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[46] From the minister whose promptness, vigilance, and
chap. II.} 1749.
spirit gave efficiency to the enterprise, it took the name of Halifax. Before winter three hundred houses were covered in.1 At Minas, now Lower Horton, a blockhouse was raised, and fortified by a trench and a palisade; a fort at Pesaquid, now Windsor, protected the communications with Halifax. These, with Annapolis on the Bay of Fundy, secured the peninsula.

The ancient inhabitants had, in 1730, taken an oath of fidelity and submission to the English king, as sovereign of Acadia, and were promised indulgence in ‘the true exercise of their religion, and exemption from bearing arms against the French or Indians.’ They were known as the French Neutrals. Their hearts were still with France, and their religion made them a part of the diocese of Quebec. Of a sudden it was proclaimed to their deputies2 convened at Halifax, that English commissioners would repair to their villages, and tender to them, unconditionally,3 the oath of allegiance. They could not pledge themselves before Heaven to join in war against the land of their origin and their love; and, in a letter signed by a thousand of their men, they pleaded rather for leave to sell their lands and effects, and abandon the peninsula for new homes, which France would provide.4 But Cornwallis would offer no option but between unconditional allegiance and the confiscation of all their property. ‘It is for me,’

1 Cornwallis to the Board of Trade, October, 1749.

2 Minutes of Council of Nova Scotia, 14 July, 1749.

3 Ordonnance of Cornwallis, &c. &c., 1 August, 1749.

4 Letter of the French Inhabitants to Cornwallis, 7 Sept., 1749.

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