of the St. John "had been long abandoned, the fortifications at Port Royal had crumbled away, Fort St. Louis, at Port Latour, had degenerated into a mere fishing station ..." As for the fort at La Have, where Le Borgne had been but a few short years ago, it "had no other tenants but the wild beasts from the forest which surrounded it."13

During the month of August, 1669, a French naval vessel, the Saint-Sebasten, under the command of Pierre de Joibert, together with a British officer aboard, sailed from one Acadian place to another and in turn accepted each on behalf of the French: Acadia by the terms of the Treaty of Breda was officially to be French territory. Penobscot was handed over on August the 5th; Jemseg, on the 27th; and Port Royal on September 2nd, 1670.14

Grandfontaine appointed his deputies: Pierre de Joibert was in charge at Jemseg. At Pentagoet, the Baron Saint-Castin was to establish himself.15 Le Borgne, the most senior Frenchman at Port Royal, was initially put in charge at that place. Le Borgne however was not long to survive in a position of leadership. He was, it seems, a hard master. In concert with the resident priest, Molin, he "caused a negro to be hung without any trial, killed an Indian, and banished three inhabitants."16 Grandfontaine, therefore, had good reason to dismiss Le Borgne; he probably would have liked to have gotten rid of his officer at Jemseg too, as they (Joibert and Grandfontaine) did not get along.

The years between 1670 and 1673 were good growing years for Acadia. Its population showed buds of growth well up in the Baie de Francaise, at the western end of the Minas Basin and the far reaches of Cumberland Basin (Beaubassin). (See map.) This important growth can now be noted because Grandfontaine had a census taken. It was due to Grandfontaine that, during this period, a significant number of settlers from France were landed and a bad administration was cleaned up. Direct assistance was supplied to the settlers, such as the bringing in and the giving out of spinning looms.17 Notwithstanding this progress, the authorities at Quebec decided to move Grandfontaine as they were apparently tired of the complaints, particularly from the officer at Jemseg, Pierre de Joibert. While being appointed during May, the new governor of Acadia, Jacques de Chambly (d.1687) did not arrive at Pentagoet until the autumn of 1673, presumably to relieve Grandfontaine of his duties. De Chambly was not to be there at Pentagoet for long.18

The Dutch Take Acadia (1674):
During 1674, the French governor, de Chambly, was surprised by a Dutch force under Captain Juriaen Aernouts and after a brief fight, the fort at Penobscot was given up; the Dutch raider then continued up the coast and entered the St. John River, where, and in like manner, he put an end to the French operations at Jemseg which was under the command of Joibert.
19 Aernouts declared all that he had conquered to be New Holland, and, promptly sailed away with his French prisoners (Chambly and Joibert among them). At Boston the prisoners were ransomed back to the French at Quebec. When Captain Aernouts sailed away from Acadia he left no Dutchman behind. The forts, from what I can determine, at both Jemseg and Penobscot, were left to stand unoccupied for the next couple of years. In 1676, Castin reoccupied Pentagoet; and, in 1677, Joibert (who succeeded Chambly as the administrator of Acadia), established himself once again at Jemseg, which was then to become the seat of French power and the capital of Acadia.20

Beaubassin & Bergier (1678-84):
Joibert died
21 in the year following his appointment and Michael Leneuf de Beaubassin (1640-1705, the elder) was then named as governor. Beaubassin was the first of an unusually large number of French naval heros who were to take land posts as governors of Acadia. Beaubassin earned his reputation in 1676, when he and his brother-in-law, the son of Nicholas Denys, Sieur Richard Denys as second in command, in their French war vessel, seized three English ketches from Boston that were taking on coal at Cape Breton. Frontenac was that pleased with Beaubassin's accomplishments that he was to grant a large piece of land at the Isthmus of Chignecto which became known as the Beaubassin seigneury.22

While Beaubassin was establishing French rights on the ground, there came a certain merchant from La Rochelle, one Bergier, to take charge of the waters off of Acadia. He laid a plan before the French king, Louis XIV, who, on the 14th of April, 1684, appointed Bergier as "lieutenant for us in the government of the country and coasts of Acadia."23 In the summer of 1684, Bergier cruised the waters of Acadia enforcing the rights of French fishermen as against those of New England.24 Two ships, the St. Louis and the Mariann, set out for their cruise in Acadian waters, on May 11, 1684; by October they were back at France having successfully impressed on a number of fishing captains from New England that fishing in Acadian waters was a dangerous business.25

So, the year 1684 is reached and we see two strong men in Acadia: Bergier and Beaubassin. Things were looking up for Acadia. However, she was shortly to receive a fatal blow.


THE END OF PART 1.

[NEXT: PART 2 -- Acadia#2: "The English Takeover: 1690-1712".]

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