Blupete's Nova Scotia History Page

Book #1 The Lion & The Lily.TOC
Part 6, 1755
"The Taking of Beausejour" &
The Deportation of the Acadians."

Synopses, Chapters 1 to 18
(Now Available As A Book)

I - 1755: "The Setting" (14k)
§ The conflict between the French and the English in America, which flared up in dramatic fashion during 1755, was precipitated by the French assertions that they were to have exclusive posession to the open lands to the west and north of the English colonies; thus, effectively cutting them off from any further expansion. Though, through a six year period, just succeeding 1748 when the English and French had struck a treaty to end the previous war, there was but a standoff, this situation revolted English leadership, and, a point had finally arrived at which they intended to do something about these French "pretensions."
1. - The Taking of the Alcide and the Lys
§ With intelligence in 1755 that the French were going to build up their military presence in America, Admiral Boscawen was sent with a British fleet of war ships to stop them.

II - 1755: "The Taking Of Beausejour"
2a. - Beyond The Isthmus: Disputed Territory (18k)
§ Though a peace treaty was entered into by each during the autumn of 1748, the French and English held a different view as to who "owned" the territory which we these days we know as New Brunswick.
2b. - Fort Beausejour: Its Disposition
§ In 1749, Fort Beausejour was begun on one side of the line; and, in 1750, the English built Fort Lawrence on the other.
2c. - The Prelude
§ In keeping within the scope of this history, I take up that expedition of 1755 which was to be under Colonel Robert Monckton, being but one (and as it turned out, the only successful one) of the four which had been authorized by the English royal governors at the Council at Alexandria.
3a. - The Attack (27k)
§ So, what transpired inside the fort on the 16th of June, was this: as Le Loutre and Vergor sat in one of two "bomb-proof" shelters within the fort, a great explosion was heard from the other; an explosive shell hurled into the fort by the British rolled into the open door way and, going off, killed seven French officers in one terrible explosion. The effect was immediate. A white flag was sent out.
3b. - The Aftermath
§ It was more than a hill with a fort on top of it, an entire territory was taken by the British when they took Fort Beausejour. It was the linch-pin, and, with its surrender, all of those parts north of the isthmus slipped out of French control. However, to cinch the victory, it was necessary to take two subsidiary forts; one to the west and another to the east.


III - 1755: "The Dispersal Of The Acadians"

4. Introduction (9k)
§ "What must be kept in mind as we go about considering this matter, the deportation of the Acadians, is, that, up to that time and ever since, to these days: many people are dispossessed in times of war. Refugees run in advance of invading armies and occupying armies root out all those who might give aid and comfort to the enemy. France and England during the years under review, for all practical purposes, were at war ..."
5. The Plan, A Long Time In The Making (16k)
§ The thought of getting rid of the Acadians was first expressed not too long after the capture of Port Royal in 1710 and one that was expressed numerous times as the 18th century wore on. However, the government in England did not pursue the matter and the Acadians were pretty much left alone by the local English authority, represented, as it was, by one small and incapacitated English garrison located at Annapolis Royal. This situation was to dramatically change through a six year period beginning in 1749.
6. The Oath (43k)
§ The Acadian oath (1729/30) as was secured by Governor Philipps was unconditional, at least on paper it was. It seems, however, that the Acadians were talked into signing the oath on the basis of "verbal promises" made. They were told at the time that they would be exempt from the necessity of bearing arms in the event of a conflict with the French. This compromise -- and it seems there was not much doubt that it was made -- was to haunt the masters of Nova Scotia for the next 25 years and contribute significantly to the tragic developments that were to culminate with the deportation of 1755.
7. The Deportation Orders (32k)
§ The decision to deport the Acadians was one that was taken at the local level (Governor Lawrence and his Council). Even if he felt he had to clear the intended deportation with England -- there was no time for it in these days of sail. Here was an opportunity to be seized upon. The Acadians boldly refused to take an oath of loyalty. Nothing new. They had done this in the past; and, with no consequences. The difference this time, was that Lawrence had 2,000 troops who were but a couple of days away.
8. Winslow's Departure for Grand Pre (13k)
§ In comparing the backgrounds and personalities of these two (Winslow and Monckton), one might better understand why the relationship, as between the 52 year old colonial gentleman and the 29 year old army officer from England to whom he was obliged to report, was, to say the least, strained. Winslow, though he gave little notice of it, must have wanted to get out from under Monckton's command as soon as possible. Winslow had to be relieved when the orders came up from Governor Lawrence personal asking for Winslow to head the detachment which was ordered to the Minas area.
9. A Short History of Minas and Winslow's Arrival (21k)
§ On August the 19th, we would have seen Winslow and his detachment, on the first tide, slip over to Grand Pre, but a dozen miles from Fort Edward. He entered the River Gaspereau and landed his forces. Winslow and his men were in anticipation that "it is likely shall soon have our hands full of disagreeable business to remove people from their ancient habitations." He took up is quarters "between the Church and the Chapel yard, having the priest house for my own accommodation and the church for a place of arms."
10. Preparations at Grand Pre (20k)
§ Having paid a visit to Captain Murrray at Fort Edward, Winslow and his small party was sailing back to Grand Pre. He had in his pouch a good copy of the citation translated into the French. He arrived at his camp at two o'clock in the afternoon on September the 2nd. Winslow was to immediately call for his officers: copies of the citation were to go out, to be posted in all conspicuous places. The Acadian men were ordered to attend at the church in Grand Pre on Friday, the fifth, at three of the clock in the afternoon, no excuses.
11. The Deportation at Grand Pre, Part I (33k)
§ "They went off, as Winslow was to write in his diary, 'praying, singing, and crying.' The families of these men were stationed, it seems on route, one that extended for a mile and a half from the church to the bank of the river mouth. The women were inconsolable, thinking, as they did, that these dearly loved young men were to be taken away from them. They were there at stations, along the route, 'in great lamentation, upon their knees, praying' with unallayed grief stamped on their faces."
12. The Deportation at Grand Pre, Part II (30k)
§ "So, it was, that the loading of the Acadian families started on October 8th, 1755. The Elizabeth and the Leynord were the first to be loaded and were to receive 80 families from the Grand Pre region. The Acadians embarked, as Winslow was to describe in his journal, "very sullenly and unwillingly, the women in great distress carrying off their children in their arms. Others carrying their decrepit parents in their carts and all their goods. Moving in great confusion and [it] appears as a scene of woe and distress."
13. The Deportations at Pisiquid & Annapolis Royal (34k)
§ "Unlike what had happened at Piziquid and at Grand Pre, Handfield did not, it would appear, round up the men on false pretenses and then pounce on them and hold them as prisoners ... I can but only imagine that to many of the English officers the carrying out of their orders to transport the French Acadians, was, to them, a very disagreeable business. But this business could not have been any more disagreeable then it was to Major John Handfield. ... this English officer, who had married a French Acadian wife went about the business of loading his friends and his wife's relatives onto the transports."
14. The Deportation at Chignecto & The Destruction of Cobequid (34k)
§ "Major Frye's force of 200 having left Fort Cumberland and boarded vessels 'to go to Sheperday & take what French they could & burn their villages there & at Petcojak.' They started in and burnt 253 buildings. One of the detachments of Major Frye's party, while industrially going about their incendiary duties were surprised, when, about 300 French and Indians came bounding out of the nearby woods. At Cobequid: Captain Willard and his men burnt every French structure they came upon [in the Tatamagouche area]. He then drew his men up in a body and marched off forcing the French men to come with them. Their women, who willingly gave freshly baked bread to the arriving soldiers but a day or two ago, were 'left lamenting bitterly' as their men were marched off, who knows -- whenever to be seen again? Left behind were their women and children; left behind to fend for themselves."
15. The Voyages (26k)
§ "As for the transport vessels being crowded: well, plainly they were. The officers in charge at Minas were aware that they were loading more than 'two to a ton.' After encountering a terrible storm at sea the transports limped down the eastern coast of America to deposit their human cargo at various ports. 'As the poor people have been deprived of their settlements in Nova Scotia, and sent here for some political reason bare and destitute. Christian charity, nay common humanity, calls on every one according to their ability to lend their assistance and help to these objects of compassion.' (The Maryland Gazette, December 4, 1755.) 'We have 1,140 Neutrals from Nova Scotia, which gives great uneasiness to our people, we have recd them & now maintain them ...'" (Governor Dinwiddle of Virginia, February 21st, 1756.)"
16. Cape Sable Acadians and Later Deportations (14k)
§ "Those Acadians on Ile St Jean and Ile Royal were to suffer pretty much the same fate as their cousins, three years later. These harried people were transported to France in 1758, where some remained and others came to Louisiana about the year 1784. Brook Watson was to report that 'about thirteen hundred perished by ship wreck on the voyage, those who arrived, France would not receive.' He further reports that a number were sent off to the 'French West India Isles' where the greater part of them died for lack of food. The French were of the view that these displaced persons were not French subjects."
17. The Wanderings of the Acadians (18k)
§ "Though not very much is known of them, it is for sure that the sufferings of the Acadians who had been dumped on foreign shores were great. However, those who were left behind were to put up with their own sufferings. All Acadians, through the years of The Seven Years War, 1756-1763, and for many years thereafter, were to be driven from pillar to post. In time the Acadians were allowed to settle and to hold lands upon taking the customary oaths. The lands, however, that they were permitted to occupy, were not to be the rich lands which they and their forefathers had once worked."
18. The Summation (20k)
§ "Any person who examines the removal of the Acadians during these years, and views the particulars in isolation and measures the effect by the standards of today will come to curse those who were responsible. What is required is a knowledge of the general situation which prevailed in the fifty years preceding this sorry event, this being the principal reason which drove me in the writing of this book."

Transports of the Deportation - A Schedule.

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