The Acadian governor Daniel Subercase kept
asking France for assistance, but none was forthcoming. New England, on
the other hand, did receive help from abroad. England sent 5 ships
and 3400 troops to assist the New Englanders. They headed for Acadia
and reached Port Royal in on September 24, 1710. Since Subercase
had only 300 soldiers, the resistance was futile. Three quarters
of the men were from the "quays of Paris." [Richard,
1, p. 41]
Though Port Royal held out for 19 days, Subercase
surrendered on Oct. 12, 1710 to the English forces, led by Francis Nicholson. [Herbin p. 38 says Oct. 10]
The terms of the surrender only referred to
Port Royal and the immediate area. The 5th article said that the
inhabitants within cannon-shot (3 English miles) of Port Royal could stay
there for 2 years, "they taking the oath of allegiance and fidelity to
Her Sacred Majesty of Great Britain." So they had 2 years to move
to French territory with their movable items. They took an oath,
though we don't know exactly what it said. This amounted to 481 (according
to a list presented to Gen. Nicholson). The rest of Acadia was still
French territory till the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. [Richard, 1, p. 67] But the French never lost hope of
one day regaining Acadia. [Daigle, p. 34]
The French troops left Port Royal.
Nicholson saw that things were quite bad, and even had to give the French
soldiers provisions for the trip back to France. [Richard,
1, p. 42] Nicholson and his troops left Oct. 28.
Col. Vetch stayed behind to act as Lieut. Gov. He had about 450 soldiers.
Desertion and disease took its toll on the garrison, so that only about
100 were left by the following June. Acadians outside of Port Royal
saw this as an opportunity and brought this to the attention of de St.
Castin (who had been Lieut. of the district). [Richard,
1, p. 68]
So Vetch sent troops out to observe
their actions. On one trip, the English were captured till a ransom
was given. Thinking there was a deal between the aggressors and some
in Annapolis, arrested Guillaume Bourgeois, Jean Comeau, and Pierre LeBlanc
of Annapolis; and Germain Bourgeois of Beaubassin and Francois Brassard
of Chipody (who were passing through Annapolis). We don't know what
came of this.
Saint Castin took 42 Abanakis Indians and
crossed the Bay of Fundy. Captain Pigeon had
taken 80 English soldiers up the Annapolis to surprise some Indians.
The Indians had been threatening those in Annapolis not to suppy the English
with wood for their fortifications. Saint Castin surprised the English
and 30 of them were killed; the rest were made prisoners. This place
has since been called Bloody Creek. Abbe Gaulin, priest at Mines,
organized 200 men to assist Saint Castin. But the garrison at Annapolis
received reinforcements and the plan was dropped. [Richard,
1, p. 69-70]
The inhabitants of Port Royal sent a
letter to the governor of Canada (Vaudreuil) asking for assistance to help
them leave. Vetch had been treating them harshly, and saying that
they were lucky that they weren't treated worse. They passed along
3 ordinances of Vetch to illustrate his mistreatment. They again
asked if he could "furnish the necessary assistance for our retiring from
this unhappy country." [Richard, 1, p. 71-72]
Minas sent a group to Port Royal to see what
was in store for them. They couldn’t get any information, but Mascarene
(an officer with a French background, who could speak the language) was
sent to deal with the people at Grand Pre.
Mascarene arrived in Grand Pre on Nov. 12,
1710 on the brigantine Betty. He had 59 soldiers, a lieutenant, and
a surgeon with him. A captured French vessel was also brought, with furs
on board as a present to the governor. An Acadian passenger from
Minas was sent to the people with the message, assemble at a good landing
place and Mascarene would give them instructions; the soldiers were not
there to bother them, but merely to protect Mascarene. The following day,
at noon, he landed at Grand Pre on a flat-bottomed boat with 42 men. [Herbin, 39]
Since his message had been so well received,
150 Acadians showed up. He told them that his mission was peaceful.
Vetch’s instructions were that they were to be prisoners of war, and that
they and their goods were for the government’s use. Mascarene just told
them that the soldiers would be peaceful, as long as the Acadians did their
They marched to a house which was to be used
as headquarters and 4 houses around it to hold the men. The boat
was 9 miles offshore, so they stayed in the houses for the night.
The creek that they sailed in on only had the tide 1 1/2 hours a day, anyway.
Peter Melanson and 5 others (Alexander Bourg, Anthony LeBlanc, John &
Peter Landry) were chosen to be deputies to bring the word to those who
hadn’t heard it, that they and their property was now the government’s. [Herbin, 40]
They were asked to pay 6000 livres ($1200)
in money or in poultry; plus, 20 pistoles ($80) every month to maintain
the governor’s table. This would allow them to travel to and trade
with Port Royal. Col. Vetch also wanted to tax the Acadians to pay the
troops. [Daigle, 34] They explained that
because of the actions of the previous French governor, they could only
come up with 1/2 of that amount ... 1/3 of the people were very poor.
They pleaded for him to accept this amount, and to have power to compel
those who didn’t want to contribute. They made up a list of people
and their proportional “tax” amount. Jean Landry (one of the 6 and
captain of the vessel) took charge of the furs (value - 60 pistoles) to
bring them to Port Royal. The Acadians
were paid 16 livres for the lodging, and the soldiers marched the
3 miles to the awaiting boats. [Herbin, 41]
A document was written on Nov. 16 saying that
the deputies were given the power to collect the money. Though Vetch
wanted to get as much money from them as possible, 6 months of sickness
had reduced his forces to 100 men and he couldn’t impose the tax.
The Acadians weren't used to being taxed and found every excuse possible
not to pay, or to pay as little as possible. And when the Acadians
were asked to help by working on fortifications, a number of excuses were
offered up ... horses were too thin, the Indians might attack, there was
ice on the river, etc. This uncooperative attitude would stay with
them through the years. [Daigle, p. 35]
The fort, which was weak, was blockaded by
the French. Abbe Gaulin (parish priest at Minas) tried unsuccessfully
to get 200 men to aid the French.
Just about the only English immigrants to
Acadia before 1749 were a few English traders at Port Royal. Many
thought that Acadian would be returned to France after a treaty, as with
the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697; but this wasn't the case. Instead,
English occupation began for the first time. There were now 400 English
soldiers there. [Daigle, p. 34]
In 1711, Vetch left to join Nicholson in a
projected expedition against Montreal. Sir Charles Hobby was left
in charge of Port Royal. When the Montreal project fell through,
Vetch returned to Port Royal (where he held office till summer 1714).
Vetch served as lieut-gov. of the garrison; Nicholson was appointed governor
on Oct. 20, 1712, but left to go to London to plan the Montreal expedition.
Nicholson held the title (though wasn't present) till 1717. Vetch
was replaced (as lieut.-governor) by Major Caulfield, who in turn was replaced
by Captain Doucette in 1717.
The Treaty of Utrecht, signed on April 13,
1713, gave Acadia to England. In the treaty, France ceded "All of
Nova Scotia or Acadia comprised in its ancient limits, as also the city
of Port Royal." [Richard, 1, p. 73]. More
on the treaty can be found in Corinne Laplante's M.A. thesis at the Universite
de Moncton (1972), "Le Traite d'Utrecht et l'Acadie: une etude sur
la correspondance secrete et officielle qui a entoure la signature du traite
Of course, the exact boundaries of Acadia
were argued until 1763. Till then, France assumed that it had only
given up the main body of present day Nova Scotia; they still claimed Ile
Royale, Ile St. Jean, and the mainland coast (of New Brunswick).
Acadia had over 2,000 people at this time,
while New England had a population of 150,000. Though Louis
XIV seemed to take an interest in colonization, it didn't last long.
In about a century, France had sent less than 200 colonists to Acadia.
English colonies received more than that many people in a single year.
When he should have been paying more attention to Acadia, he turned his
interest to Louisiana. [Richard, 1, p. 44]
The 14th article of the treaty
said that the subjects "may have liberty to remove themselves within a
year to any other place, as they shall think fit, with all their movable
effects. But those who are willing to remain here, and to be subjects
to the kingdom of Great Britain, are to enjoy the free exercise of their
religion according to the usage of the Church of Rome as far as the laws
of Great Britain do allow the same." In return for France's good
treatment of its Protestants, England (Queen Anne) relaxed the terms of
the treaty for the Acadians. The addd terms were in a June 23, 1713
letter from the Queen to Gov. Nicholson. The letter says, that in
return for the French king releasing people aboard his galleys (put there
because they were Protestant), those subjects in Acadia and Newfoundland
who want to be English subjects could "retain and enjoy their said lands
and tenements without any molestations, as fully and freely as other our
subjects do or may possess their lands or estates, or to sell the same,
if they shall rather choose to remove elsewhere." [Richard,
1, p. 74]
So, they could stay and keep their religion, or
they could move with their belongings. Also, they could sell their
immovable property. Apparently, though, there was still a time limit
of one year from the treaty (which was 3 months before the Queen's letter).
Her letter didn't change that. [Richard, 1, p. 75]
It appears the Acadians were prepared to leave,
but the English authorities kept putting up roadblocks (for 5 decades!). [Richard, 1, p. 76] Since taking an oath of allegiance might
mean they might have to fight against Frenchmen, they would rather leave.
France encouraged them to move to French at Ile Royale. A scouting
group went to Louisbourg to see what conditions might be waiting for them
their. They sent a report back, which seems to have been answered
by the Acadians with a refusal (Sept. 23, 1713). The soil there was
poor and their was inadequate pasture-land. They did acknowledge
that if they had to take the oath, they'd leave anyway. They mention that
"if they burthen us in respect to our religion, or cut up our settlement
to divide the lands with people of our nation we will abandon them absolutely." [Richard, 1, p. 81]
This reply upset the Louisbourg governor,
M. de Costabelle. Even the priest (Gaulin), who Costabelle had hoped
would talk the Acadians into coming over, sent the governor a note saying
he wasn't convinced of the governor's promises and would prefer to see
them stay under the English, "who are doing all in their power to prevent
them from departing." [Costabelle au Ministre, Nov. 1713;
Murdoch, v. 1, p. 338]
Felix Pain, a Recollet missionary, wrote to
the Governor of Cape Breton from Minas on Sept. 23, 1713. The
letter explained what the Acadians had told the priest. They had
large families and would die of hunger if they had to rebuild. The
older Acadians (about 1/4 of the population) could farm the cultivated
marshland of Grand Pre, but clearing new land would be too much for them.
They stated that they would never take an oath of loyalty to the Queen
of England, out of love for their own country, king, and religion.
Even if any one of the 3 were taken, it would be too much. They were
unsure of the English plans for them. If the English planned to hamper
their religion or to cut up the settlements to give land to English
settlers ... they would just as soon abandon them. The land they
saw at Isle Royale didn't have enough meadowland, which was important for
their cattle. The population of Minas was 1290 on Oct. 5, 1714. [Herbin, 44]
So land was also offered on Ile St. Jean,
but Col. Vetch would not let them go there. He said that he was only
the lieutenant governor, and they had to wait for Governor Nicholson to
approve. BUT, Nicholson arrived AFTER the year had expired. [Herbin,
In order to keep them put, the English
forbid them to build boats and wouldn't allow them to sell their property
and livestock. The English saw Acadian movement to Ile Royale as
a possible strengthening of French forces there. [Daigle,
p. 35] As time went by, France stopped putting so much pressure
on the Acadians to have them move to Ile Royale. If there were a
war, they hoped Acadians in Nova Scotia would assist France.
The government of Nova Scotia from 1713-1720
was led by a council of soldiers. Cases were submitted to a military
tribunal. In 1720, government by martial law was ceased. Since
most governors lived elsewhere, lieut. governors were dealing with the
Acadians in Nova Scotia. Legislative matters were conducted by a
12 member council. The General Court (Nova Scotia's court of justice)
met 4 times a year. Though the American colonies had Assemblies,
there was none in Nova Scotia (since it would have been made of Acadians).
Acadian delegates were appointed; their job was to bring government orders
to the people, and to bring the people's needs to the government.
These were the people who refused (in the name of the people) to take the
oath. The 24 delegates included: 12 from Les Mines (like Alexandre
Bourg), 6 from Port Royal (like Prudent Robichaud), 4 from Cobequid (like
Charles Robichaud), and 2 from Beaubassin. They were usually some
of the more prominent men of the community. [Daigle,
A major task taken by the English was to get
the Acadians to swear the oath of allegiance and become British subjects.
It was common for England to require its subjects to take an oath of allegiance.
Vetch tried to get them to take one from 1710 to 1713. The Acadians
refused an unconditional oath, expressing concerns about their Catholic
faith and not fighting against French & Indians. Vetch threatened
expulsion, since refusal of the oath could be viewed as an act of rebellion.
When he realized they might move to Ile Royale and strengthen French forces,
he changed his mind. Jules Leger deals with this in his M.A. thesis
at Canisius College (1963), "Guides to Understanding the Acadian Dispersion."
The Acadians expressed 3 points of concern:
that they be able to continue their Catholic faith, the Indians (allies
of the French) might attack an Acadian who fought against the French, and
that the English take the Acadians history into account. [Daigle,
p. 37] From 1713 to 1730, the Acadians were urged to
take the oath of allegiance on a number of occasions. [Herbin, 48]
The only census taken (that gives names) of
Acadia under English control was done in 1714. The 1714
census gives only the head of household, if the spouse was present,
and the number of girls and boys ... except for Beaubassin, where names
were listed for all family members.
Vetch wrote a letter on Nov. 24, 1714 to London,
showing why he hadn’t let the Acadians go. Evidently, they had sent
him 6 questions, which he answered.
1) He calls the area “L’Accady and Nova Scotia” and says there are about
500 families (2500 people) there.
2) He notes that all (except for 2 families from New England ... the ALLENs
and the GOURDAYs) wanted to move.
3) He also estimates that there are 500 families at Louisburg, plus 7 companies
(of soldiers). The French king gave them 18 months provisions and helped them out with ships
and salt (for the Fishery) to encourage them to settle there.
4) As to the movement of Acadians from Nova Scotia to Isle Royale, he notes
that it would empty the area of inhabitants. Even the Indians (with whom the French intermarried
and shared their religion) by take their trade to Isle Royale to follow the Acadians.
This would make Isle Royale a much larger colony. He says that 100 Acadians (who knew the woods,
could use snow-shoes, and knew how to use birch canoes) were more valuable than 5 times as many
soldiers fresh from Europe. They were also excellent in fishery. Such a move would
create the largest and most powerful French colony in the New World.
5) He notes that some of them (without much belongings) have already moved,
but the rest plan on moving the next summer when the harvest is over and the grain is in.
They had about 5000 Black Cattle, plus many sheep and hogs, that they would take with them if permitted.
So if they move, the colony will be reverted to a primitive state and be devoid of cattle.
It would require a long time and 40,000 pounds to obtain that much livestock from New England.
6) He also wrote that having them sell the land wouldn’t be good; the treaty
doesn’t even give them that right. He states that they wouldn’t have wanted to go if the
French officers (speaking for the French king) hadn’t threatened that they’d be treated as rebels if they
didn’t move. Nicholson arrived at Port Royal in July of 1714. [Herbin, 45-47]
They Acadians were waiting for Nicholson,
to get permission to leave. But someone let
him know what their leaving would mean, and he referred the matter
to the queen. The
queen died that August, and a series of delays, pretext, fraud, and
The Acadians had sown 2 years worth of grain and were sure they were
moving; they didn't even plan on growing crops the following year.
Nicholson arrived in the summer of 1714, after
the one year deadline had expired. Major l'Hermite (who replaced
Costabelle at Louisbourg) sent a letter to Nicholson on July 11, 1714. [Richard, 1, p. 82]
"Having learnt, sir, from several inhabitants
of Port Royal, of Mines and Beaubassin, that he who commands in your absence
at Port Royal (Col. Vetch), has forbidden them to leave, and even refused
the permission to those who asked him for it, which event makes most of
the Acadians now established on the lands of the King of England unable
to withdraw this year ..."
"That is what has determined me, according
to the order given me by the King, to send thither M. de la Ronde Denys,
into whose hands I have remitted the orders of Queen Anne; he will confer
with you about the reasons why they are detained. I hope, sir, you
will render all due justice, and that you will have no other view than
to obey the behests of the Queen."
The other letter is from the same to the Minister
and dated August 29, 1714: "He who commands Port Royal has forbidden the
Acadians to leave the country before the arrival of Mr. Nicholson, so that
all those who have come here had escaped. They represented to me
that it was necessary to send an officer there in order to uphold their
rights, the English having forbidden the missionaries to meddle with the
affairs of the Acadians." [Archives de la Marine et des Colonies]
De la Ronde and Pinsens arrived at Port Royal
with the orders of Queen Anne about July 20, about the same time that Nicholson
arrived. Nicholson promised to give the Acadians another year to
leave if they wanted to. When he allowed them to hold assemblies
to discuss the matter, they all concurred that they wanted to leave the
country. [Letter from Mascarene to Gov. Shirley, April
But though the Queen had given specific orders,
and Nicholson acted like he would follow them ... he didn't.
They were refused transportation on English vessels, and the French vessels
weren’t allowed in port. The Acadians asked for time to build ships
and to get rigging from France. But Nicholson did what he could to
keep them in Acadia. The Acadians tried to order rigging from Boston,
but Nicolson forbid it. He even seized the boats and ships they had
already built. He must have initially seen the letter from the Queen
and said he'd go along with it. But when his officers explained what
the departure of the Acadians would mean, he probably changed his mind. [Richard, 1, p. 85]
The Acadians lived very peacefully and
faithfully under English government. Caulfield became lieutenant
governor in 1715 and sent 2 officers (Peter Capoon and Thomas Button) to
offer the oath to the Acadians. They responded with flattery (thanks
to King George for his kindness; he is such a good prince, etc.) and said
that they would be obedient until they were allowed to move. But they wouldn't
take the unconditional oath. [Herbin, 49]
Queen Anne had died in early August 1714,
so she wasn't able to follow up on her command. The Acadians were
strung along for a while, expecting that a decision would be forthcoming.
Remember that many were so confident that they would be leaving by summertime
that they didn't even plant their fields in spring 1715. Costabelle
wrote to the minister (Sept. 8, 1715) and noted that the Minas Acadians
had enough grain for 2 years and hadn't planted the land since they were
planning to leave the country. [Richard, 1, p.
Father Dominic had shown Costabelle a memoir
that showed that the Acadians were ready to leave and hadn't planted.
Several had built ships to take them away. [Conseil de la Marine, March
28, 1716] A letter of Intendant Bégon, Quebec, Sept.
25, 1715, says that the English were doing everything they could to stop
the Acadians from leaving. They wouldn't allow them items needed
for the move, wouldn't let them sell their items & livestock,
and would only allow them a few provisions to take. Costabelle wrote
a letter on Nov. 6, 1715 that mentions how he complained to someone Nicholson
had sent about the way the Acadians were being treated. That person,
Capon, agreed that Nicholson didn't have the orders to do as he did, but
Vetch's hands were tied. He couldn't do anything without the King's
Despite his first agreement to carry out the
Queen's wishes, Nicholson wouldn't allow them to sail on English ships,
he kept French vessels out of the ports, he wouldn't allow them to purchase
rigging from Louisbourg, he wouldn't allow them to purchase rigging from
Boston, and he seized their boats. [Richard, 1, p.
Col. Vetch (who had been in London since the
previous fall) wrote to the Board of Trade on Mar. 9, 1715 where he says
that the Acadians would go if they could. He says that "unless some
speedy orders are sent to prevent the Acadians' removal," they would move
to and strengthen Cape Breton. [Richard, 1, p. 91]
He wrote another letter to the Board on Sept.
2, 1715. He noted that Nicholson had forbid trade between Acadians
and the garrison (even keeping the Fort gates shut). He also prevented
them from trading with the Indians. This had discouraged the Acadians
to the point that they were building small boats to take them to Cape Breton.
He again wrote to the Board on Feb. 21, 1716. He notes that few Acadians
have left (but doesn't describe why). He again notes that their departure
would "ruin" Nova Scotia and states that to keep the inhabitants and their
livestock in Nova Scotia would be "for the advantage of the Crown." [Richard, 1, p. 92]
Gov. Caulfield wrote to Col. Vetch on Nov.
2, 1715 from Annapolis Royal. He notes that Nicholson had told
the soldiers that the French were rebels and would cut their throats if
they went into their homes. The soldiers were ordered to have no
dealings with them and the gates of the fort were to be shut. But,
the soldiers still needed the goods produced by the Acadians. Adams
wrote to Capt. Steele on Jan. 24, 1715. He noted that they thought
Gen. Nicholson's arrival would mean that the place would be settled.
But instead, he pulled down the forts, took many of the soldiers with him,
Acadians ... so that the place looked desolate. He spent most
of his time cursing Gov. Vetch and his friends. All ... English and
French ... reviled the man. [Richard, 1, p. 93] While
in London, Vetch tried unsuccessfully to oust Nicholson.
Doucette took over as lieutenant governor
in 1717. The French were still ready to move, rather than take the
oath. But it appears by this time some Acadians had decided to stay
put on peaceful terms. When the Indians learned of this, they threatened
the Acadians. Though they had always been friends, they didn't
want the Acadians going over to the English side. Doucette demanded
that they take the oath, but they thought by doing so it would tie them
down ... and they still wanted to move. They said if they were to
stay, they wanted protection from the Indians and the oath would be stated
so that they would not have to fight their own countrymen. But the
governor wanted an unconditional oath. [Herbin, 50]
Nicholson, who later (1720-25) went on to
become governor of South Carolina, was replaced by Col. Richard Philipps,
who would be governor until 1749. But he only visited Acadia in 1720-22
and 1729-31. The lieutenant governor would be the acting authority
in the land.
On May 9, 1720, those who had become British
subjects were offered free exercise of their religion, guarantee to their
property, and their civil rights. Official notices were translated
into French to be distributed (this continued from 1720 to 1755).
An offer was made that they could leave, but not take any of their possessions
with them. [Herbin, 51]
They answered that they feared the Indians
if they took the oath, and promised to
be faithful and peaceful. They explained that they couldn’t
leave in the year (allotted by
the treaty) because no one would buy their land. The French government
wanted them to
move (but the land was poor), and the English government was underhandedly
them stay. The English didn’t want to lose their source of supplies.
The Acadians were
hard to control ... the Minas Acadians even more than the Port Royal
Acadians. [Herbin, 52]
General Phillips arrived at Port Royal (now
called Annapolis Royal) in 1720. He issued
a proclamation that they must take the oath unconditionally or leave
the country in 3
months. He also said they couldn’t sell or take with them
any of their property. He thought
that this would really force them to take the oath. But the Acadians
still refused, saying that the Indians were threatening them. When
they said, let us harvest our crops and use vehicles to carry it, Philipps
figured that they were planning on taking their possessions with them and
denied. The Acadians felt that their only route of “escape” was by
land, so they began to make a road from Minas to Port Royal. [Herbin, 54]
The governor sent out an order that no one
should move without his permission, and he even sent an order to Minas
to stop work on the road. The English stated that the Acadians desired
to take the Port Royal cattle to Beaubassin, which was a fortified French
possession. Philipps said that the Acadians were ungovernable, stubborn,
and directed by bigoted priests. He went on to say that the Acadians
couldn’t be allowed to go because it would strengthen the population of
their French neighbors. The Acadians were also needed to build fortifications
and to produce supplies for the forts. They can’t leave until there
are enough British subjects to be settled in their place. He hoped
that there were plans being made to bring in British subjects. He
expected problems from the Indians, who didn’t want the Acadians to move. [Herbin, 55]
Though the Acadians wouldn't move there, France
started sending people to Ile Royale. The fort at Louisbourg was
begun in 1720. The population of Cape Breton rose from 700 in 1715
to 2800 in 1723. Louisbourg was the largest settlement on the island.
Other settlements included St. Pierre near the Straight of Canso (which
had slate mines) and Niganiche on the Gulf of St. Lawrence (a fishing port).
The fort at Louisbourg (which was destroyed in 1758) cost millions of livres
to build. [Daigle, p. 38]
Though a military settlement, there were also
1000 people in the fishing industry at Louisbourg, and it served as a trading
location. Ships arrived with goods (31 in 1717, 100+ in 1723, etc.).
France sent clothes, cloth, hardware, salt, and wine. New France
sent grain, livestock, lumber, and vegetables. West Indies sent molasses,
sugar, rum, coffee, and tobacco. Acadians weren't supposed to trade
with Ile Royale, though it happened anyway. The isthmus sent livestock,
furs, and grains. It is thought that the Acadians saved the money
received for a rainy day. The governing force at Port Royal was too
small and too far away to prevent this illegal trading. [Daigle,
Doucette was lieutenant-governor again from
1722 to 1725. He was replaced by Armstrong, who was violent and had
a bad temper. He had problems with everyone. This caused some
French families to leave, and others to make the same plans. But
he adjusted his attitude, for he too recognized the need to keep the Acadians
where they were (for now). He got the Port Royal Acadians (which
was about 1/4 of the population) to take the oath by reminding them that
England did not allow Catholics to serve in the army. He sent 2 officers
to Minas to try the same approach, but they failed. He then sent an officer
to try. Wroth offered them the following oath to take ... “I do sincerely
promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His
Majesty King George the Second, so help me God.” This meant that
they wouldn’t have to “take up arms” against the French or Indians, they
could leave whenever they want, and they had the freedom to have priests
and to practice the Catholic religion. [Herbin, 56]
Since that time, they were often known as the "neutral French."
The lieutenant governor thought Wroth's offer
was too lenient. When it was brought before the Council, the oath
was declared null and void. The Lords of Trade in England weren’t
happy about Armstrong’s handling of the oath, so Philipps was called on
to come to Acadia to handle things. Philipps was well received at
Port Royal in December of 1729. He soon realized that they Acadians
were holding fast to their request for a conditional oath. [Herbin,