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them had a desire for articles of greater luxury, they procured them from Annapolis or Louisburg, and gave in exchange corn, cattle, or furs. The neutral French had nothing else to give their neighbors, and made still fewer exchanges among themselves; because each separate family was able, and had been accustomed, to provide for its own wants. They therefore knew nothing of paper currency, which was so common throughout the rest of North America. Even the small quantity of gold and silver which had been introduced into the colony, did not inspire that activity in which consists its real value. Their manners were of course extremely simple. There was seldom a cause, either civil or criminal, of importance enough to be carried before the Court of Judication, established at Annapolis. Whatever little differences arose from time to time among them, were amicably adjusted by their elders. All their public acts were drawn by their pastors, who had likewise the keeping of their wills; for which, and their religious services, the inhabitants paid a twenty-seventh part of their harvest, which was always sufficient to afford more means than there were objects of generosity.
Real misery was wholly unknown, and benevolence anticipated the demands of poverty. Every misfortune was relieved, as it were, before it could be felt, without ostentation on the one hand, and without meanness on the other. It was, in short, a society of brethren; every individual of which was equally ready to give, and to receive, what he thought the common right of mankind. So perfect a harmony naturally prevented all those connexions of gallantry which are so often fatal to the peace of families. This evil was prevented by early marriages, for no one passed his youth in a state of celibacy. As soon as a young man arrived to the proper age, the community built him a house, broke up the lands about it, and supplied him with all the necessaries of life for a twelve-month. There he received the partner whom he had chosen, and who brought him her portion in flocks. This new family grew and prospered like the others. In 1755, all together made a population of eighteen thousand souls. Such is the picture of these people, as drawn by the Abbé Raynal. By many, it is thought to represent a state of social happiness, totally inconsistent with the frailties and passions of human nature; and that it is worthy rather of the poet than the historian. In describing a scene of rural felicity like this, it is not improbable that his narrative has partaken of the warmth of feeling for which he was remarkable; but it comes much nearer the truth than is generally imagined. Tradition is fresh and positive in the various parts of the United States, where they were located, respecting their guileless, peaceable, and scrupulous character; and the descendants of those, whose long cherished and endearing local attachment
induced them to return to the land of their nativity, still deserve the name of a mild, frugal, and pious people.' Vol. 1. pp. 170-173.
As it would have been impossible for the English to get them into their possession, if the design of carrying them away had been made known; and as it was in the power of the Acadians to disperse and place themselves beyond the reach of detection in the recesses of the forest, secure, as they were, of the alliance and sympathy of the Indians; it became necessary to devise the means of collecting and taking them by stratagem. It was determined that a proclamation should be issued requir ing their attendance at specified places, in their several settlements, on the same day. The proclamation was so framed in its phraseology, that the design could not be discovered, and so severe in its penalties, that none would dare to disobey. By this cunning contrivance, nearly the whole population was surprised simultaneously throughout the province. The reader may form an idea of the scene presented on this fatal day throughout the Acadian settlements, by the following account of the proceedings at Grand Pré, in King's county.
Colonel John Winslow of Marshfield, in Massachusetts, was entrusted with the management of the affair at this place. He is described by Mr Haliburton, as an officer of great humanity and firmness. Having issued his proclamation requiring them to assemble on the fifth of September, 1755, at three o'clock in the afternoon in the church at Grand Pré, the unsuspecting and innocent Acadians, to the number of four hundred and eighteen able-bodied men, were found, at the appointed hour, in the appointed place. Colonel Winslow, accompanied by his officers, standing in the centre of the church, addressed them to the following effect.
'Gentlemen; I have received from his Excellency Governor Lawrence, the King's Commission, which I have in my hand; and by his orders you are convened together to manifest to you, his Majesty's final resolution to the French inhabitants of this his Province of Nova-Scotia ; who, for almost half a century, have had more indulgence granted them than any of his subjects in any part of his dominions; what use you have made of it you yourselves best know. The part of duty I am now upon, though necessary, is very disagreeable to my natural make and temper, as I know it must be grievious to you, who are of the same species; but it is not my business to animadvert, but to obey such orders as I receive, and therefore, without hesitation, shall deliver you his Majesty's orders
and instructions, namely—that your lands and tenements, cattle of all kinds and live stock of all sorts, are forfeited to the Crown; with all other your effects, saving your money and household goods, and you yourselves to be removed from this his Province.
Thus it is peremptorily his Majesty's orders, that the whole French inhabitants of these Districts be removed; and 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 in. I shall do everything in my power, that all those goods be secured to you, and that you are not molested in carrying them off; also, that whole families shall go in the same vessel, and make this remove, which I am sensible must give you a great deal of trouble, as easy as his Majesty's service will admit; and hope that, in whatever part of the world you may fall, you may be faithful subjects, a peaceable and happy people. I must also inform you, that it is his Majesty's pleasure that you remain in security under the inspection and direction of the troops that I have the honor to command.' Vol. I. pp. 176, 177.
After this address, Colonel Winslow declared them the king's prisoners. Mr Haliburton adds, that
The whole number of persons collected at Grand Pré, finally amounted to four hundred and eighty-three men, and three hundred and thirty-seven women, heads of families; and their sons and daughters, to five hundred and twenty-seven of the former, and five hundred and seventy-six of the latter; making in the whole one thousand nine hundred and twenty-three souls. Their stock consisted of one thousand two hundred and sixty-nine oxen, one thousand five hundred and fifty-seven cows, five thousand and seven young cattle, four hundred and ninety-three horses, eight thousand six hundred and ninety sheep, and four thousand one hundred and ninety-seven hogs. As some of these wretched inhabitants escaped to the woods, all possible measures were adopted to force them back to captivity. The country was laid waste to prevent their subsistence. In the District of Minas alone, there were destroyed two hundred and fifty-five houses, two hundred and seventy-six barns, one hundred and fifty-five out-houses, eleven mills, and one church; and the friends of those who refused to surrender, were threatened as the victims of their obstinacy.' Vol. 1. pp. 177, 178.
In consequence of their earnest entreaties, the men were permitted, ten at a time, to return to visit their wretched families, and to look, for the last time, upon the beautiful fields of their loved and lost homes.
They bore their confinement, and received their sentence, with a fortitude and resignation altogether unexpected; but when the hour of embarcation arrived, in which they were to leave the land of their nativity for ever-to part with their friends and relatives, without the hope of ever seeing them again, and to be dispersed among strangers, whose language, customs, and religion were opposed to their own, the weakness of human nature prevailed, and they were overpowered with the sense of their miseries. The preparations having been all completed, the 10th of September was fixed upon as the day of departure. The prisoners were drawn up six deep, and the young men, one hundred and sixty-one in number, were ordered to go first on board of the vessels. This they instantly and peremptorily refused to do, declaring that they would not leave their parents; but expressed a willingness to comply with the order, provided they were permitted to embark with their families. This request was immediately rejected, and the troops were ordered to fix bayonets and advance towards the prisoners, a motion which had the effect of producing obedience on the part of the young men, who forthwith commenced their march. The road from the chapel to the shore, just one mile in length, was crowded with women and children; who, on their knees, greeted them as they passed with their tears and their blessings; while the prisoners advanced with slow and reluctant steps, weeping, praying, and singing hymns. This detachment was followed by the seniors, who passed through the same scene of sorrow and distress. In this manner was the whole male part of the population of the District of Minas put on board the five transports, stationed in the river Gaspereaux; each vessel being guarded by six non-commissioned officers, and eighty privates. As soon as the other vessels arrived, their wives and children followed, and the whole were transported from Nova-Scotia. The haste with which these measures were carried into execution did not admit of those preparations for their comfort, which, if unmerited by their disloyalty, were at least due in pity to the severity of their punishment. The hurry, confusion, and excitement, connected with the embarcation, had scarcely subsided, when the Provincials were appalled at the work of their own hands. The novelty and peculiarity of their situation could not but force itself upon the attention of even the unreflecting soldiery; stationed in the midst of a beautiful and fertile country, they suddenly found themselves without a foe to subdue, and without a population to protect. The volumes of smoke, which the half expiring embers emitted, while they marked the site of the peasant's humble cottage, bore testimony to the extent of the work of destruction. For several successive evenings the cattle assembled round the smouldering ruins, as if in anxious expectation of the return of
their masters; while all night long the faithful watch-dogs of the Neutrals howled over the scene of desolation, and mourned alike the hand that had fed, and the house that had sheltered them.' Vol. 1. pp. 179–181.
A similar scene was presented throughout all the Acadian settlements. In many places the most desperate resistance was attempted, but all was unavailing; they had been ensnared by stratagem, and were overpowered by numbers. The inexorable decree was carried into complete effect. The whole population, amounting to eighteen thousand souls, were suddenly and violently torn from the fertile fields, which their ancestors had cleared and cultivated, and on which they were born and had hoped to die; were robbed of their most valuable property; were separated from their families and friends, and crowded, as in slave-ships, into small vessels, at the rate of two persons for each ton; were transported to distant provinces, and scattered, in humiliation, in poverty, and with broken hearts, in communities hostile to their religion and country, and averse to their manners and customs, without knowing each other's fate, and without the least ground of hope, that they should ever meet again on earth.
The following instance will enable the reader in some degree to realize the misery produced by the consummation of this cruel edict. Those Acadians, who had uniformly befriended the British authorities, were treated in the same manner as the rest; no exception was made, no dispensation granted, no favor, no meritorious service remembered. There was a notary public, named Réné Leblane, who had formerly suffered in consequence of his attachment to the English, having been carried into captivity by the Indians, and kept a prisoner four years, solely on that account. At the time of the expulsion of the Acadians, he was still living, having attained a venerable age. He had twenty children, and about one hundred and fifty grand-children. They were all transported like so many convicts. They were compelled to embark in different vessels, and were scattered in distant provinces. The unfortunate old man was put on shore at New York, with his wife and his two youngest children only. Bent as he was by the infirmity of age, and overpowered by the weight of affliction, his parental affection still prompted him to seek out his lost children. He reached Philadelphia. There he found three of them. But his strength was exhausted, and he could go