Sunday, April 26, 2009

Deportation Orders as read at Grand-Pré

The Deportation Orders at Grand-Pré
as read by Colonel John Winslow

On September 2, 1755, Acadians in Grand Pré were presented with the following order: These words were translated into French by Isaac Deschamps) who was a Swiss merchant.

To the Inhabitants of the district of Grand Pré, Mines, River Cannard, &c., as well ancient as young Men and Lades.

Whereas His Excellency the Governour has Instructed us of his Last resolution Respecting the maters Proposd Lately to the Inhabitants, and as ordered us to Communicate the same to the Inhabitants in General in Person His Excellency be desierous that each of them Should be fully Satisfyed of His Majesty's Intentions which he has also ordered us to Communicate to you Such as they have been given Him.

I therefore order and Strictly Injoyne, by these Pressence to all of the Inhabitant as well of the above named District as of all the other Districts. both old men & young men, as well as all the Lads of ten years of age to attend at the Church of Grand Pré on Fryday the 5th Instant, at Three of the Clock in the afternoon that We may Impart to them what we are ordered to Communicate to them : Declaring that no Excuse will be admitted on any Pretence whatsoever, on Pain of Forfitting Goods and Chattels on Default.

Given at Grand Pré, Second of September in the 29th year of His Majesty's reign A.D. 1755. John Winslow

At the Church 418 men were read the following words delivered in French by an interpreter.

Gentlemen, - I have received from His Excellency Governor Lawrance. The King's Commission, which I have in my hand and by whose 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 Centry have had more Indulgence Granted them, then any of his Subjects in any part of his Dominions. what use you have made of them you your Self Best Know.

The Part of Duty I am now upon is what thoh Necessary is Very Disagreable to my natural make & Temper as I Know it Must be Grevous to you who are of the Same Specia.

But it is not my Business to annimedvert, but to obey Such orders as I receive and therefore, without Hesistation Shall Deliver you His Majesty's orders and Instructions vizt.

That your Lands & Tenements, Cattle of all Kinds, and Live Stock of all Sortes, are Forfitted to the Crown with all other your Effects Saving your money and Household Goods and you your Selves to be removed from this his Province.

Thus it is Preremptorily His Majesty's orders That the whole French Inhabitants of these Districts, be removed, and I am Throh his Majesty's Goodness Directed to allow you Liberty to Carry of your money and Household Goods as Many as you Can, without Discomemoading the Vessels you Go in. I Shall do Every thing in my Power that all Those Goods be Secured to you and that you are Not Molested in Carrying of them of and also that whole Familys Shall go in the Same Vessel. and make this remove, which I am Sensable must give you a great Deal of Trouble as Easey as His Majesty's Service will admit and hope that in what Ever part of the world you may Fall you may be Faithful Subjects, a Peasable & happy People.

I Must also Inform you That it is His Majesty's Pleasure that you remain in Security, under the Inspection & Direction of the Troops that I have theHonr. to Command.

At this point Winslow declared the Acadians the King's prisoners. He also ordered the following:

All officers and Soldiers and Sea Men Employed in his Majesty's Service as well as all his Subjects of what Denomination Soever, are herby Notifyed That all Cattle vizt Horsses, Horne Cattle, Sheep, goats, Hoggs, and Poultrey of Every Kinde. that was this Day Soposed to be Vested in the French Inhabitants of this Province are become Forfitted to his Majesty whose Property they now are and Every Person of what Denomination Soever is to take Care not to Hurt Kill or Distroy anything of any Kinde nor to Rob Orchards or Gardens or to make waste of anything Dead or alive in these Districts without Special order.

Of course the "security" John Winslow speaks of to the Acadians is that they will all be held prisoners in the church of St-Charles-des-Mines until the ships arrive to deport them and their families. When the ships arrived the men and boys who had been held prisoners were marched all the way to Gaspéreau Landing at bayonet point. Their families would follow and wait for the long boats that would row them out to the ships waiting to take them into exile from their beloved Acadia.

Map Source: Nova Scotia Provincial Archives

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home


Kimberly said...

This is the first time I have read this, and I read it with a heavy heart. Here I have been running around La Rochelle all day thinking about the ancestors but somehow I did not think about the deportation and that part of Acadian history. I was thinking about Michel Boudrot and Michelle Aucoin as I walked around the bell tower of the church they were married in. I was thinking how courageous these people must have been to make the journey to Acadia. I had anxiety just taking the train from Paris to La Rochelle, and I had a cell phone, computer etc, to keep me company.

Can you imagine if the deportation was happening to you, what it would be like? Several things in the deportation order struck me. It said you would be deported with your family and that was not true. It also said you can bring your household goods, but it is unlikely that they were allowed any, or just a few items that could be carried by hand otherwise how would they fit in the ship. The other item that struck me was, Lucie, do you have the number of people that died in the deportation?

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Kimberly,

The Acadians were told they could take with them whatever they could carry. that would not be the case. When the New England Planters arrived to take over their lands the items they had brought with them were still on the shores.

I would estimate a few thousand Acadians died in exile and many from Prince Edward Island in three ships that went down at sea while being deported to France.

The other fact not often recognized is that many children died in the holds of ships, drowned at sea with their entire families. We know this because some families were never heard from again and they are the ones believed to have gone down in those ships.

This event is a real tragedy in our Acadian history.