New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

WE NEED THE ACADIANS TO REMAIN: Lieut. Governors, 1715

with one comment

From the blog at


Early Acadians

‘Early Acadians’, by Claude T. Picard

From the CBC online page ‘The Acadians Timeline’

The Peace of Utrecht (1713) was a set of treaties covering many issues, and one of these treaties ceded Acadia to Great Britain. There was disagreement as to what constituted ‘Acadia’, but everyone agreed that peninsular Nova Scotia, at least, was then British territory. Nearby Cape Breton remained under French control.

This blog posting includes three very surprising letters about a debate over what to do with the Acadians. The Royal instruction was that they were to be considered a defeated enemy, and the Peace gave them two choices. They could leave Acadia for French territory within a year, or remain and take oaths of allegiance to Great Britain.

In the first letter, a British colonel complained that the Acadians were a problem. There was a plan to send them to Cape Breton, but the colonel predicted that the Indians would follow and Nova Scotia would be left with no population, except for the English garrison. The garrison’s only local source of grain and beef and pork would then be gone. The Acadians were needed by the British, yet their status as a defeated people interfered with co-existence.

The situation had become even starker by May of 1715 when the Lieutenant Governor complained that the Acadians had no intention of taking loyalty oaths or of departing for Cape Breton. The situation would be dire if they were forced out, since they were the only ready source of British supplies. The Lieutenant Governor’s credits in Boston were exhausted and his only hope was to appeal to the New England Governor for more credits.

Months later, in November of 1715, the Lieutenant Governor predicted that removing the Acadians to Cape Breton would strengthen French holdings, and leave the British to the mercy of the Indians. Relations with the Indians were unlikely to improve since the British did not have a trading infrastructure. The previous Lieutenant Governor was also interfering in the management of Nova Scotia by insisting upon the Cape Breton plan and by harassing the Acadians. The Lieutenant Governor preferred to see a day when the Acadians and the English might reconcile.

Here, then, are the three letters:


Colonel Vetch to the Right Honble. The Lords of Trade

London, Novr. 24th, 1714

My Lords,—

In answer to Your Lordships Queries, delivered to me by Mr. Secretary Popple upon the 23d of this instant, my most humble opinion is as follows:

As to the number of familys of French Inhabitants in the countrys of L’Accady and Nova Scotia, by the best account I ever could get during the space of three years and more I had the honor to command there, they were computed to be about five hundred family’s at the rate of five persons to a family; which makes two thousand five hundred souls.

As to the next how many of them it is supposed will remove; by the last advices from thence, they had obliged themselves under their hands all to remove save two family’s viz one Mr. Allen and one Mr. Gourday both of which had liv’d in New England formerly.

As to the 3d Querie, how many family’s may be upon Cape Breton is what I can’t pretend to be so exact in. But according to the best advices, I could learn they are said to be now about five hundred familys besides the Garrison, which I consider, consists of 7 companys already. The French King to encourage them to settle the place gives them eighteen months provisions, and assists them with ships, and salt, to carry on the fishery:

As to the 4th what may be the consequence of the French moving from Nova Scotia to Cape Bretton; They are evidently these, First their leaving that country intirely destitute of inhabitants: There being none but French, and Indians (excepting the Garrison) settled in those parts; and as they have intermarried, with the Indians, by which and their being of one Religion, they have a mighty influence upon them. So it is not to be doubted, but they will carry along with them to Cape Bretton both the Indians and their trade, Which is very considerable. And as the accession of such a number of Inhabitants to Cape Bretton will make it at once a very populous Colony; (in which the strength of all the Country’s consists) So it is to be considered, that one hundred of the French, who were born upon that continent, and are perfectly known in the woods; can march upon snow shoes; and understand the use of Birch Canoes are of more value and service than five times their number of raw men, newly come from Europe. So their skill in the Fishery, as well as the cultivating of the soil, must inevitably make that Island, by such an accession of people, and French, at once the most powerful colony, the French have in America. And of the greatest danger and damage to all the British Colony’s as well as the universal trade of Great Britain.

As to the next question, which relates to the time of the French’s removing from Nova Scotia, with their effects: I am informed, several of them, who have no very great substance, are already removed thither, this summer; and that the rest design to do so next summer, as soon as their harvest is over, and grain got in; As to the number of cattle, they may carry away, (if permitted) and what will be the consequences of the same, I have been informed when upon the place, that there may be about five thousand black Cattle, besides a great number of Sheep, and Hoggs, in all that country, the greater part of all which, no doubt they will carry off if permitted.

The consequences of which are evidently these: First, It will Intirely strip that Colony of the above cattle of all sorts, and reduce it to its primitive state; To replenish which at the same rate (it now is from New England the nearest Colony to it, which is one hundred and ten leagues) at a moderate computation of freight, only for the transportation of such a number of Black Cattle, and a proportionable number of Sheep and Hoggs, will cost above Forty thousand pounds; besides the long time, it will require to stock that country.

As to the last Querie, That comes under my cognizance yiz, The consequence of allowing the French to sell their lands in those parts, First, as it would entirely disappoint the settlement of that valuable country, Because it is never to be supposed, that any person will go to buy land in a new country, when in all His Majesty’s plantations abroad, there is such encouragement of land gratis, to such as will come to settle in them.

2ndly. It would be a breach of the Public faith, contained in Her Majesty’s Royal instructions, when the reduction of that place was undertaken, By which the lands are promised away to the Captors, for their encouragement to reduce the same. Nor is there any article in the treaty of peace; that entitles the French to any such privileges. Nay moreover, I am of opinion that by the treaty, the French inhabitants, are allowed either to remove if they designed it, or at least to make a demand of the same, in a year’s time after the ratification of the treaty, neither of which was done. Nor would the inhabitants have offered to goe, had they not been not only importuned but threatened by the French officers, in the French Kings name, to be treated as Rebels if they did not remove, which how far that is consistent with the Treaty, is with the foregoing particulars most humbly submitted to Your Lordships consummate Wisdom by

May it please Your Lordships

Your Lordships most humbly Devoted Servant


Lt. Govr. Caulfield to Secretary of State

Annapolis Royal, May ye 3rd. 1715


I hope by this time that mine of the 24th of Dembr. last is come safe to hand with ye account of my proclaiming his Most Sacred Majesty King Geo. Here inclosed are the transactions of Messrs. Button and Capoon, Gentlemen I sent on that occation to ye several ports and harbors in a sloop which ye season of ye year would not permit to go with my first, Save some few places to ye Eastward which have already declared for ye french King, by which you will find that ye Inhabitants of this country, being most of them french refuse the oaths, having as I am informed refused to quit this collony intirely and to settell under ye french Govrmt. and I humblie desire to be informed how I shall behave to them; The unhappy circumstances of this place obliges me to acquaint you that if some other methods be not taken than what lately have been, it will be impossible for this place to subsist the ensuing winter. The french who always maintained this Garrison with corn are most of them quitting the Collony, especially att Minos the only grain plantation, So that in all probability we have noe prospect on their side, And as I am intirely destitute of any farther Credite at Boston in New England, occasioned by Genl. Nicholson, which may at this time prove detrimental to his Majesty’s Service—having always endeavored upon my own creditt to serve ye Garrison to the utmost of my power, for I doe assure you that I have complyed with Genll. Nicholson’s orders in all respects. Inclosed is the Commisserys return of quantity and sort of provisions and to what time each specie will bring the Garrison. I am now obliged to send a vessel to ye Gov’ment of New England to solicite for provisions, therefore beg you will not take itt amiss that I apprise you of the difficulties wee labour under, that in case (which God forbid) any misfortune should happen I may not suffer,

I am Sir with all respect, Yr most obedt. Humble Servant



Lt. Govt. Caulfield to Board of Trade and Plantations

Annapolis Royall, Novr. ye Ist, 1715

My Lords,

I am now to lay before Your Lopps [sic., Lordships] my opinion in relation to ye french Inhabitants of this Collony, wch. if they continue in this country, will be of great consequence for ye better improvement thereof; for as you will observe their numbers are considerable and in case they quitt us will still strengthen our enemies when occasion serves, by so much; and tho’ we may not expect much benefitt from them, yet their children in process of time may be brought to our constitution. And whereas there are several well meaning people among them, We may always guard ourselves from any injury they can be able, if willing, to do us. I have always observed since my comeing here their forwardness to serve us when occasion offered And if some English Inhabitants were sent over, especially industrious labourers, tarr and pitch makers, carpenters and smiths it would be of great advantage to this Colony; but in case ye french quit us we shall never be able to maintaine or protect our English family’s from ye insults of ye Indians, ye worst of enemies, wch. ye french by their staying will in a great measure ward off for their own sakes. Your Lopps will see by ye Stocks of Cattell they have at this time, that in two or three years with due encouragement, we may be furnished with everything within ourselves. The Indians of Pennobscott, St. Johns, and Cape Sables, trade chiefly on ye several coasts with furrs and feathers, who never come here but when necessity obliges them and ye reasons they assign are that there is noe Kings Magazine here for them, as was in ye time of ye french, or as there is now at Cape Breton, wch: if there was they would bring in all their peltery to us and I believe would prove a great advantage, both in respect of trade, and as well ye chief means to bring them over to our Interest, by kindly using of them, on wch foundation their friendship is wholly founded, and great advantages would accrue thereby to ye Crown in particular and country in general. I herewith transmitt Your Lopps ye copy of a letter, I received from ye Savages of Pennobscott, and St. Johns, wrote by their Priests and translated in English with my answer to ye same.

I am now to inform your Lopps that upon ye arrival of General Nicholson our late Govr. in these parts, I received several letters from him dated at Boston containing his request of my opinion relating to ye Garrison and Country wch. I punctually answered.

At his arrival here the following Augt. he assured ye Garrison of his favour and Interest tho’ at ye same time he stopt our pay att Home, injured our creditt att Boston by his ordrs obliged some of ye french Inhabitants to quit ye country, shutt ye gates of the Garrison against those that remained and declared them traytors, tho’ he was convinced wee must subsist that Winter by them or perish; for by ye methods he took when he returned to Boston left us intirely unprovided in all respects.

My Lords were I to relate the means and methods he took when here itt would be too troublesome, there never having been anything proposed by him for either the service of country or Garrison, but a continued Scene of unpresidented methods taken to ruine Mr. Vetch or any other person who interposed on that head.

I must own ’tis with ye greatest reluctancy immaginable that I am obliged to acquaint your Lopps of ye frequent misbehaviour of Capt. Armstrong of this Garrison towards several inhabitants here and by my next shall transmitt your Lopps the several complaints in behalf of ye said inhabitants.

I shall endeavour from time to time to transmitt your Lopps the best accounts I may be able to procure relating to this Province and as well their proceedings at Cape Breton and am with great respect

My Lords Your Lordships most obedient, most obliged Humble Servt.



Written by johnwood1946

February 2, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thank you for sharing …. SUPER interesting It is to read thèse lettres….

    Claudia Saint-Pierre

    February 3, 2016 at 8:27 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: