Monday, August 03, 2009

The Order of Deportation - 1755 - Grand-Pré


" To the inhabitants of the district of Grand Pré, Minas, River Canard and places adjacent, as well ancients as young men and lads.

Whereas His Excellency the Governor has instructed us of his late resolution respecting the matter propsed to the inhabitants, and has ordered us to communicate the same in person, His Excellency being desirous that each of the should be satisfied of His Majesty's intentions, which he has also ordered us to communicate to you, as these presents, all of the inhabitants as well as of the above-named districts as of all the other districts, both old and young men, as well as the lads of ten years of age, to attend the church at Grand Pre, on Friday, the 5th. instant, at three 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 pretense whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting goods and chattles, in default of real estate."

Given at Grand-Pre, 2nd September, 1755 John Winslow

With less than twenty-four hours notice the Acadians appeared at Grand Pré from all the villages of Minas. Four hundred and eighteen men entered the church to hear His Majesty's final resolution to the Acadians:

"Gentlemen, - I have received from his Excellency, Governor Lawrence, the King's Commission which I have in my hand, and by whose orders you are conveyed 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. Whatuse you have made of them you yourself Best Know. The Part of Duty I am now upon is what though Necessary is Very Disagreeable to my natural make and temper, as I Know it Must be Grievous to you who are of the Same Species. But it is not my business to annimadvert, but to obey Such orders as I receive, and therefore without Hesitation Shall Deliver you his Majesty's orders and Instructions, Vist:-
"That your Land & Tennements, Cattle of all Kinds and Livestocks of all Sorts are forfeited to the Crown with all other your effects Savings your money and Household Goods, and you yourselves to be removed from
this Province.

"Thus it is Preremtorily 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 of your money and Household Goods as Many as you Can without Discommoding 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 off, and also that whole Families Shall go in the Same Vessel, and make this remove, which I am Sensable must give you a great Deal of Trouble, as Easy as his Majesty's Sevice will admit, and hope that in what Ever part of the world you may Fall you may be Faithful Subjects, a reasonable & 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 the Honr. to Command."

They were then declared to be prisoners of the King.This was just the beginning of great suffering for the Acadians. The British would pursue and deport any and all Acadians they could find for the next 11 years. This was not a one time happening. Many of our ancestors died on the ships at sea and suffered great harships in the lands to which they were exiled. At St-Pierre et Miquelon, Acadians would be deported into the 1780's. One Acadian woman deported as a child would see herself deported four more times from that location. The last information in her regard is that she was at the marriage of one of her children in Quebec.
( Stephen White put together a wonderful presentation about her at the LeBlanc Family Reunion at CMA2004 in Nova Scotia.)

What preceded the Diapora

The British population had grown considerably between 1749 through 1755. This created quite a bit of tension for the Acadians. In fact, tensions ran so high on both sides that the English built one fort after another so as to counteract the French presence in Nova Scotia. It was an outward attempt to flex their muscles as the dominant and only landlord of this land! The English worked hard to outdo the French.

Because of its location, the English wanted Nova Scotia to be theirs. From here, the Acadians could easily connect with their French counterparts in Québec and the rich fishing banks were easily accessible. The Governor of Massachusetts, William Shirley, knew that this area was the only direct link to Québec by sea and it would also be the link to take the English ships from Massachusetts to the Louisbourg Fortress on Ile Royale/Cape Breton Island.

Many battles had been fought and several treaties signed. From one treaty to the other France would retain the possession of Acadia then Britain would win it over - finally the last battle was lost to the British who would retain possession of Acadia, known to us today as Nova Scotia, for the last time.

In 1755 the deportation began and the Acadians were scattered along the seabord of the colonies from Massachusetts to the Carolinas - the Acadians deported to Virginia were refused and sent on to imprisonment in the warehouses on the docks of various ports in England. Many would die from epidemics.

One thougsand two hundred and twenty-six (1,226) Acadians survived the ocean crossing and upon arrival were separated into four groups: 336 were sent to Liverpool; 340 to Southampton; 300 to Bristol; 250 to Penryn(Falmouth).

Their hell ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. By January 1763 though there had been some births during their exile. Only 866 Acadians had survived of the 1,226 originally deported. These Acadians soon sailed to St-Malo.

[The above map is based on research done on the migration patterns of the Acadians, beginning with their exile and after, by Geography Professor Robert LeBlanc who taught at the University of New Hampshire. Robert died on September 11th while traveling to a conference in California when his plan was crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City by a terrorist.]

The Acadians who were not exiled were imprisoned at the British forts.

Since CMA 2009 is just around the corner, I think it is a good time to remember our history and to know who we are.


© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
1998 - Present


jonrus56 said...

I remember reading Faragher's book last year and the immense feeling of sorrow AND anger towards my Acadian relatives and my American relatives,respectively.And we think the minorities today have it bad,that was nothing compared to way back then.
I also remember going through the Maine/NB border last summer and reading about Robert Leblanc's work,how sad it ended so tragically. Well done cousin,well done

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Thank you for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.