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[196] was kindled into fervor at the thought that heretics,
chap. VIII.} 1755.
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 government.’ 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. The English 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. The Acadians 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.’1 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

1 Haliburton's History of Nova Scotia, i. 169.

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