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estimate. The English, by their own showing, numbered five hundred, or five hundred and twenty-five. Of eleven houses attacked, ten were surprised and carried, with the help of the darkness and storm and the skilful management of the assailants.
"No sooner was the capitulation signed,” says Beaujeu, “than we became in appearance the best of friends." La Corne directed military honors to be rendered to the remains of the brothers Noble; and in all points the Canadians, both officers and men, treated the English with kindness and courtesy. “The English commandant,” again says Beaujeu, “invited us all to dine with him and his officers, so that we might have the pleasure of making acquaintance over a bowl of punch.” The repast being served after such a fashion as circumstances permitted, victors and vanquished sat down together; when, says Beaujeu, “we received on the part of our hosts many compliments on our polite manners and our skill in making war.” And the compliments were well deserved.
At eight o'clock on the morning of the fourteenth of February the English filed out of the stone house, and with arms shouldered, drums beating, and colors flying, marched between two ranks of the French, and took the road for Annapolis. The English sick and wounded were sent to the settlement of Rivièreaux-Canards, where, protected by a French guard and attended by an English surgeon, they were to remain till able to reach the British fort.
La Corne called a council of war, and in view of the scarcity of food and other reasons it was resolved to return to Beaubassin. Many of the French had fallen ill. Some of the sick and wounded were left at Grand Pré, others at Cobequid, and the Acadians were required to supply means of carrying the rest. Coulon's party left Grand Pré on the twenty-third of February, and on the eighth of March reached Beaubassin.”
Ramesay did not fail to use the success at Grand Pré to influence the minds of the Acadians. He sent a circular letter to the inhabitants of the various districts, and especially to those of Mines, in which
1 The dates are of the new style, which the French had adopted, while the English still clung to the old style.
By far the best account of this French victory at Mines is that of Beaujeu, in his Journal de la Campagne du Détachement de Canada a l'Acadie et aur Mines en 1746–47. It is preserved in the Archives de la Marine et des Colonies, and is printed in the documentary supplement of Le Canada Français, Vol. II. It supplies the means of correcting many errors and much confusion in some recent accounts of the affair. The report of Chevalier de la Corne, also printed in Le Canada Français, though much shorter, is necessary to a clear understanding of the matter. Letters of Lusignan fils to the minister Maurepas, 10 October, 1747, of Bishop Pontbriand (to Maurepas ?), 10 July, 1747, and of Lusignan père to Maurepas, 10 October, 1747, give some additional incidents. The principal document on the English side is the report of Captain Benjamin Goldthwait, who succeeded Noble in command. A copy of the original, in the Public Record Office, is before me. The substance of it is correctly given in The Boston Post Boy of 2 March, 1747, and in N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg. x. 108. Various letters from Mascarene and Shirley (Public Record Office) contain accounts derived from returned officers and soldiers. The Notice of Colonel Arthur Noble, by William Goold (Collections Maine Historical Soc., 1881), may also be consulted.
he told them that their country had been reconquered by the arms of the King of France, to whom he commanded them to be faithful subjects, holding no intercourse with the English under any pretence whatever, on pain of the severest punishment. “If,” he concludes, “we have withdrawn our soldiers from among you, it is for reasons known to us alone, and with a view to your advantage.”]
Unfortunately for the effect of this message, Shirley had no sooner heard of the disaster at Grand Pré than he sent a body of Massachusetts soldiers to reoccupy the place. This they did in April. The Acadians thus found themselves, as usual, between two dangers; and unable to see which horn of the dilemma was the worse, they tried to avoid both by conciliating French and English alike, and assuring each of their devoted attachment. They sent a pathetic letter to Ramesay, telling him that their hearts were always French, and begging him at the same time to remember that they were a poor, helpless people, burdened with large families, and in danger of expulsion and ruin if they offended their masters, the English. 8 They wrote at the same time to Mascarene at Annapolis, sending him, to explain the situation, a copy of Ramesay's threatening letter to them;1 begging him to consider that they could not without danger dispense with answering it; at the same time they protested their entire fidelity to King George.?
i Ramesay aur Députés et Habitants des Mines, 31 Mars, 1747. At the end is written " A true copy, with the misspellings : signed W. Shirley."
2 Shirley to Newcastle, 24 August, 1747.
8 “Ainsis Monsieur nous vous prions de regarder notre bon Coeur et en meme Temps notre Impuissance pauvre Peuple chargez la plus part de familles nombreuse point de Recours sil falois evacuer a quoy nous sommes menacez tous les jours qui nous tien dans une Crainte perpetuelle en nous voyant a la proximitet de nos maitre depuis un sy grand nombre dannes ” (printed literatim) - Deputés des Mines à Ramesay, 24 Mai, 1747.
Ramesay, not satisfied with the results of his first letter, wrote again to the Acadians, ordering them, in the name of the governor-general of New France, to take up arms against the English, and enclosing for their instruction an extract from a letter of the French governor. “These,” says Ramesay, "are his words: “We consider ourself as master of Beaubassin and Mines, since we have driven off the English. Therefore there is no difficulty in forcing the Acadians to take arms for us; to which end we declare to them that they are discharged from the oath that they formerly took to the English, by which they are bound no longer, as has been decided by the authorities of Canada and Monseigneur our Bishop.'”8
1 This probably explains the bad spelling of the letter, the copy before me having been made from the Acadian transcript sent to Mascarene, and now in the Public Record Office.
? Les Habitants à l'honorable gouverneur au for d’anapolisse royal [sic], Mai (?), 1747.
On the 27th of June the inhabitants of Cobequid wrote again to Mascarene: “Monsieur nous prenons la Liberte de vous recrire celle icy pour vous assurer de nos tres humble Respect et d'un entiere Sou-mission a vos Ordres” (literatim).
: “ Nous nous regardons aujourdhuy Maistre de Beaubassin et des Mines puisque nous en avons Chassé les Anglois ; ainsi il ny a aucune difficulté de forcer les Accadiens à prendre les armes pour nous, et de les y Contraindre; leur declarons à cet effet qu'ils sont
“In view of the above,” continues Ramesay, “we order all the inhabitants of Memeramcook to come to this place [Beaubassin) as soon as they see the signal. fires lighted, or discover the approach of the enemy. and this on pain of death, confiscation of all their goods, burning of their houses, and the punishment due to rebels against the King.”
The position of the Acadians was deplorable. By the Treaty of Utrecht, France had transferred them to the British Crown; yet French officers denounced them as rebels and threatened them with death if they did not fight at their bidding against England. and English officers threatened them with expulsion from the country if they broke their oath of allegiance to King George. It was the duty of the British ministry to occupy the province with a force sufficient to protect the inhabitants against French terror ism, and leave no doubt that the King of England was master of Acadia in fact as well as in name. This alone could have averted the danger of Acadian revolt, and the harsh measures to which it afterwards dechargé [sic] du Serment preté, cy devant, à l'Anglois, auquel ils ne sont plus obligé [sic] comme il y a été decidé par nos puissances de Canada et de Monseigneur notre Evesque" (literatım).
1 Ramesay aux Habitants de Chignecto, etc., 25 Mai, 1747.
A few months later, the deputies of Rivière-aux-Canards wrote to Shirley, thanking him for kindness which they said was undeserved, promising to do their duty thenceforth, but begging him to excuse them from giving up persons who had acted "contraire aux Interests de leur devoire," representing the difficulty of their position, and protesting “une Soumission parfaite et en touts Re. spects." The letter is signed by four deputies, of whom one writes his name, and three sign with crosses.