Acadian Church


The French authorities were well aware of the travesties the English could inflict upon another race or culture. A report the French Governor and the Intendent at Quebec had submitted in 1745, ten years before the Expulsion, stated:

"We cannot imagine that they could entertain the idea of removing those people [the
Acadians] in order to substitute Englishmen in their stead, unless desertion of the
Indians would embolden them to adopt such a course, inhuman as it may be."

Though these French authorities could not imagine such an inhuman act, the English could. The event made famous by the American poet Longfellow in his poem "Evangeline" was soon under way. In early 1755 the Acadian Deputies were summoned to Halifax by Governor Lawrence and ordered to swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. They refused, contending, as they had with Cornwallis in 1749, that if they did so the French would set the Indians against them and they would be massacred.

The English lost no time in responding. On July 28, 1755 Lawrence got the full approval of Nova Scotia's Colonial Council to start dispersing the Acadians among the American Colonies. He sent Colonel Robert Monckton to Chignecto and Chepody, Lieutenant Colonel John Winslow to Minas, Pisiquid, and Cobequid, and Major John Handfield to Annapolis Royal to carry out the orders.

Colonel Robert Monckton rounded up the Acadians in Chignecto, while Colonel John Winslow ordered those at Minas to assemble at Grand Pré. They were loaded into the holds of ships and scattered to the four corners of the world. Families were separated, never to see one another again, and untold numbers died in transport. This included those who had sworn allegiance to the British Crown, there were no exceptions.

The Mi'kmaq faithfully stuck by their Acadian allies to the bitter end. Some of the Acadians tried to escape and were aided and protected by them to the best of their ability. They also joined forces with them to drive back the British, as was reported by the French Governor:

The British burned the Village, including the Church at Chipoudy and was responded
to thus. Mr. Boishebert, at the head of 125 Indians and Acadians, overtook them at
the River Pelkoudiak, attacked and fought them for three hours, and drove them
vigorously back to their vessels. The English had 42 killed and 45 wounded.
Mr. Gorham, a very active English Officer, was among the number of the wounded.
We lost 1 Indian, and had three others wounded.

Many Acadians went into hiding among the Mi'kmaq and remained with them until the British and French ended their hostilities in 1763. A group of several hundred were hidden by the Mi'kmaq in the area known today as Kejimkujik National Park.. See the story of Jacques Morrice, the name the English used for him, in We Were not the Savages for more details.


Text: Charles Lawrence's Acadien expulsion orders
Captain John Handfield

Halifax 11 August 1755

Instructions for Major Handfield, Commanding his Majesty's garrison of Annapolis Royale in relation to the transportation of the Inhabitants of the District of Annapolis River and other French Inhabitants out of the Province of Nova Scotia.


Having in my Letter of the 31st of July last made you acquainted with the reasons which Induced His Majesty's Council to come to the Resolution of sending away the French Inhabitants and clearing the whole Country of such bad subjects, it only remains for me to give you the necessary orders for the putting in practice what has been so solemnly determined.

That the Inhabitants may not have it in their power to return to this Province nor to join in strengthening the French of Canada in Louisbourg; it is resolved that they shall be dispersed among his Majesty's Colonies upon the Continent of America.

For this purpose Transports are ordered to be sent from Boston to Annapolis to ship on board one thousand persons reckoning two persons to a ton, and for Chignecto, transports have been taken up here to carry off the Inhabitants of that place; and for those of the District around Mines Bason Transports are in from Boston. As Annapolis is the place where the last of the transports will depart from, any of the vessels that may not receive their full compliment up the Bay will be ordered there, and Colonel Winslow with his detachment will follow by land and bring up what stragglers he may meet with to ship on board at your place.

Upon the arrival of the vessels from Boston in the Bason of Annapolis as many of the Inhabitants of Annapolis District as can be collected by any means, particularly the heads of families and young men, are to be shipped on board of them at the above rate of two persons to a ton, or as near it as possible. The tonnage of the vessels to be ascertained by the charter partys, which the masters will furnish you with an amount of.

And to give you all the ease possible respecting the victualling of these transports, I have appointed Mr. George Sauls to act as agent Victualler upon this occasion and have given him particular instructions for that purpose with a copy of which he will furnish you upon his arrival at Annapolis Royale from Chignecto with the provisions for victualling the whole transports; but in case you should have shipped any of the Inhabitants before his arrival you will order five pounds of flour and one pound of pork to be delivered to each person so shipped to last for seven days and so until Mr. Saul's arrival, and it will be replaced by him into the stores from what he has on board the provision vessel for that purpose.

The destination of the Inhabitants of Annapolis River and of the transports ordered to Annapolis Bason:

To be sent to Philadelphia such a number of vessels as will transport three hundred persons.

To be sent to New York such a number of vessels as will transport two hundred persons.

To be sent to Connecticut such a number of vessels / whereof the Sloop Dove, Samuel Forbes, Master to be one / as will transport three hundred persons.

And To be sent to Boston such a number of vessels as will transport two hundred persons, or rather more in proportion to the province of Connecticut, should the number to be shipped off exceed one thousand persons.

When the people are embarked you will please to give the master of each vessel one of the letters of which you will receive a number signed by me of which you will address to the Governor of the Province or the Commander in Chief for the time being where they are to be put on shore and enclose therein the printed form of the Certificate to be granted to the Masters of the vessels to entitle them to their hire as agreed upon by Charter party; and with these you will give each of the Masters their sailing orders in writing to proceed according to the above destination, and upon their arrival immediately to wait upon the Governors or Commanders in Chief of the Provinces for which they are bound with the said Letters and to make all possible dispatch in debarking their passengers and obtain certificates thereof agreeable to the form aforesaid.

And you will in these orders make it a particular injunction to the said Masters to be as careful and watchful as possible during the whole course of the passage to prevent the passengers making any attempt to seize upon the vessel by allowing only a small number to be upon the decks at a time and using all other necessary precautions to prevent the bad consequence of such attempts; and that they be particularly careful that the Inhabitants carry no arms nor other offensive weapons on board with them at their embarkation. As also that they see the provisions regularly issued to the people agreeable to the allowance proportioned in Mr. George Saul's instructions.

You will use all the means proper and necessary for collecting the people together so as to get them on board. If you find that fair means will not do with them, you must proceed by the most vigorous measures possible, not only in compelling them to embark, but in depriving those who shall escape of all means of shelter or support by burning their houses and destroying everything that may afford them the means of subsistence in the country, and if you have not force sufficient to perform this service, Colonel Winslow at Mines or the Commanding Officer there will upon your application send you a proper reinforcement.

You will see by the Charter partys of the vessels taken up at Boston that they are hired by the month; therefore I am to desire that you will use all possible dispatch to save expense to the public.

As soon as the people are shipped and the transports are ready you will acquaint the Commander of His Majesty's Ship therewith that he may take them under his convoy and put to sea without loss of time.


Lawrence's incursion

The following year, on Friday, 20 April 1750, Charles Lawrence with a fleet of seven warships, decided to make an incursion into the Basin of Chignecto in order to assess the state of the place and the reaction of the Habitants. He had with him Charles Leblanc of Grand Pré and Mr. Landry, the deputy of the Basin of Mines, who Lawrence forced to come aboard in order to have him try to convince the Habitants of the region to co-operate with the English. But the expedition was a failure.

In order to assure docility of his "guests", Lawrence had ordered Captain Handfield, who was still commander of the Grand Pré's fort, to place in custody Mrs. Landry and her children. Some hostages! The adventure ended with the return of the ships on April 26 and the release of the hostages

The text and Lawrence's incursion were quoted from: http://www.handfield.ca/documentsen/appendix1.htm

CLICK http://www.danielnpaul.com/NewBrunswickCreated-1784.html to read about an incident where a New Brunswick Acadien family was killed and scalped by British Rangers

Acadian Museum - Erath, Louisiana: http://www.acadianmuseum.com

Click to read about American Indian Genocide