Contend for the Ohio valley
and for Acadia
.—Newcastle's administration continued.
anarchy lay at the heart of the institutions of Europe
; the germ of political life was struggling for its development in the people of America
While doubt was preparing the work of destruction in the Old World, faith in truth and the formative power of order were controlling and organizing the free and expanding energies of the New
. As yet, America refused union, not from unwillingness to devote life and fortune for the commonwealth, but from the firm resolve never to place its concentrated strength under an authority independent of itself.
It desired not union only, but self-direction.
The events of the summer strengthened the purpose, but delayed the period, of taxation by parliament.
peace existed under ratified treaties; it was proposed not to invade Canada
, but only to repel encroachments on the frontier from the Ohio
to the Gulf of St. Lawrence
For this end, four expeditions were concerted by Braddock
, the lieutenanternor
of Nova Scotia
, was to reduce that province
according to the English
interpretation of its boundaries; Johnson
, from his long acquaintance with the Six Nations, was selected to enroll Mohawk
warriors in British pay, and to conduct an army of provincial militia and Indians against Crown Point
proposed to win laurels by driving the French
; while the commander-in-chief
himself was to recover the Ohio Valley
and the Northwest
Soon after Braddock
sailed from Europe
, the French
also sent a fleet with reinforcements for Canada
, under the veteran Dieskau
, with English ships, pursued them, though England
had avowed only the intention to resist encroachments on her territory; and when the French
ambassador at London
expressed some uneasiness on the occasion, he was assured that certainly the English
would not begin.1
At six o'clock, on the evening of the 7th of June, the Alcide, the Lys, and the Dauphin
, that had for several days been separated from their squadron, fell in with the British fleet off Cape Race
, the southernmost point of Newfoundland
Between ten and eleven in the morning of the eighth, the Alcide, under Hocquart, was within hearing of the Dunkirk
, a vessel of sixty guns, commanded by Howe
‘Are we at peace or war?’
The French affirm, that the answer to them was, ‘Peace, Peace;’ till Boscawen
gave the signal to engage.2 Howe
, who was as brave as he was taciturn, obeyed the order promptly; and the Alcide and Lys yielded to superior force.
, being a good sailer,
scud safely for Louisburg
Nine more of the French
squadron came in sight of the British
, but were not intercepted; and, before June was gone, Dieskau
and his troops, with De Vaudreuil
, who superseded Duquesne
as governor of Canada
, landed at Quebec
was a Canadian by birth, had served in Canada
, and been governor of Louisiana
flocked about him to bid him welcome.
had promised Newcastle
to be ‘beyond the mountains of Alleghany
by the end of April;’ at Alexandria
, in April, he prepared the ministry for tidings of his successes by an express in June.
, where he halted for carriages, he said to Franklin
, ‘After taking Fort Duquesne
, I am to proceed to Niagara
, and, having taken that, to Frontenac
can hardly detain me above three or four days, and then I see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara
are dexterous in laying and executing ambuscades,’ replied Franklin
, who remembered the French
invasion of the Chickasaws, and the death of Artaguette and Vincennes
‘The savages,’ answered Braddock
, ‘may be formidable to your raw American militia; upon the king's regulars and disciplined troops it is impossible they should make any impression.’
Still the little army was ‘unable to move, for want of horses and carriages;’ but Franklin
, by his ‘great influence in Pennsylvania
,’ supplied both, with a ‘promptitude and probity’ which extorted praise from Braddock
and unanimous thanks from the Assembly of his province.3
the wagoners was Daniel Morgan
, famed in village
groups as a wrestler; skilful in the use of the musket; who emigrated, as a day-laborer, from New Jersey
, and husbanded his wages so that he had been able to become the owner of a team; all unconscious of his future greatness.
At Will's Creek
, which took the name of Cumberland
, in May, joined the expedition as one of the generals aids.
Seven-and-twenty days passed in the march of the army from Alexandria
, where, at last, two thousand effective men were assembled; among them, two independent companies from New York, under the command of Horatio Gates
‘The American troops,’ wrote Braddock
, ‘have little courage, or good-will.
I expect from them almost no military service, though I have employed the best officers to drill them;’4
and losing all patience, he insulted the country as void of ability, honor, and honesty.
‘The general is brave,’ said his secretary, young Shirley
‘and in pecuniary matters honest, but disqualified for the service he is employed in;’ and Washington
found him ‘incapable of arguing without warmth, or giving up any point he had asserted, be it ever so incompatible with reason or common sense.’
to the fork of the Ohio
the distance is less than one hundred and thirty miles. In the last day of May, five hundred men were sent forward to open the roads, and store provisions at Little Meadows.
Sir Peter Halket
followed with the first brigade, and June was advancing before the general was in motion with the second. ‘Braddock
not at all impatient to be scalped,’ thought men in England
Meantime Fort Duquesne
was receiving reinforcements.
‘We shall have more to do,’ said Washington
, ‘than to go up the hills and come down.’
The army moved forward slowly and with military exactness, but in a slender line, nearly four miles long; always in fear of Indian ambuscades; exposed, by attacks on its flanks, to be cut in pieces like a thread.
The narrow road was made with infinite toil across mountains and masses of lofty rocks, over ravines and rivers.
As the horses, for want of forage, must feed on the wild grasses, and the cattle browse among the shrubs, they grew weak, and began to give out. The regular troops pined under the wilderness fare.
On the nineteenth of June, Braddock
, by Washington
's advice, leaving Dunbar
behind with the residue of the army, resolved to push forward with twelve hundred chosen men. ‘The prospect,’ says Washington
, ‘conveyed to my mind infinite delight;’ and he would not suffer ‘excessive’ illness to detain him from active service.
Yet still they stopped to level every molehill, and erect bridges over every creek.
On the eighth of July they arrived at the fork of the Monongahela
and Youghiogeny Rivers
The distance to Fort Duquesne
was but twelve miles, and the Governor
of New France gave it up as lost.6
Early in the morning of the ninth of July, Braddock
set his troops in motion.
A little below the
Youghiogeny they forded the Monongahela
marched on the southern bank of that tranquil stream, displaying outwardly to the forests the perfection of military discipline, brilliant in their dazzling uniform, their burnished arms gleaming in the bright summer's sun, but sick at heart, and enfeebled by toil and unwholesome diet.
At noon they forded the Monongahela
again, and stood between the rivers that form the Ohio
, only ten miles distant from their junction.
A detachment of three hundred and fifty men, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Gage
and closely attended by a working party of two hundred and fifty, under St. Clair
, advanced cautiously, with guides and flanking parties, along a path but twelve feet wide, towards the uneven woody country that was between them and Fort Duquesne
The general was following with the columns of artillery, baggage, and the main body of the army, when a very heavy and quick fire was heard in the front.
Aware of Braddock
's progress by the fidelity of their scouts, the French
had resolved on an ambuscade.
Twice in council the Indians declined the enterprise.
‘I shall go,’ said De Beaujeu, ‘and will you suffer your father to go alone?
I am sure we shall conquer;’ and, sharing his confidence, they pledged themselves to be his companions.9
At an early hour, Contrecoeur
, the commandant at Fort Duquesne
, detached De Beaujeu, Dumas
, and De Lignery, with less than two hundred and thirty French and Canadians, and six hundred and thirty-seven savages,
of the troops, and on the hills which overhung the
right flank, invisible, yet making the woods re-echo their war-whoop, fired irregularly, but with deadly aim, at ‘the fair mark’ offered by the ‘compact body of men beneath them.’
None of the English
that were engaged would say they saw a hundred of the enemy,10
and ‘many of the officers, who were in the heat of the action the whole time, would not assert that they saw one.’11
The combat was obstinate, and continued for two hours with scarcely any change in the disposition of either side.12
Had the regulars shown courage, the issue would not have been doubtful; but terrified by the yells of the Indians, and dispirited by a manner of fighting such as they had never imagined, they would not long obey the voice of their officers, but fired in platoons almost as fast as they could load, aiming among the trees, or firing into the air. In the midst of the strange scene, nothing was so sublime as the persevering gallantry of the officers.
They used the utmost art to encourage the men to move upon the enemy; they told them off into small parties of which they took the lead; they bravely formed the front; they advanced sometimes at the head of small bodies, sometimes separately, to recover the cannon, or to get possession of the hill; but were sacrificed by the soldiers who declined to follow them, and even fired upon them from the rear.13
Of eighty-six officers,
twenty-six were killed,—among them, Sir Peter Hal
ket,—and thirty-seven were wounded, including Gage
1755 and other field-officers.
Of the men, one half were killed or wounded.
braved every danger.
His secretary was shot dead; both his English aids were disabled early in the engagement14
leaving the American
alone to distribute his orders.
‘I expected every moment,’ said one whose eye was on Washing ton, ‘to see him fall.’15
‘Nothing but the superin tending care of Providence
could have saved him.’
An Indian chief—I suppose a Shawnee—singled him out with his rifle; and bade others of his warriors do the same.
Two horses were killed under him; four balls penetrated his coat.
‘Some potent Manitou guards his life,’ exclaimed the savage.16
‘Death,’ wrote Washington
, ‘was levelling my companions on every side of me; but, by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence
, I have been protected.’17
‘To the public,’ said Davies
, a learned divine, in the following month, ‘I point out that heroic youth, Colonel Washington
, whom I cannot but hope Providence
has preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country.’
‘Who is Mr. Washington
asked Lord Halifax a few months later.
‘I know nothing of him’ he added, ‘but that they say he behaved in Braddock
's action as bravely as if he really loved the whistling of bullets.’18
The Virginia troops showed great valor, and were nearly all massacred.
Of three companies, scarcely thirty men were
and all his officers,
down to a corporal, were killed; of Polson
's, whose bravery was honored by the Legislature of the Old Dominion, only one was left.
But ‘those they call regulars, having wasted their ammunition, broke and ran, as sheep before hounds, leaving the artillery, provisions, baggage, and even the private papers of the general, a prey to the enemy.
The attempt to rally them was as vain as to attempt to stop the wild bears of the mountain.’19
‘Thus were the English
most scandalously beaten.’
Of privates, seven hundred and fourteen were killed or wounded; while of the French
, only three officers and thirty men fell, and but as many more were wounded.
had five horses disabled under him; at last a bullet entered his right side, and he fell mortally wounded.20
He was with difficulty brought off the field, and borne in the train of the fugitives.
All the first day he was silent; but at night he roused himself to say, ‘Who would have thought it’ The meeting at Dunbar
's camp made a day of confusion.
On the twelfth of July, Dunbar
destroyed the remaining artillery, and burned the public stores and the heavy baggage, to the value of a hundred thousand pounds,—pleading in excuse that he had the orders21
of the dying general, and being himself resolved, in midsummer, to evacuate Fort Cumberland
, and hurry to Philadelphia
Accordingly, the next day they all retreated.
At night Braddock
roused from his lethargy to say, ‘We shall better know how to deal with them another time,’
His grave may still be seen, near the na-
tional road, about a mile west of Fort Necessity
The forest field of battle was left thickly strewn with the wounded and the dead.
Never had there been such a harvest of scalps and spoils.
As evening approached, the woods round Fort Duquesne
rung with the halloos of the red men; the constant firing of small arms, mingled with a peal from the cannon at the fort.
The next day the British
artillery was brought in, and the Indian
warriors, painting their skin a shining vermilion, with patches of black, and brown, and blue, gloried in the laced hats and bright apparel of the English
nothing but victory had been anticipated.
‘All looks well,’ wrote Morris
; ‘the force of Canada
has vanished away in an instant;’ and of a sudden the news of Braddock
's defeat, and the shameful evacuation of Fort Cumberland
, threw the people of the central provinces into the greatest consternation.24
The Assembly of Pennsylvania immediately resolved to grant fifty thousand pounds to the king's use, in part by a tax on all estates, real and personal, within the province.
, obeying his instructions from the proprietaries, claimed exemption for their estates.
The Assembly rejected the demand with disdain; for the annual income of the proprietaries from quitrents, groundrents, rents of manors, and other appropriated and settled lands, was nearly thirty thousand pounds.25 Sharpe
would not convene the Assembly of Maryland, be-
cause it was ‘fond of imitating the precedents of Pennsylvania
And the governors, proprietary as well as royal, reciprocally assured each other that nothing could be done in their colonies without an act of parliament.26
The months that followed were months of sorrow.
Happily, the Catawbas at the South
remained faithful; and in July, at a council of five hundred Cherokees assembled under a tree in the highlands of Western Carolina, Glen
renewed the covenant of peace, obtained a cession of lands, and was invited to erect Fort Prince George near the villages of Conasatchee and Keowee.
At the North
, New England
was extending British dominion.
cheerfully levied about seven thousand nine hundred men, or nearly one-fifth of the able-bodied men in the colony.
Of these, a detachment took part in establishing the sovereignty of England
That peninsular region—abounding in harbors and in forests; rich in its ocean fisheries and in the product of its rivers; near to a continent that invited to the chase and the fur-trade; having, in its interior, large tracts of alluvial soil—had become dear to its inhabitants, who beheld around them the graves of their ancestors for several generations.
It was the oldest French colony in North America
There the Bretons had built their dwellings sixteen years before the Pilgrims reached the shores of New England
With the progress of the respective settlements, sectional jealousies and religious
bigotry had renewed their warfare; the off-
spring of the Massachusetts
husbandmen were taught to abhor ‘Popish cruelties’ and ‘Popish superstitions;’ while Roman Catholic
missionaries persevered in propagating the faith of their church among the villages of the Abenakis.
At last, after repeated conquests and restorations, the treaty of Utrecht
, or Nova Scotia
, to Great Britain
Yet the name of Annapolis
, the presence of a feeble English garrison, and the emigration of hardly five or six English families, were nearly all that marked the supremacy of England
The old inhabitants remained on the soil which they had subdued, hardly conscious that they had changed their sovereign.
They still loved the language and the usages of their forefathers, and their religion was graven upon their souls.
They promised submission to England
; but such was the love with which France
had inspired them, they would not fight against its standard or renounce its name.
Though conquered, they were French neutrals.
For nearly forty years from the peace of Utrecht
they had been forgotten or neglected, and had prospered in their seclusion.
No tax-gatherer counted their folds, no magistrate dwelt in their hamlets.
The parish priest made their records and regulated their successions.
Their little disputes were settled among themselves, with scarcely an instance of an appeal to English authority at Annapolis
The pastures were covered with their herds and flocks; and dikes, raised by extraordinary efforts of social industry, shut out the rivers and the tide from alluvial marshes of exuberant fertility.
The meadows, thus reclaimed, were covered by richest grasses, or fields
of wheat, that yielded fifty and thirty fold at the bar-
Their houses were built in clusters, neatly constructed and comfortably furnished, and around them all kinds of domestic fowls abounded.
With the spinning-wheel and the loom, their women made, of flax from their own fields, of fleeces from their own flocks, coarse, but sufficient clothing.
The few foreign luxuries that were coveted could be obtained from Annapolis
, in return for furs, or wheat, or cattle.
Thus were the Acadians happy in their neutrality and in the abundance which they drew from their native land.
They formed, as it were, one great family.
Their morals were of unaffected purity.
Love was sanctified and calmed by the universal custom of early marriages.
The neighbors of the community would assist the new couple to raise their cottage, while the wilderness offered land.
Their numbers increased, and the colony, which had begun only as the trading station of a company, with a monopoly of the fur-trade, counted, perhaps, sixteen or seventeen thousand inhabitants.27
began vigorously to colonize Nova Scotia
, the native inhabitants might fear the loss of their independence.
The enthusiasm of their priests
was kindled into fervor at the thought that heretics,
of a land which had disfranchised Catholics
, were to surround, and perhaps to overwhelm, the ancient Acadians
‘Better,’ said the priests, ‘surrender your meadows to the sea, and your houses to the flames, than, at the peril of your souls, take the oath of allegiance to the British
And they, from their very simplicity and anxious sincerity, were uncertain in their resolves; now gathering courage to flee beyond the isthmus, for other homes in New France, and now yearning for their own houses and fields, their herds and pastures.
The haughtiness of the British
officers aided the priests in their attempts to foment disaffection.
regarded colonies, even when settled by men from their own land, only as sources of emolument to the mother country; colonists as an inferior caste.
were despised because they were helpless.
Ignorant of the laws of their conquerors, they were not educated to the knowledge, the defence, and the love of English liberties; they knew not the way to the throne, and, given up to military masters, had no redress in civil tribunals.
Their papers and records, the titles to their estates and inheritances, were taken away from them.
Was their property demanded for the public service?
‘they were not to be bargained with for the payment.’28
The order may still be read on the Council records at Halifax
They must comply, it was written, without making any terms, ‘immediately,’ or ‘the next courier would bring an order for military execution upon the delinquents.’
And when they delayed in fetching firewood for their
oppressors, it was told them from the governor, ‘If
they do not do it in proper time, the soldiers shall absolutely take their houses for fuel.’
The unoffending sufferers submitted meekly to the tyranny.
Under pretence of fearing that they might rise in behalf of France
, or seek shelter in Canada
, or convey provisions to the French
garrisons, they were directed to surrender their boats and their firearms;29
and, conscious of innocence, they gave up their barges and their muskets, leaving themselves without the means of flight, and defenceless.
Further orders were afterwards given to the English
officers, if the Acadians behaved amiss to punish them at discretion; if the troops were annoyed, to inflict vengeance on the nearest, whether the guilty one or not,—‘taking an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
had yielded the sovereignty over no more than the peninsula.
They established themselves on the isthmus in two forts,—one, a small stockade at the mouth of the little river Gaspereaux, near Bay Verde; the other, the more considerable fortress of Beau-Sejour
, built and supplied at great expense, upon an eminence on the north side of the Messagouche, on the Bay of Fundy
The isthmus is here hardly fifteen miles wide, and formed the natural boundary between New France and Acadia
had passed the previous winter in unsuspecting tranquillity, ignorant of the preparations of the two crowns for war. As spring approached, suspicions were aroused; but De Vergor, the inefficient commander, took no vigorous measures for strengthening his works, nor was he
fully roused to his danger, till, from the walls of his
fort, he himself beheld the fleet of the English
sailing fearlessly into the bay, and anchoring before his eyes.
The provincial troops, about fifteen hundred in number, strengthened by a detachment of three hundred regulars and a train of artillery, were disembarked without difficulty.
A day was given to repose and parade; on the fourth of June, they forced the passage of the Messagouche, the intervening river.
No sally was attempted by De Vergor; no earnest defence was undertaken.
On the twelfth, the fort at Beau-Sejour
, weakened by fear, discord, and confusion, was invested, and in four days it surrendered.30
By the terms of the capitulation, the garrison was to be sent to Louisburg
; for the Acadian fugitives, inasmuch as they had been forced into the service, amnesty was stipulated.
The place received an English garrison, and, from the brother of the king, then the soul of the regency, was named Cumberland
The petty fortress near the river Gaspereaux
, on Bay Verde, a mere palisade, flanked by four blockhouses, without mound or trenches, and tenanted by no more than twenty soldiers, though commanded by the brave De Villerai
, could do nothing but capitulate on the same terms.
Meantime, Captain Rous
sailed, with three frigates and a sloop, to reduce the French
fort on the St. John
's. But before he arrived there, the fort and dwellings of the French
had been abandoned and burned, and he took possession of a deserted country.
Thus was the region east of the St. Croix
annexed to England
, with a loss of but twenty men killed, and as many more wounded.
No further resistance was to be feared.
cowered before their masters, hoping forbear-
ance; willing to take an oath of fealty to England
; in their single-mindedness and sincerity, refusing to pledge themselves to bear arms against France
were masters of the sea, were undisputed lords of the country, and could exercise clemency without apprehension.
Not a whisper gave a warning of their purpose, till it was ripe for execution.
But it had been ‘determined upon’ after the ancient device of Oriental
despotism, that the French
inhabitants of Acadia
should be carried away into captivity to other parts of the British
‘They have laid aside all thought of taking the oaths of allegiance voluntarily;’ thus in August, 1754, Lawrence
, the Lieutenant-Governor
of Nova Scotia
, had written of them to Lord Halifax. ‘They possess the best and largest tract of land in this province; if they refuse the oaths, it would be much better that they were away.’31
The Lords of Trade in reply veiled their wishes under the decorous form of suggestions.
‘By the treaty of Utrecht
,’ said they of the French Acadians
, ‘their becoming subjects of Great Britain
is made an express condition of their continuance after the expiration of a year; they cannot become subjects but by taking the oaths required of subjects; and therefore it may be a question, whether their refusal to take such oaths will not operate to invalidate their titles to their lands.
Consult the Chief Justice
of Nova Scotia
upon that point; his opinion may serve as a foundation for future measures.’32
remembered the descendants of her sons
in the hour of their affliction, and asked that they
might have time to remove from the Peninsula
with their effects, leaving their lands to the English
; but the answer of the British
minister claimed them as useful subjects, and refused them the liberty of transmigration.33
The inhabitants of Minas
and the adjacent country pleaded with the British
officers for the restitution of their boats and their guns, promising fidelity, if they could but retain their liberties, and declaring that not the want of arms, but their conscience, should engage them not to revolt.
‘The memorial,’ said Lawrence
in council, ‘is highly arrogant, insidious, and insulting.’
The memorialists, at his summons, came submissively to Halifax
‘You want your canoes for carrying provisions to the enemy:’ said he to them, though he knew no enemy was left in their vicinity.
‘Guns are no part of your goods,’ he continued, ‘as by the laws of England
all Roman Catholics are restrained from having arms, and are subject to penalties if arms are found in their houses.
It is not the language of British subjects to talk of terms with the crown, or capitulate about their fidelity and allegiance.
What excuse can you make for your presumption in treating this government with such indignity, as to expound to them the nature of fidelity?
Manifest your obedience, by immediately taking the oaths of allegiance in the common form before the council.’34
The deputies replied that they would do as the
generality of the inhabitants should determine; and
they merely entreated leave to return home and consult the body of their people.
The next day, the unhappy men, foreseeing the sorrows that menaced them, offered to swear allegiance unconditionally; but they were told that by a clause in a British statute35
persons who have once refused the oaths cannot be afterwards permitted to take them, but are to be considered as Popish Recusants; and as such they were imprisoned.
The Chief Justice
, on whose opinion hung the fate of so many hundreds of innocent families, insisted that the French
inhabitants were to be looked upon as confirmed ‘rebels;’ who had now collectively and without exception become ‘recusants.’
Besides: they still counted in their villages ‘eight thousand’ souls, and the English
not more than ‘three thousand;’ they stood in the way of ‘the progress of the settlement;’ ‘by their non-compliance with the conditions of the treaty of Utrecht
, they had forfeited their possessions to the crown;’ after the departure ‘of the fleet and troops the province would not be in a condition to drive them out.’
‘Such a juncture as the present might never occur;’ so he advised ‘against receiving any of the French
inhabitants to take the oath,’ and for the removal of ‘all’ of them from the province.36
That the cruelty might have no palliation, letters arrived, leaving no doubt, that the shores of the Bay of Fundy
were entirely in the possession of the British
and yet at a council, at which Viceral
and the Rear-Admiral Mostyn
present by invitation,38
it was unanimously determined to send the French
inhabitants out of the province; and after mature consideration it was further unanimously agreed that, to prevent their attempting to return and molest the settlers that may be set down on their lands, it would be most proper to distribute them amongst the several colonies on the continent.39
To hunt them into the net was impracticable; artifice was therefore resorted to. By a general proclamation, on one and the same day, the scarcely conscious victims, ‘both old men and young men, as well as all the lads of ten years of age,’ were peremptorily ordered to assemble at their respective posts.
On the appointed fifth of September, they obeyed.
At Grand Pre, for example, four hundred and eighteen unarmed men came together.
They were marched into the church and its avenues were closed, when Winslow
, the American
commander, placed himself in their centre, and spoke:—
‘You are convened together to manifest to you his Majesty's final resolution to the French
inhabitants of this his province.
Your lands and tenements, cattle of all kinds, and live stock of all sorts, are forfeited to the crown, and you yourselves are to be removed from this his province.
I am, through his Majesty's goodness, directed to allow you liberty to carry off your money and household goods, as many
as you can, without discommoding the vessels you go
And he then declared them the king's prisoners.
Their wives and families shared their lot; their sons, five hundred and twenty-seven in number, their daughters, five hundred and seventy-six; in the whole, women and babes and old men and children all included, nineteen hundred and twenty-three souls.
The blow was sudden; they had left home but for the morning, and they never were to return.
Their cattle were to stay unfed in the stalls, their fires to die out on their hearths.
They had for that first day even no food for themselves or their children, and were compelled to beg for bread.
The tenth of September was the day for the embarkation of a part of the exiles.
They were drawn up six deep, and the young men, one hundred and sixty-one in number, were ordered to march first on board the vessel.
They could leave their farms and cottages, the shady rocks on which they had reclined, their herds and their garners; but nature yearned within them, and they would not be separated from their parents.
Yet of what avail was the frenzied despair of the unarmed youth?
They had not one weapon; the bayonet drove them to obey; and they marched slowly and heavily from the chapel to the shore, between women and children, who, kneeling, prayed for blessings on their heads, they themselves weeping, and praying, and singing hymns.
The seniors went next; the wives and children must wait till other transport vessels arrive.
The delay had its horrors.
The wretched people left behind, were kept together near the sea, without proper food, or raiment, or shelter, till other ships came to take them away; and December with its appalling cold, had struck the
shivering, half-clad, broken-hearted sufferers, before
the last of them were removed.
‘The embarkation of the inhabitants goes on but slowly,’ wrote Monckton
, from Fort Cumberland
, near which he had burned three hamlets; ‘the most part of the wives of the men we have prisoners are gone off with their children, in hopes I would not send off their husbands without them.’
Their hope was vain.
, a hundred heads of families fled to the woods, and a party was detached on the hunt to bring them in. ‘Our soldiers hate them,’ wrote an officer on this occasion, ‘and if they can but find a pretext to kill them, they will.’
Did a prisoner seek to escape?
He was shot down by the sentinel.
Yet some fled to Quebec
; more than three thousand had withdrawn to Miiramichi, and the region south of the Ristigouche;40
some found rest on the banks of the St. John
's and its branches; some found a lair in their native forests; some were charitably sheltered from the English
in the wigwams of the savages.
thousand of these banished people were driven on board ships, and scattered among the English
colonies, from New Hampshire
;——one thousand and twenty to South Carolina
They were cast ashore without resources; hating the poor-house as a shelter for their offspring, and abhorring the thought of selling themselves as laborers.
Households, too, were separated;
the colonial newspapers contained advertise-
ments of members of families seeking their companions, of sons anxious to reach and relieve their parents, of mothers mourning for their children.
The wanderers sighed for their native country; but, to prevent their return, their villages, from Annapolis
to the isthmus, were laid waste.
Their old homes were but ruins.
In the district of Minas
, for instance, two hundred and fifty of their houses, and more than as many barns, were consumed.
The live stock which belonged to them, consisting of great numbers of horned cattle, hogs, sheep and horses,43
were seized as spoils and disposed of by the English
A beautiful and fertile tract of country was reduced to a solitude.
There was none left round the ashes of the cottages of the Acadians but the faithful watch-dog, vainly seeking the hands that fed him. Thickets of forest-trees choked their orchards; the ocean broke over their neglected dikes, and desolated their meadows.
Relentless misfortune pursued the exiles wherever they fled.
Those sent to Georgia
, drawn by a love for the spot where they were born as strong as that of the captive Jews, who wept by the side of the rivers of Babylon
for their own temple and land, escaped to sea in boats, and went coasting from harbor to harbor; but when they had reached New England
, just as they would have set sail for their native fields, they were stopped by orders from Nova Scotia
Those who dwelt on the St. John
's were torn once more from their new homes.45
with its worst venom pursued the fifteen hundred,
who remained south of the Ristigouche.46
Once those who dwelt in Pennsylvania
presented a humble petition to the Earl
, then the British
commander-in-chief in America
; and the cold-hearted peer, offended that the prayer was made in French
, seized their five principal men, who in their own land had been persons of dignity and substance, and shipped them to England
, with the request, that they might be kept from ever again becoming troublesome by being consigned to service as common sailors on board ships of war.47
No doubt existed of the king's approbation.48
The Lords of Trade, more merciless than the savages and than the wilderness in winter, wished very much that every one of the Acadians should be driven out; and when it seemed that the work was done, congratulated the king that ‘the zealous endeavors of Lawrence
had been crowned with an entire success.’49
I know not if the annals of the human race keep the record of sorrows so wantonly inflicted, so bitter and so perennial, as fell upon the French
inhabitants of Acadia
‘We have been true,’ they said of themselves, ‘to our religion, and true to ourselves; yet nature appears to consider us only as the objects of public vengeance.’50
The hand of the English
official seemed under a spell with regard to them; and was never uplifted but to curse them.