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A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717

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From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com

A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717

Mi’kmaq man, possibly in New Brunswick

ca 1915 from the McCord Museum

Following are three documents. The first is Nova Scotia Lieut. Governor John Doucette’s letter to Britain explaining his failure to get the Acadians to sign a loyalty oath. The other two documents are attachments to Doucette’s letter, being the loyalty oath that he hoped that they would sign, and their response. Relations with the Mi’kmaq are also discussed.

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Lieut. Governor Doucette to the Secretary of State

Annapolis Royal Novr. ye 5, 1717

Sir,—

Soon after my arrival here which was on the 28th day of the last month, I was informed that the French Inhabitants had never own’d his Majesty as Possessor of this his continent of Nova Scotia and L’Acadie.

I therefore sent a summons to the people that were in this neighborhood to signe one of the papers inclosed, which if they complied with, I promised them they should have the same Protection and Liberty as the other of his Majesty’s subjects had here, if not I could by no means lett their vessels pass this Fort, to trade or fish on the coast, upon which they drew up the other paper enclosed which I could have been glad to have sent you in a cleaner manner, but the ship that brought the provisions being ready to sail, I had not time to get another signed, I find abundance inclinable to sign rather than lose the profitt they make in the fishing season, and I do veryly believe all would become subjects to His Majesty were it not for the Priests that are amongst them, who have, from the misserry that I and our poor Soldiers have been reduced to for want of money and all sorts of necessary’s, and seeing the Fort so much run to ruin, for the same reasons they have taken it as a means to inculcate a notion amongst the french inhabitants, that the Pretender will be soon settled in England and that this country will again fall into the hands of the french King; which sentiments they not dareing to own, they turn their disobedience to His Majesty to a dread of the Indians which is impossible, for the Indians here are intirely ruled by the french, and are used by them in no other manner but like slaves, so that with submission Sir, if orders could be procured to be sent from France to the Governors of Canada and Cape Breton to and severely punish any Indians or others, the french who shall insult the people of Nova Scotia or Lacadie who live under the protection of his majesty, and that a copy of such order be sent to this Garrison and others dispersed amongst the french Inhabitants, that now live in Nova Scotia and Lacadie, it would certainly be a mean’s for the inhabitants to become Subjects to his Majesty, and convince them of one error amongst the millions their Priests dayly lead them into, after which we might hope that the country about us which has been neglected (ever since the reduction of this Place) would be again improved so far that we might not longer want grain, cattle and other necessarys as wee do at present. * * * *

Your honors Most obedient and most humble servant to command,

J. Doucette

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The Declaration Sent to the French for Signature

Wee the french Inhabitants whose names are under written now dwelling in Annapolis Royal and the adjacent parts of Nova Scotia or Lacadie formerly subjects to the late french King who by the Peace concluded att Utrecht did by Articles therein deliver up the whole country of Nova Scotia and Lacadie to the late Queen of Great Britain, wee doe hereby for the aforesaid reason and for the protection of us and our Familys that shall reside in Annapolis Royall or the adjacent parts of Nova Scotia or Lacadie, now in possession of his most sacred Majesty George, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, and doe declare that we acknowledge him to be the Sole King of the said Country and of Nova Scotia and Lacadie and all the Islands depending thereon and we likewise doe declare and most solemnly swear before God to own him as our Sovereign King and to obey him as his true and Lawfull subjects in Witness whereof we sett our hands in the Presence of John Doucett his Majesty’s Lieut. Governor of Annapolis Royal this day — of — of in the year of Our Lord 1717.

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The Response of the Acadians to the Draft Declaration

We the undersigned inhabitants of Acadie, according to the orders which the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to cause to be published on the part of King George viz. that we have fully to declare ourselves regarding the oath of fidelity which is demanded of us in the said orders, humbly entreat Mr. John Doucette our Governor, to be pleased to consider, that we constitute but a small number of the inhabitants.

We therefore respectfully request him to assemble the deputies of the other colonies of Minas, Beaubassin and Cobequid, with ourselves, in order that we may answer the demands that have been made on us, as we are instructed that they are now made for the last time.

For the present, we can only answer, that we shall be ready to carry into effect the demand proposed to us, as soon as his Majesty shall have done us the favor of providing some means of sheltering us from the savage tribes, who are always ready to do all kinds of mischief, proofs of which have been afforded on many occasions since the peace, they having killed and robbed several persons, as well English as French. Wherefore we pray his Excellency to consider this, and to represent to his Majesty the condition in which we are.

That unless we are protected from these savages, we cannot take the oath demanded of us without exposing ourselves to have our throats cut in our houses at any time, which they have already threatened to do.

In case other means cannot be found, we are ready to take an oath that we will take up arms neither against his Britannic Majesty, nor against France, nor against any of their subjects or allies.

Such, Sir, is the final opinion which the inhabitants take the liberty of presenting to your Excellency, as they are not able to act otherwise at present.

Signed by all the inhabitants in this neighborhood

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Written by johnwood1946

April 2, 2017 at 10:23 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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