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- The Acadian Exiles - 6/21 -


liberties and privileges of English subjects.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol. i, p. 177.] This was all the Acadians wished for.

The commission of Ensign Wroth did not extend to the district of Annapolis, which was dealt with by the Council. The deputies of the Acadians there were summoned to appear before the Council on September 6, 1727. But the inhabitants, instead of answering the summons, called a meeting on their own account and passed a resolution, signed by seventy-one of their people, which they forwarded to the Council. In this document they offered to take the oath on the conditions offered by Wroth. This the Council considered 'insolent and defiant,' and ordered the arrest of the deputies. On September 16 Charles Landry, Guillaume Bourgois, Abraham Bourg, and Francois Richard were brought before the Council, and, on refusing to take the oath except on the terms proposed by themselves, were committed to prison for contempt and disrespect to His Majesty. Next day the lieutenant-governor announced that 'they had been guilty of several enormous crimes in assembling the inhabitants in a riotous manner contrary to the orders of government both as to time and place and likewise in framing a rebellious paper.' It was then resolved: 'That Charles Landry, Guillaume Bourgois and Francis Richard, for their said offence, and likewise for refusing the oath of fidelity to His Majesty which was duly tendered them, be remanded to prison, laid in irons, and there remain until His Majesty's pleasure shall be made known concerning them, and that Abraham Bourg, in consideration of his great age, shall have leave to retire out of this His Majesty's Province, according to his desire and promise, by the first opportunity, leaving his effects behind him.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia B, vol. i, p. 159.] The rest of the inhabitants were to be debarred from fishing on the British coasts. It is difficult to reconcile the actions of the Council. The inhabitants who cheerfully subscribed to the oath, with the exceptions made by Ensign Wroth, were to be accorded the privileges of British subjects, while some of those who would have been glad to accept the same terms were laid in irons, and the others debarred from fishing, their main support.

Shortly after this Philipps was compelled to return to Nova Scotia in order to restore tranquillity; for his lieutenant Armstrong, a man of quick temper, had fallen foul of the French priests, especially the Abbe Breslay, whom he had caused to be handled somewhat roughly. Armstrong, seeking an alliance with the Abnakis, had been foiled by the French and had laid the blame at the door of the priest, demanding the keys of the church and causing the presbytery to be pillaged. In the end Breslay had escaped in fear of his life. It was his complaints, set forth in a memorial to the government, that had brought about Philipps's return. The Acadians, with whom Philipps was popular, welcomed him in a public manner; and Philipps took advantage of the occasion to approach them again on the subject of the oath. He restored the Abbe Breslay to his flock, promised the people freedom in religious matters, and assured them that they would not be required to take up arms. Then all the Acadians in the district of Annapolis subscribed to the following oath: 'I promise and swear on the faith of a Christian that I will be truly faithful and will submit myself to His Majesty King George the Second, whom I acknowledge as the lord and sovereign of Nova Scotia or Acadia. So help me God.' In the spring of 1728 Philipps obtained also the submission of the inhabitants of the other districts, on similar terms; and even the Indians professed a willingness to submit. This was a triumph for the administration of Philipps, and laid at rest for a time the vexed question of the oath. The triumph was, however, more superficial than real, as we shall see by and by.

CHAPTER IV

IN TIMES OF WAR

When Philipps had set at rest the question of the oath of allegiance, he returned to England, and Armstrong, less pacific than his chief, again assumed the administration, and again had some trouble with the priests. Two Acadian missionaries had been expelled from the country for want of respect to the governor; and Armstrong informed the inhabitants that in future he must be consulted regarding the appointment of ecclesiastics, and that men from Quebec would not be acceptable. Brouillan, the governor of Ile Royale, had taken the ground that the Acadian priests, not being subjects of Great Britain, were not amenable to the British authorities. This view was held by the priests themselves. The president of the Navy Board at Paris, however, rebuked Brouillan, and informed him that the priests in Acadia should by word and example teach the obedience due to His Britannic Majesty. This pronouncement cleared the air; the disagreements with the missionaries were soon adjusted; and one of them, St Poncy, after being warned to cultivate the goodwill of the governor, was permitted to resume his pastoral duties at Annapolis Royal.

On the death of Armstrong, on December 6, 1739, from wounds supposed to have been inflicted by his own hand, John Adams was appointed lieutenant-governor and president of the Council. In the following spring, however, Adams was displaced by a vote of the Council in favour of Major Paul Mascarene. 'The Secretary came to my House,' wrote Adams to the Duke of Newcastle, 'and reported to me the judgment of the Council in favour of Major Mascarene, from whose judgment I appealed to His Majesty and said if you have done well by the House of Jerubable [Jerubbaal] then rejoice ye in Abimelech and let Abimelech rejoice in you.' [Footnote: Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. xxv, p. 9.] After this lucid appeal, Adams, who had deep religious convictions, retired to Boston and bemoaned the unrighteousness of Annapolis. [Footnote: Writing from Boston to the Lords of Trade, Adams said: 'I would have returned to Annapolis before now. But there was no Chaplain in the Garrison to administer God's word and sacrament to the people. But the Officers and Soldiers in Garrison have Prophaned the Holy Sacrament of Baptism and Ministeriall Function, by presuming to Baptize their own children. Why His Majesty's Chaplain does not come to his Duty I know not, but am persuaded it is a Disservice and Dishonour to our Religion and Nation; and as I have heard, some have got their children Baptized by the Popish Priest, for there has been no Chaplain here for above these four years.'--Public Archives, Canada. Nova Scotia A, vol. xxv, p. 176.]

It was under Mascarene's administration that Nova Scotia passed through the period of warfare which now supervened. For some time relations between France and England had been growing strained in the New World, owing chiefly to the fact that the Peace of Utrecht had left unsettled the perilous question of boundary between the rival powers. There was the greatest confusion as to the boundaries of Nova Scotia or Acadia. The treaty had given Great Britain the province of Acadia 'with its ancient boundaries.' The 'ancient boundaries,' Great Britain claimed, included the whole mainland of the present maritime provinces and the Gaspe peninsula; whereas France contended that they embraced only the peninsula of Nova Scotia. Both powers, therefore, claimed the country north of the isthmus of Chignecto, and the definition of the boundary became a more and more pressing question.

The outbreak of the war of the Austrian Succession in Europe in 1741 set the match to the fuse. By 1744 the French and English on the Atlantic seaboard were up in arms. The governor of Ile Royale lost no time in attacking Nova Scotia. He invaded the settlements at Canso with about five hundred men; and presently a band of Indians, apparently led by the Abbe Le Loutre, missionary to the Micmacs, marched against Annapolis Royal. Towards these aggressions the Acadians assumed an attitude of strict neutrality. On the approach of Le Loutre's Micmacs they went to their homes, refusing to take part in the affair. Then when the raiders withdrew, on the arrival of reinforcements from Boston, the Acadians returned to their work on the fort. During the same year, when Du Vivier with a considerable French force appeared before Annapolis, the Acadians aided him with provisions. But when the French troops desired to winter at Chignecto, the Acadians objected and persuaded them to leave, which 'made their conduct appear to have been on this occasion far better than could have been expected from them.' [Footnote: Nova Scotia Documents, p. 147.] Once more the Acadians resumed their work on the fortifications and supplied the garrison with provisions. They frankly admitted giving assistance to the French, but produced an order from the Sieur du Vivier threatening them with punishment at the hands of the Indians if they refused.

In May of the following year (1745) a party of Canadians and Indians, under the raider Marin, invested Annapolis. Again the Acadians refused to take up arms and again assisted the invaders with supplies. By the end of the month, however, Marin and his raiders had vanished and the garrison at Annapolis saw them no more. They had been urgently summoned by the governor of Ile Royale to come to his assistance, for Louisbourg was even then in dire peril. An army of New Englanders under Pepperrell, supported by a squadron of the British Navy under Warren, had in fact laid siege to the fortress in the same month. [Footnote: See The Great Fortress in this Series, chap. ii.] But Marin's raiders could render no effective service. On the forty-ninth day of the siege Louisbourg surrendered to the English, [Footnote: June 17, Old Style, June 28, New Style, 1745. The English at this time still used the Old Style Julian calendar, while the French used the Gregorian, New Style. Hence some of the disagreement in respect to dates which we find in the various accounts of this period.] and shortly afterwards the entire French population, civil and military, among them many Acadians, were transported to France.


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